Week 7 approaches as the season slips by at quickening pace – for those not paying attention we’ve already played a game in sub-30 degree weather with light flurries and snow on the ground. We’ve witnessed everything from Tom Brady losses to Brock Osweiler wins through six weeks. NFL parody has just as much momentum as the season itself with Derek Anderson getting the week seven start for the Bills.
We’ve learned both betting and fantasy lessons as well. Being wary of road favorites – looking for travel spots, and how right betting spots inspire strong DFS plays. With the season in full force you can get a weekend recap anywhere, from now on we’ll briefly discuss takeaways and lessons from the week before jumping into the next week’s action.
Week 6 Review
The number one takeaway from week six is that it is probably time to stop betting on the Browns. Cleveland is undoubtedly ascending, and yet they still aren’t very good. They aren’t good at all in fact. In one of the most advantageous spots of the season, this decent Brown’s defense fell apart, and the offense struggled behind a rookie quarterback. Until Cleveland gets good coaches on its staff, you just can’t trust the weekly process this team goes through attempting to pull off a victory. The Brown’s offense is also difficult to trust with substandard protection up front.
The Jets are a team worth betting on. Their rookie quarterback is exceeding expectations behind an excellent offensive line, and the Jet’s young defense is figuring it out. The Colts were able to put up points last week, but these points and plays came mostly on missed assignments and blown coverages – which will happen with a young team. That might sound concerning, but it is easily fixed with coaching and is a far better problem to have than technique issues. The Jets defense when performing their assignment correctly displayed great technique and playmaking ability forcing the Colts into multiple turnovers. Vegas has undervalued the Jets so far on the season, and they will be worth keeping an eye on going forward.
Bettors should beware of the Bears – as good as the defense is you just can’t trust Mitch Trubisky.
The Cowboys defense is legit, and the Jaguars have issues. Multiple analysts have claimed that teams have figured out the Jaguars defensive scheme and that teams know how to beat them now. With Blake Bortles at QB, we can’t assume this team is a threat until their defense shows that it can adjust.
Scoring the Week
Got back on the right track last week but did not do as well as I hoped with the Browns falling apart at home.
Browns +1.5 vs. LAC | –
The Browns defense got worked by Philip Rivers and the chargers who seemed unphased by the early start. Baker Mayfield struggled and injured himself during this struggle making matters worse. I completely missed on this one but as I mentioned above part of the process now will be fading the Browns until their offensive line and coaching issues are corrected. The Browns failing to cover ridiculous spreads in great spots is a trend that has gone on far too long to continue trusting this team.
Washington vs. CAR O44.5 | –
40 points were put up in this game that appeared as though it might have turned into a shootout early. Washington put up 14 early and forced Carolina to play from behind, but defense clogged the game up effectively in the second half and kept this total from reaching the over.
Washington -1 vs. CAR| +
Missed the over but nailed the rebound performance by the Redskins. This team was in a great spot to start with and trusting a Carolina team that almost lost to the Giants wasn’t going to happen.
Ravens @ Titans U41 | +
A 21-0 shutout by the Ravens on the road was unexpected but appreciated. We knew defense would rule this game we just didn’t realize how one-sided it would be. 11 sacks for the Ravens in a historic road performance.
Games to Watch
Vikings @ Jets
The early slate is filled with odd matchups and games that don’t really jump off the screen, but this one features an interesting matchup. The Vikings have played down to their competition and haven’t maintained the dominant defense that made them such a threat last year. The Jets, on the other hand, are an ascending team with lots of talent trying to put things together. This game could be a trap game for the Vikings or a surprisingly good football game that ends up in a shootout. Each team is exciting to watch in their own right and as long as the Jets aren’t pulling a classic Jets flipping over to this game isn’t a bad option on this early slate.
Panthers @ Eagles
The game that jumps off the page on the early slate is this NFC matchup. After losing last week, the Panthers are desperate to keep on track in their division by pulling off a win Sunday. The Eagles come into the week with extra rest having beaten the Giants on Thursday night football. The defending Superbowl champs look to stay on track with what could prove to be a critical NFC win come playoff time.
Saints @ Ravens
Another out of conference matchup – only this one should be more exciting than the Vikings at the Jets. The Saints come out of the dome off a bye to face the Ravens and their aggressive defense. The Ravens are coming off a 21-0 road shutout in which they sacked Mariota 11 times. They return home to face a much more difficult opponent in Brees who should make this an exciting game. This is an important game for both teams trying to keep pace in competitive divisions. The jersey matchup in this game will be worth checking out as well – white and gold vs purple and black what a pairing!
