The Week 7 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. ET. In this piece, I highlight the quarterbacks who stand out in our large suite of analytical DFS Tools, most specifically the industry-leading FantasyLabs Models.
Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models
There are three quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
- Kyler Murray: $6,700 DraftKings; $7,700 FanDuel
- Russell Wilson: $6,600 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel
- Joshua Allen: $6,500 DraftKings; $7,700 FanDuel
Kyler Murray: Arizona Cardinals (+3) at New York Giants, 49 Over/Under
UPDATE (Oct. 19): RB David Johnson (ankle) and WR Christian Kirk (ankle) are game-time decisions.
Murray entered the season as a top-five dynasty rookie, and it’s hard to say that he’s disappointed. The course of true love never did run smooth, and Kyler has had a bumpy road to this point in the season, but he’s the No. 7 FanDuel quarterback with 21.7 points per game.
On top of that, Murray is No. 4 at the position with an elite +5.97 Plus/Minus on FanDuel, where he’s the only starting quarterback to hit salary-based expectations in every game with his 100% Consistency Rating.
Murray is yet to have a true breakout game, but every week he has been no worse than a mid-tier fantasy QB2 (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
Throughout his campaign, Murray has continued to progress as a passer and runner.
- Week 1 (vs. Lions): 22.6 FanDuel points, 29-of-54 for 308-2-1 passing, 3-13-0 rushing
- Week 2 (at Ravens): 16.4 FanDuel points, 25-of-40 for 349-0-0 passing, 3-4-0 rushing
- Week 3 (vs. Panthers): 19.8 FanDuel points, 30-of-43 for 173-2-2 passing, 8-69-0 rushing
- Week 4 (vs. Seahawks): 17.3 FanDuel points, 22-of-32 for 241-0-1 passing, 4-27-1 rushing
- Week 5 (at Bengals): 25.4 FanDuel points, 20-of-32 for 253-0-0 passing, 10-93-1 rushing
- Week 6 (vs. Falcons): 28.8 FanDuel points, 27-of-37 for 340-3-0 passing, 11-32-0 rushing
What’s perhaps most encouraging about Murray is that, although he did little as a runner in his first couple of games, he’s No. 2 at the position with 39.7 rushing yards and No. 3 with 6.5 carries and 1.5 red-zone carries per game (per Player Profiler). Kyler has true Konami Code ability.
And for a rookie, he has demonstrated potential as a passer. He’s No. 10 with 277.3 yards passing per game and No. 18 with a 64.3% completion rate. Murray has been rather shy about attacking defenses downfield: He’s No. 22 with a 7.9-yard average depth of target (aDOT). And his numbers are undoubtedly by the Cardinals’ fast pace and aerial-inclined offense: Murray is No. 4 with 238 pass attempts. But it would be hard to expect much more from a first-year passer.
As for Week 7, Murray has a great matchup. The Giants are incredibly flawed on defense. They’re No. 32 in the league with a 38.7 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus). With the exception of the Jay Gruden-tainted Case Keenum-and-Dwayne Haskins tag team in Week 4, every quarterback to face the Giants defense has pulled a Voldemort and defiled it with dark magic.
- Dak Prescott (Week 1): 33.4 FanDuel points, 25-of-32 for 405-4-0 passing, 4-12-0 rushing
- Joshua Allen (Week 2): 22.2 FanDuel points, 19-of-30 for 253-1-0 passing, 7-21-1 rushing
- Jameis Winston (Week 3): 26.5 FanDuel points, 23-of-37 for 380-3-1 passing, 4-3-0 rushing
- Kirk Cousins (Week 5): 20.5 FanDuel points, 22-of-27 for 306-2-0 passing, 3-3-0 rushing
- Tom Brady (Week 6): 23.0 FanDuel points, 31-of-41 for 334-0-1 passing, 7-6-2 rushing
Horcrux city. These five quarterbacks combined for 25.1 FanDuel points per game against the Giants with a vicious +9.22 Plus/Minus and 100% Consistency Rating.
