Week 2: Vegas vs. Fantasy

Using Vegas' odds, lines and spreads, Fantasy Football Expert Armando Marsal gets a feel for how this week's matchups will pan out. It's not a perfect science; however, it illustrates trends generated by some of the world's best handicappers.

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 number 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 highlight which offenses you should be targeting and which defenses are in good situations. Let’s dive right into it.

The chart below shows the three 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.

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Movement

Giants vs. Saints

55

55.5

+0.5

Cardinals vs. Bucs

50

50

0

Raiders vs. Falcons

48

49.5

+1.5

The Giants-Saints game has the highest projected total of the slate. The Giants are currently a 4.5-point favorite, and each team is projected to score more than three touchdowns. This should come to no surprise as the Saints have one of the worst defenses and one of the best offenses in the league. Last week they allowed 35 points to the Oakland Raiders. In that game, the Raiders offense combined for 486 yards which were the second highest of the week. The Giants gave up 19 points and 316 total yards to the Cowboys in their season opener. They have a much tougher task at hand against a very explosive offense. This is a game you want exposure to from a fantasy perspective. Players to target from the Giants: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz. Shane Vereen can be a sneaky play, but only in deep formats. Players to target from the Saints: Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, Michael Thomas, and Mark Ingram.

The Cardinals and Bucs game is currently the only other game with a 50 or more projected point total. The Cardinals are a 7-point favorite in this contest, which sounds about right. They are at home and in my opinion a superior team. The Cardinals have an implied point total of 28.25, so they are expected to score a tad over four touchdowns. This means you want to have players from this offense on your roster. Last week, Matt Ryan threw for 334 yards and two touchdowns against the Bucs. Carson Palmer should be able to shred this defense apart as well. As far as the Bucs offense, I am not as optimistic about them as Vegas is. The Cardinals struggled against the Patriots last week, but should have won that game. This defense is much better than it looked in that game. I do not expect them to shut out the Bucs, but I do expect them to limit the offenses upside. Players to target from Cardinals: Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown. Players to target from Bucs: Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, and Doug Martin.

The Raiders and Falcons game currently has the third-most projected point total of the week. This game offers a lot of fantasy goodness. Last week, the Raiders surrendered 507 total yards last week and 34 points. While, the Falcons surrendered 371 total yards and 31 points. In essence, both teams struggled defensively in their season opener. The Raiders defense is better than what we saw, but they did have a tough matchup. However, the Falcons are no walk in the park either. The Raiders are a 4.5-point favorite, and both teams are projected to score more than three touchdowns. Two things stand out to me here. The first is that the projected point total has jumped up a point and a half. The second thing is that the spread opened at Raiders -7 and is now Raiders -4.5. Apparently, there is some faith in Atlanta here. The Falcons allowed two touchdowns to the Bucs tight ends last week, so a player that immediately stands out to me is Clive Walford. He was targeted five times in Week 1 and came down with three catches for 25 yards. He is a red zone threat that can cause issues for the Falcons defense when they get near the goal line. More players from the Raiders to target: Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, and Latavius Murray. From the Falcons side of the ball, you want to look at Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Mohamed Sanu. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are also in play but appear to be in a committee. This is projected to be a close and high-scoring game, so don’t shy away from it.

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

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Bills vs. Jets

42.5

40

-2.5

This game currently has the lowest projected point total of the slate. The Bills offense could be without their stud receiver Sammy Watkins, which is why I believe the projected total has moved down 2.5 points. Last season these teams played each other twice, and each game combine for 39 points. This game is a pick em, which symbolizing an even game (no spread). Neither of these teams is expected to score three touchdowns. Essentially this matchup does not have a ton of fantasy goodness. However, this does not mean that it is a full fade game. Brandon Marshall is always in play and even more so against Buffalo. He has scored a touchdown in four consecutive games against the Bills and had six career touchdowns in nine career games against them. So make sure you lock him in. Despite an unfavorable matchup, LeSean McCoy is still a player you are rostering due to the volume he receives, but you should temper your expectations.

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

Game

Spread

Carolina

-13.5

San Francisco

13.5

Carolina is the biggest favorite on the board, and it is not even close. They are expected to beat up on the Niners. The Panthers are projected to score over four touchdowns, while the Niners are projected to score just 16 points. This is a game where you want exposure to the Panthers offense, including Jonathan Stewart who can receive a ton of carries if they end up with a big lead. The Panthers defense is also in play. From the Niners side, nothing stands out, and most players can be kept on the bench. If you start anyone, it would be Carlos Hyde as the Panthers did struggle to contain the run last week against the Broncos. Other than that, nothing stands out. In games like these, you want to focus on the team that is favorite and start their running back as they could receive a good amount of carries trying to run out the clock.

It is worth noting that the Seahawks/Rams game has no line at this time, and it will likely come out once there is more clarity on Russell Wilson’s status.

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 to all in Week 2.

 


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