The 2018 NFL season, is still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 24.0 points per game per team. The action continues with an 11-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at the quarterbacks at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
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This week, there are four quarterbacks at the top of our individual Pro Models.
- Aaron Rodgers: $6,400 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
- Drew Brees: $6,300 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel
- Jared Goff: $6,100 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel
- Ryan Fitzpatrick: $5,900 DraftKings; $7,600 FanDuel
Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers (-10) vs. Miami Dolphins, 47.5 Over/Under
UPDATE (11/10): Wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) is questionable to play after suffering a setback in Thursday’s practice. He should be considered a game-time decision.
Even though he has a banged-up receiving unit and was playing through a knee injury he suffered in the season-opener, Rodgers entered the Week 7 bye playing as well as any quarterback in the league, passing for 867 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 44 yards in Weeks 5-6.
No quarterback scored more fantasy points than Rodgers in that two-game span. His average of 32.5 DraftKings points per game over that time was accompanied by a robust +14.12 Plus/Minus. Rodgers entered the bye looking every bit like the league’s best quarterback.
Since then, however, he’s been handcuffed (as he has for his entire career) by the unimaginative scheme and predictable play-calling of head coach Mike McCarthy. In each of his past two games, Rodgers has passed for fewer than 300 yards and three touchdowns and failed to hit 20 DraftKings points. He hasn’t been awful — because he’s still one of the best pure players of his generation — but he’s nonetheless been a disappointment given his salary-based expectations.
This week, though, he’s enticing. He’s objectively been the best fantasy quarterback of the past decade — he has seven top-two fantasy finishes since 2008 — he’s still near the peak of his productive powers, and yet he’s cheaper than Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes by $800 on DraftKings and $1,200 on FanDuel. Mahomes is playing at an MVP level, but anytime Rodgers is available as a discounted home favorite, exposure in guaranteed prize pools is warranted.
As a starter, Rodgers has easily been his best at home, as a favorite and outside of division. This weekend, he’s on the positive side of all those splits: #Triangulation.
- Non-divisional home favorite (42 games): 29.6 fantasy points, 300.7 yards and 2.55 touchdowns passing
- All other situations (108 games): 25.0 fantasy points, 259.8 yards and 2.04 touchdowns passing
With Rodgers, the Packers have a 25-17 over/under record as non-divisional home favorites, giving over bettors a 16.1% return on investment (per Bet Labs). Unsurprisingly, when Rodgers is in an advantageous situation against a team that hasn’t faced him two times per year for the past decade, the Packers put up points.
Rodgers has a good matchup against the Dolphins. Over the past month, the Dolphins have been exploited by every quarterback they’ve faced not named “Sam Darnold.”
- Mitchell Trubisky (Week 6): 31.3 DraftKings points, +15.85 Plus/Minus, 71.0% completion rate, 316 yards and three touchdowns passing, 47 yards rushing
- Matthew Stafford (Week 7): 17.6 DraftKings points, +0.82 Plus/Minus, 81.8% completion rate, 217 yards and two touchdowns passing, nine yards rushing
- Deshaun Watson (Week 8): 31.0 DraftKings points, +13.43 Plus/Minus, 80.0% completion rate, 239 yards and five touchdowns passing, 14 yards rushing
Even with emerging cornerback Xavien Howard, the Dolphins are 26th in the league with a Pro Football Focus (PFF) coverage grade of 65.3. Not one of their core defenders has a coverage grade of even 70.
Playing alongside Howard, cornerbacks Bobby McCain and Torry McTyer have seen significant action this year. McCain is a 2015 fifth-rounder who started on only a part-time basis before this season. McTyer is a 2017 undrafted signee who saw only limited action last year. Neither has a coverage grade of even 60, and collectively they have allowed a 70.9% completion rate and 607 yards passing on 55 targets.
Even with do-it-all first-round rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick lining up all over the field as a slot corner, box defender and free safety, the Dolphins have an exploitable defense, especially since they generate almost no pass rush: The Dolphins rank 29th in the league with a mark of 4.8% in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate. Last week, safety Reshad Jones took himself out of the game after just 10 snaps. He wasn’t injured. He just didn’t feel like playing.
Since Week 4, the only opponents not to score 27-plus points against the Dolphins have been the hapless Jets. This defense feels like it’s on the tipping point of disaster.
Wide receiver Geronimo Allison (groin) was placed on the injured reserve this week, but the Packers have a wealth of young talent at the position thanks to the addition this offseason of all-name rookies Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and J’Mon Moore. Allison has missed three of the past four games and saw only one target in Week 8.
