A ton of money changes hands in Las Vegas sportsbooks on NFL Sundays.
They have crack teams of number crunchers who are way better than me and you when it comes to guessing likely scores of NFL games.
Many sports fans have joked about a team kicking a late field goal to finish just under or over the betting line, as if the game was fixed or something. And, well, the game bettors play is kind of fixed, because those aforementioned number crunchers are so darn good at what they do.
It would be foolish for the fantasy football community to ignore these experts. We are better when we take the sums of many parts to form our opinions about players and situations, and Las Vegas betting odds need to be one of the primary parts of the equation.
Here are the projected scores using the current (early) over/under and betting odds for Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season.
Week 10 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers
Week 10 projected scores based on Las Vegas odds
|Sun Nov 15||New England Patriots||30.75||New York Giants||23.75||4:25 PM||54.5|
|Sun Nov 15||New Orleans Saints||25.75||Washington Redskins||24.75||1:00 PM||50.5|
|Sun Nov 15||Detroit Lions||18.25||Green Bay Packers||29.75||1:00 PM||48|
|Sun Nov 15||Jacksonville Jaguars||21.25||Baltimore Ravens||26.75||1:00 PM||48|
|Mon Nov 16||Houston Texans||18.5||Cincinnati Bengals||29||8:30 PM||47.5|
|Sun Nov 15||Miami Dolphins||20.5||Philadelphia Eagles||26.5||1:00 PM||47|
|Sun Nov 15||Arizona Cardinals||21||Seattle Seahawks||24||8:30 PM||45|
|Sun Nov 15||Minnesota Vikings||20.5||Oakland Raiders||23.5||4:05 PM||44|
|Sun Nov 15||Carolina Panthers||24||Tennessee Titans||19.5||1:00 PM||43.5|
|Thu Nov 12||Buffalo Bills||20.25||New York Jets||22.75||8:25 PM||43|
|Sun Nov 15||Dallas Cowboys||20.75||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22.25||1:00 PM||43|
|Sun Nov 15||Chicago Bears||17.75||St. Louis Rams||24.75||1:00 PM||42.5|
|Sun Nov 15||Kansas City Chiefs||18||Denver Broncos||24||4:25 PM||42|
|Sun Nov 15||Cleveland Browns||18.25||Pittsburgh Steelers||22.75||1:00 PM||41|
Games are listed from highest- to lowest-scoring. Teams on bye: Falcons, Colts, Chargers, 49ers.
The Patriots-Giants game has the highest over/under of the week, 54.5, but the Saints-Redskins game (50.5) isn’t far behind and expected to be a closer contest. Washington is expected to have the seventh-highest score this week — the highest among teams not expected to win. The Giants, projected 12th, are the second-highest among projected losers.
Our biggest point spread of the week belongs to the Packers, who are favored by 11.5 at home against the Lions. Our closest point spread is in that Saints-Redskins tilt. Drew Brees and company are favored by an extra point in the expected shootout.
Let’s get into the blowouts and close games.
As always, remember a team expected to have a big lead, especially playing at home, usually represents a great matchup for its running back and defense. Quarterbacks and receivers on the losing end of a blowout are prime candidates for garbage time. Meanwhile, games that are expected to be close means we shouldn’t need to worry about the game script as much. Top talents and matchups should be in full effect.
We use composite odds and over/unders from Vegas Insider to generate the projected scores. I will reference Defense-adjusted Value Over Average a lot, it is a Football Outsiders’ metric which can be a better predictor of future success than fantasy points allowed. All team rankings and yards allowed to receivers are referenced from Football Outsiders’ Defense Efficiency page.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-11.5) — The Lions are third-worst in the NFL against the run and the pass, according to Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, so there’s no funneling here, just an expected full on assault by the Packers. Detroit has been middle-of-the-road against No. 1 wide receivers, but they are worst in the NFL at defending No. 2 wide receivers, according to DVOA, and have allowed 64.3 yards per game to the position. Of course, if Aaron Rodgers goes off, we can expect Randall Cobb to rack up fantasy points, but it may be a smart contrarian option to stack James Jones or Davante Adams with their QB this week. James Starks is in play as a receiver and as a runner, although the Eddie Lacy situation has me a little uneasy. With the game in hand, will they feed it to Lacy to get him reps or will Starks stay in until the final whistle? Green Bay is a DVOA enigma. They rank as a top-10 defense against the pass, which should funnel action to a running defense that ranks 21st. But because of the types of games the Packers force they’ve given up wild passing numbers to almost all receiver types. They’ve allowed a combined 221 yards receiving per game to No. 1 wide receivers, slot/bench receivers and tight ends. They have, however, been very stingy against No. 2 wide receivers. Garbage time is expected to be a factor, which means we should consider a Matthew Stafford–Calvin Johnson or a Stafford-Eric Ebron stack in a daily fantasy tournament.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-10.5) — We have second game with a point spread of more than 10 this week, in favor of the Bengals, who have provided much fantasy goodness so far this season. Houston is a middle-of-the-road defense against the pass and the run, according to DVOA. They’ve been relatively effective against all receiver types except WR2s, where Marvin Jones could provide an interesting play this week. Of course, any time the Bengals are expected to score 29 points, third-most this week, we need to have Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill on speed dial. The Texans have allowed 48 yards receiving per game to running backs. That’s middling. However, DVOA ranks them dead last in the NFL at defending receiving running backs, which also puts Giovani Bernard on the table as a nice play. Cincy’s defense ranks just outside the top-10 against both the pass and the run, making them a tough matchup. They have played well against all wide receivers this season — stats that will certainly be tested by Brian Hoyer, DeAndre Hopkins and co. this week — but have been susceptible to tight ends and receiving running backs. I can’t recommend starting any of the Houston backs considering the point spread. The Texans expect to play C.J. Fiedorowicz and Garrett Graham at tight end, so that’s a wash, too.
Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams (-7) — The third-lowest scoring game of the week is supposed to be decided by a touchdown, which is a pretty big margin in the NFL. The Bears rank second-worst in the NFL against the run. So we have Todd Gurley, a stud running back, at home, in a game where his team is expected to win pretty easily. He’ll be the top running back on a lot of boards this week as he should be. The Rams defense will also make a strong play. The Bears are also fifth-worst against the pass, but I don’t trust any part of the Rams passing offense and can’t recommend playing any of them unless you are desperate. The Rams defense is fourth-best in the NFL against the run and the pass. The defense vs. receiver types chart has no green on it, which means there’s not a plus matchup in the lot. However, DVOA does indicate they could be susceptible against the tight end. They are 20th in the NFL. That means if you’re expecting a Bears upset, it’ll likely happen because of a Jay Cutler-to-Martellus Bennett show.
New England Patriots (-7) at New York Giants — New England is one of only three road favorites this week. And even if we didn’t know what we know about the Patriots’ assault on opposing defense this season, a quick look at the matchups would still put us strongly in their favor. The big one, of course, is the Giants allowing 79.4 yards per game to opposing tight ends, the most in the NFL. The Patriots, of course, have an all-universe tight end in Rob Gronkowski who should shred NYG this week. The Giants have also allowed 88.6 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, sixth-most in the NFL, and haven’t been particularly effective against any other receiver. So, we also need to consider Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the other parts of the passing game, along with making Tom Brady the sure-fire No. 1 QB this week. The Giants have been relatively decent at stopping the run this season, funneling action to opposing passing games, making this a worst-environment-imaginable situation for the defense and us Giants fans. However, it could mean lots of passing attempts for Eli Manning. We all know that can go bad. … But he has been known to step up against the Patriots in the past. … Lots of opportunities means a potential big score from Odell Beckham Jr., despite New England being one of the tougher defenses in the NFL against WR1s. Of course, everyone is going to pair Eli and OBJ, but the Patriots have been susceptible to WR2s and slot/bench wide receivers, making this a potentially interesting spot for Rueben Randle and Dwayne Harris.
New Orleans Saints (-1) at Washington Redskins — Drew Brees is rejuvenated and putting up fantasy points because the Saints defense is as inept against the pass as he is good. The Redskins have been bad against the run and the pass — bounce back for Mark Ingram? — but have been relatively good at stopping No. 1 wide receivers and horrible at stopping WR2s. I don’t know yet if that’s good news for Willie Snead or Brandin Cooks. I’ll have to check out what the people smarter than me are thinking going into the game, but I’m probably thinking it’s better news for Snead considering recent usage. The Saints are worst in the NFL against the pass. I’m not going to recommend you start Kirk Cousins over a legitimately better quarterback, but if you’re in a pinch he could pay huge dividends this week. New Orleans has been ineffective against tight ends. Their 77.8 yards allowed per game ranks behind only the Giants in the category. Cousins’ favorite target is TE Jordan Reed, so this could be a big game for those two. New Orleans is also ineffective against WR1s, slot/bench wide receivers and receiving running backs, which means the full Redskins offense, other than maybe Alfred Morris, should probably be in play in daily fantasy this week. DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon are all values at Draft Kings. I’ll have more clarity on their rankings after I run the numbers for our rankings. However, I can assure you I will have quite a few shares of Crowder this week. Check out my discussion on him in our waiver wire column for more.
