The Week 9 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 8, 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 the Models are built for daily contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.
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Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models
There are three 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 9 fantasy football rankings (as of Tuesday evening).
- Kyler Murray: No. 1
- Josh Allen: No. 5
- Drew Lock: No. 19
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
Check in throughout the week as I publish the rest of the positional breakdowns.
Kyler Murray: Arizona Cardinals vs. Miami Dolphins (Off the Board)
As of writing (Tuesday afternoon), this game is off the board because the Cardinals are dealing with a COVID-19 situation coming off the Week 8 bye.
Kingsbury confirmed the two positive tests for the Cardinals. No additional positive tests since. “I don’t see this being a problem.” Practice will be “business as usual” today. Contact tracing showed limited interaction with others. But he acknowledged, “you never know.”
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) November 2, 2020
But this game is still scheduled to play and when it was posted we saw consensus lines of -4.5 and 47.5.
The No. 3 quarterback with 30.9 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
- Week 7 (vs. SEA): 37.1 fantasy points | 360-3-1 passing | 14-67-1 rushing
For the season, Murray is No. 1 with 0.72 fantasy points per drop back (per Pro Football Focus).
Murray’s consistency has been unrivaled. In every game this year he has finished as a fantasy QB1 (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
His consistency in large part rests with his Konami Code running ability: Even though he is No. 33 in the league with “just” 65 carries — which is an obscene total for a quarterback — Murray is No. 14 with 437 yards and No. 4 with seven touchdowns rushing.
Among all quarterbacks, Murray is easily No. 1 with 5.7 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 57-of-73 passing for 704-3-1 with a robust 9.9 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A, per RotoViz AY/A App).
Murray doesn’t have a great matchup against the Dolphins. Last year, they were No. 32 in the league with a 43.4% pass-defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders). This year, they are No. 3 (-14.1% DVOA).
This defense has been significantly improved by the offseason additions of edge rushers Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and cornerback Byron Jones and the return from injury of cornerback Xavien Howard.
These Dolphins are not last year’s version.
But they can still be beaten. The three upper-echelon dual-threat quarterbacks to face the Dolphins this year have all done well.
- Cam Newton (Week 1): 25.7 fantasy points | 155-0-0 passing | 15-75-2 rushing
- Josh Allen (Week 2): 34.5 fantasy points | 415-4-0 passing | 4-19-0 rushing
- Russell Wilson (Week 4): 20.9 fantasy points | 360-2-1 passing | 4-5-0 rushing
Murray should be fine against Dolphins. It’s just an added bonus that he’s on the positive side of his splits (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool).
- Home (11 games): 22.9 FanDuel points | 81.8% Consistency Rating
- Away (12 games): 20.6 FanDuel points | 66.7% Consistency Rating
- Favorite (five games): 25.6 FanDuel points | 100% Consistency Rating
- Underdog (18 games): 20.7 FanDuel points | 66.7% Consistency Rating
The sample is small, but in his three games as a home favorite Murray has averaged 25.9 FanDuel points and exceeded expectations in every start.
Murray leads all quarterbacks in our Models with his floor projections: There might not be any safer player at the position this week.
A top-six QB1 in season-long leagues, Murray is the No. 1 quarterback in the Freedman Model for FanDuel, where he has a position-high +5.46 Projected Plus/Minus and 98% Bargain Rating.
Josh Allen: Buffalo Bills (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (54 Over/Under)
Through the first month of the season, Allen was the No. 2 fantasy quarterback, scoring no fewer than three total touchdowns in each game.
- Week 1 (vs. NYJ): 28.2 fantasy points | 312-2-0 passing | 14-57-1 rushing
- Week 2 (at MIA): 34.5 fantasy points | 415-4-0 passing | 4-19-0 rushing
- Week 3 (vs. LAR): 31.2 fantasy points | 311-4-0 passing | 4-8-1 rushing
- Week 4 (at LV): 25.4 fantasy points | 288-2-0 passing | 3-minus 1-1 rushing
But in the season’s second month, Allen had a sub-Daniel Jones 17.7 fantasy points per game
- Week 5 (at TEN): 16.3 fantasy points | 263-2-2 passing | 4-18-0 rushing
- Week 6 (vs. KC): 15.1 fantasy points | 122-2-1 passing | 8-42-0 rushing
- Week 7 (at NYJ): 16.4 fantasy points | 307-0-0 passing | 11-61-rushing
- Week 8 (vs. NE): 12.5 fantasy points | 154-0-1 passing | 10-23-1 rushing
In Weeks 1-4, he had an elite 10.3 AY/A. Weeks 5-8, a 5.8 AY/A.
