Fantasy playoff leagues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Many of you out there are gearing up for snake drafts that will determine your roster for the duration of the NFL playoffs. Others are putting together rosters using the entire player pool. Regardless of format, it’s crucial to your success to not only have the best players, but to have the best players on teams likely to play multiple games. Today, we’re going to look at the two NFC East quarterbacks and analyze whether Dak Prescott or Jalen Hurts deserves a spot on your playoff fantasy football roster.
Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts were both fantasy QB1s
In the 2021 regular season, Prescott and Hurts were both top-12 quarterbacks. Prescott may be the better real-life quarterback, but Hurts actually averaged more fantasy points per game (21) than Dak (20.3). Hurts finished as the overall QB7, with Prescott finishing as the overall QB10.
While their final fantasy numbers were similar, not all QB1s are created equal. Fantasy football is a weekly game. Hurts finished as a weekly QB1 11 times this season, and Prescott did so nine times (not counting Week 18).
More interesting is the tale of two halves we saw from both of these quarterbacks. From Weeks 1-8, Hurts averaged 23.25 ppg, and Prescott averaged 22.25 ppg. From Weeks 9-17, Hurts averaged 19.31 ppg, with Prescott’s average at 18.36 ppg.
While Hurts derived far more of his production from rushing (784 yards compared to 146 for Prescott), the two were very similar in terms of fantasy productivity. These are similar fantasy quarterbacks who posted similar numbers and had similar seasonal arcs. Deciding which quarterback is the better playoff fantasy asset will require looking at factors beyond performance.
The Cowboys are a better team than the Eagles
Both the Cowboys and Eagles are playing on Wild Card Weekend. The Cowboys are field-goal favorites at home over the 49ers, while the Eagles are 8-point underdogs in Tampa Bay. This must be taken into account when deciding between Prescott and Hurts for fantasy purposes.
I would consider the Cowboys game a coin flip. It certainly wouldn’t shock me if the 49ers won, but the Cowboys are slight favorites and more likely to win than not. As for the Eagles, I would be stunned if they pulled off the road upset over Tom Brady. Philadelphia won just a single game against a team that finished with a winning record (Week 11 over the Saints).
What does this mean for the fantasy prospects of Prescott and Hurts?
Regardless of your fantasy playoff format, Prescott is the better quarterback choice. For this week, the Cowboys are at home, where Prescott threw 23 touchdowns against just 2 interceptions this season. The 49ers are also a more favorable matchup than the Bucs.
Going forward, the Cowboys have a better chance of winning than the Eagles, which means you are more likely to get at least two starts out of Prescott than Hurts. Given the likelihood of Hurts being a one-and-done quarterback in the postseason, you would need to feel confident about a monster performance to justify using him this week.
The only format in which Hurts might have value is in DFS. At just $6,100 on DraftKings, Hurts is the fifth-cheapest quarterback on the weekend slate. Based on the matchup, I would expect him to be low-rostered, making him a nice contrarian play for tournaments.
With that said, contrarian plays are only beneficial if you expect quality production. His cost is just way too close to guys like Prescott ($6,400 DraftKings) and Matthew Stafford ($6,300 DraftKings) to justify that gamble. Prescott is a better choice than Hurts due to his first-round upside and greater likelihood of playing multiple games.