The Quarterback Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s main NFL slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit the NFL homepage.
Week 10 is a lot like Week 9 — except (probably) not as naked. The Chiefs, Raiders, Eagles, and Ravens are on bye. The Seahawks and Cardinals (Thursday night) and Dolphins and Panthers (Monday night) are also absent from the main slate, as are the Patriots and Broncos (Sunday night) on DraftKings. As the saying goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Although it has wider applicability, this breakdown is explicitly for the 10-game DraftKings and 11-game FanDuel main slates.
The Young & the Sexless
With the truncated slate and the absence or regression of a few studs, the top of the quarterback salary scale is dominated by just one player: Dak Prescott ($7,300 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel).
UPDATE: 11/9 – The Second Circuit Court has denied Elliott’s emergency injunction, reinstating his six-game suspension effective immediately. Elliott’s case is still under appeal, and the court has granted Elliott an expedited process, but he will (it seems) have to sit out games while the court deliberates. It’s possible the court will not render its ruling before Elliott’s suspension has run its course.
After a subpar Week 8 in which (through no fault of his own) the Captain of #TeamNoSex attempted just 22 passes, having the worst non-Week 17 performance of his career, Dak rebounded last week with 249 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-33 passing and 27 yards and a touchdown rushing. Dak has at least three combined touchdowns in five of his last six games, and with 22.03 fantasy points per game (PPG), +3.35 and +3.79 Plus/Minus values, and 75.0 percent Consistency Ratings, Dak has offered the best combination of upside and value to date — excluding (of course) the greatest rookie quarterback of all time in Deshaun Watson. First among all active quarterbacks with a 78.4 Total QBR, Dak has a high-end blend of Konami Code capability and passing game productivity.
We’re projecting Dak to be popular given his recent form, matchup, and Vegas data — the Falcons are 24th against the pass in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), and the Cowboys-Falcons game has a slate-high 50.5-point over/under — but Dak won’t have exorbitant ownership, as the Cowboys are +3.0 road underdogs implied for ‘only’ 23.75 points. If running back Ezekiel Elliott (suspension) misses the week — he has a hearing on Thursday, and his ability to play this week is not assured — then the Cowboys will likely employ a Dak-centric offense, the prospect of which is dampened only by Dak’s extreme and negative home/road and favorite/underdog splits (in DraftKings PPG):
- Home vs. Road: 22.68 vs. 17.09
- Favorite vs. Dog: 20.78 vs. 16.50
As a road dog, Dak has averaged 16.00 DraftKings and 14.75 FanDuel PPG with -1.15 and -1.85 Plus/Minus values. After this game, Dak might desire some sexual healing — and so might the people who roster him.
Ben Roethlisberger ($6,600 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): Hindenburger has been a disaster this year, hitting salary-based expectations in just one game, but he’s got a great matchup this week: The Colts are last in the league with 28.89 PPG allowed and second to last with a -4.5 Vegas Opponent Plus/Minus. The Colts defense is 25th in pass DVOA and could be without No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis (groin), who has struggled with injuries and was deactivated last week for a non-injury issue. Roethlsiberger leads the position with a 65 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel, but he’s consistently underperformed there (25.9 percent Consistency Rating since 2014) when on the road. Roethlisberger could be popular as the Steelers are -10.5 favorites, but the game script could turn him into a glorified handoff machine.
Tyrod Taylor ($6,300 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): A Konami Code specialist, Tyrod leads all quarterbacks with 1,358 yards rushing since 2015 and is a go-to pay-down cash game play, especially in slates lacking a surplus of high-end options. This week, though, he could struggle against an improved Saints defense that is fourth in pass DVOA with Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 cornerback in Marshon Lattimore and four starting defensive linemen with PFF grades above 80.0.
Matt Ryan ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel): The Falcons are -3.0 home favorites implied for 26.75 points — but in the Dan Quinn era Ryan has been subpar as a home favorite with -1.63 Plus/Minus values and 33.3 percent Consistency Ratings. The Falcons still have a good offense, ranking second with 6.2 yards per play and third with 35.8 yards per drive, but the Cowboys aren’t especially exploitable via the pass: Four of their five starting defensive backs in the nickel package have PFF grades of at least 70.0. This could be a better game for the Falcons running backs than for Ryan.
