FanDuel NFL Strategy Course 102
What happens in Vegas….should be in your FanDuel DFS lineups! The goal of this article is to show you how to optimize your lineups by using Vegas totals and player props. The Vegas lines go drastically underutilized and this should explain to you why this should be a huge part of the lineup building process.
In order to optimize our lineups we have to understand what the Vegas lines tell us. When looking at a certain game we should take game totals, spreads, and team totals into consideration. Each of these numbers tells us something different about the teams in the certain game. The game total is what Vegas projects both teams combine to score in the game. So if the game has a 45 point game total, they are projecting the final score to be something along the lines of 24-21. With that being the projected score means that this game would have a 3 point spread and the team totals would be 24 for the winning team and 21 for the losing team.
Let’s look at the first game of the 2019 NFL season lines to get a good look at a live Vegas line. The Chicago Bears are favored when they host the Green Bay Packers in a game with a 46 point game total, with a 3 point spread. The Bears have a 26 point implied team total and the Packers have a 20 point implied team total.
To keep it simple, more NFL points equals more fantasy points! We want to stack teams that have high implied team totals. Just as a refresher, stacking is rostering two or more players from one team in one lineup. The ideal stack in football is taking a team’s quarterback and his number one receiver. Stacking is crucial because when the receiver gets a reception, you get the yards and touchdowns for both the receiver and the quarterback.
The players we want to roster on teams with high implied team totals are the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and pass catching running backs. This is because passing the ball moves the ball down the field quicker and when there is an incomplete pass the clock stops. When there are incomplete passes, the game is extended because the clock isn’t running in between plays. A longer game means more plays and more scoring opportunities for our fantasy players. Yes we want to target teams with high totals, but we also want to target teams in competitive games with close spreads. Teams can have high totals but if they take a 21 point lead, then the QB and WR stacks have fewer opportunities to produce fantasy points because their team will start to run the ball in the second half of the game in order to run out the clock.
So what about the teams who have high implied team totals in games with large spreads? We want to target the work horse running backs and defenses in this situation. The running back and defense stack goes underutilized in the DFS world, as many people do not understand the correlation between these two positions. But, the correlation is quite simple. Running the ball keeps the clock running and running teams such as the Cowboys and the Ravens would bleed the clock out. This would keep the ball away from the opposing team’s offenses and limits their possessions. And in the DFS world if your defense gives up points they lose fantasy points.
The reason why we want to target running backs on teams with high implied totals and large spreads is because they get added volume in terms of carries. When the Cowboys take a 21 point lead they start to feed Ezekiel Elliott the ball in order to run out the clock. The added volume is what we want, because the more carries the more opportunities for yards and more importantly touchdowns.
Less opportunities for the opposing offenses helps our defense in terms of giving up points and that is always good for our defense’s floor. But the biggest reason we want to target defenses in these games is because their takeaway potential. Once a team goes down 13+ points, they get one dimensional and start to pass the ball more often in an attempt to comeback. Now the defense knows the offense has to throw the ball virtually every play, so the defense can pin their ears back and go after the quarterback and get more sacks, and they also have more opportunities for interceptions and defensive touchdowns.
Another way to utilize Vegas is by looking at their player props when deciding between players. Once we look at lines and identify the game we want to target, we can use the player props to build our lineups.
An ideal game we would want to game stack is a game between the Chiefs and the Rams with a 59 point total with a 1 point spread. Game stacking is when you stack both teams in one game in hopes of the game hitting the over. When building our roster we would roster both teams’ wide receivers such as Brandin Cooks and Sammy Watkins. Since there is only one TE spot we would take one of the top TE’s in the game, that being Chiefs Travis Kelce. Then there is the real question, Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff? On FanDuel, we can only roster one quarterback. So how do we decide? This could be the reason why you win your large field tournament. This is when we use the Vegas player props in order to decide which quarterback we will roster. If Jared Goff’s player props are 245.5 yards and 1.5 touchdowns while Patrick Mahomes player props are 299.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns, you should roster Mahomes. According to his player props, he should out score Goff by a fair amount. You would take Goff to be contrarian in large field tournaments…but that is another topic for another article.
Vegas is ridiculously underappreciated and under used. Vegas should be a huge part of your weekly process! You now know how to use both Vegas lines and player props in order to optimize your lineups. If you have any questions or need help you can find me on Twitter @Coach_EddieP. I am here to help. Now let’s go win big…together!