DFS Quarterback Strategy: FanDuel 2015 Year in Review

DFS Quarterback Strategy: FanDuel 2015 Year in Review

By Chris Raybon (Senior Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Sep 2, 2016

Chris Raybon's picture

Chris Raybon is the Senior Daily Fantasy Editor at 4for4 Fantasy Football.

Follow Chris Raybon on Twitter: @ChrisRaybon.

I compiled data on the performance of QBs on FanDuel relative to their salary in 2015 to see what we can learn going forward.

I broke salaries down into $500 increments and looked at points scored per $1,000 of salary, percentage of time hitting cash game value, and percentage of time hitting tournament value. I also took a look at how each individual QB performed.

I looked at 503 QB games from 2015 (essentially every game where a starting QB had a salary). The QB data will be compared across salary ranges and across positions.  

There's a ton of data. I'll lay it out below and follow it up with a few key points, and then I'll sum up the actionable takeaways at the end of the article.

Note: The sample sizes for each salary tier can be found in the appendix at the end of the article.

 

Salary vs. Performance

Average FanDuel Value Per Game Returned by Salary Range & Position, 2015
Salary QB RB WR TE  D/ST
$9,000+ 2.37 1.59 1.94      
$8,500-$8,900 2.24 1.82 1.87 1.21    
$8,000-$8,400 2.25 1.51 1.72 1.86    
$7,500-$7,900 2.46 1.69 1.82      
$7,000-$7,400 2.67 1.79 1.61 0.55    
$6,500-$6,900 2.48 1.69 1.65 1.42    
$6,000-$6,400 2.31 1.78 1.62 1.80    
$5,500-$5,900 2.00 1.59 1.67 1.57    
$5,000-$5,400 2.27 1.64 1.65 1.50 1.77 1.84
$4,500-$4,900 2.59 1.90 2.16 1.44 1.71 1.71
$4,000-$4.400           1.55
  • At every salary tier, QBs averaged more points per dollar than any other position. 
  • The most QB value was found between the price ranges of $6,500-$7,900.

 

Cash Game Value

Scores needed to cash will vary by week, but generally, if your lineup scores two points per $1,000, you'll reach 120 points, which is usually good enough to place in a 50/50 league or win just over half of your head-to-heads.

Percentage of Time Reaching 2x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 2x % RB 2x % WR 2x % TE 2x % K 2x % D/ST 2x %
$9,000+ 61% 29% 47%      
$8,500-$8,900 59% 41% 38% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 65% 22% 28% 46%    
$7,500-$7,900 66% 33% 38%      
$7,000-$7,400 71% 39% 34% 0%    
$6,500-$6,900 67% 29% 29% 29%    
$6,000-$6,400 58% 35% 35% 33%    
$5,500-$5,900 50% 28% 35% 29%    
$5,000-$5,400 57% 33% 34% 28% 41% 35%
$4,500-$4,900 50% 50% 48% 29% 34% 36%
$4,000-$4.400   33% 35%     32%
  • As we saw in the previous section, QBs score more than other positions on a per-dollar basis, so it's no surprise they hit 2x value with more regularity than other positions.
  • The sweet spot for cash game value was between $6,500 and $8,500.
  • With the exception of the $7,500-$7,900 range for WRs and the $8,000-$8,400 range for TEs (i.e., Rob Gronkowski), QBs in the $6,500-$8,500 range hit 2x value more than double the rate of players in that salary range at other positions.
  • Given that the average QB easily scores over 2x value, 2.5x value is more appropriate to judge as a QB hitting cash game value.
  • 226 QBs hit 2.5x value in 2015, or 13.3 per week.
  • Of the 226 QBs to hit 2.5x value in 2015, the average spread was -0.3, the average over/under was 45.3, and the average team total was 22.8.
  • Of the 226 QBs to hit 2.5x value in 2015, 53.5 percent were at home, 53.0 percent were favorites, and 38.5 percent had a team total of 24 or more.
  • The average stat line was 24.2 completions, 37.3 attempts, 295.7 yards, 2.4 TDs, and 0.6 interceptions, with 3.5/13.0/0.1 rushing.
  • 45.1 percent threw for 300 or more yards, 42.9 percent had 3 or more passing TDs, and 57.5 percent had no interceptions. 49.1 percent had three or more total TDs, and 90.7 percent had at least two total TDs.

The data suggests that while Vegas points you in the right direction as far as QB production (and especially big games), you don't have to be as selective as you might think at QB in cash games. At least in part due to the league-wide trend towards passing, there will be a lot of cash game-viable QBs each week at every salary range.