Cowboys @ Redskins
This divisional matchup didn’t look nearly as enticing two weeks ago as it did after what the Cowboys did to the Jaguars on Sunday. These two rivals are each coming off of wins and looking to stay ahead of the Eagles who have fallen to third place in the division. The winner of this game could take control of the NFC East this Sunday.
Bengals @ Chiefs SNF
Two early division leaders coming off of loses square up for Sunday night football as we are treated to a contending Bengals team against the (despite the loss) red-hot Kansas City Chiefs. It is hard to say the Chiefs still aren’t one of the better teams in the league – a loss to the Patriots is hardly something to hold against a young team. The Bengals lost in the final seconds against Pittsburgh and are looking to maintain control of the AFC North. This sets up to be a phenomenal Sunday night showdown.
Wagers and Props
Jaguars -5.5 vs. Texans
This is a get right game for the Jaguars at home. Having dropped two straight games and getting thoroughly embarrassed last Sunday, the Jaguars are in a must-win situation at home. The Texans three straight wins are fraudulent at best, through six weeks DeShaun Watson has been hit 70 times – more than any other QB by a wide margin. The Texans rank in the bottom-12 teams in most strength of schedule adjusted DVOA metrics offensively, and their passing defense ranks 22nd. The Texans struggle as road dogs going 2-10 SU in their last 12. Watson has turned the ball over 11 times through six weeks – a trend that should continue against a hungry Jacksonville defense.
Total Quarterback Hits allowed through Week 6:
CAR, DET: 18
MIA, TEN, WAS: 28
BAL, NE: 29
JAX, SEA: 36
ARI, KC: 37
DAL, GB: 38
IND, NYG: 40
DEN, SF: 42
ATL, CLE: 49
— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) October 17, 2018
Eagles -230 vs. Panthers + O45
Carolina comes into this one desperate for a win which should make this a good game, but on paper, the Eagles are simply the better team. The Giants were a good litmus test for both of these teams – Carolina slipped by the G-Men with a last-second 63-yard field goal at home, and the Eagles traveled to New York on a short week and dominated. The loss of Sidney Jones is a big factor in keeping this one close and allowing the point total to hit the over, but I love the Eagles -230. This game should be a good indicator of how much to trust the Eagles on the spread going forward, but for this Sunday we’ll just settle for the win at home.
Carolina comes into this game averaging 27 PPG in their last three and the Eagles 26 PPG in their previous three. The Eagles get better offensively each week as Wentz gets healthier coming back off the knee injury. Carolina has been able to move the ball offensively, but remain in their own way turning the ball over instead of scoring multiple times in the past couple of weeks. If Carolina can clean things up against a short-handed Eagles secondary, I love the odds of this one hitting the over.
Carolina ranks 21st in S.O.S. adjusted passing defense DVOA and 17th against the run, this lacking defense has forced Cam to keep the offense in high-gear throughout the game. Last week the Panthers started down 14-0 quickly and ended up outpacing the Redskins in terms of yardage by over 100 yards at the end of the game.
Jets +4 vs. Minnesota + O47
The more this line favors the Vikings the harder I want to hammer the Jets this week. Minnesota enters this game somewhat overrated and the Jets just the opposite. The Vikings defense hasn’t been anything close to what it was last year and after losing their best cornerback, rookie first-round pick Mike Hughes, to an ACL tear last week this questionable defense appears even less reliable. The Vikings rank 25th in S.O.S. adjusted passing defense DVOA, and 20th in overall defensive DVOA. We’ve noted multiple times over the first few weeks how road favorites have struggled to cover this year and that trend could very well continue Sunday. The Jets are 8-2 ATS as home underdogs in their last 10. The Jets are second in the league with 15 takeaways through the first six weeks of the season, and Kirk Cousins has lost more fumbles (5) than any other QB so far this season. I like the Jets odds of covering here, and there is a good chance the game hits the over with two competitive offenses.
Baltimore -2 vs. New Orleans
New Orleans heads to Baltimore to face a defense allowing less than 13 points a game. PFF grades Baltimore as the best defense in the league through six weeks and Baltimore has the 2nd best strength of schedule adjusted defensive DVOA in the league. On the flip side, the Ravens offense is 13th in strength of schedule adjusted DVOA. New Orleans is famous for their offense, but Baltimore has nearly equivalent offensive line according to PFF, and as a result, Baltimore quietly ranks 7th in S.O.S. Adjusted passing DVOA on offense. Baltimore’s average points per game have dropped after facing a couple of strong defenses, but the Raven’s have displayed the ability to put up over 30 with ease against the right opponent. This should be a tight game with Baltimore defense giving them the edge. This young Saints defense that was so impressive a year ago has struggled thus far on the season ranking 26th in strength of schedule adjusted defensive DVOA.
Drew Brees on the road combined with the fact the Ravens actually have a capable offense leads me to believe the Ravens should be able to cover and lock down a win at home in the process attempting to keep up with the Bengals and ahead of the Steelers in the division.
Arizona +2 vs. Denver
Arizona should find a way to cover at home against a dismal Denver offensive line and a struggling Bronco’s defense.
Dallas +1 @ Washington
As hot as I have been for Washington early on in the season their sputtering offense doesn’t inspire confidence against a Cowboys defense that has found its stride with an outstanding performance against the Jaguars a week ago. The real reason for the lean here is the Cowboy’s record against the Redskins of late having completely taken over the series recently. Dallas has performed well at Fed Ex Field in recent years covering the spread their last couple of games there.
Indy -7.5 vs. Derek Anderson / The Peter-man
The Colts defense is a DFS lock this week – more below.
QB: Joe Flacco vs New Orleans | $5,400 DK / $7,500 FD
The Ravens haven’t been a one-sided team this year with the offense playing well with Joe Flacco under center and Marty Morningwig calling plays. Flacco, in particular, has played beyond expectation dating back to the final games of last season. Although the Ravens dominate defense Drew Brees, the future hall of famer should force the Ravens to play keep up. Mid-50’s and 0% chance of precipitation is the forecast so despite the narratives Drew should play a comfortable game behind one of the leagues premier offensive lines. With that in mind an solid Raven’s offense (13th overall S.O.S. Adjusted DVOA according to sharpfootballstats.com and 7th passing S.O.S. Adjusted DVOA) faces off against a Saints defensive unit ranked 30th in strength of schedule adjusted passing DVOA and ranks 23rd in PFF’s premium stats scoring with a 53.4 pass coverage grade good for 29th among the 32 NFL squads. Flacco has more deep ball attempts than anyone else in the league with 39 and is 3rd in total air-yards with 1077.
The Saints present the perfect matchup combined with Flacco’s price this is undoubtedly a wacco-for-Flacco week.
RB: Tarik Cohen vs NE | $5,100 DK / $6,600 FD
Most of the over-priced backs have tough spots for their prices and even injuries – so as you scroll down the list and realize that running back truly doesn’t matter you come to one of the smaller players in the NFL. Cohen will be in a favorable spot likely down to the Patriots forcing the Bears to throw the ball to him as the fruitlessly attempt a comeback. The Patriots rank 23rd when it comes to pass defense vs. the running back position. In a year where the running back has been a nightmare for most fantasy teams Cohen’s 15.00 FPPG is good for 14th amongst all running backs.
WR: Willie Snead vs New Orleans | $4,000 DK / $5,400 FD
The 4k free-square play of the week is Willie Snead in a revenge game against a team that gave up on him. Snead’s 43 targets put him in the top-25 amongst receivers meaning the opportunity is there. Snead 135 RAC yards are good for 10th in the league – He’s Flacco’s Golden Tate. The price, opportunity, and narrative all align making it impossible not to play Willie Snead against a struggling Saint’s pass defense. If you are worried about defenses getting better over the bye week look at Chicago traveling to Miami. Most teams use the bye as vacation time, and it takes a game or two to settle back in. The Flacco-Snead stack should be in at least a few of your lineups this weekend.
TE: Zach Ertz vs Carolina | $7,100 DK / $7,500 FD
Even worse than the running back situation this week is the pit of despair that makes up the tight end pool this week. Unless you feel like gambling on a Geoff Swaine I’m happy to pay up for the guy that will get you more than 10pts and keep you in contention. This pay-up is affordable when you’ve locked in some of these cheaper suggestions.
DST: Colts vs Bills | $3,300 DK / $4,100 FD
Derek Anderson who hasn’t even been on a football team recently will start for the Bills this week so the Colts should look impressive and rack up some points in the process. This typically sub-par defense comes in at a great price too. If Anderson gets benched The Peter-Man steps in which a lock for a couple of picks at least.
After a solid betting week in week 6 and a good DFS day last Sunday, we look to build on that this weekend. Make sure your lineups are set, the fridge is stocked, and barbeques lit as we kick back for another wonderful week of football. Best of luck this week, see you here next week to roll week 7’s success into week 8.