Despite all of the fantasy scoring in Week 2, there weren’t many outstanding quarterback performances. Aaron Rodgers led the way with 346 yards and three scores, but he was one of only two passers to top the 300-yard mark (Nick Foles being the other).
Things look up in Week 3, with many of the game’s elite quarterbacks in quality matchups. Rodgers is actually the most expensive quarterback as he travels to Detroit to take on the Lions on the turf.
Let’s take a look at the other top quarterback plays on DraftKings for Week 3.
- Top Five Quarterbacks
This is a situation in which it’s difficult to predict usage. On one hand, you have Rodgers in an outstanding matchup, coming off of the top quarterback performance on Sunday. On the other hand, he’s the priciest player at $400 more than Peyton Manning.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis at Jacksonville, $9200 – It might be difficult to predict Rodgers’ usage, but it seems like whatever it is, Luck’s is going to be lower. The two are priced similarly, so it will just come down to which player the majority of DraftKings users prefer. I could be wrong, but I think that player is going to be Rodgers in Detroit.
Both players are probably pretty safe given their opponents, so I think they’re in play in cash games. In tournaments, Luck could be a sneaky option with the majority of players likely siding with the Packers quarterback.
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs Minnesota, $8900 – Of the top quarterback options, I think this might be my favorite situation for tournaments. You have arguably the safest player in fantasy football in Brees going up against a Vikings defense that has certainly overachieved thus far. Through two weeks, the Vikings have allowed the fewest points to quarterbacks.
That’s going to scare away some users, who will see “1st” under the OPRK (Opponent Rank) category. We know Brees is going to air it out, we know Minnesota isn’t the league’s top pass defense, and we know Brees probably won’t see massive usage in GPPs.
Also note that Jimmy Graham is arguably overpriced this week relative to the other tight ends; he’s $1400 more than every other player at the position, including Julius Thomas. That’s probably going to make a Brees/Graham pairing more uncommon than normal.
Peyton Manning, Denver at Seattle, $8800 – Of all the decisions you’re going to need to make in Week 3, this one is arguably going to be the most challenging. You have the game’s best passer facing the game’s best defense, and you’re getting a reduced price.
On the surface, this might look pretty enticing, but I think Manning will be over-owned in Week 3. A lot of times, small differences in pricing can really change usage because of how people perceive salaries. If Manning were just $400 more, he’d be the top quarterback in price this week. His usage would likely plummet because he’d be atop the quarterback salaries, which is kind of irrational since it’s just a $400 difference.
I think the fact that Manning is priced as the fourth-most expensive quarterback this week is going to force some users onto him who wouldn’t otherwise play any quarterback versus Seattle.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs Green Bay, $8800 – Stafford-to-Calvin, Stafford-to-Calvin, Stafford-to-Calvin. You can pretty much throw in a Stafford-to-Calvin stack every week just because of the upside. This week, I think you aren’t getting a bad price, with the Packers ranked in the bottom half of the league in points allowed to quarterbacks.
- Five Mid-Priced Quarterbacks
The Redskins’ pass defense has looked outstanding through two weeks—fifth against opposing quarterbacks—and while much of that has to do with facing Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne, you’re still not getting a discount on Foles here. He’s one of many mid-range quarterbacks on whom I’m not high; I’ll likely either pay up for the big boys or go cheaper this week.
Jay Cutler, Chicago at NY Jets, $8100 – Cutler has lit it up thus far in 2014 with 525 yards and six touchdowns through two weeks. He has also completed over two-thirds of his passes in both games.
In Week 3, I think Cutler has a really wide range of outcomes against the Jets. I say that because Cutler actually hasn’t been all that efficient this year, averaging just 6.3 YPA. That’s a bad number and suggests that Cutler could struggle if he doesn’t get a lot of attempts.
If the Bears get up early with a couple Matt Forte scores, I could see a really poor outing for Cutler. Of course, he has the upside to light it up, too, so he’s certainly in play in GPPs.
Cam Newton, Carolina vs Pittsburgh, $7400 – The Pittsburgh defense isn’t what it used to be, but the Steelers have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. I could see Newton’s ownership being really low this week, so you could certainly consider pairing him with Kelvin Benjamin for a really unique stack in tournaments.
Kirk Cousins, Washington at Philadelphia, $7300 – Of the mid-priced quarterbacks who I will consider using in tournaments, Cutler and Cousins are the most interesting to me. Cousins’ usage will probably be pretty low because he recently soared up the salaries. A lot of people are going to see this price and be turned off.
The question we need to ask ourselves isn’t “Did Cousins’ salary jump too far?” but rather “Is the current price a good deal or not?” At $7300 against a poor pass defense and likely to rack up a lot of attempts, Cousins might be a sneaky smart play in Week 3.
Philip Rivers, San Diego at Buffalo, $7100 – Rivers is certainly in play against the Bills, but the question is who you’d want to use with him if you go that route. Antonio Gates is the obvious choice, but he’s also priced as the third-most expensive tight end this week—$200 more than Rob Gronkowski.
While others are forcing Gates in there after his ridiculous Week 2 performance, you might be able to find value and low tournament usage on Rivers to Keenan Allen.
- Five Value Quarterbacks
This week, the Pats face a really underrated Oakland pass defense. It’s really difficult to tell if you’re buying low on Brady or if this is just where he should be priced. I’ll probably still be in on Gronk, but I don’t know how much Brady exposure I’ll have given what could be a limited ceiling with only one consistent scorer to whom he can throw.
Russell Wilson, Seattle vs Denver, $6800 – Wilson against the Broncos is a really enticing situation to me. I’ve said for a while that I think Wilson has top-tier fantasy potential once he sees a heavy enough workload. On a per-opportunity basis, he’s been unreal.
Well, he’s probably going to see a lot more opportunities this weekend against the Broncos. First, you’d expect that this game won’t go the same way as the Super Bowl meeting. Second, Wilson might see more chances to throw anyway with Marshawn Lynch a little banged up.
I like Wilson’s chances of racking up a bunch of rushing yards and perhaps a score in this game, too.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco at Arizona, $6600 – Kaepernick can sometimes be a contrarian tournament play with upside because his production isn’t as dictated by opponent strength as some other quarterbacks. Since Kaepernick can beat defenses on the ground, facing a quality pass defense like that in Arizona isn’t all that bad since he can rack up rushing points.
Tony Romo, Dallas at St. Louis, $6500 – There is very much a reason to be concerned about Romo’s health. He isn’t in the prime of his career anymore, but he’s missing throws he’s never missed before. Through two games, Romo has only 457 yards and two scores—11.6 fantasy points per game.
However, all of that downside is priced into Romo’s salary, which is the same as that for Derek Carr. Let me repeat that: Romo’s salary is the same as Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who is facing the Patriots. You’re getting a whole lot of potential upside here for a cheap price.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami vs Kansas City, $6300 – Tannehill hasn’t exactly lit it up thus far in 2014, but I think he has some upside this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City is known for their stingy defense, but it might not be all it’s hyped up to be. The Chiefs have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, and they were middle-of-the-pack in 2013.
Bonus pick: Also give a long, hard look to Ryan Fitzpatrick at only $5400. He hasn’t thrown a pick this year and will be facing a weak Giants defense.