Vegas vs Fantasy NFL Playoffs Round 3 2017

By Armando Marsal
Armando Marsal It was not until I began playing DFS that I started using Vegas lines as part of my research and a determining factor when setting up my lineups. These lines can provide so much information each week. It gives you an idea of the potential game flow we could expect. High totals and close spreads, usually indicates a potential shootout. Whereas, a low total with a low spread is a game that is not expected to have a lot of fantasy goodness aside from the defenses. These lines are set by math wizards and some of the best handicappers in the world. They spend countless hours studying patterns, teams, and situations. For those who are not familiar, spreads are the amount of points a team is expected to win or lose by. The point total is the amount of points both teams combined are projected to score.

The Conference Championship round of playoffs kicks off on Sunday and with two games on the slate I will do things a little differently than I did during the regular season for this series. Instead of focusing on the highest totals, biggest spread, and lowest total, I will breakdown each game this week. So let’s jump right into it.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings and Eagles were top five defenses this year and the 38.5 implied total for this matchup signifies just that. At this time, 52 percent of the bets are on the over and the over/under has increased by a point since it opened. The Vikings are three point favorites on the road and are getting 54 percent of the bets against the spread. Being that there are only two games this weekend, this is a game where we need to look at despite the low total. The Vikings actually have a respectable 20.75 implied team total and are the more appealing of the two offenses. The Eagles have shown vulnerability against the pass this season, so Case Keenum and his pass catchers are the way to attack this Eagles defense. Stefon Diggs is my favorite of the bunch as he has been playing really well, scoring a touchdown in four straight games. If the Vikings find success moving the ball through the air, Diggs should have something to do with that. In addition, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph are viable options as well. Rudolph is just too cheap considering his upside and his role on this offense. Thielen could actually go overlooked which would make him a very nice tournament option. Out of the backfield for the Vikings, Jerick McKinnon is who I am targeting. The Eagles are a stout run defense, but did allow pass catching backs to find success against them, so even though the potential game script plays to Latavius Murray’s favor, McKinnon has the better matchup of the two. From the Eagles side, there really are not many great matchups, but there are several players who I believe are underpriced. For instance, Nick Foles is just $4,800 on DraftKings, which is just too cheap for a starting quarterback. I understand his game log looks awful but he will likely toss over 30 passes and at this price he does not need to get much done to reach value. In addition, Alshon Jeffery at $4,600 is just too cheap for a receiver of his caliber. While having Foles as his quarterback limits his upside, Jeffery should still see plenty of targets and has the potential to smash this price tag out of the water. Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, and Jay Ajayi are all secondary plays for me. If you are fading either offenses in this game, you can go ahead and take the defense from either side as they were amongst the league’s best.

New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

This is actually a very interesting matchup as one of the better offenses in the league faces off against one of the best defenses in the league. Typically I would side with the defense, but the Patriots always find a way to get it done and with Tom Brady (the goat) under center, I lean on the Patriots this week. The over/under of this contest is 46 points and 51 percent of the bets are currently on the under. It opened at an over/under of 47 points, so the betting has been bullish on the under since it opened. That said, the Patriots have a healthy implied team total of 26.75 points which is by far the highest of the slate and are 7.5 point favorites, while receiving 64 percent of the bets against the spread. For New England, it is the usual suspects. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, and Brandin Cooks are all firmly in play. Danny Amendola and James White are two other Patriots that I am targeting this weekend. Quite frankly, this is the offense that is the most appealing and Vegas happens to think the same. Although nobody has an elite matchup, they are all very talented and for the most part, they have a nice role on one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Patriots defense also ranks at the top of my list for this week as they face a young Jaguars team on the road in a very big game. In addition, this Patriots defense continues to play well. While I like the Patriots defense, I do have some interest in some Jaguars players such as Leonard Fournette and Marqise Lee. I like Fournette for the obvious reason of him being the only back on this slate that sees 20+ touches on a consistent basis and is the workhorse for his offense. Lee could see plenty of looks as this Jaguars offense is projected to be chasing points which would force them to pass more often. You can look to Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns, Dede Westbrook, and Keelan Cole, but they are more secondary plays than anything else. If you want to be contrarian, taking the Jaguars defense is not a bad idea as they have been elite and have shutdown good offenses on multiple occasions this season. This is the game you have to get right this weekend to stand a chance of a nice score.

Vegas lines are very helpful and prop bets can be as well. You can see yardage totals, projected touchdowns, and all sorts of different lines that can help you project what a player is expected to do. Best of luck to all this week.

If you have any questions, you can always find me on Twitter: @Armando_Marsal