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Underdog's Fantasy Pick 'Em is a fun way to test our powers of prediction against the market. The two keys to success are picking the best players to target and taking advantage of correlations where we can increase our odds. You play Pick 'Em by simply choosing "Higher" or "Lower" on at least two player props. If you choose successfully, this is the payout structure:
- Two picks = 3X
- Three picks = 6X
- Four picks = 10X
- Five picks = 20X
In this weekly article, we will list our favorite plays of the week and the reasoning behind them.
Week 6 Review
Overall Picks (4-8-1 on the week, 36-29-1 on the season)
Overall Units (-3, -1 on the season)
-An early injury to Deebo Samuel ended any hope of winning our four-man 49ers-Browns pick. Brock Purdy ended up 77.5 yards below his passing prop, anyway. Brandon Aiyuk did easily hit his over, and Jerome Ford was a push.
-The Panthers-Dolphins 20X entry came relatively close to hitting. Raheem Mostert got the touchdown we need (plus a couple more for good measure). Adam Thielen doubled his reception total of 5.5. Unfortunately, Bryce Young came up 0.5 yards short, and we needed five more yards from DJ Chark and 10 more yards from Jonathan Mingo.
Lessons learned: Week 6 was a good reminder it is hard to win four or five-way Pick 'Ems but the risk is worth the reward given the 10X or 20X odds. The week was also a good reminder that in-game injury risk is a factor that favors unders. Early injuries like the ones to Justin Fields and Deebo Samuel were bad luck but also an inherent risk when going with the Higher side.
Week 7 Picks
Packers Ground Game
The theory of this play is a belief the Packers get back to basics with a run-heavy game plan against the NFL's worst run defense. The Packers are reeling after back-to-back losses, and the offense has failed to top 20 points since Week 2. The comments from players this week point to Aaron Jones being the missing link. With Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams gone, Jones is now the veteran leader and focal point of the offense. If the Packers control the game on the ground, it should limit the amount of passing attempts for both teams.
Higher than 51.5 Rushing Yards
- Jones is the best and most proven (by far) skill player on the Packers. He was off to an incredible start to the season with 127 yards on 28 snaps before pulling his hamstring. He has played just 20 snaps since, but both Jones and the Packers coaches sound confident he will play his full complement of snaps for the first time this season in Week 7.
"Aaron Jones is probably the best player on our team. Any time you're missing the best player on your team, it's gonna be tough to play without him."— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) October 19, 2023
More here on Green Bay's struggling offense and how getting Jones back, among other things, can help: https://t.co/rhWRyTAxy2
- The Broncos run defense has been atrocious this season. Denver ranks dead last with 1,034 rushing yards against at 5.6 yards per carry.
- Jones is one of the most efficient runners in NFL history, with a 5.1 yards per carry average that ranks Top 5 among backs with 1,000 carries.
Lower than 32.5 Passing Attempts
- The Packers scored 62 points over the first two weeks of the season, with Love averaging 26.0 passing attempts per game. He has averaged 36.7 attempts per game over his last three and thrown just two touchdowns against six interceptions. Green Bay knows it must dial back his attempts and take some pressure off with the running game.
- Denver's opponents have a pass rate of just 53.0%, the fifth-lowest in the NFL.
Lower than 4.0 Receptions
- There are bad vibes around Jeudy right now. He is on the trade block and blaming teammates for his struggles. "You could be open, but the line didn't do their thing, the quarterback didn't do his job, the OC didn't put you in position," said Jeudy in recent comments. There is sometimes a "squeaky wheel" argument made in favor of unhappy receivers, but this situation feels different, with Jeudy taking no responsibility for his struggles and blaming everyone else for his lack of production.
- Jeudy's median numbers this season are 3.0 receptions and 5.0 targets.
Lower than 62.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards
- Williams is talented and has looked a bit better of late in his return from a 2022 ACL injury, but now finds himself mired in a three-man RBBC with Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin.
The three-way RB committee in Denver is pretty annoying.— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) October 16, 2023
Utilization comp group for Javonte Williams based on his two healthy games with Jahleel McLaughlin in an expanded role:
Things can change but dammit.
(based on data since 2011)
- McLaughlin has been a revelation, earning a Top 3 rushing grade on the season from PFF and looking like the most dangerous player in a struggling Broncos offense.
Jaleel McLaughlin only trails De'Von Achane in yards per carry, yards after contact per carry and missed tackles forced per carry among 53 RBs with 25+ carries this season and it's like none of you even care— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 19, 2023
- McLaughlin has been much more effective as a pass catcher, an area where Williams struggles. He is averaging just 3.4 yards per target on 15 targets this season.
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