2021 NFL Prop Betting
Prop bets are a huge part of my fantasy draft preparation, and especially DFS. Vegas knows what they are doing, and every sportsbook has an analytics department whose job it is to make a number that generates action on both sides. Most of the time, they get it quite right. But sometimes, an anomaly will appear.
The public tends to always lean toward an over. People like points, and it is hard to root for failure. There is also that "hang-in there" feeling that you are always alive as long as your guy is on the field.
That said, the value is generally in taking an under. For fantasy players, betting an under on a player is an actionable way to cash in on a take on a player you have faded in drafts. It is a way to short the market, per se. Betting an under also puts injuries, suspensions, Covid-19, and all of the other variances in the game on your side.
That said, when I suggest an over, it generally means I have a very strong feeling about it, so do with that what you will. Keep in mind these lines are not static and are changing as we speak. As an example, I had given out an under on Darrell Henderson rushing yards on the Stack Attack Podcast a few weeks ago at 925.5 yards. We speculated that the Rams would bring in a veteran to compliment him, and now Sony Michel is in the fold and we are already getting in line at the ticket window.
Another variable to consider is the seventeen-game season introduced this year. Honestly, I am tending to ignore it for non-quarterbacks in most cases. I am willing to bake one game missed due to injury into my projections.
Keep in mind, a sports bettor needs to win 56% of their wagers over the long term to be profitable at -110 juice. You, and I, are not going to get everything right. Choose a unit that is comfortable for you and stick to it consistently. If you go 4-3 on your wagers, you will come out ahead.
Austin Ekeler, 825.5 rushing yards
Austin Ekeler's career-high in rushing yards is 557 in his last healthy season of 2019. He was used slightly differently last year. The 53 yards per game average was nearly 15 yards per game better than his previous high watermark. The books have taken that number and set the total nearly 300 yards higher than his previous career-best.
I am of the mindset that we should see Ekeler used more conservatively in obvious running situations this year. The running back room is quite talented, with rookie Larry Rountree added to incumbents Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson. Ekeler missed six games last year with a lingering quad injury, so it should be expected they try to keep his heavy contact touches to a minimum.
The Chargers also changed offensive coordinators this year, bringing in Joe Lombardi from the New Orleans coaching tree. New Orleans has used the running back as a pass catcher more often than any other team the past decade. The rushing yards will be spread out, but Ekeler will get his 100 catches.
AJ Green, 545.5 receiving yards
I have listened to Trader Andy pound the table for this guy for weeks, and it has now grown on me. Despite a reputation as being injury-prone, the future Hall of Famer actually played in all sixteen games last year. He only amassed 523 receiving yards. Those yards were thrown by a rookie in Joe Burrow followed by Ryan Finley and Brandon Allen behind a terrible offensive line.
Now Green lands with one of the best young quarterbacks in Kyler Murray. He also gets the benefit of not being the focal point of the opposing secondary for the first time in his life, as Rondale Moore has to be accounted for deep and DeAndre Hopkins just may be the best possession receiver of all time by the time the whole story is written.
Green will be in space all day long in a YAC bonanza. Our projection model has this off by nearly 200 yards. I wouldn't be surprised if Green doubles the number. Sell your Gamestop stock and reinvest it here.
Most Interceptions by a Quarterback, season
Jameis Winston holds the dubious distinction as the only quarterback in NFL history to record a 30 touchdown/30 interception season.
On the heels of him being named the starting quarterback in New Orleans, the fact that FanDuel Sportsbook lists him as the ninth most likely player to lead the NFL in interceptions this year seems like a colossal error. While the chance of him being the worst at throwing the ball to the wrong jersey once again is a long shot, it is a calculated dart throw of a quarter of a unit at +1600.
PLAY: WINSTON +1600
Zach Wilson, 3800.5 Passing yards
The Jets have shown a lot of promise this offseason, but are still looking up at the rest of the revamped AFC East. The Patriots, Dolphins, and Patriots all have top ten defenses and elite coaching, with adequate or better offenses. The Jets are built in this model, but are not quite to that level yet. The consensus win total expected for the New Jersey team is six, well behind the rest of. the division.
With an expectation of eleven losses, and a defense decimated by injury this preseason, the Jets will be playing from behind often. Zach Wilson has shown tastes of the gunslinger-type mentality of a Patrick Mahomes.
Expect some growing pains this year, but a good amount of garbage time production. The number is at it's low point now, as DraftKings and FanDuel lines are driven by the New Jersey market. Local bettors will be hammering this over.
Noah Fant, 650 receiving yards
Noah Fant has been my answer in all leagues where I fail to get Travis Kelce in the first round. Teddy Bridgewater being named the starting quarterback in Denver has put an exclamation point on this strategy.
Fant lives underneath, and has seen increased work out of the slot this offseason. Bridewater is a notorious Check Down Charlie that just does not throw the ball down field much. Courtland Sutton will take a hit while Jerry Jeudy and Fant thrive in the absence of big-arm gunslinger Drew Lock. This one covers with several weeks to spare.
Antonio Brown 725.5 receiving yards
There is no questioning Antonio Brown's talent and connection with Tom Brady. There is, however, plenty of questioning his character. This offseason so far he has been kicked out of a practice for punching Titans' cornerback Chris Jackson and sued by a marketing firm for not paying commissions. It has been a mild offseason.
I am not interested in getting into the child care business with my fantasy teams or wagers. Brown is a firecracker ready to explode on a moment's notice. There is just no reason not to expect something off the field to interfere again.
Cole Beasley, 795.5 receiving yards
Similar to Brown, I just do not trust Cole Beasley to be on the field. A well documented anti-vaxxer, Beasley has threatened to retire if he were forced to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
If there is anything we have learned about Covid, it is that it is predictably unpredictable. Who knows what lies ahead. It is currently a mandate in New York City that all restaurant and fitness center consumers and workers are vaccinated. Might the state legislature follow suit? Might it expand to all places of public gathering?
Is it possible Beasley may not even be allowed in his own home stadium?
I do not have an answer to any of those questions, but they are valid possibilities. After more than eighteen months, I am much more willing to wager on Covid winning.
Amari Cooper 1200.5 receiving yards
The Cowboys offense is and will be dynamic this year. With health, Dak Prescott is the favorite to lead the NFL in passing yards. What we missed out on last year with Dak being hurt was the emergence of CeeDee Lamb as the best young wide receiver in the game.
We'll get to see that now and Amari Cooper will fall back into a second option role. He is still a viable option as your second receiver in fantasy, although I will not be doing that, personally. To ask him to get to 1200 yards, a level he has never achieved, is a bit much. If Dak should miss any time this would become a slam dunk.
For deeper questions about these options, or for more options, please check me out on Twitter @JTrela20. Otherwise, you can catch me streaming live on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast Live every Wednesday night at 9pm on the Fantasy Six Pack You Tube Channel.