Week 8 will see one of the remaining undefeated teams take a bow.
In the Mile High City, Peyton Manning and the Broncos welcome in Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Both teams are looking to stay undefeated. Barring a tie (yea, that’s not happening), one team will come away unscathed, while the other will cry wee wee wee all the home.
Two years ago this matchup would have DFS players licking their chops, but with the obvious decline in Peyton’s ability, a stout Denver and Green Bay defenses, this matchup, at least for me, isn’t prime for a huge fantasy outburst from many of the star players on each team.
The Packers and Broncos have been susceptible to the run this year, but both have been able to handle their own in the passing game, especially the Broncos.
So how will these teams score their points? The passing games could struggle against the opposing defense and each team’s running games are in disarray. Eddie Lacy….remember him? Even in the most salivating of matchups against the Chargers two weeks ago, he was unable to muster more than a couple of waddles near the offensive line. James Starks outshined him, rushing for more than 100 yards on just 10 carries.
As for the Broncos, their stud running back has looked anything bud studly. After a glorious year in 2014, C.J. Anderson, it appears, has lost his starting job to Ronnie Hillman, who has been taking first-team reps all week in practice. He too has had his opportunity to sustain a starting nod, but he hasn’t set the world ablaze. He does have a 74-yard TD run and has rushed for more than 100 yards this season, so there is optimism that he can be functional behind that dreadful horses behind of an offensive line in Denver.
We shall see. I feel this might be one of the more competitive NFL weeks of the season based on matchups. Outside of Houston/Tennessee and San Fran and St. Louis, I am excited to see how the rest of the games play out. But we will get to that in just a bit. First, let’s review Week 7!
Reminder, if you are unsure of how the grading system works, here is the chart.
|Week 7||Opening O/U||Opening Spread||Opening ML||Closing O/U||Closing Spread||Closing ML||Projected Score||Final Score||Grade|
|Atlanta at Tennessee||48||-3 – Atl||-186 – Atl||45.5||-6 – Atl||-250 – Atl||25.75 – 19.75 – Atl||10 – 7 – Atl||4 pts. – B|
|Houston at Miami||43||-3.5 – Mia||-250 – Mia||46||-4.5 – Mia||-220 – Mia||25.25 – 20.75 – Mia||44 – 26 – Mia||2 pts. – D|
|Cleveland at St. Louis||42.5||-4.5 – Stl||-250 – Stl||43.5||-6 – Stl||-250 – Stl||24.75 – 18.75 – Stl||24 – 6 – Stl||2 pts. – D|
|New Orleans at Indianapolis||52.5||-4 – Ind||239 – Ind||53||-5.5 – Ind||-240 – Ind||29.25 – 23.75 – Ind||27 – 21 – NO||1 pt. – F|
|Minnesota at Detroit||44||-2.5 – Min||-135 – Min||44.5||-1 – Det||-120 – Det||22.75 – 21.75 – Det||28 – 19 – Min||5 pts. – B|
|Tampa Bay at Washington||45.5||-4 – Wash||-210 – Wash||41.5||-3 – Wash||-150 – Wash||22.25 – 19.25 – Wash||31 – 30 – Wash||2 pts. – D|
|New York Jets at New England||49||-9.5 – NE||-437 – NE||47.5||-7 – NE||-320 – NE||27.25 – 20.25 – NE||30 – 23 – NE||4 pts. – B|
|Pittsburgh at Kansas City||43||-2 – Pitt||-126 – Pitt||41.5||-3 – KC||-180 – KC||22.25 – 19.25 – KC||23 – 13 – KC||4 pts. – B|
|Oakland at San Diego||47||-4 – SD||-235 – SD||48.5||-3.5 – SD||-180 – SD||26 – 22.5 – SD||37 – 29 – Oak||2 pts. – D|
|Dallas at NY Giants||48||-5 – NYG||-265 – NYG||44.5||-3 – NYG||-165 – NYG||23.75 – 20.75 – NYG||27 – 20 – NYG||5 pts. – B|
|Philadelphia at Carolina||47||-3 – Car||-181 – Car||46||-3 – Car||-140 – Car||24.5 – 21.5 – Car||27 – 16 – Car||5 pts. – B|
|Baltimore at Arizona||49||-7 – Ari||-391 – Ari||49.5||-10 – Ari||-500 – Ari||29.75 – 19.75 – Ari||26-18 – Ari||4 pts. – B|
In the buying and selling portion (see below) from last week, I was spot on except for the Pats/Jets O/U. I felt that game would’ve seen a lower overall point total, instead it was about spot on. What wasn’t surprising was the Patriots getting the victory and staying undefeated.
As for the remaining buys and sells, they hit the mark. As for the rest of Week 7, we finally have started to witness what we expected Miami to be from the start of the season. They put a thumping on the Texans, who might be the most underperforming team in all of the NFL outside of Baltimore.
Oakland has been a huge surprise this season under Jack del Rio and Amari Cooper is a clear-cut star receiver that will be at the top of everyone’s draft boards in 2016. The 1-2-3 punch of Carr, Cooper and Latavius Murray have proven dividends so far, and they went on the road and dominated the Chargers.
Carolina, Giants, Cardinals, St. Louis, Chiefs and Atlanta all were favorites to win and all did just that.
Then there’s the Indianapolis Colts. For me, they are the most frustrating team to watch right now. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but for some reason he’s fond of giving the other team extra opportunities like a “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” The Colts also have two solid receivers in Moncrief and Hilton, two capable TEs and old reliable Frank Gore. The turnovers are killing this team and they almost were able to pull off a huge comeback last week.
Their defense is a clear weakness, but Vontae Davis is still a top-flight cover corner. Things get much more difficult this week on the road in Carolina on Sunday night. This is the perfect storm to see the Colts come back to life and keep the Panthers on their toes though I personally feel the Panthers roll again and force Luck into awkward situations like a first date missing “the spark.”
Oh and the Colts are in first place in their division despite being 3-4. The Texans, Jags and Titans are all well in the hunt for the AFC South title.
Next we take a look at Vegas’ grades from Week 7, which check out very well.
|Scale||Week 7 Grades||Total Grades|
|1 or less – F||A – 0||A – 4|
|2 – D||B – 7||B – 29|
|3 – C||C – 0||C – 21|
|4-6 – B||D – 4||D – 29|
|7-8 – A||F – 1||F – 15|
While Vegas did not record an A this week, it did have just 1 F bomb and a whopping 7 Bs. The quadruple Ds are a little much, but 7 out of 12 games received solid projections. I think Vegas will continue to improve its accuracy as the season progresses.
As Bill Parcells has said, and I’m paraphrasing here, teams are what they are around Thanksgiving. We certainly are closing in on Turkey Day.
Let’s put Week 7 behind us and check out Week 8 and what I am buying and selling.
|Week 8||Opening O/U||Opening Spread||Opening ML|
|Tampa Bay at Atlanta||49||-7 – Atl||-330 – Atl|
|Arizona at Cleveland||47||-4.5 – Ari||-214 – Ari|
|Cincinnati at Pittsburgh||48.5||-2.5 – Cin||-147 – Cin|
|San Francisco at St. Louis||39||-7.5 – Stl||-370 – Stl|
|San Diego at Baltimore||50.5||-3 – Bal||-181 – Bal|
|New York Giants at New Orleans||49||-3 – NO||-185 – NO|
|Tennessee at Houston||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Minnesota at Chicago||42.5||-2.5 – Min||-150 – Min|
|New York Jets at Oakland||44.5||-2.5 – NYJ||-130 – NYJ|
|Seattle at Dallas||40.5||-6 – Sea||-260 – Sea|
|Green Bay at Denver||43||-3 – GB||-142 – GB|
|Indianapolis at Carolina||46.5||-5.5 – Car||-269 – Car|
Atlanta’s Projected Points – The Falcons are at home with a projected point total around 28 points. Matt Ryan flourishes at home. Oh hey, did you see what Kirk Cousins did at home versus the Buccaneers last week? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Well I am putting trust into Matt Ryan and his team’s 27 points per game up against the Bucs’ defense that allows 29 points per game. Some of that is a result of turnovers by their rookie quarterback. Devonta Freeman, Ryan and Julio Jones might be able to exceed what Cousins, Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon did to the Bucs last week.
