The Deep Stream – 2019 Week 15
This is the final installment of The Deep Stream for the 2019 fantasy season. Writing this column was a new endeavor for me this year and I want to thank all of you for reading, asking questions, and sharing your feedback. I sincerely hope I was able to help you in your pursuit of fantasy glory. I will spend some time this offseason learning from this year’s results to continue to improve the models and my process for making recommendations, and I am hoping to publish the column again in some format next season. If you found it useful feel free to follow me on Twitter where I will keep everyone posted on when and where you can find The Deep Stream in 2020.
As a reminder, The Deep Stream is my weekly column where I share waiver wire and streaming recommendations for the three streaming positions (QB, TE, DST) based on the Deep Stream scoring projection models. You can find a more detailed introduction to the approach and models here. Two great complementary tools to aid in your analysis are The Fantasy Footballer’s Stream Finder and Strength of Schedule Tool.
All scoring data is from FantasyPros with standard scoring settings. With those housekeeping items out of the way, let’s dive in.
With only two weeks left, it is important to maximize the value from every roster spot, so there is a heavier emphasis on drops this week. If you cannot see a scenario where you will put a player into your lineup this week or next, then they should be dropped for a more valuable asset.
Ryan Tannehill (56% available). Since taking over full-time in Week 7, Tannehill is the QB3 and is still somehow owned in less than half of leagues. His QB3 outing this week will finally change that, so if he is available in your league hopefully you have the FAAB or waiver capital left to acquire him. Tannehill is the projected QB3 Weeks 15 & 16 combined.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (81% available). If you miss out on the Tannehill sweepstakes, the “other Ryan” is not a bad consolation prize. Fitzmagic fizzled in Week 14, but he had plenty of red zone passing opportunities that didn’t connect, and he lost his top play-maker mid-game to a concussion. Fitz is the projected the QB5 and QB6 in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively, and remains a strong playoff option, especially if Parker is able to return.
Eli Manning (96% available) and Gardner Minshew (86% available). Neither QB performed well in Week 14, but Manning and Minshew are still serviceable QBs with good matchups and are Week 15’s projected QB10 and QB11, respectively.
David Blough (99% available). Blough is a risky play given his limited sample size and experience, but he faces a Tampa Bay defense that continues to be a top-3 matchup for opposing fantasy QBs, making his projected QB7 finish this week a viable outcome. That said, he is close to a desperation-level play and I would prefer this week’s other “Streams” and “Adds” over Blough
Andy Dalton (93% available), Week 16. Dalton is unplayable this week vs. New England, but in Week 16 he faces a Miami defense that is still giving up the second-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game to QBs, making Dalton the projected QB9 on Championship Week.
Jared Goff (64% owned). Goff has been a much-improved fantasy QB the last two weeks, but expect that trend to end starting this week as his remaining schedule is the sixth-hardest for fantasy QBs. He is projected to be the QB25 and QB29 in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively.
Kirk Cousins (78% owned). Cousins has exceeded his projection several times this season, and over his last six games is averaging 3.1 more points over expectation than his season-long average. Even taking that boost into account, though, Captain Kirk would still project no higher than the QB15 in either of his remaining tilts. Cousins can go off any given week, and he could finally get Thielen back next week, but there are other, better options available and I would not want to play him in either of the remaining games this year.
Jacob Hollister (47% available). Hollister is the projected TE16 in Week 15, which is borderline playable in the muddled tight end landscape, especially for a player that is an established part of the offense. In Week 16, though, he gets his shot at the Arizona Cardinals and their league-worst tight end defense, making him Championship Week’s projected TE1.
Daniel Fells (72% available) and Jordan Akins (98% available). Fells and Akins project to be high-end TE 2’s in Week 15 and low-end TE 1’s in Week 16. They are somewhat capped as they split targets almost 50/50, but either can pull down a TD or two and log a top-6 outing. Fells has been the preferred red zone target and is, therefore, the preferred streaming option.
David Njoku (70% available). Njoku returned to the field last week but was only targeted three times, logging one catch for four yards. So, playing him comes with plenty of risk. However, Njoku did receive most of the tight end targets and is facing the Arizona “we don’t cover tight ends” Cardinals. Consider him a desperation stream with top-5 upside.
Nick O’Leary (100% available). The second of two risky streaming plays this week, O’Leary only has three full games as the primary receiving tight end for a Jags offense that has only targeted tight ends an average of 4.7 times per week over that time. However, O’Leary gets nearly all of the team’s tight end targets and is facing an opponent in Oakland that is second only to Arizona in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to tight ends.
Kyle Rudolph (67% owned). With Thielen likely to return next week, the increased usage Rudolph has seen in Thielen’s absence is likely to evaporate. He is projected to be the TE27 and TE24 over the next two weeks.
Vance McDonald (53% owned). Vance was (theoretically) a good streaming play last week strictly because of the matchup with Arizona. McDonald now has the most difficult remaining schedule for tight ends in the league, meaning that even if he fully recovers from last week’s injury there is no place for The Vance Dance on your fantasy playoff roster.
Seattle (58% available). Seattle is projected to be the DST5 in each of the next two weeks and is available in over half of leagues.
Kansas City (76% available). The Chiefs DST continues to be a solid fantasy defense and is the projected DST7 over the last two weeks of the season. Despite the strong performance by Denver’s Drew Lock in Week 14, KC’s DST also comes with some upside this week when they take on the Bronco’s rookie pass-thrower.
New York Giants (95% available). The Giant’s defense is ranked 23rd on the year, but in the final two weeks of the fantasy season they play Miami and Washington, making them the projected DST7 over that time.
Philadelphia (48% available). The Philadelphia DST has one remaining week of fantasy relevance left when they take on the Washington Fighting Haskins and are the projected DST8. Have another plan for Week 16, however, when Philly is projected to be the DST31.
Washington (85% available). Week 16. The DST18 on the year projects to be the DST4 championship week when they take on the Giants. This match is a slight downgrade if Eli is still in at QB as expected, but Washington should still be a decent streaming play.
Houston (68% available). Week 16. Houston’s defense has underwhelmed this year, but they are the projected DST8 in Week 16 when they face The Jameis Winston Interception Machine.
Chicago (92% owned). Your weekly reminder to drop the Bears defense. This once-elite fantasy unit is a shadow of its 2018 self and has the second-worst remaining schedule for fantasy defenses.
Green Bay (51% owned). Green Bay was added by many teams to stream in Weeks 13 and 14. Those juicy matchups are a thing of the past, though, and Green Bay is the projected DST24 RoS, so there is no room for them on your playoff roster.
Jacksonville (71% owned). The 2019 incarnation of the Jags D is barely-recognizable compared to the elite fantasy defenses fielded by the team in recent years. They project as the DST17 or lower in each of the last two remaining weeks and should be dropped.
Los Angeles Chargers (54% owned). One final reminder that the Chargers defense, which projects to be the DST29 RoS, belongs on the waiver wire and not your fantasy roster. Since I first advocated for dropping them in Week 7 when they were 91% owned, the Chargers defense has been the DST24.
That’s it for this week. As always please share your feedback in the comments section below or on Twitter. See you in the stream!