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Deconstructing the Week 15 Betting Lines

Let’s break down the Week 15 implied team totals based on offensive and defensive scoring tendencies.

The percentages in the below tables refer to each team’s points scored and points allowed tendencies. The “Tm %” and “Opp %” are rates of a team’s total points scored or allowed that come through each phase of the game. Those rates are applied to the team’s weekly implied total via two different calculation methods in the final two columns.1

The premise is that implied totals build in factors like matchup or home/road status, while applying scoring tendencies allow us to better define what that total is truly implying for each team. For more information, consult the Week 1 article or the original article in the series from the middle of last season. I also reviewed the accuracy of last season’s projections over the offseason, with positive results.

Here are your Week 15 implied team totals broken down by passing, rushing, kicking, and DST scoring.

Passing Scoring and Notes

League Average Passing Points Rate: 41.1 percent

TeamOppImp PtsTm %Opp %Avg paPtsSD paPts
ATLSFO32.7542.1%39.7%13.3913.23
WASCAR28.7541.8%42.7%12.1512.18
NYGDET22.554.1%51.5%11.8811.90
PITCIN23.549.2%46.8%11.2911.31
SEALAR27.2532.8%47.4%10.9310.17
DALTBB26.7535.3%44.6%10.6910.12
GBPCHI22.2557.7%37.2%10.5611.68
ARINOS26.544.1%32.5%10.159.38
TBBDAL19.7549.1%52.9%10.0810.12
SDCOAK23.2546.3%39.4%9.9610.36
NOSARI2452.0%28.2%9.618.68
BALPHI2336.8%46.3%9.569.95
OAKSDC26.2540.2%31.1%9.368.93
BUFCLE25.7524.0%48.0%9.277.73
MININD24.7532.6%41.4%9.168.68
INDMIN20.7547.6%40.0%9.089.46
TENKCC18.2548.6%49.4%8.948.95
DENNEP20.536.7%49.6%8.859.48
KCCTEN23.7530.0%43.1%8.697.93
MIANYJ2040.9%42.6%8.358.43
NEPDEN23.544.7%24.8%8.177.02
SFOATL18.7538.2%45.2%7.828.10
CINPIT20.535.8%39.8%7.767.64
JAXHOU16.7552.5%39.4%7.708.22
PHIBAL17.526.9%60.8%7.678.88
CARWAS22.2532.8%34.1%7.447.43
HOUJAX22.7536.7%28.4%7.407.19
CHIGBP16.7538.0%48.1%7.217.63
DETNYG18.544.7%32.0%7.106.51
NYJMIA17.535.0%45.8%7.076.72
CLEBUF15.7537.7%29.9%5.325.17
LARSEA11.7540.2%36.2%4.494.42

Note: Lines come from Vegas Insider on December 15th. 

  • Atlanta’s team total is extraordinarily high, particularly late in the season with many over/unders at or below 40 points and team totals at or below 20. San Francisco’s defense actually tends to allow more rushing scores relative to league average rates, but Matt Ryan and the passing offense still grade out well here. There might be enough Falcons TDs to go around.
  • Eli Manning was disappointing as the cover boy last week, but it’s worth noting that the Giants did score their only touchdown through the air. In other words, the issue with his performance was more about the team total going way under2 rather than how they would be expected to score. He again gets a matchup boost this week against Detroit, and could be in line for a multi-TD game assuming the Giants get closer to this week’s 22.5-point implied total.
  • Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits are well-documented, and I can’t say I have faith in him this week. But it’s a positive note that Pittsburgh is favored with a decent team total and the Bengals defense allows 5.7 percentage points more scoring via pass TDs than league average.

Rushing Scoring and Notes

League Average Rushing Points Rate: 22.1 percent

TeamOppImp PtsTm %Opp %Avg ruPtsSD ruPts
BUFCLE25.7544.3%22.4%8.599.73
ATLSFO32.7521.0%29.0%8.198.82
DALTBB26.7535.3%20.3%7.438.38
OAKSDC26.2525.1%29.4%7.167.27
CARWAS22.2528.9%32.2%6.806.83
ARINOS26.526.1%23.9%6.636.68
NEPDEN23.525.8%29.8%6.536.60
SEALAR27.2526.3%19.7%6.276.69
NOSARI2418.4%30.3%5.856.55
CINPIT20.529.1%25.8%5.635.68
SDCOAK23.2517.1%30.0%5.486.15
WASCAR28.7521.8%16.0%5.445.11
PITCIN23.520.8%22.3%5.074.98
CLEBUF15.7526.1%35.9%4.885.08
SFOATL18.7528.7%22.6%4.815.02
HOUJAX22.7513.1%26.6%4.523.78
MININD24.7518.6%16.2%4.314.27
NYJMIA17.526.9%19.9%4.104.40
MIANYJ2025.8%14.8%4.063.53
BALPHI2315.2%19.9%4.033.90
KCCTEN23.7520.0%11.8%3.773.48
TENKCC18.2524.3%16.5%3.723.36
GBPCHI22.2512.6%20.7%3.703.41
DENNEP20.518.4%15.7%3.493.45
INDMIN20.7516.5%16.0%3.373.37
PHIBAL17.524.8%12.7%3.282.75
CHIGBP16.7521.7%17.3%3.273.13
JAXHOU16.7512.5%24.1%3.062.59
DETNYG18.510.2%22.1%2.992.53
LARSEA11.7521.6%28.4%2.943.12
NYGDET22.511.8%13.4%2.832.83
TBBDAL19.7514.3%12.6%2.662.65

  • The Bills continue to run laps around the field in terms of percentage of points scored on the ground. As a big home favorite against Cleveland, LeSean McCoy is in a great spot to continue that trend. I’m not overly concerned about the Mike Gillislee-as-goal-line-back comments as they relate to McCoy, but there are definitely scenarios where both score.
  • As noted above, Atlanta’s high team total is even better on the rushing side where the 49ers give up significantly more scoring than league average. Devonta Freeman is a great bet to rebound off a poor week, and Tevin Coleman is also very much in play.
  • Latavius Murray and Jonathan Stewart are too unsexy lead backs on offenses with top-five rushing point projections. Each faces a defense allowing a significantly higher rate of scoring on the ground than league average.

