The sentiment by the seasonal fantasy community is that the quarterback position is the deepest and most productive it’s ever been, and I concur with that sentiment. Thus, it is important that daily fantasy players not whiff at the quarterback position. There are plenty of good options, but we have to avoid land mines in cash games, and hunt upside in GPP’s. So, let’s dodge the landmines and examine which quarterbacks to avoid in week one.
Jimmy Garoppolo: $7,100
As he demonstrated this offseason, Jimmy Garoppolo’s got game on and off the field. However, he’ll be far from home facing an elite group of purple people eaters dead set on destroying his “Golden Boy” persona. While his price includes the difficult matchup, it’s not low enough to warrant cash game consideration for multiple reasons.
This offense won’t have many advantageous matchups to exploit at all. Here are the projected matchups for the 49ers skill positions this Sunday according to Pro Football Focus: Pierre Garcon vs. Trae Waynes, Marquise Goodwin vs. Xavier Rhodes, Trent Taylor vs. Mackenzie Alexander, and George Kittle vs. Harrison Smith. The only person with a statistically relevant (not between +5/-5) positive matchup is Trent Taylor with a positive 10 percent rating. This offense will also be without the versatile Jerrick McKinnon at running back, and will thus be more predictable when either Alfred Morris or Matt Breida are on the field.
While Garoppolo can perform in a negative matchup, why take the risk when there are plenty of options in his price range with great matchups? For example, Andy Dalton ($6,800) will face the mediocre at best Colts defense in the Lucas Oil dome with A.J. Green as an amazing stack. Or, why not pay up slightly for Philip Rivers ($7,500) against an incredibly suspect Chiefs secondary with another great stack in Keenan Allen? There are just too many question marks to roster Garoppolo in cash games with the bevy of great options available to us.
Patrick Mahomes: $6,700
With so many teams choosing to sit their starters for almost the entire preseason, we are entering week one far more questions than answers. Given our situation, why on earth would someone roster Patrick Mahomes, an incredibly talented, boom or bust quarterback in a cash game lineup when there are known commodities at nearly his identical price. Yes, Mahomes does have a higher floor than most will give him credit for because of his rushing ability. However, his floor isn’t significantly higher than Tyrod Taylor ($6,600) to justify playing Mahomes over Taylor in a cash game.
There’s also the chance that the Chargers defense undresses him in his first start this year given their defensive line and secondary talent. The Chargers are one of the few teams capable of shutting down the dynamic Travis Kelce. In 2017, Kelce scored a total of 8.2 FanDuel points in two games versus the Chargers. This secondary added the immensely talented Derwin James to their secondary in the draft, so I don’t see that trend ending this Sunday. If you’re trying to win a GPP, then sure, Mahomes is a good play considering how popular Philip Rivers will be. And, he has the upside to finish as the highest scoring fantasy quarterback this week. But, we don’t need to finish in the top 15-20 percent to win in cash games. And thus, don’t need to roster Patrick Mahomes.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: $6,200
For those of you who want to bargain shop, don’t play Ryan Fitzpatrick. Yes, the spread indicates gameflow in favor of Fitzpatrick and the passing game. Yes, Fitzpatrick has produced historically and for the Buccaneers when given the opportunity. But, Mike Evans will draw an incredibly tough matchup in Marshon Lattimore, and the Saints added Patrick Robinson to sure up their slot coverage, as well as traded up to add pass-rusher Marcus Davenport to pair with Cameron Jordan. There are better options in this price range, like Case Keenum ($6,300) and Ryan Tannehill ($6,200). Keenum will face the depleted and substantially overrated Seattle defense, and Tannehill presents a rushing upside Fitzpatrick does not have, since Tannehill played wide receiver at Texas A&M.
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