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In our Wednesday morning first look at the Week 18 Main Slate, we begin our weekly preparation process by taking a big-picture view of the slate. The goal here is to give you some info-packed visualizations and tables as an appetizer for the much more in-depth main courses that come later in the week. In addition, we want to start to identify the teams and players who are most likely to be popular so we can narrow our focus as soon as possible, and start digging deeper into the pluses and minuses of the players who stand out as potential top options.
Our Week 18 First Look will start out by breaking down the lines and team totals. We are looking both at the best spots overall, and the teams projected to score more than they typically do, which is a sneakier path to success. We are also going to identify the players that are popping out as top values in the early-week Footballguys Consensus Projections. Lastly, we will dig into usage stats and how each player on the slate ranks in key metrics.
Implied Team Totals and Spreads
The above visualization shows each team’s implied team total and how much they are favored by (negative numbers for underdogs).
- The upper right-hand quadrant shows teams that are favorites and expected to score an above-average amount of points. Players from these teams are prime targets for our DFS lineups this week. It is going to be hard to get away from Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb this week, given how much higher the Cowboys team total is than any other team on the slate. The Seahawks have the second-highest implied team total. Geno Smith is quite affordable in a strong matchup.
- The bottom right-hand quadrant contains teams that are favored but in what are expected to be low-scoring games. It is a good spot for Austin Ekeler. From a narrative perspective, it would be nice if the Chargers helped him go out on a high note in what might be his final game for the franchise. Ezekiel Elliott ranks tops on the slate in terms of weighted opportunity, and the Patriots are favored for the first time in a long time.
- The upper left-hand quadrant is teams that are underdogs but still expected to score an above-average number of points in games with shootout potential. The game script should set up well for the passing games of these offenses. The Cardinals are an interesting team to target. The team came up with a big win last week against the Eagles and could play spoiler again this week against the Seahawks. Kyler Murray, James Conner, and Trey McBride are worth considering.
- The bottom left-hand quadrant is teams that are underdogs and not expected to score much. We want to approach rostering players from these teams with caution.
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