Strike up the greatest farewell song of all time…
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road…sounds about right when reflecting on Week 8 in the NFL. Your fantasy teams might be hurting and you might have been burned in DFS thanks to all the injuries.
So let’s pause for a moment of silence and remember those we lost in Week 8….
Le’Veon Bell – RB – Steelers
Matt Forte – RB – Bears
Keenan Allen – WR – Chargers
Steve Smith, Jr. – WR – Ravens
Reggie Bush – RB – 49ers
Cameron Wake – DL – Dolphins
Joseph Randle – RB – Cowboys (dismissed from team)
Ken Whisenhunt – Head Coach – Titans
Pep Hamilton – OC – Colts
So a lot of players went down, coaches were fired, and teams must now move on. That includes you, fantasy peeps. Just let it go.
Getting bumps this week in playing time and usage are the likely guys – DeAngelo Williams, Jeremy Langford, Malcolm Floyd, Pierre Thomas? (signed by the 49ers after Bush, Hyde and Davis injuries) and Kamar Aiken/Maxx Williams/Crockett Gilmore/whomever else the Ravens have on their roster.
Also look for changes in how the Titans and Colts operate their offenses moving forward.
But before we all move forward, we must go back and review how Week 8 shaped out in Vegas.
Here’s where you can refer back to how grading works —> Vegas Grading
The usual appears after the recap – grading chart, Week 9 preview with DFS Buys and Sells, odds and lines records (WE HAVE NEW STATS BY THE WAY) and overall team records.
We are halfway through the NFL regular season (tear, it all goes by so fast), so enjoy it while it lasts!
|Week 8||Opening O/U||Opening Spread||Opening ML||Closing O/U||Closing Spread||Closing ML||Projected Score||Final Score||Grade|
|Tampa Bay at Atlanta||49||-7 – Atl||-330 – Atl||47.5||-8 – Atl||-425 – Atl||27.75 – 19.75 – Atl||23 – 20 – TB||1 pt. – F|
|Arizona at Cleveland||47||-4.5 – Ari||-214 – Ari||46||-7 – Ari||-325 – Ari||26.5 – 19.5 – Ari||34 – 20 – Ari||3 pts. – C|
|Cincinnati at Pittsburgh||48.5||-2.5 – Cin||-147 – Cin||49||Even||Even||24.5 – 24.5 – Push||16 – 10 – Cin||N/A|
|San Francisco at St. Louis||39||-7.5 – Stl||-370 – Stl||41||-7.5 – Stl||-400 – Stl||24.25 – 16.75 – Stl||27 – 6 – Stl||4 pts. – B|
|San Diego at Baltimore||50.5||-3 – Bal||-181 – Bal||50.5||-4.5 – Bal||-210 – Bal||27.5 – 23 – Bal||29 – 26 – Bal||5 pts. – B|
|New York Giants at New Orleans||49||-3 – NO||-185 – NO||51.5||-3 – NO||-165 – NO||27.25 – 24.25 – NO||52 – 49 – NO||4 pts. – B|
|Tennessee at Houston||43.5||-4.5 – Hou||-200 – Hou||43||-3.5 – Hou||-175 – Hou||23.25 – 19.75 – Hou||20 – 6 – Hou||2 pts. – D|
|Minnesota at Chicago||42.5||-2.5 – Min||-150 – Min||44||-2 – Min||-130 – Min||23 – 21 – Min||23 – 20 – Min||6 pts. – B|
|New York Jets at Oakland||44.5||-2.5 – NYJ||-130 – NYJ||44||-3 – NYJ||-175 – NYJ||23.50 – 20.50 – NYJ||34 – 20 – Oak||1 pt. – F|
|Seattle at Dallas||40.5||-6 – Sea||-260 – Sea||41.5||-5 – Sea||-225 – Sea||23.25 – 18 – Sea||13 – 12 – Sea||4 pts. – B|
|Green Bay at Denver||43||-3 – GB||-142 – GB||46||-2.5 – GB||-150 – GB||24.25 – 21.75 – GB||29 – 10 – Den||-1 pt. – F|
|Indianapolis at Carolina||46.5||-5.5 – Car||-269 – Car||45.5||-5 – Car||-230 – Car||25.25 – 20.25 – Car||26 – 23 – Car||3 pts – C|
As the year has progressed, I feel Vegas has steadily improved on its projections. This week 9 favorites won and as you will see below in our grading chart, Vegas was money again, receiving 6 Bs and 1 C.
