If fretting wagering on NFL spreads and totals (historically the sharpest lines available at any book), props can be an intriguing and outright fun way to have an invested incentive in a player’s performance each and every Sunday. This continued series will be a weekly feature outlining my favorite player props for the upcoming week, including the five detailed below. Any additional bets will be added and updated over the weekend. All props and odds have been sourced accordingly and tracked for accountability below.
Christian Kirk OVER 4.5 Receptions (-122) - Pinnacle
Exclude Arizona’s 15 offensive plays in overtime from Week 1 and the Cards still would’ve finished tied with the Falcons and Patriots for the seventh-most plays run (67) on opening weekend…against the same coaching staff that allowed the fewest opponent plays per game in ’18. Even if Michael Crabtree were declared active, Kirk’s excessive slot usage (88.7%) keeps the second-year pro glued to the field with Larry Fitzgerald whether coach Kliff Kingsbury continues leaning on 10 personnel or reverts to two/three-wide sets. Kirk’s bound to gain from positive regression in both receiving yards and touchdowns after finishing with 16.9 fewer fantasy points than Fitz despite nearly matching the veteran in both targets (13-12) and air yards (156-139) in Week 1.
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Tom Brady OVER 1.5 Passing Touchdowns (-167) - DraftKings Sportsbook
No team used 11 personnel (three-wide sets) at a higher rate in the first half of play Sunday than the Patriots did in their Week 1 blowout over the Steelers. With said offensive set now substituting Phillip Dorsett for Antonio Brown, it’s only a plus for Brady’s pending production that Dolphins safeties Reshad Jones (ankle, out) and Bobby McCain (shoulder, questionable) could both miss this one due to injury. Disgruntled first-rounder Minkah Fitzpatrick will be forced to move all over the field in a secondary that was hemorrhaged for 8.3 yards per attempt, including 16 air yards per attempt, over the top from 11 personnel in Week 1.
James White UNDER 18.5 Rushing Yards (-115) – DraftKings Sportsbook
White’s presumed role in New England’s passing game is completely indifferent to his rushing usage, which amounted to four carries on 33 snaps (47.1%) Sunday night. With the Pats currently listed as 18.5-point favorites over Miami, it wouldn’t be shocking to see White lose out further on the ground if Sony Michel presumably bounces back from a poor 15/14 (0.9 yards per carry) showing. It’s also possible No. 87 overall pick Damien Harris is active (rather than healthy scratched) for Week 2. You gain a full yard of leeway just by passing on Pinnacle’s line (17.5) and wagering at DraftKings.
Dede Westbrook OVER 4.5 Receptions (-126) - Pinnacle
Westbrook leveraged CB Kendall Fuller’s ghostly presence into a team-high six looks (24%) from Gardner Minshew in Week 1, including a 15-yard touchdown strike. The third-year slot wideout now gets his shot at bullying incumbent Texans slot corner Phillip Gaines, who was added off the streets Tuesday following the release of scarecrow Aaron Colvin. If Gaines isn’t ready to turn around and start immediately, the team would likely turn to rookie special-teamer Lonnie Johnson to cover the middle of the field. Any uptick and ensuing success in Houston’s passing volume (and, in turn, bets on the Over) stemming from starting corner A.J. Bouye’s (hip) absence only allows more plays for Westbrook to notch his projected receptions total.
Derek Carr OVER 250.5 Passing Yards (-115) - DraftKings Sportsbook
There are numerous red flags surrounding Oakland’s offense long-term, but Week 2 against Kansas City’s secondary isn’t one of them. The past two times Carr’s hosted the Chiefs at home, he’s simply gone 29-of-38 for 285 yards and three scores, then 29-of-52 for 417 yards and another three touchdowns. New DC Steve Spagnuolo may piece together the Chiefs’ offseason additions soon enough, but Week 1’s showing against Nick Foles (9.3 YPA) and rookie backup Gardner Minshew (11 YPA) wasn’t promising. Carr’s arguably a QB1 in 12-team fantasy leagues this Sunday.
Chris Carson OVER 2.5 Receptions (-148) - DraftKings Sportsbook
Coachspeak typically goes awry when trusted (especially coming from Pete Carroll's mouth), but the Seahawks did emphatically get Carson involved out of the backfield as a receiver in Week 1, putting him in position to post 6/35/1 receiving on a career-high seven targets and 17 routes run, his most since Week 4 of his rookie campaign. With grating DT Poona Ford (calf, doubtful) trending downward, expect Seattle to unleash their aerial attack more as the Steelers should have no issues separating both on the ground via James Conner and on the shoulders of Ben Roethlisberger's outlying home splits. Any uptick in Russell Wilson's passing volume is obviously (and suddenly) a win for Carson.
Last Week: 2-6, -2 Units
Total: 2-6, -2 Units