DFS Roundtable: Shopping for Quarterback Value

Identify for us your favorite mid-to-low dollar quarterback and explain why.

We know that most of the top-salaried Week 8 quarterbacks face strong matchups. But playing Carson Wentz isn't the only way to kick off a roster build, of course. As an alternative way to construct a build, we can opt to go cheap (or even dirt-cheap) at quarterback, load up elsewhere, and catch the rest of the field napping. Whether you'll be using this strategy for Week 8 or not, identify for us you favorite mid-to-low dollar QB (let's think sub-$6,000 on DK or $8,000 on FD) and explain why.

On FanDuel, Carson Wentz makes the most sense for a cash game build. Wentz has been phenomenal with 11 touchdowns over his past 3 games and gets a home date with the 49ers, who are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Fading Wentz in FanDuel cash games is a risky proposition this week as he has the ceiling for 3-4 touchdowns in this game. For GPP tournaments, there are a handful of other quarterbacks that have the potential to outscore Wentz on a points-per-dollar basis this week. 

Russell Wilson ($7,900): Has averaged 300 passing yards over his past 4 games, and the Texans defense will see some regression moving forward without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus.

Kirk Cousins ($7,800): Great spot in a potential shootout game against the Cowboys. After a slow start, Cousins has looked great with multiple touchdowns in each of his past four games. 

Cam Newton ($7,800): It's hard to trust Newton, but this is more about attacking the Buccaneers defense, who have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

On DraftKings, Andy Dalton ($5,700) stands out as the top cash-game quarterback. While Wentz is a fine option, the $1,500 in savings on DraftKings gives your lineup a lot of flexibility. For DraftKings GPP tournaments, Kirk Cousins ($6,400) Dak Prescott ($7,300) Cam Newton ($6,600) and Russell Wilson (6,500) are all solid pivots from Wentz or Dalton.

Jason Wood: I'll preface my response by acknowledging Wentz as my top choice on the main slates for both FanDuel and DraftKings. But as you note, Justin, he's certainly not the only option.

On FanDuel, where salaries are tightly bound, my favorite sub-$8K quarterbacks are Wentz ($7,900), Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston ($7,600) and Andy Dalton. If there's ever a week to be excited by Dalton, it's a home game versus the woeful Colts. Winston gets a key divisional game and is coming off his best performance of the season. Cousins faces a near must-win divisional game versus the Cowboys, a team with a terrible secondary. Last but not least (in fact, my top choice outside of Wentz) is Wilson, who gets a home game against the Texans. Houston has a bit of an overrated defense following the losses of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Without those pass rushers, I don't think Houston can pressure Wilson in the way most teams do.

On DraftKings, I don't love the sub-$6,000 quarterbacks all that much outside of Dalton ($5,700) for the reasons I've already discussed. Winston ($6,100) is slightly over your cap, but is still fairly inexpensive versus the likes of Tom Brady ($7,600), Dak Prescott ($7,300), and Wentz ($7,200). Tyrod Taylor ($5,900) is worth a look, as he's been rock-solid at home and faces a disappointing Raiders defense.

Dan Hindery: On FanDuel, I see no reason to be aggressive in trying to find quarterback value. The pricing still hasn’t caught up on Wentz, and as Jason mentioned, the quarterback pricing range is fairly narrow. Case Keenum ($6,900) is an interesting option against an awful Cleveland pass defense. But the savings of just $1,000 compared to Wentz and Russell Wilson and $900 compared to Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins doesn’t give you enough of a roster-building advantage to make it a worthwhile gamble.

On DraftKings, the pricing is tighter at other positions, and there is more of a price gap between the top passers and the bargain-basement guys. For example, Andy Dalton is $1,500 cheaper than Wentz ($7,200), which is significant compared to the $300 gap between the two on FanDuel. Dalton is my favorite of the pay down options. The Bengals have a solid 26-point implied team total and should find the end zone at least 2-3 times against a bad Indianapolis defense. Cincinnati has struggled to run the ball in the red zone (only one rushing touchdown all season), so all or most of the touchdowns should flow through Dalton. The Colts lost their best defender, Malik Hooker, to a season-ending knee injury in Week 7, which is yet another reason to like this passing matchup for Dalton and the Bengals.

James Brimacombe: This is a shout out to Austin Lee's Normalized Strength of Schedule article, which he puts out every week, and at quarterback I am narrowing it down to the top six players from that chart. On FanDuel, those players this week are Philip Rivers ($7,500), Carson Wentz, Cam Newton ($7,800), and Matt Ryan ($8,100). These quarterbacks are all priced right on FanDuel and I am planning on running some QB/WR stacks for GPPs with all six of them. Because each quarterback is priced in the $7,500-$8,100 range, they should be easy to mix-and-match in different lineups, and they all give you nice pivots off the top three priced options in Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, and Drew Brees. Rivers, Wentz and Newton grade out at 1, 2, 3 with the Normalized SOS (Last 5 Weeks), and those are three I will have the most exposure to this week.

Chris Feery: Carson Wentz is certainly an appealing option for Week 8, but there’s plenty of other interesting value out there that you can pivot to. On FanDuel, Russell Wilson, Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, and Philip Rivers all check in at a sub-$8k price point. A case can be made for any one of them, but Cousins and Dalton are the two that I’m leaning toward. Cousins has been playing at a high level, and he’s tossed multiple scores in four consecutive games. He should be able to pull the same trick in a potential shootout against the Dallas Cowboys.

Dalton gets to face off against the sieve-like defense of the Indianapolis Colts, which has been a fruitful proposition for opposing signal callers this season. On DraftKings, the pickings are a little slimmer at the $6k or less threshold. Taylor and Dalton are there at $5,900 and $5,700 respectively, and that’ll leave you plenty of room to build out competitive rosters.

Danny Tuccitto: The fact that we're all on the same page here tells you just how obvious Dalton and Taylor are as the quarterback value options this week. In choosing between the two, I favor Dalton for a couple of reasons. First, he has a higher probability of achieving value on DraftKings, both in cash games (55% vs. 48%) and in tournaments (25% vs. 19%). Second, Taylor's salary is the highest it's been all season after an $800 increase from last week. So while he's a value, that value isn't also coming at a discount.

One word of caution on Dalton, however. Although the math based on his salary and projection spits out a tournament value probability of 25%, he's only actually hit 4x value in 5 of his 51 games since the start of 2014. That concern doesn't exist for cash games, as Dalton's 55% value probability is commensurate with his 51% actual 3x hit rate (26 of 51 games).


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