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 4, a quick review of last week’s NFL DFS results.
Green is a hit, red a miss and grey a push.
Per request in the chat, I kept the player pool smaller and it yielded better results. Not that last week was all that difficult given that perfect SEA-DAL matchup that worked out positively no matter whether Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott was your guy. Kyler Murray in cash last week really only worked if you had the right plays at RB and WR as the 10-point differential from Wilson or Prescott was large enough to make a difference. Josh Allen and Jared Goff were the #2 and #4 QB’s respectively on very few rosters as this matchup between teams with good defenses ended up being a sneaky shootout and not on many of our radars. Still giving myself an ‘L’ for not mentioning them.
Carson Wentz, Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford were GPP guys with Wentz added during Jeff’s Friday livestream as by the early part of the weekend. I was gung-ho on PHI/CIN being a great game to stack. Pretty much any passing game offenses outside of SEA/DAL or BUF/LAR were less than optimal. I did have a Burrow-Tyler Boyd-Tee Higgins stack but not in anything high dollar. All of the pieces of Wentz’s offense (Sanders, DJax, Ertz, Goedert) ended up as middling or worthless in Week 3 as this game was incredibly brutal to watch. Mitch Trubisky may have been on his way to a decent outing but coach Nagy had other plans as he pulled him for Nick Foles who led the Bears to a come-from-behind victory and is now their guy going forward.
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
This will be an incredibly tough week to make definitive decisions on quarterbacks given all the incredibly tasty matchups on our Week 4 schedule. Vegas has adjusted over/unders after getting crushed on overs since the beginning of the season as you’ll note that 7-of-13 games on the main slate have Vegas totals over 50 points. Actually, five of these games have whopping totals between 54 and 56 (CLE/DAL, NO/DET, NE/KC, MIN/HOU, SEA/MIA).
Be wary of anyone speaking with absolute conviction about ‘true smash plays’ as there will likely be several quarterbacks who provide or exceed ‘value’ on Sunday. Moreover, projected roster-% will be fairly spread over early in the week, and as more content and data comes out, there will likely be a couple QB’s who we see projected at over 15 percent rostered.
I’ve added defense vs. pass to my chart to help you analyze the games and figure out which quarterbacks you might be most interested in and which team or game stacks sway you for GPP’s.
Cash plays in gold, GPP plays in blue, Value prices in green.
Vegas lines as of Tuesday afternoon.
Format will be a little different as I run through these matchups game-by-game to identify who is a cash, GPP or MME play.
COLTS (Philip Rivers) @ BEARS (Nick Foles)
An easy game to skip with one of the lowest totals and two strong all-around defenses. I’d likely have zero exposure to both Rivers and Foles in mass multi-entry setups.
JAGUARS (Gardner Minshew) @ BENGALS (Joe Burrow)
Here’s a game that could turn into a sneaky shootout and will have very low %-rostered across the industry given all the behemoth options and high total games we have. The Vegas total has already risen by a point from open (47.5 to 48.5) and we have a perfect blend of a game with a tight spread (3.5 points), defenses that are just bad enough, and two young, hotshot quarterbacks looking to make a name for themselves in the NFL. The Bengals’ secondary has been solid so far (6.5 YPA tied for third-best, 3:3 TD:INT) but they haven’t faced a frightening QB or offense yet (Chargers, Browns, Eagles). Either way, Bengals’ pass D appears to be better than we thought. On the flip side, the Jags’ secondary has been a dumpster fire, allowing 19.82 DKP to Rivers, 26.76 to Tannehill and 25.2 to Fitzpatrick. Burrow is gaining rapport and rhythm with his wideouts (well, except A.J. Green who looks washed) and is a definite GPP option if we think the Jags keep it competitive.
- Burrow in GPP
BROWNS (Baker Mayfield) @ COWBOYS (Dak Prescott)
Hard not to love this game from a DFS perspective, that is until you realize how many other amazing tilts we have on the slate. This game does have the highest Vegas total (55) and a close enough spread (Cowboys -4.5 at home). The difference here is in the pass defenses as the Browns have a much stronger trio, though they did allow Burrow to throw 316-3 (28 DKP) in Week 2 and Lamar Jackson to grab his patented 27+ points. Given the fact the Browns boast a top-five run defense, they will likely force Prescott to funnel passes to his trio of talented wideouts. On the other side of this, Mayfield is priced at quite the discount despite a matchup with the Cowboys’ 30th ranked secondary that has been hit hard with injuries. Game script sets up nicely for him in this one and I’ll likely be playing some Mayfield-Beckham and/or Landry stacks here.
