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? Could we use sportsbooks’ years of knowledge and data into game lines? What if we could harness this power to help win our dynasty fantasy football league? This concept, my friend, is winning WITH Vegas.
If you are a returning reader, you can skip down to the games and players we picked this week. If you are new to the series, please check out the explanation in the following two paragraphs. All lines are courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook and are accurate as of October 13th. Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) are via FantasyPros.
The premise of this series is to look at weekly over/under 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 the sportsbook betting terminology we will use. Every NFL game has three basic things to bet on: spread, Moneyline, and totals. The spread is the margin of victory or defeat for each team. A team favored by -7 will win by a touchdown or more. The reverse would be a team as +7 underdogs will 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.
We will be concerned with over/under and spreads in this series to determine implied team totals. The implied team total would be the final projected score 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. In this game, the favorite should 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 25 – 17 final will match both projections. By going through every game in a week, we can quickly see which teams Vegas has scored big, and that will give us a clue as to what players have the best touchdown upside.
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (-13.5)
Implied Team Total: Panthers (17) Dolphins (31)
Jeff Wilson Jr, Miami Dolphins, ECR: RB47
A tale as old as time is the Mike McDaniels’ running back room being a constant rotation of players who get injured. This week, we are down Devon Achane. As luck would have it, Jeff Wilson Jr is returning from injured reserve. This Miami run game is on another level this year; they are averaging 7.1 yards per attempt as a team and have 26 rushes of ten yards or more on the season. This will be Wilson’s season debut, and he can easily produce as a FLEX option this season. Wilson will finish higher than his current RB47 projection.
Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers, ECR: QB24
Here is a segment for all those Superflex managers out there. Bryce Young has had a rough start to his career in Carolina. He is currently QB25 on the season and is barely considered startable as a fantasy asset, even in Superflex formats. Week Six will be different, however, as Carolina heads to Miami. I am in no way implying the Panthers will have success and keep this game close. There will be plenty of garbage time on Sunday, and Frank Reich won’t pull a rookie quarterback no matter how bad it gets; the reps are too important for him. Young may put up most of his fantasy production in the second half, so don’t panic when it doesn’t look great at the end of the second quarter.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-7)
Implied Team Total: Cardinals (21) Rams (28)
Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals, ECR: WR63
The hot name to add on waiver wires this week has been Arizona Cardinal running back Emari Demercado. After playing his college ball at TCU, Demercado was a UDFA this past year. He saw ten carries after James Conner went down and is the presumed starter for the time being with Conner on IR. I don’t see many people discussing Rondale Moore’s usage in the rushing game. Moore has eight carries on the season, averaging 14.5 yards per attempt. Albeit that is a small sample size, one of the highlights of Moore as a draft prospect was his ability with the ball in his hands as a runner. Don’t be surprised to see Rondale in the backfield more often than most expect.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (+2.5)
Implied Team Total: Cowboys (27) Chargers (24)
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys, ECR: WR54
This one is pretty simple. The Los Angeles Chargers give up the most fantasy points to the wide receiver position in the league. CeeDee Lamb will eat, Brandin Cooks will eat, and even Michael Gallup will eat. Gallup and Cooks have been almost dead even in target share the past three weeks. Despite an equal workload, Gallup has over double the yards per route run of Cooks: 1.26 versus 0.65. The efficiency is there, and Gallup will easily beat his WR54 projection.
Rico Dowdle, Dallas Cowboys, ECR: RB54
The pass defense isn’t the only thing terrible in Los Angeles. The Chargers and a poor run defense; it’s a tale as old as time. This play is for those suffering from injury and bye-week hell in the deepest of leagues. I don’t expect Dowdle to be a top-16 running back by any stretch of the imagination. However, you could do worse for your third or fourth FLEX option.
The first month is always tricky for dynasty fantasy football start/sit decisions. By leveraging the power of Vegas, we can gain a slight edge over our opponents. As the season wears on and we have more data to work with, these decisions become more manageable. Start your studs and get those Monday-night players into your flex! Check back weekly as we review the numbers to ensure we are Winning With Vegas!
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