It’s difficult to believe where things are at this point of 2015, on two fronts.

The first is personal. I am now a dad. Baby Harper was born at 7 pounds, 4 ounces and she already has me wrapped around my finger. Going from just being a husband one day to a father the next is an unbelievable thing to think about. So far, fatherhood is awesome.

Secondly, it’s hard to wrap my finger around the end of the regular season and the start of many season-long fantasy football playoffs. I have always felt the start of football season makes the rest of the year fly by. This season, for me, has been no different.

I only made two playoffs out of 5 season-long leagues, a record low for myself. I was close to only making the postseason in one league. Anyway, enough gabbing. I hope you all reading were successful in both season-long and daily this NFL season. We still have a long way to go though, so enjoy the ride while the lasts!

In a time crunch, I won’t have as much of a narrative for the Week 12 recap as in weeks past. That’s probably something that will continue the rest of the season. Buying and Selling will still happen with the Week 13 preview.

Also, one more note. This is the first week since the beginning of the season where we have nearly every team playing on the Sunday-Monday slate. That requires a little more research and due dilligence as the player field will be expanded once again. Something to keep in mind.

Week 12 Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML Closing O/U Closing Spread Closing ML Projected Score Final Score Grade
Baltimore at Cleveland 41.5 Even -135 – Cle 41.5 -3.5 – Cle -260 – Cle 22.5 – 19 – Cle 33 – 27 – Bal -2 pts. – F
New England at Denver 47.5 -5.5 – NE -170 – NE 43 -2.5 – NE -135 – NE 22.75 – 20.25 – NE 30 – 24 – Den 1 pt. – F
Pittsburgh at Seattle 44 -3.5 – Sea -245 – Sea 46.5 -3 – Sea -145 – Sea 24.75 – 21.75 – Sea 39 – 30 – Sea 1 pt. – F
Arizona at San Francisco 44.5 -9.5 – Ari -578 – Ari 45 -8.5 – Ari -380 – Ari 26.75 – 18.25 – Ari 19 – 13 – Ari 3 pts. – C
Buffalo at Kansas City 41 -3.5 – KC -239 – KC 40.5 -4.5 – KC -215 – KC 22.5 – 18 – KC 30 – 22 – KC 1 pt. – F
New Orleans at Houston 49 -3 – Hou -150 – Hou 51 -3.5 – Hou -180 – Hou 27.25 – 23.75 – Hou 24 – 6 – Hou 2 pts. – D
Oakland at Tennessee 45 -2 – Oak -135 – Oak 45 -1 – Oak -115 – Oak 23 – 22 – Oak 24 – 21 – Oak 5 pts. – B
NY Giants at Washington 47 -1.5 – NYG -130 – NYG 48 -1 – NYG -115 – NYG 24.5 – 23.5 – NYG 20 – 14 – Wash 1 pt. – F
San Diego at Jacksonville 48.5 -4.5 – Jax -225 – Jax 47.5 -5 – Jax -220 – Jax 26.25 – 21.25 – Jax 31 – 25 – SD 0 pts. – F
Miami at NY Jets 43.5 -4.5 – NYJ -200 – NYJ 44 -4.5 – NYJ -205 – NYJ 24.25 – 19.75 – NYJ 38 – 20 – NYJ 3 pts. – C
St. Louis at Cincinnati 42 -7.5 – Cin -450 – Cin 42 -9.5 – Cin -450 – Cin 25.75 – 16.25 – Cin 31 – 7 – Cin 4 pts. – B
Tampa Bay at Indianapolis 47 -3 – Ind -150 – Ind 46.5 -3 – Ind -135 – Ind 24.75 – 21.75 – Ind 25 – 12 – Ind 2 pts. – D
Minnesota at Atlanta 44 -2.5 – Atl -145 – Atl 45 -2 – Atl -130 – Atl 23.5 – 21.5 – Atl 20 – 10 – Min 2 pts. – D

Vegas was awful this week. It’s by far the worst showing of the season. With just two Bs and two Cs, Vegas’ projections and lines were discarded by many of the NFL teams.

As our records will indicate below, it is becoming more pronounced that projected high-scoring games and very low-scoring games aren’t following that path consistently. This inconsistency might warrant extra research as to why a game might go under or over a projection. My advice is to look at yards allowed and yards gained. It works for myself.

Take Baltimore and Cleveland this past Monday night. Baltimore consistently is gashed through the air while Cleveland has defensive holes stopping both the ground and passing game. It was pretty clear that this game had a good chance to hit the over for that reason. Sure, both teams had injuries offensively, but they are still NFL players. A bad defense is going to allow a bad offense to win out the majority of the time.

As for the results above, there were plenty of upsets, including the biggest one – Denver over New England. Perhaps Brock Osweiler is the real deal, but most notably, the Broncos are running the ball more effectively, something they were piss poor at accompishing early in the season.

Below are the Week 12 grades. Again, it was a bad week. Only 5 As for the year, but Bs are still the norm.

Scale Week 12 Grades Total Grades
1 or less – F A – 0 A – 5
2 – D B – 2 B – 49
3 – C C – 2 C – 30
4-6 – B D – 3 D – 40
7-8 – A F – 6 F – 36

Now let’s move on to Week 13, shall we? Again, we have 15 games to sift through instead of the standard 12-13 during bye weeks.

Week 13 Opening O/U Opening Spread Opening ML
Atlanta at Tampa Bay 45 Even -145 – TB
Cincinnati at Cleveland 44 -7.5 – Cin -435 – Cin
NY Jets at NY Giants 45 Even -115 – NYJ
Seattle at Minnesota 41 Even -125 – Sea
Houston at Buffalo 41.5 -3 – Buf -150 – Buf
Arizona at St. Louis 44.5 -5.5 – Ari -245 – Ari
San Francisco at Chicago 42 -6.5 – Chi -350 – Chi
Jacksonville at Tennessee 43 Even -150 – Ten
Baltimore at Miami 44 -4.5 – Mia -225 – Mia
Kansas City at Oakland 44 -3 – KC -165 – KC
Carolina at New Orleans 49.5 -7 – Car -260 – Car
Philadelphia at New England 47.5 -13 – NE -480 – NE
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh N/A -6 – Pit N/A
Dallas at Washington 42 -3 – Was -235 – Was

Note: I will not offer any speculation on Indy/Pitt. The lines were not released when I penned this week’s Vegas article. I assume Vegas was waiting on the status of Ben Roethlisberger. If he plays, this game is much more enticing from a fantasy perspective.

Also something to think about. This week had four games open with spreads listed as Even. We haven’t seen this many in one slate all year. Keep an eye on these games as they could all be competitive for four quarters.

BUYING

Cincinnati over Cleveland – The money line from Vegas is more than 400, meaning there’s lots of confidence in a victory for the Bengals. Cleveland was just gashed by Matt Schaub, allowing 33 points (even though the last TD was a blocked FG for a score to win). Still, Andy Dalton and the Bengals have a legit offense that can hit you from all angles. If Tyler Eifert sits, that makes this a less attractive play as I feel his emergence has really helped open the passing game for Dalton. It still doesn’t really worry me though. However, I could see this being a Jeremy Hill/Gio Bernard game with a lead, limiting the ceiling for the Bengals QB and receivers.

Chicago over San Francisco – The trend continues – 49ers good at home, bad on the road. This week they travel east against an improving Chicago defense that just held the Packers to 13 points at Lambeau Field. The Bears’ secondary has shown much improvement while their run defense still has a few holes to fill. All in all, the 49ers offense is dreadful and putting points on the board with Blaine Gabbert at QB and Shaun Draughn at RB with a mod podge of receivers just doesn’t seem applicable for production in the cold, chilly air of Chicago.

Carolina vs. New Orleans – I don’t think there’s much to say here. Not sure if I believe the Saints can put up numbers against Carolina, but I do believe the Panthers put a hurting on the ‘Aints. NO should give Carolina all it’s got, but their defense still isn’t any better without Rob Ryan. Their personnel stinks and this is a perfect opportunity to deploy Cam, Jonathan Stewart and Greg Olsen this week against the Saints, which allow beaucoups of points to these positions.

Jets/Giants – The Giants are at home, where they play much more sound and solid football. The Jets also are at home, despite being the road team. Todd Bowles’ defense hasn’t been as formidable as we had anticipated and Darrelle Revis has shown some signs of age, and ODB is a ridiculous talent. As for the Giants? Well, Kirk Cousins did a number on them last week en route to a win. DeSean Jackson got behind this secondary as did Jordan Reed. Fitzmagic should be able to produce with Decker and Brandon Marshall at his disposal.

SELLING

Patriots/Eagles total – No Edelman, No Gronk, no Lewis, no Amendola. That leaves Brandon LaFell, Scott Chandler, LeGarrette Blount and Tom Brady to handle much of the offensive workload this week against a reeling Eagles’ squad that got posterized by the Lions on Thanksgiving. Recency bias tells us that the Pats should dominate the Eagles, but the Philly still has a chance to win the NFC East title. If the rumors are true about Chip Kelly leaving, then all may be lost for this franchise this year. I don’t expect the Eagles to lay down for a team like the Pats and Tom Brady. I think they give them their best defensively, and when the Eagles have been on, they have been able to put pressure on the QB, force turnovers and stop the run. As for the Eagles, they pretty much have DeMarco Murray as a reliable offensive weapon. After Denver ran all over the Pats last week and with a struggling Mark Sanchez at QB, I look for the Eagles to lay heavy on DeMarco, who can help eat the clock and limit possessions for the Pats should they be able to move the ball well.

Atlanta/Tampa Bay total – On paper, this should be a shootout, but Atlanta has consistently shown they cannot put the ball in the endzone. I think that trend changes this week against a porous Tampa secondary that has allowed at least 1 TD catch to wideouts in all but one game. That came against a Tony Romo-less Cowboys’ squad. This also looks like a huge Doug Martin game after getting pummeled by Adrian Peterson at home in Week 12.

Anything Dallas Cowboys’ related without Tony Romo – My Cowboys continue to disappoint this year and Romo is out again with a second fracture of his collarbone. Without Romo, they have been dreadful, even against plum matchups. This week they travel to Washington where the Redskins just held Eli Manning in check, for the most part. Now the Skins’ face Matt Cassel who may or may not have played better than Brandon Weeden (they both played poorly, so it’s hard to really compare). I wouldn’t be surprised if Dez actually scores some fantasy points considering how bad Washington’s secondary is, but I am not holding my breath, and neither should you.

Now on to the record books…

Week 12 Overall
O vs. U – 6-6-1 O vs. U – 78-76-5
Favorite vs. Underdog – 8-5 Favorite vs. Underdog – 95-61
Favorite Wins with <120 Money Line – 1-1 Team Wins with <120 Money Line – 6-1
Favorite Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 1-2 Team Wins with 120-139 Money Line – 10-13
Favorite Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 1-0 Team Wins with 140-169 Money Line – 15-7
Favorite Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 1-0 Team Wins with 170-199 Money Line – 12-8
Favorite Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 2-2 Team Wins with 200-299 Money Line – 28-17
Favorite Wins with 300+ Money Line – 2-0 Team Wins with 300+ Money Line – 27-11
Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 3-2 Spread Increased, Favorite Won – 48-29
Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 3-3 Spread Decreased, Underdog Won – 26-29
Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 2-0 Favorite vs. Underdog When Spread Remains Constant – 16-4
High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Pts. – 0-2 High O/Us (48+) Meet Or Exceed 48 Points – 16-22
Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 1-2 Low O/Us (<42) Meet or Finish Under 42 pts. – 7-14
Divisional Games O vs. U – 2-2 Divisional Games O vs. U – 25-22-1
Division O/U 48+ O vs. U – 0-1 Division O/U 48+ O vs. U – 6-7

This week we saw the first time a favorite with a moneyline <120 fall. Not that the sample size was large or anything, but I was kind of hoping it would go “undefeated.”

Most notably, money lines in the 120-139 range have the most variance so far this season, and I don’t think that’s going to all of a sudden change. These lines exist because there’s little confidence in picking a clear-cut winner in these matchups.

Money line favorites more than -300 continue to roll. I wish I had logged another round, 400-499, to see how accurate those storylines played out. Perhaps next season, eh?

There is one record above that I want to highlight, and that’s the favorite Win vs. Loss of spreads that open the same that they close.

Favorites in this scenario are a whopping 16-4! I think this is a large enough sample size to deploy the rest of the season. Sure, there could be a miss here or there, but I think 20 games has shown enough consistency that we can trust these games to produce the outcome we expect down the stretch.

Team Vegas Records Through Week 12 Actual Records Through Week 12
Atlanta Falcons 8 – 3 6 – 5
Arizona Cardinals 10 – 1 9 – 2
Baltimore Ravens 8 – 3 3 – 8
Buffalo Bills 3 – 6 – 1 5 – 5
Carolina Panthers 8 – 3 11 – 0
Chicago Bears 0 – 11 5 – 6
Cincinnati Bengals 8 – 2 – 1 9 – 2
Cleveland Browns 3 – 8 2 – 9
Dallas Cowboys 5 – 6 3 – 8
Denver Broncos 8 – 3 9 – 2
Detroit Lions 2 – 9 4 – 7
Green Bay Packers 10 – 1 7 – 4
Houston Texans 5 – 6 6 – 5
Indianapolis Colts 7 – 4 6 – 5
Jacksonville Jaguars 2 – 9 4 – 7
Kansas City Chiefs 6 – 5 6 – 5
Miami Dolphins 4 – 7 5 – 6
Minnesota Vikings 7 – 4 8 – 3
New England Patriots 11 – 0 10 – 1
New Orleans Saints 5 – 6 4 – 7
New York Giants 6 – 5 5 – 6
New York Jets 9 – 2 6 – 5
Oakland Raiders 4 – 7 5 – 5
Philadelphia Eagles 8 – 2 4 – 6
Pittsburgh Steelers 3 – 7 – 1 7 – 4
San Diego Chargers 5 – 6 3 – 8
San Francisco 49ers 1 – 10 3 – 8
Seattle Seahawks 9 – 2 5 – 6
St. Louis Rams 6 – 5 5 – 6
Tampa Bay Buccanneers 2 – 9 5 – 6
Tennessee Titans 2 – 8 – 1 2 – 9
Washington Redskins 1 – 10 5 – 6

Lastly, our team records for the week. Vegas’ lone undefeated team lost last week, leaving no one unblemished except the Carolina Panthers in real time.

Overall, I think this table has kind of run its course a bit. Things are kind of evening out with the exception of a few teams. We will continue this through Week 17. It will be interesting to see how the Pats, Cardinals, Bengals, Falcons, Bears, Ravens, Jets and Eagles finish out.

The major stat I want to see is if Vegas finishes the season with winning records for enough teams to make the playoffs and have enough records to declare projected division winners. This is more out of curiosity than speculation.

Anyway, thanks for reading once again. Good luck this week in your playoffs, daily tournaments or if you have that one extra week to get into the fantasy postseason, may the force be with you as well.

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