DFS Big Game Profiles: Quarterback

DFS Big Game Profiles: Quarterback

Having access to the entire player pool in DFS means that on any given day someone can theoretically pick a perfect lineup. In practice, though, that virtually never happens, even in massive tournaments. The most likely scenario is that the top player in a large field might have one or two players that finished tops at their position, with a roster of other players that performed very well, but not number-one overall. 

Because it’s virtually impossible to peg all of the top players in a given week, a useful exercise is to build a profile for top players at each position and look for commonalities among those top performers, hopefully giving us a better idea of which stats are really important to target and which ones might be common traps to avoid.


Other Big Game Profiles: RB | WR | TE


Defining a Top Daily Fantasy Quarterback

With just one quarterback in play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, nailing down a signal caller that finishes in the top four each week is usually sufficient to keep you in contention in even the largest tournament fields. I took the average weekly top-four quarterback score from 2017 (27.2 FD points and 29.1 DK points) and went back three seasons and pulled all quarterbacks that met that point threshold.  This threshold methodology provided a significant sample size (143 FD quarterbacks, 152 DK quarterbacks), and weeds out players that snuck into the top four on unusually low-scoring weeks. 

Average FanDuel Stat Line

Top FanDuel Quarterback Averages, 2015–2017
Completions Attempts Yards TD Int Spread O/U Implied Points
25.8 38.0 334.7 3.4 0.5 -1.9 46.2 24.0

Home Team: 58.7%                             300+ Yards: 67.8%
Winning Team: 70.6%                         3+ TD: 82.5%        
Vegas Favorite: 60.1%                        4+ TD: 51.0%        
O/U 46+: 51.0%                                   < 2 INT: 92.3%    
Implied Total 24+: 50.3%                   0 INT: 62.9%

Average DraftKings Stat Line

Top DraftKings Quarterback Averages, 2015–2017
Completions Attempts Yards TD Int Spread O/U Implied Points
26.4 38.9 345.2 3.4 0.5 -1.6 46.2 23.9

Home Team: 57.2%                           300+ Yards: 81.6%
Winning Team: 68.4%                       3+ TD: 86.8%
Vegas Favorite: 59.9%                      4+ TD: 44.7%
O/U 46+: 49.3%                                  < 2 INT: 88.8%
Implied Total 24+: 49.3%                 0 INT: 63.2%

How to Choose a Big Game DFS Quarterback

Because FanDuel and DraftKings quarterback scoring is virtually identical, outside of the DK 300-yard bonus, there was very little variance between the sites in the quarterback big game profiles. 

A popular opinion when picking DFS quarterbacks is usually that you want someone that is going to be throwing in a shootout, but it doesn’t necessarily matter which side of the shootout he is on. In fact, some recommendations might even suggest targeting the quarterback that is likely going to be behind, with the logic being that they will have to throw to keep pace with the other team. While this idea might hold some weight when targeting cheap quarterbacks in very small fields or cash games if you are trying to best thousands of other players, you are usually going to want the signal caller on the winning side of the ball. 

We can routinely pinpoint that winning quarterback by simply targeting a Vegas favorite, often on the home team, though a fair amount of top scorers of late have come on the road as well. While the average top quarterback has come from a team with an implied point total around 24 points, there is a lot of meat on the bone when targeting quarterbacks on teams that might not have very high totals. 

With so many favorable factors in play, it’s no surprise that top quarterbacks on both sites almost always threw for at least three touchdowns, and often found the end zone four or more times. 

300-yard games were commonplace in big games on both FD and DK, but there was enough of a difference between the two to take a closer look. The most obvious explanation—which ties back to matchup as well—is the effect of the DK bonus. A three-point bump for reaching the 300-yard mark is a big enough factor that it made reaching the threshold on DK a virtual necessity, while a decent amount of quarterbacks turned in top games on FD with their touchdown numbers alone.

One other stat that should be noted, but is often overlooked, is how often top signal callers avoided turnovers. Quite a few quarterbacks were able to overcome just one interception and turn in a top game, but rostering a signal caller that turns it over two or more times could virtually eliminate your chance of taking down a large prize.

Possessions are so valuable—and scoring opportunities so rare—that targeting a quarterback who isn’t likely to turn the ball over might be as valuable as any aspect of roster construction for large field GPPs.

Recapping How to Identify Quarterbacks That Have Big Games in DFS

  • The highest-scoring quarterbacks come from winning teams—garbage time is rarely a justification for rostering a signal caller in large fields.
  • We can pinpoint winning quarterbacks by following the Vegas lines, but point totals don't have as much weight as the public thinks.
  • 300-yard upside is a must when playing in large fields on DraftKings—the bonus is worth almost an extra touchdown pass.
  • Avoiding quarterbacks that are likely to throw interceptions is essential and often overlooked when building rosters for large field GPPs.

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