The Week 9 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 3, 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.
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Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models
There are two 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.
- Russell Wilson: $7,100 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel
- Derek Carr: $5,500 DraftKings; $7,300 FanDuel
Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks (-6) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 51.5 Over/Under
The Seahawks are easily one of the league’s best home teams. Under head coach Pete Carroll (since 2010), the Seahawks are 46-33-3 against the spread at home, good for a 13.7% return on investment (per Bet Labs).
In the Carroll era, the Seahawks have averaged 21.7 points per game on the road but 26.4 at CenturyLink Field. That home/road offensive differential of +4.7 points is No. 3 in the league.
And in the post-Marshawn Lynch era (since 2016), that home dominance has translated into extra fantasy production for Wilson (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool).
- Home (30 games): 21.8 FanDuel points, +4.17 Plus/Minus, 60% Consistency Rating
- Away (31 games): 18.7 FanDuel points, +1.09 Plus/Minus, 54.8% Consistency Rating
Even though the Seahawks are just No. 29 with a 51.7% pass-play rate, Wilson is the No. 3 FanDuel quarterback with 23.3 points per game. He’s been a strong source of value with his +6.15 Plus/Minus.
As much fun as it is to disparage offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Wilson has been incredibly productive with him since he joined the team last season, especially since the 2018 Week 7 bye (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
In his past 18 regular-season games, Wilson has been a fantasy QB1 an outstanding 12 times, and only once has he finished outside the QB2 tier.
The key to Wilson’s production has been his unbelievable efficiency. He’s top-three with a 6.8% touchdown rate, 0.4% interception rate, 9.7 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) and 0.20 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 opportunities. He’s easily No. 1 with 33 end-zone attempts and No. 4 with a 10.2-yard average depth of target (aDOT). In fact, he’s No. 1 with 22 completions of 20-plus yards and 693 deep passing yards. When Wilson throws, he goes deep and looks to score. It’s no wonder he trails only Lamar Jackson with his 0.64 FanDuel points per dropback (per Pro Football Focus).
And although Wilson isn’t quite the runner he used to be, he’s still chipping in on the ground, especially near the goal line. Among quarterbacks, he’s No. 2 with four carries inside the five-yard line. Only Deshaun Watson has more than Wilson’s three rushing touchdowns at the position.
It is notable that over the past couple of weeks, without starting tight end Will Dissly (Achilles, injured reserve), Wilson has had two of his most mediocre performances this year.
- Week 7 (vs. Ravens): 15.3 FanDuel points, 20-of-41 for 241-1-1 passing, 3-27-0 rushing
- Week 8 (at Falcons): 15.7 FanDuel points, 14-of-20 for 182-2-0 passing, 4-4-0 rushing
But I’m not worried about Dissly’s absence, at least not for this week, because Wilson has a great matchup.
The Bucs have had a pretty soft schedule of opposing quarterbacks
- Week 1 (vs. 49ers): Run game-restricted Jimmy Garoppolo
- Week 2 (at Panthers): Injury-impacted Cam Newton
- Week 3 (vs. Giants): Wide-eyed Daniel Jones
- Week 4 (at Rams): Regression-saddened Jared Goff
- Week 5 (at Saints): Noodle-armed Teddy Bridgewater
- Week 6 (vs. Panthers): Experience-limited Kyle Allen
- Week 7: Bye
- Week 8 (at Titans): Undead-and-resurrected Ryan Tannehill
And yet the Bucs have still allowed the eighth-most FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks with 21.1 per game.
Although the Seahawks tend to rely on the running game, they might skew toward the pass in this matchup: The Bucs have one of the league’s most extreme funnel defenses. They are No. 1 against the run (-42.5% DVOA) but No. 26 against the pass (21.8% DVOA, per Football Outsiders). Coaches often behave irrationally, but it would make sense for the Seahawks to leverage the strength of their best player against the clear weakness of their opponent.
I especially like the matchup that wide receivers Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf have against cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who has a 44.7 PFF coverage grade and has allowed a 72.7% catch rate this year.
For most of the season, Hargreaves has lined up at right corner, which would put him against Metcalf, who is bigger (6-foot-3, 228 pounds vs. 5-foot-10, 204 pounds) and faster (4.33-second 40-yard dash vs. 4.50). When on the perimeter, Hargreaves will likely be a liability against Metcalf, who has an NFL-high 12 end-zone targets.
And last week the Bucs shifted Hargreaves to the slot in nickel packages, which means he could face Lockett for the majority of his snaps. Since breakout campaign last year, Lockett has averaged an 83.1% catch rate and 12.7 yards per target.