 

Tournament Value

In a tournament, you're generally looking to score at least 180 points to place highly, and usually at least 200 points to win. If your lineup scores three points per $1,000, you'll have a score of 180, which is the value point I'll use to examine tournament performance:

Percentage of Time Reaching 3x Value on FanDuel by Salary & Position, 2015
Salary QB 3x% RB 3x% WR 3x% TE 3x% K 3x% D/ST 3x%
$9,000+ 25% 7% 21%      
$8,500-$8,900 19% 9% 16% 0%    
$8,000-$8,400 18% 3% 12% 8%    
$7,500-$7,900 28% 6% 11%      
$7,000-$7,400 34% 12% 9% 0%    
$6,500-$6,900 30% 12% 14% 6%    
$6,000-$6,400 24% 15% 14% 10%    
$5,500-$5,900 17% 10% 15% 12%    
$5,000-$5,400 43% 15% 13% 11% 13% 22%
$4,500-$4,900 50% 17% 33% 13% 8% 17%
$4,000-$4.400   11% 14%     14%
  • The rate at which QBs returned 3x value steadily rose from $5,500 on, peaking at 34 percent in the $7,000-$7,400 range; at the $8,000-$8,400 range, it's barely half that (18). 
  • If you were looking to pay for some upside, you would have been a lot better off paying up for a true stud QB at $9,000-plus, a salary tier that had a significantly higher rate of hitting 3x value than the QBs priced $8,000-$8,900, which were GPP value traps last season.
  • Since QBs score more than other positions, 3.5x is a better indicator of tournament value for them.
  • 68 QBs hit 3.5x value in 2015, or 4.0 per week.
  • Of the 68 QBs to hit 3.5x value in 2015, the average spread was -0.2, the average over/under was 44.6, and the average team total was 22.4.
  • Of the 68 QBs to hit 3.5x value in 2015, 55.9 percent were at home, 50.0 percent were favorites, and 30.9 percent had team totals of 24 or more.
  • The average stat line was 24.4 completions, 36.8 attempts, 314.9 yards, 3.4 TDs, and 0.5 interceptions, with 3.7/19.7/0.4 rushing.
  • 77.9 percent had 3 or more passing TDs, 54.4 percent threw for 300 or more yards, and 63.2 percent had no interceptions. 35.2 percent had one or more rushing TDs. 89.7 percent had three or more total TDs.

Again we see that QB value can come from a variety of situations and that the middle-tier QBs can be fruitful.

 

