Welcome to Week 10 of Deconstructing the Vegas Betting Lines. Along with the new time slot, we’re going to go through the projections a little differently going forward, with an eye on simplifying them. The gist is the same:
- We’re breaking the implied team total into three scoring types — passing, rushing, and kicking points.
- To do this, we’re leveraging the rates at which teams score their points and opposing defenses concede them in each phase of the game.
For regular readers, the changes you’ll see are using a single projection method and combining the offensive and defensive rates into a single “Matchup %” rate. The latter takes the percentage of total points scored and conceded by the offense and opposing defense in a given phase, such as passing, and averages the two. Those rates are applied to the implied team total for passing, rushing, and kicking points projections.
One last note is the defense/special teams points have been removed, as that is the one phase where deconstructing proved to provide no material advantage. As always, consult the NFL homepage for more information on individual matchups that stand out. Also, consult the Vegas page for any line movement. Let’s jump into the Week 10 deconstructions.
Passing Scoring and Notes
2017 League Average Passing Touchdown Points Rate: 40.7 percent
Note: Lines pulled from Sports Insights on November 7.
Coming off three straight 20-point outings by DraftKings scoring, Matthew Stafford has seen a salary bump to $6800 and $8200 on DraftKings and FanDuel, respectively. It’s the highest of the season for him on DraftKings and second highest on FanDuel, and the matchup with a Browns team allowing two passing touchdowns per game (tied for third most in the league) is a likely contributor.
Over the past three games, Marvin Jones has averaged 12 targets and has three total touchdowns, accounting for a 28 percent share of the team’s targets. Golden Tate has played his three lowest snap rates of the season in those games due to a shoulder injury suffered in Week 6, and he has still racked up an 18 percent share of his own. Rookie Kenny Golladay might also be ready to return, and he actually out-targeted Jones 15 to 13 across the three games he played earlier this year. Jones’ salary has reached a 2017 high on both sites, but it’s hard to see him sustaining the target volume once the receiving corps around him is healthier.
Tom Brady returns from the bye to face a reeling Denver defense. After averaging 350 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns over the season’s first four games, Brady averaged a more pedestrian 286 and 1.5 over the last four. The Patriots’ defense has done a better job of keeping opposing offenses off the scoreboard, and the Patriots have hit four straight unders while winning each game.
There are competing issues here. The defense has still allowed nearly 400 yards of total offense per game during that stretch, just 25.25 fewer yards than it allowed in the first four games. On the other hand, the Broncos’ offense has moved to Brock Osweiler for the time being. The Patriots are 7.5-point road favorites in their lowest-totaled game of the year at 46 points. The Patriots still have a strong implied team total and passing points projection, but their upside might be tied to the Broncos’ offense. The top stacking option for Brady is Rob Gronkowski, given the Broncos’ league-high +5.3 Opponent Plus/Minus against the tight end position.
Among cheaper quarterback options, Ryan Fitzpatrick has a less-than-ideal implied total of 19.5 points but a plus matchup. The Jets’ defense has allowed a league-high 55.1 percent of points via passing touchdowns.
Among those touchdowns, the Jets have allowed 11 to wide receivers and six to tight ends, both good for second most in the league. With a suspended Mike Evans, the Models love DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, and Cameron Brate.
Rushing Scoring and Notes
2017 League Average Rushing Touchdown Points Rate: 19.2 percent
The Saints, who have been a fixture in this article recently, continue to have strong rushing touchdown equity. While their team total of 24.5 is a little lower given a road matchup with Buffalo, the matchup is pristine against one of just two teams allowing more rushing touchdowns than passing. Alvin Kamara has converted each of his two inside-the-10 rush attempts for scores over the past two weeks, while Mark Ingram‘s scoring streak ended at three games in Week 9. From Week 6 to Week 8, he converted four rushing touchdowns of 12 yards or shorter and is still the likely lead goal-line back.
Indianapolis has conceded a league-high 10 rushing touchdowns, and Le’Veon Bell comes off a bye to face them as a 10-point road favorite at Lucas Oil Stadium. Bell handled 30 or more carries in three of the five games before the bye, which matches the combined number of 30-carry games for all other running backs in the NFL. He’s in a great spot to build on the five rushing touchdowns he’s scored in the last six games.
The Josh McCown-Fitzpatrick Jets-Bucs duel has a low total, but it has bumped up to 41.5 points from opening at 41. The Jets are 2.5-point road favorites and carry a strong early rushing points projection. It’s a line to monitor as there are potentially strong touchdown projections on both sides with the aforementioned passing equity for the Bucs.
Matt Forte scored on five- and 10-yard rushes in Week 9 while Bilal Powell played just 15 offensive snaps. Should the Jets stay favored to game time, Forte will be worth a look at $4,400 on DraftKings and $5,600 on FanDuel.
Kicking Scoring and Notes
2017 League Average Kicking Points Rate: 33.4 percent
The top projected kickers were underwhelming in Week 9, but if you took the advice to fade the chalk with Mike Nugent in favor of similarly-priced Josh Lambo, you were pleased. Lambo out-scored Nugent 13 to four.
For the season, the 45 kickers recommended in this article (five each week) have averaged a +0.97 Plus/Minus. This week’s top kickers are Greg Zuerlein, Ryan Succop, Chris Boswell, Stephen Gostkowski, and Matt Bryant. Succop might fly a bit under the radar on account of having a lower team total than the others have, but his opponent (Cincinnati) has allowed the highest rate of points via the kicking game, more than 13 percentage points above the league average.
Ben Gretch is the Senior Fantasy Analyst at RotoViz, where he authors the weekly column Stealing Signals.