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Winning With Vegas – Week Nine 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. To figure this out, we must determine the final score Vegas is projecting. 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.

Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Over/Under: 50

Implied Final Score: Chargers (26) Eagles (24)

boston-scott
Boston Scott of the Philadelphia Eagles finds the endzone against the Detroit Lions | Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Scott, RB, PHI

The Los Angeles Chargers currently rank dead last in the league in total rushing yards allowed and rushing yards per attempt allowed this season. For fantasy purposes, this translates to the third-most points per game allowed to the running back position. Miles Sanders is currently on IR and will be unavailable for this matchup. In Week 8 without Sanders, we saw Boston Scott named the start for this Eagles offense. Now we must remember he did split carries with Jordan Howard. However, both were able to find the endzone twice and have productive fantasy days. We can imagine we will see much of the same against a league-worst run defense this Sunday.

Jared Cook, TE, LAC

Jared Cook has emerged as the third/fourth target on a very high-profile Los Angeles Chargers offense through eight weeks. The Philadelphia Eagles are also currently allowing the third-most points to the tight end position in PPR leagues. These two statistics combined leave Cook in a smash spot to finish as a TE1 this week. If Jared Cook can find the endzone this week, he has TE1 overall upside. He is a must-start.

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)

Over/Under: 48

Implied Final Score: Packers (21) Chiefs (29)

Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers makes his first start this Sunday | Source: Heavy.com

Jordan Love, QB, GB

You drafted Jordan Love in your rookie draft almost two years ago now. He has sat on your taxi squad as you watch Aaron Rodgers’s drama play out the past eight months. Well, your luck has turned around! Thanks to Rodgers being ‘immunized,’ Love is slated to make his first professional start. Believe it or not, but in 2021 there is no better defense to get your first start against than Kansas City. This defense is currently allowing the third-worst net yards per attempt. That is also combined with the fact that they are allowing eighth-most passing yards in the league. Combined with Green Bay getting Davante Adams back, these stats make this a must-start for the second-year quarterback.

AJ Dillion, RB, GB

As luck would have it, the ineptitude of the Kansas City defense also extends to the run game. They are currently allowing the fourth-worst yards per attempt on the ground. Last week against Arizona, we saw AJ Dillon split carries with Aaron Jones. Now, this was an adjustment by head coach Matt LaFleur to help compensate for the loss of star wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams should be back from COVID protocol, but now we see starting quarterback Rodgers missing a game for the same reason. LaFleur seems to be comfortable leaning on the run game more when adjusting from his base offense, and we can see that pattern repeat this week against Kansas City.

Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)

Over/Under: 53.5

Implied Final Score: Titans (23) Rams (31)

Van Jefferson, WR, LAR

The departure of DeSean Jackson from the Los Angeles Rams can only open up more targets for Van Jefferson. Now Jackson only commanded a 5% target share so far this season. However, if we give that to Jefferson moving forward, we can project a 20% target share for the rest of the season. When those targets are coming from MVP candidate Matthew Stafford, they are very valuable. The Rams are also facing a Titans defense that allows the most fantasy points to the wide receiver position out of all 32 teams in the league. Jefferson can be safely started as a WR3 in your dynasty league. 

jeremy-mcnichols
Jeremy McNichols of the Tennessee Titans | Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy McNicohls, RB, TEN

Unfortunately, Week Eight saw Derrick Henry suffer what appears to be a season-ending injury. This will be a massive blow to the Tennessee Titans offense but open up an opportunity for 2017 fifth-rounder Jeremy McNichols to make a name for himself. The Titans did sign veteran Adrian Peterson this week, but you have to imagine there will be a lag time where Peterson has to learn the playbook. Tennessee’s offense was built around Derrick Henry’s rushing ability. Without him, we can imagine this offense will take on quite a different look. McNichols possesses the coveted receiving ability out of the backfield. We may see more check-downs to McNichols this Sunday against the Rams without Henry to absorb attention on play-action passes. You can expect to get RB3 numbers out of McNichols in PPR leagues with the upside for more if he were to find the endzone. 


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