Filling in for him, MVS has played over half of the snaps and either hit 100 yards or scored a touchdown in each game since Week 5. Although he was selected in the fifth-round, the rookie has proven himself more than capable of filling in for the injured Allison and has seemingly already surpassed the veteran Randall Cobb on the depth chart.
With MVS emerging opposite of wide receiver Davante Adams, who has either 80 yards or a touchdown in every game this year, Rodgers is positioned to smash. For GPPs, you might want to use our Lineup Builder to stack Rodgers with Adams, who is third in the league with 17 red-zone targets. Since 2014, NFL quarterbacks on average have had a 0.53 correlation with their No. 1 wide receivers. With Adams, Rodgers has a 0.77 mark.
Rodgers has top-three median, ceiling and floor projections on DraftKings, where he’s tied for first with 10 Pro Trends and is the highest-rated quarterback in every Pro Model except for one (Freedman). For good measure, he’s also the top FanDuel passer in the CSURAM88, Levitan, SportsGeek and Freedman Models.
Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints (-5) at Cincinnati Bengals, 54 O/U
UPDATE (11/10): Wide receiver Dez Bryant (Achilles) suffered a season-ending injury in Friday’s practice.
Remember last year when people thought Brees had a bad season, even though he completed an NFL-record 72.0% of his passes? He’s upped the ante this year with an outrageous league-high 76.3% completion rate. On top of that, his 2017 touchdown rate of 4.3% has progressed to 6.5% this year.
Entering the season, Brees had been a top-six fantasy quarterback every single year since joining the Saints in 2006 — except for last season. Unsurprisingly, he has reclaimed his top-six status this year and is once again producing at a prolific rate.
It’s hard to identify an area of the passing game in which Brees is truly deficient. He doesn’t air it out often, but he leads the league with his 137.0 QB Rating on deep passes. He has NFL-high completion rates of 79.7% with play action and 75.7% without play action.
Possessing one of the quickest releases in the league, Brees leads all quarterbacks with his 80.7% completion rate when holding the ball for no more than 2.5 seconds in the pocket — and no passer gets rid of the ball within that span more frequently than Brees does with his 65.4% rate. He’s exceeded his expected completion percentage by an NFL-best 8.0% margin (Next Gen Stats).
Brees isn’t a major player in the MVP race right now, but he should be, especially after the Saints knocked the Rams out of the No. 1 spot in The Action Network NFL Power Ratings. Last week, Brees was the No. 1 fantasy quarterback on the slate, scoring 34.4 DraftKings points against the Rams with his 346-yard, four-touchdown passing performance. After knocking off the previously undefeated Rams with their seventh win a row, the Saints have seen their odds to win the Super Bowl jump from +700 to +350.
Nevertheless, there are concerns with Brees this week. Since joining the Saints, Brees has easily been his best at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, more commonly known as the Coors Field of fantasy football, and throughout his career he’s been far better in a dome than outdoors.
- Brees in a dome (125 games): 69.6%, 310.3 yards, 8.2 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A)
- Outdoors (123 games): 64.7%, 251.0 yards, 7.0 AY/A
Playing outside in what’s projected to be crisp 45-degree weather, Brees will likely not be at his best. This year, in his two starts outdoors he’s averaged 12.7 DraftKings points on 214.5 yards and one touchdown passing per game.
On top of of that, Brees has averaged only 29.5 pass attempts per game since the return of running back Mark Ingram (suspension). While that number is likely deflated because of the small sample, there’s no doubt that in the Ingram-Alvin Kamara backfield era, Brees has seen his passing volume decline.
- 2006-16, pre-Ingram/Kamara (174 games): 39.9 pass attempts, 309.0 yards and 2.22 touchdowns passing
- 2017-18, Kamara only (four games): 40.3 pass attempts, 323.8 yards and two touchdowns passing
- 2017-18, Ingram & Kamara (20 games): 32.8 pass attempts, 269.0 yards and 1.65 touchdowns passing
With Ingram, Brees this season has averaged just 260.3 yards passing per game. It’s alarming that Brees has been so negatively impacted by the presence of his longtime back.
But Brees is still in play. The Bengals-Saints game has the slate’s highest over/under, and the Bengals have allowed a top-four mark of 26.7 DraftKings points per game to quarterbacks. With the exception of the unimpressive Ryan Tannehill (Week 6), quarterbacks have emphatically tamed the Bengals.
