Unless you are one these DFS players who is max entering contests under multiple accounts, one of the first things we want to do is reduce our player pool. Those of us only playing a Cash lineup and a few Single Entry or Low Max entry tournaments need to make actual decisions; we can’t play everyone. For this, we lean on Vegas. DFS isn’t my full time job, so as my starting point, I’ll rely on the people who are investing millions on predicting the scores as accurately as possible.
There are a few different ways, depending on the position, that we can use Vegas’ lines to our advantage in finding players who will be in positive game script situations.
QBs – First and foremost we want high totals (specifically high team totals). Second, we’d prefer a home QB as there is typically more consistency from the home team. Third, I’d prefer my QB to be favored but not by too much. Huge favorites can have negative game script implications where their team spends the 2nd half running out the clock. This isn’t good for fantasy production. Ideally, you want a back and forth shootout.
RBs – I don’t care as much about high team totals for RBs, though they can help break ties. For RBs, it’s all about the spread. For the opposite reasons mentioned for QBs, I want big favorites. Big home favorites are even better. The last thing you want is to be pulling your hair out because your expensive RB isn’t getting carries in the 2nd half because his team is down by 17. I want a RB who is going to carry the load down the stretch while they are running the clock. LeGarrette Blount was the poster boy for this last year serving as the Patriots’ knockout blow in the 2nd half and winning us lots of money in the process.
WRs – I could break this out into #1 & #1B WRs and the #3 & #4 WRs because I do believe you have to treat them slightly different. For #1 WRs, I want high team totals. Secondly, this is the one position I’m okay with, and sometimes even prefer underdogs, especially home underdogs. The reason is simple, teams that are trailing tend to throw more.
For the Secondary options, I tend to follow the same process as I described with choosing a QB. These are typically your lower owned plays in tournaments where you need the differential.
TEs – By far the simplest of the group. First, you want home TEs. There’s rarely an exception where I play a TE on the Road and the numbers over the years back this up. Next, you want a TE with a good QB and/or make sure they receive Red Zone targets.
Once we have our player pool limited, THEN we can start digging deeper on specific matchups affecting those players, ownership projections, DFS salary, etc… Instead of researching the OL/DL run blocking matchup for all 32 teams, we may only need to look at 7 or 8 teams. Work smarter, not harder as they say…
Let’s see who fits the criteria this week:
Tom Brady – Home Favorite by 9 – Team Total of 29 (THURS)
Aaron Rodgers – Home Favorite by 3 – Team Total of 26.5
Marcus Mariota – Home Favorite by 1.5 – Team Total of 26
Matt Ryan – Road Favorite by 7 – Team Total of 28.5
Ben Roethlisberger – Road Favorite by 9 – Team Total of 28
Cam Newton – Road Favorite by 6 – Team Total of 27
Carson Palmer – Road Favorite by 1.5 – Team Total of 24.75
Aaron Rodgers & Marcus Mariota are the 2 that are immediately jumping out to me, they both are checking all boxes. Brady and Big Ben are both creeping above my goldilocks zone where the Spread is getting too high. Matt Ryan is borderline, I’d like to do some additional research there. Carson Palmer is an intriguing option as Vegas thinks that game could be back-and-forth.
Mike Gillislee – 9 point home favorite (THURS)
LeSean McCoy – 9 point home favorite
Lamar Miller – 6 point home favorite
Zeke Elliot – 3.5 point home favorite
Dalvin Cook – 3.5 point home favorite (MON)
CJ Anderson – 3.5 point home favorite (MON)
Todd Gurley – 3.5 point home favorite
Le’Veon Bell – 9 point road favorite
Devonta Freeman – 7 point road favorite
We have a tiered scenario here. Gillslee, Shady, and Miller are the top dogs. We’ll need more research with these but it is likely one or all 3 will be staples in my lineups this week. The next group has some interesting options as well and will be worth looking into further. Lastly we have the big road favorites, these can’t be ignored either.
Amari Cooper / Mike Crabtree – Road Underdog – 24.5 Team Total
Doug Baldwin – Road Underdog – 23.75 Team Total
Jamison Crowder / Tyrell Pryor – Home Underdog – 23.25 Team Total
Golder Tate / Marvin Jones – Home Underdog – 23.25 Team Total
Michael Thomas / Ted Ginn – Road Underdog – 22.25 Team Total (MON)
Odell Beckham Jr. – Road Underdog – 21.75 Team Total
Kevin White – Home Underdog – 21.25 Team Total
Pierre Garcon – Home Underdog – 21 Team Total
Tyreek Hill – Road Underdog – 20 Team Total (THURS)
Mike Wallace – Road Underdog – 19.75 Team Total
Kenny Britt – Home Underdog – 19 Team Total
Some very interesting options in this group. Am I saying I’ll have 0 tournament shares of Julio Jones or Antonio Brown because they are big road favorites? Of course not. That’s not what I’m looking for here. I looking for guys who are likely to have positive game scripts. Teams that will HAVE to throw to win. A lot is going to depend on other factors as we continue our research but this is a good starting point.
Remember, we only care about 3 things: Are they at home? Do they have a decent QB? Are they are a Red Zone target?
Kyle Rudolph (MON)
Later on in the week will starting narrowing down our player pool even more by looking at matchups, DFS pricing, projected ownership, Vegas line movements, and good ole fashion gut instinct.