This column has been updated to take out players from Thursday's Broncos-Cardinals game.
Each week of the NFL campaign, we sift through the deeper options at each position with an eye on identifying streaming fantasy commodities with valuable matchups to consider.
Due to bye weeks and mounting injuries, the need for replacement options grows. We have some choice names to consider for those seeking widely available options at each position.
One of the quicker ways to sift through streaming candidates at signal-caller is to employ the predictive power of Vegas, with projected point totals as a simple tool for identifying fantasy-friendly climates. Fresh from their bye week, the Saints travel to Baltimore and bring with them an offense that leads the NFL with 3.21 points per drive (well above the league average of 1.99), as well as a defense ceding 2.46 points per drive, fourth most in football. This combination lends itself to high-scoring showdowns, thus the point total for this contest hovers around a healthy 50 points across most books. Advanced metrics also support Flacco's streaming candidacy: The Saints have the seventh-lowest pressure rate this season, while Flacco sports a stellar 8-to-1 TD/INT rate with 7.3 yards per dropback from a clean, unpressured pocket, compared to a 1-to-3 TD/INT rate with just 2.65 net yards per dropback when pressured this season.
Manning can be found at 24th in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks, which means deeming him a QB2 this season is truly testing the limits of the definition. Then again, Manning faces a decimated Atlanta defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points per game (25.5) thanks to producing the third-lowest pressure rate (just 22.3 percent of opposing dropbacks). This isn't just a suspect Falcons defense -- it's a league-worst group ceding 3.15 points per drive to opponents since Week 2, the most in football by a wide margin and 53 percent more points per drive allowed than league average during this sample. For those streaming superflex options or in desperate need of a bankable streaming arm this week, it's worth mentioning Manning is still on pace for more than 4,400 yards and is projected to prove busy dropping back given the Giants' healthy implied point total of nearly 24 points for this prime-time NFC matchup.
Having earned an uptick in rushing usage in three straight weeks, Gore has surprisingly netted 79.7 scrimmage yards per game during this strong stretch. The Lions, meanwhile, have allowed enemy backfields to enjoy 5.98 yards per carry this season, most in the NFL and 40 percent more than league-average allowance. This begins with the Lions yielding an NFC-worst 3.61 yards before initial contact per rush to opposing backs, setting up the widely available Gore for an atypically efficient outing.
If Gore is available in the clear majority of fantasy formats, we find Johnson floating in just more than half of ESPN leagues after a sluggish start to the season. The good news is Johnson is quietly earning more meaningful usage with Baker Mayfield behind center. The Miami product has netted 69 scrimmage yards per game while maximizing his receiving role during this sample. Advanced metrics also align with Johnson proving dangerous with the ball in his hands, as he's second among all tailbacks with at least six games played this season in Pro Football Focus' elusive rating, a measure of forced missed tackles. The Buccaneers, for their part, have allowed 66.6 receiving yards per game to tailbacks, third most in the league.
Willie Snead IV, Baltimore Ravens
We championed John Brown earlier this season before managers caught wind of his prolific air yardage rates, and now the crowd trails Snead's fantasy-relevant reception pace for 80 catches this season. As a cheap stack partner with Flacco in deeper PPR formats, Snead could deliver yet another high-floor PPR outing against his former team. Snead is second on the Ravens in routes and tops in receptions per game the past three weeks, setting him up for a strong showing in what is a positive-points climate on Sunday.
Found just ahead of T.Y. Hilton and just behind Amari Cooper and Dez Bryant at 31st in fantasy points per game in PPR scoring last season, the market has yet to appreciate the fact Kearse likely will lead the team in targets going forward with Quincy Enunwa suffering the dreaded high ankle ailment. Kearse has been targeted on a team-high 34.1 percent of his routes the past two weeks while enjoying an efficient 74.1 percent catch rate in the process. Serving that high-percentage security blanket role Enunwa fulfilled with rookie signal-caller Sam Darnold, Kearse becomes a bankable PPR streamer for this meeting with a Vikings secondary allowing an above-average catch rate (66.4 percent) and nearly 13 yards per reception to opposing wideouts.
Uzomah is essentially the last man standing at a position felled by attrition so far for the Bengals, one that commands a meaningful portion of the target bandwidth from QB Andy Dalton. In fact, Dalton claims the league's seventh-highest rate in yards per dropback (9.2) and fifth-highest completion clip (81 percent) targeting tight ends with a touchdown on nearly 5 percent of such attempts (above the league-average touchdown rate to tight ends). Per the savory matchup, the Chiefs have allowed 91.7 yards per game (second most in the NFL) to tight ends and the third-most fantasy points (16.8) to the position this season.
The Bills' quarterback position has been quite messy this season. The offense collectively is 31st with 1.09 points per drive (1.99 is league average), and Buffalo rates last in the league in passer rating. The Colts quietly claim the 12th-highest pressure rate (per dropback) and the 10th-highest sack rate in the league on defense, setting up a surprisingly inviting set of statistical indicators for what is a matchup-driven endorsement at the position.
A stroll down narrative street reveals a fired defensive coordinator on a defensive roster that undoubtedly claims elite talent in the front seven and yet real questions in the back four. A shift in scheme, however simple, could get this talented, if underperforming, group to produce a fantasy-worthy performance against the Browns' rookie-led passing game. When pressured, Baker Mayfield has completed just 41.2 percent of his passes with as many touchdowns as interceptions per attempt, placing the pressure on this Tampa Bay pass rush to excel in order to exceed value as a streaming defensive candidate.
Individual defensive players
Thirty tackles over the past three weeks and a looming matchup with a run-centric Jacksonville offense spells another solid box score for Cunningham, as he paces for a career statistical campaign.
On the field for every one of the Bears' 79 defensive snaps in Week 6, Amos rarely leaves the field as an aggressive enforcer for Chicago. The Patriots are among the leaders in offensive plays per game, which should afford this every-down defender increased tackle potential for this cross-conference matchup.
The Jets have yielded pressure on the pocket on 31.6 percent of dropbacks thus far, the ninth-highest rate in the NFL. The Vikings, meanwhile, trust Weatherly to serve a full batch of snaps from the edge in relief of a sidelined Everson Griffen. While the results have been a bit variant, this matchup with a rookie signal-caller behind a porous line and the Vikings positioned as favorites spell real upside for Weatherly and this Minnesota pass rush.