- Andrew Luck (Week 1): 23.5 DraftKings points, 73.6% completion rate, 319-2-1 passing, 1-7-0 rushing
- Joe Flacco (Week 2): 23.8 DraftKings points, 58.2% completion rate, 376-2-2 passing, 3-8-0 rushing
- Cam Newton (Week 3): 29.6 DraftKings points, 62.5% completion rate, 150-2-0 passing, 10-36-2 rushing
- Matt Ryan (Week 4): 32.3 DraftKings points, 74.4% completion rate, 419-3-0 passing, 2-5-0 rushing
- Ben Roethlisberger (Week 6): 24.6 DraftKings points, 69.6% completion rate, 369-1-0 passing
- Patrick Mahomes (Week 7): 36.8 DraftKings points, 71.8% completion rate, 358-4-1 passing, 4-45-0 rushing
- Jameis Winston & Ryan Fitzpatrick (Week 8): 32.4 DraftKings points, 58.0% completion rate, 470-3-4 passing, 4-36-0 rushing
Not one of the starting cornerbacks for the Bengals has a PFF coverage grade of even 65, and Brees could have a big day targeting Kamara out of the backfield given that the Bengals rank 28th in pass defense against running backs with an 18.9% mark in FO’s DVOA.
Coming out of the Week 9 bye, the Bengals should theoretically be rested and ready, but that doesn’t mean they will be healthy. Slot corner Darqueze Dennard (shoulder) and linebacker Nick Vigil (knee) missed Weeks 7-8, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hip) missed Week 8. All of them are questionable as of writing, and the absence of any of them could expose the defense.
And with the recent free-agent signing of wide receiver Dez Bryant, the Saints have given Brees one of the best red-zone receivers of the past decade. Bryant probably won’t play much if at all in Week 10, but he could be a good complementary piece to wide receivers Mike Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith this year.
Brees is tied for first with 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where he’s the No. 1 quarterback in the Freedman Model.
Jared Goff: Los Angeles Rams (-10) vs. Seattle Seahawks, 47.5 O/U
The Rams are coming off their first loss of the season, but they have hit their implied Vegas totals in an NFL-high 18 of 25 games under beard model and HC Sean McVay since last season. The Rams averaged a league-high 29.9 points per game last season, and this season they have improved to an average of 33.2.
That will almost certainly regress, but this offense is as good as any unit in the league, and the non-acting Ryan Gosling lookalike at quarterback has a lot to do with it: Goff has at least 300 yards and/or multiple touchdowns passing in 15 of 17 regular-season starts since last season’s Week 8 bye.
Deployed in a high-efficiency, fantasy-friendly way, Goff has used play action on a league-leading 37.7% of his attempts, and although he’s thrown deep (20-plus yards) just 34 times this year, he leads the league with his 61.8% accuracy rate on such passes.
Goff entered his Week 9 matchup with the Rams having completed just 58.6% of his pass attempts over his three previous starts, but he was also without his fair-haired doppelgänger and slot wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) for most of that time. Kupp returned last week to face the Saints, playing 100% of the team’s offensive snaps, and Goff responded with one of his best games of the year, completing 70% of his passes on the way to 391 yards, three touchdown and 30.3 FanDuel points.
Kupp is a key contributor to the Rams. Even though he’s missed two games and significant parts of two others this year, he’s still top-10 in the league with seven targets inside the 10-yard line. Goff isn’t entirely reliant on Kupp, but his splits this season without a healthy Kupp are telling.
- Kupp plays 50% of snaps (six games): 24.9 FanDuel points, +8.19 Plus/Minus, 353 yards and 2.5 touchdowns passing
- Kupp doesn’t play 50% of snaps (three games): 17.1 FanDuel points, -0.67 Plus/Minus, 232.7 yards and 1.67 touchdowns passing
With Kupp back and fully healthy, Goff should be playing at full capacity.
The Seahawks have never been double-digit dogs with quarterback Russell Wilson, but they’ve done remarkably well as dogs of more than a field goal, going an outstanding 10-1 against the spread, and they present a tough matchup for Goff. The Seahawks defense is missing many of the marquee players who made the unit a feared force just a few years ago, but it has been rebuilt on the fly this season.
The Seahawks are fifth overall in defensive DVOA (-9.4%) and fifth in pass-defense DVOA (-8.2%). They’ve held quarterbacks to a bottom-three mark of 14.8 FanDuel points per game. This year, only Broncos quarterback Case Keenum has scored 20-plus FanDuel points against them, and that was in Week 1, which may as well be last season.
