DFS

The Wednesday Watchman: Week 1

week 1

Can you believe another exciting season of NFL action is upon us?

So many trades and so much drama in the offseason. So many wagers to bet, lineups to configure, and tournaments to compete in now. With our heads aswirl in statistics and information, I like to pick out something in the data that catches my eye to focus on. Then we can dissect that piece of information for fantasy and betting applicability. The Wednesday Watchman will be our bulletin board for exploring data, connecting dots, thinking critically, and finding the edge we need to win.

Week 1 Statistic:

Over the past 5 seasons, 68.75% of Week 1 indoor/dome games have gone over the total, by an average of 8.59 points.

Over the past 10 seasons, 73.3% of Week 1 indoor/dome games have gone over the total, by an average of 8.98 points.

This caught my eye as something that has some merit. We have a 32-game sample over five seasons, and a 60-game sample over ten seasons. Going over at a rate of ~70% by a margin of nearly 9 points per game is huge. Consider that the baseline result of all Week 1 games for the past five seasons is 49.4% over and a 0.54 point margin, and for the past 10 seasons is 50.9% over and a 0.79 point margin.

We could speculate that the combination of no weather variables with a full offseason of defensive rust is enough to cause this. These numbers could also be the result of an overfitting error of explosive teams playing in domes. However, looking at the specifics shows us that, though the dominant Saints squads of the 2010s are the most frequent teams in the sample, the Saints over rate is 77.8% by an average of 10.17 points. While the Saints presence does help hold up the averages of these stats, their numbers are not exorbitantly different from the entire sample. The Lions, Falcons, and Vikings round out the top recurring teams in this sample. Though these teams had good seasons during this timeframe, they could hardly be argued as perennial juggernauts. Even the Falcons, who reached the Super Bowl in this timeframe, had more losing seasons than winning ones from 2012-2021.

An interesting tidbit is that Detroit is 8-0 to the over in Week 1 dome games over the past 10 years. The Eagles and Falcons are the only teams with more unders than overs of the 20 teams to meet our criteria. With all of this in mind, we can now apply this knowledge to 2022.

2022 Week 1 dome games (current total): 

Bills-Rams (52) 

Eagles-Lions (49) 

Packers-Vikings (47) 

Raiders-Chargers (52.5)

Boom, round robin “over” parlay submitted. Joking aside, these matchups all pass the smell test of games we think could have a higher-scoring outcome. Every team listed here is either elite or features an ascending offense. What are the implications?

Betting

At a 70% historical clip, I am confident in hitting at least 2, probably 3, and maybe all 4 overs. As of writing this article, the odds on each “over” bet is -110 on DraftKings.  Any parlay of two overs is +264 odds. Nothing is assured, but if I see an edge, I will risk what I am comfortable losing.

DFS

All elements of these passing offenses should be in your player pool this week. Bills-Chargers is a standalone Thursday game, so we will focus our DFS discussion on Sunday’s slate.

Quarterback

For an inexpensive QB on DK, you could save some budget and go with Jared Goff at $5400, Derek Carr at $5900, or Kirk Cousins at $6100. If you are paying up at QB, Justin Herbert is at 7600, Aaron Rodgers is at $7000, and Jalen Hurts is at $6800. I am partial to Hurts at a nice compromise price that leaves enough funds for stacking a pass-catcher or two and correlating a Lions wide receiver.

Running back

Running back is still in play here with some below-average run-defenses. Austin Ekeler ($8200) and D’Andre Swift ($6800) are pricier options due to their stranglehold on their respective high-value RB touches (pass targets and goal-line work). Josh Jacobs ($6300) has had a roller-coaster preseason, but still appears to be the Raiders’ 1A RB at worst. Miles Sanders ($5400) is hard to trust with his current injuries and capable complementary backs Kenneth Gainwell ($4600) and Boston Scott ($4500).

Backs with less appealing matchups include Dalvin Cook ($7900), Aaron Jones ($6700), and AJ Dillon ($5300). It’s difficult to know what the backfield split will be like in Green Bay with two capable backs. Dalvin Cook catches passes and breaks slates now and then, so he may be worth some ownership.

Wide receivers

We are offered some enticing wide receivers options. Top dollar WRs include Davante Adams ($8100) and Justin Jefferson ($7800). Mid-price options include Keenan Allen ($7000), Mike Williams ($6600), AJ Brown ($6400), and Amon-Ra St. Brown ($6100). Lower priced options are Hunter Renfrow ($5800), Allen Lazard ($5600), Devonta Smith ($5500), Adam Thielen ($5400), and KJ Osborn ($4900). Bargain-basement options are Randall Cobb ($3400), Joshua Palmer ($3800), and preseason favorite Romeo Doubs ($3000). Chargers pass defense should be good, and focused mostly on Adams, so I wouldn’t invest too heavily. Jefferson moves around and plays a lot of slot, so his matchup isn’t as bad as it looks. He torched the Packers at home last year for an 8-169-2 line. Pairing Hurts with his best buddy AJ Brown isn’t the worst though at his price. On the other side, St. Brown is Goff’s security blanket against an otherwise difficult defense. Lazard has injury concerns, making Cobb and Doubs intriguing/cheap pivots.

Tight ends

On the tight end front, Darren Waller ($5400) is back from his mystery illness. TJ Hockenson ($4900) and Dallas Goedert ($4500) face off. At this juncture Robert Tonyan ($3900) and Irv Smith ($3400) are questionable to play. Herbert’s new toy Gerald Everett ($3800) is an enticing option against the Raiders. Hockenson might be worth a look against an Eagles defense which, while generally top tier, allowed the most receptions, yards, and catch rate to tight ends last season.

You should have no trouble fitting multiple players from these six teams into your DFS lineups for Week 1. Season-long fantasy players can feel confident in starting any major players from these teams.

Check in again next time for The Wednesday Watchman: Week 2!

(Data courtesy of SIS and TruMedia Networks)

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