Majesstik is one of the most respected Slate Breakdown artists in DFS
*Tabs are updated throughout the Weekend
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JMToWin is a high-stakes tournament champion (Thunderdome, Luxury Box, Game Changer, Wildcat) who is focusing this year on single-entry/three-entry max
This is, instead, a look at the player pool I’ll be fishing.
:: covered in-depth in the Angles Pod (it’s highly recommended that you listen to the breakdown of the roster in order to see the thinking behind it, and in order to understand what we’re talking about when we look at a “bottom-up build”
:: these are my “Tier 1” plays: the plays I feel confident leaning into across different types of builds; players who have a high ceiling and a low likelihood of price-considered failure
:: these are games, offenses, situations, or scenarios I’ll be looking to build around across my rosters
:: these are players who don’t fit into the categories above — either Upside pieces who don’t have the floor to be Blue Chips (and are not being focused on within my game-focused builds) or players who may not have a strong shot at ceiling, but are worth keeping in mind from a “role” perspective
This will allow Angles to be delivered to your phone as soon as it’s live
Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod (above).
James Conner (original: A.J. Dillon)
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Hilow is a game theory expert and tournament champion who focuses on mid/high-stakes single-entry/three-entry max
Quite the interesting and unique slate, no? The variance on this slate is off the chart, making our exploration in this piece of the utmost importance; not for the particular plays or leverage opportunities that we’ll discuss below, but for the methodologies and systematic approach to leverage generation that we’ve attempted to explore throughout the season, which is designed to teach more than it is to highlight individual plays. With that in mind, there are only a couple of games on the main slate where each team is playing for something other than pride this week, there are only a couple of games with even moderate game totals, and there are enough teams with uncertainty surrounding personnel to make your head spin. This should be a fun one, let’s dig in!
Restrictive chalk. The “hammer” quarterback on a team with a healthy 26.75 Vegas implied team total, I get it. But, at the level of ownership on the Cardinals this week, I am much more interested in a full fade in a game environment with a much wider range of outcomes than the field seems to be giving credit for.
Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. 80% or higher snap rate in three of the Bills last four games. Recency bias extraordinaire after cracking 20 fantasy points for the first time all season last week. Now that the field is on him, it is extremely easy to move elsewhere.
Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Finally off the injury report in time for a divisional matchup with a Giants team allowing 26.1 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields. That said, there is absolutely zero reason for the Football Team to serve Gibson with a hefty workload here, particularly considering the multitude of injury concerns Gibson has fought through this season. There are much better plays at the running back position on this slate.
Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Chase Edmonds is out, I get it. But, what I don’t get is the field automatically assuming a massive workload for Conner in his first game action in three weeks, when the Cardinals know they are playing next week in the Wildcard Round. Basically, if a play this week is more fragile than the field is giving credit for, I have no problem just completely fading it.
Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Has seen at least 68% of the offensive snap in every game since Week 9. That said, his lowest snap rate during that stretch came last week and the Bears are not playing for much here. Montgomery has hit the rushing bonus only twice all season and has returned 4x his Week 18 salary only once all season. Once again, there are better plays at the running back position this week.
Restrictive chalk. 266 yards short of the vaunted 2,000 rushing yards mark. While that seems like a ridiculous notion, JT went for 253 yards on the ground against this same franchise in Week 17 last year. The Jags are likely going to have to keep this game within reason for JT to see the requisite workload to approach that lofty total, making me highly interested in one of Marvin Jones, Jr. or Laquon Treadwell on rosters that utilize Taylor.
Restrictive chalk. Excuse me, field, but I am not down with this one. Dalvin played only 54% of the offensive snaps last week after missing the previous contest, which came in a blowout loss to the Packers. The field’s reasoning is likely that Dalvin’s workload increases substantially in a game likelier to be played close. But, what is Minnesota’s motivation to run Dalvin heavily here, particularly considering they have nothing to play for, and Dalvin has missed two or more games in each of his professional seasons? I think it’s much likelier we see Alexander Mattison more involved here, and that little bit of uncertainty leads me to other, more certain plays.
Restrictive chalk. Has seen double-digit looks in each game since Adam Thielen went down, but his role has changed significantly during that time. Jefferson has been running fewer of the high-upside routes that we’ve grown accustomed to during that span, instead being used more heavily as a possession-style pass-catcher. At his salary, that leaves very few paths to fantasy success and presents an interesting leverage fade this week.
Restrictive chalk. Enough said on Mr. Kupp.
Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Has seen double-digit looks exactly once this season and has returned 4x his Week 18 salary exactly twice. Kirk remains a player I would look to be targeting at low ownership and be looking elsewhere at elevated ownership.
Neither restrictive nor expansive chalk. Nine or more targets in three consecutive weeks, but the upside is rather limited to touchdowns in a low aDOT role. He hasn’t scored a touchdown for the Cardinals since his two-score outburst against this same Seahawks team, way back in Week 11.
Expansive chalk. I mean, I guess the field is calling for Kmet to score his first touchdown all season this week?
Expansive chalk. The token chalk pay-down option at the defensive position this week. You know my thoughts on chalk pay-down defenses.
Restrictive chalk. Wow, the field is finally cool with targeting the Bills defense, eh? The Bills lead the league in pressure rate and have generated 63 turnovers plus sacks so the field might be onto something here.
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Welcome to The Oracle! :: The Greatest “Cheat Sheet” In DFS!
Each week in The Oracle, OWS team members will take on the key strategy questions from that week’s slate :: sharing their thoughts on how they plan to approach these critical elements from a roster-construction, game theory, and leverage perspective.
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A weekly staple of The Oracle :: In no more than two or three sentences, tell us what makes this slate particularly unique.
It’s Week 18. What is there to say? Teams are beat-up. Teams are tired. Some teams are looking toward the future. Others are looking toward the offseason. Others are still fighting hard. Others are fighting for playoff spots, or for important playoff seeding. Others are in the playoffs already and can’t improve their position much, but are still likely to play hard. And others are in the playoffs already and can’t improve their position much, and are likely to take things easy on key players. More than anything else, this is the story of the last week of the season, and having a strong handle on the dynamics at play in each game, and for each team, is one of the most important steps to take. (See: Edge, The NFL)
The main thing is uncertainty around who’s playing (specifically, who’s playing the entire game). On most slates we know who’s playing when inactives are released – and we might get some surprise inactives on Sunday morning – but we’ll also see active guys only play a few series, or a quarter, or a half. And while we can hypothesize about who’s likely to play more and who isn’t, we can’t possibly know (and remember: coaches LIE). So, each of us needs to decide where we want to invest and how much risk we want to take on. Do you want to narrow your player pool down to only players who you have an extremely high degree of confidence will be playing the entire game? Or do you want to expand it and take on risk around uncertainty of role/playing time, but possibly find some low-owned upside if you’re right? To me that’s the single biggest decision point of the week.
There are very few teams that we can confidently say we know exactly how they are going to attack this week. The vast majority of teams in play this week either have nothing left to play for or have to make the difficult “risk vs. reward” decision on how much, if at all, to play their starters. For example, the Packers have nothing to play for but would have a full three weeks between NFL action should they rest players, or the Bengals, who have four different playoff spots they can finish but already know they will be hosting a Wildcard round game and are struggling through a few key injuries.
And then there’s the slate, which is the biggest of the season this week. What we’re likely to see is “higher than we’ve grown accustomed to” scores taking down GPPs on Sunday, due in part to the number of games on the slate and to the value that is sure to open up as news trickles in regarding how teams will be approaching these games. We need to be building with this in mind.
The final note here is the overemphasis on this idea that teams with nothing to play for (as far as the playoffs are concerned) cannot produce fantasy-worthy outputs, which is about as far from the actual truth as you can get. What we’re likely to see is players from these teams go extremely under-owned relative to where they should be, giving us a bit of natural leverage (without having to introduce sub-optimal plays).
In a word, volatility. I think the very unique aspect of the last week in the regular season is how many DFS industry content providers will label each team in terms of what version will show up. Some are obvious this week, like the Bengals and Packers, who are ruling guys out or announcing they will phase starters out of the game as it progresses. But others with “nothing to play for” don’t often mail-in performances on Sunday. Game tape matters, and the NFL doesn’t have many opportunities to get on tape. I bring this up mostly to say don’t be surprised when a four, five or seven win team has their best offensive game of the season. Fight the labels and don’t take it at face value that team A will play hard, team B will not, team C will only care about this or that, and team D has no reason to show up. Most of those assumptions won’t be true this week. Without getting into specific games, I lean toward the strategy of most teams just playing ball, and not caring about what’s happening for them next week. When the ball is kicked off, we should get max effort because when you aren’t giving 100% injuries happen, and players know that.
