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NFL Breakdown: Week 5 Quarterbacks

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.

Whereas Weeks 1-2 had league-wide underperformance (-2.58 and -2.17 Vegas Plus/Minus values) and Week 3 had overperformance (+2.81), Week 4 was average in terms of Vegas production: The league went 15-17 on team totals and 9-7 on game totals. It looks like the betting markets are starting to get a sense of the season. As for Week 5, there are a few items to note:

  1. FantasyLabs has been acquired by The Chernin Group. That has nothing to do with football, but that’s the biggest news in the fantasy industry right now. (I say that with self-awareness, but I’m not joking.) Labs is now a part of The Action Network, which will soon release regular sports betting and fantasy newsletters. Sign up for the newsletters, which will be curated by Chad Millman, our Head of Media. Big news.
  2. The bye weeks have started: No Drew Brees (Saints), Kirk Cousins (Redskins), Matt Ryan (Falcons), and Trevor Siemian (Broncos).
  3. DraftKings has once again excluded the Sunday Night Football game from the main slate, so if you want to play Alex Smith (Chiefs) or Deshaun Watson (Texans) do so on FanDuel.

For analysis of the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games, see Joe Holka’s Thursday night breakdown and Justin Bailey’s prime time breakdown (out later this week). Although it has wider applicability, this breakdown is explicitly for the 11-game DraftKings and 12-game FanDuel main slates.

“R-E-L-A-X”

In a thinned-out slate — with Brees and Ryan on bye and Tom Brady off the board because the Patriots-Buccaneers game is on Thursday — there’s just one true stud quarterback at the top of the salary scale: Aaron Rodgers ($8,100 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel).

Rodgers led the league with 40 touchdowns last year, and through four weeks this year he’s first with 10. While his 6.3 percent touchdown rate might seem unsustainable — Brady has a 5.5 percent rate since 2013 — Rodgers actually averaged 6.6 percent last year and 7.0 percent for the five years before that. Rodgers is more than capable of maintaining his prolific pace. Over the last year he’s played in 20 games: In those contests, he’s averaged 2.6 touchdowns per game (to only 0.55 interceptions). It doesn’t hurt that he’s also averaged 298.1 yards in those games.

The Packers are implied for 25.25 points as +2.0 road underdogs against the Cowboys, and their game has a slate-high total of 52.5 points. With running backs Ty Montgomery (ribs) and Jamaal Williams (knee) both banged up, the Packers are likely to throw a lot against a defense that is 21st against the pass this season in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). It hurts that Rodgers could be without pass-catching weapons in Montgomery and Davante Adams (concussion) as well as left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) — and it doesn’t help that Rodgers has historically been not as good on the road on a per-game basis . . .

  • At home (70 games): 273.2 yards, 2.41 touchdowns, 0.46 interceptions
  • On road (69 games): 268.1 yards, 1.99 touchdowns, 0.61 interceptions

. . . but Rodgers benefits from having played on Thursday last week, which gives him and his teammates three more days than the Cowboys to rest and prepare. In Rodgers’ eight career Sun./Mon. games following a Thursday contest, he’s averaged 25.8 DraftKings and 24.6 FanDuel points per game (PPG). Facing a Cowboys team he lit up for 355 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs, Rodgers has the highest quarterback median and ceiling projections in our Models. Many people will prefer not to pay all the way up for a quarterback, but Rodgers will be one of the most popular passers in the slate.

Hot Routes

Cam Newton ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Newton was in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker-winning lineup last week . . .

. . . but this isn’t last week. The Panthers are +2.0 road underdogs implied for just 21.0 points against the the Lions. The Panthers have seen some early positive reverse line movement, so they’re getting some sharp money, but the Lions are holding quarterbacks to just 12.5 fantasy PPG. The Lions defense is fifth in pass DVOA and four of its five starting defensive backs have good Pro Football Focus grades of at least 80.0.