If you had Giants and Saints in your lineups last week, I would guess you had a very profitable week in DFS. Eli Manning and Drew Brees combined for 13 TD passes, that’s just insane. Likely these two quarterbacks will see point chasers in DFS lineups, so expect a drastic increase in ownership has both QBs have great matchups again.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Cincinnati/Pittsburgh game was quite the disappointment (unless you had A.J. Green and Heath Miller). The return of Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton’s steady fantasy pace had many of us chomping at the bit to roster players from this game.
But what goes up, must come down and both QBs did just that, Dalton especially. Le’Veon of course was injured in the game and the overall score was a disaster for fantasy purposes. The only highlights we saw is that the Steelers’ secondary is certainly susceptible to the passing game and Roethlisberger’s return gives Antonio Brown a bump back to elite status. Hopefully this week the Steelers get back on track against the Raiders.
The other huge surprise was the Atlanta Falcons. Tampa Bay has been lit up by opposing quarterbacks and Matt Ryan is usually a stalwart at home. While Ryan struggled, Julio and Jacob Tamme flourished. Mike Evans was a bag of rocks, but the Bucs stole a win from the Falcons on the road. This was Vegas’ top money line play of the week and it was a major bust.
Outside of the aforementioned games, the only other surprises were how well Denver dominated the Packers, sending Green Bay packing for Carolina with its first loss of the season. And the Raiders making the Jets look like single-engine prop planes.
For Denver, the running game was full steam for Denver as C.J. and Ronnie both scored TDs, Peyton had more than 300 yards passing and the defense held Aaron Rodgers under 100 yards passing. I think Denver’s defense is certainly underrated and Rodgers and the Packers are going to rebound very soon.
As for the Jets, Fitzmagic got hurt, thus Geno Smith was thrust into the fire. Fitz might actually play this week despite needing surgery on his thumb, so that’s why he wasn’t listed above. The Raiders’ offense is legit, and the Steelers/Raiders game has shootout potential (but that’s all I am saying for now).
The remaining games went as expected, although the Cowboys should’ve probably squeaked out the win at home against the Seahawks, whose offense is mediocre at best. Tony Romo could be returning soon and Dez looked good back on the field. The Cowboys certainly aren’t out of the playoff race as no one in the division has separated itself from the pack.
Carolina remains undefeated after outlasting the Colts in OT, Baltimore squeaked out a win even without Steve Smith for a good chunk of the game, Chicago is still bad, Houston and Tennesee are still two of the most unsexy teams in all of the NFL, Arizona keeps rolling as do the Todd Gurley-led Rams.
Below is the grading table for Week 8 and a seasonal total. A’s are still hard to come by, but Bs and Cs are still solid outings.
|Scale||Week 8 Grades||Total Grades|
|1 or less – F||A – 0||A – 4|
|2 – D||B – 6||B – 35|
|3 – C||C – 1||C – 22|
|4-6 – B||D – 1||D – 30|
|7-8 – A||F – 3||F – 18|
Now we must look into our crystal ball and see what’s to come in Week 9. Below is the opening totals for each game (except ML for Tennessee/NO as that was not posted prior to me penning this write-up). After you review the data, check out what I am buying and selling this week.
|Week 9||Opening O/U||Opening Spread||Opening ML|
|Miami at Buffalo||46||-3 – Mia||-180 – Mia|
|Washington at New England||52||-13 – NE||-1429 – NE|
|Jacksonville at NY Jets||41||-7 NYJ||-300 – NYJ|
|Tennessee at New Orleans||48||-8.5 – NO||N/A|
|Oakland at Pittsburgh||47.5||-6 – Pit||-250 – Pit|
|St. Louis at Minnesota||40||-2.5 – Min||-150 – Min|
|Green Bay at Carolina||45.5||-3 – GB||-128 – GB|
|Atlanta at San Francisco||44.5||-3 – Atl||-180 – Atl|
|NY Giants at Tampa Bay||47.5||-1 – NYG||-145 – NYG|
|Denver at Indianapolis||48||-3 – Den||-155 – Den|
|Philadelphia at Dallas||45.5||-2.5 – Dal||-150 – Phi|
|Chicago at San Diego||52||-3.5 – SD||-210 – SD|
New England’s Projected Points – Set for around 33 points, the Patriots welcome in the Deadskins to Foxboro. Need I explain any further? Tom Brady at home. Redskins’ secondary is a mess. Enough said.
