Streaming your starting QB, TE, or D/ST isn't the goal in fantasy football. But, if you're weak at a position where you only have to start one player, picking up usable fantasy weeks from the waiver wire can be a beneficial process. In typical start-one quarterback, tight end, and D/ST 12-team formats, most of your league mates won't -- and shouldn't -- carry a backup QB or D/ST. Positional scarcity leaves the waiver wire flush with plausible weekly starting options based on their matchup and expected game-flow.
Simply put, because quarterback and defensive matchups are easier to predict and their output varies less on a weekly basis, sharp fantasy owners have an edge in their leagues if they can stream their "onesie" positions (usually their defense) better than their opponent.
Here are the Week 6 streaming calls:
Floor and Ceiling: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (66 percent available) vs. Atlanta Falcons
This should be obvious. Winston was QB8 (fantasy points per game), second in YPA (8.1), second in PFF's passer rating under pressure, and he led all QBs in passing yards per game (306.8) in his 11 full starts last season. This year, offensive coordinator Todd Monken has installed a high-flying, high-upside aerial attack that allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead all QBs in air yards per pass attempt (10.7) in his three and a half games of action, per Next Gen Stats. Now, Winston returns for his first 2018 start to face an Atlanta defense that is ravaged by injuries. According to Next Gen, the Falcons are allowing a 98.5 passer rating (fifth-worst) and are permitting a 3.5 percent completion rate above expectation (third-worst). The last four QB fantasy finishes against Atlanta are as follows: QB7 (Newton), QB1 (Brees), QB9 (Dalton), and QB5 (Roethlisberger).
Bear with me here.
Sure, Manning has finished outside of the top-20 fantasy passers in 3-of-5 games so far, but that may not matter in Week 6. The Giants offensive line is struggling to open up rushing lanes for Saquon Barkley, ranking 11th-worst in yards before contact per carry (1.11 yards) per PFF. This does not bode well against an Eagles front seven that is allowing a stingy 2.77 yards per rush, the lowest clip in the NFL. The likely lack of a run game should force Manning to the air often, where Philadelphia is far more susceptible. This year, the Eagles have allowed 292.4 pass YPG (ninth-most), they have given up a wide open throw on 47 percent of their pass attempts (ninth-worst; Next Gen Stats), and a 1.2 percent completion rate above expectation (seventh-worst; Next Gen Stats). What's more, the Eagles are one of only a few teams the 37-year-old Manning has found success against recently. Manning has 300-plus yards and/or multiple scores in five-straight games against Philly.
It's possible Trubisky's 354-yard, six-touchdown thrashing of the Bucs' in Week 4 set in motion a series of ceiling weeks we expected from the Bears offense. Think of it this way ... Trubisky is learning a brand new system, he's surrounded by brand new coaches, and he has brand new receivers. For all intents and purposes, Trubisky is a rookie in 2018. We all know former head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains did not do much to develop Trubisky in Year One. It was always going to take time for Chicago's offense to gel. The Bears are a sneaky attack to target in Week 6, as Miami has allowed 8.3 yards per attempt (seventh-highest clip) over the last three weeks to Derek Carr, Tom Brady, and Andy Dalton. In fact, 47 percent of all throws into Miami's coverage have been wide open (three or more yards of separation), per Next Gen Stats. That's the tenth-worst rate in the NFL.
Note:Austin Hooper should be on a roster in most competitive leagues. However, if he is not, Hooper is assuredly going to draw some attention on the wire ahead of Week 6 after going for 9/77 (on 12 targets) last week. However, I'm not convinced that Hooper's target load is going to stick. Over the last two years, Hooper has seen five or fewer targets in 15-of-21 games. He routinely plays fifth fiddle behind Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman. Of course, Hooper is a high-end TE2 for Week 6 -- just be wary that Hooper's volume will soon normalize. Still, Hooper could see three targets and still manage a monster fantasy day against a Bucs' secondary that is getting whacked for 6.8 receptions (second-most) and 103.8 yards (most) per game by enemy tight ends.
Here are the actual Week 6 streamers:
Floor and Ceiling: Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (93 percent available) vs. Atlanta Falcons
If it weren't for the Eagles RB situation that needs immediate attention, Cameron Brate would be the No. 1 waiver claim for Week 6. Over the last two years with Jameis Winston under center, Brate has seen 14 percent of Bucs' targets and averaged 10.7 fantasy points per game. For reference, 10.7 FPG (PPR) is good enough to be fantasy's TE7 right now. When Winston started last year, Bucs' TEs led the NFL in fantasy points and now Brate gets to gobble up the majority of that production to himself against a Falcons secondary that is missing their two starting safeties (Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen). Brate is my TE6 for Week 6 behind only Kelce, Ertz, Gronkowski, Ebron, and Kittle.
If you miss out on Brate, we actually have a decent second streamer at tight end this week. It's a minor miracle. With Will Dissly (knee) on the shelf for the rest of the season, Vannett carved out a nice little role for himself in the Hawks attack in Week 5. Vannett played on a season-high 84 percent of Seattle's snaps last week, converting his four targets into 3/43. Oakland has yet to face an imposing tight end yet, but they've hilariously allowed 6/58 (Denver TEs), 4/47 (Miami TEs), 6/101/1 (Cleveland TEs), and 3/32/1 (L.A. Chargers TEs) to a motley crew of relatively unproductive tight ends.
Two words, one name: C.J. Beathard. In two starts, Beathard has already absorbed five sacks, thrown four INTs, and fumbled the ball three times. The Packers 9.0 percent sack rate is third-best in the league. Don't overthink this one. Only the Texans D/ST (vs. Bills) and Bears (vs. Dolphins) are higher in my Week 6 ranks than the Packers D/ST.
Before the Broncos laid an egg traveling to the east coast in Week 5, the last three opponents to face Sam Darnold and the Jets had finished as a top-ten weekly D/ST (Dolphins, Browns, and Jaguars). Darnold has absorbed multiple sacks in 4-of-5 starts while the Colts quietly rank sixth-best in sack rate (7.9 percent) despite rarely blitzing (13.5 percent rate; lowest in NFL, per Next Gen Stats). The concern, of course, is that the Colts are on the road in a non-division game. Over the last five years, D/ST's historically averaged 0.62 fantasy points below expectation in non-division road contests.
Deshaun Watson has already been sacked an exorbitant 18 times this year, second-most in the NFL behind only Josh Allen (19). This is a major problem spot for the Texans shoddy offensive line. Over the first five weeks, Buffalo has forced pressure 30.3 percent of the time -- the ninth-highest rate in the NFL. After a rough start to the year, the Bills D/ST has stabilized, finishing as a top-12 weekly option in three-straight games. They have plenty of sack-based upside in Week 6.
-- Graham Barfield is the managing editor of fantasy football content at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @GrahamBarfield.