But I’m not dissuaded. Allen has always been better in fantasy than reality, and even when he has been average at best as an NFL player he has usually been a strong fantasy producer.
As a rookie, Allen was the No. 2 fantasy quarterback with 26.6 points per game for the final six weeks of the season after returning to action from an elbow injury.
In his second season, Allen had only one game in which he finished as anything less than a fantasy QB2 (excluding his partial Week 17).
Even when he’s not good, Allen still tends to be good enough.
What makes Allen so investable is his Konami Code rushing ability and specifically his goal-line usage (per game, per Player Profiler).
- 2019 (16 games): 6.8 carries (No. 2) | 1.4 red-zone carries (No. 2)
- 2020 (eight games): 7.2 carries (No. 4) | 1.5 red-zone carries (No. 5)
With his rushing production, Allen has a nearly unrivaled floor/ceiling combination. No quarterback comes close to Allen with his 21 touchdowns rushing since 2018.
And this week Allen has a strong matchup against the Seahawks.
With a funnel defense that ranks No. 6 against the run (-23.2% DVOA) and No. 30 against the pass (23.8%), 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
- Kyler Murray (Week 7): 37.1 fantasy points | 360-3-1 passing | 14-67-1 rushing
- Jimmy Garoppolo & Nick Mullens (Week 8): 19.3 fantasy points | 322-2-1 passing | 4-4-0 rushing
Long gone is the Legion of Boom.
This year, opposing quarterbacks are No. 2 against the Seahawks with 25.4 fantasy points per game on 2,565-13-9 passing and 43-192-4 rushing.
On top of that, the Seahawks are dealing with major injury issues in their secondary.
All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (groin) exited Week 3 early, missed Weeks 4-8 and is uncertain for Week 9.
Perimeter cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) left Week 7 early and missed Week 8. He didn’t practice at all last week, which does not bode well for his Week 9 availability.
Backup slot cornerback Ugo Amadi (hamstring) also missed Week 8 after not practicing, and Week 1 slot starter Marquise Blair (knee, IR) is already out for the year.
In this game, the Seahawks could be without three secondary starters and one key injury fill-in.
Allen could not ask for a better bounceback matchup.
Full disclosure: I’m betting against the Bills. With quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are 73-55-7 against the spread (ATS), good for an 11.0% return on investment (ROI, per our Bet Labs database).
I know that the Seahawks are a West Coast team traveling east and playing in the early game, which theoretically means they should have some sort of biorhythmic disadvantage, but I’m not worried.
There might have been an edge with that angle years ago, but nowadays the market tends to account for cross-country travel.
In fact, bettors now might put too much weight on the west-to-east angle, creating value on the team that should be hindered. With the Seahawks, head coach Pete Carroll has had 24 East Coast games with a start time of 1 p.m. ET. He’s 14-7-3 ATS (27.5% ROI). You can bet on this game at DraftKings.
I expect the Seahawks to put up points, which should drive the Bills to stay aggressive on offense. In a game with the slate’s highest over/under, Allen could be forced to put up an excessive number of fantasy points in a back-and-forth contest.
A mid-range QB1 with No. 1 overall upside in season-long leagues, Allen is the top option in the Bales, CSURAM88, Koerner, Raybon, SportsGeek and Hodge Models for FanDuel, where he has a position-high three Pro Trends.
Allen is also the No. 1 quarterback in the Bales and Hodge Models for DraftKings.
Drew Lock: Denver Broncos (+4) at Atlanta Falcons (50 O/U)
This week is all about the matchup for Lock.
Opposing quarterbacks are No. 1 in the league against the Falcons with 25.6 fantasy points per game on 2,590-20-6 passing and 23-134-3 rushing.
