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Why You Should Bet the UNDER on Justin Jefferson’s Receiving Yards Prop Bet

  • Kirk Cousins is due for some regression 
  • Defenses may adjust and use more zone coverage

After a memorable rookie year in which he posted 1,400 receiving yards, there are high expectations for Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson. But don’t rush out to bet the over on these numbers just yet:

  • 1325.5 receiving yards on DraftKings
  • 1300.5 receiving yards on BetMGM
  • Off the board on FanDuel

As a rookie, Justin Jefferson led the league with a 69.2% catch rate on targets at least 15 yards downfield (min. 25 targets), according to Sports Info Solutions. Obviously, Jefferson’s talent is a factor in that success, but he also benefited from seeing a league-high 76.9% catchable pass rate from quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Based on Cousins’s track record, there’s good reason to believe that rate is unlikely to be repeated. Here are Cousins’s catchable pass rates on throws 15+ yards downfield since 2015:

2015 – 64.5%
2016 – 63.4%
2017 – 61.5%
2018 – 66.3%
2019 – 64.1%
2020 – 78.6%

It’s also possible Jefferson faces some adjustments from defenses during his sophomore campaign. As a rookie, Jefferson feasted on man coverage, averaging 12.9 yards per target and commanding a 34.4% target share. 

Versus all other coverages, Jefferson was still effective (10.0 yards per target), but his target share dropped to 21.7%. 

Predictably, this trend allowed him to dominate defenses that played a higher rate of man coverage, as demonstrated in the table below. 

Justin Jefferson vs defenses playing high/low rates of man coverage

DEF Man UsageGamesYds/TgtYds/Gm
< 40% man coverage1110.975.5
> 40% man coverage511.6113.8

Since the league as a whole has shifted towards using more zone coverage in recent years, we could see Jefferson’s usage dip slightly in 2021 simply based on the coverage schemes Minnesota faces.