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Using Vegas Odds to Find Fantasy Football Value

By Jared Smola 8:29am EDT 8/25/15

   

Vegas knows what it’s doing. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be a new casino popping up seemingly every week.

But while the casinos and sports books might leave you lighter in the wallet, we can at least use Vegas knowledge to spot fantasy football values.

The sports books offer prop bets every offseason on the NFL’s leading passer, rusher and receiver. We can see how Vegas feels about player outlooks and compare that to ADP to find potentially undervalued and overvalued players.

Of course, the process isn’t perfect. We’re only looking at passing yards for QBs, rushing yards for RBs and receiving yards for WR. That’s only part of the fantasy football equation. It doesn’t include a variety of scoring plays — TDs, catches, receiving yards for RBs, etc.

So don’t completely change your thoughts on a player just because he shows up as undervalued or overvalued here. Instead, use this as another piece of the puzzle when evaluating guys.

The tables below show each player’s odds (the lower the number, the more likely) to lead the league in his respective category, as well as his overall ADP in MyFantasyLeague.com drafts since August 15th. The “Value” column is calculated by dividing the odds by the ADP. The lower the number, the better the value. We’ve highlighted good values in green and bad values in red.


Takeaways:

  • One of our other favorites, Ryan Tannehill, is the worst value. That’s concerning, but remember that rushing production is not factored in here. Tannehill has tallied 760 rushing yards over the last 3 years — 8th most among QBs.
  • The same can’t be said for Tony Romo and Philip Rivers, 2 guys who Vegas sees as overvalued who don’t provide added value with their legs.

Takeaways:

  • Don’t worry about elite RB1s Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles appearing overvalued. Their ADPs are so low that it’s tough for them to show up any other way. Plus, this doesn’t take into account their TD and reception upsides.
  • Vegas is VERY high on Adrian Peterson, though. He’s more than twice as likely as any other RB to win the rushing title, according to sports books. Of course, those odds could be partly due to a bunch of money coming in on AP.
  • If Vegas is right about Mark Ingram’s odds to win the rushing title, he’ll need to pop in a bunch of TDs to return value at his ADP. He’s not gonna produce a ton of points in the passing game.

Takeaways:

  • Like the elite RB1s, don’t worry about Antonio Brown showing up as overvalued here. It’s mostly due to his ADP of 2. But …
  • Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson and even Demaryius Thomas look like better values at the top of the WR rankings — especially considering those guys have higher TD ceilings.
  • A pair of Colts, T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson, pop up as the best WR values. Both guys also have plenty of TD potential on a team that threw for a league-high 42 TDs last year.
  • Mike Evans, Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks are 3 big names who show up as overvalued. But Evans’ fantasy value is largely tied to his TD upside, Cooks’ reception upside boosts him in PPR and Cobb has high TD and catch ceilings. Also note that these odds were released before Jordy Nelson’s season-ending knee injury.
  • We’re on board with Vegas on Sammy Watkins, who’s overvalued at his current ADP.
  • TE Rob Gronkowski is listed at +5000 — the same odds as Brandin Cooks. We have Gronk projected for 12 more yards than Cooks.

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