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Finding Value in the Middle Tier of Quarterbacks

This past week, the highest scoring quarterbacks on the main slate were Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Deshaun Watson, Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. All of these quarterbacks were priced very reasonably, and with the exception of Philip Rivers (3.7x) all of the quarterbacks produced at least a 4.8x multiple on their salary.  Newton and Watson producing a 6x and 6.8x multiple on their salaries, respecitively. With this in mind, what is your strategy at quarterback for GPP's this year? Do you think it is wise to spend up for the top quarterbacks (Rodgers, Brady and Brees)? 

BJ VanderWoude: This past week, the highest scoring quarterbacks on the main slate were Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Deshaun Watson, Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning. All of these quarterbacks were priced very reasonably, and with the exception of Philip Rivers (3.7x), all of the quarterbacks produced at least a 4.8x multiple on their salary. Newton and Watson produced a 6x and 6.8x multiple on their salaries, respectively. With this in mind, what is your strategy at quarterback for GPP's this year? Do you think it is wise to spend up for the top quarterbacks (Rodgers, Brady and Brees), or find vaue in the middle tiers? 

 

Justin Bonnema: I always look for discounts wherever I can, particularly on sites where the pricing is tight. So far this season, I’ve found success with a few cheap quarterbacks. Watson has been my go-to the last two weeks and his price barely moved despite back-to-back solid performances. But for the most part, I’m avoiding the cheap quarterbacks this week and loading up with Rodgers. His matchup is probably the best on the main slate since the Patriots and Buccaneers play Thursday night, the Falcons and Saints both have byes, and the Bears play Monday night. I’m sure the crowd is going to come to this exact same conclusion, which will make his ownership crazy high. But I don’t care. He has five-touchdown upside in what should be the highest scoring game of the week.

James Brimacombe: The beauty of DFS is that every week is a new week. At quarterback, I like to look at the matchups, game totals, trends, pricing, and situation when it comes to selecting a player. It is always easy to just plug in Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers every week at their high salaries and feel good about the production you are going to get but at the same time, it takes away what you can do with your salary at the other positions. This week a pairing of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson looks like the slam dunk play but doing so would make you look for discounts and values at other positions. Some intriguing names this week at the position would be Dak Prescott, and Deshaun Watson at mid-level pricing as they have a built-in floor with their rushing ability which you don’t get so much with Brady and Rodgers. You can’t forget about the likes of Eli Manning and Carson Palmer either with no running games they are being forced to throw the ball 40+ times which adds a lot of value. There is no right or wrong way to select the position but you want to be smart about it and tell yourself a story for the guys you are going to play.

Phil Alexander: As James touched on, quarterback strategy is going to vary from slate-to-slate based on matchups and salary. In GPPs, I generally try to identify five or six quarterbacks to build stacks around and rotate variations of my core players around those stacks. If the matchups and pricing at other positions dictate those quarterbacks are expensive, so be it. If the value lies at the lower price points, that's fine too.

Dan Hindery: I don’t think you want to get locked into one-size fits all strategy. It depends on the week and the overall pricing on the particular site you are playing whether it makes sense to pay up at quarterback or take a chance trying to get top production from a cheaper option.

Last week, pricing was extremely tight on DraftKings. Some of the expensive running backs had great matchups, so it made sense to go cheap at quarterback and try to jam in two or three of the top running backs. While Aaron Rodgers is going to be very tempting against a bad Dallas defense, it again looks like a week where paying down at quarterback on DraftKings is the best strategy. There aren’t a lot of obvious high-upside options at running back or wide receiver under $5,500 in Week 5. There are also some elite players in decent matchups that are likely to be amongst the highest scorers. Finding a way to fit in as many of the top guys (Ezekiel Elliott, LeVeon Bell, Todd Gurley, Jordy Nelson, LeSean McCoy, etc.) as possible will be key and likely requires trying to save some money at quarterback.

On FanDuel, pricing is looser and it looks like a week where you can pay up at quarterback if you want to without making drastic sacrifices at other positions. Part of the reason it is feasible to pay up at quarterback is that so many of the top wide receivers are in less than ideal matchups and you don’t have to stretch to squeeze these guys in. Antonio Brown faces a Jacksonville defense with a pair of top-notch cornerbacks who haven’t allowed a 60-yard receiver all season. A.J. Green faces a Buffalo defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard receiver this season and has only surrendered just 1 passing touchdown all season. Odell Beckham faces Casey Hayward, who is one of the league’s top shadow-coverage cornerbacks. Jordy Nelson is the only expensive wide receiver who deserves high GPP ownership rates this week in a plus matchup against the Cowboys. There are also plenty of solid WR2 and WR3 options under $6,500 who make it less painful to pay up for a top quarterback. The sub-$6,000 tight ends also look attractive for GPPs. In short, it isn’t necessary to pay up at quarterback this week since almost all of the passers are under $8,000. But if you do want to pay up for Aaron Rodgers, it is easy to do so while still putting together a strong lineup.

John Mamula: QB strategy for GPP tournaments depends on matchups, salaries, and projected ownership as it can change on a week-to-week basis. We are now starting bye weeks which means the main slates will now have fewer options to choose from and ownership will start to overlap for quarterbacks in the best-perceived matchups. When ranking the top quarterbacks for the week, a solid GPP strategy is to eliminate the top tier of quarterbacks and focus on building stacks from the second tier because it will garner less ownership.

This week we have Tom Brady and Jameis Winston playing on Thursday Night Football and Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, and Trevor Siemian on bye. At first glance, I expect these absences will lead to high ownership for Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in a projected game of 52 total points. A game to pivot to would be the Seahawks-Rams with Russell Wilson, who has scored 36.5 and 29.6 DraftKings points over the past two weeks. With the injury to Chris Carson and a transition in the rushing game, the Seahawks may lean more on the passing game this week. The Rams have played in three consecutive shootouts and are ranked the sixth-worst defense in the NFL allowing 367.8 total yards per game.

This week, Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott immediately jump out as two high-priced quarterbacks (DraftKings) I want to build stacks around in GPPs. Full game stacks with Rodgers or Prescott, Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant, Geronimo Allison (assuming Davante Adams scratches), and either Ezekiel Elliott or Aaron Jones (depending on which quarterback you're using) are particularly enticing.

On the low end, Josh McCown is priced the same as backups like Geno Smith and Matt Moore headed into a game at Cleveland (DraftKings). While the Jets opened as road underdogs with a predictably low team total (18.5 points), they're winners of two straight games and the Browns recent track record against quarterbacks points to McCown's price being wrong. Cleveland has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, which is even worse than it sounds. The last three quarterbacks to face the Browns -- Joe Flacco, Jacoby Brissett, and Andy Dalton -- all totaled at least two touchdowns. McCown stacks nicely with Austin Seferian-Jenkins in this matchup and the duo only accounts for 16% of your salary cap.

Chris Feery: As the others have mentioned, each slate is different, and it should be approached with that mindset. That said, I try to key in on a trio of signal callers for GPP purposes on a weekly basis. Typically, I’m breaking the salary scale into three tiers and digging out the most appealing option in each one. Generally, I’ll wind up with one high-priced ‘chalky’ quarterback, a low-priced value play, and a middle-tier option that might fit the definition of a contrarian play. For this week, we can pencil in Aaron Rodgers for the high-priced tier in a potential shootout against the Cowboys. In the middle, Carson Wentz jumps out for a matchup against a Cardinals team that hasn’t been anywhere near impressive, while Jared Goff could make for a nice value/contrarian play against a Seahawks defense that has seen better days.

 

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