Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 6
How can I analyze Vegas odds to create lineups and gain an edge in daily fantasy sports? That, in essence, is what this weekly column is about. The manner in which you use the information Vegas puts in circulation is a foundational aspect of many prominent DFS players. The lines provide us with a line of sight of what Vegas believes in going to happen in every single NFL game. It is critical to pick up on everything that Vegas discloses and to interpret what the movement in lines mean from a fantasy football perspective.
They have millions of dollars at stake. If Vegas posts a terrible line, it will get abused. They do not want to get arbitraged, and as a result, Vegas is incentivized to create accurate lines. Do not stop reading now because we will discuss three games in depth that offer the most upside from a DFS perspective.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-3.5, 59.5)
The Chiefs are undefeated entering Week 6 while the Patriots are 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 home games. Did you know that this game features the highest point total of the season at 59.5? The Chiefs enter this game averaging 413 total yards per game and rank fifth in the NFL and ranked second with 35 points per game. The Patriots, on the other hand, are averaging 357.4 total yards per game and rank ninth in points per game with 26.6. The Chiefs and Patriots players should continue to be leveraged in DFS.
Mahomes is currently the fantasy QB1 and has been very productive when analyzing his passing yards per game (PAYDS), passing expected points per game (PAEP), and passing fantasy points over expectation per pass attempt (PAFPOEPA). I recommend deploying either of these players in DFS lineups if you are open to paying a premium for the position.
The matchup between the Patriots and Chiefs is expected to go back and forth, which bodes well for White. He has the highest ceiling, in my opinion, of this group given his positive receiving fantasy points over expectation per target (REFPOEPA). Kareem Hunt‘s ceiling could be higher if he is used more as a receiver out of the backfield.
The players listed in the table above are my preferred receiving targets in this matchup. All of them have fairly high floors with Tyreek Hill having the highest ceiling. Julian Edelman is my favorite value out of this group from a salary perspective considering he was targeted nine times in his first game back.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5, 57.5)
The Falcons defense is allowing 398.6 total yards per game while the Buccaneers defense is allowing 445.8. This game will be a sprint to see which offense scores more points. The over has been hit in the Buccaneers’ last five games.
Both Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston can be viewed as top-10 options. The Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Ryan is averaging 320.2 passing yards per game with positive passing fantasy points over expectation. Ryan Fitzpatrick provided everyone a glimpse into the number of fantasy points per game that is possible in the Buccaneers offense in the first three weeks of the season. Jameis Winston can make all of the throws Fitzpatrick can and more. The Buccaneers have one of the best group of receivers in the NFL and have struggled running the football, averaging a dismal 69.5 rushing yards per game. Winston is the perfect streamer this week.
Devonta Freeman is the only running back in this matchup I am comfortable using in DFS this week. He only played 38.9 percent of the offensive snaps last week in his first game since Week 1, but did look healthy. Freeman displayed his usual quickness and speed. He will have opportunities to produce against a Buccaneers defense allowing nearly 88 rushing yards per game.
What’s not to like about the receivers in this game? The only wide receivers with more air yards than Julio Jones (831) entering Week 6 are John Brown (871) and DeAndre Hopkins (870). Jones is the only wide receiver out of the top 20 in air yards to not score a touchdown this season. Positive regression is coming for him, and it could start this week against the Buccaneers. Jones and Mike Evans should be inserted into lineups as options with a high floor, but an even higher ceiling. Chris Godwin, DeSean Jackson, and Calvin Ridley all excellent flex options, but my biggest concerns revolve around target volume.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5, 53.5)
The Steelers are 6-0 straight up in their last six games against the Bengals with an average winning margin of 7.5. The Steelers are averaging 405 total yards per game while the Bengals are averaging 367.6.
Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton are ranked just outside of the top 10 in my rankings. Roethlisberger is averaging 332.8 passing yards and 25 fantasy points per game. Dalton is averaging 289 passing yards and 21.9 fantasy points per game. Both can provide the strong production you are looking for at the quarterback position. Dalton has more upside, in my opinion, considering that the Steelers defense is allowing the fourth-most passing yards (296.2) and the second-most (2.6) passing touchdowns per game this season.
Both Joe Mixon and James Conner are projected as top-10 options at the RB position. Conner is averaging 116.2 total yards per game with positive rushing and receiving fantasy points over expectation. Mixon looked great after missing the last two games with a knee injury and handled a full workload. He has averaged 117 total yards per game with positive receiving fantasy points over expectation, but does have -1.8 rushing fantasy points over expectation, which suggests Mixon is not maximizing his rushing opportunities.
The statistical body of work from these receivers speaks for themselves.
The biggest surprises are Antonio Brown’s negative receiving fantasy points over expectation per target and the involvement of Tyler Boyd in the Bengals offense. All of these receivers are great options to use in DFS lineups depending on the salary you have available. Brown leads the way out of this group in with 670 air yards, but Green is not too far behind with 529. Nearly half of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s receiving yardage has come after the catch. Tyler Boyd has been ridiculously effective with a Receiver Air Conversion Ratio (RACR) of 0.99. RACR is an efficiency metric that rolls up catch rate and yards after the catch into one number. It can also be thought of as the number of receiving yards a player creates for every air yard thrown at him.
Do you agree or disagree? What did you find most useful? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach out via Twitter @EricNMoody. Until next time!