Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 16 (2019)
Analyzing Vegas odds is a critical aspect of DFS lineup building. Examining the odds can give one insight into what Vegas thinks about a particular contest in regards to the combined total score, implied team totals, and game flow. Using these numbers can help when weighing competing lineup options. High totals can point us toward contests that may prove to be fantasy goldmines, while at the same time alerting us to potential chalky plays. Low totals can give an indication of which contests to fade. Spreads and implied team totals can point us to strong DFS options even in games with low totals.
This method is not guaranteed, but every DFS player should have it in their tool belt to not be at a competitive disadvantage out of the gate. This week, I will take a look at two contests with the week’s highest over-under totals. Let’s dig in.
New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
|Date||Favorite||Spread||Underdog||Total||Away Moneyline||Home Moneyline|
|Sunday, 12/22||New Orleans||-2.5||at Tennessee||50.5||-141||+116|
Lamar Jackson has been fantasy football’s standard-bearer at quarterback, but Drew Brees and Ryan Tannehill are the QB3 and QB4, respectively, since Week 11. Both quarterbacks also have plus matchups. The Titans, while allowing just the 18th-most fantasy points to the position, have surrendered at least 20 to each of the QB1’s they have faced this season. The Saints have relinquished the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Both are worth hard looks in a contest with the week’s highest total.
At wide receiver, we have the top-two scorers over the past four weeks, but not much else in terms of reliable DFS options. A.J. Brown is the number one receiver since Week 12, with Michael Thomas narrowly trailing behind him.
Brown appears to have grabbed the top receiver reins in the Music City, and he has a plus matchup against a Saints team relinquishing the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. His price tag has skyrocketed, but he is still not priced like the elite option he has been over the past several weeks.
Although the Titans have allowed just the 16th-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts, they have looked very different against WR1’s, especially those that line up out wide. Tennessee has given up 6.25 receptions, 111.25 receiving yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game to the receivers that fit that bill. These two receivers are sure to be chalky plays. They may also require some salary cap gymnastics to fit into your Week 16 DFS lineups. Corey Davis, Ted Ginn, and Tre’Quan Smith are only worth looks for those submitting multiple entries.
At running back, Derrick Henry presents an interesting conundrum. On one hand, he has rushed for over 100 yards in four of his last five games, a stretch in which he has scored seven touchdowns and is the RB2 in fantasy points per game. Game flow, however, may limit him in addition to facing a defense allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. With that said, Henry will be fed his carries and is still worth a volume-based sniff.
Alvin Kamara continues to disappoint, but he will face a Titans defense relinquishing the 15th-most fantasy points to enemy backs. However, they have surrendered a paltry 3.96 yards per carry. The appeal here is that they have allowed 6.21 receptions per game to the position this season. The Titans have given up six or more receptions to running backs in nine of their 14 contests. Kamara’s price tag has plummeted due to his recent production dip, making him a solid positive-regression play.
Latavius Murray is running hard, but due to volume on the lower side, he remains a tad too touchdown-dependent to trust. He played just 33 percent of the Week 15 snaps and has scored just once in his last six games.
At tight end, Jonnu Smith is not seeing consistent enough volume to trust as more than a double-digit entry play. He crossed 60 yards for the first time in five games in Week 15 and has scored just once over the same stretch. With a tough date a Saints defense that has been strong against tight ends, and Brown now the apple of Tannehill’s eye, Smith could be in for another disappointing outing.
Jared Cook has finally built a rapport with Brees, posting 74 receiving yards and/or a touchdown in five of his last six contests. Well on his way to achieving the feat in his sixth straight contest, Cook was not targeted in the second half of Monday night’s blowout after hauling in all four of his first-half targets for 54 yards. The TE4 over that stretch deserves a long, hard look due to a high point total and small enough consensus point spread to suggest that game flow will keep Cook involved for the better part of four quarters.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
|Date||Favorite||Spread||Underdog||Total||Away Moneyline||Home Moneyline|
Russell Wilson has disappointed as just the QB22 over the last six weeks. He has a wonderful date with an Arizona Cardinals defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers, but DFS players should be prepared for the Seahawks to employ a run-dominant game plan that may end with Wilson not performing on par with matchup-based expectations. Even when he was on fire, Wilson massively underwhelmed (240 passing yards, one TD) in Week 4 against the Cardinals.
Kyler Murray is the QB12 over that same six-week time frame, but he is also at risk of taking a backseat to a strong run game. Murray remains in the weekly QB1 conversation regardless of format and is facing a Seahawks defense allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Although he disappointed against Seattle in Week 4, Murray has proved much more explosive over the final three-quarters of the season compared to what we saw in September.
Kenyan Drake had his true breakout game in Week 15, and the Cardinals will likely lean on him in a concerted effort to keep Wilson off the field. The Seahawks have allowed the 16th-most fantasy points to running backs, relinquishing 4.04 yards per carry and 14 rushing touchdowns. Drake could be in for a big day, but he could be a bit chalky due to gamers chasing his Week 15 performance.
Chris Carson is back to feature duties with Rashaad Penny on injured reserve. He has a great matchup against a defense surrendering the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Carson is worth strong consideration for those who will opt against starting the most expensive backs like Henry and Christian McCaffrey. Despite failing to find the end zone against the Cardinals in Week 4, he racked up 104 rushing yards and tacked on four receptions off four targets for 41 receiving yards.
Tyler Lockett is finally getting over the illness and shin injury that made him look like a shell of himself from Weeks 10 to 14. He saw a team-high nine targets, corralling eight for 120 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers. He is worth an extended look against a Cardinals defense surrendering the 11th-most fantasy points to the wide receiver position.
The matchup also makes D.K. Metcalf worth a look. He found the end zone in Week 15 but took a step back in the targets department. He saw fewer than six looks (four targets) for just the first time since Week 9, but that was likely due to James Bradberry spending a chunk of his snaps covering Metcalf. Patrick Peterson took home Defensive Player of the Week in Week 15 and seems to finally be rounding back into form after looking rusty since returning from his suspension. With Metcalf being Seattle’s top outside receiver, Peterson may spend most of his day locking down the rookie, making Metcalf a boom-or-bust play in the truest sense of the term. With the suspension of Josh Gordon, David Moore and Jaron Brown could be worthy multi-entry contrarian plays.
Wasting away in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, Larry Fitzgerald is hard to trust despite the high over-under total. He posted a touchdown-dependent 5-36-1 line against Seattle in Week 4. Christian Kirk has been hit or miss, but he is the Cardinals’ most reliable wide receiver option. While he managed just four receptions for 37 yards against the Seahawks earlier this season, he is still worth a look for those chasing the high total. Damiere Byrd led Arizona receivers in both targets (six) and yards (86) in Week 15, but he played just 34 percent of the snaps. He had just one reception over a higher number of snaps in the previous two weeks and should be faded by single-entry owners.
The Seahawks have been weak against tight ends this season, allowing the third-most fantasy points per game. Due to the Cards splitting targets between Charles Clay, Maxx Williams, and the recently acquired Dan Arnold, none of them are worth a double-digit entry dart throw. Those submitting under 20 lineups can likely find better fliers.
The Cardinals have been a tight end lottery ticket for most of the season. Will Dissly posted a 7-57-1 line in Week 4, catching Wilson’s lone touchdown pass of the game. Sure to be a chalky play, Jacob Hollister has the makings of a finish-in-the-money sort of option. Arizona has surrendered the most fantasy points to tight ends, and it’s not all that close. The question this week should likely be who is worth starting over Hollister from a cost-per-projected-point or return-on-investment perspective.