Betting Against Vegas

Betting Against Vegas

As draft season is rapidly approaching, most fantasy managers are diving into tons and tons of data, research, podcasts, etc. to try and find an edge amongst their league mates.  One aspect of football that often gets overlooked or ignored when analyzing fantasy football, are the odds makers out in Vegas.  We all know Vegas is in the business of making money, so their main goal is to set lines and spreads on games and players so tight, that they typically win whichever side regardless of which side hits.  During the season when I put out my weekly streaming articles, I always look at Vegas spread and Over/Under’s on games to get an idea of the expected outcome of certain games.  Doing this can help provide some context when choosing players or DSTs to stream on a weekly basis.  

 

Something Vegas does before every season is provide player props people can bet on, regarding a players’ expected statistics.  For example, Vegas will give a player prop on someone’s yards, receptions, touchdowns, etc., and you can bet if you think that player will go over or under the expected number.  Using this information, we can analyze the player props for each player in the NFL, and convert those expected stats into fantasy points, and rank players that way. For example, Cooper Kupp’s player props in Vegas are as follows – 111 receptions, 1300.5 yards, and 11.5 touchdowns.  These are the stats that Vegas is expecting Cooper Kupp to deliver this season.

 

What if we aggregated every player prop for the top section of players in fantasy?  That is exactly what I did in this exercise.  For this article, I analyzed the Top 40 WRs in ADP for the 2022 season, and outlined their player props from Vegas, added it all up, and gave each player an expected fantasy point total based on that projection.  The purpose of this exercise was to look at the group of players’ expected outcomes compared to each other, and then compare that data to their current ADP to identify players who might be getting over or under valued in drafts.

 

One caveat with this research was that I only included players that currently have player props.  WRs left off this list include Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, and Deandre Hopkins.  For one reason or another, Vegas has not given player props on these players whether it be uncertainty with the Watson situation, injury to Godwin, etc.  So, let us dive into what I found.

 

Undervalued

 

There were a few names that stuck out as players I see as undervalued in drafts.  These players currently have ADPs significantly lower than where their projected stats would suggest they finish the season.  The first player to bring up is Jacksonville WR Christian Kirk.  Vegas projects Kirk for 69 receptions, 800.5 yards and 5 TDs in 2022, which would give him 179 fantasy points in a formal PPR league.  Those numbers compared to the rest of the WR group would put Kirk finishing as the WR32 this season.  The value here is that Kirk currently has an ADP of WR42.  He is being drafted 10 spots behind where Vegas expects him to finish.  Kirk was given a boat load of money from Jacksonville this off-season and has flashed in a secondary role for the last few years in Arizona.  Coming to Jacksonville, he expects to be the primary WR and lead the team in targets.  Kirk can provide some tremendous value in the later rounds if he achieves his modest projection of 179 points.  

 

The second name on this list turned out to be Jerry Jeudy.  Vegas projects Jeudy for 73 receptions, 950.5 yards, and 6 TDs, giving him 204 fantasy points this year.  Those points would put Jeudy finishing as the WR18, but his current ADP is WR27, a nine-spot discount.  The Broncos got a massive upgrade this off-season adding Russell Wilson under center and there has been ongoing debate this off-season about which Broncos WR is the guy to own.  The community seems split between Jeudy and Sutton, and Vegas is seemingly putting their money on Jeudy.  Not only is Jeudy seemingly a great value relative to ADP, but Vegas also expects Jeudy to score more points than Sutton outright.  If you are torn between the two Denver WRs, it seems Jeudy is the better value and might ultimately end up the better producer.  

 

Here are the top 10 players that are currently values based on their projection compared to their ADP:

 

Christian Kirk – Vegas Projection: WR32 – ADP: WR42

 

Jerry Jeudy – Vegas Projection: WR18 – ADP: WR27

 

Juju Smith-Schuster – Vegas Projection: WR28 – ADP: WR35

Getting a massive QB upgrade joining Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.  Should be the target leader amongst WRs and he has shown WR1 upside in previous years.

 

Rashod Bateman – Vegas Projection: WR31 – ADP: WR38

Low volume passing attack but very little competition for targets.  Healthy Lamar Jackson should provide efficiency for Bateman who will easily lead the WRs in targets in Baltimore.  

 

Allen Lazard – Vegas Projection: WR37 – ADP: WR44

Narrative around Rodgers only throwing to guys he trusts.  Lazard has produced the last few years with Rodgers and with Adams gone, should step into a massive uptick in targets.  Only competition in Green Bay includes two rookies, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb.

