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 11 of the 2015 NFL season.
Week 11 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers
|Sun Nov 22||Oakland Raiders||25.25||Detroit Lions||23.25||1:00 PM||48.5|
|Mon Nov 23||Buffalo Bills||20.75||New England Patriots||27.75||8:30 PM||48.5|
|Sun Nov 22||Cincinnati Bengals||21.5||Arizona Cardinals||26.5||8:30 PM||48|
|Sun Nov 22||Indianapolis Colts||20.75||Atlanta Falcons||26.75||1:00 PM||47.5|
|Sun Nov 22||Dallas Cowboys||23||Miami Dolphins||24||1:00 PM||47|
|Sun Nov 22||TB Buccaneers||19.75||Philadelphia Eagles||25.25||1:00 PM||45|
|Sun Nov 22||Washington Redskins||19||Carolina Panthers||26||1:00 PM||45|
|Sun Nov 22||Green Bay Packers||22||Minnesota Vikings||23||4:25 PM||45|
|Sun Nov 22||Kansas City Chiefs||23.75||San Diego Chargers||20.75||4:05 PM||44.5|
|Thu Nov 19||Tennessee Titans||20||Jacksonville Jaguars||23||8:25 PM||43|
|Sun Nov 22||New York Jets||22||Houston Texans||19.5||1:00 PM||41.5|
|Sun Nov 22||Denver Broncos||20||Chicago Bears||21||1:00 PM||41|
|Sun Nov 22||St. Louis Rams||19.5||Baltimore Ravens||21.5||1:00 PM||41|
|Sun Nov 22||San Francisco 49ers||14||Seattle Seahawks||26.5||4:25 PM||40.5|
Games are listed from highest- to lowest-scoring. Teams on bye: Browns, Saints, Giants and Steelers.
The Raiders-Lions and Bills-Patriots games are tied with the highest over/under of the week. There should be a lot of fantasy goodness. Obviously, the Patriots are big favorites, but the Raiders-Lions game is supposed to be close. Every quarterback in both matchups is in play this week in daily fantasy. Tyrod Taylor is the biggest concern, but he’s likely to get garbage time and Sammy Watkins is back so we could consider him in tournaments.
Our lowest over/under goes to the game with the San Francisco 49ers (I could probably copy/paste that week to week). The 49ers face the Seahawks, making their outlook even worse. The game also has the biggest favorite of the week. Seattle is favored by 12.5. There are a handful of games with teams favored by one point, however the Dallas-Miami game is currently listed as a pick’em, which means Las Vegas doesn’t think either team is a strong favorite to win. However, with Tony Romo‘s return this week, I’m guessing that line will change.
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.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5) — The San Francisco 49ers have the second-worst passing defense in the NFL, according to DVOA, and the Seahawks have the third-highest projected score of the week. That makes Russell Wilson an interesting play this week, even though they don’t give up a ton of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They’ve also given up the most yards to No. 1 wide receivers, 103.9, which makes Doug Baldwin an interesting play. However, I could totally see one touchdown between the two, a defensive touchdown or two and next thing you know it’s all Marshawn Lynch until it’s all Thomas Rawls. I won’t start a San Francisco player this week. I have 10 words for you: Garbage time with Blaine Gabbert against the Legion of Boom.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-7) — This line is actually a little lower than I expected. One touchdown is a pretty big spread, but it’s the Patriots at home against the Bills. If Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis were playing it would be different. The crazy thing is, the Patriots haven’t really targeted Rob Gronkowski much this year. This could be the time for a huge week for Gronk. It’s not in any matchup — it’s actually a bad matchup according to the statistics — it’s just a feeling. The last time the Patriots played the Bills, Tom Brady threw the ball 61 times, which means Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell also have to be in play. It is a great matchup for LeGarrette Blount and James White, but because there are two viable options there and the amount of passing volume potential, I’m not going to take any chances with them in my lineups. Like I said above, Tyrod Taylor is a questionable but intriguing play. The Patriots are the tenth-toughest defense against the pass, but there is likely to be garbage time and Taylor is always a threat running the ball.
Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers (-7) — A lot of people are going to start Kirk Cousins this week coming off a huge performance last week, but not you, Ninja. The Panthers have the second-best pass defense in the NFL, according to DVOA. The Panthers also have been particularly tough on tight ends and No. 1 wide receivers which Nerfs our Cousins expectations even more. I might find a spot for Jamison Crowder in daily fantasy because his price is so low and he should get a pile of targets. Carolina on the other hand, represents a good opportunity almost across the board. The defense has a great opportunity against Cousins. Washington has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs in the last five weeks and 9th-most to wide receivers in the last five weeks. That means we’ve got to consider Cam Newton. However, his favorite target, Greg Olsen, may have a tough go of it. The Redskins have allowed the least fantasy points to tight ends over the same span. A Newton-Jonathan Stewart stack or a Newton-Ted Ginn Jr. stack could pay off in a huge way this week in daily fantasy.
Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins (-1) — As mentioned above, the average has this game as a pick’em currently. But the Dolphins are favored by a PAT at home on another chart, so I went with that. However, with Tony Romo returning against a less-than-stellar defense, I think it could shift to the Cowboys favor by the end of the week. Romo gets a matchup against one of the worst defenses in the NFL against the pass, according to both DVOA and fantasy points allowed. Dez Bryant gets to go up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL against WR1s, with his star quarterback at the helm. Juicy. The Dolphins have also allowed the most points in the NFL to running backs, making Darren McFadden — the one-man RB show in Dallas — someone we have to consider even though he’s playing on the road. That’s the biggest concern for me with the Cowboys this week. It’s not only a road game, it’s an east coast game. … For the second week in a row. DVOA says Dallas is among the worst in the NFL against the run, which puts Lamar Miller and, to a lesser extent, Jay Ajayi in play. Dallas has also been a great matchup for No. 1 wide receivers but one of the worst in the NFL for WR2s and slot/bench receivers. I’m not sure if that benefits Rishard Matthews or Jarvis Landry more. Smarter people than me are leaning Matthews because he’s probably more likely to break away for a touchdown.
Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears (-1) — Jay Cutler has the worst QB matchup of the week. The Broncos are the best NFL team against the pass, according to DVOA, and have allowed the third-least fantasy points to the position this season. Matchups are bad across the board. The one saving grace might be Jeremy Langford who has taken over the Matt Forte role for now, meaning he is a do-everything player who can produce in just about every game situation. If you really need a Bears fix however, consider their defense. The Broncos have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses in the last five weeks and they have an unproven quarterback in Brock Osweiler coming into Soldier Field. Langford-Bears D/ST might make for a low-owned stack this week in DFS. Meanwhile, the Bears haven’t given up much of anything in terms of fantasy points in the last five weeks. DVOA, however, suggests they have the second-worst run defense in the NFL. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gary Kubiak takes it easy on Osweiler in his first start and feeds the ball to Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson if they can keep it close or get a lead.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-1) — The matchups all point to this being a potentially massive game for Teddy Bridgewater, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. However, we all know how Adrian Peterson‘s presence can negate all other matchups. The matchups also point to a bad matchup for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing attack. We all know they could go off at any time, but until we see otherwise we can’t rely on them in DFS cash games and should only have a smattering of them in tournaments. Maybe a Rodgers-Richard Rodgers stack — the Vikings have given up quite a few yards to opposing tight ends — is in play. The James Starks–Eddie Lacy situation is interesting. If Lacy is inactive again, Starks has to be considered as a do-it-all back in a struggling offense. DVOA suggests this is a great matchup, but the Vikings haven’t given up a ton of fantasy points to opposing running backs, and have been good at limiting pass-catching backs as well.
Oakland Raiders (-2) at Detroit Lions — I was surprised when this game came in with the second highest over/under of the week, but I probably shouldn’t have been. Oakland’s Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are turning into one of the elite passing trios in the NFL and Latavius Murray is still an excellent play at running back, with a decent matchup. Meanwhile, the Raiders defense has been atrocious against the pass. This could be a game to stack in DFS — take six or seven players from this one and avoid the defenses for both. I like all of the Raiders listed. It might also be a good spot for Clive Walford, the Raiders’ tight end. It’s also a great spot for Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
St. Louis Rams at Baltimore Ravens (-2) — The Rams have been stingy against quarterbacks according to both DVOA and fantasy points allowed, making this one of the worst quarterback matchups of the week for Joe Flacco. They are also the strongest team in the NFL against WR1s. However, it’s the Ravens favored at home by a safety. So, here’s how this potential game script plays out based on the odds. New Rams quarterback Case Keenum turns the ball over a couple times, the Ravens get a D/ST score or two and maybe Flacco hooks up with Crockett Gillmore for a TD (the Rams are a plus matchup both in yards allowed and fantasy points allowed to tight ends). Justin Forsett grinds out the win on the ground. On the Rams side, they’ll at least keep it close because the Ravens defense has been bad against the pass — giving up the third-most yards in the NFL to WR2s. That means Kenny Britt or Tavon Austin break out for a long touchdown. The bad matchup for Flacco likely means the Rams will be a good D/ST play again this week. It’s not a great matchup for Todd Gurley, but it’s not a bad one either and if the Rams can keep it close he won’t yield extra snaps to Benny Cunningham, who has been playing the passing-down role. This game has the second-lowest over/under of the week, so we have to limit the ceiling for all players.
