Welcome to the NFL DFS QB Coach, where we identify optimal point-per-dollar quarterbacks for our lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft.
Before we dive into Week 10, here is a quick review of last week’s NFL DFS results.
Green is a hit, red a miss and grey a push. Ownership/Roster Percentage listed from the DK Milly Maker, and I’ve included their point-per-dollar output (DK points divided by DK salary).
My best prognosticating week yet, as eight of nine recommended quarterbacks last week cracked the top 10, including the top four overall. Drew Lock started his day off slowly but ramped up in full comeback mode to earn the slate’s highest point-per-dollar output (6.4). Lock was the quarterback on most GPP-winning lineups, including the cool million that #EliteMafia member Joey Slither won!
Even rookie Jake Luton joined the point production party in his NFL debut, throwing for 304 yards, throwing a TD pass, and running one in, as well. Yet most of all, I’m enthused my stone-cold favorite lock QB of the slate (Josh Allen) had an outing for the ages. Though he was the highest rostered QB on the slate, he still came in under 15% in most contests. Sadly, I was too locked in on Tyler Lockett as a bring-back on 3-max entries, so I didn’t end up having the success I was expecting on this slate. My gut won’t be on-point like this every week, but keeping myself accountable throughout the season, there has only been one brutal week of recommendations thus far.
I’d be remiss to not point out that we yet again had a sub-one percent member of the 30 DKP club in Teddy Bridgewater. He was listed in the MME plays section given the likelihood of him needing to chuck the ball a ton in order to keep up with the Chiefs. That game turned out the way many of us foresaw. Yet, no one really clicked on Bridgewater to make stacks with him. We don’t really need to go there with the off-the-wall plays in SE and 3-Max, but it can occasionally bode well for us to do so in large-field entries to help make our lineups truly unique, in a sharp fashion.
When selecting QBs for our DFS lineups, there are a few things we need to focus on: Matchups, game flow and Vegas lines.
Matchups – We’re looking for QBs playing behind strong offensive lines who provide them ample time in the pocket, so they can find their targets. Ideally, they’ll also be facing teams with subpar pass rushers and/or weak secondaries.
Game Flow – Having a soft matchup is great, but not if it’s so soft it affects our QB’s game flow. We want to find games we project to be close and competitive or games in which our QB’s team will be trailing, forcing him to air it out.
Vegas Lines – For GPPs, especially, be wary of QBs who are large Vegas favorites (>14pts). If those guys get out to big leads early, it’s likely they’ll hit the brakes and resort to using the ground game to run out the clock. In general, we’re looking for QBs in games with totals >48 and spreads <5, or on teams projected to be huge underdogs (spreads of +10 or more). Quarterbacks who frequently scramble or gain yardage with their legs are certainly a priority, given the additional statistical output we can expect.
It’s important to note this article is posted mid-week, so injuries and other news can change our reads as we get closer to Sunday. This article is specifically for Sunday’s “Main” slates, so QBs from Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football are not considered.
NFL DFS Matchups
On to Week 10. Seriously, how did we get here so quickly? This is always the week, each season, where I ponder in amazement at just how fast the NFL season has flown by. Just eight more weeks of regular slates (and Showdowns, of course!) for us to make some money. Let’s hit one this weekend and make it a season to remember.
Want to hear the best part about this slate? We get a true split slate! Six of the 11 games start after 4pm ET – the first time in 17 years there are more games in the late window. Looking at this Week 10 slate holistically, it doesn’t appear to have the same oomph of last week, and that’s because the matchups are not as enticing. There are no Kansas City Chiefs nor Atlanta Falcons to stack or attack. The league’s best offense (Seahawks) may have some of their wings clipped, facing the league’s stingiest secondary (Rams). The Bucs-Panthers game could be a good one from a real-life perspective, but we’ve since lost Christian McCaffrey (again) and these pass defenses both rank top-five in the league.
Then we have a few games that just don’t trigger excitement upon first glance – WAS/DET, DEN/LV, PHI/GB and a potential blowout where the Packers are 14-point home favorites against the Jaguars and their rookie QB. Even the 49ers-Saints game lacks a bit of luster with a nine-point spread and so many key pieces of San Francisco’s squad hurting or on IR. The belle of the ball will likely be a nutbuster between the Bills and Cardinals that boasts a 56 total. Of course, the Seahawks/Rams game will get plenty of attention with the 55.5 total and our penchant to lean on pass attacks against the Seahawks.
Differentiating between our high-priced QB’s (Aaron Rodgers vs. Jaguars, Kyler Murray vs. Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson at Cleveland) comes down to matchups, projected game flow and digging in to see which complimentary stack pieces fit in the best. And it goes without saying, Jared Goff will get plenty of attention from DFS players this week for the aforementioned reason.