Second-year wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) has missed the past two games, but I tentatively expect him to play given that he practiced on a limited basis every day last week. If he returns, he could provide a significant boost to the offense, given that for the first month of the season he led the Cardinals with 37 targets and 24 receptions.
Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald have especially strong matchups in the slot, where they will face Grant Haley and presumably Antonio Hamilton at corner. (Given that the Cardinals are the league’s only team to use a four-wide set as their standard package, there’s often some uncertainty about who opposing teams will use as their No. 4 corner.)
Haley is a second-year undrafted player who owns a 45.8 PFF coverage grade and has allowed an 82.1% catch rate this year. And Hamilton is even worse as the team’s reserve corner: A four-year undrafted vet, Hamilton has just 74 career coverage snaps to his name. In Week 1, he allowed a 7-77-0 receiving line on seven targets: He hasn’t played since. And if the Giants opt not to go with Hamilton, they might use Corey Ballentine, a sixth-round rookie with only 10 defensive snaps of NFL experience.
Against such players, Kirk and Fitz might be able to gift 300 passing yards to Murray all on their own.
On FanDuel especially, Murray is a strong option for cash games and guaranteed prize pools. He’s simply far too cheap. While he has the No. 3 quarterback salary at DraftKings, on FanDuel he’s tied for No. 6. The value he offers is immense.
Murray is the No. 1 quarterback in the Bales, Levitan, Koerner, Raybon, SportsGeek and Freedman Models for FanDuel, where he has position-high marks with a +4.23 Projected Plus/Minus, three Pro Trends and nice 69% Bargain Rating.
Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals, 50 O/U
UPDATE (Oct. 19): Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (knee) is expected not to play.
In the post-Marshawn Lynch era (since 2016), Wilson has been his best at home (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool).
- Home (28 games): 22.2 DraftKings points, +3.32 Plus/Minus, 60.7% Consistency Rating
- Away (28 games): 19.7 DraftKings points, +0.88 Plus/Minus, 46.4% Consistency Rating
And it’s not a surprise that he has notable splits: The Seahawks are one of the league’s best home teams. Under head coach Pete Carroll (since 2010), the Seahawks are 46-32-3 against the spread at home, good for a 15.1% return on investment (per Bet Labs).
In the Carroll era, the Seahawks have averaged 21.6 points per game on the road but 26.5 at CenturyLink Field. That home/road offensive differential of +4.9 points is No. 3 in the league.
Even though the Seahawks are just No. 29 with a 51.6% pass-play rate, Wilson is the No. 4 DraftKings quarterback with 27.0 points per game and No. 2 with a +9.04 Plus/Minus.
Over his past 16 regular-season games (dating back to last year’s Week 7 bye), Wilson has been a fantasy QB1 an outstanding 12 times.
The key to Wilson’s production has been his unbelievable efficiency. He’s No. 1 in the league with a 7.4% touchdown rate, 0.0% interception rate, 10.5 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) and 0.26 passing fantasy points over expectation per attempt (paFPOEPA, per RotoViz Screener).
Could Wilson regress? Sure, he could. But last year he was No. 2 with an 8.2% touchdown rate, tied for No. 6 with a 1.7% interception rate, No. 3 with a 9.0 AY/A and tied for No. 1 with a 0.22 paFPOEPA. His touchdown rate has already regressed from his 2018 mark, and even if his other stats regress, Wilson still seems likely to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks.
And Wilson’s production might be somewhat sustainable: His efficiency is backed by high-value attempts. He’s No. 1 with 22 end-zone targets, No. 2 with four carries inside the five-yard line and No. 6 with a 9.8-yard aDOT. When Wilson throws, he goes deep and looks to score, and when he’s close to the goal line, he doesn’t necessarily look to hand the ball of to a running back. It’s no wonder he’s No. 1 with 0.73 DraftKings points per dropback (per PFF).