Ben Roethlisberger ($6,400 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel): Roethlisberger is the pivot quarterback for this slate. He has a tough matchup against the Jaguars, who this year have held quarterbacks to position-low marks of 8.4 DraftKings and 7.4 FanDuel PPG, but the Steelers are implied for 26.0 points as -8.5 home favorites, and Roethliberger has been the league’s best home quarterback since 2014 with 26.93 DraftKings and 24.53 FanDuel PPG. He’s been bad this year with -4.11 DraftKings and -3.86 FanDuel Plus/Minus values, but he’s projected for less than 5.0 percent ownership. In the words of George Costanza, “This is the signal, Jerry.”

Joe Flacco ($4,700 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Flacco leads the position with a 100 percent Bargain Rating on DraftKings and is a +2.5 road dog against a Raiders defense that’s 28th in pass DVOA. Side note: I wouldn’t roster him, but I’m a risk-averse wimp.

Deshaun Watson ($6,200 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel): Available on the FanDuel (but not DraftKings) main slate, Watson leads the league in ESPN’s Total QBR with a 79.1. In Weeks 3-4 he passed for 584 yards and six touchdowns on 47-of-67 passing with a 12/65/1 rushing line. Of course, he also had that production against the Patriots and Titans — the two teams with the most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Watson leads the position in Pro Trends on FanDuel, where he’s projected to be the highest-owned quarterback not in the Packers-Cowboys game.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,000 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Since 2015, Tyrod has been the go-to cash game play for people who want to pay down at the position, especially on DraftKings, where he has a 99 percent Bargain Rating. The Bills are +3.0 road dogs to the Bengals, whose defensive numbers are inflated due to easy matchups against Flacco (returning from injury in Week 1), Watson (making his first start in Week 2), and DeShone Kizer (making his fourth start in Week 4). A Konami Code specialist, Tyrod leads all quarterbacks with 1,266 yards rushing since 2015.

Andy Dalton ($6,000 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel): Since Bill Lazor was promoted to offensive coordinator, the Bengals have averaged 27.5 PPG and Dalton has completed 80.7 percent of his 57 passes for 498 yards and six touchdowns. On the plus side, the Bengals are -3.0 home favorites. On the negative side, they’re facing the Bills, who have held quarterbacks to bottom-two fantasy marks with 11.1 DraftKings and 10.8 FanDuel PPG. Dalton is funneling 32.8 percent of his targets to A.J. Green.

Jay Cutler ($5,200 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel): On the one hand, Cutler is bad. On the other hand, the Titans defense might be worse with its 29th-ranked pass DVOA.

Eli Manning ($6,100 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel): With a functional Odell Beckham Jr. playing in Weeks 3-4, Manning completed 67.7 percent of his 96 passes for 654 yards and five touchdowns, adding a 14-yard slow-motion rushing touchdown in the process. The Giants are -3.5 home favorites against the Chargers, who are 20th in pass DVOA.

Josh McCown ($4,500 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel): The Browns are allowing top-five fantasy marks of 22.4 DraftKings and 22.1 FanDuel PPG to quarterbacks, and McCown is returning to Cleveland for a #RevengeGame. In one month he’s won more games with the Jets than he won in two years with the Browns. He’s completing a career-high 70.1 percent of passes.

Carson Wentz ($6,600 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): The Eagles are -6.5 home favorites implied for 25.75 points against the Cardinals, who have allowed 25.50 fantasy PPG to quarterbacks who aren’t Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett. The Eagles are second in the league with 6.58 plays per drive and 96 first downs.

Carson Palmer ($5,900 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Palmer is first and second in the league with 183 pass attempts and 1,282 yards and facing an Eagles team that has allowed top-eight marks of 20.3 DraftKings and 18.1 FanDuel PPG to quarterbacks this year.

The Model Quarterbacks

There are currently three quarterbacks atop the Pro Models built by Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, and Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek):

  • Russell Wilson ($7,100 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)
  • Dak Prescott ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel)
  • Brian Hoyer ($4,700 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel)

After struggling in Weeks 1-2 (-7.24 DraftKings and -6.63 FanDuel Plus/Minus values), Wilson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last two weeks, throwing for 686 yards and six touchdowns on 50-of-75 passing while chipping in 11 rushes for 64 yards and another touchdown. The Seahawks are +1.0 road dogs against the Rams, who have allowed 21.87 DraftKings and 20.87 FanDuel PPG against quarterbacks whose surnames don’t rhyme with “olzien.” This is a winnable game for the Seahawks, and it has the slate’s second-highest over/under at 47.5 points. Wilson is tied with a position-high 69 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he’s the highest-rated quarterback in the Levitan Model for the second consecutive week.

