Predicting Week 8 start/sits by Vegas lines
Vegas spends millions of dollars getting experts to set betting lines to be as accurate as possible. This series uses Vegas opening betting lines to identify the teams with high point projections to help find sleepers and busts. Obviously don’t sit your Odell Beckham Jr. for Terrance Williams just because the Vegas projection for the Cowboys is higher than the projection for the Giants, instead, use it as a tiebreaker. The obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown and the obvious irrelevant players with 0.1% ownership won’t be mentioned.
Line of the Week:
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles (-11.5). Over/Under 48.
Philadelphia is legit and this week the 6-1 team faces the winless Niners. The projected big win against the team who’s given up the most points to RB’s should mean starting Philly’s starting RB but who is it this week? LeGarrette Blount once again led the team in rushing attempts with 14 last week, but only managed to put up 29 yards. Wendell Smallwood had only 8 attempts but only 4 fewer yards and also caught 2 passes for 14 yards. Nevertheless, both backs disappointed against a good Washington run defense. This game is going to be a different story and both backs should be start-able with power-back Blount getting the edge due to volume and game-script. Corey Clement got the touchdown last week but with only 2 touches, he should not be started.
You are starting Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz without question, and the number 9 ranked WR Nelson Agholor is also hitting every-week start status. Alshon Jeffery put up another disappointing week but he should still be a good start as he still out-targets Agholor.
On SF’s side, the negative game-script combined with Philly’s good run defense suggest a bad outing for Carlos Hyde, but Hyde has gotten 14 targets in the past two games and is still SF’s best chance to win. The high line means SF is still projected to score 18 points so Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are risky plays for potential garbage time points.
Good Lines of Exploit
Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints (-8.5). Over/Under 48.
The Bears defense has been solid but nevertheless, the Saints are projected to win big with a high line. You’re not benching Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, or Michael Thomas. Alvin Kamara has looked extremely impressive and with a stout Bears defense, the Saints could rely on him more this game, making him a good start. Ingram and Kamara have potential to be this year’s Freeman-Coleman combo. Ted Ginn has been very involved and had back-to-back good weeks now, making him a start-able asset, but expectations should be tempered against this defense.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots (-5.5). Over/Under 49.5.
Second highest line of the week, you are starting Tom Brady and his pass-catchers. The Chargers have defended against the run well the last two games but before that they were atrocious. Dion Lewis out-touched Mike Gillislee again, making him the best RB option on the team and a solid start. Gillislee is a solid sit until he shows anything positive. James White got the touchdown last week and, as Brady’s preferred 3rd down back, will have value, but temper your expectations in standard leagues.
Despite holding the Falcons to 7 points, the Patriots defense still have a lot of holes and just have been extremely lucky the past few weeks due to questionable play-calling and missed FG’s by the other team. Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, and Philip Rivers are must-starts. Hunter Henry is reaching must-start territory and should be deployed confidently. Tyrell Williams had 6 total targets the past 3 games, Travis Benjamin had 4 in the same time, while Mike Williams has 3 in the past 2 games. None of those 3 are start-able options.
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (-1). Over/Under 51.
The highest line of the week as Washington is a surprise favorite against Dallas. There isn’t much to say regarding Dallas, you’re starting Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dez Bryant if you have them and Jason Witten should be a good option due to an easy matchup. Don’t bother with any other Cowboy.
Chris Thompson has reached every-week starter status, start him comfortably in this matchup. Rob Kelley failed to do anything against a great Eagles defense but Dallas is a different story, start him with confidence as his backup Samaje Perine did not even get a single rushing attempt last time out. Kirk Cousins is a start but his pass-catchers have questions. Jordan Reed finally broke out last week and with his health improving, he is a solid start. Terrelle Pryor has been replaced by Josh Doctson so his value disappears. Jamison Crowder is still disappointing so keep him on the bench. Highest scoring Washington fantasy receiver Ryan Grant is still irrelevant. Doctson provides intrigue as his talent is undeniable and with the increased opportunity he might break out, he is your best start if you are lacking depth but the risk is high.
Bad Lines of Avoid
Minnesota Vikings (-8) @ Cleveland Browns. Over/Under 37.5.
The lowest line of the week as the Browns “host” the Vikings in London. You’re not starting many Cleveland players anyways but Duke Johnson has been the 14th ranked RB in standard (12th in PPR). Nevertheless, Johnson is a sit due to the Vikings being the number one running defense. Isaiah Crowell is an obvious sit due to the matchup.
Houston Texans @ Seattle Seahawks (-6). Over/Under 42.5.
This line is a bit of a surprise as the Texans offense has been great the past few weeks, nevertheless, they have one of the lowest projected point totals so owners should plan accordingly. You’re not sitting DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller despite the matchup, and Deshaun Watson probably belongs in that category too. Still, the matchup requires tempering of expectations. Will Fuller becomes an interesting decision; the past 3 games saw Fuller score 5 touchdowns, regression is bound to happen and there is a good chance it happens this week against a great Seahawks pass defense. It’s not easy to sit someone performing so well but the line suggests that it might be the right choice.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cincinnati Bengals (-9.5). Over/Under 41.
The Colts are projected to lose big to the Bengals. Even though there is always the potential of T.Y. Hilton breaking free for a long touchdown, this is not a good matchup so sitting him would be wise. Running backs Frank Gore and Marlon Mack face a negative game-script on top of being in a timeshare, so both are sits. Jack Doyle is also a sit due to the bad matchup.