4 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 11 Daily Fantasy Football Lineup
When making tough decisions in daily fantasy football, Vegas lines can be predictive of fantasy scoring, while providing an edge on the competition.
Unfortunately, as professional NFL handicapper Warren Sharp has pointed out, oddsmakers' primary goal is not to set the most accurate lines; their 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, an edge can be gained when making lineup decisions.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (O/U 47)
Betting Trends: The Pittsburgh Steelers enter this contest hot off a four-game winning streak after defeating the Carolina Panthers 52-21. Conversely, the Jacksonville Jaguars find themselves on a five-game losing steak, with their most recent loss coming to the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 29-26. Despite seeing 68% of the money in this one, the Steelers have actually dropped from 6.0-point favorites down to 5.0 points. This suggests some sharp action on the Jaguars' side.
Takeaways: The over/under here only dropped a point since opening, which implies the Jaguars should score slightly more points than implied. With Leonard Fournette returning from injury, the Jags returned to a ground-and-pound style team and this week will likely be much of the same. Fournette handled a massive 29 touches in his return to game action with other Jacksonville backs handling another 12.
Despite losing for a majority of the game, the Jags ran on 47% of their plays (eighth-most in the league). The Steelers have played good run defense, ranking ninth in our schedule-adjusted metrics and allowing the third fewest rushing yards to backs (595). Volume alone keeps Fournette in play, but his production should not come easily.
A closer game also bodes well for all Steelers skill position players. The Jags return A.J. Bouye, but rank outside the top 10 in rush and pass defense per our metrics. With the line still favoring the Steelers by 5.0 points, James Conner looks like the optimal play. Prior to his concussion-shortened game last week, Conner had at least 20 touches in each of his past four games, along with 26 targets. Conner should approach this volume again this week, handing 84.6% of Pittburgh's running back touches to this point.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2) at New York Giants (O/U 52)
Betting Trends: With Dirk Koetter calling the plays for the first time all season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered their third straight loss to the Washington Redskins 16-3. On the other side, the New York Giants took down their second win of the year against the San Francisco 49ers 27-23. So far the public has backed the Giants to start the week, with 56% of the tickets coming in on New York's side of the spread and 60% on the Giants' money line. However, the line has not budged since it opened, indicating bookmakers or sharps see value in the Tampa Bay side.
Takeaways: The over/under also has not budged in this contest, but the lack of line movement could imply Tampa Bay for more scoring. This should come as no surprise with Tampa Bay ranking first in the NFL in yards per game. Their 3-point performance last week looks like a complete fluke with the offense turning the ball over 4 times despite accounting for over 500 yards of offense.
As usual with Tampa, the passing game should be the main target for Week 11. The Giants have recently played a slew of bad passing offenses (San Francisco and Washington) but showed cracks earlier, allowing the Falcons to rack up 255 yards with receivers in Week 7. Mike Evans remains poised for a bounce-back game, with 16 targets and 242 air yards in his last two contests. Likely to draw Janoris Jenkins, Evans should bounce back in a matchup against a struggling corner.
Philadelphia Eagles (+8) at New Orleans Saints (O/U 56)
Betting Trends: The defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles have fallen on hard times with a 4-5 record and a recent 27-20 loss to the division rival Dallas Cowboys. This week shouldn't get any easier as they travel to the Superdome to take on the white-hot New Orleans Saints. On an eight-game win streak, the Saints are fresh off a 51-14 dismantling of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, even with 60% of tickets coming in on the Saints' side, the line has dropped a full point since opening, suggesting some sharp action towards the Eagles.
Takeaways: While New Orleans slaughtered a hapless Bengals team last week, they remain a target for opposing passing attacks. According to our metrics, they field a bottom-10 pass defense and have allowed the third-most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks (2,799). This bodes well for Carson Wentz and his pass catchers. Wentz has quietly notched 275 passing yards in each of his last six starts, with a stellar 14-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio during that span.
His favorite target has been Zach Ertz, who leads the position in targets by 15. The Saints have defended tight ends well, allowing the sixth-fewest receiving yards to the position (354). However, Ertz remains matchup proof and should remain a focal point of the Eagles' passing attack.
On the other side, it is all systems go for New Orleans pass catchers. The Eagles have played fantastic run defense, allowing the second-fewest yards to the position (564). However, due in part to injuries to starters Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones, Philadelphia has allowed the sixth-most yards to receivers (1,749). In this game environment, Michael Thomas offers week-winning upside and Tre'Quan Smith looks like an awesome bounce-back candidate, playing at home with Drew Brees.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) at Los Angeles Rams (O/U 63.5)
Betting Trends: With a 63.5-point total, this game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams comes in with the highest over/under since 2000. Each team enters this contest defending a win, with the Chiefs besting the Arizona Cardinals 26-14 and the Rams taking down the Seattle Seahawks 36-31. To start the week, a massive 82% of the public has backed the Chiefs, but the line has remained stagnant at 3.5-points, revealing some potential high-profile action towards the Rams.
Takeaways: The analysis here is simple. Fire up all Chiefs' and Rams' skill players where possible.
On the Rams' side, Todd Gurley finds himself in arguably the best matchup of the week. Seeing immense volume, Gurley has the privilege of facing the league's worst run defense, per our metrics. The Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards (1,080) and the most receiving yards (733) to enemy backs. Gurley currently leads all running backs with 13 touchdowns and 1,390 yards.
On the other side, Kareem Hunt could be poised for a bounce-back game. The Rams rank fourth-worst in run defense, per our metrics, and have allowed the third-most rushing yards over the last four weeks (473). With at least 18 touches in each of his last four games, Hunt should come in with lower ownership, but a chance to finish as the week's highest scoring back.
Note that this game is on Monday night, so it's not on the main slate, but you can still gain exposure through plenty of FanDuel's other slate offerings.
Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.