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? What if 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 next two paragraphs. If you are a returning reader, you can just 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.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5)
Implied Final Score: Cowboys (27) Chargers (30)
Cedrick Wilson Jr.. WR, DAL
Dallas will be throwing the ball a ton this year. Dak attempted 58 passes in Week 1 and with the way the Cowboys defense has been playing, that number will remain high. Wilson is also benefiting from an injury above him on the depth chart. Michael Gallup left the week one contest with a calf injury and has been placed on IR. Which means he will miss at least three weeks. Wilson is a priority add in all formats and can immediately produce as a WR3 with WR2 upside for your fantasy team.
Jared Cook, TE, LAC
In Week 1, Jared Cook was able to command 8 targets for a very nice 17% target share. Considering only 36 points were scored in that matchup, we can easily see 10 plus targets for Cook this week. That is easily enough to vault him into TE1 consideration depending on his red-zone usage.
Larry Rountree, RB, LAC
Larry Rountree proved in Week 1 that he will be operating as the RB2 in this Chargers offense for the 2021 season. He has also shown that he can provide standalone value in this role. Rountree was able to produce 27 yards on 8 attempts. He even had a 13 yard run, showing off that big play ability. Rountree should be added in all formats given his handcuff appeal. This week he can be started as an RB4 with RB2 upside given certain red-zone usage.
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)
Implied Final Score: Titans (24) Seahawks (30)
Chester Rogers, WR, TEN
Chester Rogers was able to command 6 targets in Week 1 for a respectable 17% target share. That was on only 35 pass attempts by Ryan Tannenhill, a number that can easily increase given the high scoring nature of this matchup. Derrick Henry was largely ineffective in the running game week one, which may lead Tennessee to rely more on the arm of Ryan Tannennhill. Rogers can be started as a WR4 with WR3 upside if he were to grab a score.
Jeremy McNichols, RB, TEN
Jeremy McNichols only saw 2 rush attempts compared to Derrick Henry’s 17 in week one. That does not seem great, but he was able to equal Henry in targets with 4. That does seem great. Both caught 3 passes on those 4 targets, but McNichols was more efficient. He was able to grab 24 yards as opposed to the 19 that Henry brought in. With Henry being less efficient rushing, look for Tennessee to pass more to make up for this deficiency. Logically this should lead to an increase in work for McNichols. Look for him to perform as an RB3 if he were to find the endzone this week.
DeeJay Dallas, RB, SEA
Week 1 Deejay saw one rushing attempt for 5 yards and one reception for 5 yards. However, the more important news broke after the game. Rashad Penny suffered a calf injury and is most likely going to miss the Week 2 matchup. This makes DeeJay the direct back up to Carson. Look for DeeJay to absorb all of Penny’s work from Week 1 and perhaps some of Carson’s work as Seattle manages injuries in their backfield. DeeJay is a desperation play with RB3 upside if he were to find the endzone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Implied Total: 32
I just want to mention this game because Tampa Bay is projected for 32 points. It will not be a close game, that is why I am not including the Falcons. Just keep in mind that players such as Giovanni Bernard, Tyler Johnson, and Cameron Brate. Considering the likely blow-out nature of this game we may see some garbage time action for those deeper on the Buccaneers depth chart.
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I hope you enjoyed this dive into Vegas implied team totals, over/unders, and how math can help us in fantasy football. For more content like this, be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for any questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!
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