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. This article is specifically for Sunday’s “Main” slates, so QBs from Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football are not considered.
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 OLs 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 later on 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.
Incredible the high scores we saw last week (DK points in the 300’s) considering no games on the main slate had a combined total of over 50. Our top recommended cash play in Week 5 (DeShaun Watson) had the best week of any QB this season (over 44.74 DKP / 41.74 FDP), but how will he fare in Week 6? The HOU-KC matchup is a game with the highest total on the slate (54.5) featuring the two best fantasy quarterbacks in football. Both Watson and Patrick Mahomes are very expensive (and Mahomes is dinged up / questionable, though should play) but neither may be optimal in our cash game builds.
The Week 6 main slate is only a 10-gamer since we have a London game (TB/CAR) off the slate and four teams on bye. A game that sticks out to all of us is ATL-ARI featuring two teams with bottom-10 secondaries and high-paced, high-flying offenses. It’s a good place for us to start this week with Matt Ryan and Kyler Murray both viable in cash and tournaments. The other intriguing scenario is with the WAS-MIA game where we have arguably (or perhaps we can’t even argue it) the two worst teams, both offensively and defensively. Colt McCoy (likely starter in new regime) and Josh Rosen don’t inspire much confidence in general but we could make an exception this week considering just how cheap they are and what type of high-priced RB/WR/TE we are looking to play. Let’s dig right in.
Preferred plays in orange, value prices in green.
Vegas lines as of Tuesday afternoon.
Cash Game Options
- Matt Ryan (ATL) & Kyler Murray (ARI) – What a matchup! This total has already moved up three points from open (49) up to 52 and might keep soaring. The Falcons are fresh off an embarrassing 53 points allowed. Through five weeks, only the Dolphins (163) have allowed more points than the Falcons (152) and the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs (24.8). Meanwhile, the Cardinals operate at the league’s fastest pace (23.88 sec/play), allowing the fifth-most points overall and fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks (22.5). Murray didn’t throw a TD pass last week but did damage with his legs – career high rushes (10), rush yards (93) and ran one in himself. The fact that we have a close spread (ATL -2.5 road favorites) bodes well for this hopefully being a competitive and high-scoring affair. Ryan is the only QB without the surname Mahomes to throw for at least 300 passing yards in every game this season. Play Ryan or Murray in cash with confidence or stack this in a tournament and enjoy the fireworks show.
- Lamar Jackson (BAL) – There are a few things keeping LJax from being a true smash play. The Ravens are big favorites (-12) which could turn this into an ‘establish the run’ outing, rookie wideout Hollywood Brown is dealing with an ankle injury (though apparently nothing serious) and Jackson is, of course, expensive on most sites. He’s also regressed a bit with his accuracy, throwing five interceptions in his last two games. Nevertheless, this is a great ‘get-right’ spot for him against a weak opponent. Perhaps not a massive GPP ceiling with the running backs running wild, but Jackson does a little bit of running himself and have a much easier time in this one. The Ravens’ 29.75 implied total is the second-highest on this slate.
- Dak Prescott (DAL) – The Cowboys were crushed by Green Bay running back Aaron Jones last week (four touchdowns) but have a much easier road in what should be a slam-dunk victory. They avoided a big hit with RT La’el Collins’ knee MRI coming back clean and fellow stud tackle Tyron Smith is expected back this week. The Cowboys are nine-point road favorites against a miserable Jets’ offense but the Jets getting their QB Sam Darnold back this week is a good thing for Prescott’s prospects. It means this game has less of a chance of being an absolute bloodbath. Nevertheless, Prescott is better suited in cash games as I still don’t believe he will have to do all that much in the second half with Ezekiel Elliott and perhaps Tony Pollard running wild.
- DeShaun Watson (HOU) – Of course we will have folks chasing his five-TD performance from last week but this Chiefs’ secondary is not the incredibly weak unit it was last season. In fact, they rank ninth in DVOA pass defense and have held opposing quarterbacks to just under 18 fantasy points-per-game. We do have the highest total on the slate with two very respectable offenses and the game should be highly competitive. I’ll probably look to stack Watson in tournaments and look at the guys listed above as preferred cash game plays.
- Josh Rosen (MIA) & Colt McCoy (WAS) – If you really need to ‘go there’, both Rosen and McCoy are available for you to load up at all other positions. With the regime change in D.C., it still seems as though management is not ready to let the reigns loose on 2019 draft pick Dwayne Haskins so it may be game manager, McCoy. Despite having the best name for a quarterback possibly ever (along with Bart Starr), McCoy is a career backup, making just two starts since 2014 and a very sad 29:27 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his career. He doesn’t particularly throw a good deep ball and offers very little upside despite the uber-affordable price tags across the industry. Call me crazy, but I much prefer the Rosen side with a some solid weapons at his disposal including shifty pass-catching back Kenyan Drake and a trio of quick, studly wideouts (rookie Preston Williams, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson, who might make his debut this week). I do expect some points on the board in this one with bad defenses taking precedent over the bad offenses. This might be the only week we can stomach rostering Rosen this season.
Recommendations (in order): Ryan, Murray, Rosen, Jackson
- Kirk Cousins (MIN) – home vs. Eagles
- Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) – @ Rams
- Russell Wilson (SEA) – @ Browns
- Patrick Mahomes (KC) – home vs. Texans
Keeping my core of plays tight this week and will likely be loading up on the chalky ATL-ARI game with Ryan and Murray. Both teams have suffered enough inefficiency and disappointment in previous games that I believe things come to a head in this perfect matchup. I’ll also be using some of my listed cash game plays in GPPs. Atop my list of GPP plays is Cousins because of the Eagles matchup. Yes, the Eagles’ defense is a pass funnel that allows the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts (42.7) yet are middle-of-the-pack against QBs (17th – 16.7 FP). The main concern of course for Cousins is the the fact that the Vikings are a very heavy run-first offense that only saw Cousins throw a ton last week because he had angry receivers who needed their wheels greased. It’s typically difficult for running backs to grain traction against Philly’s run D, but if anyone can do it, it’s Dalvin Cook.
Love Garoppolo in general and am not afraid of this matchup for him against a Rams’ secondary that has looked rather pedestrian these last couple weeks, allowing four TD passes a piece to Wilson and Jameis Winston in Weeks 4 and 5. The 49’ers incredible defense should help keep this game close and competitive and how good their unit is, is a reason why I don’t have much faith in Jared Goff this week.
Wilson and Mahomes are studs. They’re incredible playmakers. There is almost no reason why they should ever be listed as GPP-only options and I won’t ever talk you out of using them in cash. With Mahomes, we just want to make sure he’s at or near full strength health-wise. He’ll have treatment on his ankle this week and shouldn’t be in doubt to play, but it was clear on Sunday night how he was affected by it. Not to mention, just one passing touchdown over his last two starts which almost seems impossible. Wilson and the Seahawks travel to the Dawg Pound to face a reeling Browns team that was embarrassed by the Niners on MNF but it might be a good get-right spot for them. The key to Wilson’s viability as a very strong play is if stud cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams are out for the third consecutive week. Getting them back would be a huge boon to this Cleveland defense that badly needs a win.
Recommendations (in order): Garoppolo, Wilson (if Ward/Williams are OUT again)