Week 1 was a good one for the majority of the game’s elite quarterbacks, with Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, and Matthew Stafford all turning in quality performances. It was certainly a week to pay up at the quarterback position, which is a direction many daily fantasy experts like to go in most situations.
Many players treat quarterbacks like pitchers because their play is pretty consistent from game to game. There’s value in knowing what you’re getting, especially in cash games. In your head-to-head and 50/50 lineups, it generally makes a ton of sense to pay up for an elite quarterback like Manning who will give you a high floor of production.
Looking at the quarterback position in Week 2, there are some more obvious values than in Week 1, which saw fairly tight quarterback pricing. Looking at the salaries, let’s run through some of the notable quarterbacks you can play in Week 2.
- Top Five Quarterbacks
Manning’s matchup against the Chiefs might not appear ideal, but Kansas City actually hasn’t been as good against the pass as you might think. They ranked just 22nd in fantasy points allowed through the air in 2013, so this should be yet another big game for Manning.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis vs Philadelphia, $8400 – Even with a quick glance at the quarterback salaries, Luck stands out as a player who is overpriced. He’s just $400 cheaper than Manning and $100 more than Drew Brees. Even in a quality matchup against the Eagles, that’s too much.
However, that’s what makes Luck such an intriguing GPP option this week. The fact that he’s overpriced should drive down his usage, but he’s not such a poor value that you can’t play him and return value.
Drew Brees, New Orleans at Cleveland, $8300 – Part of the reason Luck is the second-priciest quarterback is likely due to some difficult matchups for a few other elite passers, one of which is Brees at Cleveland. The Browns got diced up by Big Ben in Week 1, but that wasn’t indicative of their talent as a unit.
It’s tough to say what Brees’ usage will be in this matchup, but you have to think it’s going to be higher than Luck.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit at Carolina, $8300 – Stafford looked sensational on Monday night football, and now he gets the Panthers on the road. That’s a bit of a different story than the Giants at home.
I actually think we could see similar events unfold this week as in Week 1, when Stafford was underutilized because he was probably not a great value. In Week 2, he’s the same price as Brees and more expensive than Nick Foles in Indianapolis. You always have to love the Stafford-to-Johnson connection, though, so strongly consider Stafford as one of your GPP passers.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Cincinnati, $8100 – One of the things I’ve noticed about DraftKings’ Week 2 salaries is that there seems to be a little bit of an overreaction to Week 1. Ryan was the top quarterback last week, but he shouldn’t be just $200 cheaper than Brees on the road in Cincy. This might be the type of week in which you want to “buy low” on some talented players who underachieved in Week 1.
- Five Mid-Priced Quarterbacks
Foles is a smart cash game play, but my only problem with him in tournaments is that it’s difficult to stack him with anyone. Do you go with Jeremy Maclin? Zach Ertz? It’s tough to say which receiver is going to have a big game for the Eagles in any given week, which limits Foles’ value in a GPP.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs New York Jets, $7900 – It doesn’t matter who Rodgers plays, he shouldn’t be only the seventh-most expensive quarterback. This is a pure overreaction in pricing to Rodgers’ weak Thursday night performance against the league’s best defense.
I’d say you might want to think about getting away from Rodgers in GPPs just because he’s probably going to be highly utilized, but I think he’s such a great play that you need to start him there, too.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco vs Chicago, $7900 – Kaepernick is in play against an overrated Chicago defense, but mainly due to pricing. One of the things that happens when two players are priced the same is that there’s naturally a general leaning toward one, which gives the other more value in tournaments. Most DraftKings users will probably see Kaep priced the same as Rodgers and go with the Green Bay quarterback, which could drive down Kaep’s usage even more than if he were $100 more expensive than Rodgers.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati vs Atlanta, $7500 – Is Dalton trustworthy enough to play in a cash game? Even in this matchup with Atlanta, probably not.
But one of the positives of using Dalton in GPPs is that he relies so heavily on A.J. Green, which makes their production strongly correlated. If Dalton has a big day, you know Green will as well. They’re like a cheaper Stafford/Johnson duo.
Jake Locker, Tennessee vs Dallas, $7100 – This one goes like this: “Who plays the Cowboys this week? Oh, it’s Jake Locker? Okay, you can go ahead and start Jake Locker.”
- Five Value Quarterbacks
It’s not like Wilson has a poor matchup, either. Facing one of the league’s worst pass defenses in San Diego, Wilson should be able to rack up some good efficiency through the air. I actually don’t like him in GPPs because of the lack of receiver quality which could limit his upside and make it unwise to stack him, but Wilson might be a pure value option in the off-chance you want to go cheap at quarterback in cash games.
Tom Brady, New England at Minnesota, $7000 – This is a case of two Week 1 results—Brady’s struggles and the Vikings’ surprising defensive effort—altering pricing way too much. Brady is the 16th-priciest quarterback against a defense that was the worst against the pass in 2013. I’m not a huge Brady fan this year, but that’s way, way too cheap.
My main concern with Brady is Rob Gronkowski’s health. Gronkowski means way more to Brady’s production than most realize, so monitor that throughout the year.
Tony Romo, Dallas at Tennessee, $6800 – Romo might throw three picks again, or he could go for 400 and three scores. At this price, I’m willing to take the chance. Romo-to-Dez is usually a good tournament option, so I’m buying low on that tandem in Week 2. Bryant is just the fifth-most expensive wide receiver, so the value is there.
Alex Smith, Kansas City at Denver, $6300 – If you’re really willing to roll the dice, Smith might be in play as a total contrarian option. The issue with him is always his workload. That’s especially true coming off of a game in which Jamaal Charles was underutilized, meaning Andy Reid will probably overcompensate this week.
The thing to like about Smith in this game, though, is the projected game flow. We have a good idea that Kansas City will be down late, so Smith could rack up the attempts he normally doesn’t get. We saw a similar effect on Sunday night, as Andrew Luck was pretty poor in the first half before really turning it on against a much looser Denver secondary in the third and fourth quarters.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay vs St. Louis, $5700 – McCown is one of the cheapest starting quarterbacks on DraftKings this week coming off of a really poor outing in his first game as the Tampa Bay starter. That matchup was a difficult one against the Panthers, though, and McCown will now face a St. Louis defense that got torched by Minnesota in Week 1.
As far as cheap stacks go, I really like McCown and Vincent Jackson. The big-bodied wide receiver is a super high-variance play who has three-touchdown ability in any game. Look for this combo to be a valuable low-usage one in Week 2.