The 2015 NFL regular season is in the books.
Twelve teams are playoff bound. Some entrants are to no one’s surprise while others might have you scratching your head.
The 2015 season was fun to watch, unless you were a Cowboys fan (how about that, I am!). The Jets forgot what winning was like and missed out on the postseason, despite fulfilling the win column with 10 victories, enough wins warranting of a postseason berth.
Anyway, this weekend is Wild Card week and 8 of the 12 playoff teams will begin the road to the Super Bowl (did you know Coldplay is the halftime performance this year? Feel like that’s flown under the radar).
In the AFC, the Broncos and Pats skipped the first round while the Chiefs and Texans take on one another in Houston and the Bengals/Steelers rumble for the third time this season.
In the NFC, the Panthers and Cardinals get a week off, and ultimately look like the two best teams in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Vikings host Seattle and the Packers head on over to the nation’s capital to face the Redskins.
There’s an odd feel to this year’s postseason. The AFC is completely up-for-grabs, in my opinion. Although I wouldn’t bet against Tom Brady, the Patriots came into the postseason limping. The Broncos, the No. 1 seed, somehow don’t know who their starting quarterback is going to be. The Chiefs and Texans will duel it out in what should be a defensive struggle while the Steelers and Bengals, who have an outside shot at getting Andy Dalton back, are division foes facing each other for a third time. This wouldn’t happen in Major League Baseball’s wild card round (before the addition of more teams).
The NFC looks like a sure thing though. I can’t see a scenario where the Panthers and Cardinals aren’t in the NFC Championship. Though the Seahawks are the sneakiest of teams to make some noise now that it appears Marshawn Lynch is set to return (but is that a good thing?)
I hope you enjoy Wild Card Weekend and enjoy the time that is left in the football season. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate when football season is over. I am not a huge NBA person and baseball holds my attention for only so long (unless the Rangers are in contention).
Let’s review Week 17 and look ahead to the Wild Card round. Only a couple more of these articles left in the 2015-16 season!
Did I mention yet how much I hate when football season is over?
|Week 17||Opening O/U||Opening Spread||Opening ML||Closing O/U||Closing Spread||Closing ML||Projected Score||Final Score||Grade|
|NY Jets at Buffalo||43||-1.5 – NYJ||-150 – NYJ||41||-3 – NYJ||-150 – NYJ||22 – 19 – NYJ||22 – 17 – Buf||5 pts. – B|
|New England at Miami||45||-8 – NE||-550 – NE||46.5||-10 – NE||-450 – NE||28.25 – 18.25 – NE||20 – 10 – Mia||-2 pts. – F|
|New Orleans at Atlanta||52||-1.5 – Atl||-205 – Atl||53.5||-6 – Atl||-245 – Atl||29.75 – 23.75 – Atl||20 – 17 – NO||-2 pts. – F|
|Baltimore at Cincinnati||42.5||-7 – Cin||-280 – Cin||40.5||-9.5 – Cin||-420 – Cin||25 – 15.5 – Cin||24 – 16 – Cin||8 pts. – A|
|Pittsburgha at Cleveland||47||-8.5 – Pit||-400 – Pit||47||-13 – Pit||-750 – Pit||30 – 17 – Pit||28 – 12 – Pit||5 pts. – B|
|Jacksonville at Houston||45||-5.5 – Hou||-275 – Hou||45||-5.5 – Hou||-240 – Hou||25.25 – 19.75 – Hou||30 – 6 – Hou||2 pts. – D|
|Tennessee at Indianapolis||38.5||-6 – Ind||-168 – Ind||39||-4.5 – Ind||-225 – Ind||21.75 – 17.25 – Ind||30 – 24 – Ind||3 pts. – C|
|Washington at Dallas||40||-4 – Dal||-160 – Dal||41||-3 – Dal||-170 – Dal||22 – 19 – Dal||34 – 23 – Was||1 pt. – F|
|Philadelphia at NY Giants||52||-3.5 – NYG||-170 – NYG||51||-3.5 – NYG||-190 – NYG||27.25 – 23.75 – NYG||35 – 30 – Phi||1 pt. – F|
|Detroit at Chicago||45||-1.5 – Chi||-125 – Chi||45||-2.5 – Det||-140 – Det||23.75 – 21.25 – Det||24 – 20 – Det||5 pts. – B|
|Tampa Bay at Carolina||47||-9.5 – Car||-420 – Car||44||-10 – Car||-410 – Car||27 – 17 – Car||38 – 10 – Car||4 pts. – B|
|Oakland at Kansas City||43.5||-6.5 – KC||-265 – KC||44||-7 – KC||-300 – KC||25.5 – 18.5 – KC||23 – 17 – KC||6 pts. – B|
|San Diego at Denver||40||-7.5 – Den||-280 – Den||42||-10 – Den||-450 – Den||26 – 16 – Den||27 – 20 – Den||6 pts. – B|
|Seattle at Arizona||46.5||-3.5 – Ari||-170 – Ari||47||-6 – Ari||-245 – Ari||26.5 – 20.5 – Ari||36 – 6 – Sea||0 pts. – F|
|St. Louis at San Francisco||37.5||-3.5 – Stl||-165 – Stl||38.5||-3 – Stl||-160 – Stl||20.75 – 17.75 – Stl||19 – 16 – SF||4 pts. – B|
|Minnesota at Green Bay||48.5||-3 – GB||-155 – GB||44||-3 – GB||-150 – GB||23.25 – 20.25 – GB||20 – 13 – Min||2 pts. – D|
The final week of the season saw all teams locked into divisional matchups. The biggest trophy on the line this week — in games deciding a team’s fate for the other — was the NFC North Division title.
Minnesota went into Green Bay Sunday night and hammered the Packers. By hammer, I mean they put a plug in the Packers’ drowning offense and controlled the game from the beginning (though there was a point toward the end where the Vikings were fumbling and trying to let GB back into it).
Minnesota won the division, meaning they got to host Seattle the following week. A loss would’ve meant returning to GB, which I think played better to the Viking’s strengths than a red-hot Seattle team does.
As for the Jets and Steelers, the outcome of these games relief upon each other in a way. Despite being favorite to go into Buffalo, the Jets floundered and needed the Steelers to lose to get into the playoffs. That didn’t happen. The Steelers needed the Jets to lose and to beat Billy Manziel’s Browns (sorry, had to take a shot).
Two of the top three point-projected games fell flat. I can’t say I am surprised. Despite the New Orleans Saints’ woes, the Falcons still couldn’t muster more than 17 points, and then allowed the Saints to beat them in their own stadium on the last week of the season.
Minny and GB was the other game that fell flat on the point projection. Meanwhile, the Eagles and Giants were able to score lots of points, but none of that was because of Odell Beckham, Jr., who many thought would go off after his suspension, including myself.
Dallas and Washington played to surprising point total, but Washington got up big early and rested its starters. The Skins’ then made Kellen Moore look like an all-pro as he tossed for more than 400 yards and 4 TDs in the loss.
Divisional games haven’t met a lot of expectations this season, and for this week, only 5 games hit the over (see below).
Seattle was a surprise, hanging 36 on Arizona, who might have checked out due to the fact it really didn’t have much to play for.
The most comical event to happen, to me, was the return of Peyton Manning in Denver. He relived Brock Osweiler of his starting QB duties and led the Broncos to victory. Now the top seed in the AFC has questions abound for who is going to start at QB in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs.
I think Denver is doomed before it ever again. The last thing you want for your team in the postseason (outside of a major injury) is to have question marks at the quarterback position. I personally would give Manning one last run. The way I see it is Osweiler isn’t ready yet (if he ever will be), and Manning has the experience. Chicken parm, you taste so good?
Now moving on to the grades for Week 17…
|Scale||Week 17 Grades||Total Grades|
|1 or less – F||A – 1||A – 10|
|2 – D||B – 7||B – 76|
|3 – C||C – 1||C – 45|
|4-6 – B||D – 2||D – 50|
|7-8 – A||F – 5||F – 56|
Another “A” in the book this week. Another 8-point perfection from the Cincinnati/Baltimore game to be exact. Also seven Bs with 6 games falling beneath a credible grade.
As you can see, we had just 10 As for the year. This was the first year of this article and should fate have me back, grading parameters will definitely be reviewed to maybe balance things out a bit. As were fairly difficult to achieve, maybe too difficult.
With that said, Bs and Cs are very respectable and Vegas came through with those grades quite often.
|Wild Card Round||Opening O/U||Opening Spread||Opening ML|
|Seahawks at Vikings||42||-5 – Sea||-210 – Sea|
|Chiefs at Texans||41||-3 – KC||-157 – KC|
|Packers at Redskins||47||-1.5 – Was||-120 – Was|
|Steelers at Bengals||45.5||-1- Cin||-132 – Pit|
We have four games on the slate for Wild Card weekend. I can honestly say, even with the game previews and research I’ve done this week, I still don’t have a full, firm grasp on this week’s outcomes and DFS plays. Vegas seemed to feel the same way in three of the four games when lines dropped earlier this week.
This is the part where we discuss what I am buying and selling for DFS purposes. These plays could be for either tournament or cash-game plays..
Kansas City at Houston – Saturday, January 9 – 4:20 p.m. et
Buying – DeAndre Hopkins – WR – Texans – “Nuk” is my top play at WR this week, and I say that more for tournaments than cash games. The reason I say this is I believe he goes underowned more than he should. Both running games in this contest, on paper, should struggle to move the ball. The Chiefs have shown susceptibility to the pass at times, allowing 231 yards per game through the air. Brian Hoyer has been feeding Hopkins all year long. With many flocking to Antonio Brown at the elite price point at WR, I like Hopkins to exceed Brown in fantasy points and low ownership levels.
Selling – Running backs – I already mentioned that I believe running games struggle. Houston and Kansas City are top 10 in yards allowed. Charcandrick West will get the volume, but they will be difficult yards to come back. You can’t count on just one Houston running back either. I am not a fan of RBs here and with the low projected totals, defense looks to be king.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati – Saturday, January 9 – 8:15 p.m. et
Buying – A.J. Green – WR – Bengals – Are you surprised? He’s arguably the top WR play on the board this week. Green has roasted the Steelers secondary, which boasts poor play from its quarterbacks. The Bengals’ ability to run the ball looks bleak, and if playing behind as the narrative predicts, A.J. McCarron should be looking Green’s way a ton. If you don’t like Green for tournaments because of ownership, then I suggest paying for Tyler Eifert at TE.
Selling – Antonio Brown – WR – Steelers – Saying you are selling Antonio Brown is a tough thing to say. It’s the playoffs. It’s Antonio Brown. But, the Bengals have shown time and time again this season that they can shut down top receivers. They’ve done it to Brown twice. Am I saying you should fade Brown? Nope. I am just saying temper your expectations for his ceiling. In two games this year, Brown has just 13 catches for 134 yards and 0 touchdowns. It’s possible he gets double-digit points thanks to PPR, but TDs and yards might be more difficult to come by. Pivoting to Martavis Bryant might be wise after Ben Roethlisberger called him out this week.Also, A.J. Green.
Seattle at Minnesota – Sunday, January 10 – 1:05 p.m. et
Buying – Kyle Rudolph – TE – Vikings – It’s no secret that the Seahawks perform almost every facet of the game very well. It shouldn’t be a secret that their weakness is stopping TEs. Rudolph hasn’t been a huge part of the passing game, but in a game where Adrian Peterson could be limited and if the Vikings are trailing (as they should be), Teddy B. could be looking Rudolph’s way to move the ball. If I am playing Vikings, I am playing Rudolph in tournaments.
Selling – Adrian Peterson – RB – Vikings – It’s a tough matchup and the Seahawks are red hot. Peterson will get his usage and could be extra motivated in a home playoff game, but Seattle is arguably the hottest team coming in. The Hawks are pretty heavily favored going in and the Vikes could be playing from behind, limiting his usage out of the backfield in passing situations. Marshawn Lynch is returning and stopping the run is the Vikings’ weakness (unless you are Eddie Lacy in Week 17). Lynch would be a great pivot.
Green Bay at Washington – Sunday, January 10 – 4:40 p.m. et
Buying – James Jones – WR – Packers – The Redskins have the weakest pass defense on the board (258 yards per game allowed) and James Jones is seeing great volume in targets (7, 9, 11, 13) from Aaron Rodgers the past four games. Give me that All. Day. Long.
