Tip Drill: Vegas, baby. Vegas

Scott Pianowski

Contrary to popular belief, Las Vegas doesn't have the answer key to everything in the sports world. The lines and stances that filter out of Sin City are a mix of analysis, information, and public perception. They're not perfect. But they are interesting, and they can offer fantasy utility as well.

Here's how I apply some handicapping into my fantasy playbook:

The scoring at some fantasy positions is directly correlated to winning teams, while it's less important at some other spots. Whenever possible you'd like your running back to be in a winning situation (leads to easier downhill yards in the fourth period, while losing teams often junk the running game); fantasy defenses get a boost from being ahead (tee-off time for the pass rush in the second half, and most defensive goodies come from QB pressure); and kickers normally get more bang for the buck if they're on a winner (more scoring to work with, plus teams trailing in the fourth quarter stop trying to kick field goals). When I do my weekly position ranks, the PK and DEF spots will be significantly influenced by which team I expect to win, and it's a factor I consider with the backs as well. Try to anticipate the flow of the game.

My seasonal ranks are also tied (in some areas) to how I expect the teams to fare, and with that in mind I think it's useful to have a win range for every club. Again, this is just part of the stew, not the entire recipe. As I'm sketching out my expected ranges, I will consider the over-under win totals posted on each team.

The weekly over-under numbers (the cool kids call them "totals") can be a good tie-breaker if you're torn between starting two players. Why settle for a flex player from a game projected to finish 17-14 if you can snag a similar player headed for an expected shootout?

Keep all of these ideas in perspective, they're a minor part of the process, but I truly believe there's something to be gained when we include a little handicapping into our mixture. Do you incorporate information from Vegas into your fantasy game plan? Discuss.