Against Hargreaves alone, the superior Lockett and Metcalf could gift Wilson over 100 yards and a couple touchdowns. Use our Lineup Builder to stack Wilson with his receivers.
Defensively, the Bucs are No. 2 overall with 474.7 air yards and yards after the catch allowed per game (per AirYards.com). As George puts it, “This is the signal, Jerry.”
In a main slate thinned out by the early London game and the bye week, there are few viable quarterback options. Although it’s normally not ideal to pay up at the position — and Wilson is the slate’s most expensive passer — he is a prime candidate for both cash games and guaranteed prize pools. Wilson leads all quarterbacks with his median, ceiling and floor projections.
Wilson is the unanimous No. 1 quarterback in our Pro Models for FanDuel, and he’s also the top option in the Bales, CSURAM88, Levitan and Raybon Models for DraftKings. On FanDuel, he leads the position with a +3.56 Projected Plus/Minus; on DraftKings, eight Pro Trends.
Derek Carr: Oakland Raiders (-2) vs. Detroit Lions, 50.5 O/U
UPDATE (Nov. 2): Lions CB Darius Slay (hamstring) practiced fully on Friday and seems likely to play.
I didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “Let’s attack today and go grind out a pimping Derek Carr blurb,” but life comes at you fast in a bye week. Let’s roll with them punches.
Carr is actually No. 1 in the league with a 72.1% completion rate and No. 9 with a respectable 7.9 AY/A. Under head coach Jon Gruden, the Carr that was volatile early in his career has become a more consistent player. Even without wide receiver Antonio Brown (trade, innumerable issues, #cliff), Carr is probably having the best year of his career.
But in terms of raw production, Carr’s per-game Gruden-led performance actually trails his 2005-17 Pro-Bowl output (per RotoViz Game Splits App).
- 2015-17 (46 games): 248.6 yards and 1.78 touchdowns passing
- 2018-19 (23 games): 249.7 yards, 1.30 touchdowns passing
In his three seasons before Gruden’s arrival, Carr averaged 18.0 DraftKings points per game. With Gruden, 15.4. In fact, Carr has averaged 15.4 DraftKings points in each of his seasons with Gruden. That’s consistency.
That’s also mediocre. This year, he has just one fantasy QB1 performance.
But that performance did come last week with the return of No. 1 wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot), and it came against a weak Texans secondary. Carr has another exploitable matchup this week: The Lions have allowed the sixth-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks with 23.4 per game, and they might be even worse than that number indicates.
No. 1 cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) is uncertain to play, and the Lions are also without safety Quandre Diggs, whom they traded to the Seahawks.
Last week — the first one this year in which both Slay and Diggs have been out — the Lions allowed a Millionaire Maker-winning slate-leading 32.2-point performance by the floundering Daniel Jones.
Carr isn’t a deep passer: He’s No. 32 with a 7.0-yard aDOT. But this week he might throw deep a little more often. Defensively, the Lions are No. 1 overall with a 10.4-yard aDOT and 523.4 air yards and yards after the catch allowed per game. They might look wild, but these cats can be domesticated.
And Carr is on the positive side of his splits: Since 2015, Carr has been at his best as a home favorite, averaging 21.1 DraftKings points per game with a +2.74 Plus/Minus and 75% Consistency Rating.
I’m loath to put this in writing, but with his splits and matchup, Carr might actually be rosterable in cash games. The slate is that thin at quarterback. But I’ll personally try to have Carr only in GPPs, where he can optimally be stacked with Williams and tight end Darren Waller.
The Raiders are No. 2 on the slate with a 26.25-point implied Vegas total.
Carr is the No. 1 quarterback in the Koerner, SportsGeek and Freedman Models for DraftKings, where he trails only Wilson with his seven Pro Trends.
In the video above, I use the FantasyLabs Trends Tool to research Carr’s splits. Click here to access the FantasyLabs Trends Tool.
