I think there are all sorts of intricacies involved with selecting your quarterback on DraftKings that make the process really fun. There’s a larger deviation in pricing at the position than in past years, which has added value to going cheaper at the position. In terms of strict $/point, we often see the bottom-dwellers offer the most value.
Of course, it’s generally the elite quarterbacks who provide the most upside and consistent production. Sometimes it’s okay to overpay for a player or position if you know what you’re going to get, which is usually the case with the elite passers (I’m not talking about you, Drew Brees in Week 14).
The thing to keep in mind when selecting quarterbacks for tournaments is that we rarely see anyone with very high usage. There’s typically just one or two quarterbacks in over 10 percent of lineups in a given week, which means you can usually just ride with the ones you believe are the best options in terms of value, upside, consistency, or whatever it is you’re seeking.
Top Five Quarterbacks
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis vs Houston, $9300 – Coming off of a “down” performance against the Browns in which he threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns while adding another score as a runner, Luck will face a middle-of-the-pack Texans pass defense in Indy in Week 15. I love the idea of using Luck and T.Y. Hilton in GPPs.
In cash games, it’s going to be really difficult because, if you look at the running backs, you see a bunch of dream matchups for the top dogs. In most cases, I think I’ll try to fit those players into my cash games, which is going to make it really challenging to also work an elite quarterback into the mix.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Buffalo, $9200 – Rodgers has thrown at least three touchdowns in eight games this year, and his 35-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio is just bananas. I’d say that his lack of attempts limits his upside to a degree, but he’s so efficient that I don’t think it really matters. And if he isn’t as efficient against the No. 2-ranked Bills pass defense, then he should end up throwing the ball more to make up for it.
Green Bay is projected to score 28 points, which is basically the same as that for Luck and the Colts, although it’s worth noting that Buffalo held Peyton Manning to 173 yards and no touchdowns last week.
Peyton Manning, Denver at San Diego, $8900 – I’m not at all concerned that Manning posted a 173/0/2 line against Buffalo. He chucked the ball only 20 times and it’s not like he’s going to continue to throw multiple picks.
The thing that does concern me, though, is the change in play-calling of late. The Broncos have been relying on the run more, particularly near the end zone. Manning always accounted for such a high percentage of Denver’s red zone scores that he was incredibly safe with massive upside. The shift in workload has me more bullish on other top-priced passers in Week 15.
Drew Brees, New Orleans at Chicago, $8400 – I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what sort of usage Brees has in DraftKings tournaments this week. He’s coming off of an absolute dud at home against Carolina, but now he gets the league’s worst pass defense on Monday night. Vegas likes New Orleans to score over 28 points.
The only concern here is the weather. I’m going to have a lot of Brees no matter what, but if it looks like it might be excessively windy in Chicago on Monday night, I’ll probably limit my exposure just a tad.
Tom Brady, New England vs Miami, $8100 – From Week 6 to Week 10, Brady averaged four touchdown passes per game. Otherwise, he has averaged just 1.6 per game and hasn’t topped two a single time. Given how strong Miami is in pass defense, I think that Brady is probably in play for GPPs only in Week 15. Don’t forget that quarterback play is tied more to the opponent than for any other position.
Five Mid-Priced Quarterbacks
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, $7900 – I kind of really like Big Ben in Week 15. I say “kind of really” because that’s exactly how I feel; I hate rostering Roethlisberger, to be honest, but there are games in which he just goes nuts, and this is as good of one as any. The variance in his game makes him a perpetual GPP-only player, to me.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you use Roethlisberger in a GPP, you’re almost certainly going to stack him with Antonio Brown. At $8700 against Atlanta, I think we’ll see a lot of Roeth/Brown stacks, so although Roethlisberger might not warrant excessively high usage on his own, we might see it anyway given the obvious pairing with Brown and the receiver’s price tag.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs Minnesota, $7800 – I’m really interested to see how Stafford performs in Week 15, but I think there’s good reason to believe he’s “back.” Stafford is very much like Tom Brady, in my opinion, in that his fantasy production is very much tied to the health of one player (Megatron for Stafford and Gronk for Brady). With 19 catches for 304 yards and three touchdowns the past two weeks, I think it’s fair to say that Calvin Johnson is close to healthy.