Last year the Cowboys were first in the NFL with a 48.7 percent rushing rate. This year they’re 21st at 39.68 percent. The team is transitioning to a Dak-centric offense, as he has attempted at least 36 passes in three of four games. As a passer and runner, he has multi-touchdown upside. The Cowboys are -2.0 home favorites against the Packers, and they have the highest implied total on the slate at 27.25 points. Throughout his short career, Dak has been at his best as a home favorite with 22.77 DraftKings and 22.17 FanDuel PPG with +5.51 and +5.70 Plus/Minus values. Prescott is tied with a position-high 69 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he’s the highest-rated quarterback in the Bales, CSURAM88, and SportsGeek Models. He has the highest ownership projections at the position.

When Hoyer is the consensus highest-rated quarterback on DraftKings, where he leads the position with five Pro Trends, you know that A) he has a good matchup and B) it’s a bye week. The 49ers are +1.5 road dogs against the Colts, who have allowed quarterbacks to score top-five marks with 23.5 DraftKings and 22.0 FanDuel PPG. The 49ers are playing with the second-fastest pace in the league at 25.30 seconds per play (FO), and over the last two weeks Hoyer has averaged 283 yards per game on 43 attempts while the 49ers have played in competitive contests, losing by an average of just 2.5 PPG as they covered the spread. As mentioned on the Week 5 NFL Daily Fantasy Flex, we have more than a little interest in stacking Hoyer with one of his receivers.

Positional Breakdowns & Tools

Be sure to research the quarterbacks for yourself with our tools and read the other Week 5 positional breakdowns:

• Running Backs
• Wide Receivers
• Tight Ends

Good luck this week!

News Updates

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NFL news feed:

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.

Whereas Weeks 1-2 had league-wide underperformance (-2.58 and -2.17 Vegas Plus/Minus values) and Week 3 had overperformance (+2.81), Week 4 was average in terms of Vegas production: The league went 15-17 on team totals and 9-7 on game totals. It looks like the betting markets are starting to get a sense of the season. As for Week 5, there are a few items to note:

  1. FantasyLabs has been acquired by The Chernin Group. That has nothing to do with football, but that’s the biggest news in the fantasy industry right now. (I say that with self-awareness, but I’m not joking.) Labs is now a part of The Action Network, which will soon release regular sports betting and fantasy newsletters. Sign up for the newsletters, which will be curated by Chad Millman, our Head of Media. Big news.
  2. The bye weeks have started: No Drew Brees (Saints), Kirk Cousins (Redskins), Matt Ryan (Falcons), and Trevor Siemian (Broncos).
  3. DraftKings has once again excluded the Sunday Night Football game from the main slate, so if you want to play Alex Smith (Chiefs) or Deshaun Watson (Texans) do so on FanDuel.

For analysis of the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games, see Joe Holka’s Thursday night breakdown and Justin Bailey’s prime time breakdown (out later this week). Although it has wider applicability, this breakdown is explicitly for the 11-game DraftKings and 12-game FanDuel main slates.

“R-E-L-A-X”

In a thinned-out slate — with Brees and Ryan on bye and Tom Brady off the board because the Patriots-Buccaneers game is on Thursday — there’s just one true stud quarterback at the top of the salary scale: Aaron Rodgers ($8,100 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel).

Rodgers led the league with 40 touchdowns last year, and through four weeks this year he’s first with 10. While his 6.3 percent touchdown rate might seem unsustainable — Brady has a 5.5 percent rate since 2013 — Rodgers actually averaged 6.6 percent last year and 7.0 percent for the five years before that. Rodgers is more than capable of maintaining his prolific pace. Over the last year he’s played in 20 games: In those contests, he’s averaged 2.6 touchdowns per game (to only 0.55 interceptions). It doesn’t hurt that he’s also averaged 298.1 yards in those games.