Ben Roethlisberger and Baker Mayfield are both on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and if they continue delivering negative tests all week, they should be slated to play. I have them listed here over their backups (Mason Rudolph – PIT, Case Keenum – CLE), but refer to the Matthew Stafford fiasco from last week where he was in a similar situation, did not practice all week, then looked rusty in the game (throwing two interceptions and getting pulled). Moreover, Roethlisberger is also dealing with minor issues to both knees. He’s off my list of considerations (as is Rudolph), though I would likely consider Keenum in cash or GPP’s if Mayfield sits. We may not need to go there, since we have that free square of Mike Davis (RB/CAR), who is minimum salary ($4,000) on DraftKings.
Let’s dig right in and find our plays for the week.
Cash plays in gold, GPP plays in blue
Vegas lines as of Tuesday afternoon
FanDuel PPG to oppo QB and pass DVOA listed
Cash Game Preferences
Kyler Murray, Cardinals
Kyler Murray is a stud. A flat-out machine. He provides the ultimate floor as a quarterback with his exceptional weekly fantasy-point bumps as a runner. Just how effective has he been? Murray is eighth(!) in the league in rushing yards with 543 and tied for third in rushing TD’s behind only Dalvin Cook and Todd Gurley. If you forget for a second that he’s a quarterback and only look at his rushing numbers, Murray is the RB12 overall this season…as a QB. Of course, most running backs gain so many of their fantasy value in PPR with receptions and receiving yards, but obviously, Kyler doesn’t do that (outside of a trick play once a year). Just for fun, if you remove all receiving stats from running backs this year, Kyler has the fourth-most rushing-only fantasy points this year behind Cook, Gurley and Derrick Henry. That’s damn impressive.
The rushing bump makes him the highest-scoring fantasy quarterback so far this season. Just a couple of fantasy points ahead of Patrick Mahomes overall and the only QB averaging over 30 fantasy points per game this season. This is some sick, Lamar Jackson type ish.
So here we are, the highest Vegas total on the slate (56.5), facing a Bills team that just combined for 78 total points with another high-powered offense. The Bills have had some rough injuries to key defensive players, but all in all, have just underwhelmed defensively all season long. Their defense is easier to run on and turns out, they’re just middle-of-the-road against the pass (21.9 DKP/game – 11th worst). They’ve allowed 200 rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks this season (one-quarter of those to Newton two weeks ago) but are also near the league’s worst in QB rushing touchdowns allowed (four).
Murray is expensive, but he’s worth every penny of it. A weekly 2-for-1 special, if you will. In a game where the points will flow like liquor at bars across the nation once the covid vaccine hits the market, there’s no one better to lock in and build around for cash games in Week 10.
Drew Lock, Broncos
Lock won slates last week so naturally, we’d want another piece in this battle against the Raiders’ bottom-ten ranked secondary. Moreover, Lock’s salary was, ahem, locked while last week’s game was still playing, so we don’t even get a huge price increase ($5500 DK, $7100 FD, 1.6x SD). The Raiders allow the seventh-most passing YPG (267) and the eighth-most FanDuel PPG (21.5). They allowed Justin Herbert to drop 326-2 last week, Tom Brady 369-4 in Week 7, Patrick Mahomes 340-2 in Week 5 and 282-2 to Josh Allen in Week 4. He has his trio of stud wideouts (Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler) all healthy at the same time for the first time, and the total is over 50 (51.5) with the Broncos five-point underdogs. It all lines up for another solid week for him to smash at potentially the best point-per-dollar output again.
Jared Goff, Rams
Last time we saw the Rams, they were capping off an impressive effort to contend with the Dolphins. Their 95 offensive snaps from that game were the league’s highest mark, as was wideout Cooper Kupp’s 21(!) targets. That was in Week 8, and the Rams have since had a bye to help RB Darrell Henderson (ribs) get healthy and to prepare for this intra-divisional matchup with the high-flying Seahawks.
Everyone, their mothers and grandmothers will gravitate towards Goff in a similar fashion of almost every main slate that there was a quarterback to play against Seattle. The average pass yards per game they are allowing (362) is a staggering number when you consider the next closest team is the Atlanta Falcons at 310 and the median range is around 240-250. The 2011 Packers allowed the most passing yards in a single season (4,796), and the Seahawks are on pace to shatter that record (5,793).
Everything lines up for the Rams and Goff to go ham, or does it? Two weeks ago, Jimmy G was the surefire lock at a value price against these Seahawks, though of course, he was playing hurt and eventually knocked out of the game. Last week, it was Lock as the value du jour (though against the Falcons) while Josh Allen had an epic 39-point performance against these Seahawks.
Though at this moment I am fine with Goff, the contrarian within has a couple areas of concern: 1) key pieces of Seattle’s defense are slowly getting healthy and returning, 2) Goff isn’t priced as a super value and doesn’t scramble, 3) he will be very highly owned and 4) if the Rams control game script, they’ll opt to slow the pace down and run the heck out of the ball. Just some things to ponder as we consider alternatives and the likelihood that at some point, the Seattle secondary doesn’t let an opposing QB go absolutely ham on them for once.