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) — This game is expected to be our fourth-lowest scoring game of the week, so we need to temper expectations a bit, but there are some matchups worth noting. Dallas has been heaven for opposing running backs this season, which means either Doug Martin gets back on track or Charles Sims continues to encroach on the starting gig. I put in a waiver claim for Sims in a couple places this week. The Cowboys worst receiving matchup is against pass-catching running backs, which adds a little fuel to the Sims fire. DVOA also indicates the Cowboys are worse against WR1s than their yards allowed per game indicate, making the Jameis Winston-to-Mike Evans connection an interesting spot again. Tampa Bay is top-10 at stopping the run this year, but that has funneled defenses to its poor pass defense which does not play into the Cowboys hands because Matt Cassel is under center. Tampa Bay has allowed 87.4 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, but like last week against the Eagles indicated, Cassel can’t take advantage and Dez Bryant will likely be Nerfed. Even though Tampa Bay has been effective against No. 2 and slot receivers, someone like Cole Beasley will remain in play in PPR leagues because his short routes are in Cassel’s wheelhouse.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-2.5) — This is our fifth-lowest scoring game of the week, so again, we need to keep our expectations from getting too lofty. The Jets have been the most effective defense in the NFL against the run, so LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams might have a tough fight. New York has only really been susceptible to bench/slot receivers, but they’ve given up 77.5 yards per game to them, the most in the NFL. I guess we’ll see how good Tyrod Taylor is when he can’t lean on Sammy Watkins all game. The Bills are seventh-worst against the run and have allowed 52.6 yards per game through the air to opposing running backs, which means this could be a huge game for Christopher Ivory. Buffalo hasn’t been a shut-down defense on any particular receiver type, which also means the Brandon Marshall–Eric Decker–Ryan Fitzpatrick combination could wreak havoc again this week.
Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Riders (-3) — Teddy Bridgewater has a concussion. This could be a long game for the Vikings if he doesn’t play. Minnesota is one of the worst teams in the NFL against the run, meaning Latavius Murray should be up for a good game. They also allow 80.7 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, making the Derek Carr-to-Amari Cooper connection one of our top plays again this week. If Bridgewater does play, this could turn into a sneaky shootout. The Raiders are ineffective against all wide receiver types, allowing 101.8 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, second most in the NFL. So this could be a huge spot for all parts of the Vikings passing game, but the most interesting to me is Stefon Diggs. Diggs broke a string of three consecutive 21+-point games last week and could be low-owned this week in daily fantasy, especially if Bridgewater doesn’t play. If Bridgewater can’t go, Adrian Peterson probably gets all the touches he can handle regardless of matchup.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-3) — It’s a rare week when I’m not considering Carson Palmer in daily fantasy, but this is one of them. The only weak spot in the Seahawks armor so far has been against tight ends and I’m not going to recommend you start Darren Fells or Troy Niklas because I’m not a crazy person. DVOA says the Cardinals defense is better than the Seahawks overall, which is saying something. There’s no differentiation between home and away, and we all know the Seahawks are usually better at home. When the Seahawks attack they’ll find the least resistance against slot/bench receivers and receiving running backs. Because he should be involved regardless, the receptions possibility and his use around the goal line we have to put Marshawn Lynch in play. We all know he could score all three Seahawks touchdowns. I might also consider Tyler Lockett as that sneaky slot/bench play, too.
Teams with a higher projected score should also have higher projected fantasy points, so it doesn’t hurt to see which teams are expected to go bananas and which ones are supposed to drop an egg.
We’ve covered most of the big spots on this list already, but there are a couple we need to discuss.
The Baltimore Ravens are projected to be our fourth-highest scoring team against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who we pick on every week. The Jaguars defense funnels to the passing game, which could mean big things for Joe Flacco, Kamar Aiken and Crockett Gillmore. DVOA says the Jaguars are the third-least effective team in the NFL against the tight end. They’re also pretty bad at stopping pass-catching running backs, so Justin Forsett is squarely in play. His performance has declined every week since a 30-point game in Week 5 against the Browns, so he could be low-owned sneaky play in daily fantasy.
The other team of high-scoring significance that we haven’t covered is the Philadelphia Eagles, who are expected to come in just under the fourth-touchdown mark at 26.5 points. They face the Dolphins who haven’t been particularly good at stopping the run or the pass, but DVOA ranks them fourth-worst in the NFL against the run, which could open things up for DeMarco Murray. DVOA also ranks the Dolphins as the worst team in the NFL against WR1s. They’ve allowed 90.7 yards per game to the position, fifth-most in the NFL. So, Jordan Matthews may have a chance to shine and Sam Bradford may be able to come along with him.
Two other teams have a relatively high projected score, the Panthers and Broncos. Tennessee funnels plays to the running game for the most part, so that could mean a rushing touchdown or two from Cam Newton and more work for Jonathan Stewart than usual. Denver faces the Chiefs, who are expected to have the second-lowest point total of the week. There’s green across the board for wide receivers against KC, which puts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in play. However, game script might force the Broncos to hand the ball off to C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman (if he’s healthy). The Chiefs rank third-most effective against the tight end, which could burn some owners who spent big waiver bucks to acquire Owen Daniels this week.
|New England Patriots||30.75|
|Green Bay Packers||29.75|
|New Orleans Saints||25.75|
|St. Louis Rams||24.75|
|New York Giants||23.75|
|New York Jets||22.75|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22.25|
|Kansas City Chiefs||18|