Want to know the latest trends, matchups and injury news in football? We’ve got you. Want to know where the public has money this week? We’ve got you. Want to know which teams to play, whom to roster in DFS or whom to pick in your Eliminator pool? We’ve got you there, too. Here’s everything you need to know as you prepare for your fantasy football matchups and potential bets on the games this weekend.
David Purdum’s Action Report
Finebaum: Colorado has a ‘puncher’s chance’ to upset USC
Paul Finebaum and Heather Dinich weigh in on whether Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes will bounce back from last week’s blowout to upset USC.
Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics
Syracuse Orange +6.5 vs. Clemson Tigers: In terms of total efficiency — a measure of the play-to-play level performance adjusted for opponent strength and garbage time — these teams have been nowhere close. Syracuse ranks 15th, Clemson 50th. All that’s keeping Clemson’s projection afloat here is our preseason prior — which does still matter — but not enough. FPI thinks Syracuse at home should be a narrow favorite, a huge difference from the betting line.
No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes to win the national championship (9-1): It wasn’t pretty, but the Buckeyes squeaked past Notre Dame last week. And the most important thing was the win. There are other roadblocks before the playoff (vs. Penn State, at Michigan), but FPI believes the Buckeyes are the best team in the country, and that counts for a lot. It makes their chances to win it all 21%.
Joe Fortenbaugh’s CFB Confidence picks
No. 8 USC at Colorado OVER 73.5: I priced this total at 77, so there’s value in the over. USC is averaging 55 points and has hung at least 42 points in all four matchups this season. Additionally, I thought the Trojans got caught looking ahead to this matchup during last week’s tougher-than-expected battle at Arizona State. The primary reason why I believe this total is underpriced is because of Colorado’s offensive performance at Oregon last Saturday. However, that Ducks’ defense is much better than this USC defense, not to mention the fact that this is a home game and that was a road game for Coach Prime and company. Colorado will score enough to get this over the total.
Georgia Southern Eagles -6.5 vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers: Clay Helton has done a tremendous job with this Georgia Southern program, as the Eagles are 3-1 straight up and 3-0-1 against the spread while posting a +85 scoring differential for their three non-Wisconsin matchups. On the flip side, Tim Beck’s Coastal Carolina squad is a step down from what we’ve seen from the Chanticleers in recent seasons, as evidenced by last week’s 13-point home loss to Georgia State despite closing as a 5-point favorite.
TCU Horned Frogs -13.5 vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: TCU is undervalued thanks to that stunning 45-42 home loss to Colorado in its season opener. However, the Horned Frogs have very quietly surged back onto the scene thanks to three straight double-digit wins over Nicholls, Houston and SMU. Let’s take advantage of the pricing here against a Mountaineers team that is likely headed for a letdown following last Saturday’s 20-13 upset win over Texas Tech.
Why the Broncos could be a safe bet to rack up points vs. the Bears
Erin Dolan expects the Broncos to surpass the team points prop bet against a “terrible” Bears defense.
Stephania Bell’s injury update
Analysis of all the key injuries to watch will be updated throughout the weekend.
Get all the latest injury news here.
Matt Bowen’s matchups to exploit
New England Patriots QB Mac Jones vs. the Dallas Cowboys‘ schemed defensive fronts: The Cowboys lead the NFL with a pressure rate of 49.5%. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will scheme his defensive alignments, creating matchups for Micah Parsons and open rush lanes off twist stunts. The goal should be to heat up Jones on Sunday.
Tyreek Hill vs. the Buffalo Bills‘ zone coverages: Buffalo has played a mix of single-high and split-safety zone coverage on 61.6% of opponent dropbacks this season. Look for Mike McDaniel to dial up some deep, leveled route concepts to open coverage voids for Hill.
For more breakdowns, check out Matt Bowen’s Film Room.
Mike Clay’s Eliminator Challenge advice
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS plays
Is Quentin Johnston worth a look in fantasy?
Field Yates explains where Quentin Johnston stands in the Chargers receiving corps.
I’m tempted to lean into the chalk again with a Chargers and Raiders stack built around Keenan Allen ($7,900) and Davante Adams ($8,000). With both being likely core cash-game plays, it’s going to make the pair very popular in tournaments, along with Josh Palmer, who’s only $4,000 and clearly mispriced for his current role with Mike Williams out for the season. If this is the route chosen, it’s going to be important to not only find value to fit the primary stack, but also to try and identify lower played combinations to bring down the overall percentage hold of the lineup in order to be a bit more contrarian. Value plays like Calvin Austin ($3,300), Josh Downs ($3,500), Najee Harris ($5,500) and Javonte Williams ($5,500) will allow us that opportunity to not just save money, but to differentiate our tournament lineup from some of the others.
