NFL Week 7 Projections & Best Bets
This is part of a recurring series on VSiN.com in which VSiN host Jonathan Von Tobel tracks the progress of a model he created for the NFL season
Week 6 Best Bets: 2-3 | Overall Best Bets 18-12
Week 6 Overall: 7-8 | Overall Record: 54-37-2
Week 6 Recap
Jon Von Model had its second losing week of the season, but I cannot help feeling somewhat burned by the results last week; specifically the loss with Atlanta.
The Falcons dominated the loss to the Commanders statistically. They outgained them by 209 yards, averaged 5.1 yards per play and gained 12 more first downs. However, three turnovers - all interceptions by Desmond Ridder - were the difference in the result. If Ridder can play adequately at quarterback we could be looking at a decent week of results for Jon Von Model.
This is still a great place to be for a first time model. Through a third of the season we have a winning record in both overall edges and best bets. This is much more than I expected heading into this experiment, and cannot complain about the direction the model is heading.
Week 7 Adjustments
It was a pleasant surprise for me this week when I punched in the matchups for Week 7 and saw quite a few games that were already in line with where the market was. That meant that there did not need to be many adjustments made this week. Before we get to those adjustments, I do want to update the audience on two things.
The first is that there was an exciting development when it came to the statistics I use for JVM. Those who have been with me since the beginning might remember that one of the statistics I used in the original version of the model - net drive success rate - was lost when Aaron Schatz moved to FTN Fantasy. That is no longer the case, as I noticed that FTN did indeed have net drive success rate in its database after all! This week I went through and updated each team’s numbers in that category, and I believe it is why there were few adjustments made.
The second is that the version of JVM that runs solely on 2023 statistics is still not ready. The projections are still very extreme, and not in line with the betting market. If that issue continues then I will have to re-evaluate how I am building that version and make some adjustments, but that will be updated when the time comes.
On to the adjustments for this week.
The biggest elephant in the room is the injuries to quarterbacks, specifically both Jimmy Garoppolo and Justin Fields. It seems that neither will play this week, so I was left with a predicament.
I was not sure how to adjust plug in rookie Tyson Bagnet - who has 15 dropbacks in the regular season and 37 in the preseason - in for Chicago. His preseason were too good to use, and his sample size on Sunday was too small. So, I just left the Bears with Justin Fields as the starting quarterback. Fields played better against both Denver and Washington, but for the season he is still the 22nd-ranked passer by PFF standards. The potential flaw for JVM when it comes to quarterbacks is that it uses passing metrics to define them, so Fields’ overall offensive grade - which is above average due to his rushing - should not skew how the model views the Bears.
Las Vegas was a simpler process. It seems very probable that Garoppolo is not going to play today, so I used Hoyer’s career averages to replace him. Hoyer has below average numbers across the board, and the process downgraded the Raiders by 2.3 points which seems like a fair difference between the two signal-callers.
One of the biggest adjustments that took place was with Philadelphia. The model initially projected a near touchdown victory for the Eagles, but when I ran through and updated the net drive success rate along with the usual adjustments I make to EPA and the other statistics it swung the number back in the opposite direction.
Week 7 Projections
Once again we have projections that are very tight with the market, but what sticks out about this week is the largest edges the model has for us. Last week we didn’t have an edge of more than 2.17 points, but this week we have four games with more than 2.5 points of value.
The largest edge - in terms of total points - is Buffalo this week. It’s the first time that I can remember having the Bills on a card this season, and it is because of their opponent. The Patriots have been downgraded severely by Jon Von Model. This is an offense driven model, and New England has been getting worse by the week. It would seem that they have slipped down to the second-lowest rated team, ahead of only Carolina.
It also seems that we are having quite the week of buy-low spots in the NFL, as the Bears and Giants also make the card. We can throw the Buccaneers into that mix as well considering they lost last week to the Lions.
Overall, it would seem the SuperContest card will look like this:
Using a Sunday to sweat out successful nights for the Giants and Bears can’t be good for my already deteriorating health, but what can you do?