NFL Week 1 DFS: QB Tournament Contest Tips

NFL DFS tournament contests can bring a big payday. Drafting a top-performing quarterback is key.


Daily Fantasy Tourmaments Contests Call For Some Unconvential Thinking

Part of everyone’s weekly DFS routine should be determining how to allocate their bankroll among contest types. For some, the idea of only having to beat one person steers them to H2H matchups. Or, betting on yourself to beat out just 50% of other contestants makes 50/50 contests the way to go.

For those looking for a chance at a big payday, nothing compares to different DFS tournaments available each week. What makes tournament contests so appealing is the ability to win significant money while not making a dent in the weekly bankroll.

Although just because platforms such as Fanduel and Draftkings make it easy to re-use previously entered lineups in multiple contests, it doesn’t mean you should. While success in daily fantasy always boils down to evaluating individual player performances. Giving yourself the best chance to win in competitions against thousands of people requires a shift in mindset.

Know Your Opponent

One quality unique to daily fantasy over traditional sports betting is the fact that you are competing against people just like yourself. Because of this, we can take advantage of the fact that when building DFS lineups, in general, people are looking at and hearing the same information. (Or they’re on BeerLife Sports becoming the 1% sports betting educated!)

Every week of the NFL season, people analyze data, seek out projections, and talk to their friends in hope of creating that winning team. More often than not this process leads contestants to a similar grouping of players.

For our purposes, this means that a contest with 10,000 people has far fewer lineups that must be beaten. Therefore, my process for success in DFS tournaments first involves gauging where the “public” is likely to go with their lineups.

For this edition, we will focus on what direction most players will take at quarterback and determine how to take advantage.

Be A Contrarian

One strategy that many DFS players rely on is targeting players from games with the highest over/under totals. This plan makes sense as the sportsbooks will already have done extensive research on player performances, trends, and matchups. And, given that fantasy totals are most driven by touchdowns it stands to reason that people will try to ride this wave of points.

Away TeamHome TeamPriceO/UNumber
0Cleveland BrownsKansas City Chiefs-114Over52.5
1Arizona CardinalsTennessee Titans-110Over52.0
2Dallas CowboysTampa Bay Buccaneers-105Over51.5
3Baltimore RavensLas Vegas Raiders-110Over51.0
4Green Bay PackersNew Orleans Saints-110Over50.0

Having widdled down the list of our competition down to players from just several games, it becomes easier to rank and predict likely ownership.

When analyzing 2020 DFS tournament data, on average, 54% of weekly quarterback ownership was allocated to 5 players. Although these quarterbacks are certainly being taken for good reason, they are also highly leveraged. The idea is that a rough performance from someone like Patrick Mahomes will be more damaging to a lineup because of his significant cost. This has a ripple effect throughout the rest of a DFS roster and the entire tournament as a large portion of contestants will suffer a setback.

Ownership % And Production Of Top 5 Owned QB’s

WeekTournament Owned %Fpts

Taking the analysis even further, 2020 data shows that on average 17% of quarterback ownership will be congregated to just one player. And 40% among just three players.

The next step in selecting a winning DFS Tournament quarterback is determining who this week’s top-owned players will be and assessing their chances of underperforming. For this, it is helpful to understand how often they are among each week’s top-owned players.

Times As Top Owned QB

0Deshaun Watson9
1Justin Herbert7
2Kyler Murray6
3Ryan Tannehill6
4Russell Wilson6
5Patrick Mahomes6
6Aaron Rodgers6
7Josh Allen5
8Lamar Jackson5
9Tom Brady3

By combing our knowledge of the publics’ reliance on over/under lines, matchups, and historical ownership we can predict where ownership capital will be placed.

Top 3 Owned QB Predictions

Patrick Mahomes – 20%
Kyler Murray – 15%
Aaron Rodgers- 12%

Having a sense of who contestants will be banking on in week 1 is a great start to DFS tournament success. But, ultimately the knowledge is useless without finding players who will outperform this group. For, this we need to have a goal in mind.


Top Owned QB’s
Poor Performance- 25 FPTS
Average Performance – 30 FPTS
Standard Deviation- 3.1

Top 3 Owned QB’s
Poor Performance – 25 FPTS
Average Performance – 29 FPTS
Standard Deviation- 3.7

Top 5 Owned QB’s
Poor Performance – 25 FPTS
Average Performance – 28 FPTS
Standard Deviation – 5.5

Based on this data, we will be looking for less popular quarterback options with the potential for a 30+ FPT performance. For this, it is useful to return to the vegas over-under lines, looking for other potential high scoring affairs.

Away TeamHome TeamPriceO/UNumber
6Seattle SeahawksIndianapolis Colts-110Over48.5
7Minnesota VikingsCincinnati Bengals-110Over48.0
8Philadelphia EaglesAtlanta Falcons-114Over47.5
9New York JetsCarolina Panthers-106Over45.5

Tournament Contest QB Picks

Jalen Hurts ($7600)- Hurts has a favorable matchup in the passing game against Atlanta’s league-worst pass defense. He also has the added upside of picking up yards with his legs. Having just been named the starter for week 1, other tournament players will likely shy away with the uncertainty of a new coach and scheme.

Joe Burrow ($7200)- Another player surrounded by uncertainty, Burrow kicks off the season with a favorable matchup against an inexperienced Vikings defense. In his limited 2020 season, the Bengals QB was owned in only 4% of DFS tournament lineups.

It is important to remember that different contests call for different strategies. In DFS tournaments it is vital to avoid just following the crowd. If things go right, you will be one of many. In a payout structure designed to significantly reward a small number of players, this is a blueprint for failure. However, by strategically selecting under-the-radar players with high upside, the odds of success improve.

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