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Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 17

by Eric Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Dec 28, 2018

Tyreek Hill may be due for another monster game this week

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 17.

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Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Chiefs -13.5 Raiders 52.5 +530 -700

The Chiefs are on a two-game losing streak heading into the final week of the regular season. They are 12-4 against the spread in their last 16 games against divisional opponents. The Raiders, on the other hand, are 1-7 straight up in their last eight games against the Chiefs. Kansas City will not rest their starters in this matchup. They clinch the AFC West division title, a first-round bye, and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win over the Raiders. The Chiefs are viewed as heavy favorites, but a lot is at stake if they lose this game. The team would drop to the fifth seed and have to play potentially two out of three games on the road. This game has the potential to be closer than many realize which would lead to a neutral game script with both teams sticking to their strengths, and not abandoning the running game. Let me break down one player at each position you should target in DFS.

  • Patrick Mahomes has been matchup proof all season scoring 20 or more fantasy points in 87 percent of his games. The Raiders defense can be exploited and a monster performance could solidify him as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Mahomes has averaged 297 passing yards per game since the Chiefs’ Week 12 bye. He should have ample to pick the Raiders defense apart. They only have 13 sacks entering the regular season finale.
  • Damien Williams is an excellent option even with Spencer Ware returning after missing two games due to a bad hamstring. The Raiders defense has allowed the third most rushing yards this season. Williams has averaged 18 opportunities (rushing attempts and targets) and 131.5 total yards per game filling in for Ware.

  • Tyreek Hill has not scored a touchdown since Week 11 against the Rams. Only five other wide receivers have accumulated more air yards than him (1,780). It would be prudent for the Chiefs offense to impose their will on the Raiders defense early in the game and providing Hill a heavy dose of targets is one way to do that. The Raiders defense has allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league at 34.
  • Travis Kelce has scored 15 or more PPR fantasy points in 60 percent of his games this season. He has averaged nine targets, 85 receiving yards, 89 air yards, and 0.7 touchdowns per game.
Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
Falcons -1.5 at Buccaneers 50.5 -109 -101

The Falcons and the Buccaneers are playing for pride in the regular season finale. The over has hit in four of the Falcons last five games against the Buccaneers with an average combined score of 57.6 points. The Buccaneers defense has allowed the third most points in the NFL with the Falcons defense not far behind at seven. Both defenses allow a high number of passing yards per game. The offensive strengths of the Falcons and Buccaneers are their passing games. All of these factors trend toward a game that could exceed the projected point total. Let me break down one player at each position you should target in DFS.

  • Matt Ryan has thrown 33 touchdown passes this season and is averaging 303 passing yards per game. He is within reach of setting new career highs in passing yards and touchdowns.

  • Peyton Barber has averaged nearly 15 rushing attempts per game this season. The Falcons defense has allowed the most catches (120) and receiving yards (972) to opposing running backs this season. Barber only has 28 targets through 15 games, but could see more opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield in this matchup.
  • Julio Jones is the wide receiver to target in this game. He has scored four touchdowns in his last three games and has averaged 10 targets per game this season. Jones leads all wide receivers in air yards with 2,245.
  • The tight end position continues to be a volatile one, but Cameron Brate offers the most upside in this matchup. He is touchdown dependent and has caught fewer than three passes in games without O.J. Howard this season.
Favorite Spread Underdog Total Away Money Line Home Money Line
at Rams -10.0 49ers 49.0 +369 -430

The Rams enter Week 17 as 10-point favorites needing a win against the 49ers to clinch a first-round bye. This would allow them to keep the No. 2 spot in the NFC with a better record than the Bears. The over has hit in three of the 49ers last four games against the Rams with an averaged combined score of 54.75. The 49ers are 1-11 straight up and 1-10-1 against the spread in their last 12 games against teams with winning records. The Rams will look to steamroll the 49ers and this game could feature a positive game script with them playing with a lead. Let me break down one player at each position you should target in DFS.

  • Jared Goff has struggled over the last four games, but the scenario and opponent bode well for a bounce-back game. Our very own Andrew Gould provides a nice breakdown on why you should trust Goff in DFS lineups:
    • The Rams need a win to cement the NFC’s second seed. Rather than worrying about playing time, Goff’s investors must decide if they can trust him to put up significant numbers. He has accounted for three touchdowns (one rushing) with 235.5 passing yards per game and six picks over the past four subpar showings. Yet he draws a 49ers defense that has surrendered 31 passing touchdowns while collecting an NFL-low two interceptions. The California native also closes the season at home, where he has averaged 362.6 passing yards per game with a 115.2 quarterback rating. Start Goff in hopes of at least receiving an efficient outing like Week 7’s 18-of-24, 202-yard, two-touchdown line.

  • C.J. Anderson is likely to get the nod in Week 17 since Todd Gurley has not practiced all week. The former Pro Bowler rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals last week. He will be in line for 20 or more rushing attempts against the 49ers defense.
  • Robert Woods continues to be consistent week in and week out. He leads the Rams in receptions (84) and targets (127) while averaging 80 receiving yards and 96 air yards per game.

  • George Kittle faces a Rams defense that has allowed 61.3 receiving yards per to tight ends. He is averaging eight targets (0.9 in the red zone) and 82 receiving yards per game. Kittle is only 99 receiving yards away from breaking Rob Gronkowskisingle season record of 1,327.

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!

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

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