Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 3 (2019)
With an eventful Week 2 in the books, Week 3 is now upon us. As we do on a weekly basis, we will take a look at how Vegas odds may lend us some assistance as we decide which players to target for this weekend’s DFS slate. We will take a look at the contest with the highest total of the week as well as the contest with the highest opening spread of the week. Though there are four teams involved in the two contests we will be discussing, only three teams boast players worthy of consideration for single lineup entries. All three teams feature players worthy of stack consideration.
|Date||Favorite||Spread||Underdog||Total||Away Moneyline||Home Moneyline|
|Sunday, September 22, 2019||at Kansas City Chiefs||-6.5||Baltimore Ravens||54.5||+235||-301|
Baltimore at Kansas City predictably opened with the week’s highest over/under. It opened at 52 and has already jumped to 54.5. Kansas City is now a 6.5-point favorite after opening at -5.5. The opening line suggests Vegas expects this to be a closely contested affair. These are two of the most exciting teams in the league, so make sure you have a second screen handy if you have decided to watch NFL RedZone or another contest during the 1 PM window.
Any DFS lineup decision starts with considering your options at quarterback. You may not plug in a quarterback option first, but you need to be cognizant of the strength of your options at different price points. This season, there have been none better than reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and scintillating sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson, who rank third and first in fantasy points per game respectively. Both should be considered strong DFS options on a weekly basis. This week is no different.
Sammy Watkins had a disappointing Week 2 without Tyreek Hill, but it was not due to a lack of opportunities. Watkins was second on the team with 139 air yards and first with 13 targets. He would haul just six for 49 yards receiving.
Mecole Hardman was tied for third on the team in targets in Week 2. He snared four of his six targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. He narrowly missed out on a second score of 72 yards. Hardman is a fantastic value at Yahoo.
Demarcus Robinson was the star of Week 2. He hauled in all six of his targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He led the team with 152 air yards. Robinson is a relative bargain at his salary on both Yahoo and DraftKings. His salary ranks over 18 spots lower than his mark of 23rd among receivers at FanDuel. All three Chiefs wideouts are worth strong consideration for this week’s contests.
While Kansas City has multiple receivers to take a hard look at, there is only one Baltimore receiver consistent enough to consider this weekend. Marquise Brown led all Ravens receivers in Week 2 snaps and led the team with an impressive 13 targets. He leads the Ravens in targets, target share, receiving yards, air yards, and yards after the catch. Brown ranks third in the league with 233 receiving yards, seventh with a 29.5 percent target share, third with 115 yards after catch, second with 7.06 yards per route run, and fourth in fantasy points per game. Brown is priced as a potential bargain at both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Travis Kelce is always a strong DFS option if you can squeeze him into your lineup salary-wise. In the Chiefs’ first game without Tyreek Hill, Kelce hauled in seven of his nine targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. On the other sideline, Mark Andrews is also worth strong consideration. Through two contests, Andrews is third in tight end air yards, first in receiving yards, second in receptions, and first with a number one receiver-like 27 percent target share. He is averaging 110 receiving yards and a touchdown per game.
At running back, we have two backfields with three interesting options and three who appear to be better left alone. Damien Williams has been a disaster on the ground this season and has taken his 22 carries for just 32 rushing yards. Darwin Thompson should become a chalky play for the multiple lineup crowd if Williams misses this Sunday’s game. If Williams does suit up, put Thompson out of your mind. LeSean McCoy continues to see his role increase and, as expected, has looked better than career backup, Damien Williams. McCoy is someone to consider this weekend if he suits up.
For the Ravens, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards are only worth considering if Mark Ingram misses Friday’s practice and is ruled inactive for this Sunday’s tilt. Despite what Vegas has pegged as a potential negative game script for the Ravens, Ingram is still going to get his touches. The Ravens’ run game leads the league in carries per contest.
|Date||Favorite||Spread||Underdog||Total||Away Moneyline||Home Moneyline|
|Sunday, September 22, 2019||at Dallas Cowboys||-21.5||Miami Dolphins||47||+1275||-2598|
Dallas versus Miami opened up with the highest point spread of the week at -15. It has jumped all the way to a previously unfathomable -21.5. The over/under total of 47 has not moved. This contest is shaping up to be a potential blowout. Dallas should provide the offensive fireworks. Miami will provide the sieve-like defense needed for Dallas’ skill players to have opportunities for monster games.
Dak Prescott has been on a mission to prove he is worth the $40 million per year he is rumored to be seeking…and he has been doing a pretty good job of it. Lamar Jackson leads the league in fantasy points per game, Patrick Mahomes is third. It is Dak Prescott who is second. He’s first in the league with 0.85 points per dropback, second in air yards per attempt, and tied for first with seven passing touchdowns, Prescott is worth heavy consideration against the hapless, depth tanking Miami Dolphins. A 47-point total with a spread that opened at -15 and has jumped to -21.5 suggests the Cowboys’ offense is comfortably projected for at least 30 points this weekend.
This type of suggested game flow projects a high potential volume of touches for Dallas Cowboys workhorse running back Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke saw 15 touches and 63 yards from scrimmage in Week 1 on 54 percent of the snaps. In Week 2, he saw 25 touches and 120 yards from scrimmage on 76 percent of the snaps. Zeke should see that number rise over the 80 percent mark against the Miami Dolphins. He should receive plenty of run in both the first and second half, even if the Cowboys are nursing a blowout lead.
At wide receiver, there are a few options to consider on the Dallas Cowboys. Amari Cooper could be in line for a big game with Michael Gallup sidelined. Gallup actually leads the team in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and air yards. His absence opens up a big opportunity for Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Devin Smith. The Miami Dolphins’ defense has relinquished five receiving touchdowns to the wide receiver position. Cooper is priced no lower than seventh based on salary rank.
Based on Vegas’ lines, Dallas is projected to score between three-to-five touchdowns in this contest. Devin Smith looked to be in line for an increased role even before the news broke of Michael Gallup missing at least the next two weeks. He hauled in all three of his Week 2 targets for 74 yards and a trip to paydirt. Miami’s defense, or lack of one, suggests Smith may find the end zone for the second consecutive week.
Randall Cobb is also in line for increased target volume. Cobb caught four of five targets for 69 yards and a score in Week 1. In Week 2, he saw his target count increased to six, but was only able to manage just 24 yards receiving off five receptions. He should have a much easier time with the Dolphins’ coverage. Cobb and Smith are priced as potential bargains at all three major DFS sites.