Deshaun Watson, Texans
The Browns are fresh off their bye and will be excited to get Nick Chubb back into this offense. Cleveland operates at the league’s fifth-slowest pace and could get even slower, as they will likely game plan to ground and pound with Chubb and Kareem Hunt. A very likely scenario since Mayfield could be rusty from not practicing all week or they have their backup playing.
On the flip, Houston operates at the third-slowest pace in the league. On the surface, it may not appear this is the best game to target with passing attacks. Note, Vegas identifies this matchup with a high 53 total for good reason. Should the Browns attempt to control game script with their stout runners, it would make sense for Watson and his high-flying crew to pick up the pace and attack their weakness through the air. Though DVOA says otherwise (CLE pass DVOA: 20, run DVOA: 18), the Browns have been pretty solid at defending the run, allowing slightly over 100 rushing yards against them per game, just nine ground scores, and forcing seven fumbles.
We may not know the status of HOU RB David Johnson until near the end of the week, and fellow back Duke Johnson is more proficient in open space as opposed to as a straight-line grinder. Since the firing of Bill O’Brien, Watson has been pure fire. In those last four games, he is averaging 321 passing yards and has an 11:2 TD:INT rate. Watson hasn’t popped in for a rushing score since Week 1 but does have 17 rushing attempts in his last two games. The Browns are refreshed and poised to strike after this bye. A competitive outing would require Watson in full chuck-it mode, and it’s very likely he plays a part in all of the 25 implied points Vegas expects.
Josh Allen, Bills
Tough call here, but if paying up and looking for a lower-owned option, Allen would get the nod over Aaron Rodgers because of the way I’d expect these games to play out. The Packers are two-TD favorites over a Jags’ team starting a rookie QB, and it’s the perfect spot for a conservative game plan for Rodgers (specifically, their run game). Allen – in a potential shootout against Kyler and the Cardinals – is in a great spot given how good he looked last week.
Granted, the Cardinals defense grades out better than the Seahawks’ in almost every facet. However, they have shown some leaks lately, allowing 34 points in each of their last two games. Tua Tagovailoa dropped 249-2-2 (72% completion) last week, while Wilson threw for 388-and-3 in a fast-paced affair. Allen has a bevy of weapons at his disposal and provides a solid floor in this slate-high 56 Vegas total, albeit as more of a GPP option.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Electric in every which way this season, Wilson has thrown at least two passing touchdowns in each of his eight starts, topping 30 DKP in four and never once dipping below 24. So, why is the GOAT listed as a GPP play this week? It’s the matchup.
The Rams boast a relentless and unforgiving secondary, allowing the lowest pass TD total (nine), league-best YPG-against (6.3) and second-least passing yards per game (197.1). Though previous results shouldn’t sway our opinions all that much, it’s at the very least worth noting his starts against them was a tale of extremes (Week 1: 268-4-0 at home, Week 14: 245-0-1 on the road). Stout cornerback Jalen Ramsey was not yet a member of that Rams defense in that first outing where Russ cooked.
Can Wilson keep up his torrid pace and smash, even in a tough matchup? I wouldn’t put it past him, but I’m not certain he reaches his massive ceiling in this one. The perfect scenario would be the Rams getting off to a 10-point lead and forcing Seattle to raise the pace. It’s much easier to run on the Rams, and that would be the Seahawks’ preferred plan of attack.
Mass-Multi Entry Inclusions
Joe Burrow, Bengals & Carson Wentz, Eagles
Burrow may see more than five percent ownership despite the tough on-paper matchup based on name brand alone. The Bengals come off the bye, hoping Joe Mixon can play, yet the Steelers have made it clear just how difficult they are to run on (102 rush YPG, only five RuTD allowed). Their run D ranks fourth via DVOA and third against the pass, though we have seen them get exposed by top-flight wideouts in recent weeks. We’re not even sure if it’s better for Cincy’s pass game if it’s Roethlisberger or Rudolph under center for the Steelers in order to make this game more competitive, but with Big Ben currently sidelined, we might see this seven-point spread inch closer towards Burrow and company. Not a top play by any means, but we’ve learned what a bad idea it is to discount this rookie, regardless of matchup.
Wentz had his best outing of 2020 against these Giants just three weeks ago when he dropped 31.76 DKP (359-2-1 passing, 7-14-1 rushing). The Giants have proven to be a tough opponent to run on this season, and it’s clear there are some leaks in their secondary to be exposed. The Eagles coming off a bye with their talented rookie wideouts Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor along with a fully healthy Dallas Goedert puts Wentz in a great low-owned spot if the G-men make a game out of this.
💵Favorite Cash Plays: Kyler Murray (ARI), Drew Lock (DEN)
💰Favorite GPP Plays: Josh Allen (BUF), Deshaun Watson (HOU), MME – Joe Burrow (CIN)
Reminder: Vlad will be hosting the QB Coaching Session Chat at 11pm ET / 8pm PT tonight!