The Week 7 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 1 p.m. ET.
In this piece, I highlight quarterbacks who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically our FantasyLabs Models. While our Models are built for daily contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy piece with actionable information for all formats.
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Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models
There are four quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), Ryan Hodge and I have constructed.
Here’s where they place within our Week 7 fantasy football rankings (as of Tuesday evening).
- Russell Wilson: No. 1
- Kyler Murray: No. 3
- Patrick Mahomes: No. 4
- Joe Burrow: No. 16
UPDATE (Thu. 10/22): The Cardinals-Seahawks game has been moved to Sunday Night Football, and Buccaneers-Raiders has been moved to Sunday afternoon.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
Check in throughout the week as I publish the rest of the positional breakdowns.
Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals (56.5 Over/Under)
Wilson leads the NFL with 10.3 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A), which is right in line with what we saw out of Aaron Rodgers (10.5) and Matt Ryan (10.1) in their 2011 and 2016 MVP campaigns.
With 1,502-19-3 passing and 23-153-0 rushing, Wilson is easily the MVP frontrunner.
I don’t want to put too much weight on a five-game sample, but Wilson is pacing for an all-time great passing season.
- Week 1 (at ATL): 31.8 fantasy points | 322-4-0 passing | 3-29-0 rushing
- Week 2 (vs. NE): 33.4 fantasy points | 288-5-0 passing | 5-39-0 rushing
- Week 3 (vs. DAL): 36.8 fantasy points | 315-5-0 passing | 6-22-0 rushing
- Week 4 (at MIA): 20.9 fantasy points | 360-2-1 passing | 4-5-0 rushing
- Week 5 (vs. MIN): 24.5 fantasy points | 217-3-0 passing | 5-58-0 rushing
In 2020, the Seahawks have abandoned their 2018-19 run-heavy ways and are passing far more frequently than even the most optimistic prognosticator would have imagined.
My Updated 2020 Pass Rate Over Expectation:
Seattle and the #LetRussCook movement remains firmly on top following their bye.
— Michael Leone (@2Hats1Mike) October 20, 2020
Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are finally letting Russ cook.
He has entered offensive nirvana.
On the season, Wilson is No. 1 with 32.5 fantasy points per game and 0.74 fantasy points per drop back (per Pro Football Focus).
He has been a fantasy QB1 in every game this year (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
In the post-Marshawn Lynch era (since 2016), Wilson hasn’t had any Vegas splits, but he has played markedly better at home and outside of division (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool).
- At Home (37 games): 22.7 FanDuel points
- On Road (39 games): 18.9 FanDuel points
- Outside Division (52 games): 22.2 FanDuel points
- In Division (25 games): 17.6 FanDuel points
On the divisional road, Wilson has averaged just 16.1 FanDuel points and hit salary-based expectations in only 38.5% of games. Playing in Arizona, Wilson is very much on the negative side of his splits.
On top of that, I’m looking to bet against the Seahawks.
Under Carroll, the Seahawks against the spread (ATS) have provided bettors with a nice return on investment (ROI) in three distinct situations (regular season only, per our Bet Labs database).
- As Underdogs: 36-22-3 ATS | 20.5% ROI
- At Home: 46-34-3 ATS | 12.2% ROI
- Outside Division: 57-42-6 ATS | 11.5% ROI
In this game, the Seahawks are on the opposite side of all three splits: They are divisional road favorites, and it has historically been profitable to fade the Seahawks as such.
As for the Cardinals, they are 11-4-2 ATS (34.7% ROI) as underdogs under head coach Kliff Kingsbury. You can bet on this game at DraftKings.
The Cardinals are yet to allow 300 yards or three touchdowns passing in a game, and last year Wilson was rather anemic in their two matchups.
- Week 4 (at ARI): 14.3 fantasy points | 240-1-0 passing | 2-7-0 rushing
- Week 16 (vs. ARI): 11.0 fantasy points | 169-1-0 passing | 2-2-0 rushing
But the Cardinals’ schedule of opposing quarterbacks has been gentler than pennyroyal tea (Jimmy Garoppolo, Dwayne Haskins, Matthew Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton), and what Wilson did last year in two games is now irrelevant given the Seahawks’ offensive transformation this year.
In 2019, the Seahawks had a bottom-six pass-play rate of 54.3%. In 2020, they are just outside the top 10 with a mark of 60.9%.
Last year, wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was a raw-but-promising rookie. This year, Metcalf is a dominant producer.
Last season, the team had no established tight end. This year, Greg Olsen … well, whatever, never mind.
