Why We Use Vegas as a Fantasy Resource
The reason seems obvious, right? Vegas oddsmakers are widely considered the smartest guys in the room, regardless of what room they are in. We would never recommend you rely on any one number, algorithm or news source to determine your lineup, but that you collect a variety of sources to gather information from.
Numbers never lie and basic statistical research remains the best source for selecting your daily fantasy lineup. Analyzing match-ups and situational data is something that we will cover in great detail prior to the start of the 2014 preseason, but today we want to add another tool to your belt: How to leverage Vegas lines and player props to rank players and teams in the preseason and week to week.
While Vegas isn’t always right, no system of ranking players is, there are too many variables. We are just here to tell you that the Vegas oddsmakers are more consistent, qualified and knowledgable than any news outlet or website out there.
Leveraging Player and Team Props to Set Up Your Preseason Rankings
Each preseason Vegas sets up player props for season leaders in passing, rushing, and receiving yards. We have compiled some very basic numbers from one source in the graphic below.
Obviously these need to be analyzed and tweaked to get your final rankings, but this is a great resource, because it can be used to confirm your predicted yardage stats and ultimately your rankings.
Beyond that you can find vegas sportsbooks that offers bets on team’s yardage and scoring statistics, which can help you to determine which teams you want to target in the draft. This is more useful than you’d think because you can forgo having to rank each defense individually, then go through and grade each team’s schedule. The oddsmakers have already done all of that and adjusted the numbers based on each team’s offseason, roster moves, coaching staff, schedule, etc… to come up with these final numbers.
Using Vegas Week-to-Week
Ok, preseason rankings are cute, and a good resource for traditional drafts, but us daily fantasy athletes need resources that reset each week like our rosters. For that, Vegas is the absolute best resource, and here is why… For those of you who bet on games, Vegas doesn’t miss a lot. The majority of their lines are very accurate, so they have a great understanding of what the final score of a game will be. They set a total for the game, and a total for each team. Then, inside each game they are setting individual player props, odds to score a touchdown, total yardage, etc… These numbers are worth their weight in gold. Here is how we use them.
Player values on FanDuel, DraftStreet, Draftkings, etc… are determined not by this week’s matchup, but by the performance of that player of the course of the season. So where you find value is by identifying average players that are going to have an above average game. Identifying those players is where you will win or lose each week. Let’s give you an example using week one’s game lines.
First we identify the highest scoring offenses for the week using the game and team totals from Vegas. For week one the highest projected scoring totals are: Eagles, Broncos, Saints, Falcons. So, first thing’s first, if we are targeting high value players and it comes down to one guy is on one of these offenses and the other isn’t, obviously you choose the guy that plays for the team that is going to score the most points.
The same can be said for your value players. For instance, you are looking for a tight end under $6,000 that is likely to score a touchdown. We may lean Zach Ertz because his offense is projected to be the highest scoring offense for the week. These numbers are really useful for quarterbacks. If the Eagles are Vegas’s highest scoring offense, then it makes sense that Nick Foles’ value would increase by the same ratio as the offense’s increased production. So, they have a team total of 32 points and a season average from last year of around 24 points per game, the difference is roughly 33%, so his adjusted value is going to be 33% higher based on his offense’s output. Using this very simple equation, you can gauge an adjusted value for each player your selecting.
A word of caution: this strategy works best on 50/50’s. There is too much luck involved in the tournament style games on these daily websites to expect a strategy like this to work consistently. Also, you will want to pay attention to each defense’s strength vs role. For example, let’s say we have Foles as a 33% higher value than his ticket price, but the team they are playing gives up a ton on the ground and is touch against the pass, bring that number back down, and boost McCoy’s numbers even more. Vice versa, if his opponent is weak against the pass, and they are projected to score 33% more points than their team average, we would bump his value up even higher based on the matchup.
The bottom line is if you are just playing to have fun, ignore this article. However, if you really want to develop fantasy football as a craft, then we recommend spending some time creating a formula for rating players that works for you. Add analyzing each week’s game lines and over under’s, as well as player props to your bag of tricks.