More DFS plays here.
Seth Walder’s biggest edges from ESPN Analytics
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST anytime TD (6-1 at DraftKings): Sam Howell has a sack problem. Sam Howell has an interception problem. The Eagles have a dangerous defense. It’s a perfect combination. I make the fair price +438.
Kansas City Chiefs DE Mike Danna under 0.25 sacks (-125 at DraftKings): Danna has 2.5 sacks this season but has never recorded more than five in a year. Plus, his 6% pass rush win rate leaves a lot to be desired. Even against Zach Wilson and the New York Jets, this under price is too good to pass up.
Atlanta Falcons QB Desmond Ridder over 0.5 INTs (+143): The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ defense ranks third in EPA allowed per designed run. That might force Atlanta to throw the ball, and that increases the chances of a Ridder pick. I have Ridder at a 47% chance to throw an interception, a value against this line.
David Purdum’s Action Report
The SuperBook and South Point sportsbooks reported sharp action on the Patriots +7 at Dallas, causing the line to drop to Cowboys -6.5. Chris Andrews, sportsbook director at the South Point, said he believes bettors ignored the Cowboys’ injuries on their offensive line in last week’s loss to the Cardinals. “They’re not ignoring them this week,” Andrews said. SuperBook executive director John Murray also said sharp bettors took the Houston Texans +3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, causing the line to drop to Pittsburgh -2.5.
Caesars Sportsbook reported taking early action on the Broncos against the Bears in Chicago in a battle of winless teams. “The money did come from Denver, some sharp action,” Craig Mucklow, vice president of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said in a company podcast. Denver opened on Sunday as a 2.5-point favorite, and the number had grown to -3.5 as of Thursday.
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa has emerged as the favorite to win the regular-season MVP award at sportsbooks. Tagovailoa moved from +700 to +325 to win the award at PointsBet (Fanatics) after the Dolphins’ 70-20 win over the Broncos last week. Ahead of the game against Denver, Tagovailoa had attracted fewer MVP bets than Bears QB Justin Fields.
Erin Dolan’s ‘Dolan Out Winners’
Why Erin Dolan likes the Vikings vs. the Panthers
Erin Dolan explains why she is laying the four points with the Vikings vs. the Panthers this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings -4 at Carolina Panthers: In a matchup of winless teams, I believe the Vikings can put up more points than this Panthers’ offense. The Vikings’ offense has averaged 23 points, losing all three games by an average of four points. For an 0-3 team, Kirk Cousins is averaging 46 passing attempts and 358 passing yards per game. Minnesota was so close to beating the Chargers last week, if not for Cousins’ late pick at the end of the game. Both defenses are allowing 27 points per game, so this is going to come down to offense. The Panthers’ offense has averaged only 18 points per game. Andy Dalton stepped in at QB last week, but Bryce Young could potentially end up back on the field. I am going with Cousins and company to win and cover on the road.
Broncos team total OVER 24.5 points at Bears: Both of these teams are 0-3 straight up and 0-3 against the spread, ranking in the bottom two spots in the league for points allowed per game. So what can we trust? I trust the Bears’ defense to continue to be terrible. Chicago has allowed 25 or more points in 13 straight losses. The Broncos’ offense has averaged 23 points, so they should be able to do some damage against this defense — and want to do damage after their own defense allowed Miami to score 70 points. The Bears have allowed all three opponents to hit over 24.5 points.
Anita Marks’ NFL Confidence picks
Chiefs -8.5 at New York Jets: The Jets are still rolling with Zach Wilson, who barely can barely lead them 10 points per game. KC’s defense has been good and has the players to get to Wilson. The Chiefs will put up at least 20 against a Jets’ defense that is losing patience. Count on a Travis Kelce anytime TD (-155) for Taylor Swift in the box!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints UNDER 39.5 points: Derek Carr is dealing with a shoulder injury and chances are he will not suit up in Week 4. The Bucs are on a short work week after losing to the Eagles on “Monday Night Football” and now have to travel to the Big Easy. The Saints get Alvin Kamara back to run and receive out of the backfield. The Mike Evans vs. Marshon Lattimore matchup should be a fun one to watch, although Lattimore has dominated in past encounters.
Tyler Fulghum’s Pigskin Pick’em plays
I definitely did not see a couple of those upsets taking place in Week 3. The Cowboys lost to the Cardinals. The Jags and Ravens also lost as big favorites at home. This is why we love the NFL. Expect the unexpected. No telling which of these Week 4 “gimmes” will yield an unexpected result for Pigskin Pick’em.
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