4 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 16 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.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) at Miami Dolphins (O/U 38.5)
Betting Trends: In the battle for Florida the 4-10 Jacksonville Jaguars take on the 7-7 Miami Dolphins. Losers of two straight, the Jaguars fell 16-13 to the Washington Redskins last week. On the other side, the Dolphins hope to get back on track after a devastating 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. To start the week, Miami has handled 79% of the public bets, but the line has dropped from -5 at open down to -4. This reverse line movements indicates potential sharp action or favor from oddsmakers.
Takeaways: One of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL, the Jags have defeated the Indianapolis Colts but lost to the Josh Johnson-led Redskins within the last three weeks. This line movement bodes well for Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville run game in particular. Predicated on the run, Jacksonville has run the ball at the sixth-highest clip (48%) over the last four weeks. However, Fournette's usage remains a concern due to questionable coaching. Fournette received only one touch in the second half of last week's game after coach, Doug Marrone noted that he wanted to get David Williams more involved. Surely to go under-owned, playing Fournette takes courage this week.
On the other side, the line movement away from Miami in the second-lowest totaled game on the slate makes Dolphins a strong an avoid. With Ryan Tannehill and Kenyan Drake nursing injuries and Frank Gore landing on injured reserve, this offense could struggle to move the ball. With such a low total, avoiding all skill position players could prove beneficial.
Chicago Bears (+4) at San Francisco (O/U 42.5)
Betting Trends: Heading across the country, the 10-4 Chicago Bears travel to face the 4-10 San Francisco 49ers. Winners of their last two, the Bears defeated the Green Bay Packers 24-17 last week. Likewise, the 49ers enter this contest with two straight wins, including a 26-23 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks. Opening as 5-point favorites, the Bears have handled 77% of the public bets. Despite the public favor, the line has dropped to -4, showing some sharp action on the San Francisco side.
Takeaways: This line movement may have to do with the Bears traveling across the country or just perhaps the 49ers looking improved on a two-game win streak. Either way, it suggests the Bears offense could struggle in this spot. The 49ers currently rank top-12 in run defense, but bottom-5 in pass defense, according to our schedule adjusted metrics. This makes Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson interesting stacking partners. Robinson leads the team in both targets (24) and air yards (226) over the past two weeks, making him the preferred play in this offense.
With the line moving towards San Francisco, the 49ers look likely to put up some points in this contest. Similar to the 49ers themselves, the Bears rank number one against the run and number three against the pass. In addition to this slight pass-funnel tendency, the Bears recently lost Bryce Callahan potentially opening a path to fantasy success. Dante Pettis looks like the preferred option here with 19 targets and 198 air yards over the past three weeks. George Kittle also remains in play with 26 targets and 249 air yards in that same span.
Los Angeles Rams (-14) at Arizona Cardinals (O/U 44.5)
Betting Trends: The 11-3 Los Angeles Rams take on the 3-11 Arizona Cardinals in a late-season divisional showdown. The Rams enter this contest losers of two straight, including a brutal 30-23 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles. Similarly the Cardinals have dropped their last two games, including a 40-14 beat-down at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. The Rams opened as 14-point favorites in this spot and despite handling 63% of public bets, the line has not budged. This suggest sharp money or bookmaker favor on the Arizona side of the line.
Takeaways: Still favored massively, the line likely hasn't budged due to poor on field play from the Rams of late. Already without Cooper Kupp and with Todd Gurley nursing a knee injury, the Rams have been unable to replicate their early-season offensive success. Despite the nagging injury, Gurley has insisted that he will play and game script favors a ground-and-pound attack. However, if the Rams do limit their superstar running back, look for Robert Woods to pop for a big game. Woods leads the Rams in targets (31) and air yards (272) in their last three games. Also running 83% of his routes in the slot last week, Woods should avoid the stout coverage of Patrick Peterson.
Arizona draws a matchup against a Rams defense that ranks sixth in pass defense, but 23rd against the run, according to our metrics. This puts David Johnson in an interesting spot as a 14-point underdog. Nevertheless, Johnson has touch counts of 21, 23, and 14 in his last three games, with a healthy 18 targets in that span. The betting trends suggest this game could be more competitive than initially thought, so Johnson makes for a solid contrarian play.
New York Giants (+10) at Indianapolis Colts (O/U 47)
Betting Trends: The disappointing 5-9 New York Giants head to Lucas Oil to face the surging 8-6 Indianapolis Colts. This Giants showed almost no life last week getting shutout 17-0 by the Tennessee Titans, while the Colts rolled to their second-straight victory, pitching a 23-0 shutout over the Dallas Cowboys. Opening as 10-point favorites, the line has yet to move despite the Colts handling 60% of betting tickets to start the week. This lack of line movement suggests that the sharp money could be with the Giants in this spot.
Takeaways: Saquon Barkley remains the engine of this New York offense and any line movement in the Giants' favor bodes well for his fantasy outlook. Barkley has handled at least 18 touches per game since Week 5 and should see at least that much volume in this spot. The Colts present one glaring weakness on defense and that is against receiving running backs. This season, they have allowed the second-most catches to opposing backs (100) and Barkley ranks third in running back targets (105).
On the other side, Marlon Mack should continue to see workhorse touches as a 10-point home favorite. In a similar spot last week, Mack racked up 28 touches, while the Colts played with a lead throughout. The Giants rank 27th in rushing defense according to our metrics, setting up perfectly for another smash game from Mack. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton always remain viable, but a game script similar to last week could limit their fantasy value.
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.