DFS Quarterback Analysis: Week 1
In case you haven't already read my first article on 4for4 on defense/kicker analysis, I'm Justin Bailey, and each week I’ll be providing 4for4 DFS subscribers with an in-depth breakdown of the upside and downside of the quarterbacks on the main slate. For those of you who don't know me, I've been analyzing DFS since 2014, and my quarterback analysis in this space will include how to approach each of the chalk options, along with how options at the various salary tiers fit into overall roster construction. Ultimately, this piece will provide objective analysis to help guide you through the process of finding safe choices for cash games and high-leverage choices for GPPs.
Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, and Ben Roethlisberger all project to be the highest-owned quarterbacks on FanDuel, while those three plus Matt Ryan project to be the highest owned on DraftKings on the Week 1 slate. Deciding which quarterback to use will have a trickle down effect on your entire roster. If you choose to pay up for the more expensive chalk options on DraftKings, it’ll be harder to jam in LeVeon Bell and David Johnson into your cash lineups, whereas for tournaments it may give you a unique build as players realize how difficult it is to pay up at quarterback and still fit in Bell and DJ. Due to pricing differences on the sites, it’s easier to fit in the chalk options on FanDuel while still allowing yourself to fit both Bell and DJ into your lineup. Given that quarterback ownership is generally spread out, there isn’t a ton of downside to fading the chalk quarterback plays.
- Matt Ryan ($8500/$6900) and the Falcons have the highest implied team total at 28 points on the slate and Ryan tallied 11 touchdowns (second-most last season) on passes 20+ yards downfield. The downside with Ryan is his expensive cost may hinder your ability to roster both Bell and DJ. The Bears allowed a red zone touchdown rate of just 18.1% last year, 11th-best in the league.
- The upside with Marcus Mariota ($7800/$6800) lies in the fact that he was the fourth-most efficient quarterback last season, averaging 0.56 fantasy points per dropback. Also, the Titans are implied for 26.5 points against a Raiders defense projected to rank 18th in aFPA against quarterbacks. The downside is the Titans ranked fourth in rushing attempts last season, so it’s possible the Titans hammer away at the Raiders with the run game.
- The upside with Derek Carr ($7700/$6700) is the Raiders are implied for 24 points, the Raiders threw 61.7% of the time in the red zone, and the Titans are projected dead last in QB aFPA. The downside is he has one of the lowest GPP Leverage Scores on the slate due to projected ownership.
- Ben Roethlisberger ($8200/$7300) has tremendous upside in a matchup against a Browns defense projected to rank 26th in aFPA to opposing quarterbacks. The Steelers are implied for 27.5 points, and Roethlisberger has averaged 25.46 fantasy points per game with Martavis Bryant in the lineup, per the RotoViz game splits app. The downside is his drastic home/road splits—he averages nearly 7 fewer fantasy points per game on the road.