Daily Fantasy Football Basic Strategy: Part 2

In the second part of our NFL Building Blocks series, we’ll be talking about choosing a quarterback for your NFL DFS lineups. Our quarterback in NFL DFS is often going to dictate how we build our lineup and how we spend our salary. Depending on the type of the game we’re playing, our quarterback strategy can vary greatly. In this post we will explore the similarities and differences of cash games and GPPs when it comes to picking the right quarterback.

All Types of Games

There are a few things that don’t change between cash games and GPPs. One is that the Vegas lines are always relevant. If a team isn’t projected to score many points, we’re almost never interested in their quarterback.

Another factor that we will often need to consider is the strength of the secondary that our chosen quarterback is playing against. For example, we are often going to avoid playing a quarterback against a defense like that of the 2014 Seahawks. A strong opposing secondary adds a very real risk that our quarterback is going to put up a dud and leave us in trouble.

We’ll likely want a quarterback to have a stable situation. Is their offensive line healthy? Are they talented? It doesn’t matter how good a quarterback is if they’re constantly flat on their back.

We must always consider the quality of their pass catchers. Tom Brady had an extremely poor fantasy season in 2013 relative to expectations due to the fact that Rob Gronkowski was injured, Aaron Hernandez was in jail, and Wes Welker left in free agency. Last season, however, Brady did just fine with the return of Gronkowski. The quarterback’s talent is important, but don’t underestimate the importance of the players surrounding him.

Cash Games (50/50s and Head-to-Head)

When taking a look at the available quarterbacks, in cash games we will often narrow our choices down to the top 25% most expensive options. There are going to be exceptions to this rule, but at quarterback we’re most often looking for consistent studs rather than high risk, high upside plays. It’s often quite hard to find players like this for a decreased price.

In essence what we want to look for is a player with a safe floor who won’t often have a bad game. We are still seeking a high ceiling when we can, but not at the cost of floor. The reason for adopting this strategy is that quarterback is one of the most predictable positions as it pertains to projections. In cash games we want reliable outcomes due to the fact that we must only finish in the top 50% of the field to make a profit. Thus, we are happy to spend a large percentage of our salary cap on a reliable quarterback due to consistent point production.

Mobile quarterbacks offer some added value in cash games given their ability to gain extra points. For example, this season Cam Newton and Russell Wilson should get special considerations on a week-to-week basis in cash games.

Robert Griffin III (flickr.com/keithallison)


In GPPs the options are much larger and you have plenty of room to get creative. You don’t necessarily have to choose the safest or most chalk quarterbacks. In fact, you should often try to find undervalued or underused players in order to give yourself the best chance to win a GPP.

Because GPPs pay a high percentage of their prize pools to the top placing competitors, we must find a way to differentiate our lineups from everyone else. If our quarterback has a huge game and no one else has him in their lineups, we automatically have a huge advantage over the rest of the field. Therefore in GPPs, we might be more inclined to look at players that will be lesser owned so that we can stand out from the crowd.

In large field top heavy contests, floor becomes less of our focus while ceiling becomes the most important factor. The quarterback we choose must have a high ceiling so that we have the chance to win the GPP when he does well.


Generally speaking, the warmer the weather, the better the expectation for quarterbacks. It is tougher for quarterbacks to complete passes in colder weather. As the season goes on, games tend to become more run-heavy due to the weather becoming increasingly cold.

Avoiding rainy games is especially important when choosing a quarterback in a cash game. It’s more acceptable to take a gamble with rain in GPPs. The same applies to wind for both cash games and GPPs. Wind can wreak havoc on an otherwise profitable situation for a quarterback.

Obviously, weather issues are negated if a game takes place in a dome.

That’s all for our look at the quarterback position in NFL DFS. If you have any questions or want to discuss anything in this article, please post in our Building Blocks: Quarterback discussion topic. General questions, comments, or ideas for future articles in this series should be posted in our daily fantasy football forum.


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