Individual QB Value

FanDuel QB Stats, 2015
Rk. QB Avg. Val. FD Pts/G Avg. Sal. 2x% 2.5x% 3x% G
1 E.J. Manuel 3.62 21.7 $6,050 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 2
2 Josh McCown 3.06 20.0 $6,557 85.70% 57.10% 57.10% 7
3 Cam Newton 2.99 25.4 $8,500 87.50% 68.80% 43.80% 16
4 Blake Bortles 2.93 21.4 $7,325 75.00% 68.80% 56.30% 16
5 Kirk Cousins 2.88 19.2 $6,594 68.80% 43.80% 43.80% 16
6 Blaine Gabbert 2.87 17.3 $6,063 100.00% 75.00% 25.00% 8
7 Kellen Moore 2.81 16.9 $6,000 50.00% 50.00% 50.00% 2
8 Tyrod Taylor 2.80 19.7 $7,129 78.60% 57.10% 42.90% 14
9 Andy Dalton 2.80 21.1 $7,650 83.30% 75.00% 33.30% 12
10 Ryan Fitzpatrick 2.76 20.1 $7,273 93.30% 60.00% 40.00% 15
11 Marcus Mariota 2.72 19.5 $7,227 63.60% 63.60% 27.30% 11
12 Russell Wilson 2.69 21.9 $8,181 68.80% 50.00% 31.30% 16
13 Jameis Winston 2.66 18.3 $6,888 93.80% 62.50% 18.80% 16
14 Matthew Stafford 2.61 19.2 $7,369 75.00% 56.30% 18.80% 16
15 Drew Brees 2.59 21.3 $8,293 60.00% 53.30% 33.30% 15
16 Derek Carr 2.59 18.0 $7,025 62.50% 50.00% 37.50% 16
17 Alex Smith 2.58 17.1 $6,669 81.30% 56.30% 25.00% 16
18 Eli Manning 2.54 19.3 $7,675 62.50% 43.80% 31.30% 16
19 Mark Sanchez 2.54 16.6 $6,550 100.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2
20 Carson Palmer 2.50 20.3 $8,150 87.50% 37.50% 25.00% 16
21 Matt Schaub 2.47 15.3 $6,200 100.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2
22 Brock Osweiler 2.45 16.3 $6,700 57.10% 28.60% 28.60% 7
23 Tom Brady 2.45 21.9 $9,006 62.50% 56.30% 31.30% 16
24 Johnny Manziel 2.39 15.0 $6,283 83.30% 33.30% 16.70% 6
25 Philip Rivers 2.38 18.6 $7,831 62.50% 50.00% 25.00% 16
26 Jay Cutler 2.37 16.8 $7,100 64.30% 42.90% 14.30% 14
27 Brian Hoyer 2.35 16.0 $6,830 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 10
28 Ryan Tannehill 2.32 17.0 $7,369 68.80% 25.00% 25.00% 16
29 Andrew Luck 2.31 20.4 $8,871 71.40% 28.60% 14.30% 7
30 Joe Flacco 2.27 17.6 $7,790 60.00% 60.00% 30.00% 10
31 Ben Roethlisberger 2.22 18.4 $8,355 54.50% 45.50% 27.30% 11
32 AJ McCarron 2.22 13.5 $6,100 66.70% 0.00% 0.00% 3
33 Sam Bradford 2.20 15.4 $7,079 57.10% 35.70% 21.40% 14
34 Luke McCown 2.19 11.4 $5,200 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
35 Aaron Rodgers 2.14 19.3 $9,025 56.30% 18.80% 18.80% 16
36 Brandon Weeden 2.12 13.5 $6,400 50.00% 25.00% 25.00% 4
37 Matt Hasselbeck 2.09 12.5 $6,088 50.00% 37.50% 25.00% 8
38 Teddy Bridgewater 2.05 13.3 $6,600 37.50% 37.50% 18.80% 16
39 Matt Ryan 2.04 16.1 $7,906 56.30% 31.30% 0.00% 16
40 Jimmy Clausen 2.02 11.3 $5,433 33.30% 33.30% 33.30% 3
41 Michael Vick 1.95 12.9 $6,600 50.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2
42 Colin Kaepernick 1.94 14.4 $7,375 37.50% 37.50% 25.00% 8
43 T.J. Yates 1.84 9.5 $5,550 50.00% 50.00% 50.00% 2
44 Case Keenum 1.70 9.7 $5,740 20.00% 20.00% 0.00% 5
45 Landry Jones 1.69 10.2 $6,000 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
46 Matt Cassel 1.66 10.5 $6,267 16.70% 16.70% 16.70% 6
47 Ryan Mallett 1.64 10.3 $6,320 40.00% 20.00% 0.00% 5
48 Austin Davis 1.61 9.20 $5,700 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2
49 Nick Foles 1.55 9.8 $6,327 18.20% 18.20% 9.10% 11
50 Tony Romo 1.48 12.4 $8,275 25.00% 25.00% 0.00% 4
51 Peyton Manning 1.45 11.8 $8,111 33.30% 11.10% 0.00% 9
52 Zach Mettenberger 1.45 8.7 $5,975 25.00% 0.00% 0.00% 4
  • The top-10 contains only one QB with an average salary of more than $8,000 and only two with an average salary above $7,500.
  • Of the top-10 QBs in average value who made six or more starts, only Russell Wilson (ADP 6) was in the top-10 in FantasyFootballCalculator.com's 2015 preseason ADP.
  • The other nine QBs with a top-10 preseason ADP in 2015 finished with an average ranking of 34 in points per dollar: Luck (29th), Rodgers (35th), Peyton (51st), Brees (15th), Roethlisberger (31st), Brady (23rd), Ryan (39th), Romo (50th), Bradford (33rd).

 

Final Takeaways

When it comes to constructing lineups on FanDuel, understanding that QBs are priced differently than the other positions is key.

Because QBs return more value at every price point than other positions, you can be flexible when choosing a QB no matter the contest type.

If there's a lot of cheap value at other positions, you can take advantage of the fact that QBs will give you the most bang for your buck of any position when you pay up.

But if there aren't cheap values available at other positions, you don't have to view getting a top QB in your lineup as a priority. You can go ahead and pay up for consistency at other positions knowing that QBs in the lower pricing tiers will still tend to give you a much greater ROI than other positions would.

Given the discussion above, I think the most important takeaway here is to overcome any psychological angst you may have about rostering inexpensive QBs, especially in cash games -- those guys are the money-makers.

 

4for4's DFS Subscription has site-specific lineup generators (now with floor/ceiling projections), stack value reports, tons of in-depth content and more. You can subscribe here. 


Appendix

QB Sample Size
Salary Count
9000+ 28
8500-8900 37
8000-8400 74
7500-7900 94
7000-7400 83
6500-6900 93
6000-6400 79
5500-5900 6
5000-5400 7
4500-4900 2
Total 503

Related Articles

Filed Under:
Preseason
,
2016

We are your friend's secret weapon.

  • Get 4 FREE downloads
  • Receive breaking news alerts & analysis
  • BONUS: Learn how to play DFS.
  • Battle-Tested by 40,000+ fantasy football diehards since 1999.