The point is that 2020 Wilson looks more than capable of overcoming the splits and matchups that have hindered him previously, especially since he was on bye in Week 6. If I had to come up with a nickname for him totally out of nowhere, I think something like “Mr. Unlimited” would work.
The Seahawks have a slate-high 30-point implied Vegas total. Today, I found my friends.
A must-start every-week top-three QB1 in season-long leagues, Wilson is a viable pay-up option for cash games and guaranteed prize pools in DFS, particularly on FanDuel, where he is priced as the No. 3 quarterback.
Wilson is the No. 1 quarterback in the Koerner Model for FanDuel, where he has position-high marks with his median and ceiling projections and his 99% Bargain Rating.
Kyler Murray: Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) vs. Seahawks, 56.5 O/U
The No. 5 quarterback with 29.2 fantasy points per game, Murray has significantly progressed in his second NFL season. He’s not having a 2019 Lamar Jackson-esque campaign, but Murray’s production as both a passer and runner is notable.
- Week 1 (at SF): 26.3 fantasy points | 230-1-1 passing | 13-91-1 rushing
- Week 2 (vs. WAS): 32.1 fantasy points | 286-1-1 passing | 8-67-2 rushing
- Week 3 (vs. DET): 21.7 fantasy points | 270-2-3 passing | 5-29-1 rushing
- Week 4 (at CAR): 23.1 fantasy points | 133-3-0 passing | 6-78-0 rushing
- Week 5 (at NYJ): 26.3 fantasy points | 380-1-1 passing | 9-31-1 rushing
- Week 6 (at DAL): 28.9 fantasy points | 188-2-0 passing | 10-74-1 rushing
Murray’s consistency has been unrivaled. In every game this year he has finished as a fantasy QB1.
His consistency in large part rests with his Konami Code running ability: Even though he is No. 33 in the league with “just” 51 carries — which is an obscene total for a quarterback — Murray is No. 13 with 370 yards and tied for No. 2 with six touchdowns rushing.
Among all quarterbacks, Murray is easily No. 1 with 6.4 rushing fantasy points over expectation (per RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary).
As a passer, Murray has established an immediate connection with new No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. When targeting Nuk, Murray is 47-of-67 passing for 601-2-1 with a robust 9.8 AY/A (per RotoViz AY/A App).
In his second year, Murray very much has the look of a legitimate NFL quarterback, and this week he has a strong matchup against the Seahawks.
With a funnel defense that ranks ninth against the run (-18.1% DVOA) and No. 29 against the pass (22.4%, per Football Outsiders), the Seahawks are utterly exploitable via the air.
In every game this season, they have allowed either 300 yards or multiple touchdowns passing.
- Matt Ryan (Week 1): 23.9 fantasy points | 450-2-1 passing | 1-minus 1-0 rushing
- Cam Newton (Week 2): 34.6 fantasy points | 397-1-1 passing | 11-47-2 rushing
- Dak Prescott (Week 3): 27.5 fantasy points | 473-3-2 passing | 6-26-0 rushing
- Ryan Fitzpatrick (Week 4): 21.3 fantasy points | 315-0-2 passing | 6-47-1 rushing
- Kirk Cousins (Week 5): 14.2 fantasy points | 249-2-1 passing | 1-2-0 rushing
Long gone is the Legion of Boom.
This year, opposing quarterbacks are No. 2 against the Seahawks with 24.3 fantasy points per game on 1,883-8-7 passing and 25-121-3 rushing.
The Seahawks are dealing with major injury issues in their secondary. All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (groin) exited Week 3 early, missed Weeks 4-5 and is uncertain for Week 7 coming out of the bye. On top of that, slot corner Marquise Blair (knee, IR) is out for the year.
And the Seahawks can’t get to the quarterback. They entered the season with PFF’s worst defensive line, and they are No. 28 with a 61.4 PFF pass-rush grade. They are without top edge rusher Bruce Irvin (knee, IR) and have limited difference-making talent in their front four.
Against an injured secondary with plenty of time to stand in a clean pocket, Murray could have a massive passing performance (in addition to his usual rushing production) in a high-scoring game that should require the Cardinals to throw to keep up.
A season-long top-six QB1, Murray is a reasonable expensive-but-not-exorbitant alternative to the slate’s highest-priced quarterbacks.
Murray has position-high +4.86 and +5.58 Projected Plus/Minus values on DraftKings and FanDuel, and he leads all quarterbacks with his floor projections in our Models.
Murray is the No. 1 quarterback in the Bales, Raybon, SportsGeek and Hodge Models for both DraftKings and FanDuel. He’s also the top option in the CSURAM88 and Freedman Models FanDuel alone.
