We saw the importance of hitting on a quarterback in Week 5, as user SamENole rode Peyton Manning and his 479 passing yards to victory in the Millionaire Maker, turning a $27 into $1,000,000 in cash.
Well, Week 6 brings with it an entirely new Millionaire Maker, and thus another shot for you to hit on that perfect quarterback/receiver pairing to propel you to profit. I’ll do my best to break down this week’s quarterback offerings to help you along the way.
Top Five Quarterbacks
Peyton Manning, Denver at NY Jets, $9400 – This is one of those plays that you know is going to be really popular, but one that you’re going to have a difficult time justifying fading. Yes, Manning’s expected usage is going to be high, but he’s also in such a great spot against the Jets (and also such a good value) that it’s going to be difficult to avoid him. The Jets have given up more points to quarterbacks than all but four teams.
Even though I really don’t prefer to play high-usage options, I will have some exposure to Manning just to limit my downside, i.e. if I fade him and he hits in a big way.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs Chicago, $8600 – Note that Ryan is the second-most expensive quarterback, but a full $800 cheaper than Manning. I’m not sure how that will affect each player’s usage, if at all, but certainly the fact that Ryan is No. 2 in quarterback salaries could scare away some people, even in a juicy matchup.
The thing that I like about this is that Ryan is within $600 of the next four quarterbacks, which means that we’re basically looking at a pick ’em, but it won’t be approached like that. Anyone who likes Aaron Rodgers or Philip Rivers as much as Ryan will probably fade Ryan because he’s more expensive, which could give him some additional value in GPPs.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Miami, $8400 – Rodgers has seven touchdowns in the past two games, despite throwing the ball only 45 times combined. That workload scares me, though, as Rodgers hasn’t tossed more than 28 passes in any of the past three games. There’s not a great reason to think he’ll do it in Miami, either.
If you’re looking for an elite quarterback in a poor matchup, Matthew Stafford might be the better option in Minnesota at $200 cheaper.
Philip Rivers, San Diego at Oakland, $8200 – Will the fact that Rivers is playing the Raiders make him a popular choice, even though Oakland’s pass defense is pretty good? I’m not sure, but Rivers has at least 256 yards in each of his past four games, including 11 touchdowns over that time. He’s playing at an elite level and could be a contrarian play given his high price tag and the fact that Oakland has been the sixth-best defense against quarterbacks this year.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit at Minnesota, $8200 – Despite Stafford’s struggles of late-which include only three touchdowns in the past three weeks-I still like him as a GPP play this week. First of all, the fact that he hasn’t dropped in price like some other struggling passers should make him relatively low-usage. Second, you can pair him with Calvin Johnson (assuming he’s healthy) to acquire one of the top two or three high-upside duos in the league.
Five Mid-Priced Quarterbacks
Jay Cutler, Chicago at Atlanta, $8000 – Atlanta’s pass defense has been middle-of-the-pack this year, as has Cutler’s performances over the past month of the season. Even though Cutler is known as a high-risk player, I actually think he’s an interesting cash-game option this week. Over the past four games, Cutler has thrown the ball between 34 and 38 times every game, with multiple scores in each contest. With Marc Trestman calling plays, there’s finally some consistency to Cutler’s game.
Eli Manning, NY Giants at Philadelphia, $7800 – With 10 touchdowns to only three picks over the past four games, it seems like Manning is starting to get comfortable in the Giants’ new offense. He has just one 300-yard performance during that time, namely because he hasn’t thrown a whole lot of passes in a few of those contests.
The key for Manning this week will be what his workload looks like against the Eagles. It could be the case that Manning throws the ball more than usual due to the Eagles’ up-tempo offense and the fact that the Giants could be trailing in Philly. I think he’s more of a GPP option than cash-game play.
Russell Wilson, Seattle vs Dallas, $7600 – After his ridiculous rushing effort on Monday night, Wilson showed why he’s such a high-floor player each week. I used him in a lot of my DraftKings cash games, and he didn’t let me down. The ability to run gives Wilson such a high floor because he can contribute even if things aren’t working through the air.
Dallas has been okay against the pass this year, but don’t let the early numbers fool you; this isn’t a talented defense, and they’re susceptible to allowing huge days through the air.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco at St. Louis, $7200 – Kaepernick is coming off of a game in which he threw the ball just 26 times and contributed only 18 yards on the ground. The Niners quarterback had at least 54 yards rushing in each of the three previous games, however, and Kaep also had 10 carries in Week 5.
My problem with starting Kaepernick in the Millionaire Maker is that there’s not much upside if he doesn’t throw the ball enough, which he rarely does; Kaepernick has surpassed 30 throws only twice all year.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia vs NY Giants, $6800 – Maybe I’m just a sucker for Chip Kelly’s offense, but I’m still very much on board with Foles. He’s coming off of two horrendous games in which he’s thrown for no more than 207 yards, despite tossing at least 37 passes in each contest. With two touchdowns and three picks over that time, things aren’t going well for Foles.
Foles began the year with at least 300 yards in every game, however, with multiple touchdown passes in two of them. Considering his recent struggles have come against two stout pass defenses (and that he just might be feeling a little pressure from Mark Sanchez behind him), I think Foles will be ready to roll this week against the Giants.
Five Value Quarterbacks
Kirk Cousins, Washington at Arizona, $6700 – Cousins has quietly been productive for fantasy owners in many situations this year. Actually, Cousins has 250 yards in every game in which he’s played, and really just one really poor one-touchdown, four-interception game on national television a couple weeks ago. That probably added to the narrative that Cousins hasn’t been able to step up in RGIII’s absence, but the numbers don’t back that up, at least from a fantasy perspective.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Cleveland, $6500 – Roethlisberger has a passer rating of at least 103 in each of his last three games. Cleveland’s defense is ranked 27th against opposing passers this year. I think Roethlisberger makes for a nice cash-game play this week.
Charlie Whitehurst, Tennessee vs Jacksonville, $6200 – After what Whitehurst has done in his two games played this year, you have to give him some consideration at this price in Week 6. On just 44 attempts, Whitehurst has thrown for 371 yards, three touchdowns, and only one pick, while also adding 40 yards on the ground. With an A+ matchup against the Jags in Sunday, Whitehurst might end up being the top value play of the day.
Tony Romo, Dallas at Seattle, $6100 – Romo’s matchup is clearly not ideal, but the Seahawks have now given up at least 275 passing yards in each of their last three games. Romo is steadily getting healthier, and I think he’s a sneaky quality tournament option at quarterback in Week 6. He obviously pairs nicely with Dez.
Cam Newton, Carolina at Cincinnati, $6100 – Newton’s lack of usage in the passing game gives him a limited ceiling, which diminishes his value in the Millionaire Maker. I definitely like Newton at this price in cash games, though. His rushing ability gives him a naturally high floor. He’s less dependent on particular matchups for production, which means the Bengals’ 10th-ranked defense against quarterbacks isn’t as worrisome.