What they’ve allowed quarterbacks to do to them qualifies as “Not Safe For Work.”
- 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
- Matthew Stafford (Week 7): 18.4 fantasy points | 340-1-0 passing | 1-8-0 rushing
- Teddy Bridgewater (Week 8): 12.0 fantasy points | 176-1-1 passing | 5-30-0 rushing
Over the past three weeks — since the firing of HC Dan Quinn — the Falcons have been better on defense. But Cousins and Stafford both still passed for well over 300 yards, and the Falcons had the benefit last week of facing Bridgewater and the Panthers for the second time in less than a month.
It’s not as if the Falcons lost all their defensive troubles the minute they terminated Quinn.
With a funnel defense that ranks No. 8 against the run (-18.6% DVOA) and No. 29 against the pass (22.4%), the Falcons beg to be attacked via the passing game.
I’ll be honest: Lock hasn’t impressed this year. He’s No. 29 with a 5.5 AY/A, just below Dwayne Haskins (6.1) and Cam Newton (5.6) and just above Nick Foles (5.4) and Carson Wentz (5.2).
He’s without No. 1 wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee, IR), and field-stretching perimeter threat Tim Patrick (hamstring) is uncertain after missing Week 8.
But in his nine full NFL starts, Lock has been a fantasy QB1 twice, so he has the potential for a peak performance, and more often than not he has been no worse than a fantasy QB2.
With wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler and tight ends Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam, Lock probably still has enough playmakers around him to help him elevate his ceiling in an advantageous spot.
A streamable QB2 in season-long leagues, Lock is the No. 1 quarterback in the CSURAM88, Koerner, Raybon, SportsGeek and Freedman Models for DraftKings, where he has a position-high 95% Bargain Rating.
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.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (+10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): The Panthers are No. 26 with a 45.2 PFF coverage grade, and the Chiefs have a slate-high 31.75-point implied Vegas total. Mahomes is in MVP form.
Today, we have the betting opportunity of a generation …
Obviously I’m talking about Patrick Mahomes to win 2020 MVP (+350, DraftKings).
His 9.5 AY/A is in line w/ his NFL-best 9.6 AY/A from his 2018 MVP season, and the Chiefs are 7-1.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) November 3, 2020
Mahomes leads all quarterbacks in our Models with his median and ceiling projections.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (54 O/U): Top perimeter wide receiver D.K. Metcalf has a tough matchup with All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White, but Wilson should still ball out. He has been a fantasy QB1 in every game this year.
Wilson is easily No. 1 among all quarterbacks with 10.4 expected fantasy points over expectation per game.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50 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 (per RotoViz Game Splits App).
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 four games and is coming off the bye to face the Jaguars, who are No. 32 with a 37.17% pass-defense DVOA.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (53.5 O/U): The Raiders are No. 32 with a 37.2 PFF coverage grade, and the over is 5-1-1 (51.6% ROI) in their games this year. Herbert has 300 yards or multiple touchdowns passing in every start and is No. 2 at the position with 8.3 expected fantasy points over expectation per game.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (-4) vs. Denver Broncos (50 O/U): Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) probably won’t play, but No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (concussion) also looks unlikely for the Broncos, so it evens out. Ryan has dominated in his six games this year with No. 1 wide receiver Julio Jones.
Since last year, Ryan leads all quarterbacks in 300-yard passing games with 14.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (+1.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (53.5 O/U): The Chargers are without three All-Pro secondary defenders in safety Derwin James (knee, IR), cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (foot, IR) and corner/safety Desmond King II (trade). Carr is pacing for career-best numbers with his 1,838-14-2 passing line and No. 6 in the league with an 8.6 AY/A.
Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team (+1) vs. New York Giants (41.5 O/U): The Footballers are coming off the bye, and in his two starts Allen has averaged a manageable 19.8 fantasy points per game. Against the Giants in Week 6, Allen was a low-end QB1 with 280-2-1 passing and 2-8-0 rushing. The Giants are No. 28 with a 22.1% pass-defense DVOA.
The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.
Pictured above: Josh Allen
Photo credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images