NFL DFS Pace of Play for Week 18 (Fantasy Football)

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Pace of play gives the prospective DFS player an opportunity to consider not just Vegas totals but how the game will be played out in a given week. Game flow is a tricky rabbit hole to jump down when you consider the endless scenarios that can play out in a game. Stacking up-tempo offenses who can keep the ball moving is crucial to gaining an edge in DFS. Even slight differentiations of team trends matters in a world where volume is king. Over the last three years, on average, teams ran a play 0.8 seconds per play slower in positive game scripts than they did in neutral game script.

Each week I’ll highlight key game environments factoring in their pace metrics and stacks to consider for tournaments.

Game Pace Score

A reminder on a simple metric I introduced last year: Game Pace Score (GPS). I liked the acronym to also give you a “compass” of how the game total and neutral pace statistics come together. These scores are ranked 1-5 with five indicating the pace of the play is everything you want for a DFS bonanza.

  • 5– Back-and-forth shootout is looming. Both teams are pace up and both sport team implied totals of 25+.
  • 4– An up-tempo spot worth game stacking in DFS in multiple ways. Consider multiple game scripts in play.
  • 3– This game could go either way. Often, these are onslaught spots for teams with healthy implied totals or games that hit the under because two middling offenses collide.
  • 2– Strong indications of a game you want to stay away from. Usually, the pace is dragged down by one team with an absurdly slow neutral pace or a team with a team implied total so low it drags the entire game environment through the mud.
  • 1– This has all the makings of a plodder. These games have totals UNDER 40 which gives you zero confidence in DFS.

For Week 18, I’ve split up each team’s implied totals, seconds per play, neutral situation pace, and combined that for a final GPS score.

Make sure to check out the DFS Podcast where Betz and I break down the main slate and highlight some of our favorite plays of the week.

General Strategy for Week 18

Normally, we get to jump right into 3-4 games that will take off. But Week 18 is a completely different animal. As our web developer Andy Schneider coined it, it’s ‘Weak 18″. It’s tough in the streets so here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • You MUST have late swap scenarios readily available. The early games have a major impact on the competitiveness and player pool for the afternoon games. For example, the outcome of the CIN/BAL has a major impact on LAC and their seeding. You can take the approach of avoiding them altogether while also seeing that a ton of the field does not stay plugged in and utilize late swap to its advantage.
  • The Dolphins, Patriots, and Steelers are battling it out for a WildCard spot at the same exact time. They all are in separate games so if you need a tiebreaker based on motivation, those teams will be fighting for their playoff lives.
  • Value touches. Add them up as you are creating your lineups. Does a Rhamondre Stevenson + Kenneth Walker III lineup have more total touches in store than a Dalvin Cook + Miles Sanders lineup? NE & SEA will be surely playing all four quarters while the latter could cede carries in the second half against backup defenses.
  • We’re looking for game environments that can go off. We can’t lean into high totals, we lean into teams that are efficient, run more plays, or tend to throw the ball more in neutral situations.
  • There will be players essentially “off-the-board” that goes off this week. We’re all trying to find the diamond in the rough but keep in mind those less than 1% plays in Week 18 will be sooo hard to find.

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles (-14)- O/U: 43

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Teams Sec/Play Pace TIP PROE
New York Giants 15 20 14.3 24
Philadelphia Eagles 12 1 28.5 10

There is fear with chasing this game simply because the Giants are putting out their B-team this week. The Athletic’s Dan Duggan believes the Giants will rest their starters and that might put us into a predicament. Will the Eagles starters play a full game if they are slaughtering them? Maybe the bigger question is what do the Eagles want to do and what does a 14-point home favorite this late in the season normally accomplish?

There have been 13 teams over the last decade that were two TD favorites or more:

  • Those teams went 12-1 with the lone loss being Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s 2019 Dolphins somehow beating Tom Brady‘s Patriots on a last-second TD.
  • The favored teams averaged 31.7 points with all but one team scoring at least three TDs.

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