Our Blog


NFL DFS Trenches Report: Finding an Edge For Week 13 Contests

Projecting line play — or the line’s impact on fantasy scoring — is one of the more challenging tasks in all of DFS.

While quantitative measures exist, they can be lacking to an extent. On the player level, grading services like Pro Football Focus are notoriously challenged with offensive line play. It’s difficult to know which member of a line blew an assignment, for example.

Things are a bit easier on the team level, as assessing the unit’s overall success is more practical. From Week 5 on, I will be basing these selections almost entirely on Football Outsiders data, including pressure rate and adjusted line yards.

However, we’ll still be taking a glance at qualitative sources. Including The Action Network’s Brandon Anderson ranking all 32 NFL offensive lines. On the defensive side, PFF’s defensive line rankings will be the main source.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

The Data

Below is a table featuring every offense’s combined adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate combined with the opposing defensive units. Adjusted line yards are a Football Outsiders statistic that quantifies how much of a team’s rushing yards gained/allowed are attributable to the offensive or defensive lines. Adjusted sack rate measures sacks against down-and-distance rates to quantify how many more or fewer sacks on average a team is recording/allowing.

With adjusted line yards, higher numbers are better for the offensive unit. With adjusted sack rate, lower numbers are better. Both factors should be considered though. For example, a running back will score more fantasy points on average when his team’s passing attack is functioning well, and vise-versa for quarterbacks.

Starting in Week 5, these numbers became matchup adjusted, which should make them far more efficient. Each week, they become slightly more predictive. However, they don’t take injuries into account, so keeping up on those are important. Also, keep in mind that adjusted sack rate takes into account sacks, not pressures.

Therefore quarterback play heavily influences the offensive side of the statistic.

Strong Offensive Line Matchups

Las Vegas Raiders OL (#1 in Combined Line Yards, #8 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Los Angeles Chargers DL

We highlighted the Raiders last week, and anybody who followed that advice and started Josh Jacobs was rewarded for it. As usual, the Raiders are jumping off the page as one of the better matchups, thanks to their league-leading adjusted line yards metric.

It’s a better than usual spot, taking on a Chargers team that ranks 28th in adjusted line yards defensively. Additionally, the Chargers’ relatively poor pass rush means the Raiders look decent in pass blocking as well.

With that said, Jacobs should still be the primary focus for DFS. The solid pass blocking should lift the offense overall, giving Jacobs more opportunities to pick up rushing touchdowns. It’s not a bad spot for the passing attack, but this offense flows through their ground game.

Detroit Lions OL (#13 in Combined Line Yards, #1 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars DL

The Lions are another team that usually has more success on the ground, but this week’s matchup will make that a bit trickier. The Jaguars rank eighth in adjusted line yards — but dead last in adjusted sack rate on the season. This is reflected in their overall defensive DVOA as well, where they rank 13th against the run but 30th against the pass.

As we’ve highlighted before, Jared Goff is one of the more pressure-sensitive quarterbacks in the league. We want to avoid him in spots where he’ll be under duress. That puts him in a great position this week.

This game has a total north of 50; Goff is exceedingly cheap and has an obvious stacking partner in Amon-Ra St. Brown. All of that adds to the appeal of the pass-blocking to make him one of the top GPP options at quarterback this week.

Green Bay Packers OL (#3 in Combined Line Yards, #4 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Chicago Bears DL

The Packers’ offensive line should control this game in both pass-blocking and run-blocking against a terrible Bears defensive front. That part isn’t really in question, but how to turn that into fantasy production is.

The Packers are slight favorites in a game with just a 43.5 total, so it’s not exactly the best offensive environment. They also have a split backfield to a degree, and Aaron Rodgers hasn’t topped 21 DraftKings points in a game all season. None of which gives us much confidence for DFS.

However, it could be a good week to take a swing on Aaron Jones. While he’s ceding carries to AJ Dillon, Jones is still heavily involved in the passing game. He’s generally good for a couple of monster games a season — like the last time they played the Bears when Jones topped 35 DraftKings points.

Strong Defensive Line Matchups

Green Bay Packers DL (#1 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Chicago Bears OL

Whoever plays the Bears generally tops this list — the Bears adjusted sack rate being far ahead of any other team. The difference between the 32nd-ranked Bears and 31st-ranked Colts is the same as the difference between the Colts and the Packers — who rank number six.

Green Bay is just $3,000 this week, so they should be a popular defense choice regardless of who plays quarterback for the Bears. Justin Fields is questionable again, but he’s just as mistake-prone as Trevor Siemian. While Fields raises the floor of the offense, he contributes just as much in terms of sacks and turnovers — which is what we’re hunting with our DST selections.

Philadelphia Eagles (#2 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Tennessee Titans OL

This one is a bit tougher, with the run-funnel Eagles taking on Derrick Henry and the Titans in the month of DeHenber. The game script will be important here because the Eagles’ front should feast if the Titans are forced to throw the ball.

Everything points in the same direction here, with the Titans better at run blocking and the Eagles better at rushing the passer. If playing Philadelphia at $3,800, consider pairing them with some Eagles offensive pieces. A situation where the Eagles defense puts up a big score probably means the offense got off to a big lead.

While it’s unconventional, that could even mean Jalen Hurts. The usual move is to pair a defense with a running back, but Hurts provides so much of the Eagles’ production on the ground that he’s a logical option here too.

DFS Props Monkey Knife Fight

Get $100 Sign-up Bonus!

Sign up with promo code LABS

Make your first deposit up to $100

Pick DFS Props!