The Packers are implied for 25.25 points as +2.0 road underdogs against the Cowboys, and their game has a slate-high total of 52.5 points. With running backs Ty Montgomery (ribs) and Jamaal Williams (knee) both banged up, the Packers are likely to throw a lot against a defense that is 21st against the pass this season in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). It hurts that Rodgers could be without pass-catching weapons in Montgomery and Davante Adams (concussion) as well as left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) — and it doesn’t help that Rodgers has historically been not as good on the road on a per-game basis . . .

  • At home (70 games): 273.2 yards, 2.41 touchdowns, 0.46 interceptions
  • On road (69 games): 268.1 yards, 1.99 touchdowns, 0.61 interceptions

. . . but Rodgers benefits from having played on Thursday last week, which gives him and his teammates three more days than the Cowboys to rest and prepare. In Rodgers’ eight career Sun./Mon. games following a Thursday contest, he’s averaged 25.8 DraftKings and 24.6 FanDuel points per game (PPG). Facing a Cowboys team he lit up for 355 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs, Rodgers has the highest quarterback median and ceiling projections in our Models. Many people will prefer not to pay all the way up for a quarterback, but Rodgers will be one of the most popular passers in the slate.

Hot Routes

Cam Newton ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Newton was in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker-winning lineup last week . . .

. . . but this isn’t last week. The Panthers are +2.0 road underdogs implied for just 21.0 points against the the Lions. The Panthers have seen some early positive reverse line movement, so they’re getting some sharp money, but the Lions are holding quarterbacks to just 12.5 fantasy PPG. The Lions defense is fifth in pass DVOA and four of its five starting defensive backs have good Pro Football Focus grades of at least 80.0.

Ben Roethlisberger ($6,400 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel): Roethlisberger is the pivot quarterback for this slate. He has a tough matchup against the Jaguars, who this year have held quarterbacks to position-low marks of 8.4 DraftKings and 7.4 FanDuel PPG, but the Steelers are implied for 26.0 points as -8.5 home favorites, and Roethliberger has been the league’s best home quarterback since 2014 with 26.93 DraftKings and 24.53 FanDuel PPG. He’s been bad this year with -4.11 DraftKings and -3.86 FanDuel Plus/Minus values, but he’s projected for less than 5.0 percent ownership. In the words of George Costanza, “This is the signal, Jerry.”

Joe Flacco ($4,700 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Flacco leads the position with a 100 percent Bargain Rating on DraftKings and is a +2.5 road dog against a Raiders defense that’s 28th in pass DVOA. Side note: I wouldn’t roster him, but I’m a risk-averse wimp.

Deshaun Watson ($6,200 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel): Available on the FanDuel (but not DraftKings) main slate, Watson leads the league in ESPN’s Total QBR with a 79.1. In Weeks 3-4 he passed for 584 yards and six touchdowns on 47-of-67 passing with a 12/65/1 rushing line. Of course, he also had that production against the Patriots and Titans — the two teams with the most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Watson leads the position in Pro Trends on FanDuel, where he’s projected to be the highest-owned quarterback not in the Packers-Cowboys game.

Tyrod Taylor ($5,000 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Since 2015, Tyrod has been the go-to cash game play for people who want to pay down at the position, especially on DraftKings, where he has a 99 percent Bargain Rating. The Bills are +3.0 road dogs to the Bengals, whose defensive numbers are inflated due to easy matchups against Flacco (returning from injury in Week 1), Watson (making his first start in Week 2), and DeShone Kizer (making his fourth start in Week 4). A Konami Code specialist, Tyrod leads all quarterbacks with 1,266 yards rushing since 2015.

Andy Dalton ($6,000 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel): Since Bill Lazor was promoted to offensive coordinator, the Bengals have averaged 27.5 PPG and Dalton has completed 80.7 percent of his 57 passes for 498 yards and six touchdowns. On the plus side, the Bengals are -3.0 home favorites. On the negative side, they’re facing the Bills, who have held quarterbacks to bottom-two fantasy marks with 11.1 DraftKings and 10.8 FanDuel PPG. Dalton is funneling 32.8 percent of his targets to A.J. Green.

