Vegas vs. Fantasy Week 1 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 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.

My goal each week is to look through the lines and point out which offenses you should be targeting and which defenses are in good situations. Let’s dive right into it.

The chart below shows the two games this week with the highest point totals. I included where it opened and the current live line. This can give you an idea of where the public is putting their money on. Generally if the total opens at one number and it begins to rise, the public is betting the over and vice versa.

In the last three matchups between the Packers and Seahawks, the winning team has scored at least 27 points each time. The Packers have actually scored 27 and 38 in each of their last two meetings and have an implied team total of 27. The Seahawks are a good defensive team, but they are no longer the juggernaut defense that they were a couple of years back. In Lambeau Field, Rogers has thrown 25 more touchdowns than he has on the road, despite playing the same amount of games. Whereas, Russell Wilson has seven fewer touchdowns and nine more interceptions on the road versus being at home. In two games at Green Bay, Wilson has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions, while never eclipsing 240 passing yards. Both teams are expected to score over three touchdowns, but, if I am banking on any of these teams to score more points, it is the Packers and it is not close for me. Rodgers is firmly in play, as well as the Green Bay pass catchers. For the Seahawks, Jimmy Graham is my favorite play, but Wilson and Do ug Baldwin are both in decent spots. The Titans and Raiders faced off early last season and this game was nowhere near a 51 point total. It actually finished 17-10, Titans. Much like the game above, in this contest both teams are expected to score more than three touchdowns. Derek Carr has played twice in Tennessee, producing very good numbers the first time and average the second. In his first matchup, he threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns, but the second time around he threw for 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Titans defense is far more vulnerable against the pass than they are against the run. They allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers. In addition, they surrendered 284.3 passing yards per game and 24 passing touchdowns. Carr should be able to carve this secondary up and is in a fine spot, along with the Raiders pass catchers. On the Titans side, they too are in a good spot to score some points. DeMarco Murray had himself a day against this Raiders defense last year, rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown, as well as catching five passes for 41 yards. If I target this Titans offense, he makes the most sense. After all, the Raiders did give up over 20 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Delanie Walker is another intriguing option in this matchup. Despite all the weapons for Marcus Mariota, Walker should remain his security blanket and does get a nice matchup. The Raiders did surrender the ninth most fantasy points per game to tight ends, as well as five receptions and 64.2 receiving yards per game to the position. I am leaning far more on the Raiders offense in this matchup, but both teams should not have too much trouble scoring and have appealing options.

The next thing I want to focus on is the game with the lowest point total.

This comes to no surprise as these are two above average defenses and despite some weapons on offense, they are subpar as a unit. The Jaguars have Blake Bortles under center who digressed after a promising sophomore season. He went from a 1.9:1 touchdown to interception ratio in 2015, to 1:4:1 touchdown to interception ratio in 2016. He also threw 523 fewer yards and averaged 35.7 fewer yards per game. This all occurred despite Bortles attempting more passes. On the other side, Tom Savage is under center, which by no means is an imposing quarterback. Both of these defenses are in play. However, if you want some options on offense Lamar Miller for the Texans and Allen Robinson from the Jaguars are the two most intriguing options, but I would temper my expectations with Robinson.

The last think I want to cover is the game with the biggest spread.

The Steelers are 8.5 point favorites on the road, which I would consider nearly 11 point favorites in this spot. They should have their way with the Browns considering the matchup, but being that it is a division game, I can see this staying closer than it should. On the Steelers side, all offensive players are firmly in play. The one that stands out the most is Le’Veon Bell as he has never had fewer than 90 total yards in five career games against Cleveland, so he would be my favorite Steeler. On the Browns side, it is hard to have too much interest, but being that they should be trailing, Corey Coleman is an intriguing dart play as he could be peppered with targets and has big play upside. The Browns should be chasing points, providing an easy path for the Browns receivers to receive a decent amount of looks. That being said, the Steelers are an appealing defense streaming option because a rookie quarterback will be under center for the Browns and their offense should be predictable due to the fact they may be forced to pass, so turnovers are easier to come by.

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 too all this week.

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