 

Treylon Burks - Vegas Projection: WR38 – ADP: WR 45

Some red flags already with the conditioning in training camp, but Burks should easily lead the team in targets.  Returning Derrick Henry should improve the offense overall and we have seen AJ Brown dominate the last few seasons with Tannehill.  Almost no competition for targets.  

 

DJ Moore - Vegas Projection: WR11 - ADP: WR 17

One of my favorite targets this year, he has steadily been a 1,000 yards WR for a few years but leaves a lot to be desired in the touchdown department.  Mayfield coming on as QB should help boost Moore’s TD production.  

 

Darnell Mooney - Vegas Projection: WR20 - ADP: WR26

Another player on a bad offense who will seemingly have zero competition for targets.  Last season Mooney got 140 targets and I could see that number creeping up even further this season.  He is seemingly the only playmaker on that offense and Justin Fields seemed to lock onto Mooney last season.  

 

Gabriel Davis - Vegas Projection: WR26 - ADP: WR 32

The off-season darling of 2022, I expect Davis’ ADP to climb a bit higher.  At his current price of WR32, there seems like an awful lot of upside here.  Davis should take over as the #2 target in one of the league’s best offenses.  He is shown flashes his first two season, most notably his explosion in the playoff game against KC.  

 

Hunter Renfrow - Vegas Projection: WR25 - ADP: WR 30

After finishing as a Top 15 WR last season, the community has seemingly left Renfrow for dead after the Raiders trade for star Davante Adams.  While no one expects Renfrow to repeat last season’s performance, this will be a dynamic offense that can most likely support several fantasy options.  

 

Overvalued

 

Now let us look at the other side of the equation.  Based on Vegas projections, which players are currently being drafted higher than their expected finish? Before we dive into the list, one player I needed to highlight here is Deebo Samuel.  Vegas expects Samuel to finish with 70.5 receptions for 925.5 yards and 6 touchdowns – 199 fantasy points.  That production would place him as the WR21, and his current ADP is WR6.  So, if Vegas is right, then Deebo is being drafted 15 spots ahead of where he will finish.  Of course, this is not an exact science because Deebo is unique in his usage given all the RB carries he received last season.  However, I do not expect an exact replica of 2021 given Deebo’s voiced frustrations playing RB.  Additionally, I believe Deebo was used so heavily at RB later in the season because of the lack of depth the 49ers had at RB.  Trey Sermon has been getting positive reports in camp, plus the returns of Elijah Mitchell, Jeff Wilson and the addition of Tyrion Davis Price make me think San Fran will not need to lean on Deebo too heavily in the run game this season.  

 

Deebo Samuel was by far this biggest discrepancy in this exercise, and here are a few other players with significant differences.  

 

Deebo Samuel – Vegas Projection: WR21 – ADP WR6

 

AJ Brown – Vegas Projection: WR17 – ADP: WR11

Camp reports have been glowing around the Hurts to Brown connection, and while they may be true, Brown is going from a situation in Tennessee with virtually zero competition for targets, to a crowded Eagles unit including DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.  Add in the fact the Eagles were extremely run heavy in the second half of last season, if that trend continues, Brown could still be productive, but not return value on his ADP.

 

Courtland Sutton – Vegas Projection: WR29 – ADP: WR23

I lightly touched on Sutton during the Jeudy discussion above, but Vegas is not firmly behind Sutton this season.  Many people have argued Sutton is the WR to own given he has done it before in the NFL, but according to Vegas Jerry Jeudy will be the best Broncos WR this season, and Sutton seems to be getting over drafted.

 

DK Metcalf – Vegas Projection: WR23 – ADP: WR18

The fantasy community is already down on DK Metcalf.  He is a player who is finished in the top 12 WRs for two straight seasons but is coming off the board at WR18 this year.  Losing a QB the caliber of Wilson will do that to anyone.  But according to Vegas, the community is not down enough.  Vegas projects Metcalf to finish 5 spots below where he is currently being drafted and given the Seahawks’ current QB situation, I could easily see this season turning into a disaster for all Seattle players.

 

I know this is not an exact science.  I know there is a million factors at play with every single player in fantasy.  I wanted to highlight this idea as another data point to account for when making draft day decisions over the next few weeks.  Again, Vegas never loses.  And if they are setting lines on players’ statistics, I want to make sure I know what they expect because more often than not, they’re either spot on or pretty darn close.  I hope this information helps shed some light on players’ current values and possibly provides a leg up on your drafts.  


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