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Wild Card Round: 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.

Being that this is the playoff round and we only have four games, I will break down the line for each game and the fantasy impact it will have.

Matchup

Open Line

Live Line

Movement

Steelers vs. Dolphins

47.5

45.5

-2

The Steelers have the highest implied team total at 27.75 points and are also the biggest favorites on the board at -10. This offense will likely be the most popular one from a DFS standpoint and rightfully so. The Dolphins struggled against the pass & the run for most of the season. Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell are all elite options in this contest. Ladarius Green is also in a favorable spot, and you can also make a case for Eli Rogers who had a solid run towards the end of the season. The Steelers defense is also in play, as Matt Moore is a below average quarterback and can make mistakes. From the Dolphins side, Jay Ajayi makes a strong play, but the one concern is if they fall behind by a lot early on. Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills are also in play considering potential game script.

Matchup

Open Line

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Movement

Packers vs. Giants

44.5

44.5

0

The Packers were the hottest team to close out the season and have a tough matchup at home against the Giants. Green Bay is a 4.5 point favorite and has a 24.5 implied team total. Despite the tough matchup, Aaron Rodgers is arguably the top play on the board. He led the league with 40 passing touchdowns and averaged 27.9 fantasy points per game in his final 11 games. Jordy Nelson is his number one target and has displayed his ability to shine even in tough matchups, so although the ceiling might be capped he is still a strong play. Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery can also be considered in this matchup. From the Giants, Eli Manning is in a good spot but tends to be volatile, making him a tournament play only for those considering cash this week. Odell Beckham Jr. is an elite option, while Sterling Shepard is in play too.

Matchup

Open Line

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Movement

Texans vs. Raiders

37

37

0

This is the worst game of the slate, but there is some fantasy appeal to it. Lamar Miller gets a very good matchup and is reasonably priced across the industry. The Raiders allowed 106.8 rushing yards per game and 4.5 rushing yards per attempt, while giving up 13 rushing touchdowns. Also, they surrendered 53 receptions for 541 yards and five receiving touchdowns. He makes for an excellent play this week. C.J. Fiedorowicz is also in the mix as the Raiders had trouble against tight ends. I will not fault you for playing DeAndre Hopkins due to his price, but the Raiders were not awful against opposing receivers. From the Raiders side, it is difficult to love anyone as they are down to their third string quarterback and the Texans defense is good. However, if you want to throw a couple of darts, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree may be lower owned and are underpriced on most sites. I also like Latavius Murray, who could be force-fed in this contest. That being said, I am tempering my expectations for the entire Raiders offense this week and do have an interest in the Texans defense.

Matchup

Open Line

Live Line

Movement

Seahawks vs. Lions

43

43.5

0.5

The Seahawks are eight point favorites and have the second highest implied team total of the slate. Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Jimmy Graham all make for strong plays this week, as well as Thomas Rawls. The Lions biggest weakness was against opposing tight ends as they allowed 87 receptions for 870 yards and ten touchdowns to the position. On the opposite side, it is tough to be excited about the Lions on the road with a quarterback that is dinged up. The two options to consider are Golden Tate and Eric Ebron due to the volume they receive. However, this is not a favorable matchup or situation. The Seahawks defense makes for a strong play also.

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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