Kicking and Defense/Special Teams Scoring and Notes

League Average Kicking Points Rate: 31.4 percent

TeamOppImp PtsTm %Opp %Avg kiPtsSD kiPts
WASCAR28.7534.5%31.2%9.449.67
ATLSFO32.7529.0%28.2%9.379.36
HOUJAX22.7545.0%37.3%9.369.52
MININD24.7533.3%35.7%8.558.60
BALPHI2341.5%31.6%8.418.87
SEALAR27.2538.0%23.0%8.317.54
OAKSDC26.2530.2%30.8%8.017.99
ARINOS26.525.8%34.5%7.987.43
DALTBB26.7529.4%29.1%7.827.82
NEPDEN23.527.8%38.0%7.738.30
KCCTEN23.7534.0%30.1%7.617.83
DETNYG18.536.9%45.1%7.597.74
INDMIN20.7531.7%40.4%7.497.85
GBPCHI22.2529.1%36.6%7.317.71
NOSARI2428.5%32.1%7.277.06
DENNEP20.536.1%33.9%7.177.20
CINPIT20.534.3%31.3%6.726.86
NYGDET22.527.1%32.1%6.656.38
PITCIN23.525.6%30.1%6.546.39
SDCOAK23.2529.1%26.9%6.516.47
CARWAS22.2529.9%28.1%6.456.41
BUFCLE25.7523.7%23.7%6.116.11
TBBDAL19.7527.0%34.5%6.065.75
MIANYJ2026.2%32.7%5.895.56
NYJMIA17.537.2%29.6%5.846.18
JAXHOU16.7533.3%33.6%5.605.60
TENKCC18.2527.1%33.3%5.515.23
SFOATL18.7532.3%24.6%5.345.00
PHIBAL17.537.2%22.4%5.224.64
CHIGBP16.7531.2%30.8%5.195.18
CLEBUF15.7531.4%32.2%5.015.04
LARSEA11.7535.1%30.2%3.833.98

Last week was the worst performance this season for the top five kicker recommendations, with four of the five scoring five or fewer fantasy points. Matt Prater did hit 10 points to salvage things a bit, and Roberto Aguayo performed well (11 FP) as the surprising sixth highest projected kicker. That drops the season average of the 70 recommendations I’ve highlighted in this article to 8.6 fantasy points, so it’s still been a strong season overall. Targeting high team totals and kicking game scoring percentages remains a great a way to pick kickers.

This week’s top options are Dustin Hopkins, Matt Bryant, Nick Novak, Kai Forbath, and Justin Tucker.

League Average DST Points Rate: 5.6 percent

TeamOppImp PtsTm %Opp %Avg dstPtsSD dstPts
KCCTEN23.7514.7%14.4%3.453.45
MININD24.7514.7%6.0%2.572.98
SEALAR27.252.9%9.9%1.742.17
MIANYJ206.5%9.3%1.571.65
ATLSFO32.757.0%2.5%1.561.21
HOUJAX22.755.2%7.1%1.401.51
WASCAR28.751.8%7.7%1.370.97
ARINOS26.53.3%6.8%1.351.13
CARWAS22.256.4%5.7%1.351.38
BUFCLE25.755.5%4.3%1.261.20
OAKSDC26.251.7%7.5%1.200.83
PHIBAL17.59.0%4.2%1.151.36
NOSARI240.6%8.7%1.110.67
SDCOAK23.257.4%1.9%1.080.77
CHIGBP16.759.0%3.8%1.081.29
NYGDET22.57.1%2.2%1.050.78
NEPDEN23.51.7%6.6%0.980.69
DENNEP20.58.2%0.0%0.840.43
DETNYG18.57.5%0.8%0.770.46
BALPHI234.3%2.2%0.750.70
DALTBB26.750.0%5.4%0.720.44
TBBDAL19.756.8%0.0%0.670.34
INDMIN20.753.7%2.7%0.660.65
GBPCHI22.250.0%4.8%0.540.36
PITCIN23.52.5%0.7%0.380.36
SFOATL18.750.0%3.5%0.330.26
CINPIT20.50.7%2.3%0.320.30
CLEBUF15.752.9%0.7%0.280.26
JAXHOU16.750.0%2.2%0.180.16
LARSEA11.753.1%0.0%0.180.15
NYJMIA17.50.0%2.0%0.170.16
TENKCC18.250.0%0.0%0.000.00

As always, keep in mind that this is the one facet of this segmented analysis that performed worse last season than just using the implied lines alone, and it was pretty dramatic. The logic follows that defensive or special teams scores are random, and the teams who score a high percentage of points this way could potentially have inflated implied point totals. Additionally, their DST units could be potential fades in DFS due to inflated fantasy success built on an unrepeatable trait.

  1. The first averages the offensive and defensive rates, while the second squares the difference between each rate and the league average, combines them, divides by two, and finds the square root, similar to the process for calculating standard deviation. This emphasizes teams with substantially higher or lower rates than league average.  (back)
  2. If I could predict that, I’d live in Vegas.  (back)

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