Many fantasy owners do not believe in drafting a quarterback early. Instead, they believe it is advantageous to be the last owner to draft a QB due to the position’s depth, and some even wait until other owners have drafted their QB2. Those who wait this long before choosing a QB usually end up streaming the position. Streaming is when you rotate players based on matchups and week-to-week factors. While this can be a very dangerous game, it also has its advantages.
For one thing, you can consistently ensure that your starter, whomever it may be, will have a favorable matchup each week. A player’s matchup should be the No. 1 factor in your decision on which of your quarterbacks to start — and you should keep at least three on your roster to give yourself options. During the season, check out our FullTime Fantasy Points Allowed Tool to see which defenses allow the most fantasy points to each position. This will help you understand which of your QBs has the most favorable matchup. If you draft a top signal caller such as Russell Wilson, for example, you almost have to start him every week, no matter whom he’s up against. But if you have Wilson going up against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, there’s a good chance he’ll struggle. However, if you stream quarterbacks, you greatly improve the odds that one of your QBs will be facing a weak defense every Sunday.
Streaming can also prevent you from stressing over the injury report. If you stream QBs, you never have to worry about the impact that missing a left tackle or a star wideout will have on your quarterback; you just start another QB who has a full complement of weapons that week. However, make sure you know if an opposing defense’s top pass rusher or best cover corner will miss the upcoming game due to an injury. That could make a quarterback’s matchup better than it appears.
Although you won’t be drafting a top QB if you’re streaming, it’s still a good idea to draft a couple serviceable quarterbacks who rank inside the top 20. Don’t just ignore the position altogether in your draft and leave yourself relying on rookies, backup fill-ins and journeymen. That can be disastrous for even the craftiest fantasy owners. You still need talent. Also, if one of your quarterbacks breaks through and becomes worthy of starting every week, don’t be afraid to change course and abort your mission to stream. Take advantage of the major value you are getting out of that player and roll with him. You don’t need to stick by the strategy you developed in September come November if situations change.
Streaming QBs also allows you to find depth and value at other positions. While your opposition is taking quarterbacks in Rounds 3, 4 and 5, you can load up on top running backs and wide receivers, making up for your potential lack of quality at QB with the other skill positions. Many believe it is much easier to find talent at quarterback than at RB or WR. This can be especially true in today’s NFL, where offensive-minded rule changes have allowed even average quarterbacks to put up monster stat lines.
While it’s always nice to be able to plug in an Andrew Luck each week, you can succeed just as well by bypassing those stud quarterbacks and giving yourself multiple options. You may even find an elite value pick in the process. Don’t be afraid to deploy this strategy if the flow of your draft calls for it. If you look at your draft board in Round 7 and see that all of the top QBs are gone, don’t panic. Just master the art of streaming quarterbacks. It definitely requires more work and time, but you can still win a fantasy championship with this strategy.