March 26, 2019

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PyromaniacMo's Spreading the Lines Of Fantasy for Week 10 - Vegas Implied Point Totals

Spreading the Lines of Fantasy - Week 10 (2018)

Posted by PyromaniacMo on 11/07/18

by   The Archer


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This weekly piece is intended to shed light on two primary factors that can weigh heavily upon your fantasy football decision making. Basically, we want to use Vegas in a helpful, predictive way. The first advantage to be gained exposes teams that are likely to be amongst the highest scoring of the week. Obviously, the more touchdowns a team puts up, the more fantasy points those players will have. For this, we will look at implied team totals. Generally, any team with an opening implied team total over 24 is one to pay attention to: The higher the number, the greater their chance for scoring.


So, now that we have identified the hottest teams of the week, we want to prognosticate even further and decide which positions, on those teams, will get the most opportunity to score. Does Vegas tell us a high scoring team will likely be playing with a lead? In other words, are they heavy favorites? If this is the case, then such a positive game-script indicates more rushing attempts. Thus, we want RBs on those teams. If Vegas expects a high scoring team to be on the losing end of a shoot-out, in other words, a team is predicted to play from behind, this tells us to expect more of a passing attack. So, we should see a ground attack for big favorites and a passing game for the big underdogs.


That’s it. In essence, we are looking for high implied team totals and an indication as to which positions will likely get the most opportunity to score those points. 

Final note, I used to use opening lines. However, these would come out before the completion of the previous week’s games. Therefore, the line movement in the first days after opening would often change due to a team’s performance, injuries, etc. While a great deal of line movement later in the week primarily comes from betting trends. So, the lines reflected in the chart, come from Tuesday. This way, the spreads have been determined AFTER all of the previous week’s games and BEFORE the betting public influences line movement. There is no perfect answer here, but this way, I feel it captures the most accurate reflection of what Vegas has to offer without the clouding caused by the betting public and bookmakers adjusting the line in order to offset public money. In essence, the lines here ideally reflect what Vegas thinks without interference from betting trends. 


One quick note – While this chart primarily reveals game script plays, I make will make format based calls. Remember the stark discrepancies between dynasty, redraft, and DFS. Keep in mind these are different formats. Case in point, you are going to play McCaffrey in Week 10 in a redraft, but he is not a great DFS play. So while for the most part, players are mentioned on a predictive game-script/usage basis, I will go a little further from time to time and discuss specific formats. 


Spreading The Lines of Fantasy - Week 10


This year is turning out to be the year of the offense. Carolina visits Pittsburgh and this game is 1 of 7 that Vegas expects to go for over 50. The Steelers are favored by 4, and thus we should see Conner, who has turned out to be “Too Legit, too legit to (sit)”. Carolina’s D, against the run, ranks in the bottom 3 for 2nd level and open-field tackling. Conner could bust it; he ranks in the top 20 for both Yards Per Carry and Yards After Contact. On the other side, McCaffrey is coming off a big Week 9. Be cautious as Football Outsiders ranks the Steelers as the best defense against RBs coming out of the backfield for passes. Only 3 teams have allowed fewer catches and only 2 teams have allowed fewer receiving yards to opposing backs. I am not chasing Week 9’s box score when it comes to McCaffrey in DFS. In redraft, keep in mind these are different animals, it is unlikely you have a better option. You are dancing with the one you brought, do not get cute. 


Tampa welcomes Washington. Vegas pegs this one at 51.5 total points. While Washington is a stout D, they are vulnerable against WRs. When looking at their fantasy points allowed when you adjust for schedule, as 4 for 4 famously does, they rank 21st versus opposing WRs in standard formats. Looking a bit closer, Football Outsiders ranks them 26th against “other WRs”. That means any WR not considered 1 or 2 by their team. Calling Adam Humphries. On average, Humphries is getting the 2nd most WR snaps on the team behind Evans. This is clearly a DFS play. That said, regardless of format, the Tampa WRs have produced, week in, week out, regardless of who is throwing the ball. On the other side, Alex Smith had his only 300 yard game of the 2018 season in Week 9. While I am tempering my expectations, this Tampa secondary is basically starting backups and inexperienced players, most of whom are suited more towards the slot; due to injury, this secondary crew has been asked to give more than most, and they did not have an abundance of talent, to begin with. Only one of their three starting corners heading into Week 10 was actually a starter at the onset of the season. When you adjust for schedule, Tampa comes in dead last versus opposing QBs and they rank 31st and 29th against opposing WRs in standard and PPR formats respectively. With 6 teams on bye, you could get a pleasant surprise from your Washington players in week 10. 


