In this piece, I highlight quarterbacks who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.
As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, player ratings in our Player Models will change. For updates, visit the models directly.
Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models
There are seven quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, and Ryan Hodge have constructed.
Here’s where they place within our Week 3 Fantasy Rankings (as of Tuesday evening):
- Kyler Murray (2nd)
- Lamar Jackson (3rd)
- Josh Allen (5th)
- Justin Herbert (7th)
- Teddy Bridgewater (12th)
- Ryan Tannehill (13th)
- Daniel Jones (20th)
We’ll discuss why these seven are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other quarterbacks in potential high-scoring games.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
- Wide Receivers on Wednesday
- Tight Ends on Thursday
- Running Backs on Friday
For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.
Top Model Quarterbacks
Kyler Murray ($8,300 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel) Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (52 total)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Kyler stands out this week:
Sneak peek at next weeks breakdown: Just play Kyler. The end. https://t.co/s2WAvOCv4Z
— Billy Ward (@Psychoward586) September 20, 2021
He’s been on fire to start the season, amassing 689 passing yards and nine total touchdowns already. The scary thing is, we haven’t even seen his rushing ceiling. Last season, he averaged 8.3 rushing attempts per game. This year, he’s carried it five times in each of the first two games.
I probably don’t need to say a ton to convince you on Kyler, but even if you took the name off the player, the evidence is there. He has the slate’s second-highest Vegas team total (29.8). He plays for the team with the sixth-fastest situation neutral pace and is playing against the team that is second-fasted neutral pace.
Murray has a plethora of explosive weaponry at his disposal. Besides DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals are also featuring rookie sensation, Rondale Moore. Moore is second in the NFL in yards after the catch, trailing Deebo Samuel by one yard (on four fewer receptions). This is valuable for a quarterback since those yards end up on Kyler’s stat line too.
Kyler leads three of our Pro’s Models on FanDuel, where he has an 85% Bargain Rating. It’s also more valuable to pay up at quarterbacks on FanDuel since the lack of yardage bonuses, and half-PPR scoring means they generally account for a larger percentage of your lineups scoring.
He’s still a fine play on DraftKings, where he has the slate’s third-best Ceiling Projection.
Lamar Jackson ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel) Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) at Detroit Lions (50)
Like Kyler, Lamar is in consideration every week as the slate’s best quarterback play. This week, he takes on a Lions team with the league’s worst Opponent Plus/Minus Allowed. The Lions have faced relatively immobile quarterbacks (Jimmy Garoppolo and Aaron Rodgers). They now have to deal with Lamar, who’s averaging over 90 yards and a touchdown on the ground this season.
Lamar has also done well as a large favorite, per our Trends tool:
What’s the most compelling about this trend is the relatively low ownership. The field sometimes shies away from heavily favored quarterbacks, thinking their passing upside is limited if the game is a blowout. This is probably wrong to begin with since teams winning by a large margin frequently get there by amassing passing scores. It’s especially wrong with Lamar since he adds so much value with his legs.
Lamar is standing out in both the Bales and CSURAM88 models on DraftKings this week. He leads the slate in Median and Ceiling projections.
Josh Allen ($7,000 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel) Buffalo Bills (-9.5) vs. Washington Football Team (45.5 total)
Allen leads the Koerner Model on DraftKings, where he has the slate’s highest Pts/Sal. Allen is an interesting option this week. He’s underwhelmed thus far, failing to top 18.2 points in the Bills’ first two games. He’s also taking on a Football Team defense that features a freat defensive line.
The relevant question here is who the “real” Josh Allen really is. Was last year’s Pro Bowl campaign an anomaly? Before last season, he never topped a 60% completion rate or 20 passing touchdowns in a season. Last year, he completed just under 70% of his passes, and 37 of them ended up in the end zone.
So far this year, he’s looked like pre-2020 Allen, with a paltry 5.5 yards per attempt. However, it’s a very small sample size, and there are other possible explanations. In Week 1, he faced a tough Steelers defense. In Week 2, the Bills raced out to an early lead and didn’t need to force the ball downfield.
Depending on your answer to the question above, this could be either the cheapest or the most expensive; we see Allen all year.
Justin Herbert ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel) Los Angeles Chargers (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (55.5 total)
Before I look at any models, salaries or begin any writing for the week, I like to take 10-15 minutes and go through each game to jot down impressions of the matchup and fantasy angles for each game.
Here’s what I wrote about the Chiefs and Chargers game this week: “Patrick Mahomes ($8,200 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel) essentially creates a better option across from him at a cheaper price on a weekly basis.”
What I mean by that is rostering quarterbacks against the Chiefs makes a lot of sense.
With the Chiefs’ explosive offense, opposing teams are generally throwing way more than usual.
This week, that lucky player is Justin Herbert. Herbert let us down in a similar situation last week, but I don’t expect him to stay down long. We’re getting Herbert at a discount in terms of salary, and likely ownership, this week. It’s great when you can buy low on a quarterback playing in a game with a 55.5 total. I’m expecting recency bias to keep projected ownership on Herbert down.
