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Winning With Vegas – Week Eleven Plays

@DanT_NFL is here to provide some deeper start/sit insights. All using math and Vegas sportsbook odds. Don’t let the house play you, it’s time to win with Vegas!

The house always wins. Regular gamblers, moviegoers, and most people can recognize what this phrase means. When it comes to gambling over the long run, the casino/house will always win out. They have been doing it long enough to know all the tricks and all the ways to separate you from your money. What if we could work together with the house? And we could use the years of knowledge and data that sportsbooks pour into game lines? What if we could harness this power to help win our dynasty fantasy football league? This, my friends, is winning WITH Vegas.

If you are new to the series, please check out the explanation in the following two paragraphs. If you are a returning reader, you can skip down to the games and players we picked this week. All lines are courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook.

The premise of this series is to look at weekly over/unders and implied team totals to find fringe starters in our deeper fantasy football leagues. If these terms confuse you, don’t worry. Here is your crash course on sportsbook betting terminology we will be using. Every NFL game has three basic things to bet on; spread, money line, and over/unders. The spread is the number of points a team is projected to win or lose by. A team favored by -7 is projected to win by a touchdown or more. The reverse would be a team as +7 underdogs are projected to lose by a touchdown or less. Moneyline is just the straight-up winner and over/under is the projected combined total of both teams’ scores.

In this series, we will be concerned with over/unders and spreads to figure out implied team totals. The implied team total would be the final projected score for a team based on Vegas lines. We must determine the final score Vegas is projecting to figure this out. Let us set up a scenario where a game has an over/under of 42, and the favorite is projected to win by 8 points. We must use math to come up with a final score that will meet both of these criteria. In this example, a final score of 25 – 17 will match both projections. By going through every game in a week, we can quickly see which teams Vegas has scoring big, and that will give us a clue as to what players have the best touchdown upside.

Arizona Cardinals (-2) at Seattle Seahawks

Over/Under: 50.5

Implied Final Score: Cardinals (27) Seahawks (25)

Zach Ertz, TE ARZ

Since joining the Arizona Cardinals five weeks ago, Ertz has commanded an 18% target share. In a high-powered offense, this is an excellent sign for a TE. Arizona has been able to unlock the special player that Ertz used to be in his peak days with the Philadelphia Eagles. There are hopes that Kyler Murray will be back this week, and that can only help elevate this offense above what it has been the last two weeks without him. Ertz can be started as a low-end TE1 with a top-5 upside.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 26: Gerald Everett #81 of the Los Angeles Rams runs the ball downfield during the preseason game between the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 26, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

Gerald Everett, TE SEA

Gerald Everett saw a season-high eight targets against the Green Bay Packers this past week. Is this a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come for the rest of the season? We must look at what was different about this Seattle offense this past week to answer that question. It is undeniable that Russel Wilson returning was a significant change. We must remember that Wilson is still dealing with the lingering effects of a broken finger. This could be affecting his target selection, but if Everett can continue this target pace, he could finish as a TE1 this week. 

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)

Over/Under: 55.5

Implied Final Score: Cowboys (27) Chiefs (30)

Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle (13) runs against Raiders cornerback Nevin Lawson (26) during the second half of a 35-31 victory against Las Vegas on Nov. 22, 2020. [ ISAAC BREKKEN | AP ]

Byron Pringle, WR KCC

The flavor of the week in Kansas City seems to be shifting once again. It was Mecole Hardman for so long, but lately, it seems like Pringle is falling into favor as the third option. When it comes to deep wide receiver options, we look for talented quarterbacks and high-powered offenses. Kansas City checks off both of these boxes. You combine that with a high-scoring shoot-out, and you have a formula for a WR4 with WR3 upside in Pringle.

Michael Gallup, WR, DAL

In Gallup’s first week back, he commanded five targets despite playing only 50% of snaps. This was in a blow-out win over the Atlanta Falcons that was never in question. One could argue that Dallas went into this game trying to ease Gallup back into the offense after missing most of the season. One thing to note is that we saw the targets to the tight ends down this week. It could be that Dallas is shifting targets from the tight end room over to Gallup. That would be the best-case scenario for Gallup, and he can be safely started as a WR3 this week. 

New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11)

Over/Under: 50.5

Implied Final Score: Giants (20) Buccaneers (31)

photo by Mike Carlson/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cameron Brate, TE TBB

Brate has been the beneficiary of the absence of Rob Gronkowski. He has seen a spike in target share ever since Gronkowski left the team in Week Three with a back injury. Given Gronkowski’s injury history, it may be a while until he returns. Until then, Brate has command of the TE room and constantly gives TE1 upside given the fact that he is tethered to the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. 

Tyler Johnson, WR TBB

Antonio Brown remains questionable for this upcoming Monday Night Football matchup. He did recently leave his walking boot as of the writing of this article, so that is something to keep an eye on. In the meantime, Tyler Johnson currently serves as the WR3 when Tampa wants to run three-wide receiver sets. A team that happens to have three or more wide receivers on the field in 75% of its snaps. Keep Tyler Johnson around and start him as a WR4 in all leagues.

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