The unique thing about this slate is obviously all of the Week 18 dynamics that come into play. With that in mind, I will highlight a couple of aspects around this wild week that a lot of our competition may not understand all the nuances of:
First, not all “dead teams” are created equal. Some dead teams have been dead for several weeks now. If they had players they wanted to shut down, they could have done it already. This game isn’t much different for them than the last few weeks have been, so really there likely isn’t a whole lot of change in approach unless a team has draft pick related incentives to consider. On the other hand, teams that were fighting for a playoff spot and were just eliminated in Week 17 now have an entirely new dynamic. They may have players who were playing through injuries but now will be shut down. Their approach/focus may not be the same with the disappointment of being eliminated. These are important things to consider and dive into the nuance of each team’s situation, rather than just clumping all the “dead teams” together in one bucket. Teams who were just eliminated last week include: Browns, Dolphins, Vikings, Falcons, and Broncos.
Secondly, this is a unique week in how the outcomes of different games will correlate with each other. Usually NFL teams just focus on what they can control, as they should. However, with this being the longest NFL season ever and the playoffs just a week away there is the potential for some outcomes to affect the approach of other games/teams. Here are some of those correlated scenarios:
The other thing I want to add is that the term “motivation” is used a lot this week. Let’s be clear, NFL players got to where they are by being elite athletes and incredible competitors. If they are wearing pads and on the field, they are motivated to dominate the guy across from them. The actual “motivation” factor has more to do with player usage and play calling, which are organizational and coaching related issues.
What makes this slate unique comes down to motivation. Which teams will be playing hard to secure their spot in the playoffs or to gain home field for at least a round. Then there are some non-playoff teams playing to build “culture” and trying to win one more game to go out on a high note. Other teams have coaches that may be on the hot seat once the season ends and may be fighting to save their jobs. There might be a couple teams that have already checked out. There are also players playing for contract incentives, some we know of, others we might not. Plus, we still have Covid hijacking rosters. #TheWorkbook is a good place to keep up with Covid and injury lists and I added a “Motivation” tab to give an idea of what teams may be fighting for this week.
In spite of this Main Slate boasting 26 teams, there are only seven teams that carry a Vegas-implied team total of even 24.5 or higher:
29.75 :: Colts
28.5 :: Bills
27.25 :: Cardinals
26.5 :: Titans
25.0 :: Buccaneers
25.0 :: Vikings
24.5 :: Rams
Breaking down that list further :: If the Colts dominate the Jags, it’s hard to see clear paths to their pass-game pieces hitting, which leaves a very expensive Jonathan Taylor as the obvious option to consider || If the Titans dominate the Texans, it’s hard to see A.J. Brown being used in a high-volume role, which would create another setup in which the backfield is the way to attack || The Vikings tend to only truly open up their offense if the opponent is putting up points, and this week’s opponent is the Bears || The key pieces on the Rams and Bucs are priced for higher implied team totals than they carry this week || The Bills can produce in a variety of ways, but Josh Allen is priced very high for a QB who has seen his workload lightened this year in easy wins || The Cardinals, as has been the case all season, are more “produce solid DFS scores” than “produce tourney-winners,” as they like to spread the ball around in a horizontal attack
This adds up to a strange Week 18, in which there aren’t any “clear and obvious” top game environments, or even “top teams” to build heavily around.
With this in mind, how are you approaching this week from a team/game-focused standpoint? Are there any spots that are standing out to you from that list above, and/or are there any teams/games away from that list that you see as potential build-around spots?
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Larejo is a mid-stakes tournament mastermind who specializes in outmaneuvering 150-max players with a small number of entries
Don’t take Week 18 at face value. That’s my advice for the week.
Last season, in the final week, we saw game totals of 82 (Bills/Dolphins), 79 (Titans/Texans), 72 (Lions/Vikings), and 71 (Bucs/Falcons), all on the main DFS slate, and every one of those games involved at least one team with nothing to play for except to be a spoiler. Two seasons ago, none of the Week 17 games topped 58 points. But if we rewind to the 2018 season, we also had game totals of 80, 71, and 66, again involving one or both teams that were out of the playoffs. My point in bringing this up is that the last week of the season brings increased volatility to NFL scoring. We can lay out in advance which teams have the motivation to play for seeding, rest, pride, or none of the above, but it does not guarantee they won’t actually come to play on Sunday. Just keep that in the back of your mind. (I’ll note, before overreacting to last year’s results, three of those four games did carry over/unders north of 50 points, and this season has been much lower scoring than last season). So bring your charts, graphs, labels, and categories, and throw them out the window, as we will likely see some teams with records of 4-12, 6-10, and 8-8 bring their A games this weekend. NFL careers are short, and strong game tape can catapult careers or bring employment and a new contract next Fall.
I’ll be going back to my roots this week, identifying three games overall in which I’d like to have stack exposure, and filling in floating and value plays around them. It’s going to be more difficult than usual to identify which games will explode. So my general advice is to get exposure to as many lineups and games as you can this week (take the Sonic approach and build a stack for every game) and lean into tournaments over cash lineups this week. Play for the range of outcomes to be vast, and set yourself up to win big if you win.
I can honestly say I hate this and love it at the same time. Reasons I hate this player block: Dalvin and Jefferson may carry over 20% ownership. Reasons I love this player block: Vikings condensity raises the floor, we have a classic scenario forming where Jefferson seems to be deployed mostly as a floating play without his QB this week, and Darnell Mooney is in an underrated spot. Adding to the intrigue in this game are two coaches that are coaching for jobs next season, along with a 17-9 score just three weeks ago in the same matchup outdoors in Chicago.
With Kirk’s headlines lately about his bout with COVID, his unvaccinated status, and more, many will fail to see his affordable price and underrated matchup. The Bears defense has been league average all season, getting torched by great offenses like the Packers, Rams, Bucs, and Cardinals, but dominating inept teams like the Giants just last week. Similarly, Dalvin Cook was bottled up for 28/89/0 last time these two teams met in December, but he has averaged over 100 rushing yards at home this season and still only has six touchdowns on the season after his 16 TD performance one year ago. He’ll be chalky for good reason. As will his teammate, Jefferson, who as Papy mentioned in the NFL Edge, is now in clear alpha WR mode without Adam Thielen, in a matchup against a Bears defense that ranks 28th DVOA against #1 WRs. And finally, we have a Bears bring-back. Most will go to still-underpriced David Montgomery, but I think I like Mooney better. In just five Andy Dalton starts, Mooney averages 10.2 targets. He’s risen to WR1 status in Chicago, possesses YAC upside, and in the right game script can produce a Brandin Cooks-like box score.
The Jets are a sieve on defense, against both the run (26th DVOA) and the pass (31st DVOA), and have a lousy implied team total of 12.5 points in this matchup against the Bills on Sunday. But the Bills are projected to score 28.5, possibly 30 points. So where do the Bills touchdowns come from this week? They have many options, as we know, and they are also healthy with the exception of Emmanuel Sanders. It’s likely we see a notable score or two emerge from either Josh Allen, a Buffalo RB, or a Buffalo pass-catcher if they score over 30 points.
At the moment, it seems the Buffalo backfield will gain the most steam for this matchup, as the Jets seem more notorious for not being able to stop the run. Singletary, for what it’s worth, is also playing the best football of his career right now with a touchdown in three straight games (four overall in that timespan). But, this is still a pass-first team. We need to remember that. So while it’s possible we see a similar game script as in these teams’ first matchup in Week 10, it’s also possible we get a game here where Buffalo pass-catchers can get there “on the way up.”
Dawson Knox and Cole Beasley as a player block feels uncomfortable. But Beasley right now, is underpriced for his role on DK, while Knox is coming off a zero-catch performance. By playing both of these guys, and not playing Josh Allen, we’d have to hope A) Allen does not rush for a touchdown, and B) the Bills throw the ball more than 30 times, essentially deploying a “throw to win” and get their passing game right before the playoffs. There’s some natural leverage here off Singletary, which I am drawn to as well, as an affordable way of getting exposure to the second-highest team total on the board.
This game won’t go overlooked this weekend. It’s a late-game hammer, with the highest total (48), and two competent offenses actually projected to score more than 20 points. We also have a version of the Seahawks offense which seems to finally be clicking, going up against the team that leads the NFL in no-huddle rate (34%) in the Arizona Cardinals. My favorite plays right off the bat in this game are Wilson + Lockett. If there’s any sentimental narrative around Russell’s potentially final game as a Seahawk, it’s Tyler Lockett who will get up for it and make sure he gives it his all (at least that’s my take). Lockett himself had a 200 yard, three-touchdown performance against this Arizona team just last season, while also torching them for over 100 yards earlier this season. Past performance does not dictate future results, but it’s clear he doesn’t dislike the matchup. With how Rashaad Penny has looked recently, including him in this player stack is viable as well. The Seahawks will likely give him 20 carries again to see what he can do with them, to get all the information necessary to see what role he’ll walk into next season.
On the Cards side, Kyler is viable as always. But I am being drawn to where big plays can come from. We know historically the notion of the Cardinals offense not producing tournament-winning scores is there, but without Hopkins, we at least have the benefit of a more condensed target tree featuring Christian Kirk, Zach Ertz, and AJ Green. They have also worked in Antoine Wesley in the red zone the last few weeks, but overall Kirk is my favorite in this game due to his propensity for the big play. If it’s coming from somewhere on Arizona, it’s likely through Kyler or Kirk.
Sonic is a Milly Maker winner and large-field tournament mastermind who focuses on mass-multi-entry play
Week 18 is finally here. It’s hard to believe that the NFL regular season is over and this wacky slate is the last full one we’ll see for 9 months.
I really appreciate all of the awesome feedback you guys have given me about this Player Pool piece and Above the Field this year. GPP life can be pretty tilting so it feels crucial for us to connect with our community!
The name of the game this week is salary relief. There’s a lot of gorgeous plays in the high-dollar category and it seems all of the cheap plays are pretty thin. I’ll keep mining for some confidence in the cheap WR range and pass along any thoughts on Discord. Please take a minute and post your favorite sub-$4000 plays into the MME or SE-3Max channels. It takes a village!
Good luck this week everyone!
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Xandamere is one of the most respected Showdown minds in DFS, and focuses his Main Slate play on mass-multi-entry
Week 18 is finally here and it’s the end of the regular season. It’s always a sad day for me, but there’s still money to be won! There’s still overlay on Superdraft every week, so if you aren’t playing there, why not?
Before you read this article, you should read my NFL Superdraft Primer to get a basic understanding of the site, how it’s different from Draftkings and Fanduel, and the strategy elements that come into play. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get $100 free with a minimum $100 deposit!! (Promo Code :: OWS)
First, all the normal NFL strategy about stacking and correlation still applies. It definitely makes sense to strongly consider pairing your QB with a receiver. Game stacks are entirely viable here. The good news is you don’t have to change your entire approach to be successful on Superdraft. All you have to do is change your mentality of player selection, since the multiplier introduces so many different strategy dynamics, as the primer goes over. With that, let’s take a look at Week 6. I’m not going to go game by game here (we have the Edge for that!), but rather, position by position, trying to spot where I think there are good opportunities to leverage attractive scoring multipliers.
This is the wildest week of the year as we have teams that will sit guys entirely (the Bengals, maybe the Eagles, maybe the Packers) and others that will only play their starters for a little bit (perhaps even just a single drive) before handing things over to backups (the Packers are more likely to be in this bucket), and then a few others that need to win but are in blowout matchups and might pull back, if they get up big early (Colts, Bills). Because of Superdraft’s scoring format, most of these backups have massive multipliers, which makes this week especially unique over here.
Two backup QBs have the top projections thanks to 1.8x multipliers, as Brandon Allen and Case Keenum face off against each other in the same game. I’m okay with these guys because just a couple of touchdowns and 200 passing yards can get them to 30 or so points. Of the “real” quarterbacks on the slate, Taysom Hill is my favorite, as he has a 1.3x multiplier and he possesses immense upside in a game the Saints need to win. Tyler Huntley is in play if Lamar sits again.
Jonathan Taylor owns the highest projection once again, but if he’s really having a massive performance that also means the Colts are smashing, and I don’t see them really pushing him if they’re up by multiple scores. My favorite RB play is Samaje Perine with a juicy 1.8x multiplier, followed by D’Onta Foreman at 1.45x, Najee Harris at 1.2x, and Devin Singletary at 1.4x. This is also a week with a lot of uncertainty: I think you can take shots at A.J. Dillon (as the Packers might barely play Aaron Jones) or even Patrick Taylor if you think the Packers might rest both Jones and Dillon. It’s entirely possible (perhaps even likely) that we’ll get more news on potential rest spots that put more guys into play by Sunday morning.
As always, I’ll discuss stacking options later, but in this section, I’ll just highlight receivers I’m comfortable using as floating plays in any roster:
Mark Andrews. The answer is always . . . well, okay, often . . . Mark Andrews. I also really like Zach Ertz, who has been a target hog for Arizona with no DeAndre Hopkins. Dawson Knox has shown a massive ceiling, though with a scary floor.
One thing that’s tougher about Superdraft sometimes is adjusting to the format when thinking about game stacks. Multipliers can attract us to different game stacks than we would use on a salary-based site, as just looking at projections makes “weird” plays look viable. You can choose to trust the projections and use plays like that, but personally, I have a hard time seeing a ceiling there. I try to combine players who project well in Superdraft’s scoring format while also playing what I consider to be strong overall plays based on game environment, talent, and matchup. It’s more art than science sometimes (i.e. Ben Roethlisberger projects well by median outcome, but does he really have the kind of ceiling we need in tournaments even at a high multiplier? I’d guess no, but could be wrong). Here are some stacks I think look attractive this week:
Jreas11 leverages research from the NFL Edge in order to replace DFS cash game play with profitable prop betting
Follow me on Twitter for more. DMs open for any questions on how to get started or general Prop Betting Strategy!
The Betting Channel of the Discord has been very active this season. There are bettors in there dailey talking NFL, NBA, NHL, and College sports using numerous different tools and strategies. I continue to urge you to check into the prop market if you have not done so thus far. The ROI for many of us has been very profitable- especially when compared to DFS Cash Games in 2021. This is the equivalent of getting into DFS on the ground floor glory days, go where the profit is! Best of luck in Week 18! OWS has promotions available with numerous books for deposit bonuses- make the free money work for you!
Chuba Hubbard: Under 40.5 Rushing Yards
Result: Loss (55 Rushing Yards)
Chuba Hubbard carried the ball 17 times for 55 yards, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. He continues to be one of the least effective running backs in the league on a team that rarely plays in positive gamescripts. The big blow here came via a 21 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Taylor Heinicke: Under 199.5 Passing Yards
Result: Loss (247 Passing Yards)
Well, he played the whole game. Chalk that one up as a loss to coachspeak. Heinicke played alright, especially early, coming out strong to complete his first seven passes and leading the Football Team to a early 10-0 advantage. He completed 27/36 passes for 247 yards and an interception. He will still be at risk of seeing decreased time in Week 18.
Jalen Hurts: Over 44.5 Rushing Yards
Result: Loss (44 Rushing Yards)
Jalen Hurts was at one time credited with 45 rushing yards, before the dreaded stat correction and hook loss. Jordan Howard ended up being active, so hopefully you had the time to wait for inactives Sunday morning. Still, Hurts managed to average 6.3 yards per carry, albeit on limited volume.
Week 1: +10.0 Units
Week 2: -1.1 Units
Week 3: 0.0 Units
Week 4: +4.65 Units
Week 5: +3.1 Units
Week 6: +2.4 Units
Week 7: -0.3 Units
Week 8: -5.7 Units
Week 9: +11.75 Units
Week 10: +5.8 Units
Week 11: -0.13 Units
Week 12: +6.67 Units
Week 13: +2.18 Units
Week 14: -0.1 Units
Week 15: +1.47 Units
Week 16: +0.00 Units
Week 17: +2.75 Units
2021: +43.53 Units
Book: DraftKings (-115), BetMGM (-115)
“NOR needs to win to stay alive.”
“AK has 75+ yds in 9/12 games.”
“RBs with 75+ yds vs ATL: Sanders (113) // Fournette (76) // Saquon (94:1) // Gibson (75:1) // Gaskin (77:1) // Hubbard (91:1) // AK (104:1) // Pollard (98) // Rhamondre (75) // JRob (115) // Fournette (92:1) // Wilson (119:1) // Williams (77) // Singletary (110:2).”
“AK’s total touches without Ingram: 24 // 14 // 28 // 26 // 24 // 31 // 32 // 19.”
“AK has 60+ rush yds in 6/12 games.”
“ATL ranks 30th in def rush DVOA.”
“Both offenses have turned into run-heavy teams over the second half of the season, ranking 21st and 23rd in the league in situation-neutral pass rates.”
“The Saints have run the ball on 51% of their offensive plays during Hill’s four starts. This week they face a Falcons run defense that is 30th in DVOA, 26th in yards per carry allowed, and 28th in PFF rush defense grade.”
“New Orleans will use their dual-threat rushing attack to stretch the Atlanta defense and attack their overmatched front seven horizontally.”
“The Saints have their season on the line and will lean into their clear and obvious strength against a team that is dead in the water and is already vulnerable to rushing attacks.”
After starting the week with a limited practice on Wednesday, Mark Ingram logged back-to-back DNPs to end the week. Never a good sign. The Atlanta Falcons rush defense has given up at least 100 yards to running backs in nine of their last 11 games, with the two outlier games coming against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the ever inefficient Chuba Hubbard. The Saints have a mismatch upfront versus the bottom-feeding defensive line of Atlanta and should be able to add a further edge through drawn up QB runs to create even more running room. Kamara has shown the ability to handle 20+ carries this year in games without Ingram and carried the ball on 13/16 running back rush attempts last week with Ingram sidelined (the other three rush attempts went for -4 yards). With the playoffs on the line this week, expect Kamara to be the focal point in a game the Falcons are unlikely to pull ahead early, in a clear opportunity to touch the ball over 25 times in a must win.
Book: BetRivers (-117), DraftKings (55.5-115), BetMGM (55.5-115)
“ARI can jump from the 5 seed to 3 seed with a win & LAR loss to SF.”
“ARI WRs in games Hopkins has missed:: Kirk: 91 // 58 // 25 // 94:1 // 48 // 79.”
“Targets in those games: Kirk (49) // Green (29) // Wesley (21) // Moore (23).”
“This game may quietly have the most offensive upside of any game on the slate.”
“Both teams are playing at a fast pace and throwing often recently.”
“Motivation is there on both sides, as Arizona has a lot to play for and Pete Carroll would love to play spoiler.”
“Arizona leads the league in no-huddle rate and plays at the 7th fastest situation-neutral pace in the league. Also of note, the Cardinals lead the league in situation-neutral pass rate over the last four weeks.”
“I would expect Arizona to play at a very fast pace and spread out this talent deficient Seattle defense with an aggressive attack.”
“The Cardinals are likely to put the ball in Kyler’s hands often against a Seattle pass defense that ranks 30th in PFF pass-rush grade and 26th in coverage grade, while also grading poorly in both DVOA and yards per pass attempt.”
We finally have a healthy Kyler Murray just in time for the playoffs. But first, a narrative based divisional matchup that could be the last for both Russel Wilson and Pete Carrol. The Seattle Seahawks have increased both their no huddle and situation-neutral pace of play over the last month, with a no huddle rate of 15% and a pace of play ranked second in the NFL. Could this be one last rendition of “Let Russ Cook”? A 4th quarter attempt by the Seahawks to convince Wilson to remain the face of the franchise? No better way to find out than a Week 18 date with the Arizona Cardinals, who rank first in no huddle rate (34%) and sixth in situation-neutral pass rate (64%) over the same month’s stretch. Combined, this could lead to a fast-paced, pass-heavy, back and forth affair that could see increased play volume. Christian Kirk has received 20+ targets more than any other Cardinals receiver since DeAndre Hopkins went down with an injury, tallying 22 catches on 30 targets over the last three weeks while averaging 74.3 yards per game.
*Kyler Murray Passing yards and Pass+Rushing yards are also strong bets.
Book: BetRivers (-112)
Evans will almost certainly get the 55 yards needed to extend his consecutive 1000 yard season to start his career record, but, once achieved, the Buccaneers would be smart to not risk Evans with their sudden lack of depth at receiver. Expect Evans to play situationally after securing the record.
Book: BetRivers (-114)
With the Buccaneers able to secure the #2 seed with a win and Rams loss, they do have incentive to win this game. But with a bye unattainable, they would be smart to give Brady some rest once this game is well within hand. With both these games playing at the same time, you can be sure that the Tampa Bay brass will be scoreboard watching. Carolina has a strong passing defense, limiting Brady’s upside with little likelihood of being pushed in Sam Darnold’s curtain call. The Carolina Panthers have little incentive to continue to fight into the second half.
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