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Analyzing Vegas Odds: Week 8 (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Oct 31, 2020

Analyzing Vegas’ odds is a helpful strategy all DFS players should look to take advantage of. It can help when weighing competing lineup options for any given week. A high over/under total can clue us into contests Vegas projects to have a high combined score. More opportunities for scoring can lead to increased opportunities for fantasy points.

Small point spreads show us which games Vegas projects to be competitive. Competitive contests suggest that the game script will not force either team to abandon the run or the pass. Large point spreads, on the other hand, suggest that the team with a large lead may look to run out the clock in the second half, or in some cases rest their starters as the game winds down. For the team that is behind it means that they may be forced to abandon the run in favor of being more aggressive through the air in an effort to put points on the board quicker.

High total contests can also alert us to potential chalky plays. While analyzing Vegas odds should not be the only tool you use to decide on roster options, it should, along with a host of other variables, play a correlative factor in your decision making.

This week we will take a look at the contests with some of the highest over/under totals on the slate. These two battles are sure to have some chalky plays, but need to be dissected nonetheless.

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Aaron Rodgers is the QB8 on the season in average fantasy points. He has looked like a man on a mission for most of the season and is set to be a chalky play this weekend against a decimated Minnesota Vikings cornerback group. They were already one of the worst groups in the league, but will now be down three starters with Cameron Dantzler, Mike Hughes, and Holton Hill all ruled out for Sunday. Kris Boyd who is expected to start for the Vikings was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday with hamstring and back injuries. The Vikings have allowed the eighth most fantasy points to the quarterback position this season, and this was before the injuries, making Rodgers a very attractive solo and stack option. 

Kirk Cousins leads the league with 10 interceptions. This is despite the Vikings already having their bye week. How bad is this? Cousins has never thrown more than 10 interceptions as a member of the Vikings. Cousins is also posting career lows (as a starter) in adjusted yards per attempt (7.1) and QBR (49.6). Cousins is far from a viable option this weekend. Green Bay has allowed just the 21st most points to the quarterback position and Cousins has had some of his worst games this season when the gamescript got out of hand. He was solid in Week 1 with 259 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, but with Dalvin Cook likely to be less than 100 percent even if he does play, the Vikings may have a much tougher time moving the ball and sustaining drives. 

Davante Adams is the number one overall receiver in fantasy points per game. He destroyed the Vikings in Week 1 with 14 receptions for 156 receiving yards and two touchdowns and could have an even bigger game this week with all of the missing bodies at cornerback. It is going to take some serious cap gymnastics to fit him in your lineup this weekend, and he likely to have one of the highest rostered percentages of the weekend, but his upside and projected floor are almost too hard to pass on. Every Week 8 DFS lineup strategy will involve deciding whether or not Adams is worth a play at his salary and projected chalkiness. 

Allen Lazard is still sidelined due to a core muscle injury, which means that Marquez Valdes-Scantling will again function as the team’s number two receiver. Saying MVS has been a disappointment this season would be a vast understatement. He is the WR75 in total fantasy points. This is despite drawing starts as Aaron Rodgers’ number one receiver. Despite facing a Vikings secondary littered with holes, and allowing the third most fantasy points to the wide receiver position, he should be faded this weekend outside of multi-entry strategies.

Adam Thielen had been better than expected this season. He is the WR4 fantasy points per game despite being moved to a predominantly outside role. He has seen no more than 28 percent of his snaps from the slot in any game this season and is at 21.4 percent for the year. Thielen balled out in Week 1 and could have another big day in store with the Vikings receiver likely to be gifted a positive gamescript. He went off for six receptions, 110 receiving yards, and two touchdowns against the Packers earlier this season, and is worth a long hard look despite being slated to see a bulk of his snaps against Jaire Alexander

Justin Jefferson is the WR12 in fantasy points per game. He has seen 46 percent of his snaps from the slot and his 3.54 yards per slot route run places him fourth among receivers with at least 10 slot receptions. Jefferson was still finding his way in Week 1 and posted just a two reception, 26 receiving yard line. He is in line for a much bigger day this weekend, but his salary has started to catch up with his expected production. No longer a tremendous value, Jefferson is still worth a long look due to projected gamescript and the high total. 

With Aaron Jones sidelined for the second straight contest, Jamaal Williams will draw the start this weekend. Jones is the RB4 fantasy points per game, but Williams was excellent in his spot start last week. He totaled 23 touches, 134 yards from scrimmage, and one touchdown on 89 percent of the snaps. He is expected to see the bulk of the snaps once again and is an extremely appealing option for Week 8.

Dalvin Cook is expected to make his return this weekend against a Green Bay Packers team surrendering the third most fantasy points to the running back position. His return makes Alexander Mattison a fade, as Cook will likely lead the backfield in touches even if he sees his snaps reduced. Cook is the RB3 in fantasy points per game but may be a risky start in his first game back. He did manage to score twice in Week 1 despite just 12 carries, but his salary and the glaring risk of a fantasy production draining negative gamescript means most should be looking somewhere else at running back for Week 8. 

Robert Tonyan is the TE7 in fantasy points per game. His Week 8 matchup is not great as the Vikings have limited the position to the eighth fewest fantasy points. He has been quiet since his Week 4 explosion, totaling just five receptions for 57 yards combined over his last two contests. He saw just 50 percent of the snaps with Mercedes Lewis also seeing 50 percent, and Jace Sternberger seeing 32 percent. Lewis saw more targets (three) than Tonyan (two) in Week 7. All three tight ends should be faded in favor of superior options.  

Kyle Rudolph (TE37) and Irv Smith Jr. (TE43) cancel each other out most weeks. Smith Jr. has been picking it up lately and has racked up four receptions and 55 or more yards in each of his last two contests. The projected gamescript for this contest calls for the Vikings to have a high pass volume, something that could lead to either Smith or Rudolph having a serviceable fantasy day. 