Wilson’s matchup against the Ravens isn’t great, but it’s certainly not bad. They’re No. 21 with a 12.9% pass defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders). The three quarterbacks to face the Ravens this year most similar to Wilson in skill, style of play and salary have all had success.
- Kyler Murray (Week 2): 19.4 DraftKings points, 25-of-40 for 349-0-0 passing, 3-4-0 rushing
- Patrick Mahomes (Week 3): 30.9 DraftKings points, 27-of-37 for 374-3-0 passing, 4-9-0 rushing
- Baker Mayfield (Week 4): 19.8 DraftKings points, 20-of-30 for 342-1-1 passing, 3-1-0 rushing
Collectively, these quarterbacks combined for 23.3 DraftKings points with a +5.38 Plus/Minus and 100% Consistency Rating.
The Ravens secondary is very vulnerable right now. Cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) hasn’t played since Week 1. Slot corner Tavon Young (neck, injured reserve) is out. Starting safety Tony Jefferson (knee, injured reserve) suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5. But they did just trade for cornerback Marcus Peters, who will likely match up with rookie wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, and No. 1 corner Marlon Humphrey should shadow slot receiver Tyler Lockett. So maybe Baltimore’s pass defense will be improved.
Plus, Wilson will be without second-year breakout tight end Will Dissly (Achilles), who suffered a season-ending injury last week. Even so, it’s hard not to like Wilson against the Ravens.
Metcalf is a big-play receiver and No. 2 in the league with seven end-zone targets, and Peters is a boom/bust interception-seeking gambler susceptible to double moves and long touchdowns. Lockett is one of the league’s most dynamic receivers with his 82.1% catch rate and 11.1% touchdown rate, and Humphrey has just two games of slot shadow experience. Humphrey is talented: Across his three-year career, he’s held opposing receivers to a 49.2% catch rate. I give him the edge against Lockett.
But it also wouldn’t be surprising to see a slot savant like Lockett outclass a defender who rarely plays in the middle of the field.
With his advantageous matchup and year-to-date production, Wilson is viable in cash games and tournaments, especially on DraftKings, where he’s significantly discounted. While Wilson has the No. 1 quarterback salary at FanDuel, he’s priced at No. 4 on DraftKings. One word: Arbitrage.
Wilson is the unanimous No. 1 quarterback in all our Pro Models for DraftKings, where he leads the position with his median, ceiling and floor projections.
Josh Allen: Buffalo Bills (-17) vs. Miami Dolphins, 40 O/U
UPDATE (Oct. 19): RB Devin Singletary (hamstring) is expected to play. Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (knee) is questionable.
I’m a long-time Allen cynic: I compared him to Jake Locker before the 2018 draft, primarily because of his playing style and subpar completion rates.
- 2014 (Reedley CC): 49.0%
- 2015 (Wyoming): Injured
- 2016 (Wyoming): 56.0%
- 2014 (Wyoming): 56.3%
The guy couldn’t complete even half of his passes at junior college.
But after returning from a mid-season elbow injury last year, he was the No. 1 FanDuel quarterback over the final six weeks of the season, averaging 25.4 points per game with a +9.70 Plus/Minus and 83.3% Consistency Rating.
Over that time, he had a subpar 51.9% completion rate and 6.0 AY/A, but he compensated for his aerial inefficiency with a Tim Tebow-like will to pull the ball down and run whenever a passing play failed to develop quickly. From Week 12 on, he averaged 79.3 yards and 0.83 touchdowns on nine carries per game.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t opened 2019 as prolifically as he closed 2018.
But Allen also hasn’t played poorly. He’s the No. 13 FanDuel quarterback with 17.9 points per game. He’s been no worse than a high-end fantasy QB2 every week but one, thanks primarily to his elevated Konami Code floor: Allen is No. 2 at the position with 8.2 carries and 1.8 red-zone carries and No. 3 with 31.6 rushing yards per game.
And Allen has also progressed as a passer. He’s bumped his completion rate up to 62.6%, and although he has seven interceptions in five games, four of those came against tough Patriots and Titans secondaries. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to say he’s good. I’m just saying that he’s probably no longer the league’s worst passer, and that wasn’t the case in 2018.
