August 17, 2018


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Cooper Kupp

Los Angeles Rams

Mr. Cooper's neighborhood

Cooper Kupp was 4th in the NFL last year in red-zone targets. Kupp and Goff have the most chemistry of all the receivers on the team as Goff targeted him more than anyone last year. Everyone is expecting Cooks to lead these receivers in points this year, but Kupp will be the receiver to own. Sammy Watkins had eight red-zone touchdowns last year. Cooks is not a red-zone target receiver, so Kupp should see more targets and could sneak into the WR2 with massive upside.

08/13/18, 09:39 PM CDT by C-wags


Jerick McKinnon

Minnesota Vikings

The Jet is set to take off!

Mckinnon has been a super divisive player this offseason. Especially after the first preseason game where he didn't amass many yards and the following day he injured himself in practice. I constantly hear people question his ability to carry the ball 200+ times or that he can’t run between the tackles, or he’s unproven in a lead role. This is all NONSENSE and you shouldn’t believe any of it. Shanahan had his pick of players that he could’ve signed instead of Mckinnon, including Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, or drafting a rookie. He chose Mckinnon cause he felt he fit his offensive system in the same way that Devante Freeman fit his scheme. The 49ers just signed Alfred Morris today as a safety net, but I’m taking all the Mckinnon I can this year. I see him carrying the ball 205car/950yds/6td while also amassing 60rec/500yds/5td making him an RB1 this year. Don't be scared, and steal him away from people that are.

08/13/18, 09:24 PM CDT by C-wags


Marquise Goodwin

San Francisco 49ers

Too good, too fast

Marquiae goodwin has been targeted like a number one in camp. With Pierre Garcon likely squaring off with one of the toughest schedules against number one DBs, Goodwin could break out even more than he did last year. I wouldn't put it past him to put up T.Y HIlton numbers this year. Pick him up in the 6th and 7th round and pile up the points.

08/13/18, 09:11 PM CDT by C-wags


Jay Ajayi

Philadelphia Eagles

Ready To Fly

In 2016 Ajayi racked up 1272 yards on 260 carries and 8 TD’s and finished as the RB11 in both standard and PPR scoring. Last year Miami ran him out of town when he struggled in an anemic offense. He was not heavily used when he got to Philly, but his touches did increase every week until the Superbowl. He was also hyper efficient gaining 5.8 yards per carry and 9.1 yards per reception. Despite the general perception Clements usage went down with Ajayi’s arrival, even with Smallwood going down with injury. The Eagles have the number 1 offensive line as graded by PFF, and 18 RB targets and 192 carries vacated. Ajayi is a safe pick in the fourth round and a steal in the fifth.

08/02/18, 06:08 PM CDT by Wheeler


Jimmy Graham

Green Bay Packers

Split Wide, Back in Stride

He is coming off a season that produced only 57 receptions for 520 yards, his fewest since his rookie season. With that said, Graham remains a big-time weapon in the red zone. He led the league last year with 27 targets in the region, which led to 10 touchdowns. You can bet Rodgers and play-caller Mike McCarthy will be utilizing his skills early and often when knocking on the door of the end zone.
Look for McCarthy to use a variety of personnel groupings with his new tight end group and expect to see Graham split out wide as a receiver much more than as a traditional in-line tight end.

This goes right along with what I was saying on Pyro podcast 308. I expect Graham to be used as a wide receiver and not a tight end. When Graham was negotiating his contract in his last season in New Orleans he wanted to be paid on scale with wide receivers because he rarely lined-up as an in-line tight end. When Seattle paid him, he did whatever they asked, and they asked him to block more. He was out for five games that year, but averaged one less reception per game and only scored two TD’s, after having at least nine TD’s in the previous four years. Overall Graham saw about 25% fewer targets while in Seattle compared to New Orleans and his fantasy numbers reflect it. I see Green Bay using him more like he was used in New Orleans, and even though he has obviously lost a step or two I see him as the major replacement for the Jordy Nelson targets.

