Vegas Meets Fantasy Football: How To Use NFL Week 14 Betting Odds To Set Your Fantasy Lineup - Roto Street Journal
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Vegas Meets Fantasy Football: How To Use NFL Week 14 Betting Odds To Set Your Fantasy Lineup

Quick, without thinking: what are the two best things about football? Easy: fantasy football and gambling. Well, and having something to do on Sundays. And chicken wings. And cheerleaders. And — ok, I’m getting carried away. Fantasy and gambling, that’s what we settled on, right? Cool. Well much like peanut butter & jelly or Tom Brady & Gisele, your friend/fellow gambling degenerate Keegs is on a mission to combine two of the greatest things on planet Earth. How? Glad you asked.

Every week, we see the odds of NFL games all over the place. Seattle is 3-point favorites against Green Bay, the over/under for Pittsburgh/Cincinnati is set at 49.5, etc. Sure, you can use those to try and make a few bucks, but what about for fantasy? Believe it or not, gambling lines can tell you A LOT about who you should be trotting out there in your fantasy or even DFS lineup. So each week, I’m here to give you a handful of tips, based on the lines set by our buddies over in Nevada, that’ll hopefully help you towards your ultimate goal of a fantasy football championship. Simple enough? Cool, let’s get started.

Odds via Bovada.com

Team to Love: New England Patriots

New England Patriots (-11.5) @ Miami Dolphins; Over/Under 47

Key Points:

  • If you’ve read anything by me before you know where I’m starting here: Tom Brady. Among QBs he’s 1st in passer rating, yards and completions, and he’s 2nd in TDs and completion percentage. He’s coming off a “down game” by his standards, throwing for only 258 yards and 0 TDs with 1 interception, so he’ll be ready to bounce back with an extra day of rest against an average secondary.
  • Rob Gronkowski, the team’s leader in targets, receptions, and TDs, was suspended 1 game for his cheap shot against the Bills, so there are plenty of targets to go around this week. Ideally we’d see the return of Chris Hogan, but even if he sits again, Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola are fully capable of shouldering the load.
  • The Pats have also recently developed a 2-headed monster in the backfield that nobody saw coming — Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead have combined for 361 all-purpose yards and 4 total TDs in the past 2 games and continue to pace this explosive offense.

While Cooks only had 2 catches for 17 yards against Buffalo, he leads in the team in yards and is 2nd behind Gronk in targets and receptions. He’s the main guy I’m looking for to positively benefit from Gronk’s absence. But if you’re a Gronk owner and you’ve got no backup option at tight end — not your brightest move considering his injury history, but it’s possible — I don’t hate looking at streaming Dwayne Allen. Yeah, he’s been a total bust this season, but since recording his first catch of the season in Week 10 he’s got at least 1 catch every week, and now he’ll likely assume starting TE duties. It’s a longshot for sure, but I could see him breaking off a surprise long TD out of nowhere, which could certainly help you get a good start to your playoff matchup.

Team to Hate: New York Giants

Dallas Cowboys (-4) @ New York Giants; Over/Under 41.5

Key Points:

  • If you’re thinking the firing of Ben McAdoo and the insertion of Eli Manning back into the starting lineup will jumpstart the 2-10 Giants, you’re either an overly optimistic fan or just really, really dumb. Fact of the matter is, Eli is 18th in the league in completion percentage, 22nd in passer rating, and has very little talent remaining in his receiving core.
  • The Cowboys, meanwhile, seemed to patch up both their offensive and defensive woes in last week’s 38-14 beatdown of the Redskins. Specifically on D, they held Washington to just 56 rushing yards and forced 4 turnovers, 3 straight from fantasy’s QB6 Kirk Cousins.
  • Evan Engram has been a beacon of hope for NYG with all their receiver injuries, but with Dallas allowing the 15th most fantasy points to TEs, he doesn’t have a particularly strong matchup in this one.

Dallas’ D isn’t exactly one of the top units in the league, but they benefit from the matchup here primarily. Also, Sean Lee has returned to practice this week, and all signs point to him playing on Sunday. That’s another blow for the Giants, who are already near the bottom of the league in virtually every offensive category, including 31st in scoring offense at just 15.8 points per game. Lee’s return will bolster the Cowboys run prevention, making this even tougher for Orleans Darkwa behind an average offensive line. This game has the potential to be an absolute snoozer, and I’m definitely out on the Giants for it.

Game of the Week:

Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams (-2.5); Over/Under 49

Key Points:

  • With undoubtedly the league’s most exciting Week 14 matchup, the Eagles will look to bounce back after just their 2nd loss of the season against the Rams, who’ve won 6 of their last 7. These teams are tied for the top scoring offense in football, each putting up 30.1 points per game.
  • The Rams have talent all over the place offensively, starting with fantasy’s QB8 Jared Goff and RB1 Todd Gurley. And even with Robert Woods slated to miss what should be his final game with a shoulder injury, Cooper Kupp and Sammy Watkins have performed admirably in his place. On Sunday against Arizona the pair combined for 8 catches on 10 targets for 106 yards and a TD.
  • Philly is going to have to prove that they have what it takes to beat talented teams, and that starts this week. The teams they’ve beaten are a combined 45-75 (.375) this season, and their 2 losses are both against teams that currently lead their division.

There should definitely be some concern about the Eagles’ struggles against good teams, but coming off last week’s poor showing in Seattle, I like the Eagles to bounce back this week. Maybe not with a win necessarily, but offensively I think they’ll come to play. Carson Wentz has played at an MVP level all year long, and even in last week’s loss made some pretty damn nice plays. Like this one.

Alshon JefferyNelson Agholor, and Zach Ertz have all had phenomenal seasons, and even against LA’s 9th-ranked pass defense, I’m sticking with them. And with Philly boasting the league’s top run defense, LA will likely look to get Todd Gurley involved in other ways. This certainly isn’t new for him, seeing as he’s 2nd among RBs in receiving yards this year and led the team with 84 receiving yards against the Cards, so especially in PPR formats Gurley could be in for a massive game.

Honorable Mentions:

Washington Redskins @ Los Angeles Chargers (-6); Over/Under 46

The Chargers have played surprisingly well as of late, winning 3 straight by a combined 101-40 score. Keenan Allen has risen the ranks all the way to WR3 on the back of 3 consecutive huge games — I’m talking 33 catches, 346 yards and 4 TDs combined — during LAC’s recent winning streak. He’s about to set career highs in receptions and yards, and he’s 3 away from his career high 8 TDs too. Phillip Rivers has also looked great in recent weeks, combining for 6 TDs and no interceptions over the last 3 weeks. This high-powered offense, which also boasts Melvin Gordon in the backfield and other potent receiving options like Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry, goes up against a Washington D that’s 19th overall this season and 22 against the run. Gordon has conceded some backfield presence to Austin Ekeler in recent weeks, especially through the air, but I’m expecting a big day for The Wolf’s RB6. And with the Skins allowing the 5th most fantasy points to TEs, Hunter Henry is a great start yet again.

Chicago Bears @ Cincinnati Bengals (-6); Over/Under 37.5

This offense seems to have finally figured out how good A.J. Green is. Despite a quiet 2nd half last week against PIT, Green still amassed 77 yards on 7 catches with 2 scores, propelling him up to the fantasy WR7 position through 13 weeks. He’s tied for 2nd among WRs with 8 TDs on the year, which makes sense considering he’s 7th in the league in red zone targets with 14. And despite Andy Dalton‘s struggles, it’s worth noting that when given a clean pocket against the Steelers, Dalton was 18-of-27 for 195 yards and 2 scores. The Bears, meanwhile, sit tied for 10th with just 32 sacks on the year and come into this game a bit banged up on the defensive front. Bengals LG Clint Boling is tied for 13th among guards with a 81.6 pass-blocking grade from PFF this season, and if he and Cincy’s line can give Dalton time to throw, the Bears secondary could be in for a long day. Along with Green, I’m liking Joe Mixon against a D that’s allowed over 22 points per game to running backs.

Any other odds we should be keeping an eye on? Let me know on Twitter, and make sure to consult the Roto Street Journal for all your fantasy football needs.

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