Last week’s running back breakdown for the PlayLine contest was a big hit, so I’ve decided to bring it back. However, this week I’m going to focus on the 1 PM Featured Quarterbacks as this contest really intrigues me. If you didn’t read last week’s article and don’t know what PlayLine is, open PlayLine.com now and make an account. Then click on the free contest titled 1 PM Featured Quarterbacks. You only have to choose the passing yards for four different quarterbacks, meaning that if you nail four stats, you win a million dollars. Is it likely? No. But is it easier than picking eight stats with perfect accuracy? It seems like it.
Even if you don’t pick the stats perfectly, you can still win some good money by making close predictions. You’ve probably heard the phrase “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” That phrase was obviously created before PlayLine, because getting close absolutely counts in these contests. Here’s a look at the scoring for quarterbacks:
All that matters for this contest is the passing yards. The perfect score would be 1200 worth of bonuses plus .04 for every yard. Keep in mind that you’ll earn a point for every 25 yards up until they reach your prediction, so going over by ten yards is better than going under by ten yards.
Here’s a look at the payouts in this particular contest:
Since it’s free to join and you can enter 15 times, you could take the approach of spreading out your projections to ensure that at least one of your entries cashes. Personally, I like to go for it all, and I’ll probably make my entries pretty similar to each other in order to give myself a chance at taking all the top spots. Here’s what you should consider for each of the four quarterbacks as you set your projections:
First up, we have Ben Roethlisberger. This is a game in which everyone expects Le’Veon Bell to run wild. In last week’s spotlight, I predicted Bell’s breakout performance against the Ravens, and I think he’s very likely to keep it rolling this week against Jacksonville. Furthering that narrative, the Steelers are ten point favorites which lends itself to a run-heavy game script, and the Jaguars have Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye to cover Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the outside. JuJu Smith-Schuster has the best matchup with Aaron Colvin, but just because he’s their worst cornerback doesn’t mean that JuJu is going to beat him consistently. All in all, the Steelers should have a run-first game plan. I would recommend projecting Big Ben somewhere between 200-250 yards. If you wanted to get contrarian you could dip down into the 175-200 range, but I think anywhere lower than that is pushing it given that the Steelers rarely display an unwillingness to throw the ball even when it doesn’t make any sense to do so.
Next up we have Carson Wentz against the Arizona Cardinals. The Eagles have looked quite good this year while the Cardinals have looked…not good. The Eagles have one of the top pass blocking units in the NFL and the Cardinals are one of the worst teams at rushing the passer. Wentz could be in for a big day as he should have plenty of time to throw the football, although it’s worth noting that his stats aren’t all that impressive with a clean pocket so it’s not as big of an advantage for him as it would be for other quarterbacks. While Zach Ertz finally doesn’t have a good matchup (facing Tyvon Branch), Nelson Agholor has a great matchup in the slot. Agholor played his highest snap percentage in Week 4 (over 77%) which bodes well for his involvement in Week 5. Wentz has been good at identifying the vulnerable spots in the defense, and we expect him to have a solid day against this Cardinals secondary. Wentz has been averaging 264.5 yards per game this year, and we think it would be wise to put your projection in that range. This is a good but not great matchup overall, so consider projecting Wentz in the 240-280 range.
Now we’ll move on to the third quarterback in the contest, Matthew Stafford. The Panthers have yet to face a slot receiver as talented as Golden Tate this year, and I’m intrigued to see if Captain Munnerlyn can cover him. So far none of the Panthers corners have done a great job in coverage, but they’ve yet to be put on the public’s radar as one of the best teams to target in the passing game. This could be a very big week for Frat Stafford and the boys, and a Stafford/Tate pairing looks good for salary format DFS contests. For PlayLine, I think it would be wise to project Stafford over 300 yards and hope that he and Wentz can carry you on the high end of your projections and win you some money in your contests. I’ll probably have him between 325-350 yards.
Lastly, we need to make a projection for Philip Rivers against the Giants. Both of these teams are complete disasters, with combined records of 0-8 and nobody in Los Angeles caring about the Chargers at all. I’m from Los Angeles and I see Rams content on Facebook all the time. Nobody I know cares about the Chargers at all, which is what led to the Eagles’ players saying it was nice to have a 9th home game last week as the only fans who showed up to the game were theirs. It also leads to funny headlines like “Madden 17 glitch puts fans in the seats for Chargers home games.” All kidding aside, the Giants defense is probably one of the best defenses on any 0-4 team in history. Coming into the season expectations were sky high, and they really haven’t looked all that bad. That being said, how good is any defense on an 0-4 team? Rivers has a nice yards per game average this year (276.8), but he’s been far from consistent. He’s had two very impressive yardage totals (347 & 331) and two unimpressive yardage totals (237 & 192). The important thing to note about the unimpressive totals is that he was facing the Chiefs and the Broncos. It stands to reason that the range of outcomes for Rivers could be all over the place. Neither team on the field plays consistent football, so it’s very hard to gauge what you’ll get from him. If you’re playing multiple entries, it makes the most sense to spread out your projections on Rivers more than anyone else. If you could only put him in one range, I’d lean toward the upper range and hope that Keenan Allen can get the best of Giants slot corner DRC and that Rivers can attack Eli Apple as much as possible. Putting Rivers between 250-300 yards seems appropriate for this matchup, but don’t be surprised if he puts up a total stinker or an amazing 400 yard game. This is the toughest guy to predict in this contest.
Good luck this week and as usual, please let me know if you have any feedback on these articles or anything else that we’re doing at DFI. Our goal is to make your DFS experience as enjoyable as possible, so if there’s something we’re doing that isn’t helping us achieve that goal, we’d really appreciate you letting us know. Enjoy Week 5!