In this weekly NFL player props preview, we’ll highlight some bets you should consider for the upcoming week.
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.
Consider the over on T.J. Hockenson’s receptions prop
We’re undefeated with this prop so far, so let’s stick with it — take the over on T.J. Hockson’s receptions against the Carolina Panthers.
T.J. Hockenson’s receptions prop, current line:
- Take the over 5.5 receptions or lower
Since T.J. Hockenson was traded to the Minnesota Vikings last year, the over on his receptions prop is 10-2.
This year, he’s seen at least eight targets in every game and finished with no fewer than seven receptions.
That said, the Panthers’ coverage scheme is not as favorable as Hockenson’s recent opponents, so if the line climbs higher than 5.5, we’ll stay away.
Since Hockenson is primarily targeted in the middle of the field, two-high safety coverages can create more opportunities. However, outside the red zone, Carolina uses two-high coverages on just 35% of plays, ranked 24th according to TruMedia.
Take a look at Hockenson’s target share breakdown outside the red zone, via TruMedia:
- Versus two-high coverage: 25.9%, tied for the team lead
- Versus single-high coverage: 16.4%, second on the team
One of the reasons we’re still willing to play this prop despite Carolina’s coverage tendency is the way teams typically approach Minnesota.
Although Carolina clearly prefers single-high coverages, most teams increase their use of two-high coverage against Minnesota 一 possibly to provide more help against Justin Jefferson.
Since Hockenson arrived in Minnesota, there has only been one game in which opponents used two-high coverage at a rate under 40% outside the red zone 一 last year’s meeting with the Patriots, when Hockenson finished with five receptions.
Consider the over on Ja’Marr Chase’s receiving yards prop
The Tennessee Titans pass defense looks vulnerable, so take the over on Ja’Marr Chase’s receiving yards prop.
Ja’Marr Chase’s receiving yards, current line:
- Take the over at 84.5 receiving or lower
Due to inconsistent play from the injured Joe Burrow, his favorite weapon Ja’Marr Chase has hit the over on his receiving yards just once in three games, but this matchup should allow for another big game.
The Titans secondary is vulnerable, and opposing quarterbacks have been aggressively attacking downfield.
Check out the rate at which opponents throw downfield against Tennessee, via TruMedia:
- 10+ yards downfield: 35.5% of attempts, seventh highest rate
- 20+ yards downfield: 16.8% of attempts, highest rate
Chase has just one reception at 20 or more yards downfield this year, but there’s a good chance that changes against Tennessee. And, as Burrow’s favorite weapon, Chase should have strong reception volume in this game as well.
Due to its issues with pass defense, Tennessee has allowed a 100-yard receiver in every game and allowed five different receivers to reach at least seven receptions.
Since the start of 2022, Chase has recorded at least seven receptions 10 times. In those games, he’s reached at least 85 receiving yards seven times, with an average of 102.3 yards per game.
Consider the under on Jerome Ford’s rushing yards prop
Though he produced for his fantasy managers with two touchdowns, his first start wasn’t all that efficient, so take the under on Jerome Ford’s rushing yards prop against the Baltimore Ravens.
Jerome Ford’s rushing yards prop, current line:
- Take the under 40.5 yards or higher
We’ve seen enough of Jerome Ford to know he’s not the next Nick Chubb, and his deficiencies may already be frustrating head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Ford lacks the vision of Chubb, which means more dancing in the backfield and more negative plays.
Prior to his injury, Chubb was contacted behind the line of scrimmage on 25% of his carries. Ford’s rate sits at 46% this year, and 51% for his career, per TruMedia.
Inviting early contact also leads to negative plays, and 33% of Ford’s career carries have resulted in zero or negative yards (29% this season).
With Kareem Hunt back in the building (although nursing injuries this week), and Pierre Strong also competing for touches, expect Ford to have a short leash.
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Consider the under on Joey Bosa’s sacks prop
The Las Vegas Raiders are a tough matchup for pass-rushers, so take the under on Joey Bosa’s sacks prop.
Joey Bosa’s sacks prop, current line:
- Take the under 0.75 sacks or higher
In Week 1, Joey Bosa suffered a hamstring injury and has been limited in each of the last two games. Chargers second-round pick Tuli Tuipulotu has stepped into Bosa’s starting job, with Bosa playing just 19 snaps in Week 2 and 27 snaps in Week 3.
The Chargers are easing him back into a larger role as he heals but, due to Tuipulotu’s production, there’s no need to rush him back.
Tuipulotu has generated a 19.7% pressure rate through his first three games while playing 77% of the team’s snaps over the last two weeks with Bosa limited, per TruMedia.
Another factor in this matchup is the Raiders pass protection.
Jimmy Garoppolo has been pressured on 23% of his dropbacks, the league’s third-lowest rate. And when he does face pressure, he’s been sacked on just 17% of those plays.
Even if Garoppolo can’t go, the line should be able to protect whoever ends up starting between Brian Hoyer and rookie Aidan O’Connell.
Consider the under on Joshua Dobbs’s longest completion prop
This is a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, so take the under on Joshua Dobbs’ longest completion.
Joshua Dobbs’ longest completion prop, current line:
- Take the under at 29.5 yards or higher
The 49ers have allowed just one completion over 30 yards this season (Kenny Pickett to Allen Robinson) and have arguably been the league’s stingiest defense on downfield pass attempts.
Take a look at the 49ers’ completion percentage allowed on intermediate and deep balls this season, via TruMedia:
- Throws 10-19 yards downfield: 43.3%, ranked seventh
- Throws 20+ yards downfield: 0.0%, ranked first
Opponents have also been hesitant to challenge the 49ers secondary with the deep ball, throwing 20 or more yards downfield at the third-lowest rate (6% of attempts).
Dobbs’s deep ball rate of 11% matches the league average, but he’s produced just two plays of 30 or more yards.
Consider the over on De’Von Achane’s receptions prop
There has not been a line posted for this prop all year, but if it appears in a favorable range, take the over on De’Von Achane’s receptions.
De’Von Achane’s receptions prop, current line:
- Take the over at 2.5 receptions or lower
Coming off a spectacular performance against the Broncos, we should see some props appear for Miami Dolphins rookie De’Von Achane this week.
Through two games, Achane has been on the field for 14 pass plays and has seen five targets. That’s probably not a coincidence — in my rookie class review, I wrote about the expectation that Miami would design ways to get Achane in space to take advantage of his game-altering speed.
This matchup against the Buffalo Bills is also likely to create more opportunities for Achane as a way to attack Buffalo’s conservative defensive approach.
The Bills have used a combination of zone coverage and no blitz on a league-high 76% of their snaps, according to TruMedia.
This coverage strategy tends to create open passing lanes underneath, so it’s no surprise that 28% of passes against the Bills have been targeted at running backs, also a league-high rate.
The Bills trust their defense, especially the linebackers and safeties, to step up and make plays on these underneath routes, as sort of a bend-but-don’t-break strategy. So it would make sense for Miami to counter by designing plays for one of its most electric weapons, Achane, to put stress on the Buffalo defense in those situations.