Skip to main content

Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 15

by Eric Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Dec 13, 2018

Drew Brees is poised to break his run of poor performances against a generous Panthers pass defense

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 into what Vegas believes is 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 and highlight players at each position that will provide you the most upside for your DFS lineups in Week 15.

The secret to winning college bowl pick’ems >>

Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 16, 2018, 8:20 PM at Rams -11.0 Eagles 52.5 +427 -504

 

Did you know the total has gone over in four of the Rams’ last five games at home? These games have had an average combined score of 71. The Rams find themselves opening Week 15 as 11-point favorites with a point total of 52.5, according to Vegas.

The Rams are projected to see positive game script and should jump out to an early lead and never relinquish it. This would force the Eagles to abandon the running game as they look to come back. The Rams, on the other hand, would feature Todd Gurley and its running game to run out the clock.

The Eagles are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games on the road while the Rams are 6-0 straight up in their last six games at home. Let me break down which players you should target.

  • Jared Goff is in a great position to bounce back after two rough games. He faces an Eagles defense allowing 277 passing yards per game this season. The team allows 341 passing yards per game at home. Goff can be viewed as a high-end QB1.
  • Gurley is averaging 24 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) per game this season. The Eagles defense has given up four consecutive top-10 fantasy performances to opposing running backs. You and I both know what’s about to happen. Gurley remains an elite RB1.
  • Robert Woods continues to have a high floor. He has accumulated a target share of 25.4 percent over the last three weeks without Cooper Kupp. Woods is currently the WR13 in PPR formats, averaging 16.6 points per game. He can be viewed as a low-end WR1.
  • Brandin Cooks has lost targets to Woods over the last two games, but is on the WR1 radar because of the opponent. James Koh, Next Gen Stats Analyst for DirecTV’s Fantasy Zone and writer for the Athletic Fantasy Football, shared an interesting observation on Twitter yesterday. The Eagles have allowed the most yards to outside wide receivers. Cooks has lined up outside on 79 percent of his snaps.
  • Zach Ertz remains a strong TE1 even with quarterback Nick Foles under center. He was very productive in six games last season and in two games this season with Foles, catching 51 out of 70 targets. The Rams defense has allowed 67.2 receiving yards per game to tight ends.
Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 16, 2018, 4:25 PM Patriots -2.5 at Steelers 52.0 -130 +118

 

The Patriots are undefeated in their last five games against the Steelers with an average scoring margin of nearly 13 points, but find themselves as slight favorites at home. The total has gone over in 11 of the Steelers’ last 13 games at home. The game script in this matchup is projected to be neutral. It should be a close game with both teams sticking to their strengths, and not abandoning the running game.

The Steelers are currently averaging the second-most passing yards per game in the NFL at 319. Did you know the Patriots defense has allowed 280 passing yards per game on the road this season? Let me break down which players you should target.

  • Ben Roethlisberger is currently averaging 42 pass attempts per game. The only quarterback with more fantasy points than Roethlisberger is Patrick Mahomes. He is the quarterback I recommend you target in this matchup.
  • Jaylen Samuels is my recommended target in this matchup at the running back position. He accumulated 92 total yards on 18 touches against the Raiders last week. Samuels’ receiving ability out of the backfield places him on the RB2 radar. He played 80 percent of the offensive snaps against the Raiders.
  • Antonio Brown is averaging 11 targets per game this season and continues to be a WR1. The Raiders defense held him to his lowest yardage (35) total since Week 4 of the 2017 season.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster’s statistical body of work this season places him as a weekly WR1. He is seeing double-digit targets per game.
  • All of the Patriots receivers are seeing consistent target volume, but Edelman will provide you the most upside given the matchup. This was the second game in a row he led the Patriots receivers in targets.
  • Rob Gronkowski bounced back last week against the Dolphins with 107 receiving yards and a touchdown. He remains a usable option, but if you are looking for a discount tight end in this matchup do not overlook Vance McDonald. He is averaging five targets per game this season.
Date Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
December 17, 2018, 8:15 PM Saints -6.0 at Panthers 52.0 -247 +220

 

The total has gone over in seven of the Saints’ last eight games against the Panthers. The game script in this matchup is projected to be neutral. It should be a close game with both teams sticking to their strengths, and not abandoning the running game. Let me break down which players you should target.

  • Drew Brees has only averaged 13.9 fantasy points per game over his last three. He is only averaging 26 pass attempts per game since running back Mark Ingram has returned. These observations do not get you overly excited about deploying Brees into DFS lineups in Week 15, but I recommend you get out of your comfort zone. The Panthers have allowed 28 passing touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 102 this season. This unit has recently allowed productive performances from Ryan Fitzpatrick, Russell Wilson, and Ben Roethlisberger. Brees is a QB1 in this matchup.
  • Alvin Kamara has not statistically boomed over the last three games, but has still averaged 18.3 opportunities per game. No other player has more red zone touches (61) than Kamara over that time frame. He is firmly on the RB1 radar and should be targeted in DFS.
  • Michael Thomas has averaged nine targets per game and 58.6 receiving yards over his last three without scoring a touchdown. His luck could change in a plus matchup. The Panthers defense has allowed some big performances from opposing wide receivers over the last five games.
  • D.J. Moore has seen a 22 percent target share over the Panthers’ last four games. The Saints secondary can be exploited, which lands him on the WR2 radar.
  • Curtis Samuel’s snaps played and targets (19) have trended up over the last two games. This matchup places him on the WR3 radar.
  • Ian Thomas has been targeted 16 times since Greg Olsen’s injury. He should continue to see opportunities in this matchup and is an excellent tight end streamer for those building lineups with limited capital to allocate to the position.

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!

Get a free analysis of your team with My Playbook >>


Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | TuneIn | RSS

Eric Moody is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eric, check out his archive and follow him @EricNMoody.

Featured, NFL