Herbert leads Sean Koerner’s Model on FanDuel, where he has a 79% Bargain Rating. He’s solid on DraftKings as well as he’s is third in Pts/Sal on both sites.
Consider this section my Mahomes endorsement too. Mahomes leads our Median Projections on both sites but costs significantly more than Herbert.
Teddy Bridgewater ($5,800 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel) Denver Broncos (-11.5) vs. New York Jets
Bridgewater’s prices feel like a rare misstep from DraftKings, where he leads the Hodge Model. Teddy is averaging a very solid 22 points per game with the Broncos this year and draws a terrible Jets team at home.
He’s not without his issues this week, however. He’s only picked up 20 yards on the ground this year, and he likely won’t need to throw the ball much this week, with the Broncos being the slate’s largest favorite. The Jets have also fared solidly against the pass, where their DVOA currently sits 13th in the league.
Bridgewater doesn’t offer a ton to get excited about, but his salary on DraftKings allows you to be excited elsewhere on your roster.
Ryan Tannehill ($6,200 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel) Tennessee Titans (-5) vs Indianapolis Colts (48.5 total)
Tannehill leads the CSURAM88 Player Model and has somewhat underwhelmed the box scores so far. While he threw for over 300 yards last week, three Derrick Henry rushing touchdowns limited his fantasy scoring. This week could be better, though. The Titans are taking on a Colts team that is a serious pass funnel. The Colts are 13th in DVOA against the run so far but 29th against the pass.
Tannehill’s volume has also been good to start the year. He’s averaging 37.5 pass attempts and three rushes so far. Basically, everything has been there except the touchdowns. Touchdowns are inherently volatile, so I’m expecting positive regression at some point. With a 27-point implied team total, this week is as good as any. I’d rather be too early to climb back on the Tannehill bandwagon than too late.
If the field overlooks Tannehill, he’s a great play.
Daniel Jones ($5,800 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel) New York Giants (-3) vs. Atlanta Falcons (48.5)
Jones is another quarterback who is far too cheap on DraftKings. He’s somehow contributed 122 yards and two touchdowns rushing, despite being the man who brought us this:
DANIEL JONES. 80-YARD RUN.
— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2020
(I will never pass up an opportunity to link that video).
His Giants are taking on a Falcons team that has allowed a league-worst 40 points per game. The Giants, at least on paper, have assembled a solid group of weapons around Jones. When your first-round pick wideout is tied for sixth on the team in targets, it says something. Of course, that something could be that he wasn’t a great draft pick, but still.
Getting a quarterback with rushing upside against the league’s worst defense for only $5,800 in salary is a rare opportunity. While I don’t think I’ll ever feel good about including Jones in a lineup, it’s hard to argue that he’s a bad play this week.
Other Quarterbacks to Consider
I try to limit the number of players I discuss in these pieces. Making a case for every player on the slate doesn’t really help anyone. With that said, given the large number of quarterbacks that popped in our models this week, I’m going to dispense the usual format and briefly talk about a few other interesting players to consider.
Matt Ryan ($5,400 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel) Atlanta Falcons (+3) at New York Giants (48.5)
I prefer Ryan to Jones in the same game. After only throwing on 50% of offensive snaps in Week 1, the Falcons wised up and let Ryan throw 46 times in Week 2.
He managed to throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns against the Bucs, a much tougher defense than he’s facing this week. I expect Kyle Pitts to get better as the season goes along, which gives Ryan another weapon. The best days may be rapidly fading in the rearview mirror for the 36-year-old Ryan, but I’m not quite there yet. His 3.7 Pts/Sal is tied for the DraftKings lead.
Matthew Stafford ($6,400 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel) Los Angeles Rams (-1) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (56 total)
It would be unwise to ignore the game with the state’s highest over/under when discussing quarterbacks. Stafford has been hyper-efficient for the Rams; he’s third in the NFL in yards per attempt. Unfortunately, that hasn’t really paid off for fantasy players since he’s yet to top 30 passing attempts this year. That should change this week against a Bucs team that has faced 104 passing attempts through two games. Teams have figured out that the only way to attack Tampa is with the pass.
Stafford’s price is way too cheap on DraftKings for the volume he should see this week.
I prefer Stafford to Tom Brady ($6,800 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel) since the Rams defense is much easier to run against. Both of these coaches are sharp and will likely attack their opponents where they are weakest. Brady isn’t a bad play by any stretch, but I’ll take the discount and matchup advantage from Stafford.
Russell Wilson ($7,600 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel) Seattle Seahawks (-2) at Minnesota Vikings (56 total)
Russ and the Seahawks trail only the Chiefs and Cardinals in implied team total on the slate for Week 3. The Vikings defense is a fairly neutral matchup, ranking 20th in DVOA against both the pass and the run, but if allowed to cook, the matchup doesn’t matter much to Russ. I especially like the combination of high total and close spread.
Targeting high-total games with close spreads has been fruitful for DFS players:
His counterpart, Kirk Cousins ($6,300 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel), is also intriguing for similar reasons. I’d build around Russ on FanDuel, where he has an 84% Bargain Rating. Kirk has a 50% Bargain Rating on both sites but is a slightly better value relative to Russ on DraftKings if you need the $1,300 savings.