Over for Pittsburgh/Oakland – I think this is a game where you must be careful with the Raiders. They are traveling west to east, which is typically a difficult task for teams to do in the NFL. However, I think they are good enough to put up points even if they aren’t perfect. The Steelers and Raiders defenses are 26th and 31st in passing yards allowed right now. Roethlisberger is going to sling it around now that Le’Veon is out of the fold. The Raiders will have trouble running the ball as the Steel Curtain is tough on running backs, so that means lots of Derek Carr and Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Get ’em boys!
Rams/Vikings O/U – The Vikings are top-10 in stopping the pass, the Rams are dead last in passing yards per game. The Vikes are at home, a place they fair much better and both teams are going to try and run the ball a lot with their running backs. Look for Gurley and Peterson to rack up 25 carries apiece or more, and that means the clock will be running. Unless they break off a bunch of huge runs, possessions will be limited as both defenses will keep each passing game in check.
Colts/Broncos O/U – If Aaron Rodgers can’t pass on the Broncos, what makes you think the Colts, with a new OC, will be able to pierce the end zone multiple times to reach their 22-point projection? It’s going to be a Peyton Manning homecoming, and with the Colts’ defense in relative disarray, I am buying the Broncos’ projected score of 25 points, but I can’t see a scenario suggesting the Broncos, with their top-ranked pass defense and their paltry 16 points per game allowed, surrenders a ton of points to the youthful horsies.
Chargers/Bears O/U – The Bears are actually top 5 in passing yards allowed and now that Keenan Allen is out of the picture, that leaves scrubs such as Floyd and Stevie Johnson to fill the void. Ladarius Green and Gates certainly will see an uptick in production, but who do I see benefitting the most this week? Melvin Gordon. The Chargers are adamant about giving him the ball even though he hasn’t shown much ability to make the big play. Danny Woodhead went under utilized last week despite the loss of Allen while Gordon kept seeing touches. Thanks to the Bears’ allowing 128 yards rushing per game, good for 29th overall, Gordon sets up nicely for a big game here. On the flip side, I can see the Bears using lots of Jeremy Langford as well against the Chargers front seven that is dead last in fantasy points allowed to running backs, per ESPN standard scoring. San Diego has been susceptible to the pass without Eric Weddle, but this game is at home and the running backs could shine here, making possessions limited and time chewed off the clock.
Drew Brees – If there is one bright spot out there for the Titans, it’s their defense. They have held the likes of Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck in check this season. Allowing just 197.9 yards per game through the air, Tennessee is up against a guy who just threw 7 TD passes. This is going to bring a huge uptick in ownership for Brees, but I am not buying shares of him in DFS this week for that reason. Brees is obviously in play for seasonal leagues, but this looks and smells like a trap game to me.
Below is the weekly look at some data we’ve accumulated over the course of the season. Last week, we added new categories keeping track of O/Us for projected low and high scoring games. We have found that a lot of these games end up going the complete opposite of their projections.
The O vs. U hasn’t changed much. It’s all over the place and I think that’s to be expected. NFL has lots of parity, and I feel this record is showcasing that.
Favorites are miles ahead of the underdogs, suggesting that relying on picking favorites is going to benefit you more than hurt you. The moneylines accentuate those numbers. The higher the moneyline, the more confidence you should have in either betting on that game or using players from that team in your fantasy leagues. Seeing a spread increase throughout the week also shows some confidence in picking the favorite to win.
Our newest addition to the record book are the tracking of divisional games. It was recommended to me to help with rostering players for DFS. I was excited to gather this data as I felt it was a great idea.
We have four new categories – Divisional games O vs. U, Division O/U 48+ O vs. U, Division O/U 42 – 47.5 O vs. U and Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U.
Simplifying the categories quickly, we have the O vs. U for divisional games, meaning how many times scores go over projections compared to under. The next three categories break down those O/U projections. If a divisional game was projected at 50 or more points, then the O vs. U will show how many times the total score was more than (over) the projection and how many times it was less than (under) the projection.