07/22/18, 01:41 PM CDT by Wheeler


Aaron Jones

Green Bay Packers

Cream Rises To The Top

Jones’ 5.55 YPC on first- and second-down carries trailed only Alvin Kamara (6.24) for best in the league last year. Jamaal Williams averaged 3.80 YPC on first- and second-down in 2017.

He’s slid two rounds since the announcement of his two game suspension, he is a screaming value if you can get him in the ninth round. We already knew he was going to be competing in a crowded backfield so missing two games really shouldn’t be a big hit to his overall production. The likelihood of either of the other two backs taking over the role is slim, Jones should be able to carve out 10 touches a game when he gets back with fresh legs. They are all high risk for injuries so I’m hoping this added rest will help Jones in the long run.

07/21/18, 06:51 PM CDT by Wheeler


Nelson Agholor

Philadelphia Eagles

Solidified Role

In 2017, Nelson Agholor had 62 recs, 768 yds, 9 TDs and 7 games of WR2 or better. There is no reason he wouldn't maintain this output, even with additions in the offense. Agholor had to carve out a role for himself and beat out incumbent Jordan Matthews. This year he'll be the main slot receiver and have an established role from the start.

07/21/18, 06:49 PM CDT by Wheeler


Sterling Shepard

New York Giants

Buying The Slot Receiver in a Shurmur Offense

Sterling Shepard is currently 24 years old with a 124/1,414/10 career line, in two seasons. He finished 2017 as the WR42 in 11 games (WR22 in FP/G) with only a 13.9% target share. He finished 2016 as the WR36 as a rookie. He's currently being drafted as the WR42 in MFL10’s.

Shepard does see more targets (+2.7), get more receptions (+2.3), more yards (+28), and get about three more PPR points per game when Beckham is out. But he still averages over 11 PPR points per game when he is playing. Apparently Shepard is more open in the end-zone when Beckham is playing, as he averages three times as many TD’s when they are both playing.

07/21/18, 06:47 PM CDT by Wheeler


Allen Hurns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Plenty of Targets in Dallas

He’s been hampered by injuries over the past couple of years, but when he has stayed healthy and gotten the targets he has been successful. His best season was in 2015, he had 105 Targets for 64 Receptions at 1031 Yards for 10 TDs, that’s 16.11 Yards Per Reception and a 61% Catch Rate coming from Blake Bortles. He finished as the WR14 in Standard Scoring and WR18 in PPR.

He's an amazing value in the 11th round of current best-ball drafts.

07/21/18, 06:41 PM CDT by Wheeler


Eric Ebron

Detroit Lions

Second Team Breath's New Life Into TE

Outside Brady, Luck is the only other QB to support 2 TE's, both Fleener and Allen had 8 TD's with Luck. Frank Reich runs 2 TE sets very successfully - see: 2018 Eagles. TE1's for Coach Reich have never finished worse than 12th. Yes, Doyle would seem like the obvious choice after last season, but that was with Brissett who needed a quick dump off outlet. Luck isn't a check-down machine.

Eric Ebron has lined up "everywhere" in the Colts offense. And the new tight end already is beginning to feel at home in Indianapolis. Without a strong WR2, Ebron could see a large number of targets. The Colt's line-up in two TE sets more than any other team in the NFL.

07/21/18, 06:36 PM CDT by Wheeler


Matt Breida

San Francisco 49ers

Filling Coleman Role

“One guy who stood out at Niners practice to me was RB Matt Breida. No one talks about him, but the dude is gonna get some run this year. Fast downhill player.”

This is just some more camp hype from a beat reporter, but if they don’t get another running back through trade or free-agency Brieda is going to see plenty of touches to pay off being picked in the 15th round of fantasy drafts. McKinnon has never had over 205 touches in a season, that leaves plenty of opportunity in a Shanahan offense.

07/21/18, 06:28 PM CDT by Wheeler


LeSean McCoy

Buffalo Bills

McCoy starring down 30 with uncertainty

LeSean McCoy, despite ending the year as the #7 fantasy running back in standard leagues was a slight disappointment for fantasy owners last year. McCoy played in all 16 regular season games, but only cracked 100 yards rushing 4 times, and averaged 4.0 yards per rush, which was 23rd in the NFL. That all happened with a formidable QB with a scrambling ability that defenses had to respect, presumably allowing McCoy some more room before tacklers ascended.
The Bills have the least sexy QB situation in the entire NFL in my opinion. With Tyrod Taylor at the helm for most of the season last year, the bills had the 31st passing offense. None of the QBs on the Bills roster are considered mobile and without a wide receiver on their roster worthy of drafting in any fantasy formats, defenses can stack the box against McCoy. McCoy will be overused, underperform and probably get hurt because of it. McCoy’s ADP is in the second round, but wouldn’t touch him until the fourth or beginning of the fifth round.

06/29/18, 12:42 PM CDT by C-wags


Tyreek Hill

Kansas City Chiefs

Hill lookin' busty with chiefs new look.

Tyreek Hill had a great 2017, amounting 75 receptions for 1183 yards and 7 touchdowns in 15 games. He’s currently being drafted in the middle of the third round in standard leagues, which would appear to be a great value. However, with promoted RB coach Eric Bieniemy presumably in-line to be the primary play caller, a new QB, Travis Kelce receiving the #1 target share and the addition of Sammy Watkins, I expect Hill’s numbers to decrease dramatically.
I believe Hill to be more of a boom or bust player this year. There’s no denying his break-away speed and ability to separate from defenders, and with Mahomes cannon of an arm, I expect them to connect deep on occasion. However, I believe Sammy Watkins to be the more complete receiver and likely to take more of the target share from Hill. Bundled with the change in offensive strategy toward the end of last year to run the ball more, the change to a young QB presumably resulting in a more conservative game plan, I see a major decline in the amount of touches Hill will get and see him as more of a 5-6 round flex play guy.

06/21/18, 10:54 AM CDT by C-wags


Eric Ebron

Detroit Lions

Ebron Could Use Some Luck

Colts signed TE Eric Ebron, formerly of the Lions, to a two-year contract. Coach Frank Reich called Ebron an "elite tight end."

The last time we saw Andrew Luck healthy (2016), the Colts used 2+ TE sets at the 3rd-highest rate in the NFL and had the 6th-highest target share to TEs.

04/01/18, 11:32 AM CDT by Wheeler


Carlos Hyde

San Francisco 49ers

Hyde and Seek

Browns agreed to terms with RB Carlos Hyde, formerly of the 49ers, on a three-year, $15 million contract.

Obtaining Hyde has several trickle-down effects; first it replaces Crowell who signed with the Jets, it probably diminishes Duke Johnson’s value a bit. Hyde is a better all-around back than Crowell was and will certainly take over the goal-line work seeing that he’s got 20+ pounds on Duke. It also reduces the likelihood that Cleveland takes Saquon Barkley with the 4th pick in the draft. They will most likely look to draft a defensive player (Chubb) or trade down again.

04/01/18, 11:28 AM CDT by Wheeler


Jerick McKinnon

Minnesota Vikings

McKinnon Goes West For Gold-Rush

49ers agreed to terms with RB Jerick McKinnon, formerly of the Vikings, on a four-year, $30 million contract.

McKinnon averaged a ho-hum 3.8 yards a carry for the Vikings and scored three rushing touchdowns. By contrast, San Francisco's former lead runner, Carlos Hyde, averaged 3.9 yards an attempt in 2017 and had eight rushing touchdowns.

It appears as though Shanahan is enamored with McKinnon's athletic metrics, but I'm not so sure he was "pounding the table" to get him. This move could push the Niner's to cut Joe Williams.

04/01/18, 11:12 AM CDT by Wheeler


Mike Wallace

Baltimore Ravens

Eagles Keep Improving

Eagles signed WR Mike Wallace to a one-year contract.
Mike Wallace can still move posting a top five max speed among wide receivers last season. He will fill the void left by Torrey Smith as a speed vertical threat.

04/01/18, 11:08 AM CDT by Wheeler


Terrelle Pryor

Washington Redskins

Jets Searching For Weapons

Jets agreed to terms with WR Terrelle Pryor, formerly of Washington and Cleveland.