New York Jets (-2.5) at Houston Texans — This one also has one of the lowest over/unders. DVOA rates the Jets as one of the best defenses against both the run and the pass in the NFL. That will be tested by DeAndre Hopkins for sure, but I’m likely to avoid all Houston players in daily fantasy, except maybe Nate Washington because the Jets haven’t been particularly good against WR3/slot/bench receivers. Houston’s defense also hasn’t been terribly generous this season. They do however have a weakness to WR2s, which makes Eric Decker an almost must play this week, especially if Ryan Fitzpatrick is good to go at quarterback. Fantasy points allowed indicates this might also be a great spot for Chris Ivory.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at San Diego Chargers — The Chiefs have allowed the least fantasy points to quarterbacks in the last five weeks. That sure will change with Philip Rivers coming into town. It’s a bad matchup in that regard, but Kansas City has been one of the worst teams in the NFL against all wide receivers, making Steve Johnson and Dontrelle Inman players we absolutely must consider this week in daily fantasy. It’s a bad matchup for both Antonio Gates and pass-catching running back Danny Woodhead, which elevates those WRs even more. On paper, Alex Smith is nearly a must-play. He’s got good FPA and DVOA matchups and his do-it-all running back, Charcandrick West, has stellar matchups both in the run game and in the pass game. When it comes down to it, however, I’ll probably have West in quite a few lineups and very little of Smith.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) — Our Thursday night game just makes the cut. It is, however, projected to be the fifth-lowest scoring game of the week. Both DVOA and FPA indicate this is a great matchup for Marcus Mariota, and we’ve seen him absolutely destroy in good matchups this season, particularly when it’s a good matchup for his tight end, Delanie Walker. Jacksonville has given up 66.5 yards per game to the tight end, seventh-most in the NFL. On Sunday, please hit me up on Twitter (@epcn) and tell me I have too many Mariota-Walker stacks, because that is a thing that’s going to happen. Blake Bortles is on the DVOA must-avoid list and the FPA must-play list. T.J. Yeldon is on the DVOA must-play list and the FPA must-avoid list. WHIPLASH! I’m avoiding the Jaguars this week. They disappointed in a big way last week.
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.
Atlanta, our second-highest scoring team this week, and there are some very interesting matchups against the Colts this week. First, Andrew Luck is out so the Colts may have trouble getting much going against a Falcons secondary that’s been pretty good. Second, Julio Jones will have to face Vontae Davis most of the game which could limit his upside. However, the Colts have given up the 12th-most yards per game to WR1s and the fourth-most to WR2s. I’m not going to recommend Leonard Hankerson to you, but Julio might be able to find more room to run than we expect. This should be a huge spot for Devonta Freeman. It doesn’t show up in DVOA, but the Colts have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs in the last five weeks. I’m loving a Freeman-Falcons D/ST stack this week in daily fantasy.
The Arizona score surprised me. Carson Palmer is one of the few red quarterbacks on my list, meaning he has a bad matchup according to both DVOA and fantasy points allowed. However, fantasy points allowed suggests the trio of Chris Johnson, David Johnson and Andre Ellington also won’t be a factor. Something’s going to give. It’s got to be Palmer to his stud wide receivers, right? Maybe not Larry Fitzgerald against Leon Hall, but either John Brown or Michael Floyd could end up with a huge game this week.
That 25.25 points out of Philadelphia also surprised me quite a bit. DeMarco Murray is one of four running backs in red, like Palmer above, meaning both DVOA and fantasy points allowed suggest it might be a struggle for him. He’s been the most effective fantasy weapon on the team this season, but that’s a pretty high point total. We could expect a good game from the Eagles defense against rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, that’s a possibility. DVOA also indicates it could be a good matchup for Mark Sanchez. Sanchez can be turnover prone, but it’s also a good spot for WR Jordan Matthews (TB has allowed 84.5 yards per game to WR1s) and TE Zach Ertz (they’ve allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends in the last five weeks). Anyone who followed the Eagles at the end of last season knows Sanchez fed Ertz 18 targets and 15 catches in one game and that he turned Matthews into a budding fantasy star. It’s probably a tournament-only play, but I’m going to have at least one Sanchez-Matthews-Ertz stack in daily fantasy.
|New England Patriots||27.75|
|Kansas City Chiefs||23.75|
|New York Jets||22|
|Green Bay Packers||22|
|San Diego Chargers||20.75|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19.75|
|St. Louis Rams||19.5|
|San Francisco 49ers||14|