Patrick Mahomes: Kansas City Chiefs (-9) at Denver Broncos, 48 O/U
Can you tell me what the difference is between what Mahomes did in Weeks 1-6 of his 2018 MVP campaign and what he has done in Weeks 1-6 this year? Because I think the difference is almost nonexistent (per RotoViz NFL Fantasy Summary).
Patrick Mahomes 2018 MVP season vs. 2020, Weeks 1-6:
– 2018: 29.5 PPG, 1,865-18-4 passing, 24-75-2 rushing
– 2020: 29.2 PPG, 1,699-15-1 passing, 34-165-2 rushing
Mahomes is +400 to win MVP — and he’s in MVP form.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 20, 2020
In terms of fantasy points, the difference between Mahomes in 2018 and now is the equivalence of three yards rushing per game.
In every game this season, Mahomes has multiple touchdowns passing.
- Week 1 (vs. HOU): 20.4 fantasy points | 211-3-0 passing | 0-0-0 rushing
- Week 2 (at LAC): 27.5 fantasy points | 302-2-0 passing | 6-54-0 rushing
- Week 3 (at BAL): 40.0 fantasy points | 385-4-0 passing | 4-26-1 rushing
- Week 4 (vs. NE): 20.2 fantasy points | 236-2-0 passing | 8-28-0 rushing
- Week 5 (vs. LV): 29.7 fantasy points | 340-2-1 passing | 6-21-1 rushing
- Week 6 (at BUF): 20.6 fantasy points | 225-2-0 passing | 10-36-0 rushing
Even though the Broncos are tied for No. 4 with a 67.6 PFF coverage grade, I don’t hate the matchup for Mahomes.
At no point have we seen the Broncos fully impose themselves on opposing quarterbacks.
- Ryan Tannehill (Week 1): 19.4 fantasy points | 249-2-0 passing | 3-14-0 rushing
- Ben Roethlisberger (Week 2): 18.2 fantasy points | 311-2-1 passing | 3-minus 2-0 rushing
- Tom Brady (Week 3): 23.9 fantasy points | 297-3-0 passing | 5-0-0 rushing
- Sam Darnold (Week 4): 23.6 fantasy points | 230-0-0 passing | 6-84-1 rushing
- Cam Newton (Week 5): 18.5 fantasy points | 157-0-2 passing | 10-76-1 rushing
Against the Broncos last year, Mahomes exited Week 7 early with a knee injury, but when he faced them against in Week 15, he went off for 22.7 fantasy points on 340-2-1 passing and 3-11-0 rushing.
Mahomes will almost certainly be without dynamic wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring), but the Chiefs have excellent depth at the position, and the Broncos will be without No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder, IR).
Mahomes should be able to produce against head coach Vic Fangio’s defense.
And you know I’m betting on the Chiefs.
Head coach Andy Reid has markedly overperformed in two situations (regular season only).
- On Road: 37-19-1 ATS | 29.8% ROI
- In Division: 28-15-1 ATS | 27.7% ROI
On the road inside the AFC West, Reid is 16-5 ATS (49.8% ROI).
Mahomes is 26-13-2 ATS (30.7% ROI) for his career, including postseason. You can bet on this game at FanDuel.
And I’m not worried about Mahomes on the road, where he has had positive career splits (per RotoViz Game Splits App).
Mahomes is a no-doubt top-six QB1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 quarterback in the CSURAM88 and Freedman Models for DraftKings.
Joe Burrow: Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) vs. Cleveland Browns, 50 O/U
Burrow is No. 25 with a 6.3 AY/A, so it’s not as if he’s tearing up the league with an LSU-style aerial attack, but he is No. 1 with 246 pass attempts and No. 5 with 22.3 expected fantasy points per game, thanks primarily to the Bengals’ top-10 offensive pace (26.48 seconds per play, No. 10) and pass-play rate (62.2%, No. 8).
With the exception of his Week 5 road loss to the Ravens, the No. 1 overall pick has looked good for a rookie.
- Week 1 (vs. LAC): 16.3 fantasy points | 193-0-1 passing | 8-46-1 rushing
- Week 2 (at CLE): 24.5 fantasy points | 316-3-0 passing | 7-19-0 rushing
- Week 3 (at PHI): 20.4 fantasy points | 312-2-0 passing | 1-minus 1-0 rushing
- Week 4 (vs. JAX): 15.1 fantasy points | 300-1-1 passing | 4-11-0 rushing
- Week 5 (at BAL): 4.3 fantasy points | 183-0-1 passing | 3-10-0 rushing
- Week 6 (at IND): 16.7 fantasy points | 313-0-1 passing | 3-2-1 rushing
With four 300-yard passing performances, Burrow is actually No. 1 in the league.