So let’s look at Week 8 — We had 2 divisional games projected at 50 or more points, but both went under so the Over went 0-2 while the Under was 2-0. For the year, divisional games with 48 or more point projections have gone over 6 times and under 5 times.
I figured we might see a lot of unders in divisional games, when we actually have more total scores going over the projected totals more than they are falling under (21 out of 33 games to be exact, a 64 percent clip).
What do you think about the new data? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter!
|O vs. U – 5-7||O vs. U – 55-51-2|
|Favorite vs. Underdog – 8-3||Favorite vs. Underdog – 69-36|
|Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 0-0||Team Wins with <120 Money Line – 4-0|
|Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 1-0||Team Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 6-6|
|Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 1-1||Team Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 13-5|
|Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 1-1||Team Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 9-7|
|Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 3-0||Team Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 22-9|
|Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 2-1||Team Wins with 300+ Money Line – 19-5|
|Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 2-2||Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 35-19|
|Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 1-4||Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 14-21|
|Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 2-0||Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 10-3|
|High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Pts. – 2-1||High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Points – 10-14|
|Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 2-0||Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 5-8|
|Divisional Games O vs. U – 1-4||Divisional Games O vs. U – 19-14|
|Division O/U 48+ O vs. U – 0-2||Division O/U 48+ O vs. U – 6-5|
|Division O/U 42-47.5 O vs. U – 1-1||Division O/U 42-47.5 O vs. U – 13-6|
|Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U – 0-1||Division O/U 41.5 or Less O vs. U – 2-1|
Lastly, we have the usual Vegas Records vs. Actual Records. Arizona should still be undefeated in Vegas’s eyes. The New England Patriots are the lone undefeated team that Vegas also has as unblemished. We will see if that changes this week when the Packers travel to Carolina coming off a bad loss.
The purpose of his table is to see if Vegas favors a team heavily or lightly. Vegas has loved Arizona, Baltimore, New England, Carolina, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Seattle most, but Seattle, Indy, Philly and Baltimore are nowhere near their projections.
Undervalued by Vegas so far are the Bengals, Broncos and Steelers.
|Team||Vegas Records Through Week 8||Actual Records Through Week 8|
|Atlanta Falcons||5 – 3||6 – 2|
|Arizona Cardinals||8 – 0||6 – 2|
|Baltimore Ravens||6 – 2||2 – 6|
|Buffalo Bills||2 – 4 – 1 (Bye)||3 – 4 (Bye)|
|Carolina Panthers||6 – 1||7 – 0|
|Chicago Bears||0 – 7||2 – 5|
|Cincinnati Bengals||5 – 1 – 1||7 – 0|
|Cleveland Browns||2 – 6||2 – 6|
|Dallas Cowboys||2 – 5||2 – 5|
|Denver Broncos||5 – 2||7 – 0|
|Detroit Lions||2 – 6||1 – 7|
|Green Bay Packers||7 – 0||6 – 1|
|Houston Texans||4 – 4||3 – 5|
|Indianapolis Colts||6 – 2||3 – 5|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||0 – 7 (Bye)||2 – 5 (Bye)|
|Kansas City Chiefs||4 – 4||3 – 5|
|Miami Dolphins||4 – 3||3 – 4|
|Minnesota Vikings||5 – 2||5 – 2|
|New England Patriots||7 – 0||7 – 0|
|New Orleans Saints||3 – 5||4 – 4|
|New York Giants||4 – 4||4 – 4|
|New York Jets||5 – 2||4 – 3|
|Oakland Raiders||1 – 6||4 – 2|
|Philadelphia Eagles||5 – 2 (Bye)||3 – 4 (Bye)|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||1 – 6 – 1||5 – 3|
|San Diego Chargers||4 – 4||2 – 6|
|San Francisco 49ers||1 – 7||2 – 6|
|Seattle Seahawks||6 – 2||4 – 4|
|St. Louis Rams||4 – 3||4 – 3|
|Tampa Bay Buccanneers||2 – 5||3 – 4|
|Tennessee Titans||2 – 4 – 1||1 – 6|
|Washington Redskins||1 – 6 (Bye)||3 – 4 (Bye)|
Good luck in fantasy this week! Keep turning in each week as we review the week that was in the NFL.