Strength of Schedule

Mining Vegas 2023 Game Totals for Fantasy Gold

Our friends over at Superbook recently released game totals and spreads for every game on the 2023 NFL schedule. Using this information, we can gain insights into teams and the schedule, giving us a potential edge over our opponents as we construct our fantasy rosters.

Today we will dive into those edges, but before we do, there is an important question we must ask ourselves to determine if this data has any value.

Does what oddsmakers have to say matter?

Using data from oddsmakers has become the norm in many areas of fantasy football, such as daily fantasy sports (DFS). Find the teams with the highest projected team total, and generally, DFS rostership will follow—especially if it is a game where both teams carry high expectations. 

The concept is pretty simple; we want to roster players from the teams that have the chance to gain the most yards and score the most TDs.

Contrary to popular belief, oddsmakers don’t have a magical formula that predicts the future. In fact, only 27% of team totals have been projected within three points over the last five years—and that is with the assistance of betting action from sharps that creates line movement. If we move the threshold up to six points, the team totals have been on target 51% of the time.

You might be asking yourself, why should we care about what oddsmakers have to say? Well, despite their inability to precisely predict the future, their lines are usually a good indicator of which teams have a chance to score more. But, you see, it isn’t about the exact score—it is about access to large-point outbursts.

Vegas team totals vs. actuals

The average score for an NFL team over the last five seasons is 23 points, and by quickly analyzing some data points below and above, we can get a feel for how accurate the oddsmakers are at predicting lower scores versus higher ones.

Rarely have we seen high-scoring outputs come from teams with low team-total projections and vice versa from the oddsmakers. Generally speaking, the high scores come from games projected as such.

Yes, what oddsmakers have to say about game totals is vital for fantasy football since they are directionally correct, and we want players from teams that score a lot of points.

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It is important to note that we are only in June, so much will change as rosters change due to injuries and signings. So, we don’t want to craft our entire draft strategy around this information. 

Instead, it is meant to be another tool in the tool belt as we plot out paths to optimal roster construction in our quest to take down our best ball and redraft leagues.

With all of the background out of the way, let’s dive into the top findings.


  • 2023 preseason team total projections appear conservative (21.9 average) compared to in-season data over the last five seasons (23.0 average). This could have something to do with how far out oddsmakers are forecasting.
  • Using Week 1 through 17 since most fantasy leagues don’t play Week 18 (and if yours does, please stop)

Rising points per game

Rising points per game

These changes make sense given some combination of offseason moves, improved health, and 2022 performance (i.e., nowhere left to go but up).

  • The Jets added Aaron Rodgers and were bad in points per game
  • The Broncos added Sean Payton and were last in points per game
  • The Bears added D.J. Moore and were below average in points per game
  • The Ravens battled injuries and added Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr.
  • The Steelers were below average in points per game and had a young QB
  • The Chargers battled injuries, including a rib issue that Justin Herbert played through

The Jets already boast Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall in the first three rounds of fantasy drafts, and this data serves as a vote of confidence for sticking with them. Rodgers is hanging around in Round 10 of Underdog drafts, which could be a steal. He posted 21.0 and 24.5 points per game in 2020 and 2021 – that is the type of upside that can help offset the early-round QB studs if you want to wait in drafts. 

The Jets are also full of other stack options that are virtually free in Mecole HardmanCorey Davis, and Tyler Conklin.

Sean Payton’s offenses in New Orleans were great.

Yes, much of this involves coaching an outstanding QB like Drew Brees. But that is kind of the point—only a couple of years ago, Russell Wilson was considered one of the best in the NFL. If Payton can get Russ cooking again, the Broncos are loaded with cheap options after Round 10 in drafts.

The Bears' skill players are mostly forgotten after Justin Fields and D.J. Moore, but this upgrade makes them more intriguing. Their passing yards per game average was the lowest since 2012. And while that isn’t encouraging, it was an outlier season that will be hard to repeat, even with a rushing QB. 

So by all means, don’t load up on Bears, but also don’t be against sprinkling in some of their late-rounders like D’Onta Foreman and Chase Claypool.

This could be the best supporting cast we have ever seen around Lamar Jackson, and the new OC, Todd Monken, could unlock a new upside in the passing attack. However, uncertainty regarding who will be the No. 1 option at WR is holding down ADP on Rashod Bateman, Flowers, and OBJ. Bateman and Flowers are particularly fun options with or without Lamar on your team in Round 8 on Underdog.

The Steelers have one RB, two WRs, and one TE coming off the board by Round 9 on Underdog. While they aren’t expected to make giant leaps, their improved standing makes their ADPs more palatable and puts the crosshairs on Kenny Pickett, a Round 15 selection. Don’t be afraid to add Pickett as your QB2 or QB3, depending on roster construction in best ball formats.

Justin Herbert

Dec 26, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) drops back to pass the ball in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The oddsmakers are projecting the Chargers as the No. 5 team in points per game. While their pieces aren’t cheap, they are very stackable on Underdog. 

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams go in Round 4, and you can grab Herbert in Round 5 to stack with either. Rookie Quentin Johnston is an early Round 8 selection, and Gerald Everett is the TE20 off the board in Round 14. Of course, an argument could be made that Austin Ekeler should be the No. 1 selection in drafts rather than No. 10. 

I want as much exposure as possible to this offense—everything aligns perfectly.

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Declining points per game

Declining points per game

The Cardinals are dogs in every game, with an average spread of -6.2 points. However, these numbers could be way off if Kyler Murray surprises with an early return. 

There are still some fine one-off pieces from Arizona, but we don’t want to load up. It is hard to imagine a scenario where we don’t win our fantasy seasons because this offense erupted.

The 49ers are still loaded on offense, but this could be more of a reflection on the uncertainty at QB, which is a massive driver for game totals. 

Interestingly, San Francisco is an offense I haven’t bought into heavily because they are a run-first attack with many mouths to feed. However, all their primary playmakers are individually talented, making them okay at ADP.

The Cowboys have discussed reigning things on offense, but that is hard to believe, given how run-heavy they were in 2022. Still, Vegas has them due for a slight downgrade from the third-ranked offense to the seventh. Lamb and Pollard will remain two of my favorite picks at ADP in what is still a good-enough offense.

The Raiders tumble from 11th to 19th when comparing 2022 to Superbook’s outlook for 2023. There are concerns about Jimmy Garoppolo’s healthDarren Waller is gone, and Davante Adams will turn 31 this season. Last season the Raiders relied heavily on the ground game with Josh Jacobs, but if Garoppolo can’t go, teams could decide to load the box. Brian Hoyer is the next man up unless the Raiders move for someone like Tom Brady.

Shootout potential

Seven teams are projected for three-plus shootouts over the course of the 2023 season. In this case, a shootout is a game where both teams project for 23-plus points. 

Shootout potential

The Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, and Vikings account for a whopping 50% of the shootouts. The Chiefs and Chargers face off in two potential shootouts, and the AFC West plays the NFC North in interconference play. Together, those two conferences account for 56% of the teams slated for a shootout.

While our primary focus for game stacking is in the playoff weeks (15 to 17), if we can pick up additional shootout correlation throughout the season, it's a bonus. As mentioned earlier, the Bears aren’t getting a ton of buzz outside of Fields and Moore, but once again, they are popping based on the data from Superbook.

Of course, several of these teams face off in shootout matchups between Weeks 15 and 17.

  • Bills: Week 16 vs. Chargers
  • Lions: Week 16 vs. Vikings
  • Chargers: Week 16 vs. Bills
  • Vikings: Week 16 vs. Chargers

Speaking of playoff matchups, let's take a look at which teams project for the most points during that stretch.

Juicy fantasy playoff expectations (Weeks 15 through 17)

Fantasy playoffs points

For the most part, the projected team totals follow the good offenses from the regular season into the fantasy playoffs. However, the Vikings jump from 10th to 5th in the playoffs with two big team totals in Weeks 16 and 17 against the Lions (25 points) and Packers (24.25 points).

While none of the teams with overall shootout potential had more than one shootout matchup in the playoff weeks, we see many of the same names projecting for high team totals. The Chiefs, Eagles, Bills, Vikings, and Lions appear on both lists.

Dwain McFarland
Dwain McFarland
Dwain is the Lead Fantasy Analyst and Director of Analytics of Fantasy Life. He is best known for the Utilization Report, which led to his first full-time role in the industry at Pro Football Focus. Dwain’s experience and background have helped him craft a unique voice in the fantasy football community. He has placed highly in multiple national season-long contests, including three top-five finishes at the FFPC. Before beginning his fantasy career in 2018, Dwain led product strategy and data and analytics teams for one of the largest healthcare improvement companies in the nation.