Welcome back for another NFL Props special. In this edition, we’ll tackle more player props, new to the board DraftKings Online Sportsbook after last week. As the pre-season opens, we’ll see the full slate of player props released. As of now, we’re looking at some of the fresh props and why they’re ripe for this point of the pre-season.
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Last month, we put out two prop articles for the following players: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Damien Harris, Javonte Williams, James Robinson, Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and Jonathan Taylor. This time around, we’ll be covering a couple young pass catchers, one rookie back, and the QB battle in Denver.
Teddy Bridgewater +120 to start season opener in Denver
Here’s the thing about this bet. You can pick either Lock or Bridgewater here. Both have positive odds (+120). I like Bridgewater by a smidge because it makes so much more sense. For one, Drew Lock had around 20 games to prove himself as the guy in Denver.
Following success in the win column at the end of year one, everyone expected Lock to make the jump in season two (except me, of course). People had Lock pinned as a sleeper prior to last season, on a combination of his weapons and talent.
The only problem is, the talent really is overrated. Lock wasn’t a high pedigree guy out of college. He wasn’t particularly impressive in college and has done little to prove himself worthy during his time in the NFL. Teddy Bridgewater, on the other hand, has proven himself on the field and had the pedigree pre-draft to garner opportunity as a long-term starter.
Following Bridgewater’s horrific injury, he eventually settled in Carolina, where he had a very mediocre season with a very mediocre supporting cast. After spending most of the season without Christian McCaffrey, Bridgewater struggled to carry the offense when the situation called for it.
Fortunately for Teddy, Drew Lock was much worse, sporting a passer rating of just 75 (Teddy was at 92). The plethora of weapons and sufficient offensive line really highlights just how much of the offense’s problems were directly Lock’s fault.
Adding to the case for Teddy is the contract. Teddy is set to make $11.5 million this season, meaning the front office intends for him to be the starter in Denver. Through camp thus far, Teddy has had the edge. I love the value for Teddy here.
Jerry Jeudy over 920.5 Receiving Yards -115
Last season, we wrote about Jeudy to get under 900 receiving yards. We barely won, courtesy of Drew Lock being awful, but no thanks to Cortland Sutton going down with an early injury. This season, Jeudy will get an upgrade at QB, and should be the WR1 in Denver, barring some unexpected performance out of camp.
Jeudy came close to this number last season, so the improvement at QB and the added game on the schedule make this a no-brainer. Jeudy is extremely talented as many (myself included) praised Jeudy last pre-season as the best route runner in his rookie class.
Michael Carter Over 575.5 Rushing Yards -115
Michael Carter is going to head the backfield in New York. Reports out of camp right now are that Carter looks to be the guy who will be featured in this new-look Jets offense. Carter is a dynamic back without too much mileage (split carries with Javonte Williams in college at UNC).
For a lead back to have a line of just 575 yards is a little wild. Even if he only carried the ball half the time, he should easily eclipse this yardage number. If Carter gets a realistic 160 carries (10 per game), at a modest 4 YPC, he’s on pace for 640 yards.
Russell Gage Over 700.5 Receiving Yards -115
Russell Gage is another “sleeper” for the 2021 season. In a crowded receiving group last season, Gage went for 786 yards on 110 targets. With Julio Jones off to Tennessee, Gage now has a clear path to an every-down role in the offense as the clear WR2.
Even with the coaching changes, this Falcons defense is still bad. They’re likely to find themselves in negative game scripts again this season, which should keep Gage’s target count high. Many skeptics believe new head coach, Arthur Smith, isn’t good for Gage because Smith ran a run-focused attack in Tennessee.
However, AJ Brown and Corey Davis were both able to flourish in that offense. The addition of Smith and tight end, Kyle Pitts, shouldn’t convince bettors the Falcons will be married to focusing on the running backs and tight ends, as receivers have produced great numbers in his offenses of late.
Cole Kmet Over 495.5 Receiving Yards -115
Call it optimism or whatever, but I love betting the over on tight ends who are young but not rookies. Traditionally, tight end is the last position to make a major impact from a career perspective. None have ever really been dominant, or even greatly impactful. Cole Kmet got off to a slow start during his rookie year, as expected.
Through 12 weeks, he was averaging a little under one reception per game. During the last five weeks, he was averaging four per game. With that in mind, take into account the likely QB change that will happen at some point this season, when Justin Fields takes over for Andy Dalton.
Rookie QBs love targeting tight ends as means of a quick check down. Even if the big-play ability may not be there yet for Kmet, the volume should keep Kmet a realistic option to break this yardage number. He only needs to average 29 receiving yards per game to get there.