The Browns have a middle-of-the road No. 19 pass-defense DVOA (11.4%), so they’re not a team to fear, and Burrow in Week 2 went off against them on the road for the best game of his young career.
A streamable QB2 with upside in season-long leagues, Burrow is a feasible pay-down DFS option in cash games, especially on DraftKings, where he’s cheaper than almost every quarterback on the slate.
You can use our FantasyLabs Correlations Tool to research the overlapping production of passers and receivers, and in their six games together Burrow and slot receiver Tyler Boyd have a 0.73 correlation. The sample is small, but it’s suggestive. For tournaments, use our Lineup Builder to stack Burrow with his most reliable receiver.
Burrow is the No. 1 quarterback in the Koerner Model for DraftKings.
Quarterbacks With Week-Winning Upside
In this section, I highlight some quarterbacks I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (-13.5) at New York Jets (45 O/U): The Jets are No. 31 with a 24.0% pass-defense DVOA, and Allen is No. 3 with 24.2 expected fantasy points per game. Against the Jets in Week 1, he was 312-2-0 passing and 14-57-1 rushing for 28.2 fantasy points.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (+3.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (56 O/U): Without former No. 1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Watson has continued to put up fantasy points and actually been more efficient on a per-pass basis.
After a brutal season-opening stretch against the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers, Watson has passed for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in each of the past three weeks.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) vs. Detroit Lions (56.5 O/U): The Lions allowed a league-high 503.2 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game last year (per AirYards.com). Ryan has dominated in three games this year with healthy No. 1 wide receiver Julio Jones.
No. 2 wide receiver Calvin Ridley is slated for a highly exploitable matchup against rookie cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, who has allowed 19-299-0 receiving on 26 targets and limited action.
AirYAC is a leading and simple-to-understand indicator of fantasy output.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (+2.5) at Atlanta Falcons (56.5 O/U): Opposing quarterbacks are No. 1 in the league against the Falcons with 29.1 fantasy points per game on 2,071-18-5 passing and 17-96-3 rushing. Literally every guy to face them has gone off.
- Russell Wilson (Week 1): 31.8 fantasy points | 322-4-0 passing | 3-29-0 rushing
- Dak Prescott (Week 2): 39.8 fantasy points | 450-1-0 passing | 5-18-3 rushing
- Nick Foles & Mitchell Trubisky (Week 3): 28.8 fantasy points | 316-4-2 passing | 4-42-0 rushing
- Aaron Rodgers (Week 4): 29.6 fantasy points | 327-4-0 passing | 1-5-0 rushing
- Teddy Bridgewater (Week 5): 20.8 fantasy points | 313-2-0 passing | 3-3-0 rushing
- Kirk Cousins (Week 6): 23.7 fantasy points | 343-3-3 passing | 0-0-0 rushing
Under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Stafford has averaged 23.4 fantasy points across his 11 games with No. 1 wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who returned to action in Week 3 from a hamstring injury.
Cam Newton, New England Patriots (-2.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (45 O/U): Aside from the injured Dak Prescott, Newton is No. 1 at the position with 25.7 expected fantasy points per game thanks primarily to his 35% market share of team carries. Pats head coach Bill Belichick is an A-graded 41-16 ATS (42.6% ROI) off a loss.
You can bet on this game at William Hill. The 49ers are without edge rushers Nick Bosa (knee, IR), Dee Ford (back, IR) and Ziggy Ansah (arm, IR), defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (knee, IR) and cornerbacks Richard Sherman (calf, IR) and K’Waun Williams (knee/hip, IR).
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (-7.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (51 O/U): Home at the Coors Field of Fantasy Football, Brees could go off with the return of No. 1 wide receiver Michael Thomas. Brees has legendary Superdome splits dating back to his first year with the Saints in 2006, and they have been especially marked since Thomas entered the league in 2016.
I have my doubts about the aging quarterback, but his ceiling is high.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (+7.5) at New Orleans Saints (51 O/U): The thing about Coors Field is that it benefits both teams. Bridgewater has two No. 1-caliber receivers in Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore, and for his career Bridgewater is 15-2 ATS (72.5% ROI) as a road underdog.
Opposing quarterbacks are No. 4 against the Saints with 23.3 fantasy points per game on 1,276-15-3 passing and 15-53-1 rushing.
Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team (+1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (47.5 O/U): The Cowboys are No. 32 with a 36.4 PFF coverage grade. Allen was a salvageable 280-2-1 passing last week in his first full game with the Footballers.
The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.
Pictured above: Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks
Photo credit: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images