Projecting line play — or the line’s impact on fantasy scoring — is one of the more challenging tasks in all of DFS.

While quantitative measures exist, they can be lacking to an extent. On the player level, grading services like Pro Football Focus are notoriously challenged with offensive line play. It’s difficult to know which member of a line blew an assignment, for example.

Things are a bit easier on the team level, as assessing the unit’s overall success is more practical. From Week 5 on, I will be basing these selections almost entirely on Football Outsiders data, including pressure rate and adjusted line yards.

However, we’ll still be taking a glance at qualitative sources. Including The Action Network’s Brandon Anderson ranking all 32 NFL offensive lines. On the defensive side, PFF’s defensive line rankings will be the main source.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

The Data

Below is a table featuring every offense’s combined adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate combined with the opposing defensive units. Adjusted line yards are a Football Outsiders statistic that quantifies how much of a team’s rushing yards gained/allowed are attributable to the offensive or defensive lines. Adjusted sack rate measures sacks against down-and-distance rates to quantify how many more or fewer sacks on average a team is recording/allowing.

With adjusted line yards, higher numbers are better for the offensive unit. With adjusted sack rate, lower numbers are better. Both factors should be considered though. For example, a running back will score more fantasy points on average when his team’s passing attack is functioning well, and vise-versa for quarterbacks.

Starting in Week 5, these numbers became matchup adjusted, which should make them far more efficient. Each week, they become slightly more predictive. However, they don’t take injuries into account, so keeping up on those are important. Also, keep in mind that adjusted sack rate takes into account sacks, not pressures.

Therefore quarterback play heavily influences the offensive side of the statistic.

Strong Offensive Line Matchups

Las Vegas Raiders OL (#1 in Combined Line Yards, #8 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Los Angeles Chargers DL

We highlighted the Raiders last week, and anybody who followed that advice and started Josh Jacobs was rewarded for it. As usual, the Raiders are jumping off the page as one of the better matchups, thanks to their league-leading adjusted line yards metric.

It’s a better than usual spot, taking on a Chargers team that ranks 28th in adjusted line yards defensively. Additionally, the Chargers’ relatively poor pass rush means the Raiders look decent in pass blocking as well.

With that said, Jacobs should still be the primary focus for DFS. The solid pass blocking should lift the offense overall, giving Jacobs more opportunities to pick up rushing touchdowns. It’s not a bad spot for the passing attack, but this offense flows through their ground game.

Detroit Lions OL (#13 in Combined Line Yards, #1 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars DL

The Lions are another team that usually has more success on the ground, but this week’s matchup will make that a bit trickier. The Jaguars rank eighth in adjusted line yards — but dead last in adjusted sack rate on the season. This is reflected in their overall defensive DVOA as well, where they rank 13th against the run but 30th against the pass.

As we’ve highlighted before, Jared Goff is one of the more pressure-sensitive quarterbacks in the league. We want to avoid him in spots where he’ll be under duress. That puts him in a great position this week.

This game has a total north of 50; Goff is exceedingly cheap and has an obvious stacking partner in Amon-Ra St. Brown. All of that adds to the appeal of the pass-blocking to make him one of the top GPP options at quarterback this week.

Green Bay Packers OL (#3 in Combined Line Yards, #4 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Chicago Bears DL

The Packers’ offensive line should control this game in both pass-blocking and run-blocking against a terrible Bears defensive front. That part isn’t really in question, but how to turn that into fantasy production is.

The Packers are slight favorites in a game with just a 43.5 total, so it’s not exactly the best offensive environment. They also have a split backfield to a degree, and Aaron Rodgers hasn’t topped 21 DraftKings points in a game all season. None of which gives us much confidence for DFS.

However, it could be a good week to take a swing on Aaron Jones. While he’s ceding carries to AJ Dillon, Jones is still heavily involved in the passing game. He’s generally good for a couple of monster games a season — like the last time they played the Bears when Jones topped 35 DraftKings points.

Strong Defensive Line Matchups

Green Bay Packers DL (#1 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Chicago Bears OL

Whoever plays the Bears generally tops this list — the Bears adjusted sack rate being far ahead of any other team. The difference between the 32nd-ranked Bears and 31st-ranked Colts is the same as the difference between the Colts and the Packers — who rank number six.

Green Bay is just $3,000 this week, so they should be a popular defense choice regardless of who plays quarterback for the Bears. Justin Fields is questionable again, but he’s just as mistake-prone as Trevor Siemian. While Fields raises the floor of the offense, he contributes just as much in terms of sacks and turnovers — which is what we’re hunting with our DST selections.

Philadelphia Eagles (#2 in Combined Sack Rate) vs. Tennessee Titans OL

This one is a bit tougher, with the run-funnel Eagles taking on Derrick Henry and the Titans in the month of DeHenber. The game script will be important here because the Eagles’ front should feast if the Titans are forced to throw the ball.

Everything points in the same direction here, with the Titans better at run blocking and the Eagles better at rushing the passer. If playing Philadelphia at $3,800, consider pairing them with some Eagles offensive pieces. A situation where the Eagles defense puts up a big score probably means the offense got off to a big lead.

While it’s unconventional, that could even mean Jalen Hurts. The usual move is to pair a defense with a running back, but Hurts provides so much of the Eagles’ production on the ground that he’s a logical option here too.

DFS Props Monkey Knife Fight

Get $100 Sign-up Bonus!

Sign up with promo code LABS

Make your first deposit up to $100

Pick DFS Props!