I liked Jordan Howard last week and that will continue in Week 10. As long as the Bears have a favorable game-script, he has to be in consideration and perhaps favored over Cohen, as witnessed last week. Chicago is home and nearly a full TD favorite over my beloved Lions, who are notoriously poor against the run. No NFL team is giving up a higher average per carry to opposing RBs (5.54). The Bears are 11th in 3rd down conversion percentage. They could get up against the Lions and keep plugging away with Howard on the ground. So, if Vegas is telling us the Bears will take the air out of the ball, the Lions should be in a position to pass. Now, assuming rational coaching, Golden Tate packs up his camp and is off to greener pastures, it should be a Golladay party! MAN. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a guy with clear talent, miss opportunities due to archaic coaching decisions. The talent is undeniable, but Matt Patricia’s team might not look to emphasize what we all see. Still, it is going to be a tough task as the Bears rank 5th best in DVOA against the pass. While I love the talent, I want to see that trickle down to actual opportunity on the field, and this is not likely the defense to offer that. 


Last week I claimed Hunt would smash. That goes double in Week 10 as KC carries the highest spread of the week. Vegas has them pegged to win by 16.5 points against the Cardinals, who incidentally, have given up the most fantasy points to opposing backs on a per game basis. This will certainly be the chalkiest RB play in Week 10. On the other side, the Arizona passing game could put up garbage points and you darn well know, they will be required to pass if they want to keep this in the realm of respectability. Did I mention that KC has an implied team total of over 33 friggin’ points? Good night Irene!


Atlanta is on the road, traveling to Cleveland yet they are favored by 4. Not only that, these dirty bird road dogs have an implied team total of 27.5. Coleman got going last week and should have the opportunity to do so again. On the other side, the Falcons have given up the most receptions to backs out of the backfield every year since 2016. We saw Duke Johnson, under a new coaching regime, actually get involved in the reception game last week. In all likelihood, that was game script dependant. Well, look for the same thing here. Cleveland should be down early and needing to pass to stay in this one. They just happen to face the absolute worst D against pass catching backs in the Atlanta Falcons. Although he is risky simply because he has not been used up until last week, I dare say Duke Johnson should have an even better opportunity to shine this coming week. That said, we could see Chubb’s touches dwindle if they indeed do get down. So, guys like Johnson and Landry should see usage, Chubb’s involvement could suffer. 


The Bengals are home to the saints. At 54 expected points, Vegas pegs this one as the highest scoring game of Week 10. These two defenses are both top 3 for most points surrendered to opposing QBs. They rank in the top 5 versus opposing WRs. If you own players putting on the pads in this one, get ‘em in your line-up. This could easily surpass the over. Drew Brees has played 8 games this season, 4 of those games have seen him put up at least 30 fantasy points. The Bengals rank 25th against opposing WR1s; 27th against opposing WR 2s; and 28th against backs out of the backfield. The Bengals are coming off a bye and will be looking to fill the void left by AJ Green. Mixon should certainly see a big game as the Saints rank 29th against opposing pass catching backs. The Bengals rank 5th in most fantasy points surrendered on a per game basis. The Saints have allowed over 1,900 yard to the opponents WRs, that is nearly 300 more yards than any other D, and they have only played 8 games! Finally, since we are adding numbers, 7, I say 7 receivers have put up triple-digit yardage days against the boys from the Big Easy in 2018. If you are looking to game-stack, this should be a peach. Like the Allman Brothers said, ‘Eat a peach for peace’.


Although the Titans are nearly a full TD underdog at home and Vegas is calling for a positive game script for the visiting Patriots, I am still fading Sony Michel if I can. He is coming off an injury. Even as I type theses keys, he is listed as Questionable. The biggest reason however is the Titans. Since the start of the 2017 season, they have only allowed 1 RB to surpass the 100 yard mark and that was Todd Gurley, last year. In last week’s Vegas column, I suggest fading Zeke and I was right. He only put up 61 yards on 15 carries and was kept out of the end zone. Sure, he managed 51 yards out of the backfield, but even then, only 2 RBs have more than 26 receiving yards against the Titans all season. So while the game script identifies the Patriots ground game, this D has just proven to be formidable and not to be fussed with.


