How Much Is Too Much?

The backbone of any successful NFL franchise is a productive quarterback, and daily fantasy is no different. The question is, “How much should I pay?”

More Money Does Not Equal More Points:

I always hesitate to select a quarterback with a salary north of $9,000 even if that player is Tom Brady or Cam Newton. Why? Because it is unreasonable to expect a player to post 30 plus points just because of their price tag, when there are cheaper alternatives who will produce similar numbers that week. Last year, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers led the NFL with the most games valued at $9,000 or more with ten games.

Brady, of his ten games valued at $9,000 or more, only produced 30 points once all season; those numbers are exactly the same for Aaron Rodgers. To be fair, 30 points is a lofty expectation, what about how many times they scored between 25 and 29 points when valued at $9,000 or more?

Given this price tag, Brady scored between 25 and 29 points twice, while Rodgers scored between 25 and 29 points zero times. Here is a list of NFL Quarterbacks last season who scored between 25 and 29 points and never once were valued at $9,000 or more.

What this comes down to is value. I’m never going to trash someone for paying for Brady or Rodgers. Those players have a history of producing and I cannot blame someone who wants to pay for reliability and consistency; however, it’s not always great value.

A successful daily fantasy lineup is predicated on having good value so that no part of the roster has to suffer based on overpaying for one player. So, what is a good price to pay for a productive starter to propel you forward on your quest for daily fantasy greatness?

Finding the Sweet Spot:

So if the most expensive quarterbacks are off the table, what is a reasonable price to pay? I’ve found that anywhere from $7,800 to $8,800 is the optimal range to be in when selecting a quarterback. Here is a list of the players who were valued at $8,800 or less every week last season and their respective production. As you can see, the drawback to selecting a player in this price range is the number of games in which they score less than 20 points.

This table does not account for the number of games when these players score between 15 and 19 points. Usually, 18 points is enough production from a quarterback in this price range to win in a 50/50 league. While this kind of production won’t make you a millionaire anytime soon, it will allow you to allocate your spending to other positions where payment for production is more important.
Don’t Get Too Cute:

If you’re a fellow fantasy football nerd, like myself, you will have no doubt dug through last season’s weekly stats to find diamonds in the rough at the quarterback position. For example, there were times that players like Josh McCown overproduced given their price tag. Stay away from these kind of situations.

Every week, plan on your quarterback being the one of the two or three most expensive players on your roster. What’s the problem with paying for a bargain quarterback? If a quarterback under-performs, it can be the end of your fantasy hopes for that week. You’re third receiver, tight end or defense can under-perform and you can still manage a solid, productive lineup.

What About This Year:

With three weeks of NFL fantasy football in the books, it’s time to see how the “Sweet Spot” measures up when it comes to the top ten fantasy QB’s thus far.

While not earth shattering, it does reinforce the idea that you don’t have to pay more than $8,800 and certainly not more than $9,000 for a productive quarterback. Moving forward, the best value plays at quarterback are Matt Stafford and Derek Carr. Unless something unforeseen happens, it is more than likely that both of these players will never be valued at more than $8,600. Why $8,600? Because the last time Stafford cost $8,600 was week eleven of 2014 and Derek Carr has never, ever, been valued at more than $8,300 in his entire career.

Three weeks does not a season, or a theory, make. As you can see, the perennial powerhouses like Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers are present and expensive. On the other hand, we see great value and production from the other seven players on this list.

Leading the pack is Matt Ryan, who has an average salary value well within the “Sweet Spot”. Ryan has yet to be valued at more than $8,500 and was incredibly undervalued week one against Tampa Bay at a mere $7,600. This pattern is consistent with Matt Stafford and Derek Carr, both of who were valued at less than $7,800 week one and have since increased to a minimum amount of $7,800 (Stafford Week 2).

What’s the point? Quarterbacks who are consistently productive will be one of the three most expensive players on your roster. Building your lineup around the “Sweet Spot” philosophy will allow you great consistency, as well as the ability to have star players like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. or Le’Veon Bell without having to sacrifice value at any position.

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