Rams vs. 49ers – What do we know about this game? Pretty much all you need to know. Rams at home = good. Rams = great defense. San Francisco = Struggling offense without many weapons. San Fran on the road = bad. Todd Gurley = Stud and the entire Rams offense. San Fran = allows 113 yards rushing and 27 points per game.
Baltimore – San Diego O/U – I have somewhat of a difficult time seeing that these two teams have the highest projected totals of the week. It just seems a bit odd. You would think, by name only, Packers/Broncos would have an O/U in the 50s, but that is not the case. This week it is Baltimore and San Diego, and there’s great evidence to support this. For me, it’s the opposing defenses. On one hand, you have a team with one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, allowing 283 passing yards per game. They just so happen to be facing the top passing offense in the league in the Chargers (343 passing yards/game). On the other side, the Ravens ground game is facing THE worst defense against the 30th-ranked rush defense, allowing 132.1 yards per game. These inadequacies suggest both teams should be able to move the ball up and down the field with ease. I also could see a successful running attack by the Ravens canceling out some opportunities for the Chargers’ offense, which could lead to less points scored. However, I am going to continue to ride the train that the Chargers can’t stop the run and the Ravens can’t stop a ball in flight.
Seattle-Dallas O/U – This game opened at 40.5 total points, but has jumped a couple slots since. Since the injuries to Romo and Dez, the Cowboys’ defense has had to endure a lot of the grunt work. Unfortunately, the offense can’t keep this defense off the field enough to stay fresh. That has resulted in four straight games allowing 100+ rushing yards and the silver and blue have allowed 5 rushing TDs in that span as well. They also have yielded the following point totals to the opposition: 39, 26, 30 and 27. It’s possible the Cowboys get Dez Bryant back, and if they do, I certainly like the Cowboys’ chances of putting up more points. All in all, I see this game going over for sure with Lynch being a main focal point and dare I call a Tyler Lockett special teams touchdown?
Anything involving Houston/Tennessee Except DeAndre Hopkins – I wrote this article Wednesday night, and at that point, lines had been posted for this game. I don’t like the matchup anyway, so whatever the totals and lines, I am not going to buy any of it for any reason other than Hopkins. It’s an overall ugly game, and you are likely going to be benefiting from fading most of the options here.
Aaron Rodgers – While Peyton Manning’s woes are well documented, I feel the success of the Broncos defense has been flying-under-the-radar. It’s pretty clear that the Broncos defense has bailed this team out in victory on multiple occasions. If this defense wasn’t allowing paltry 192.2 passing yards and just 89.2 rushing yards per game, this team would be in trouble. I think Aaron Rodgers production is going to suffer this week against that defense that should be getting Demarcus Ware back from injury. I think this game could be very interesting for DFS purposes. It’s hard to sit Rodgers in season-long leagues, but he will be a very low-owned QB with tremendous upside.
On to the record books!
|O vs. U – 7-5||O vs. U – 50-44-2|
|Favorite vs. Underdog – 9-3||Favorite vs. Underdog – 61-33-1|
|Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 0-0||Team Wins with <120 Money Line – 4-0|
|Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 0-1||Team Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 5-6|
|Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 3-0||Team Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 12-4|
|Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 1-1||Team Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 8-6|
|Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 3-1||Team Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 19-9|
|Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 2-0||Team Wins with 300+ Money Line – 17-4|
|Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 5-1||Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 33-17|
|Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 2-3||Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 13-17|
|Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remained Constant – 1-0||Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remained Constant – 8-3|
|High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Pts. – 2-1||High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Points – 8-13|
|Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 0-2||Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 3-8|
So I’ve added a new dimension to the record books. The original boxes remain and as you can see there, the MLs with +300 or better are killing it. It’s a pretty safe bet these games are going to pan out in your favor should you either bet the favorite or use players from said game for your DFS lineups.
This next bit of info (located in the bottom two boxes above) might be kind of a shock. I went back and tallied all of the top projected scores (48 points or more) each week and lowest projected scores (less than 42 points). If a game met or exceeded 48 points (and had a 48-point projection or more), it received a “win.” If it did not, then it received a “loss.” Same goes for the lowest projected games. If the final score hit less than 42 points and the game was projected to accumulate less than 42 points, then that is a “win.” If it exceeded 42 points, it received a loss.
So the data. Low-scoring games have actually met low projections 3 out of 11 times (most actually have been some of the highest-scoring games of the week). As for the high-point projected contests, these games met or exceeded 48 points just 8 times out of 21 games.
That’s some alarming data in my mind and shows that perhaps trusting high-point totals and low-point totals have a smoke screen. This is not to say you should fade either one, but if this continues for the next couple weeks, you might be sitting pretty using players from a low-scoring game to win a major tournament.
In other notes, O/Us aren’t really showing any consistency, but the favorites are really running away from the pack with approximately a 65 percent success rate.
What do you think about the newest section of the record books?
Wrapping up this week’s article is the Vegas vs. Actual team records. Enjoy!
|Team||Vegas Records Through Week 7||Actual Records Through Week 7|
|Atlanta Falcons||4 – 3||6 – 1|
|Arizona Cardinals||7 – 0||5 – 2|
|Baltimore Ravens||5 – 2||1 – 6|
|Buffalo Bills||2 – 4 – 1||3 – 4|
|Carolina Panthers||5 – 1||6 – 0|
|Chicago Bears||0 – 6 (Bye)||2 – 4 (Bye)|
|Cincinnati Bengals||5 – 1 (Bye)||6 – 0 (Bye)|
|Cleveland Browns||2 – 5||2 – 5|
|Dallas Cowboys||2 – 4||2 – 4|
|Denver Broncos||5 – 1 (Bye)||6 – 0 (Bye)|
|Detroit Lions||2 – 5||1 – 6|
|Green Bay Packers||6 – 0 (Bye)||6 – 0 (Bye)|
|Houston Texans||3 – 4||2 – 5|
|Indianapolis Colts||6 – 1||3 – 4|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||0 – 7||2 – 5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||3 – 4||2 – 5|
|Miami Dolphins||4 – 2||3 – 3|
|Minnesota Vikings||4 – 2||4 – 2|
|New England Patriots||6 – 0||6 – 0|
|New Orleans Saints||2 – 5||3 – 4|
|New York Giants||4 – 3||4 – 3|
|New York Jets||4 – 2||4 – 2|
|Oakland Raiders||1 – 5||3 – 2|
|Philadelphia Eagles||5 – 2||3 – 4|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||1 – 6||5 – 2|
|San Diego Chargers||4 – 3||2 – 5|
|San Francisco 49ers||1 – 6||2 – 5|
|Seattle Seahawks||5 – 2||3 – 4|
|St. Louis Rams||3 – 3||3 – 3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2 – 4||2 – 4|
|Tennessee Titans||2 – 3 – 1||1 – 5|
|Washington Redskins||1 – 6||3 – 4|
I’ll be interested to see if and when Vegas decides it likes the Jacksonville Jaguars. No love for the Redskins either, but Washington has exceeded that expectation. Pats and Packers are the only two teams Vegas has picked to be undefeated that are undefeated. The Packers and Pats are favored in their games this week (Pats play tonight against Miami). We will see if both survive.