Smith has seen 68 percent or more of the snaps in each of the last two weeks which means that he is seeing about the same snap share as Rudolph. Green Bay has allowed the 17th most fantasy points to the tight end position, which when combined with gamescript would mean we could have a strong night from the position. However, predicting which of these two talented tight ends has the better day is often not worth the trouble. Both are solid multi-entry dart throw, but neither is suggested for single entries.

Ryan Tannehill is an enticing option for Week 8. The QB9 in fantasy points per game, Tannehill will be taking on a Bengals defense surrendering the 14th most fantasy points to the quarterback position. He could have a monster game if Joe Burrow can keep the game competitive, as the Bengals defense is one of the worst in the entire AFC. There is the obvious risk that Derrick Henry‘s dominance limits Tannehill’s pass attempts and production, but his glaring upside makes him worth a long look. 

Joe Burrow has been an excellent fantasy option this season. He is the QB14 in fantasy points per game and is the QB10 in total fantasy points. Week 8 gives him a Titans defense that has relinquished the 10th most fantasy points to enemy signal callers, making him a solid potential contrarian play at the quarterback position. 

A.J. Brown has been elite when healthy. He is the WR5 in fantasy points per game and could go off once again if the Bengals can keep the game close enough for the Titans to keep their foot on the gas in the passing game. The most likely beneficiary from busted coverage on the short and intermediate levels, his skill after the catch could lead to multiple scores against a horrendous cornerback group. If he goes off, he could explode, but he also carries a significant floor due to strength of opponent and the projected negative gamescript. Still, A.J. Brown is worth a long look most weeks, and Week 8 is no different. 

Want a surprise? Corey Davis is the WR27 in fantasy points per game. Left in the ‘just a guy’ pile by many prior to the season, Davis has finally started to build some chemistry with Ryan Tannehill. He has 69 or more receiving yards or a touchdown in every game he’s played this season and has impressed doing so. Never short on talent, Davis has consistently flashed throughout his career but has yet to put it altogether. Week 8 gives him a weak Bengals defense surrendering the 16th most fantasy points to the wide receiver position, making him worth a look for those planning to submit multiple entries. 

Tyler Boyd is the WR23 fantasy points per game and the WR12 in total fantasy points. He is likely to be chalk this week against a Titans defense surrendering the sixth most fantasy points to the wide receiver position but is still worth a look. Boyd has had some stinkers this season, but they have come against strong corners. This week he will spend most of the afternoon lined up against slot corner Chris Jackson. Jackson is only starting due to injuries and has been eaten alive to the tune of a 74.3 completion percentage against. The sample is small, but with a likely high target outing in Week 8, he could be roasted multiple times in what will be his first real high activity game. Boyd needs to be considered this weekend. 

A.J. Green is the WR63 in total fantasy points but has stepped up his play as of late, jumping over 30 spots in the process. While he has yet to touch paydirt this season, Green appears to be inching closer to his old self and has averaged 7.5 receptions and 89 receiving yards per game on 12 targets per contest over his last two outings. With a plus matchup, positive gamescript, and a quarterback who loves targeting him on his side, he is worth a look this weekend.

Tee Higgins has been sensational this season and has shown the world why Aaron Rodgers was so dismayed when the Packers trade up ended up being for Jodan Love instead of the Clemson product. The WR34 in fantasy points per game and the WR24 in total fantasy points, Higgins is slated to spend most of his afternoon on Johnathan Joseph. Joseph has allowed 16.6 yards per reception and is laboring through one of the worst seasons of his career. He was expected to be the fourth corner behind Adoree’ Jackson, Kristian Fulton, and Malcolm Butler, and he is playing like it. Higgins has averaged 4.75 receptions and 83.75 receiving yards per game over his past four contests. He is up to 18.9 yards per reception and is exactly the type of big-play wideout who could burn Joseph multiple times. Higgins should be plugged in for DFS players planning to set multiple lineups and deserves strong consideration from single entry managers. 

Joe Mixon is the RB12 in fantasy points per game this season but has been ruled out for the second straight week, in turn making Giovani Bernard the starter. Bernard has a plus matchup against a Titans defense surprisingly surrendering the 11th most fantasy points to the running back position. He was solid in Week 7 in his spot start, totaling 96 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 18 touches. He is in line for a much better day on the ground this weekend and will continue to stay involved as a target out of the backfield. Priced as if Mixon had a strong shot at returning, Bernard is going to be chalk but still projects as a strong Week 8 play.  

Tennessee Titans war horse Derrick Henry is the RB5 fantasy points per game, and the RB2 in total fantasy points. He continues to produce at an elite fantasy level despite his limited involvement in the passing game and is a good bet to do so once again this weekend. Henry has nine touchdowns in his last four contests and has averaged 115.75 rushing yards per game. He is in a smash spot against a weak Bengals defense allowing the 14th most fantasy points to the running back position. He is going to be hard to roster due to his exorbitant salary, but will undoubtedly still make it onto many lineups. 

Jonnu Smith is the TE4 fantasy points per game but has been a disappointment over the last two weeks. He has averaged one reception for 11 receiving yards over his last two games but is in a major bounce-back spot against a Bengals defense relinquishing the third most fantasy points to the tight end position. He is a high upside, low floor play, but could be a tournament winner he hits. 

Drew Sample is the TE32 in total fantasy points this season. He has had some solid games this season but has been rendered invisible in others. He is too risky of a play this weekend despite facing a Titans defense allowing the ninth most fantasy points to the tight end position. The risk outweighs the potential reward here, fade Sample for Week 8.

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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