Mark Brown / Stringer

The safest way to build a great Fantasy Football team is to load up on running backs and wide receivers in the first eight rounds. With that approach, you can build depth at the two positions where you need multiple starters and you give yourself multiple shots at finding the league-winning breakouts as well. 

Of course, it also means you'll be scrambling at one of the other positions at least, maybe more than one. 

Once you realize you'll be streaming at least one position, it's important to draft to stream. That means focusing on early-season matchups, not full season projections. We've done the work for you below. We've ordered the four streamable positions (QB, DST, TE, K) in the order that it's easiest to stream. Kickers are last because hopefully you can convince your league mates to get rid of them already.

One note before we get started: Be careful you don't try to stream too many positions. If you're drafting to stream quarterback and tight end, it may be wise to reach one round earlier and get a defense you plan to stick with. Depending on your league depth and waivers system, it can be very difficult to steam more than two positions successfully.

The bar for streaming is a bit different at the positions as well. I'm looking for quarterbacks and tight ends outside of the top 12 in ADP, but defense and kicker are a bit different. Basically, any option outside of the elite could turn into a streamer. Below you'll see each streamer's schedule for the first two weeks of the season, except for one defense whose early schedule is so good you get three weeks.


Baker Mayfield (at KC, vs. HOU)

Mayfield's first two matchups come against arguably the best offense and the worst defense he'll face all season. In Week 1 we'd expect enough pass volume to justify a borderline top-12 performance. While that won't be the case in Week 2, Houston's defense may be bad enough that it doesn't matter.

Trevor Lawrence (at HOU, vs. DEN)

It's scary to start a rookie in his first NFL game, but not as scary as the Texans depth chart. The first step in finding an offensive streamer this season is looking to see who is playing the Texans. Don't be surprised if we're starting Lawrence, Travis Etienne, James Robinson, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones in Week 1.

Kirk Cousins (at CIN, at ARI)

A couple of road games against teams who have better offenses than defenses to start the season for Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings. That should lead to a boost in pass volume, which is pretty much all that holds Cousins back from being a Fantasy starter. He's at home in Week 3 against the Seahawks. If he gets off to a hot start, you may just leave him in your lineup until he cools off.

Defense/special teams

Denver Broncos (at NYG, at JAX, vs. NYJ)

This feels like cheating. I legitimately think the Broncos could have a top-10 defense regardless of early matchups. But they're well outside of the top 12 by early ADP and their schedule could not be much better. They start with a matchup against Daniel Jones, who has led the league in fumbles each of the past two seasons, then they get rookie quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. I'd reach a round early to make sure I get this defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU, vs. DEN)

This one needs an asterisk. But if Deshaun Watson is out Week 1 and Drew Lock starts for the Broncos in Week 2, the rebuilding Jaguars are a great option if you miss out on all of the good defenses. 

Atlanta Falcons (vs. PHI, at TB)

This is a one-week streamer for sure. Jalen Hurts had six fumbles and three interceptions in his four games as a starter. The Falcons will be at home in the dome, and I expect them to have an improved, if not impressive, defense in 2021.

Tight ends

Austin Hooper (at KC, vs. HOU)

We've already discussed the opportunity these matchups present, and bonus, the Chiefs were also pretty terrible against tight ends specifically in 2020. I'd expect an efficiency rebound for Hooper with Odell Beckham returning and defenses reacting accordingly. If nothing else, touchdown upside the first two weeks makes Hooper viable.

Tyler Higbee (vs. CHI, at IND)

I'm not totally sure how much the loss of Gerald Everett is going to impact Higbee, but a Week 1 matchup against the Bears is a great place to find out. Last year only the Jets gave up more Fantasy points to tight ends than Chicago.

Blake Jarwin (at TB, at LAC)

I have high hopes for Jarwin becoming more than a streamer, but until we see it, he belongs here. While he faces two very good defenses the first two weeks, they are defenses I expect to be better against receivers than they are tight ends, and the Bucs specifically are better against the run than anything else. That should have Dak Prescott looking Jarwin's way early.


Matt Gay (vs. CHI, at IND)

Gay starts off the season with four games in controlled environments and he kicks for what should be an above-average offense. That could propel him to the type of start that keeps him in your lineup until his Week 11 bye.

Jason Myers (at IND, vs. TEN)

Like Gay, Myers is a good kicker on a good offense who doesn't have to deal with the elements in Week 1. I don't have quite as much hope for Myers over the course of the full season as I do for Gay, but I'll be fine starting him Week 1.

Robbie Gould (at DET, at PHI)

Two years ago, Gould was one of the most prolific kickers in all of Fantasy. He'll get a chance to match that level of play in Week 1 against a Lions defense that will be below average. 

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.