It was the week of the under-the-radar quarterback in Week 6, with Joe Flacco and Tom Brady both crushing it despite being in fewer than five percent of all lineups. Hitting on a quarterback like that is so valuable because quarterbacks are generally the top scorers in fantasy, even on a PPR site like DraftKings, and to get those points that few others have is a big boost.
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In cash games, you can consider quarterbacks in isolation, analyzing their cost relative to their expected performance. In tournaments like the Millionaire Maker, it makes sense to consider their receivers, too; if you nail a low-usage QB-WR duo that hook up on a few scores, that’s a massive advantage over the field.
Looking at both against-the-grain choices and the obvious elite options, let’s break down Week 7 quarterbacks on DraftKings.
Top Five Quarterbacks
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis vs Cincinnati, $9700 – Luck has averaged 4.2 fantasy points per game more than every other quarterback in the NFL this year, so while this price might seem high at $700 more than Peyton Manning, Luck is arguably worth it. The Bengals have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year, although they gave up a ton of those to Cam Newton on the ground in Week 6.
My thinking here is that Luck might actually turn into a really smart GPP play because his steep price tag should drive down usage. I’m not sure I’ll have too much cash-game exposure to him.
Peyton Manning, Denver vs San Francisco, $9000 – What a conundrum we have on our hands with Manning this week-arguably the most consistent player in fantasy football against the No. 2 pass defense.
Is the $700 savings from Luck enough to justify playing Manning in an obviously difficult matchup? I’m not really sure at this point. I’m having trouble predicting Manning’s Week 7 usage, and I also need to do more research here to see what range of outcomes he might have against the Niners. This is a situation to monitor throughout the week to see what kind of hype is surrounding Manning and whether or not you can get him at under, say, 10 percent usage.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs Carolina, $8800 – The Panthers have allowed at least 262 passing yards in each of the past three games, including two games with at least 320 yards allowed-an average of 303 yards per game. I don’t really see too much hope for them this week against Rodgers-a quarterback who is heating up of late with 10 touchdowns over the past three weeks alone.
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs Kansas City, $8600 – With 15 touchdowns to only two interceptions, only one quarterback in the NFL has a better touchdown-to-interception ratio than Rivers. He’s thrown three touchdowns in each of the past three games, but now faces a pretty stout Chiefs pass defense. Kansas City will be coming off of a bye, and they haven’t allowed more than 243 passing yards all year. This might be a situation to avoid with the red-hot Rivers in Week 7.
Cam Newton, Carolina at Green Bay, $8200 – The Packers defense has been good against the pass this year, but Newton’s production comes more independently of the matchup than with some other quarterbacks because of his prowess as a runner.
The thing you should like most about Newton is that the Panthers installed more running plays for him before Week 6, and he ended up rushing the ball 17 times against the Bengals. That’s a huge positive. The only question is whether or not his price tag jumped too much. I think it did, so you have to be careful with him in cash games.
Five Mid-Priced Quarterbacks
Drew Brees, New Orleans at Detroit, $8100 – It’s pretty strange to have Brees here as a “mid-priced” quarterback who is outside of the top five in salary. I actually think that’s going to lead to Brees being over-utilized in Week 7, though. He’s within $900 of everyone ahead of him except Luck, so it’s not like the price difference is dramatic, but users might be inclined to jump on the Saints quarterback because of the fact that he’s ranked so low.
Brees has been notoriously poor on the road, however, and even though he’ll be on the turf in Detroit, this isn’t the same ol’ Lions defense. Actually, no defense has given up fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2014. This seems like a trap to me.
Jay Cutler, Chicago vs Miami, $7900 – Cutler has thrown for at least 300 yards or two touchdowns in every game this season. Quietly, Marc Trestman has done the impossible: turn Cutler into a consistent quarterback. His interceptions are still up, but that doesn’t matter so much in fantasy football. As long as the Bears’ offense continues to move the ball, he’s very much in play in all league types.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore vs Atlanta, $7700 – Repeat after me: Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback. Could he repeat his Week 6 performance against the Bucs? Sure. But it’s really, really unlikely. Even against Atlanta, I wouldn’t expect huge numbers out of Flacco.
I’m really undecided on which way Flacco’s usage might go. On one hand, users could be on him after last week. On the other hand, he’s pretty clearly overpriced here.
Kirk Cousins, Washington vs Tennessee, $7400 – Cousins has thrown eight interceptions since taking over for RGIII, so his actual value to the Redskins isn’t necessarily great. Cousins is a better fantasy quarterback than real-life passer, though, with 250 passing yards in every game this year, as well as games with 354 yards and 427 yards. Because of the Redskins’ inconsistencies in terms of scoring, I wouldn’t use Cousins in cash games, but he’s very much in play in GPPs.
Tony Romo, Dallas vs NY Giants, $7200 – The thing to like about Romo is that he appears to be getting healthy; there’s a dramatic difference in how he’s moving around now as compared to Weeks 1 and 2.
The concern is that he’s not throwing the ball nearly as much this season, and there’s good reason to think the Cowboys will keep the ball on the ground against the Giants this week. The G-Men have historically played a ton of Cover 2 against Dallas, doing what they can to take Dez Bryant out of the game. I expect the Cowboys to continue their running ways in Week 7 again two-deep looks.
Five Value Quarterbacks
Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs New Orleans, $7000 – Who in the world would have thought we’d ever see Stafford listed as a value quarterback? Here’s a list of quarterbacks averaging more fantasy points per game than Stafford this season: Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, Kirk Cousins, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton.
Despite the really cheap price, I don’t like this situation much if Megatron is out. Stafford is a dramatically different player without the game’s top receiver on the outside.
Russell Wilson, Seattle at St. Louis, $6800 – Despite Wilson’s Week 6 showing against the Cowboys, I still think he’s a semi-consistent player. Again, though, you’re taking a huge risk by rostering him in a tournament because 1) he doesn’t have a huge workload and 2) there’s no one obvious to stack with him. He’s one of those quarterbacks who you might be justified using by himself (no stacking) in a tournament lineup because of his rushing ability.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Baltimore, $6500 – This a situation very much comparable to Stafford in that we have a potentially elite passer who is in a really bad spot. The Falcons’ line has been so horrendous this year that you really can’t trust Ryan right now. He’s not an option in cash games, in my view, even if there’s a little value here. I might throw Ryan into a GPP or two just because, if Atlanta finds a way to block ’em up, he has some obvious upside.
Austin Davis, St. Louis vs Seattle, $5800 – I kind of really like this play for the Millionaire Maker. You can pair Davis with Brian Quick or a duo that you know is going to be low-usage. You save money so that you can go big elsewhere, like if you want to get DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte into your lineup together. Plus, the Rams have a really good chance to be trailing and throwing against a pass defense that hasn’t been as advertised thus far in 2014.
Derek Carr, Oakland at Arizona, $5800 – Okay, so we have pretty good reason to think that Carr at least has a shot to be the real deal. We might see a little bit of overutilization on him this week given what he did against San Diego, but you have to like the matchup in Arizona against the league’s sixth-worst pass defense versus opposing quarterbacks, as well as the fact that Carr has a really talented young receiver that you can pair with him in Andre Holmes.