It helps that over the past year, the Bills have made it a priority to increase the play-making and pass-catching talent around him via free agency and the draft.
- Running backs: Frank Gore (free agency), Devin Singletary (draft), T.J. Yeldon (free agency)
- Wide receivers: John Brown (free agency), Cole Beasley (free agency), Duke Williams (free agency)
- Tight ends: Tyler Kroft (free agency), Dawson Knox (draft), Tommy Sweeney (draft)
Basically, Allen has seen upgrades at every skill position, and the roster moves have seemingly paid off so far.
There are a few factors Allen has in his favor this weekend.
To start with, he’s a massive home favorite, and although the sample is a small four games, Allen has devastated opponents when favored at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
- Fantasy: 25.2 FanDuel points, +8.95 Plus/Minus, 100% Consistency Rating
- Passing: 219.3 yards, 1.25 touchdowns, one interception
- Rushing: 64.5 yards, one touchdown
On top of that, the Bills are coming off the bye. They should be rested and fully prepared.
And most importantly, they are playing the 0-5 Dolphins, who are in full-on tank mode. The Dolphins are No. 32 with 36 points per game allowed to opposing teams, 25.0 FanDuel points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and a 73.8% pass defense DVOA.
Every starting quarterback to face them except the hapless Keenum has had top-tier production.
- Lamar Jackson (Week 1): 33.6 FanDuel points, 17-of-20 for 324-5-0 passing, 3-6-0 rushing
- Tom Brady (Week 2): 24.7 FanDuel points, 20-of-28 for 264-2-0 passing, 2-1-1 rushing
- Dak Prescott (Week 3): 23.5 FanDuel points, 19-of-32 for 246-2-1 passing, 2-7-1 rushing
- Philip Rivers (Week 4): 20.4 FanDuel points, 24-of-30 for 310-2-0 passing, 1-0-0 rushing
Gone from last year’s unit are edge defenders Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn, tackle Akeem Spence, linebacker Kiko Alonso and safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. McDonald. With that much defensive turnover, it’s not surprising that the Dolphins have struggled to prevent points.
And last week they were without No. 1 cornerback Xavien Howard (knee). He practiced each day in Week 6 on a limited basis, so I tentatively expect him to play. But he’s no longer a shutdown corner. This season, he’s allowed a 77.8% catch rate, and I have serious doubts about whether he has the speed (4.58-second 40-yard dash) to hang with lid-lifting wide receiver John Brown (4.34-second 40).
Given that Brown leads the Bills with 39 targets, 28 receptions, 390 yards receiving and 531 air yards, I would not hesitate to use our Lineup Builder to stack Allen and Brown in tournaments. I wouldn’t go with him in cash, but as a GPP pivot to Kyler, who has the same FanDuel salary and will likely be higher owned, Allen is desirable.
And let’s not forget that last year Allen’s two best games came against the divisional rival Dolphins.
- Week 13: 30.7 FanDuel points, 18-of-33 for 231-2-2 passing, 9-135-0 rushing
- Week 17: 41.5 FanDuel points, 17-of-26 for 224-3-1 passing, 9-95-2 rushing
Allen is the No. 1 quarterback in the CSURAM88 Model for FanDuel.