- Mayfield and Prescott in GPP
SAINTS (Drew Brees) @ LIONS (Matthew Stafford)
Shocking that a game with a 4.5 spread and a massive 54 Vegas total may not see a high percentage of players rostered outside of running back Alvin Kamara. Brees aging before our eyes and having difficulty getting the ball downfield is of concern as are his strong splits favoring home matchups. But the Saints might get dynamo wideout, Michael Thomas, back and that would change the equation for us. Though the Lions are atrocious against the pass, they are even worse against the run, ranking dead last in YPC-allowed (5.7) and serving up over 170 yards per game on the ground to opposing runners. It feels like a ‘Kamara Game’ though the Lions could certainly turn this into a shootout at home. Stafford has all of his wideouts (including Kenny Golladay) healthy but the Saints have boasted a solid secondary for a few years now. I may regret this one (or even change my mind with an update later this week), but at the moment, there are just way too many great QB options this week for me to make either of these two priorities. Though I’ll note, Stafford’s prices ($5,900 DK, $7,200 FD, 1.5x SD) are incredibly enticing and you could smash with a game stack of Kamara-Stafford-Golladay-other.
- Stafford in MME GPP
STEELERS (Ben Roethlisberger) @ TITANS (Ryan Tannehill)
This feels like a grind-em-out type of game where we prioritize running backs since both of these defenses rank top ten against the pass. Titans do rank seventh in pace of play and the Steelers 11th but much of this was dictated by previous matchups and this is something that may not come to fruition here. Both QB’s are a pass for me on this gorgeous slate.
SEAHAWKS (Russell Wilson) @ DOLPHINS (Ryan Fitzpatrick)
This should be a fun game and one that will be popular to stack in tournaments this weekend though there is the possibility of this one being a trap and not working out the way we want it to if the Seahawks defense steps up and dominates Fitzpatrick and this offense. The Seahawks defensive line is a heavy mismatch against the Dolphins offensive line (SEA DL – 4th in adjusted line yards, MIA OL – 25th). Though the Seahawks’ secondary has been utterly thrashed and has allowed 440 (!) pass yards per game, they could instantly improve their odds of crushing Dolphins’ stacks if CB Quinton Dunbar returns to the field on Sunday. I’m still interested in Fitzpatrick on volume and pass attempts alone. Expect to see DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki to be popular in DFS lineups this week.
As for Wilson, I do think we need to be careful before we simply just plug him into cash game lineups on a slate such as this. That’s because, if this game gets out of hand early (say a Seahawks 14-0 lead in the first quarter), we should expect to see a heavy dose of the running game and less of Russ cooking. If Wilson gives us 25 fantasy points, we probably shouldn’t complain – but when you look at this field of options this weekend and see 35-plus point upside with some others, it makes sense why we shouldn’t just be blindly plugging him in our lineups. Now, if the Dolphins do stay competitive? Wooo boy. You don’t even need me to explain to you the type of upside we’re likely to see.
- Wilson the #1 play overall if you think Miami keeps it close; otherwise fade
- Fitzpatrick in cash and GPP
CHARGERS (Justin Herbert) @ BUCCANEERS (Tom Brady)
With the low Vegas total and the two strong pass defenses, these QB’s are a no-go for me in Week 4.
RAVENS (Lamar Jackson) @ WASHINGTON FT (Dwayne Haskins Jr.)
By the time this article is even published, Haskins Jr. might be out of a job as he’s simply not an NFL quarterback and continues to disappoint on a weekly basis. Yes, Jackson is probably pissed after stinking on national television against his rival Mahomes on Monday Night, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to necessarily take it all out on the Redskins’ defense. In fact, as 13-point favorites, this could easily turn into a scenario where we see Robert Griffin III in the game by the middle of the third quarter and the Ravens just ground-and-pounding with their trio of running backs (Ingram, Dobbins, Edwards). I can certainly see the allure of squeaky wheel L-Jax but I just don’t see the upside in his matchup given the lack of competitiveness by the opposing offense. Especially when you consider that Jackson is $700 more than Mahomes and $1100 more than Kyler Murray on DK and is almost $10,000 on FD!
CARDINALS (Kyler Murray) @ PANTHERS (Teddy Bridgewater)
I’ll be honest, I was caught by surprise last week with how the Panthers took it to the Chargers early, led the entire way, and ended up winning the game. Truly impressive. I’m also surprised to see a 24.25 Vegas team total for them against the Cardinals and just 3.5-point underdogs to a team that I believe could easily smash them. This will be an incredibly fun game to watch and I do like Kyler more in this one than I did in last week’s game against Detroit. Kyler continues to troll fantasy players who drafted Kenyan Drake in the late first round of season-long drafts, as he’s now run in a touchdown of his own four times in the first three games and is very likely to do so yet again facing one of the league’s worst running defenses.