Jay Cutler ($5,200 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel): On the one hand, Cutler is bad. On the other hand, the Titans defense might be worse with its 29th-ranked pass DVOA.

Eli Manning ($6,100 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel): With a functional Odell Beckham Jr. playing in Weeks 3-4, Manning completed 67.7 percent of his 96 passes for 654 yards and five touchdowns, adding a 14-yard slow-motion rushing touchdown in the process. The Giants are -3.5 home favorites against the Chargers, who are 20th in pass DVOA.

Josh McCown ($4,500 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel): The Browns are allowing top-five fantasy marks of 22.4 DraftKings and 22.1 FanDuel PPG to quarterbacks, and McCown is returning to Cleveland for a #RevengeGame. In one month he’s won more games with the Jets than he won in two years with the Browns. He’s completing a career-high 70.1 percent of passes.

Carson Wentz ($6,600 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): The Eagles are -6.5 home favorites implied for 25.75 points against the Cardinals, who have allowed 25.50 fantasy PPG to quarterbacks who aren’t Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett. The Eagles are second in the league with 6.58 plays per drive and 96 first downs.

Carson Palmer ($5,900 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Palmer is first and second in the league with 183 pass attempts and 1,282 yards and facing an Eagles team that has allowed top-eight marks of 20.3 DraftKings and 18.1 FanDuel PPG to quarterbacks this year.

The Model Quarterbacks

There are currently three quarterbacks atop the Pro Models built by Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, and Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek):

  • Russell Wilson ($7,100 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)
  • Dak Prescott ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel)
  • Brian Hoyer ($4,700 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel)

After struggling in Weeks 1-2 (-7.24 DraftKings and -6.63 FanDuel Plus/Minus values), Wilson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last two weeks, throwing for 686 yards and six touchdowns on 50-of-75 passing while chipping in 11 rushes for 64 yards and another touchdown. The Seahawks are +1.0 road dogs against the Rams, who have allowed 21.87 DraftKings and 20.87 FanDuel PPG against quarterbacks whose surnames don’t rhyme with “olzien.” This is a winnable game for the Seahawks, and it has the slate’s second-highest over/under at 47.5 points. Wilson is tied with a position-high 69 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he’s the highest-rated quarterback in the Levitan Model for the second consecutive week.

Last year the Cowboys were first in the NFL with a 48.7 percent rushing rate. This year they’re 21st at 39.68 percent. The team is transitioning to a Dak-centric offense, as he has attempted at least 36 passes in three of four games. As a passer and runner, he has multi-touchdown upside. The Cowboys are -2.0 home favorites against the Packers, and they have the highest implied total on the slate at 27.25 points. Throughout his short career, Dak has been at his best as a home favorite with 22.77 DraftKings and 22.17 FanDuel PPG with +5.51 and +5.70 Plus/Minus values. Prescott is tied with a position-high 69 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel, where he’s the highest-rated quarterback in the Bales, CSURAM88, and SportsGeek Models. He has the highest ownership projections at the position.

When Hoyer is the consensus highest-rated quarterback on DraftKings, where he leads the position with five Pro Trends, you know that A) he has a good matchup and B) it’s a bye week. The 49ers are +1.5 road dogs against the Colts, who have allowed quarterbacks to score top-five marks with 23.5 DraftKings and 22.0 FanDuel PPG. The 49ers are playing with the second-fastest pace in the league at 25.30 seconds per play (FO), and over the last two weeks Hoyer has averaged 283 yards per game on 43 attempts while the 49ers have played in competitive contests, losing by an average of just 2.5 PPG as they covered the spread. As mentioned on the Week 5 NFL Daily Fantasy Flex, we have more than a little interest in stacking Hoyer with one of his receivers.

Positional Breakdowns & Tools

Be sure to research the quarterbacks for yourself with our tools and read the other Week 5 positional breakdowns:

• Running Backs
• Wide Receivers
• Tight Ends

Good luck this week!

News Updates

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NFL news feed: