Week 1 Matchups

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Kickoff Thursday, Sep 5th 8:20pm Eastern

Packers (
21.5) at

Bears (
24.5)

Over/Under 46.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Packers Run D
28th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O
28th DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Packers Pass D
5th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O
16th DVOA/30th Yards per pass
Bears Run D
3rd DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O
9th DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
Bears Pass D
6th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O
9th DVOA/14th Yards per pass

Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
— access Xandamere's "Mastering Showdowns" course here!
(highly recommended; the data work is stunning!)
_______________________
The 2019 football season starts off with the Packers visiting the Bears in a game with a Vegas total of 46 points and the Bears installed as 3 point favorites at home. Before we dive into discussing the game, I want to note something broadly about early season NFL DFS: at no point in the season will we know less than we do in Week 1. We might think we know how teams are going to run . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Rams (
25.5) at

Panthers (
24)

Over/Under 49.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Rams Run D
9th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O
13th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
24th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O
24th DVOA/22nd Yards per pass
Panthers Run D
29th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
7th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D
4th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
15th DVOA/6th Yards per pass

Rams at Panthers gives us a matchup with some elite fantasy names, in a game with the second highest Over/Under on the main slate. At first glance, this appears to be a strong game to build around for core rosters, with a number of pieces that should have a chance to outperform their salary.

We'll begin with the visiting team, where the Rams have a chance to push around this Carolina secondary. The Panthers are switching to a 3-4 base defense this season with the goal of increasing their blitz disguises and their ability to get after . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Redskins (
17) at

Eagles (
27)

Over/Under 44.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Redskins Run D
18th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O
16th DVOA/16th Yards per carry
Redskins Pass D
28th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O
8th DVOA/16th Yards per pass
Eagles Run D
4th DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Redskins Run O
30th DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D
10th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Redskins Pass O
27th DVOA/26th Yards per pass

Well. Here's a fun one.

Week 1 gives us one of the more lopsided games we could have devised, with an Eagles team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations and a Redskins team that is expected to compete for the top pick in the draft. (Note: Washington will absolutely not end up with the top pick in the draft. For all of this team's flaws, Jay Gruden is always able to find ways throughout the season to keep enough games close that this team is able to pull out some wins.) Washington has major, major question marks on . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Bills (
19.25) at

Jets (
21.75)

Over/Under 41.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bills Run D
25th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O
29th DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O
32nd DVOA/32nd Yards per pass
Jets Run D
11th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O
6th DVOA/6th Yards per carry
Jets Pass D
13th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O
28th DVOA/19th Yards per pass

If you were on One Week Season last year, I'm sure you remember how much we loved the Bills offense down the stretch (there were four times in the final six weeks when some version of this passing stack posted a week-winning score) – and you may also recall that in the two games in that stretch in which the Bills failed to go off, we were able to foresee a lower likelihood of success and invest less heavily in this offense. But if you don't recall all of that – or if you weren't here last season . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Falcons (
21.75) at

Vikings (
25.25)

Over/Under 47.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Falcons Run D
7th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O
6th DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D
30th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O
22nd DVOA/25th Yards per pass
Vikings Run D
2nd DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O
25th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D
9th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O
17th DVOA/2nd Yards per pass

Falcons at Vikings is one of the more interesting games on the slate – one of those games in which you really shouldn't even pay close attention to the Vegas line. There is a fairly broad range of outcomes that this game could have, and wherever Vegas has pegged this line (I'm not even bothering to look before writing up this game), they're not calling this the "likely outcome" so much as they are calling this a median projection in a broad range of outcomes. There are two distinct ways this game could play out, with plenty of . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Ravens (
23.75) at

Dolphins (
16.75)

Over/Under 40.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Ravens Run D
24th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O
32nd DVOA/31st Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D
23rd DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O
31st DVOA/31st Yards per pass
Dolphins Run D
31st DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O
2nd DVOA/1st Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D
32nd DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O
16th DVOA/13th Yards per pass

One thing we try to hammer in the NFL Edge are the nuances of daily fantasy football. It isn’t as sexy as the whole, “This guy is the lock of the week” model (and frankly, it probably prevents us from maximizing our ceiling for subscribers; oh well), but DFS is a remarkably layered game; and if our goal is to make our subscribers the best at DFS (it is), then hammering the nuances of daily fantasy football are part of it.

One of the reasons we talk so often on the site about “what is likeliest to happen” in . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Chiefs (
26.25) at

Jaguars (
22.75)

Over/Under 49.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Chiefs Run D
30th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
18th DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
8th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
5th DVOA/17th Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D
32nd DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
21st DVOA/24th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
18th DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
2nd DVOA/1st Yards per pass

This matchup between the Chiefs and Jaguars gives us one of the top offenses in NFL history against a team in the Jaguars that last year allowed the second fewest net passing yards per game and the fourth fewest points per game – even with some games down the stretch in which this team showed just pathetic effort.

A game such as this (a matchup of two extremes) tends to have a broader range of potential outcomes than other types of setups, and in large field tournaments you could make a case for building some rosters around some alternative angles; for . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 1:00pm Eastern

Titans (
19.25) at

Browns (
24.75)

Over/Under 44.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Titans Run D
13th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
15th DVOA/14th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D
14th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
30th DVOA/20th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
23rd DVOA/29th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O
22nd DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
11th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O
20th DVOA/29th Yards per pass

Titans at Browns is a fun real-life game between two young teams that have similar mindsets in what should be a gritty, physical battle. The Browns have a new head coach; the Titans have a new offensive coordinator; but there is actually more that we know about these offenses and what they want to do than there is that we don't know.

We take a deeper look at the Browns' offense HERE — but the gist of this team is that they want to take control on offense, dictating the game on this side of the game while spreading . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 4:05pm Eastern

Colts (
19.25) at

Chargers (
25.25)

Over/Under 44.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Colts Run D
32nd DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
24th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
24th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
13th DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Chargers Run D
25th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
10th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
25th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
12th DVOA/27th Yards per pass

No game has seen its complexion change more over the last month than this one. The Melvin Gordon holdout has continued throughout the preseason. Derwin James is out for most of the year, removing one of the NFL's elite defensive playmakers from the equation in this game. And then…yeah, Andrew Luck retired two weeks before the start of the season.

Last season, the Colts played at the fastest pace in the NFL (the Chargers, by the way, played at the slowest pace), but Frank Reich is one of the four or five most adaptable coaches in the NFL . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 4:05pm Eastern

Bengals (
17.75) at

Hawks (
26.75)

Over/Under 44.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
26th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O
19th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
31st DVOA/15th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O
1st DVOA/8th Yards per pass
Seahawks Run D
16th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
31st DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D
19th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
26th DVOA/12th Yards per pass

As of this writeup, the Bengals somewhat surprisingly have the second lowest Vegas implied team total on the main slate. And sure, the Bengals are without , and they really don't have much at wide receiver behind him. But this is a team that has potentially upgraded at head coach, has certainly upgraded in play designs, and that averaged 23 points per game last year (a respectable 17th in the NFL). The Seahawks averaged 21.6 points per game allowed at home, and they are not the same defense they have been in the past (they're not even the . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 4:25pm Eastern

49ers (
25) at

Bucs (
26)

Over/Under 51.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
49ers Run D
5th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
20th DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
12th DVOA/7th Yards per pass
Buccaneers Run D
1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
5th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
22nd DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
7th DVOA/21st Yards per pass

Last season, the 49ers ranked 11th in net passing yards allowed per game and 14th in net rushing yards allowed per game, but they ranked 28th in points allowed per game. How did this happen? For starters, San Francisco intercepted only two passes all season – a stunning level of ineffectiveness that was part of this team forcing only seven turnovers all year (for reference: the second worst team in the NFL forced 14 turnovers), which led to the 49ers ranking 24th in drive success rate allowed, 18th in yards allowed per drive, and 26th in points allowed per drive. Only . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 4:25pm Eastern

Giants (
18.75) at

Cowboys (
25.75)

Over/Under 44.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Giants Run D
12th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O
3rd DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D
29th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Cowboys Run D
20th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O
10th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D
17th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O
25th DVOA/18th Yards per pass

This Week 1 divisional matchup, between two marquee teams seemingly moving in different directions, is a good example of why, when looking at a slate, it is important to rely on more than just Vegas totals:

For all the faults on this Giants team and all the negative press it receives, there are a few positives that we can lean on in regards to the offensive decisions of head coach Pat Shurmur. Going back to his time with the Vikings, Shurmur has been willing to work with a narrow distribution of offensive touches, designing his offense and calling plays so . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 4:25pm Eastern

Lions (
24.25) at

Cards (
21.25)

Over/Under 45.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Lions Run D
14th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
1st DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D
12th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
29th DVOA/11th Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D
22nd DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O
27th DVOA/13th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
27th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O
4th DVOA/9th Yards per pass

Week 1 gives us one of the most exciting new teams against a team that last year aimed to take the excitement out of every game it played — and there are two very clear and distinctly different ways in which this game can be broken down. We have The Cardinals Perspective, and we have The Lions Perspective.
The Cardinals Perspective:
As you've heard by now, the Cardinals want to bring the air raid offense to the NFL – spreading out the field, playing fast, and putting constant strain on the defense. "Pace and space" is the way to think of . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Sep 8th 8:20pm Eastern

Steelers (
21.75) at

Patriots (
27.25)

Over/Under 49.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Steelers Run D
15th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O
17th DVOA/20th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
7th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O
6th DVOA/5th Yards per pass
Patriots Run D
3rd DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
26th DVOA/28th Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
23rd DVOA/28th Yards per pass

Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
— access Xandamere's "Mastering Showdowns" course here!
(highly recommended; the data work is stunning!)
_______
The first Sunday Night Football matchup of the 2019 season has the Steelers visiting the Patriots, with a healthy game total of 51 and the Pats 5.5 point favorites at home. The Steelers’ total looks low at first glance, but after really digging into this game I think it’s a pretty reasonable number, as Pittsburgh is likely to struggle to consistently move the ball in this one (especially if, or when, they fall behind).  . . .

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Kickoff Monday, Sep 9th 7:10pm Eastern

Texans (
22.75) at

Saints (
29.25)

Over/Under 52.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Texans Run D
6th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
23rd DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Texans Pass D
15th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
10th DVOA/15th Yards per pass
Saints Run D
17th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O
12th DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
20th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O
11th DVOA/10th Yards per pass

Showdown Slant ::
Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!
— access Xandamere's "Mastering Showdowns" course here!
The Texans visit the Saints in the Superdome in a game with a 52.5 total (too bad this wasn’t on the main slate!). The Saints are heavy home favorites; currently just shy of a touchdown. Unfortunately, Draftkings has chosen to make this Showdown a very small one, with just an 80k main tournament (vs. a 400k tournament for the Denver/Oakland game later the same night). But, we can still attack this game, and we can still try to find an edge so . . .

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Kickoff Monday, Sep 9th 10:20pm Eastern

Broncos (
22.5) at

Raiders (
20)

Over/Under 42.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Broncos Run D
19th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O
13th DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
16th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O
21st DVOA/24th Yards per pass
Raiders Run D
9th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
14th DVOA/15th Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D
27th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
21st DVOA/23rd Yards per pass

Showdown Slant ::

Presented by top Showdown mind Xandamere!

— access Xandamere's "Mastering Showdowns" course here!

Week 1 wraps up with one of the lower scoring games of the week in which the drama around Antonio Brown might end up being more interesting than the game itself. This one opened at 43.0 with the Raiders favored by about a field goal and has switched since the AB news, with the Broncos now short road favorites. The Raiders are a disaster of a team, with PFF giving them bottom-quartile rankings for their offensive line, defensive line, secondary, and pass rush . . .

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