Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Todd Gurley II.
- Week 17 in the NFL Is oftentimes a crapshoot, as certain teams will be resting many of their starting players.
- We know that quarterbacks have plenty of value to the spread, but you may be surprised to see how little value other star players have.
- Running backs are hardly worth anything, while stud wide receivers may move the line a point at most. Other positions hardly have any individual players that are worth anything.
Week 17 is here and you can bet your bottom dollar like little orphan Annie that we’re going to see some resting players and big line moves over the course of the week.
With that said, you’re going to want to be on the right side of the closing line value. Perhaps you think you know who’s going to rest, but don’t know how that will impact the spread. You don’t want to overvalue anyone, right? Of course not.
The first thing you need to know is that quarterbacks > everyone else. Even some of the worst QBs in the league are worth more than the best running backs, wide receivers and so on. Check out the article below to see how the QBs stack up in terms of value to the spread.
To find out more about which non-QBs are capable of moving a line, I contacted odds consultants William Bernanke and Scott Cooley.
Offensive linemen aren’t capable of much on their own, even the best in the biz. Don’t tell Geoff Schwartz.
“Even the best O-linemen would not move the spread more than a point, even an all-pro center like Maurkice Pouncey,” Bernanke said.
However, multiple starting linemen being out could cause some movement depending on the caliber of the players so I would keep an eye out for any teams set to rest bundles of starters. The same goes for starters on the defensive side of the ball.
Per Cooley, “If you’re talking about groups of starting personnel, then adjustments are certainly needed. A few weeks ago the Redskins’ line was impacted by the loss of three starting O-linemen and a fourth being doubtful. Of course, the end result was an ugly loss and Alex Smith’s leg being snapped in half.”
In terms of individual players on defense, Bernanke was particularly swept off his feet by Khalil Mack.
“I feel Khalil Mack is worth a minimum of two points to the spread. [He reminds me of] Lawrence Taylor with the way teams must account for him week in and week out. He has his own gameplan. He should be in the running for league MVP considering where the Bears are now and last year (Matt Nagy has something to do with that as well).”
There aren’t too many others capable of impacting the line on their own, but JJ Watt and Von Miller were two others cited as having around a half-point worth of value before the start of the 2018 season. Aaron Donald has also entered that conversation.
Bernanke: “The wide receivers that certainly would move the line are: Julio Jones and Antonio Brown. [Remember] that Odell Beckham Jr is out and line did not adjust towards the Colts (maybe a half-point in some spots). Wide receiver value is dependent on the QB and other weapons around him. The most a top-notch receiver would move the needle is a point or a point and a half (before bettors jump in) with all things being equal.”
Cooley: “Oddsmakers might adjust slightly if a team has one stud wide receiver out and no quality complementary receivers around him to step in. But that would be a half-point or point, at most.”
Cooley added DeAndre Hopkins to the list, pointing to his performance on Sunday vs. Philadelphia as a reason why they’d adjust the line if he were out.
Running Backs & Wide Receivers
On a whole, both feel running backs are not as valuable as wide receivers in terms of value to the spread, but Bernanke listed Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley as two that are capable of moving the line up to a point.
Cooley won’t even go that far, saying, “Running backs these days are largely interchangeable so they don’t have any value.”
We literally saw this yesterday when Todd Gurley couldn’t play and the Rams went from -14 to -14.
The same basically goes for tight ends in Cooley’s mind.
“No tight ends qualify. Gronk may have had value (half-point) a couple of years ago at his peak, but nothing now.”