The Wednesday Watchman: NFL Week 15 Betting, DFS, Fantasy Information to Know

Mike Williams NFL Week 15 Betting DFS

Week 14 was a mix of emotions with some untimely injuries and monster performances. My top recommendation was one such performance. The amazing Justin Jefferson exploded for 223 yards receiving against the Lions. The stats predicted this kind of outing was coming, and consequently, we went “all in” on Jefferson. Though it’s somewhat perplexing he couldn’t find the endzone while amassing enough yards to traverse the entire length of the playing field twice with change.

Let’s keep up the momentum and explore another interesting statistic. The past two Watchman articles featured a WR as the “cover player,” who then posted massive numbers. One way I like to determine likely blow-up scenarios involving WRs is by considering the opposing defenses’ EPA against specific positions. EPA is explained here; it is the expected points added by each player for each play, taking many game circumstances into consideration.

EPA Allowed to Different Types of Receivers

Our data friends at TruMedia and Sports Info Solutions provide The 33rd Team with versions of defensive EPA divided by wide receiver alignment. For example, the Saints defend slot WRs the best of any defense in the NFL thus far in 2022. While they rank first against slot-aligned receivers, they rank 31st (second-worst) against receivers not lined up in the slot. So, if the Saints play a team with an above-average WR who plays a significant portion of his snaps lined up out wide, I make him a target for DFS/fantasy/props betting.

This week, let’s look at the top few defenses to target for wide-aligned WRs, slot-aligned WRs and tight ends.

Top Defenses to target for non-slot WR:

  • Vikings
  • Saints
  • Titans

Top Defenses to target for slot WR:

  • Raiders
  • Lions
  • Chiefs

Top Defenses to target for TE:

  • Cardinals (always and forever)
  • Jaguars
  • Giants

Betting Stats to Know

This week, I will list out the bets supported by our data.

Note: DraftKings sportsbook has limited early-week player prop offerings for games as of the writing of this column.

  • Michael Pittman Jr. over 64.5 yards receiving vs. Vikings
  • Falcons Team Total Points, second Half over 9.5
  • Titans-Chargers Both Teams to Score 20+ Points
  • Raiders-Patriots under 44.5
  • Jets (-1) against the spread (ATS)
  • Houston Texans Total Points Bands 21-30
  • Broncos (-3) ATS
  • Cowboys-Jaguars over 47.5
  • Giants-Commanders First Half Under 19.5 points

DFS Stats to Know

The Vikings play a rested Colts team after letting Lions WRs not named Amon-Ra St. Brown stomp them mercilessly. Alec Pierce and Pittman Jr. are the beneficiaries this week. They run 95% and 77% of their routes from out wide, respectively. This is a Matt Ryan indoor game, so the chances of him playing well have increased from zero to, well, a percentage greater than zero. He is a worthy dart throw.

The Saints take on the run-heavy Falcons (with new starting QB Desmond Ridder) in what could be a low-scoring divisional affair. Though it’s likely the Saints take advantage of the Falcons’ awful defense ranked 30th in yards per game allowed. That forces Atlanta to use their WRs, supposedly. The player to target here is rookie Drake London, who runs 89% of his routes out wide against the Saints’ defense ranked 31st against such aligned WRs.

The struggling Titans rank 30th against out-wide wide-outs and now play the Chargers and a healthy Mike Williams (86% of his routes are out wide). He makes their offense better with his presence. Derrick Henry should run roughshod over the Chargers’ 29th-ranked run defense, so Williams will be needed to answer back. I trust him and Justin Herbert this week.

The Raiders play the hot-and-cold Patriots offense this week. The best bets — if you want to trust Mac Jones — are Jakobi Meyers (59% slot) and Nelson Agholor (32%). The Patriots like to run, but against the NFL’s No.2 rush defense, they may find the air is the path of least resistance.

The Jets host the Lions on Sunday and are treated to the second-worst slot WR defense. Mike White is still in one piece (somehow) and is playing inspiring football. You will want to target Braxton Berrios (62% slot) and rookie sensation Garrett Wilson (38% slot) for the best data-driven chances of success.

The Chiefs let Jerry Jeudy rack up eight catches, 73 yards and three touchdowns on them last week, and he plays the highest amount of slot snaps on the Broncos (58%). While the Texans are an underwhelming one-win team, they nearly took down the Cowboys. So don’t write off Chris Moore (71% slot) and Amari Rodgers (70% slot) this weekend.

TE is tough this year. But you can count on playing your TE against the Cardinals, so lock in Greg Dulcich. Arizona’s combination of allowing the most points per game and the most EPA to TEs means we can bank on Dulcich, who is garnering a healthy 5.63 targets per game.

Dallas got Dalton Schultz healthy just in time for their playoff run. Now he gets a tune-up against the Jaguars’ second-worst TE defense. Jacksonville is also ranked only 28th in pass yards per game, so consider Schultz a worthy option.

The Giants are starting to fizzle down the stretch. While the Commanders don’t have an elite TE, Logan Thomas is still around and could see increased action since the Giants do well locking down opponent non-slot WRs (Terry McLaurin). He is more of a punt option but has a chance to defy expectations.

Waiver Wire Advice

Check out what my colleagues are saying about waiver pick-ups. Moore, Ridder and Chigoziem Okonkwo are worthy additions.

Check in again next time for The Wednesday Watchman: Week 16!

(Data courtesy of SIS and TruMedia Networks)

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