Eli Manning ($5,100 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel): I’m contractually obligated to mention that the winless (0-9) 49ers are bad. They’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 21.3 DraftKings and 20.3 FanDuel PPG. With the recent trade of starting cornerback Rashard Robinson and the season-ending injuries of starting free safety Jimmie Ward (arm) and Jaquiski Tartt (arm), the 49ers in their dime package are featuring two rookies with only two games each of full-time action and four veterans who all have poor PFF grades of under 50.0. As bad as Manning and his wide receivers are, the 49ers defensive backs are worse.
Kirk Cousins ($5,900 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel): Cousins is playing as well as he ever has with his 8.3 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A), but the Redskins have numerous injuries to starting linemen — left tackle Trent Williams (knee), left guard Shawn Lauvao (stinger), center Spencer Long (knee), and right guard Brandon Scherff (knee) are all uncertain for Week 10 — and the Redskins are implied for only 20.75 points against the Vikings, whose defense is fourth in pass DVOA with edge ends Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter and tackle Linval Joseph to apply pressure and shadow cornerback Xavier Rhodes, slot corner Terence Newman, safety Harrison Smith, and strongside linebacker Anthony Barr to defend passes. This is a tough spot for Cousins.
Blake Bortles ($4,800 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel): Bortles leads the slate with a 100 percent Bargain Rating on DraftKings. He’s also on a Jaguars team with a league-low 47.2 percent pass rate.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($4,900 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel) and Josh McCown ($6,100 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel): It’s as if the season has been leading to this moment — a Jets-Buccaneers tilt with two mediocre #RevengeGame quarterbacks facing their former teams. Fitz is intriguing with his discounted salary, but without wide receiver Mike Evans (suspension) he has limited throw-and-pray upside. The Jets should be rested and prepared coming off their Thursday Night Football victory last week. Facing a Bucs defense 31st in pass DVOA and possibly without top corner Brent Grimes (shoulder), McCown has 300-yard, multi-touchdown upside.
C.J. Beathard ($4,800 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel): Beathard is the slate’s “I dare you to punch me in the crotch” pivot play. Playing behind an offensive line that has allowed the second-most sacks in the league with 32, Beathard ranks 31st of out 33 qualified quarterbacks with a 24.4 Total QBR. He’s horrible, he’s a rookie, and he’s trying to run head coach Kyle Shanahan’s sophisticated system without his starting left tackle, top outside wide receiver, top inside wide receiver, and top tight end in Joe Staley (eye), Pierre Garcon (neck), Trent Taylor (rib), and George Kittle (ankle). The 49ers have scored just 10 points in each of Beathard’s three starts. Still, they’re facing the Giants, who have allowed top-two fantasy marks to quarterbacks with 22.3 DraftKings and 20.6 FanDuel points per game (PPG). Averaging 41.7 passes per start, Beathard has upside at what will be almost nonexistent ownership. He’s tied for a position high with five Pro Trends on DraftKings.
Drew Brees ($6,900 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel): After two disappointing games at the Coors Field of fantasy football, Brees is likely to be have reduced ownership on the road against the Bills, whose secondary has impressed with cornerbacks Tre’Davious White and E.J. Gaines and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, all of whom have PFF grades above 80.0 — but even on the road in a non-cupcake matchup Brees warrants consideration. Gaines (hamstring) might be out, and backup corner Shareece Wright has allowed a top-10 rate of one completion per 7.8 coverage snaps this season. Although Brees is averaging just 34.4 pass attempts per game compared to 41.5 for the previous five seasons, he’s still playing well — his 2017 AY/A of 8.3 is superior to his half-decade (2012-16) AY/A of 7.8 — and he always has the chance to go off for a 300-yard, three-touchdown game.