Selling – Randall Cobb – WR – Packers – I have been on the Cobb bandwagon all year long. I thought this would be a breakout year for him and he would step up in place of Jordy Nelson….nope. While Jones is trending upward, Cobb continue to stay int he DFS cellar. If a guy the Packers picked up during the season has more trust from Aaron Rodgers, that should tell you about Randall Cobb’s production for your daily lineups.The targets are there, but the fantasy points are not. (I probably just jinxed Cobb and he will now go off for 10 catches, 250 yards and 3 TDs).
|O vs. U – 5-11||O vs. U – 110-119-5|
|Favorite vs. Underdog – 8-8||Favorite vs. Underdog – 143-87-1|
|Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 0-0||Team Wins with <120 Money Line – 6-1|
|Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 0-0||Team Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 15-20|
|Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 1-3||Team Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 21-12|
|Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 0-2||Team Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 14-11|
|Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 2-2||Team Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 46-23|
|Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 4-1||Team Wins with 300+ Money Line – 42-16|
|Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 6-4||Spread Increased, Favorite Won -79-42|
|Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 2-0||Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 35-37|
|Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 1-2||Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 22-7|
|High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Pts. – 1-1||High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Points – 25-27|
|Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 1-2||Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 13-19|
|Divisional Games O vs. U – 5-11||Divisional Games O vs. U – 37-46-1|
|Division O/U 48+ O vs. U – 1-1||Division O/U 48+ O vs. U – 7-10|
|Division O/U 42-47.5 O vs. U – 1-8||Division O/U 42-47.5 O vs. U – 24-29-1|
|Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U – 1-1||Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U – 4-3|
For the year, the constant spread numbers were the most consistent stat all year long in the records section of WHIV (WHIV, WHIV it good! It took this long to come up with that acronym…).
That stat did go 1-2 in Week 17, but for the year it had a 76 percent success rate, something worth banking on in the future.
Divisional games aren’t to be trusted. You are playing with fire expecting this games to hit the over every time. Sure, it happens, but not as much as you might think.
Unfortunately, the same goes for projected high scoring games in general. I would have loved to have seen more consistency with these games, but at 48 percent success, these games aren’t as reliable as we would like for DFS (hey, this isn’t supposed to be easy anyway).
As for money lines, this is where we can put some of our trust. Favorites with MLs at -300 or more were very reliable in predictability. Relying on projections for these games is a rather wise practice at a 73 percent success rate.
Lastly, take a look at Vegas’ record predictions versus the actual regular season records.
|Team||Vegas Records Through Week 17||Actual Records Through Week 17|
|Atlanta Falcons||9 – 6 – 1||8 – 8|
|Arizona Cardinals||15 – 1||13 – 3|
|Baltimore Ravens||8 – 8||5 – 11|
|Buffalo Bills||6 – 8 – 1||8 – 8|
|Carolina Panthers||13 – 3||15 – 1|
|Chicago Bears||2 – 14||6 – 10|
|Cincinnati Bengals||12 – 3 – 1||12 – 4|
|Cleveland Browns||4 – 12||3 – 13|
|Dallas Cowboys||6 – 10||4 – 12|
|Denver Broncos||12 – 4||12 – 4|
|Detroit Lions||5 – 11||7 – 9|
|Green Bay Packers||14 – 2||10 – 6|
|Houston Texans||8 – 8||8 – 8|
|Indianapolis Colts||8 – 8||8 – 8|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||3 – 13||5 – 11|
|Kansas City Chiefs||11 – 5||11 – 5|
|Miami Dolphins||6 – 10||7 – 9|
|Minnesota Vikings||9 – 7||11 – 5|
|New England Patriots||16 – 0||12 – 4|
|New Orleans Saints||6 – 10||7 – 9|
|New York Giants||8 – 8||6 – 10|
|New York Jets||13 – 3||10 – 6|
|Oakland Raiders||5 – 11||7 – 9|
|Philadelphia Eagles||9 – 7||7 – 9|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||7 – 8 – 1||11 – 5|
|San Diego Chargers||6 – 10||4 – 12|
|San Francisco 49ers||1 – 15||5 – 11|
|Seattle Seahawks||13 – 2||8 – 7|
|St. Louis Rams||8 – 8||7 – 9|
|Tampa Bay Buccanneers||4 – 11 – 1||6 – 10|
|Tennessee Titans||3 – 12 – 1||3 – 13|
|Washington Redskins||4 – 12||9 – 7|
Good luck everyone. I shall be back next week for the Divisional Round. Hit me up on Twitter if you wish or comment below. Please let me know how valuable or invaluable this article has been each week. Also, suggestions on the future of this article also welcomed!