Picking a quarterback is the easiest job we have each week. With running backs, wide receivers and tight ends, we have to project both opportunity and production. For quarterbacks the opportunity is relatively static each week, making the production far easier to project. In other words, Brock Osweiler will touch the ball on 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps just as Russ Wilson will for the Seahawks.
This is a big reason I prefer to spend down at quarterback, especially in cash games. We can then use that extra cap space to buy more of the RB/WR opportunity that is very hard to project at the lower tier of salaries.
Here are some trends I like to look at when picking my QB:
1) Playing at home
There are a lot of reasons quarterbacks fare better at home. From an unprovable narrative perspective, the lesser crowd noise allows for more audibles, pass-catchers typically have more juice and the defense has less of that energy. The numbers bare it out. Via Fantasy Labs, starting DraftKings quarterbacks playing at home average 2.84 fantasy points per game more than their salary-based expectation. Their road quarterback counterparts come in at +1.95.
2) Playing out of division
This is an underrated nugget to look at. Teams within the same division know each other very well and games are typically lower-scoring. The games can take on a playoff-like feel, especially the second time around. Overall, DK quarterbacks in non-division games average .91 more DraftKings points per game than those in division games.
3) Playing as a favorite of eight points or less
The narrative goes that quarterbacks who are underdogs against the spread fare better because a trailing team generates more attempts. That’s false. Quarterbacks of favorites are far more efficient and typically have more time of possession, leading to better fantasy stats. The sweet spot is a favorite of eight points or less, where DK quarterbacks score an average of 3.00 more points than their salary expectation.
4) Implied team total
The more points a team is projected to score, the likelier it is that the quarterback will perform above expectation. So instead of looking at how many points are projected to score in an entire game, there’s more value in looking at how many points each team is projected to score. Players on teams projected to score 21 points or fewer are almost always shy-away spots for cash-game lineups on DraftKings. The tipping point for quarterbacks is at a projected team total of at least 24 points, where they score a very solid 3.22 more DK points than salary-based expectation.
Bonus: Rushing quarterbacks
It’s not a coincidence that the top-three quarterbacks in terms of ProFootballFocus’ “fantasy points per dropback” metric were all rushers: Cam Newton, Russ Wilson and Tyrod Taylor. Quarterbacks who average at least six rush attempts per game score 3.16 more DK points per day than those who average two or fewer rush attempts. I’m always looking for reasons to roster these runners.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.