Upside Quarterbacks for Guaranteed Prize Pools
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ($6,900 DK, $8,100 FD): The season started slowly for Rodgers, but since Week 4 he’s the No. 2 quarterback with 27.2 DraftKings points per game. No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams (toe) might finally return this week after his month-long absence. Despite having two shutdown-caliber cornerbacks in Casey Hayward Jr. and Desmond King II, the Chargers are No. 25 with a 20.6% pass defense DVOA. UPDATE (Nov. 2): WR Davante Adams (toe) practiced on a limited basis all week and is tentatively expected to play. Charrgers DTs Brandon Mebane (knee) and Justin Jones (shoulder) and safety Roderic Teamer (groin) are doubtful.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($6,800 DK, $7,900 FD): In his first year with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the gunslinging Stafford is having himself a bounce back campaign, ranking No. 1 with an 11.4-yard aDOT, No. 5 with an 8.9 AY/A and No. 7 with 22.4 DraftKings points per game. Since trading cornerback Gareon Conley last week, the Raiders are thin at the position: No. 1 corner Daryl Worley has below-average PFF coverage grades of 51.5 and 61.0 in his two seasons with the Raiders. Slot man Lamarcus Joyner has allowed a putrid 79.1% catch rate. And new starter Trayvon Mullen is a rookie with just 92 coverage snaps to his name. The Raiders have allowed the second-most DraftKings points to quarterbacks with 25.1 per game, and they have a funnel defense that ranks No. 9 against the run (-17.9% DVOA) but No. 29 against the pass (37.5% DVOA).
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings ($6,700 DK, $7,800 FD): For all the flack Cousins got this offseason because of his supposedly un-clutch performances last year, Cousins is No. 1 with a 72.1% completion rate and No. 2 with a 9.9 AY/A. Ever since wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs complained about the offense after the team’s Week 4 loss, the Vikings have been much less focused on the run, and Cousins has averaged 22.4 FanDuel points per game. Wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) might return this week. Cousins has a position-high 67% Bargain Rating on FanDuel. UPDATE (Nov. 2): WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is a game-time decision. Chiefs CB Kendall Fuller (thumb) is questionable but seems likely to play after practicing all week on a limited basis.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills ($6,500 DK, $7,700 FD): Allen’s 6.1 AY/A is an Andy Dalton-level mark that leaves a lot to be desired, but he’s No. 2 at the position with 7.6 carries and No. 3 with 1.3 red-zone carries per game (per Player Profiler). The Redskins are No. 24 with an 18.0% pass defense DVOA, and they might be without cornerback Quinton Dunbar (hamstring). Backup corner Fabian Moreau could get smoked multiple times by No. 1 wide receiver John Brown. UPDATE (Nov. 2): Redskins CB Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) is in. Redskins S Montae Nicholson (ankle) is out.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,100 DK, $7,500 FD): The five-year project-in-process is the turnover equivalent of Jackson 5’s dancing machine, but after his catastrophic start to the season, he has 25.5 DraftKings points per game over the past six weeks. In wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Winston has perhaps the league’s best pass-catching tandem since 2008 Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. An aggressive downfield thrower, Winston is No. 1 with 1.8 yards beyond the first-down marker per attempt (per Next Gen Stats). Right corner Tre Flowers (neck) is uncertain to play, and Evans will get a big upgrade against journeyman backup corner Akeem King if Flowers is out. The Bucs-Seahawks game has a slate-high 51.5-point over/under. UPDATE (Nov. 2): TE O.J. Howard (hamstring) is out. Seahawks CB Tre Flowers (neck) is in while S Quandre Diggs (hamstring) and defensive end Quinton Jefferson (oblique) are doubtful.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets ($5,900 DK, $7,300 FD): Darnold (thumb) is dealing with an injury and the slings and arrows of poor coaching, but he has gotten through the trade deadline with playmaking wide receiver Robby Anderson and pass-catching running back Le’Veon Bell still on the roster. And tight end Chris Herndon IV (hamstring) might return in Week 9. Most importantly, Darnold faces the Dolphins, who are No. 32 with a 60.5% pass defense DVOA and against whom #RevengeGame head coach Adam Gase might be able to execute a winning game plan. UPDATE (Nov. 2): LT Kelvin Beachum (ankle) and TE Chris Herndon IV (hamstring) are questionable but still seem unlikely to play. Dolphins CBs Xavien Howard (knee, IR) and Ken Webster (ankle) are out while S Reshad Jones (chest) is doubtful.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears ($5,000 DK, $6,500 FD): Deuce Bortles is yet to have a 300-yard passing game, and he has zero touchdowns in four of six games, but in 15 games last year (including playoffs), he had four 300-yard, multi-touchdowns games. He has a big performance within his range of outcomes, and the Eagles have allowed 20-plus DraftKings points in five of seven games. No. 1 wide receiver Allen Robinson has an exploitable matchup against cornerback Ronald Darby. UPDATE (Nov. 2): Eagles CB Avonte Maddox (concussion) is in while DT Timmy Jernigan (foot) is questionable after a limited practice session on Friday.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
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Pictured above: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports