4 Betting Trends to Help Set Your Week 17 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 (+6.5) at Houston Texans (O/U 40.5)
Betting Trends: With playoff implications on the line, the 5-10 Jacksonville Jaguars travel to take on the 10-5 Houston Texans. Jacksonville enters this contest fresh off a 17-7 win over the Miami Dolphins. Houston, however, narrowly lost 32-30 at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, making this a must-win contest in order to secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs. To open the week, Houston has taken 64% of bets, and the line has dropped 2.5 points since it opened at 9.0 points. This shows that sharp bettors or bookmakers may favor the Jaguars' side of this bet.
Takeaways: With Blake Bortles named the starter for the regular season finale, the line movement towards Jacksonville's side bodes well for his fantasy outlook. Despite missing three games this season, Bortles ranks eighth in rushing yards among quarterbacks (350), creating a solid floor for DFS purposes. While he hasn't impressed as a passer, the Texans rank inside the bottom-12 pass defenses, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. They have also allowed the second-most passing yards over the last four weeks, creating an avenue for aerial success. To further boost Bortles' status, the Jags downgraded Leonard Fournette to a non-participant in practice on Thursday, putting his Week 17 status in doubt.
On the other side, a drop in the line could have to do with the multitude of injuries on the Texans' offense. Houston placed Demaryius Thomas on injured reserve last week, and Keke Coutee remained limited in practice. While they have regressed slightly from 2017, the Jacksonville defense still ranks seventh overall, per our metrics. Making matters worse, Houston's offensive line ranks dead last in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders, creating a difficult situation for Deshaun Watson. However, Watson and DeAndre Hopkins have shown matchup-proof ability, with Hopkins ranking second in receiving yards (1,442).
Detroit Lions (+7.5) at Green Bay Packers (O/U 44)
Betting Trends: Playing in a meaningless divisional game, the Green Bay Packers enter this contest with a 6-8-1 record, while Detroit slots in at 5-10. Last week, the Packers came from behind to beat the Jets 44-38, while the Lions fell 27-9 to the Minnesota Vikings. Playing at home, the Packers handled 67% of bets to start the week, but the line has actually moved from 8.0 points down to 7.5 points. This indicates some sharp action on the Detroit side of the line.
Takeaways: This line movement likely has to do with the Packers' recent defensive struggles after they have allowed at least 20 points in each of their last six games. The Packers have particularly struggled against receivers, ranking 31st in pass defense, according to our metrics. This bodes well for Kenny Golladay, who has target counts of 8 and 15 in his last two games. Notably, Golladay also ranks second in air yards (339) in that span.
On the Packers' side, a more competitive game bodes well for the offense as a whole. With Davante Adams legitimately questionable in a lost season, the Packers could focus on Jamaal Williams. Detroit struggles against the pass (32nd overall), making Adams a must start given health, but the depth chart behind him remains murky. Williams handled 21 touches last week without Aaron Jones, including 9 targets. Williams should remain a focal point of the Packers' offense this week, keeping him in play for DFS.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) at Washington Redskins (41.5)
Betting Trends: Needing a win and some help, the 8-7 Philadelphia Eagles travel to take on the 7-8 Washington Redskins. Mentioned above, the Eagles narrowly defeated the Texans 32-30 last week, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Conversely, the Redskins lost to the Tennessee Titans 25-16, eliminating them from the playoffs. Despite taking a massive 80% of public tickets, the Eagles have actually dropped from 7.0-point favorites down to 6.5. This shows some potential favor from sharps or bookmakers on the Washington side.
Takeaways: The curious line movement here may have to do with Philadelphia's recent struggles on defense. Over their last four games, the Eagles have allowed the second-most passing yards (1,283) to opposing quarterbacks. Josh Johnson has performed about as well as one could expect as the Redskins' starter, with at least 150 passing yards in each game. Jamison Crowder has hogged 24% of Johnson's targets over the past three weeks, making him the most likely option to exploit this weak Philly secondary.
On the Eagles' side, Zach Ertz remains the primary offensive weapon. The Redskins have played average tight end defense this year, but Ertz ranks fifth overall in targets (151). Nick Foles has also shown an affinity for Ertz, targeting him 7 and 16 times in his two late-season starts. A more competitive game bodes well for Ertz and all of Philly's skill position players.
Chicago Bears (+4.5) at Minnesota Vikings (O/U 40.5)
Betting Trends: In another key divisional showdown the 11-4 Chicago Bears travel to face the 8-6-1 Minnesota Vikings. Defeating the San Francisco 49ers 14-9 last week, the Bears should lock up the three-seed unless the Los Angeles Rams lose to the 49ers. However, after beating the Lions last week, the Vikings control their own destiny this weekend, with a win-and-get-in situation. Chicago has handled 63% of bets to start this week, but the line has actually moved towards Minnesota by half a point, showing favor from sharp bettors.
Takeaways: This line movement likely has to do with Chicago's overall competitiveness. The Bears need a Los Angeles Rams loss in order to secure a bye, which seems unlikely with the Rams favored by 10.5 points. On the other hand, Minnesota controls their own destiny and a win guarantees a playoff berth. Losing Bryce Callahan, the Bears have shown vulnerability to opposing receivers, allowing the 15th-most receiving yards to wideouts over the last four weeks (574). This bodes well for Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, neither of whom have reached 100 receiving yards since Week 12.
The Bears look like a strong avoid from a DFS perspective. Head coach Matt Nagy has noted that the starters will play, but he also left the door open to pulling them midway through the game. This makes all the Bears' skill position players particularly ricky and limits them to GPPs only.
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.