My Frankenstein was alive.
My yearlong experiment of piecing together an elite fantasy quarterback with nothing but excellent matchups for maddeningly inconsistent signal callers became slightly more frustrating in the second half of 2012.
Streaming quarterbacks – streaming any position, really – comes with inherent risks. It requires in-depth research into what may or may not make a matchup enticing for a quarterback who, occasionally, looks atrocious. The luxury of plug-and-play quarterbacks will be foreign to you. It is, in the end, a decidedly uncomfortable strategy, fraught with pitfalls and susceptible to our natural tendency to avoid risk.
A proactive stance on waiver claims is the centerpiece to this Frankenstein strategy. I had drafted Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson, constantly looking ahead a week or two – or three, on occasion – for favorable matchups against the worst secondaries in the NFL, including the Bucs, the Saints, the Eagles, the Bills, and the Chiefs.
Staying aggressive on the wire landed me a quarterbacking revelation who made my streaming choices slightly less complicated. Colin Kaepernick served as the bolts in the neck of my Frankenstein, keeping the monstrosity’s head attached and upright.
This experiment, no matter how labor intensive or risky, should illustrate one lesson above all others: Quarterbacks, more than ever, are largely replaceable. Without making perfect choices for 16 weeks, we’re never going to match Drew Brees point for point. I think you’ll agree that a Quarterback Frankenstein can ensure we get value out of the quarterback position, since it costs us nothing but a late round pick (10th round or later) and a bunch of stat crunching and educated guessing throughout the season.
Here’s a review of how my Fantasy Quarterback Frankenstein was constructed in Weeks 9-16. See how the first half went right here.
Week 9 – Carson Palmer (31 points)
This, as you see, was not among my second-half frustrations. Palmer played the Bucs, a team sporting a brutal run defense and a shockingly bad secondary. They had given up more than 21 fantasy points to QBs in three of their first seven games, and Palmer had been chucking it all over the field. He dropped a cool 414 yards and four touchdowns against Tampa. Palmer outscored every fantasy QB in Week 9.
Week 10 – Carson Palmer (19 points)
I violated my own rule here. I wouldn’t admit it to myself at the time, but I know now that I played Palmer because he had rewarded me so generously in Week 9, single-handedly winning my matchup. I left Flacco – who I drafted in the 11th round – on my bench in Week 10, watching Joe post 341 yards and three touchdowns, good for 30 fantasy points, the most of any quarterback. Palmer scored 19 against Baltimore, more than half of that in hurry-up fourth quarter garbage time. I lost my Week 10 game by eight points. It took me a while to get over this one. A shower cry was in the works.
Week 11 – Colin Kaepernick (18 points)
I’m enamored of Kaepernick, as you know if you follow my incoherent ramblings on the Twitter Apparatus. I’ll explain why (ad nauseum) this offseason, but for now, just know that I made a commitment to Kaep when he took Alex Smith’s starting gig. He scored 18 points on Monday Night Football against the Bears’ fearsome defense, finishing Week 11 as the ninth highest scoring QB. I had dropped Andy Dalton, who put up 24 points against Kansas City.
Week 12 – Colin Kaepernick (20 points)
I, along with a lot of rotoheads, pegged Kaepernick as a top-five quarterback play against a New Orleans defense that had done little to stop signal callers through 11 weeks. I never hesitated with this streaming choice, and Kaep delivered with 231 passing yards and two total scores, a performance that fell short of my over inflated expectations. He tied Drew Brees as Week 12’s sixth highest scoring QB.
Week 13 – Colin Kaepernick (14 points)
Russell Wilson had languished on my bench all season. I wouldn’t have hesitated to drop him if I desperately needed a roster spot. I never ran into that bye-week tight spot – thanks, in part, to a deep bench – so Wilson stayed put. He scored 26 points against Chicago in Week 13, leading an epic comeback. There was no reason, however, to play him on the road against that Bears’ defense. The matchup was wrong – that’s all that mattered. Kaepernick had a middling performance at St. Louis, ranking as Week 13’s twelfth highest scoring quarterback.
Week 14 – Joe Flacco (16 points)
I briefly considered using Nick Foles against the oh-so-generous Tampa Bay secondary, shying away from the rookie at the last moment. Foles scored 31 fantasy points, the second most of any Week 14 QB. Instead, I fell back to Flacco, who took on a slightly improved Washington defense that had been burned for 20+ quarterback points in three of its pervious four. Flacco threw for a measly 182 yards, saving his day with three touchdowns. He ranked ninth among Week 14 quarterbacks.
Week 15 – Colin Kaepernick (25 points)
A side note on this week: Wilson maintained his home on my bench as he mutilated the Buffalo Bills’ defense for 39 fantasy points, thanks to 92 yards and three scores on the ground. Wilson was the week’s top quarterback. Alas, I went back to the bolts in the neck of my signal calling Frankenstein in what, I think was a no-brainer play. This tilt against the Patriots seemed like a locked-and-loaded high scoring affair, and Kaepernick had shown he could compensate for a so-so passing day with reliably hefty running yardage (and scores). The long-legged one delivered in spades, obliterating with New England defense for 221 yards and a four-pack of touchdowns. Kaepernick scored the fifth most points among QBs in Week 15, just a single point behind Tom Brady. Thank you very much, my Frankenstein bolts.
Week 16 – Chad Henne (16 points)
I went deep here, picking up Henne instead of rolling with Wilson, Kaepernick or Flacco, who I had dropped to waivers a few weeks earlier. Henne was down to his third-string running back against a Patriots team that had been stifling runners for much of the second half of 2012. I expected Henne to throw, and throw a lot, and that he did. He finished with 348 yards and a touchdown, scoring 16 fantasy points. He was ninth among quarterbacks that week; I would’ve scored eight more points with Wilson and 11 more with Flacco.
I credit my QB movie monster for helping me win my division in this particular league. I snuck into the title game, only to watch my opponent nuke me to the tune of 192 points. So goes fake pigskin.
My experiment though was inarguably successful. I invested almost nothing in the quarterback position, and ended 2012 with 326 points. My streaming QBs tallied 159 points in the season’s final eight weeks, good for 19.8 points per game.
Since every quarterback has a bye week, and each owner of said quarterbacks will replace their guy with a waiver wire option or a bench stash, we need to adjust the numbers a bit. My Frankenstein averaged 20.3 fantasy points per game, so I’m going to add 20 points to the season totals of each of the below QBs. It seems generous, I know, but I want to avoid fudging the numbers in Frankenstein’s favor.
- Drew Brees, easily 2012’s highest scoring quarterback, totaled 356 fantasy points (adjusted to 376) meaning Brees and his bye-week replacement scored an average of 3.1 fantasy points per game more than my signal calling amalgamation.
- Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady tied at 337 fantasy points in 2012 (adjusted to 357). That translated to 1.9 points per game more than my Frankenstein.
- Matthew Stafford, one of the year’s most overdrafted players, totaled 280 points (adjusted to 300). My Flacco-Dalton-Weeden-Kaepernick-Bradford-Ponder-Henne-Palmer Frankenstein outscored Stafford by an average of 1.6 fantasy points per game.
I’ll certainly further explore the thought processes behind streaming quarterbacks throughout the coming dark days of football’s offseason. We’ll discuss the best quarterbacks to draft for the opening weeks of 2013, and where we might draft them.
It’s far too early to delve into this in any meaningful way quite yet. I think though that you’ll like your Frankenstein when it comes time to piece one together.