Second year in a row on a new team doesn’t really help Pryor's cause, but I like the idea of him on the field with Teddy Bridgewater at some point. I would imagine, with some creativity, the Jets could really design some innovative gadget plays.
The Jets receiving corps really looks like a bunch of question marks at this point though, no telling what the week-to-week outcome will be with these guys.
Jermaine Kearse: 65 catches, 810 yards, 5 touchdowns (2017)
Robby Anderson: 63 catches, 941 yards, 7 touchdowns (2017)
Quincy Enunwa: 58 catches, 857 yards, 4 touchdowns (2016)
Terrelle Pryor: 77 catches, 1007 yards, 4 touchdowns (2016)

04/01/18, 11:04 AM CDT by Wheeler


Carlos Henderson

Denver Broncos

Sleeper Watch

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said the team is "counting on" Carlos Henderson making an impact in 2018.

If you are paying attention to Staggs projections there is plenty of opportunity for Henderson to step into a solid number of targets in the slot. Henderson was hindered by injury and awful QB play last year. Being drafted in the 18th round or later in best-ball leagues, Henderson is the late round flyer that should be on your radar.

04/01/18, 11:00 AM CDT by Wheeler


Ben Watson

Baltimore Ravens

Watson Returns To Big Easy

Saints signed TE Ben Watson, formerly of the Ravens, to a one-year contract.

Watson had 74 catches on 110 targets for 825 yards and 6 TD’s when he was with the Saints in 2015. After missing 2016 he had a pretty good year with Baltimore last year despite an anemic offense, with 61 catches on 79 targets for 522 yards and 4 TD’s. He’s not a bad late round flyer TE. He’s basically free right now, but I expect by the time the season starts he’ll be being drafted within the top 20 at the position.

04/01/18, 10:54 AM CDT by Wheeler


Vegas Skyline, use the mindshare of the folks in Vegas to help you in fantasy football

Volume of Opportunity: How Vegas Can Help Influence Fantasy Football Decisions

Posted by d-Rx on 11/03/16

by   The Archer


More Articals


In fantasy football, everybody is looking for an edge. Everything is examined from the wind speed, to turf type, and even the temperature at time of kick-off.  We try to be as scientific as possible in the world of sports prediction. I am reminded of the Casino line: “Nicky’s methods of betting weren’t scientific, but they worked. When he won, he collected. When he lost, he told the bookies to go fuck themselves”. Well, few of us can make predictions like Sam Rothstein, or even swing a baseball bat like Joe Pesci. But, we all want an edge, some added insight. Well, Vegas can certainly give you that leg up in the fantasy football world. We often reference an implied team total or a spread. But perhaps you are not really sure why, or worse yet, what to do with that information. There are just a few key things to start with: the spread, the over under, and the implied team totals. The bottom line is this: Vegas can give you an advantage when making your fantasy football decisions, because it can give you an indication about the volume of opportunity.


So, let’s just start with the spread. The spread is essentially the difference between the two final scores of each team. If team A is favored by 3 points, that means team B is expected to lose by 3 points. Team A is listed as -3, and team B is listed as +3. So if you happen to be betting with the spread, before the ball is even kicked off, the score is team A = 0 and team B = 3. I start paying attention to the spread when it is say 6 points or greater. The higher the spread, the more a certain team is favored to win. Last year, there were 67 instances of a spread being 7 points or more. That is 3.94 each week, and that includes weeks 16 and 17 which saw a higher number than normal. Of the 67 instances where the spread was at least 7 points or more, there were 29 times when that spread reached double digits, or just 1.7 per week on average. So this is a way to really narrow the focus of quality fantasy plays in a given week by simply looking at how much a specific team is favored over their opponent.


To continue with this line of thinking, a high spread really suggests game script. Game script will allow you to identify the play-calling in a given game and thus, which positions will have the greatest volume of opportunity. So, let’s say Atlanta is 10 point favorites over Cleveland (sorry Browns fans). What does that tell you? How can you use that for fantasy purposes? Well, Atlanta should have a positive game script. If the game goes accordingly, Atlanta will be up, chances are fairly early. They will look to run and play D like most teams do when they have the lead. Running the ball means the clock keeps moving, and when you are up, coaches want the game to end to secure the win. So, the higher the spread, the more likely the favored team’s running backs will be used. If you add an opposing defenses performance against the rush, then you really start to have something. Guess what, this is what Billicheck does. There is this believe that surrounds him that suggests a mystery, an unpredictable quality to ‘Wild Bill’. But the fact is, if the Patriots have a positive game-script, that is to say, they are heavy favorites, AND the opposing D struggles against RBs, then it is a safe bet it will be a Blount game in that the Patriot’s ground game should get plenty of action.


In contrast, let’s just say a team is heavy underdogs. Well, then chances are, while the other team is running the ball offensively, the under dog will need to pass in order to stay in the game. So, that is referred to a s a negative game-script and chances are, the QB and the pass catchers will be decent fantasy plays. Look, the bottom line, we are chasing opportunity. If a team is heavy favorites, there will be more opportunity for the favored team to use their running backs.. If they are underdogs, there should be a greater volume of usage for the pass catchers. While TDs are hard to predict, it stands to reason if a player is given more opportunities, they will have a higher chance to score, and that is what you are doing when you use the spread to influence your fantasy decisions. You are identifying which positions will get the most usage, and thus, have a greater probability to score.


Now, let’s turn from identifying a position with the use of the spread, to determining which offenses are most likely to score TDs in a given week. Obviously, if there is an over/under above 50, that means there should be plenty of scoring opportunity. But we need to go farther than that. Here is where you want to look at implied team totals. This is tossed out quite a bit in fantasy circles. Yet, I have been asked several times where to find this. Sure there are certain sites you can pay for, or a few hidden gems that post this. But really, you just need to know the formula and do a little math.


In order to find a team’s implied team total, you divide the over/under in half, then add half the spread to the favored team and subtract half the spread from the underdogs and you have the implied team total.  For example, let us just use the previous Atlanta vs. Cleveland scenario. If the over under is 44 and the spread favors the Falcons by 10 points, then you just break the 44 in half. That leaves 22. Then you add half the spread (5 points) to Atlanta, so they have an implied team total of 27 points. On the other hand, you take half the over/under, again, 22 points and then deduct half the spread, 5 points. So, the Browns have an implied team total in this situation of 17 points.


So, traditionally, an implied team total of 24 or above is when I will start paying attention, the higher you go, the better of course. In a given week, 28 might be tops, but implied team totals of 30 are not unheard of. On the Pyro Light podcast, I will generally bring it up if it is 26 or higher.


So, back to our original scenario, Atlanta versus the Browns. At first glance, if you just look at the 50 point over/under, it could be misleading. Ideally you want the implied team total. Now, what really sticks out is the Falcons (27) and the Browns only (17). So, if we put it all together, we know Atlanta should have plenty of opportunity to score TDs, nearly 4 in fact. Plus, they are heavy favorites, so now we are cooking with gas. We believe Atlanta will score a great deal, and will likely face a positive game-script. Thus, I want ownership of Atlanta running backs in this situation. We know from the implied team total, that there should be plenty of touchdowns. We narrow it down even further by adding the predictive game-script and say that those touchdowns will most likely come from the running back positions. Again, we are chasing opportunity to score. In this situation, we identified the Atlanta running backs as having the greatest likelihood of scoring.


In conclusion, this is an imperfect science of course. We are trying to make predictions about future events with imperfect, changing information. But, to me, it boils down to the volume of opportunity. I want chances to score, I want my players touching the ball as often as possible. Ironically, there is little correlation between a QB and attempts however. But for the other fantasy relevant positions, it is a numbers game. I look for a spread of perhaps 6 and above and an implied team total of 26 or above. I am not suggestions Vegas is the end all be all. But, it is one of several stats I use heavily in determining fantasy plays in a given week, it is a tool in the tool-chest, one of many. But, Vegas is a glittering city in the desert for a reason. They know what they are doing, so if I can use that to fashion a starting line-up, by God I am going to do it. I want to use as many quality indicators as possible, so I can prevent my fantasy team from sleeping with the fishes like Luca Brasi.




Luca Brasi from the The Godfather


By: @PyromaniacMo


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