Tom Brady ($6,700 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel): Available on the FanDuel but not the DraftKings main slate, Brady is coming off a bye and has the opportunity to dish out another serialized installment of revenge on a Broncos defense that kept him from the Super Bowl two years ago. The Denver defense is tough, especially at Mile High, but the unit is now only 15th in pass DVOA and just allowed Carson Wentz to throw four touchdowns. After a disappointing Week 1 performance in which he completed just 44.4 percent of his passes, Brady has been on a tear over the last two months, throwing for 2,274 yards and 16 touchdowns with a 69.6 percent completion rate. He leads the league with 317.6 yards per game and 309 attempts and has been playing at a peak level ever since returning from his Deflategate suspension. In his 20 regular season games since last year, Angry Tom has a 9.2 AY/A; in the half-decade prior, he had an 8.0 AY/A. It’s hard to get excited about any visiting quarterback in Denver, and it hurts that Brady could be without wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder), but Brady’s ownership will likely be low.
The Model Quarterbacks
There are four quarterbacks atop the Pro Models built by Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, and Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek).
- Matthew Stafford ($6,800 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel)
- Jared Goff ($6,700 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel)
- Brock Osweiler ($4,400 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel)
- Mitch Trubisky ($4,500 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel)
One of the first players discussed on the Week 10 Daily Fantasy Flex, Stafford is something of a chalk lock. Implied for 28.25 points as slate-high -13.0 home favorites, the Lions are facing a Browns team with a funnel defense ranked first against the rush and 28th against the pass in DVOA. This is a great matchup for the Lions, who have the slate’s highest point expectation via the passing game: Stafford is super stackable. Given that the Browns are 32nd in pass DVOA against No. 1 wide receivers, Marvin Jones makes for an enticing stacking partner with Stafford given his recent market share dominance. The possible return of Kenny Golladay (hamstring) gives Stafford even more upside, and he should be able to find regular use for his supplementary receivers, as the Browns are 27th and 30th in pass DVOA against running backs and tight ends. Stafford leads the position with his median projections, and he rates as the top DraftKings passer in the Bales and CSURAM88 Models and top FanDuel passer in the CSURAM88 and SportsGeek Models.
Goff is in a great spot: The Rams lead the league with 32.88 PPG and a +9.81 Vegas Plus/Minus, and they’re first in the slate with an implied total of 28.5 points as -11.5 home favorites against the Texans, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 22.2 DraftKings and 20.3 FanDuel PPG. Although the Rams are the third-most run-heavy team, sporting a 49.5 percent rush rate, Goff is still in a #SmashSpot: He has 0.67 and 0.72 correlation coefficients with running back Todd Gurley on DraftKings and FanDuel. Even if this turns into a Gurley game, Goff could still ball out: Use our Lineup Builder to create Goff-Gurley stacks. Goff is tied for first among all passers with five Pro Trends on DraftKings, where he has a position-high ceiling projection and is the highest-rated quarterback in the SportsGeek Model.
Available on the FanDuel but not the DraftKings main slate, Osweiler is as intriguing as any horrible quarterback can be. The Broncos are implied for only 19.25 points as +7.5 home dogs against the Patriots. On the one hand, the Patriots have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks with 24.6 DraftKings and 22.3 FanDuel PPG, and just two years ago Osweiler led the Broncos to an all-important come-from-behind 30-24 overtime victory over the Patriots at Mile High in just his second NFL start. On the other hand, Brock is #bad, and in their two most recent games against him (with the Texans last year) the Patriots smashed Osweiler, holding him to a 58.0 percent completion rate as he passed for 196.5 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and two interceptions per game. After a slow start, Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler is rounding into form with his 82.3 PFF grade, and starting cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) are both practicing this week and seem likely to return after recovering during the Week 9 bye. Osweiler warrants limited tournament exposure because of his matchup, and he’s the highest-rated FanDuel quarterback in the Bales and Levitan Models, but don’t even think about rostering him in cash games.
Even though the Packers have three starting corners with PFF grades below 55.0 in Davon House, Damarious Randall, and Kevin King, and even though the Bears are -5.0 home favorites, Trubisky is not in a good spot: In the Bears two wins with the rookie under center, he’s averaged just 11.5 pass attempts per game for 110 yards. That Trubisky is the highest-rated DraftKings quarterback in the Levitan Model is the strongest evidence I’ve seen that life is a simulation.
Positional Breakdowns & Tools
Be sure to research the quarterbacks for yourself with our tools and read the other Week 10 positional breakdowns:
• Running Backs
• Wide Receivers
• Tight Ends
Good luck this week!
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