In this weekly NFL player props preview, we’ll highlight some bets you should consider for the upcoming week. Since player props typically aren’t posted until closer to game day, this early preview will look at some particularly favorable or unfavorable matchups that could become actionable.

This doesn’t mean we should automatically bet on these props, but these are some of the first players to check when lines are posted. Hopefully, oddsmakers haven’t identified the same trends as us, and we can find favorable value on these player props.

Also, be sure to check out the Sharp Angles Betting Podcast every Thursday for further discussion on these player props and more betting advice for the week ahead.

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CONSIDER THE OVER ON DEEBO SAMUEL’S RECEPTIONS PROP

Due to his diminished role in the passing game as of late, the under on Deebo Samuel’s receptions prop has been cleaning up this season, but this looks like a great matchup for Samuel against the Tennessee Titans. 

Traditional wide receivers lined up in the slot (excluding tight ends or running backs) have seen an average of 12.6 targets per game against Tennessee, the second-highest rate in the NFL, according to Sports Info Solutions

This is at least partially due to the struggles of rookie cornerback Elijah Molden, who has allowed a 55.6% completion rate and 9.8 yards per target while in coverage in the slot. 

However, Molden entered COVID protocols due to a positive test on Monday, and is unlikely to be cleared to play by Thursday’s game. This likely forces journeyman Buster Skrine into the slot role, after being added to the roster in late November. 

Skrine spent the early portion of the season in San Francisco, playing exclusively on special teams, so they’re well aware of his issues in coverage. 

This matchup looks like the ideal opportunity to get Samuel more involved in the passing game again. If Deebo Samuel’s receptions prop is available at 4.5 or lower, take the over. 

CONSIDER THE OVER ON DONOVAN PEOPLES-JONES’S LONGEST RECEPTION PROP

Since the Cleveland Browns dumped Odell Beckham Jr., his role in the deep passing game has been shifted to Donovan Peoples-Jones

In the five games in which he’s been active since Beckham was released, Peoples-Jones has accounted for 42% of the team’s targets at 20 or more yards downfield. He’s seen at least one target of 20 or more yards in each of the five games. 

In this game against the Green Bay Packers, Peoples-Jones should frequently be matched up with rookie cornerback Eric Stokes. When that matchup presents itself, expect Cleveland to challenge Stokes downfield. 

According to Sports Info Solutions, Stokes has seen an average depth of target in coverage at 14.5 yards downfield, the fourth-highest in the league. Stokes has also been targeted at least 15 yards downfield a league-high 31 times. 

Peoples-Jones has been targeted multiple times in eight games this year; in six of those contests, he recorded a reception of 21 yards or longer. 

With Cleveland an underdog of seven points in this matchup, we should also expect an elevated pass rate for Baker Mayfield, or whoever is healthy enough to suit up at quarterback. 

Peoples-Jones’s longest reception prop has peaked at 20.5 yards in Week 10. If it’s available at that number or lower, take the over this week. 

CONSIDER THE OVER ON JAMES O’SHAUGHNESSY’S RECEPTIONS PROP

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy’s receptions prop has been available at 2.5 each of the last two weeks and has not been listed higher than that number all season. 

O’Shaughnessy has taken over as the Jaguars’ starting tight end since Dan Arnold was placed on the IR, and has averaged just over five targets per game since Arnold’s injury. 

In that four-game span, O’Shaughnessy has seen at least four targets in every game and reached at least three receptions in three of the four. 

According to Sports Info Solutions, opponents are completing 73.7% of their passes to tight ends this season, with an average of 5.0 receptions per game. 

11 individual tight ends have also reached at least three receptions against New York, including each of the last five weeks:

  • Week 15: Mike Gesicki – 5 receptions, 43 yards
  • Week 14: Nick Vannett – 3 receptions, 44 yards
  • Week 13: Dallas Goedert – 6 receptions, 105 yards
  • Week 12: Brevin Jordan: 3 receptions, 23 yards
  • Week 11: Gesicki – 5 receptions, 50 yards and Durham Smythe, 4 receptions, 37 yards 

If O’Shaughnessy’s receptions prop jumps to 3.5 this week, it’s best to stay away. But if it’s available at 2.5, we can bet the over based on his recent usage and the Jets’ struggles defending tight ends. 

CONSIDER THE UNDER ON MYLES GASKINS’S RUSHING YARDS PROPS

We took the under on Leonard Fournette’s rushing yards against the New Orleans Saints last week and won easily (he was averaging just 3.8 yards per carry before his third quarter injury). The under for starting running backs against New Orleans is now 11-3 on the year.

Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin returned last week after missing one game due to COVID (positive test with symptoms) and was limited to just 37% of the team’s snaps. 

It’s possible Gaskin is back to full strength this week, but we know some players experience lingering effects from COVID, which potentially limits Gaskin’s workload again. 

Regardless of Gaskin’s health, it will not be easy to run against the New Orleans defense. 

According to Sports Info Solutions, excluding carries inside the 10-yard line, opposing running backs are averaging -0.6 yards before contact per attempt relative to their season average against New Orleans, the second-best rate in the league.

When contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage, Gaskin averages 0.5 rushing yards per attempt, ranked 34th out of 37 qualified running backs, according to Sports Info Solutions.

Since Gaskin is the type of running back who doesn’t create for himself and needs room to run, the Saints look like a particularly bad matchup. 

Gaskin’s rushing yardage prop has been available at 48.5 or higher in each of the last four weeks, and we can probably feel comfortable taking the over even if it dips slightly below, to around 44.5.