The Jets are home to Buffalo and favored to win by 7.5. Although they have a low implied total, it still should be a decent day for Crowell. I know McGuire has returned. However, he relies on a negative game script for his usage. I know some of you ran out and got Cannon off waviers two weeks ago. However, the man was only on the field for 7 offensive snaps last week and got a measly 1 look. Buffalo is allowing 4.36 YPC and beyond that, rank 29th when it comes to backs that get to the 2nd level. Crowell has those big games in him, and I think he should get the carries. Look Crowell is a tough nut to crack. He only has 2 games where he has rushed for over 50 yards. However, in those games, he went for 102 and then 219. Keep an eye on Buffalo’s D, their starting DE, Trent Murphy, has missed the last 2 games. Not only that, their starting Middle linebacker, Tremaine Edmunds, missed last week. Remember, Jordan Howard, rushed for 2 TDs against this team last week. So, if Buffalo is down 2 starters from their front 7, Crowell is certainly in flex consideration in redrafts. In DFS, I might have him in 15% of my large pool GPP lineups. 


Gordon should be in a smash spot as the Chargers are 10 point favorites against Oakland. The Chargers are not only road dogs, but they have an implied team total of 30.25, the 3rd highest of the week.  Melvin Gordon has put up 100 rushing yards and or a TD in all but 1 game this year. It is hard to get more reliable than that. If you can get Hunt and Gordon in your DFS lineups, you are on your way to feeling Kool and the Gang baby! I even like Ekeler in these games. You can certainly see a scenario where they get up big, and turn to Ekeler to lighten Gordan’s load a little, especially this late in the season when those bumps and bruises are starting to take their toll. Surprisingly, Ekeler has put up double-digit fantasy point days in PPR formats in all but 2 games this season. On the other side, I expect Carr to go to the air, and maybe he connects with Nelson on some of those, I mean, who the hell else is there besides Cook. Here is the thing, Cook is another guy I am adding to my fade list. The Chargers rank 1st against opposing TEs, according to Football Outsiders. So, in DFS, I am spending down at the TE position. In redraft, I am weighing the options. I might just stream this week depending on who is out there. However, redrafters need to keep in mind, it is one thing to fade cook in DFS, a format where every player has an opportunity cost, in redraft however, Cook, even with a tough matchup, is likely  a safer play than the average, streamable player that is available to you. 


Green Bay is home to Miami. As much as I want to see MVS keep the train rolling, Vegas is telling us the Packers should win handedly. That means they will score points, 28.5 according to Vegas, and win by 9.5 points. While Aaron Jones has not been getting the usage, this game script could change that. You cannot deny his talent. The Dolphins are allowing 4.66 YPC, only 8 teams are giving up more to opposing runners. Last week, Aaron Jones recorded his most snaps (32) of the season. He has averaged 16 looks in the last 2 weeks. I could see that number increase just slightly; maybe he pushes 18-20 this week. All this guy needs is one touch to make something happen. He is a special player. That said, with 6 teams on bye, you could do far worse that Jones and I love his ceiling. Just weigh your choices carefully my young Padawans. 


The Rams are 10 point favorites over Seattle. Look, they are the Rams. If you own them, you are putting them in your line-up. On the other side of the ball, keep an eye on the health of Seattle’s RBs. Chris Carson is Questionable, and Mike Davis should be a big waiver wire addition. However, game script is going to demand these birds put to the air with the likes of Tyler Lockett and David More. Lockett has 6 games this season where he has registered a TD. Moore has scored 4 TDs in his last 4 games. Both guys are high risk/reward players. The windfall could be mighty however. These are cheap DFS plays that can allow you to pay up at other positions while creating a unique lineup. Both have TD upside in a game that should see some scoring. 


Last but not least, the Eagles should have a favorable run game script in Week 10. They are favored by 6 points according to Vegas against the visiting Cowboys. So the game script and opportunity are there for the Eagles. While I love the potential of Josh Adams, a former ND player, Dallas is formidable. Since Week 12 last year, only 2 backs have put up more than 65 yards against them on the ground. Let me say that again, in their last 14 games, Dallas has allowed just 2 opposing running backs to rack up more than 65 rushing yards. According to Football Outsiders, they rank in the top 10 in 6 different rushing defensive categories. So, in dynasty, I am still hanging onto Adams, beyond that, there are better DFS/redraft options this week. 





PyromaniacMo with a Founder's


By: PyromaniacMo


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