Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15: 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.

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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 indicate 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 amount 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 point out 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 Total

Live Total

Movement

Falcons vs. 49ers

52

51.5

-0.5

Cardinals vs. Saints

50

51

+1

Redskins vs. Panthers

51

50.5

-0.5

The Falcons host the 49ers in what Vegas has projected as the highest scoring game. It is worth noting that this contest also has a 14 point spread in favor of Atlanta and they have the highest implied team total at 32.75 points. Considering Vegas numbers and how bad this 49ers team has been all season, all of the usual suspects from Atlanta should be deployed as this offense should score plenty of points. On the 49ers side, the two players that are most enticing are Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde. Kaepernick has struggled as of late, and his job could be in jeopardy, so this may be his last straw to get something done. Fortunately for him, Atlanta is yielding the second most Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Despite the potential blowout, Hyde is in play because of his volume and his ability to catch passes out of the backfield.   

This second game is somewhat tricky. It has a high total, but if I were a betting man, I would likely take the under on this one. Aside from David Johnson, there are not many players I feel fully confident in this contest. Carson Palmer has been very streaky, even in plus matchups such as this one and Larry Fitzgerald continues to underwhelm despite the high volume. This is a great spot for Arizona, but the concern I have is their lack of consistent efficiency. One player I have an interest in DFS is J.J. Nelson due to his cheap price and upside. On the opposite side, the Saints offense has not been as productive in recent weeks. I had to double check this because I could not believe what I was reading, but Drew Brees has failed to throw a touchdown in two straight games and has thrown six interceptions in that span. This offense operates much different on the road, and while I am aware that they are always a threat for big numbers, I will trust the Vegas point total to temper my expectations.

The Monday night game appears to have some Fantasy goodness as it is the third highest projected total of the slate. Kirk Cousins has struggled in the last two weeks but is in a prime spot to bounce back against the Panthers funnel defense. They are yielding 289.8 passing yards per game while allowing 24 passing touchdowns. All of the usual pass catchers on this offense are in play. The one player I am not too keen on for the Redskins is Rob Kelley as the Panthers have done a good job defending against the run. On the Carolina side, Cam Newton and Greg Olsen are the two top options, but I also have an interest in Jonathan Stewart as the Redskins have been very generous to running backs this season. This is a game to target.  

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

Game

Open O/U

Live O/U

Move

Jets vs. Dolphins

41

37.5

-3.5

With Ryan Tannehill on the sidelines, it is very difficult to be enthusiastic about the Miami receivers in this favorable situation. Jay Ajayi will likely receive a good amount of carries, but this Jets defense is solid defensively, and the Dolphins also lost a key part of their offensive line, reducing his ceiling. In season-long leagues, unless you have better options, go ahead and plug him in as the touches should be there for Ajayi. As far as the Jets are concerned, Bilal Powell (if he starts) is the one play I have any interest in. The Dolphins are yielding over 100 rushing yards per game to opposing backs.

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

Teams

Spread

Seahawks

-15.5

Rams

15.5

This is one of the biggest spreads I have seen in awhile. Luckily it is a Thursday night game which is typically a slate I steer away from on most nights in DFS. This is a contest that draws very little interest for me. In fact, the one play I love in this game is the Seahawks defense. The Rams have been atrocious offensively all season and have to travel to Seattle to take on this stingy defense. Also, they have a rookie quarterback under center that is not that good. Lastly, the locker room is in shambles due to the recent firing of head coach Jeff Fisher. This is looking like a disaster in the making. Earlier this season when these two teams met, the game finished 9-3 with a Rams win.  

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 this week.


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