Week 4 is a really interesting one for quarterbacks because, outside of Drew Brees at Dallas, there aren’t many really enticing matchups for the high-priced passers. If you scroll down the salaries just a bit, though, you’ll see a number of really favorable games for the mid-priced quarterbacks. With no Peyton Manning this week, it’s going to be really interesting to see how DraftKings users tackle the position.
Top Five Quarterbacks
Drew Brees, New Orleans at Dallas, $9300 – Who wants to guess which quarterback is going to have the highest usage in Week 4? If you guessed “Anyone Except Drew Brees,” you are incorrect, sir.
Okay, I don’t really know who will be the most popular quarterback pick on DraftKings this week, but Brees sure seems like the frontrunner. At $9300, he’s tied with Andrew Luck as the most expensive quarterback on the site, but he’s playing in Dallas. The Cowboys’ defense has been unexpectedly decent this year (kind of), but they’re still ranked in the bottom half in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
This is a situation you almost can’t get away from in tournaments (or especially cash games). Brees’ usage might be high enough that you can consider fading him at least part of the time, but you might want to have at least some exposure so you aren’t left for dead if he goes crazy on the Cowboys.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis vs Tennessee, $9300 – One of the best ways to predict player usage is to look at how players’ salaries compare to one another. With Brees and Luck both at $9300—$1000 more expensive than every other passer—you’re going to see most people just pick the quarterback in the better situation. That’s Brees.
Luck is pretty clearly a worse value against the Titans and probably not suitable for cash games, but you could certainly consider him as a contrarian GPP play, knowing most will be on Brees. The issue is which receiver you choose to stack with him, although you could just do both T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne, both of whom are cheap.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Minnesota, $8300 – Ryan is coming off of the huge Thursday night performance against the Bucs, but now he’ll face a Vikings defense that has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year. I wouldn’t say this is a situation to totally avoid, especially since the five next most expensive quarterbacks are all priced within $300 of Ryan, but certainly search for better value if you’re looking for a passer in your head-to-head and 50/50 lineups.
Jay Cutler, Chicago vs Green Bay, $8200 – It’s going to be really interesting to see if DraftKings users as a whole prefer Cutler or Rodgers in Chicago this weekend. Rodgers is the better quarterback, but the game is in Chicago. Further, Cutler has outplayed Rodgers thus far in 2014.
For the Bears quarterback, monitor the health of his receivers. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall should be good to go, but keep an eye on Marshall’s progress throughout the week, especially, which could be indicative of the Bears’ red-zone play-calling on Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Chicago, $8200 – Rodgers has been productive in just one game this season, and the biggest concern is that it isn’t just a lack of usage; Rodgers is averaging only 6.8 YPA.
If you look at the opponents, though, you see two games against tough pass defenses in Seattle and Detroit. When Rodgers faced a mediocre defense in the Jets, he torched them. Look for Rodgers to take advantage of a banged-up Chicago secondary this week.
Five Mid-Priced Quarterbacks
Kirk Cousins, Washington vs NY Giants, $8200 – Coming off of his demolition of the Eagles’ secondary, Cousins would figure to be a hot commodity heading into Week 4 against the Giants. The only thing that could drive down his usage is the price tag; at $8200, he’s actually tied for the fourth-most expensive quarterback on the site. You read that correctly.
Is Cousins worth the price tag? It’s tough to say, but the fact that he’s so expensive means you can probably roster him against the league’s sixth-worst pass defense and not run into super high usage.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit at NY Jets, $8000 – I really can’t figure out why Stafford is priced below Cousins while facing the Jets. Yes, he has struggled the past two games, but one was against the stout Panthers defense and the other…well he just sucked in the other.
Still, the Jets’ pass defense has been horrific this year. Give an extra boost to the Stafford/Megatron pairing if Dee Milliner doesn’t play again in Week 4.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia at San Francisco, $8000 – Seeing the San Francisco defense might scare away some people, but this isn’t a bad matchup for Foles. For me, this one is going to come down to weather. I tend to fade quarterbacks who are playing in windy conditions.
Check the weather on Sunday and, if you like Foles, feel free to roster him with anything less than 15mph winds.
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs Jacksonville, $7700 – Rivers has been really effective over the past two weeks, and he has a 6/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. The Jags defense has gotten torched by Philly, Washington, and Indy this season.
My only concern with Rivers is usage. I think he’s fine as a cash play, but the possibility of San Diego getting up early with some Donald Brown scores—because really, how much longer can Eddie Royal keep scoring red zone touchdowns?—means that Rivers might have a relatively low ceiling in this one.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco vs Philadelphia, $7600 – The Eagles defense is poor, but they’re also typically on the field for a lot of plays because the offense is so up-tempo, leading to more snaps for both squads. More snaps means more fantasy points.
The risk with Kaepernick is that he doesn’t throw the ball a lot, but that probably won’t be the case in this one. With expected heavy usage, I like Kaepernick to return value this week. He has been giving fantasy owners points on the ground, too, with 118 rushing yards on 22 carries in the past two games.
Five Value Quarterbacks
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay, $6900 – Roethlisberger is going to be on some users’ radar facing the anemic Bucs defense that just got exposed by Matt Ryan. My concern is, again, usage. Roethlisberger simply doesn’t throw the ball enough to post top-tier fantasy production. I might look at him in a cash game, but he won’t be on my GPP radar.
Tony Romo, Dallas vs New Orleans, $6700 – Romo’s cost sunk too much following his poor start to the year, and it still hasn’t caught up to where it should be. Romo’s early struggles were due to a combination of ineffective play and low usage, but he was actually quite good last week against the Rams, throwing for 9.4 YPA.
I’m not sure if Romo is completely healthy, but if you believe the majority of his early struggles have been because of a lack of attempts, then you should like him this week in a game in which Dallas should throw the ball 40 times.
Tom Brady, New England at Kansas City, $6300 – I said in the beginning of the year that Brady is too reliant on Gronkowski for production. Gronk doesn’t appear to be fully healthy, and Brady has been horrifically inefficient through three weeks. I don’t see it getting much better in Week 4, but certainly Brady deserves consideration if only because of his price tag.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston vs Buffalo, $5800 – Quietly, Fitzpatrick has been a really effective quarterback this year. After registering passer ratings of at least 109 in Weeks 1 and 2, Fitz followed it up with 21.96 fantasy points in Week 3.
Fitzpatrick is cheap enough to return value given that he’s playing well, and you can also stack him easily with Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, or both. It’s just a matter of “Will he throw enough passes?”
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville at San Diego, $5800 – In his first NFL action, Bortles completed 14 of 24 passes for 223 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks, while also rushing for 30 yards. We have to take those numbers with a grain of salt since the Jags were down so big against the Colts, but there’s no reason that won’t happen again this week.
If you’re looking for an under-the-radar play, this is it. Is Bortles likely to be a top 10 quarterback this week? No, but there’s enough of a question mark there that you could throw him into a tournament lineup and just see what happens.