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Weighing the Options: Rivers vs Stafford

Quarterback is the essential position in daily fantasy football. When things go wrong and you pick a bad QB, your lineup is pretty much toast. When you pick a good QB, it is a great base in points for your lineup and it affords you a couple of those inevitable RB/WR/TE misses that happen to you every week. Both Stafford and Rivers are priced at around $8000 and both will be popular picks this week at quarterback. I think it’s great to create some discussion around both to help you decide who will perform best this week.

Phillip Rivers

Rivers has a fantastic match-up this week against an Oakland D that made Geno Smith look like an all-pro. Rivers has done a lot to make us excited about this matchup. He did extremely well against Oakland earlier this year where he threw for 411 yards and 2 TDs (in a game San Diego inexplicably lost). He also has looked like the Rivers of old throughout the year, completing an unheard of 70% of his passes and racking up 28 TDs and 4000 yards with two games to go in the year. Most importantly, especially for those of you looking to win Draftkings Millionaire Grand Final this week, he’s put up some of those big games you look for out of your QB multiple times this year:

Wk Opp Cmp Att Yrds TD INT FPs
12 @ KC 27 39 392 3 0 30.78
9 @ WAS 29 46 341 2 2 24.04
5 @ OAK 35 48 411 2 3 24.44
4 DAL 35 42 401 3 1 30.04
2 @ PHI 36 47 419 3 0 32.86

One thing I really like about Rivers is he consistently has put up great games against the worst D’s in the league. And it makes sense too, a QB who completes so many passes is going to shred teams that can’t tackle. Oakland is one of those defenses, ranking in the bottom 5 in pass coverage according to PFF and in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks overall. Another great thing about Rivers is he’s a safe play, he’s only dipped below 13 fantasy points once this year and it was against a Tennessee team that has arguably the best 1-2 tandem at cornerback in the entire league. He looks like a nice play this week.

Matt Stafford

Stafford has a great matchup vs NYG, a team that’s been struggling offensively and putting a lot of pressure on their D. Stafford may have had a horrific game against Baltimore on Monday night, but Baltimore has had a very solid D all year (one of the top 5 defense’s in the league according to PFF) while New York has been bad, especially against the pass. One positive of his bad game is that it’s lowered his salary to $8000 which is a downright bargain for a player who throws almost 40 times a game and get 3+ TDs in a game. I wanted to examine how Stafford has faired against some of the poorer defenses in the league, so below are some of his numbers I took from Draftkings website:

Week Opp Comp Att Yards TD INT FPs
13 GB 22 35 330 3 2 26
12 TB 26 46 297 3 4 20.48
10 @ CHI 18 35 219 3 1 19.66
8 DAL 33 48 488 1 2 31.72
6 @ CLE 25 43 248 4 1 25.52
5 @ GB 25 40 262 1 0 14.38
4 CHI 23 35 242 1 1 18.48
3 @ WAS 25 42 385 2 1 25.6
1 MIN 28 43 357 2 1 23.98

Before I saw those numbers, I would have told you that Stafford was an easy pick at QB this week. However, I think I was mistaken. He’s been a pretty average QB this year, especially if you take out his game against Dallas (who we know now to be possibly the worst pass defense in the league). Furthermore, people are quick to forget that NYG seems to look terrible for a few games every year, only to miraculously turn it around. I don’t think we can assume that the Giants team that played absolutely atrociously against Seattle and San Diego are the real Giants. In reality, they have a similar D to what they had last year and, while I think they’ve regressed, I don’t think they’re as bad as they seem. I think Stafford looks like a great play this week but in reality, he’s just good.

Max’s pick: Phillip Rivers

I think that Stafford will be the more heavily used player on Draftkings this week, due to the fact that NYG has looked terrible recently and people love to make reactionary matchup plays. But after looking inside the numbers and thinking it through I think Rivers is by far the better play. Not only is he safer than Stafford, he has just as much upside (if not more) than Stafford does. If I’m right, Rivers will provide us with a big edge on the field. Good luck this week.

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View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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