NFL DFS Vegas Report for Week 9 (Fantasy Football)
NFL DFS tournaments are all about finding ceiling performance from players in our lineup. In order to maximize upside and correlation, we can use Vegas totals and game lines to help us identify game environments that may help produce these ceiling performances we’re looking for in GPPs. The goal of this article each week is to identify which games are most likely to provide the scoring environment we’re looking for in order to build game stacks in DFS. Similarly, this article will look at games that may either disappoint or are less likely to result in fantasy success.
On the surface, it sounds simple, but there’s more to this process than simply logging into a sportsbook and picking the games with the highest total. We need to be conscious of which games are likely to be most popular for DFS, which may be undervalued, and those that have more downside than the market perceives. Every Tuesday on the Fantasy Footballers DFS Podcast, we give a “state of the main slate” which briefly highlights some of the findings in this article. For the full look, make sure you get in on The Ultimate DFS Pass and check out Kyle’s First Look Pricing for Week 9.
Note: Lines taken below from DraftKings Sportsbook are accurate at the time of publishing.
Top 5 Team Implied Totals for Week 9’s Main Slate
Fantasy points are most strongly correlated to team implied totals (how many points Vegas expects each team to score). As a result, it makes sense to look at players from the following teams, especially in cash games. This does not necessarily mean these are automatically the best games to stack in tournaments. More on that soon.
1. Philadelphia Eagles – 24.5
3. Indianapolis Colts – 23.3
4. Cleveland Browns – 22.8
5. Patriots, Packers, Cowboys – 21.5
Bottom 5 Team Implied Totals for Week 9’s Main Slate
Given the strong correlation between implied totals and fantasy success, players on the following teams could consider being faded, especially if they are likely to carry elevated roster percentage in tournaments. In cash games, it likely makes the most sense to look elsewhere.
1. Arizona Cardinals – 14.8
2. Minnesota Vikings – 16.3
3. Chicago Bears – 17.3
4. New York Giants – 17.8
5. Washington Commanders – 18.5
High Upside Game Stack
On a slate where we’re going to have plenty of backup QBs starting, this Cowboys and Eagles game sticks out like a sore thumb. The spread opened at 3.5 and has moved in favor of Dallas, a sign that this game could go back and forth. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s got the highest total on the Week 9 main slate at 46 points.
Philly’s offense continues to roll. They’re averaging 28 points per game (3rd) and rank top-10 in EPA per play, plays per game, and yards per play. In other words, they’re games are voluminous when it comes to play volume and they’re efficient. It’s everything we look for in terms of DFS stacks. With Hurts playing at an MVP caliber and A.J. Brown emerging as a candidate for the Offensive Player of the Year, it makes sense to be invested in Philly this week. It’s a difficult matchup against a good Dallas defense, but their season-long numbers are skewed. In Weeks 1-3, they faced Josh Dobbs, Daniel Jones and Zach Wilson. Since Week 4, they rank 11th in drop back success rate and 24th in rush success rate defensively. No team has a higher implied total on the Week 9 main slate than the Eagles.
As for Dallas, Dak is absolutely rolling these days. He hasn’t gotten a lot of buzz in the media, but he deserves it. On the year, Dak ranks seventh among all QBs in total efficiency (CPOE + EPA). Now, he catches an Eagles secondary that was just torched by Sam Howell a week ago for over almost 400 yards. Prescott and the Cowboys rank second in the NFL in points per game at 28.1. If history is any indication, we’re going to want exposure here as the last four Dallas/Philly games have finished with the following scores: 26-17, 40-34, 41-21, 51-26.
Underrated Game Stacks
This game is tough to handicap because it features two teams that have played in a wide variety of game scripts. We saw Seattle really struggle in Week 1 then explode offensively for 30+ points early in the year before their bye. Since then, their games are 2-1 to the under with their offense producing 24 or fewer points in every contest. Now, they get a tough spot on the road against a top-10 defense in Baltimore. On this slate, however, context is important. We’ll likely see subpar QB play across the board, and we at least know Geno is capable of getting his guys the football. On the year, Seattle ranks seventh in neutral pass rate and tied for 8th in pass rate over expectation. Perhaps more importantly, when they’ve trailed by 7+ points, Seattle has upped their pass rate to 68%. If we expect the Ravens to jump out to a lead, it certainly makes sense to boost Metcalf, Lockett and JSN as part of this game stack.
The Ravens have shown flashes of being a top tier offense this year, but they hadn’t really put it all together until their Week 7 rout of the Lions. They followed that up by hanging 31 on the Cardinals and while it was the Gus Edwards show last week, I’m interested to see how the field handles Lamar stacks this week after he was the slate’s most popular QB play and failed. The Ravens have exceeded their team total in four of the last five games, and on a slate where we’re desperate for upside, we know it’s there with this Baltimore team. Even though the total is at just 43 points, this looks like a spot to target given the low scoring environments elsewhere.
Early in the week, I’ve seen this line bounce back and forth between three and 2.5, which tells you money is coming in on both sides here. In theory, that means this one should be close, and with a total at 44 points, this game stands out as a sneaky shootout in the Frank Reich #RevengeGame.
Let’s start on the Panthers side of the ball. Hey, Bryce Young! He finally flashed as a passer for the first time in his young (no pun intended) career. Coming out of the bye, Young posted season highs in completion rate, yards per pass attempt and QB rating. It didn’t actually matter for Young as a fantasy play, but we saw both Adam Thielen and Jonathan Mingo turn in useful PPR box scores as a result. Perhaps the most important takeaway here is that the team posted their first +PROE week of the season under new play caller, Thomas Brown. If that continues, multiple Panthers are in play for tournaments, which is the first time we can confidently say that this year.
As for Indy, their games continue to be high scoring and produce some big time fantasy numbers. It’s the perfect recipe for DFS success – a good offense and a struggling defense. On the year, Indy’s defense ranks dead last in scoring, allowing just under 29 points per game. On offense, they rank sixth in scoring while running the fifth most plays per game. Yes and yes. Early in the week, I like the over in this game and will be trying to get exposure in DFS.
Game Stack to Fade
This game total is falling by the day, and when you consider the matchup between Clayton Tune and P.J. Walker and/or Dorian Thompson-Robinson, I can’t poke any holes. The Cardinals traded Josh Dobbs to the Vikings, leaving Tune to make his first ever NFL start. Tune is a 5th-round rookie out of Houston. His “Welcome to the NFL” experience is a road matchup against Myles Garrett and a Browns defense that ranks #1 in EPA per play and #2 in yards per play allowed.
As for Cleveland, they’re 24th in yards per play on offense since Walker took over. It’s hard to see things getting much better if DTR gets the nod here. On the year, Cleveland ranks 28th in neutral pass rate, and on the year, when they’ve been leading by 7+ points, their pass rate plummets to 33%, the second-lowest mark in football. If this spread is correct, Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford should be very, very busy this week. Look for play volume to be zapped and this game to be a slog.
Team Totals to Bet
1. Eagles O23.5 (-125) on DraftKings
Philly has scored 24+ points in six of eight games this year, averaging 28 points per game. Getting off the third-most plays per game this year, Philly has been running plenty of offensive plays and getting there on efficiency. Defensively, Philly has struggled at time this year, and over their last three games, they rank 10th in yards per play allowed. I expect the Cowboys to have success here, which should push Hurts and company on the other side. We know the Eagles are aggressive on offense and very willing to go for it on 4th downs, especially close to the goal line.
2. Bucs U19.5 (-118) on DraftKings and FanDuel
Tampa games have been a slog this year with their games hitting the under in six of seven games. On the year, they’re averaging just 17.3 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. Dave Canales’ unit ranks bottom-5 in punts per play and first downs per game. As for their opponent, Houston games are 5-2 to the under, and they’ve held six of seven opponents under their team total. The Texans rank fifth in pressure rate and Mayfield is nursing a bone bruise in his knee.
3. Raiders U19.5 (-102) on DraftKings and FanDuel
The Raiders are a ‘perfect’ 0-8 against their team total this season. Yes, that’s right. They have not hit their team implied total in 2023. Going back to the start of 2022, this team has a -82 point differential. Now, they play on a short week after Monday night’s embarrassing performance. The Giants have been stout defensively, allowing 4.4 yards per play over the last three weeks. Since Week 4, they rank 4th in EPA per play on defense and 13th in pressure rate. Against pressure this year, Jimmy G’s 5.0 yards per attempt ranks 24th among starting QBs.