5 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 2 Daily Fantasy Football Lineup
It's no secret that Vegas totals and spreads can be helpful when making fantasy football decisions -- especially in daily fantasy contests.
Unfortunately, as professional NFL handicapper Warren Sharp has pointed out, oddsmakers' primary goal is not to set the most accurate lines; its goal is to make money, and they do that by encouraging public action on a particular side. What does that mean?
Let's say a sportsbook opens the line on a game with Team X favored to beat Team Y by seven points. If 80% of the public money coming in is in favor of Team X against the spread but the book still does not adjust the line, that demonstrates that either there is sharp money on Team Y, or that they feel confident about Team Y against the spread. Either way, by examining how the oddsmakers are moving lines in comparison to where the public is betting, we can potentially gain an edge when making lineup decisions.
Carolina Panthers (+6.0) at Atlanta Falcons (O/U 44.5)
Betting Trends: Coming off a dreadful Thursday night performance, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will play host to their division rivals Carolina Panthers in this Week 2 matchup. Even though the public is nearly split on this one, however, the spread has moved from the Falcons -5.5 at the open to the current line of Falcons -6.0. That indicates that more money is coming on Atlanta, specifically from sharps.
Takeaways: With the Falcons coming off extra rest from playing Thursday night and the Panthers' offensive line falling apart before our eyes, the sharp action favoring Atlanta makes a lot of sense. With Devonta Freeman expected to sit, Tevin Coleman will assume the bellcow role and be a free square at running back.
Julio Jones has been an absolute monster against Ron Rivera's Panthers defense the past three years.
If the Falcons take control of this game, as the oddsmakers expect them to, it would likely be because Julio actually -- wait for it -- scored a touchdown. Jones obviously has slate-winning upside if he combines his obscene catches and yards totals with an actual score. He drew a whopping 19 Week 1 targets, including a ridiculous 75.6% of Atlanta's air yards.
However, this doesn't spell doom and gloom for the Panthers. Even if the game doesn't shoot out, Cam Newton's rushing volume has made him essentially immune to favorite/underdog splits.
He's not the only one. Christian McCaffrey's receiving volume means he actually benefits from negative game script. He averaged 12.7 PPR points per game (PPG) in 7 games in which Carolina was favored last season and 15.72 in the 10 games (including playoffs) in which they were not favorites.
With the above factors and this game being played in a dome, along with Atlanta's own injury woes on defense, this game could be high-scoring, and both teams have a concentrated usage tree to take advantage of.
Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (O/U 53.5)
Betting Trends: After Patrick Mahomes lit up the Los Angeles Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn't escape Cleveland with a win over the Cleveland Browns, the public is in the rare spot of taking the underdog hard in this one. Over 75% of bets are on Kansas City, yet the spread has moved half a point in the Steelers' direction, indicating that the sharps strongly believe in Pittsburgh's ability to cover.
It is also interesting to note that this game's total has increased three full points since the open, so this may be one to target for game stack purposes.
It helps, of course, that the Chiefs allowed 19.9 FPG on the road to quarterbacks in 2017 -- the most in all of football.
That's an ideal combination of increased volume and efficiency. Obviously, the biggest beneficiaries are Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and potentially Vance McDonald, who is practicing in full after sitting out Week 1. James Conner is also in play. Los Angeles Chargers running backs drew 18 targets against the Chiefs in Week 1, and no other Steelers running back saw a touch other than Conner.
Despite sharps favoring Pittsburgh, it was Mahomes who stole the show this past week with 4 touchdowns on just 27 attempts. While that rate is unsustainable, Mahomes can certainly light it up against this Pittsburgh Steelerssecondary. Tyreek Hill is always in play in GPPs, regardless of sharp action on Pittsburgh, as he's been curiously better on the road in his career.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (O/U 43.5)
Betting Trends: It appears that the public doesn't believe in "Fitzmagic". Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles are currently receiving 72% of bets against the spread as the defending champs head down south to Florida to take on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The line has not moved, however, indicating that the sportsbooks believe that Tampa can keep this game closer than the public seems to think.
Takeaways: Jay Ajayi would stand to lose the most from the Buccaneers keeping this game closer than expected, but it may not matter if coach Doug Pederson feeds him the ball. It helps that, per Rich Hribar's Worksheet, the Bucs have allowed a rushing touchdown in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the league.
Against the team that allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers last year, Nelson Agholor is firmly in play. If Tampa can stay competitive and this game shoots out, he stands to benefit. So does Mike Wallace, who led the Eagles in air yards in Week 1 and Zach Ertz, who has the most targets of anyone with Foles under center. Plus, the Buccaneers will be without starting cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Brent Grimes.
Even before the injuries, this was a good spot for the Eagles. Only five teams ranked worse than Tampa in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play last year, and they got lit up in Week 1 this year.
For Tampa, Mike Evans gets a softer matchup than the one he had last week, in which he dusted standout corner Marshon Lattimore for a long touchdown. Chris Godwin had a 25.1% target share in games Evans or DeSean Jackson missed last year.
While Peyton Barber would benefit from improved game script, the matchup is tough against the Eagles. Despite the bookmakers' stance, exposure to Barber should be limited to GPPs, but he is still viable in that format thanks to workhorse usage.
Cleveland Browns (+10.0) at New Orleans Saints (O/U 49.5)
Betting Trends: Despite the Cleveland Browns managing to avoid a loss to the Steelers and the New Orleans Saints crumbling against the Buccaneers, the public is back on the Saints again in Week 2. Currently, 65% of bets against the spread are on New Orleans, however, what stands out is that the line has only moved a point in favor of the Saints and that moneyline bets are nearly 50-50.
It is also interesting to note that this game's total has increased two full points since the open, so this should be one to target on the speed of the Superdome turf.
If the New Orleans defense has fallen apart like it looked like it did in Week 1, Brees' passing volume, and thus this entire team's fantasy upside, could soar. Especially with Mark Ingram suspended and Mike Gillislee fumbling the game away last week, a pass-centric attack should be expected.
For the Browns, Tyrod Taylor is immune to favorite/underdog splits due to his rushing ability. He averages 17.23 PPG as an underdog compared to 16.15 as a favorite, which is unusual for quarterbacks not named Cam. Carlos Hyde would benefit from the spread moving toward Cleveland, so he makes for a strong GPP play as a result. Hyde outsnapped Duke Johnson even in a game in which Cleveland was trailing, which is an encouraging sign for the former's usage. Finally, known as a short area player, only Julio had more Week 1 Air Yards than Jarvis Landry.
New England Patriots (-1.0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (O/U 45.5)
Betting Trends: This AFC Championship rematch features two teams that were able to start their 2018 campaigns off on the right start with a win. As the New England Patriots travel down to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, over 70% of public bettors are taking the Patriots. However, despite this public action, Vegas has moved the line in Jacksonville's favor from Patriots -2.5 to the current line of a one-point favorite on the road. This reverse line movement indicates that either the house or the sharps are on Jacksonville in this matchup.
Takeaways: If the Jaguars hang tough with New England, or potentially win, the running game benefits the most. We know the Jaguars want to minimize Blake Bortles' pass attempts as much as possible, so Leonard Fournette could have himself a big day. He's in play if he suits up, but with Fournette a game time decision, we would likely be looking at some type of a committee.
T.J. Yeldon would be expected to be the main guy based on Week 1 usage. He would be a lock for cash games, and you should likely have more exposure than the field based on the line movement. We know Doug Marrone wants to give Corey Grant additional looks, however, and he makes for an intriguing GPP dart throw if Fournette sits. Remember, Grant torched New England for 59 receiving yards on 3 catches in the AFC Championship Game.
With the Jaguars backup running back leading the team in targets in Week 1, it's tough to trust any wide receiver or tight end, even in GPPs. Since you're not using any of them in cash, Dede Westbrook probably has the best upside for a GPP and Keelan Cole should have low ownership after putting up a dud last week. Still, only three teams ranked worse than New England in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play last year.
Rob Gronkowski has been a freak of nature in his past seven games, and he's a GPP target if he gets low ownership because of the matchup. Chris Hogan is in a tough spot, but that means he will have low ownership and he was one of Josh Hermsmeyer's highlights in his Air Yards Buy Low piece. Without Julian Edelman, Hogan also led the team in routes run from the slot, which is where the Jaguars defense is softest with D.J. Hayden manning that position.
If Rex Burkhead can't go with a concussion, James White should find his way into your DFS lineups. He's helped by the line moving in Jacksonville's favor, as it could create more targets for him if New Engalnd is in a neutral or negative script.
Akash Bhatia is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Akash Bhatia also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tenswimrun1. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.