DFS Roundtable: Cash Quarterbacking

Which quarterback(s) will dominate your cash portfolio? Say you're entering two cash lineups; tell us whether you're enamored of one particular option or you're diversifying.

Quarterback pricing is kind to us for Week 14. Tom Brady is off the main slate, and none of our prime weekly cash targets cost an arm and a leg. We have discounts on good (not great) Vegas projections and a few strong vDEF matchups.

Which quarterback(s) will dominate your cash portfolio? Say you're entering two cash lineups; tell us whether you're enamored of one particular option or you're diversifying.

Jason Wood: I've been happy, as an Eagles fan and DFS player, to use Carson Wentz in cash lineups quite a bit this year. I see him as viable again this week, but I'm going to step away from Wentz in Week 14. I don't like putting my cash game lineup in the hands of a quarterback spending a second week on the west coast (cross-country) and facing yet another solid team.

My top two cash game quarterbacks are Alex Smith (DK $6,500 / FD $8,200) and Russell Wilson (DK $6,200 / FD $7,700). I firmly believe Andy Reid's decision to hand over play-calling to OC Matt Nagy was the cure for what ails the Chiefs offense. Reid is an excellent coach, but he gets into play-calling ruts. In the past, he's handed over play-calling to his other offensive coordinators and, generally, it's righted the ship. Smith gets a fantastic matchup against a divisional foe with a bad defense, and gets to play at home. Wilson faces a stout Jaguars defense, but that should keep his ownership down even though Wilson has been the best quarterback in fantasy for the last few months.

James Brimacombe: Derek Carr is my guy this week against the Chiefs on the road. I get that many will be on the other quarterback in this game, as Alex Smith had a monster game last week. What worries me about Kansas City's passing game is that, when they have been dominating, they have been losing games. Remember when Kareem Hunt was a thing earlier in the year? Well, that was when the Chiefs were winning football games. I think the Chiefs dial the passing game back some this game and try to establish Hunt once again. That being said, on the Raiders side of this game I love Carr this week, as I think he will have lower ownership than Smith and it comes at a discount. When these teams met back in Week 7 it was Carr who completed 29 of 52 passes for 417 yards and 3 touchdowns. I will be happy with 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns this week, and that is fully what I am expecting and the reason I will be locking him in as my cash quarterback.

Justin Howe: Like Jason, I’m fairly keen on Wentz, who just keeps producing. I don’t think he’s Tom Brady – nor even Jared Goff – but I know a maximizer when I see one. And Wentz has spent all year spinning short fields and a churning ground game into touchdowns. Still, for value purposes, I’m targeting Alex Smith in cash. He’s cheaper than Wentz, and he carries the stronger Vegas projection (25.5). James brings up an interesting point, that the Chiefs could look to scale back their pass game to control things on the ground, but it’s probably time to wonder whether our Devin Knotts’ question (“Is Kareem Hunt good at all?”) is indeed apt. I don’t think they can score consistently with a Hunt-centric game plan of 25+ carries, and I think new play-caller Matt Nagy agrees: he called a 33:11 pass:run game in his Week 13 debut despite spending most of the game in positive/neutral script. I think this is an offense rooted in Smith’s ability to generate chunk plays through Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Hunt out of the backfield. Against the Raiders’ barely-there defense, the Week 14 outlook is exceptionally bright.

Dan Hindery: Early in the week, I was pretty set on playing DeShone Kizer as my main cash-game quarterback. He is extremely cheap (especially on DraftKings at $4,900), has had a surprisingly high floor of late due to his rushing ability, suddenly has a deep corps of pass catchers, and has a fantastic matchup against a bad Green Bay secondary that has a number of players playing through injuries. While I still like Kizer and am likely to use him as one of my main cash plays, there are two things that have made me reconsider having huge exposure to him. First, the weather forecast in Cleveland isn’t great. Winds are projected at 15-20 MPH, which shouldn’t have a massive impact but is enough to at least break ties against players in this game. Second, so much value has opened up with cheap running backs like Giovani Bernard ($3,100 on DraftKings and $5,100 on FanDuel), that it isn’t necessary to be as frugal at quarterback as it is most weeks.

If paying up, I’m leaning toward Smith as the best cash game play. Kareem Hunt hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3. While it’s always possible he breaks his long scoring drought, the most likely outcome is that Smith has a hand in every touchdown scored by the Chiefs on Sunday. Kansas City has one of the highest team totals on the slate and threw all over the Raiders in their previous meeting this season (342 passing yards and 3 touchdowns). Smith is also averaging just over 25 rushing yards per game, which is an extra 2.5 projected points and enough to break ties in his favor over quarterbacks with similar passing projections.

John Mamula: My two cash game quarterbacks are Smith and Philip Rivers. Motivation is a key factor during the final month of the season. The key is to target teams and players that are still in the playoff hunt. Avoid teams that look to be "going through the motions" and show a lack of effort. Both the 6-6 Chiefs and the 6-6 Chargers are contending for the AFC West Title and a possible Wild Card berth. The Chargers have won three consecutive games, and Rivers has thrown for multiple touchdowns in three of the past four weeks.

Their opponents, the Raiders and Redskins, have both struggled defensively. The Raiders defense has allowed a league-worst 108.2 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. Over the past six weeks, the Redskins defense has allowed the following point totals: Cowboys (33), Seahawks (14), Vikings (38), Saints (34), Giants (10), Cowboys (38). It would not surprise me to see the Chiefs and Chargers each surpass their projected point totals of 26 this Sunday.

Danny Tuccitto: I'm shocked to see no one mention Blaine Gabbert. He's at home against a Titans pass defense that ranks 25th in DVOA and has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per Austin Lee's normalized stats. Gabbert is also underpriced on DraftKings, ranking 10th according to Austin's eVALUEator. His salary is still only $4,800, which is only $200 more than it was last week. And finally, he has a 60 percent cash game value probability per my metrics.

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