Upside Quarterbacks for Guaranteed Prize Pools
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans ($7,000 DK, $8,300 FD): Watson is the No. 3 DraftKings quarterback with 27.2 points per game and a robust +8.39 Plus/Minus. The Colts are No. 22 with a 53.7 PFF coverage grade, and the salary-similar quarterbacks to face them in Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers combined for 25.3 DraftKings points per game. Watson is on the positive side of his reverse splits: In his 12 career games as an underdog, he’s averaged 27.5 DraftKings points with a +10.23 Plus/Minus and 83.3% Consistency Rating. UPDATE (Oct. 19): RT Tytus Howard (knee) is out. Colts FS Malik Hooker (knee) is doubtful.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens ($6,800 DK, $8,400 FD): L-Jax is the No. 1 FanDuel quarterback with 26.2 points per game and a +8.76 Plus/Minus. The four non-backup quarterbacks to play complete games against the Seahawks — Andy Dalton, Kyler Murray, Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield — collectively averaged 19.9 FanDuel points per game with a +4.17 Plus/Minus and 100% Consistency Rating. Jackson is easily No. 1 among quarterbacks with 11.5 carries, 2.0 red-zone carries and 76.7 rushing yards per game. He leads the position with his median projection on FanDuel. UPDATE (Oct. 19): WR Marquise Brown (ankle) missed practice all week and is expected not to play.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ($6,400 DK, $7,600 FD): A-Rod is in the middle of a down year with just 16.0 FanDuel points per game, a -0.93 Plus/Minus and 33.3% Consistency Rating. But the Raiders have a quarterback-friendly funnel defense that ranks No. 6 against the run (-18.2% DVOA) but No. 26 against the pass (20.0% DVOA). Rodgers is on the positive side of his splits: Over the past half decade, he’s averaged 22.0 FanDuel points across his 38 games as a home favorite. UPDATE (Oct. 19): WR Davante Adams (toe) is out. WR Geronimo Allison (concussion) is expected not to play. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) had a limited practice on Friday and is questionable.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ($6,300 DK, $7,900 FD): Ryan is the No. 2 DraftKings quarterback with 27.4 points per game and a +10.12 Plus/Minus. The Falcons are No. 2 with a 70.1% pass-play rate, and Ryan leads the league with 258 attempts and 186 completions. The Rams have a funnel defense that ranks No. 5 against the run (-21.5% DVOA) but No. 20 against the pass (12.6% DVOA), and they’re without cornerbacks Aqib Talib (ribs, injured reserve) and Marcus Peters (trade). They have acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back), but he’s reportedly dealing with a lingering injury and is new to the system. Ryan has hit his salary-based expectations and the 300-yard passing bonus each week and is on the positive side of his splits: In his seven games as a home dog over the past half decade, he has averaged 26.6 DraftKings points with a +8.15 Plus/Minus and 85.7% Consistency Rating. Ryan has position-high DraftKings marks with a +4.26 Projected Plus/Minus and six Pro Trends.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams ($6,200 DK, $7,800 FD): Goff is coming off a constipating 78-yard performance, but he still has 990 yards passing over the past three weeks. The Falcons have allowed a league-high 26.4 DraftKings points per game to opposing quarterbacks and could be without No. 1 cornerback Desmond Trufant (toe), who missed Week 6. The Rams have a slate-high 28.75-point implied Vegas total. UPDATE (Oct. 19): RB Malcolm Brown (ankle) is expected to be out. Falcons CB Desmond Trufant (toe) is out.
Daniel Jones, New York Giants ($6,100 DK, $7,200 FD): Jones has been increasingly less productive with each start, but the Giants have an extra three days to rest and prepare thanks to playing last week on Thursday Night Football. Jones is No. 31 with a 5.4 AY/A, but he’s had a tough past couple of weeks with matchups against the Vikings and Patriots. The Cardinals have allowed the second-most DraftKings points to quarterbacks with 26.3 per game. UPDATE (Oct. 19): RBs Saquon Barkley (ankle) and Wayne Gallman (concussion) and TE Evan Engram (knee) are in. WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) is out.
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,400 DK, $6,900 FD): Uncle Rico is coming off a puny 163-yard outing, but before that he was no worse than a high-end fantasy QB2 in each start. The 0-6 Bengals are No. 30 with a 36.4% pass defense DVOA, and they will be without No. 1 cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee). Wide receivers D.J. Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook have notably advantageous matchups against cornerbacks B.W. Webb and Tony McRae. UPDATE (Oct. 19): TE Geoff Swaim (concussion) and WR Marqise Lee (foot) are out. WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder) is questionable.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
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Pictured above: Kyler Murray
Photo credit: USA Today Sports