Jay Cutler, Chicago vs New Orleans, $7500 – I’ve never been a Cutler fan and I don’t think you can trust him in cash games, but I definitely like the matchup this week against the league’s fourth-worst defense versus quarterbacks. The Bears are projected decently by Vegas and, given the potential game script, we could see a sizeable workload from Cutler. Brandon Marshall’s absence certainly doesn’t help, but it could make for a more obvious Cutler/Jeffery pairing in GPPs.
Tony Romo, Dallas at Philadelphia, $7300 – Here’s what I think is going to happen in Philly on Sunday night: Dallas is going to realize that their run-first-and-at-all-costs game plan versus the Eagles on Thanksgiving was a dumb idea, and they’re going to come out throwing. I think they should be more balanced in this particular matchup, but Jason Garrett doesn’t understand the idea of sample sizes and will likely think that “we just can’t run on the Eagles.”
I highly doubt that Philly will be as effective against the pass as they were a couple weeks ago, and I think there’s a good chance that Romo racks up 40-plus attempts. With Dez Bryant priced as the eighth-most expensive receiver, Romo/Bryant might be the most underpriced stack available in Week 15.
Cam Newton, Carolina vs Tampa Bay, $7200 – Newton’s value is entirely a question of whether or not he’s running the ball. Newton’s four biggest games as a runner this year actually came in his four worst games in terms of passing efficiency. The fact that he should be able to throw the ball on Tampa Bay might actually be a detriment to his fantasy value. He doesn’t offer elite upside as a pure passer, so if he’s not scrambling, this could be somewhat of a trap.
Five Value Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs Pittsburgh, $6600 – Ryan is a clear value at this price, with one condition: that Julio Jones plays. Jones suffered a hip injury on Monday night, and if he doesn’t suit up against the Steelers, Ryan won’t be in play for me. If Jones is indeed playing and fully healthy, Ryan-to-Jones is my favorite for the most popular stack on DraftKings.
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia vs Dallas, $6500 – Vegas likes the Eagles to score more points than any team in Week 15. With a total of 56 and spread of just 3.5 points, this has all the makings of a shootout. Sanchez has struggled lately, but I think he offers value at this price. The only problem for me is that he doesn’t offer a ton of upside, but he might also be a risk given that the Eagles could just run the ball all over Dallas. I don’t like his range of potential outcomes in relation to his median projection.
Eli Manning, NY Giants vs Washington, $6400 – I’m not sure that I’ll actually have the courage to roster Manning, but it’s worth noting that he has thrown the ball at least 40 times in five of the past six games. The Redskins sport the league’s third-worst defense versus opposing quarterbacks and now Manning has a legitimate weapon in Odell Beckham Jr. – a player whose usage might finally be down given that he’s now more expensive than Demaryius Thomas (LOL!).
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs Denver, $6200 – Rivers has taken advantage of poor pass defenses this year and struggled against good ones. He did beat Denver for 252/3 in the teams’ first meeting, however, and we can be fairly confident that Rivers will air it out often in this matchup. I kind of like him as a cheap cash play given the expected workload.
Johnny Manziel, Cleveland vs Cincinnati, $5900 – And here it is. Manziel is going to start in Week 15 and he’ll probably be the GPP darling for a lot of DraftKings users. I actually don’t like Manziel in tournaments because I’m not sure he really has that much upside. He’ll need to run the ball all over the field to produce at an elite level. I could be wrong, but I actually think Manziel and his cheap price make for a better cash play than tournament option. I think it’s unlikely that he gets benched, and his rushing ability adds to his safety. The reason that he won’t be on that many of my rosters, though, is that I’ll probably just pony up $300 for Rivers.
FFWC Week 15
The FFWC kicks off in Week 15 with three huge tournaments ranging from $0.25 to $100 per entry: