Welcome to the NFL DFS QB Coach, where we identify optimal point-per-dollar quarterbacks for our lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel!
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.
Quarterbacks listed below are those for Sunday’s main slate each week which means we’re excluding the stand-alone games (TNF, SNF, MNF).
The biggest factors of consideration when selecting QBs for our DFS lineups are matchup, projected game flow and Vegas totals & spread. In respect to matchups, we’re looking for QB’s behind strong offensives line (protection) who provide them with ample time in the pocket to find their targets. Ideally, facing weak defenses with subpar secondaries (cornerbacks/safeties). But that in and of itself is not enough. For QBs to be viable DFS plays we must drill down to matchups where we believe the games will stay close and competitive or a team will need to spend the second half of games trying to catch up by airing the ball out and abandoning the run altogether.
For GPP’s/tournaments, be wary of targeting QB’s who are large Vegas favorites (14+ points) knowing that if these favorites to get out to a big lead early, they will very likely take their foot off that passing gas pedal and focus on running the ball.
Ideally, we are looking for quarterbacks on pass-heavy offenses in competitive games or catch-up scenarios with implied totals greater than 48 and a spread of five points or less. Quarterbacks who frequently scramble and gain yardage with their legs (rushing stats) are certainly a priority given the additional statistical output we might expect.
Week 1 Matchups
As most of you have played fantasy football and NFL DFS before, you know to take Week 1 matchups with a grain of salt and not overreact. Will Andy Dalton and Matthew Stafford continue to drop 25-30 points per game? No. Will Lamar Jackson average four pass TDs a game and run rampant across the league going forward like he did against the league’s worst defense (Dolphins)? Of course not. Will Patrick Mahomes continue to destroy defenses? Probably, but there’s a weekly opportunity cost with his high salary. There can certainly be fair assumptions to be gleaned from Week 1 results but more so for those of us who watched the games or game recaps/reviews as opposed to those who strictly glanced at box scores. Week 2 presents an entirely new puzzle and slate of games for our analysis and we only use Week 1 as one small part of the equation in fitting said puzzle pieces.
Preferred plays highlighted (SNF game listed for FantasyDraft/Yahoo!)
Vegas lines as of Tuesday.
Chalky “ish” (For Cash Games)
Patrick Mahomes – It appears as though the league’s best QB last year has not skipped a beat, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars on the road in Week 1. This week’s matchup will be even easier against a Raiders’ secondary that ranked dead last in DVOA against the pass. Moreover, the Raiders’ lost arguably their best cover corner (Gareon Conley) who was carted off the field Monday night from a neck injury. KC-OAK is one of three games with an implied total of over 50 and if you believe there’s any shot of the Raiders keeping this one competitive, we might be looking at Mahomes’ ultimate ceiling game (40+ points?). It’s certainly a good thing for the Raiders that they’re at home but we must take that surprising MNF performance against the Broncos with the proverbial grain of salt since Derek Carr and company were incredibly locked in with a chip on their shoulder in the aftermath of the Antonio Brown fiasco. The Chiefs should ravage them, and either way, Mahomes should ‘get his’.
Prediction: 333 yards – 3 pass TD – 35 rushing yards
Tom Brady – This is a tough one as taking a QB on a team with such a large spread in their favor (17.5) is typically not a good idea as far as game flow is concerned. That sure didn’t matter much for the Ravens and Lamar Jackson last week as he threw for six pass TD’s with ease. Brady could rack up 250-3 by halftime but it’s also just as likely they run the hell out of Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. I’d still expect at least 25 fantasy points out of Brady here. The one thing you should know is that somehow, some way, the Dolphins always seem to give the Pats trouble when they are in Miami. The Dolphins actually beat 34-33 in Miami last year and lost just 27-20 in 2017. That stated, this is an entirely different (and depleted) Dolphins team this year.
Prediction: 257 yards – 3 pass TD
Lamar Jackson – Hard to imagine Jackson dropping another 36 DKP but another 25-30 and easily surpassing value on a new, high price wouldn’t be shocking against this miserable Cardinals’ defense that gave up 361-3 to Stafford last week. Ravens are big favorites and are at home, but this should be a good spot to establish the run with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. He’s best value over at Yahoo!
Prediction: 235 yards – 2 pass TD – 1 INT – 58 rushing yards – 1 rush TD
Derek Carr – No Antonio Brown but Tyrell Williams stepped up on MNF to show that he can handle WR1 duties and deserves his new contract while TE Darren Waller lived up to the hype from preseason drafts and HBO’s Hard Knocks. What it comes down to for this one is Carr’s affordable price tags across the industry and beneficial game flow where it’s very likely he spends most of the game chucking the ball at his targets. Last year when they faced the Chiefs in Oakland, Carr put up 285-3 in a 40-33 loss.
Prediction: 311 yards – 2 pass TD – 2 INT
Dak Prescott – Wow, did this pass offense of Cowboys’ OC Kellen Moore look stellar in Week 1. Just some immaculate play-calling and plenty examples of complicated routes and misdirection. The Redskins boast a decent run defense which may force a pass-heavy game script for the Cowboys who are 4.5 favorites on the road. Prescott has a nice collection of weapons (Zeke, Amari, Gallup, Cobb, Pollard, Witten, Jarwin) and should certainly roll once again in this matchup. Watch him post a top-five QB season in 2019.
Prediction: 275 yards – 2 pass TD – 24 rush yards
Recommendations (in order): Mahomes, Carr
Deshaun Watson – What an offensive display in Week 1! Impressive that this offense is averaging nearly 30 points per game when Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are all active (h/t Ian Hartitz, RotoWorld). The lone issue and what makes Watson a GPP-only play on a slate with incredible options is the fact that the Jags boast a stout defense and that he has struggled against them in the past (234-0-0, 66-1 in Week 17, 139-1-0 in Week 7). This should be a competitive game that may go down to the wire but it’s also very possible that strong defenses are on display and that the score falls at or under the current 43.5 implied total. All in all, these factors limit the upside of Watson this week.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Russell Wilson – Expecting one of the better and more fun games of the weekend here since each team have strengths on both offense and defense. The Seahawks defense did allow over 400 pass yards to Andy Dalton last week and that certainly feels like an anomaly and not representative of what to expect going forward. That said, I’d still expect ‘Home Ben’ to throw up his fair share of fantasy points today coming off an incredibly disappointing Week 1 against the Patriots. It’s a nice bounce back spot for him and he happens to be underpriced on both DraftKings and FantasyDraft this week. Wilson is in play as well given my expectation of a close and competitive matchup. They won’t be able to run it up the gut with ease with Chris Carson like they did last week since the Steelers top-eight run defense from last year is just as tough and will present issues to the Seahawks’ backs, forcing a usually efficient Wilson to attack through the air.
Drew Brees vs. Jared Goff – The highest implied total on the slate (53) with two of the league’s best offense squaring off. Goff had himself a field day when the two squared off in New Orleans last season (40 attempts, 391-3-1) in what ended up a very high-scoring affair (Saints won 45-35). In that same game, Brees threw for 346 yards on 36 attempts and four TD passes. No matter how you slice it, you’re going to want exposure to this game and possibly even game stack it. The Rams’ secondary ranked ninth in pass defense DVOA last season and still have a rockin’ unit in tow while the Saints’ pass defense ranked 22nd though it was a bit of a down year for sophomore CB Marcus Lattimore. If this game were in New Orleans, I’d lean Brees, but it’s not, so I’ll take Goff for my primary GPP stack.
Josh Allen – He’s not the most talented passer, but Allen (I’ll remind you again) was the top fantasy quarterback from Week 12 until the end of the season last year, mostly due to his rushing abilities. The Bills mightily upgraded their offensive line and added speedster John Brown in the offseason. The two combined for 123 yards and a TD last week as Brown caught seven-of-10 targets against the Jets last week. This week’s matchup against the Giants is even more tasty against a unit that allowed Cowboys’ Prescott to run pure for 405-4. Allen comes in dirt cheap on DraftKings and should be a popular play there this week.
Recommendations (in order): Allen, Goff, Roethlisberger