- Murray in cash and GPP
VIKINGS (Kirk Cousins) @ TEXANS (Deshaun Watson)
Not surprised at all to see Cousins step up and have a big game against the Titans last week after having the worst game of his career in Week 2. The Texans are a formidable opponent but don’t boast a strong enough secondary to keep this one from being a fun shootout able to reach its 54.5 Vegas total. The one hitch in that equation is both teams have been very easy to run on so far. Here are the DK points put up by running backs against these teams:
RB v. Vikings: (A.Jones 18 DKP in Week 1, J.Taylor 22 DKP in Week 2, D.Henry 30 DKP in Week 3)
RB v. Texans: (C.E-Helaire 23 DKP in Week 1, M.Ingram 16 DKP in Week 2, J.Conner 28 DKP in Week 3)
I point this out to mention both Dalvin Cook and David Johnson have exceptional matchups and both teams might be game planning to run the rock. The other item worth noting is their pace of play through three weeks:
Vikings – 52.7 plays per game, 32nd (dead last)
Texans – 54 plays per game, 31st (second to last)
So what we have here is a matchup between teams slowest in pace, with strong running games, facing defenses that rank bottom-10 against both the pass and the run, but it’s a tight spread with a mid-50’s total? Something has got to give. I’d imagine the passing games on both sides are under-rostered and DFS players focus on rostering the running backs. Give me all the Watson in GPP’s in a possible sneaky shootout and then let me figure out which of these receivers I want to pair him with, as all three (Fuller, Cooks, Cobb) are cheap and face ridiculously bad cornerbacks. Vikings’ cornerback Jeff Gladney (who sounds like an accountant, not a football player) allows a league-worst 0.56 fantasy-points per route against him and will spend most of the day guarding Cobb. Perimeter corner Holton Hill has allowed 12-of-17 passes against him to be completed this season (as well as a TD allowed) while fill-in CB Kris Boyd allowed all three targets his way to be caught. Sorry, got off the QB part and on a tangent, but suffice to say I like Watson this weekend at his depressed price.
- Watson in GPP
GIANTS (Daniel Jones) @ RAMS (Jared Goff)
Could certainly see a path for another big Goff game if the Giants somehow keep this one close, but we’re talking about a 13-point spread and likely a heavy dose of the Rams’ running game in this one.
PATRIOTS (Cam Newton) @ CHIEFS (Patrick Mahomes) This will be the toast of the three-game afternoon slate but a tougher one to assess. Though the Pats rank 21st against the pass and the Chiefs’ 17th, I’d assume we start to see both of those rankings regress towards expectations, as these rankings were negatively skewed in Week 2 when Russ cooked for 35 points in a shootout with the Pats while rookie Herbert surprised with a strong performance against the Chiefs. In Weeks 1 and 3, both the Pats and Chiefs held opposing quarterbacks down. Though I don’t have Newton listed as a cash or GPP play this week, I do see the allure against a Chiefs’ defense whose weakness is stopping the run and Newton is certainly a squeaky wheel candidate after last week’s 12-point disappointment. But if I attack with a passer in this one, it would be with Mahomes, who we notice didn’t get a price bump on DK since his latest magnificent game was played on Monday night. The Pats have allowed just one rushing TD all year and are tied with the Steelers with the least number of rush TD’s (seven) allowed last season. They are a tough unit to run on, so RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire will likely be deployed out of the backfield along with the bevy of weapons including Travis Kelce and the wideouts (Hill, Watkins, Hardman). With the extra rushing capabilities coming to full bloom for Mahomes in addition to his weapons in a competitive matchup, he’s one of my favorites on this slate. Mahomes in cash
BILLS (Josh Allen) @ RAIDERS (Derek Carr)
Yet another high Vegas total (51.5) though it did drop a couple points from the open. Under Gruden, the Raiders do seem to play tougher at home but they’ll have no answer for Allen, who is looking like both a fantasy and real-life MVP this season. Allen ranks second behind only Wilson in DK points per game (35.6), as he’s topped 300 pass yards in each, has a 10:1 TD:INT ratio, and chipped in with two rushing scores. This feels like a heavy scrambling game and easy completions-upon-completions game for him where the Raiders simply won’t have an answer. More interested in Allen with this game likely to stay closer since it’s in Las Vegas but it should be another bonanza day for Josh. Price is getting up there on all sites but worth the price of admission.
- Allen in cash and GPP
DraftKings raw projected points and points per dollar/value
FAVORITE CASH PLAYS: Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Ryan Fitzpatrick
FAVORITE GPP PLAYS: Deshaun Watson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes
FAVORITE LOW-PERCENTAGE GPP PLAYS: Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow
*Because it is kind of a unique slate where I felt all QBs needed to be touched on, a unique format was warranted. Going back to the original version of Cash, GPP and MME plays next week.
Reminder: Vlad will be hosting the QB Coaching Session Chat at 11pm ET / 8pm PT tonight!