Additionally, even though earlier this year Goff had a decent game against the Seahawks in a 33-31 Week 5 road victory, completing 71.9% of his passes for a 321-1-2 stat line, he did little against them in 2017, even when the Rams scored a lot of points.
- 2017, Week 5 (16-10 loss in Seattle): 9.7 FanDuel points, -5.48 Plus/Minus, 46.8% completion rate, 288-0-2 passing, 1-22-0 rushing
- 2017, Week 16 (42-7 victory in Los Angeles): 11.8 FanDuel points, -4.57 Plus/Minus, 66.7% completion rate, 120-2-1 passing, 0-0-0 rushing
As these two games show, there are multiple paths to failure for Goff this week. He could have a legitimately poor performance against a defense that has forced five interceptions in three matchups. Or he could be rendered needless in a blowout victory. Given that Goff has had a top-two ownership rate at the position in each of the past three weeks, he’s not without risk.
But Goff is a big home favorite and thus on the positive side of his splits, averaging 21.9 FanDuel points across his nine games as a home favorite in the McVay era. The Rams trail only the Chiefs with their implied total of 30.5 points, and Goff can still be rostered at low ownership if stacked creatively with teammates and opposing Seahawks players.
Goff is the No. 1 FanDuel quarterback in the Koerner Model.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) vs. Washington Redskins, 51.5 O/U
UPDATE (11/10): Right tackle Demar Dotson (knee, shoulder) and running back Peyton Barber (ankle) will play after practicing in full on Friday. Running back Ronald Jones (hamstring) has been ruled out.
The spread opened as a pick’em, but it has moved significantly toward the Bucs. FitzMagic mania is in full effect. On the Wednesday edition of The Action Network NFL Podcast, guest Scott Barrett highlighted Fitz as his potential cash-game quarterback for the week, and it’s to see why Scott is bullish on Fitz.
Fitz has probably the league’s best collection of pass-catching talent in wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, and with these playmakers he’s been aggressive in pushing the ball downfield: He leads the league with marks of 9.7 yards per attempt and 11.3-yard average depth of target. In his four complete games this season he’s averaged an NFL-best 31.9 FanDuel points per game.
There’s always a question as to whether Fitz will be magical enough to avoid a mid-game benching, but in his 11 Bucs games with a snap rate of at least 25%, Fitz has still managed 20.7 FanDuel points per game.
Fitz has a good overall matchup against the Redskins. Although they rank eighth with a PFF coverage grade of 77.7, the Redskins are one of the most injured teams in the league, especially on offense.
- Wide receiver Jamison Crowder: Ankle, questionable – out since Week 5
- Wide receiver Paul Richardson: Shoulder, IR
- Running back Chris Thompson: Ribs, questionable – missed Weeks 6-7 & 9
- Left tackle Trent Williams: Thumb, doubtful – missed Week 9
- Left guard Shawn Lauvao: knee, IR
- Right guard Brandon Scherff: pectoral, IR
Without their two best wide receivers, best pass-catching back and three starting offensive linemen, the Redskins could struggle to sustain drives, which in turn could put more pressure on their defense and make it more vulnerable.
On top of that, the Redskins will likely be without cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin), who missed Weeks 7-8 and exited Week 9 early after aggravating his leg injury. Replacing him on the outside will be a combination of Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson, two seventh-round and undrafted rookies who have allowed a 15-252-3 receiving line on 22 targets and 142 coverage snaps. With one of Evans, Godwin and D-Jax slated to face a first-year corner on every snap, Fitzpatrick will look to exploit that matchup regularly throughout the game.
This year, thanks to their magnificent combination of high-scoring offense (28.6 points per game) and sieve-like defense (34.4 points per game allowed), the Bucs have seen an NFL-high seven games hit the over. I’m betting this game makes it eight.
On Sunday morning, I will probably look to bet the over on Fitzpatrick’s passing yardage prop. He’s averaged a healthy 38 pass attempts and 316.9 yards in his seven full games.To find the best bets in the props market, use our Player Props Tool, which is powered by our industry-leading projections. Since Week 1, the props with a bet quality of 10 have gone 174-86-6, good for a 65% win rate.
Without question, you should supplement your DFS action with player props.
Fitzpatrick is the highest-rated FanDuel quarterback in the Bales and Raybon Models.
Positional Breakdowns & News
Be sure to read the other Week 10 positional breakdowns.
For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.
Pictured above: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) with head coach Dirk Koetter
Photo credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports