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NFL Daily Fantasy: Using Over/Under Lines

It’s easy to try and make a fantasy or daily fantasy team based on your own ideas and intuition. I’m a contrarian type guy, I like picking the guy who no one thought of and pat myself on the back for being so insightful. But the reality is the sports books in Vegas tend to know better than us, and all we have to do in daily fantasy to win is listen to Vegas Over/Under lines.

Let me tell you something that almost every daily fantasy vet knows but doesn’t want to admit: 99% of good decisions in daily fantasy are based on over/under lines, regardless of sport, but most certainly in football. Points are pretty much equivalent to fantasy points. So your targets any given week is going to be a mix of the teams with the highest point projection and the players on those teams with the most reasonable salaries.

The only other thing you need to pay attention to is how big of a favorite or dog the team you are targeting is. The best rule of thumb: With big favorites, target the running game, and with big underdogs, target the passing game.

Why should we target the running game of big favorites? Because when a team is ahead, they will take a conservative approach, use short dump off passes, and run the ball more. More touches for the RB will mean more chances for touchdowns and yards. Take the 49ers @ Seahawks week 2 matchup last year as a great example. The Seahawks score 29 points, which means only 3 TDs were scored at most. Guess who has all 3 of them? Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks starting running back. Because the Seahawks were up the whole game, they took a conservative approach and gave Lynch over 30 touches.

Now why should we target the passing game of big underdogs? Any football fan remembers Peyton Manning’s legendary 7 passing TD game last year in week one.  Of course, anyone on Fanduel or Draftkings who used him remembers all the money he won them that week. You know what people probably don’t remember? Joe Flacco throwing for 34 completions, 362 yards, and 2 TDs. Because the Ravens got so far behind, they had to rely solely on the passing game. It wasn’t 7 touchdowns, but Flacco’s salary is nearly half of Manning’s on Fanduel, so it was quite good value.

3 O/U Line Picks For Week One

  • RB
    LeSean McCoyP
    $9,400
    JAC@PHI

McCoy has an incredible matchup against the Jaguars,. The Eagles have the highest point projection this week at 32 points, and are a remarkable 11 point favorites. This bodes well for the running game, where McCoy is the featured back and the best in the league.

  • WR
    Cecil ShortsP
    $5,900
    JAC@PHI

This is a pick using the big underdog concept. As 11 point underdogs, the Jags are sure to be behind or barely ahead for most of the game. With all the passing we should see, #1 receiver Shorts should get a lot of garbage yards and TDs.

 

  • WR
    Emmanuel Sanders
    $6,400
    IND@DEN

You’re going to see a lot of guys on Sanders this week. With Eric Decker off to the Jets, someone is going to have to catch some of Peyton Manning’s passes that Decker leaves behind. Sanders signed from the Steelers and is coming off a 128 yard 2 TD preseason outing. He should easily get a good piece of the projected 31.5 points the pass happy Broncos are projected to score.

 

View all posts by Daniel Steinberg
Daniel Steinberg

About the Author

Daniel Steinberg Daniel Steinberg is a former bond trader at a multi-billion dollar proprietary trading firm in Chicago. He uses his knowledge of statistics and his creativity from his career as a poker professional to create the most advanced Daily Fantasy statistical analysis that you will find anywhere. Follow him on twitter @DanielSingerS

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