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NFL Futures Betting Picks - Wide Receiver Prop Bets for Calvin Ridley, Chris Olave, A.J. Brown, George Pickens

George Pickens - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

The 2023-24 NFL season is quickly approaching, which means, it's time to look at some season-long prop bets. There are so many props with so much opportunity on a clean board before any of the real action starts. You can talk yourself into this player or that player and really build a team of individuals to root for as the season progresses.

There will be situations of lines that are too low like CeeDee Lamb's O/U being 6.5 touchdowns last season (He finished with 9). Then you can also look at a player such as Adam Thielen who had an O/U of 750.5 receiving yards going into last season. Thielen played 17 games but finished short of his number at 716 yards. That was a win on Lamb and a loss on Thielen I personally suffered last season. It's all about finding your Lambs' and avoiding your Thielens'. As always, injuries do happen and a player like Darren Waller who would've hit his touchdown over last season, only played nine games and scored three touchdowns when his O/U sat at 4.5 (Not that I'm salty about it).

In this article, I'll be going through some wide receiver props I'm targeting this season. Click here to check out additional NFL articles at RotoBaller as we have a great team keeping you covered for all your Fantasy Football needs!

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Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars

OVER 5.5 Touchdowns (-118 FanDuel)
OVER 875.5 receiving yards (-112 FanDuel)

It's fitting that this wide receiver betting prop list starts with Calvin Ridley. As we all know, Ridley was suspended for the 2022 season after it was reported that he bet on NFL games during the 2021 season.

With the Falcons moving on from Ridley, the Jacksonville Jaguars scooped up the wide receiver before the trade deadline last season. They traded two conditional draft selections at the time. One of those selections turned out to be a fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft and the other could fall anywhere from a second-to-fourth-round pick in 2024.

Ridley has not played an NFL regular season football in a while, but the talented wide receiver gets thrust into a good situation with the Jaguars. Last season, Chris Kirk led Jacksonville with 1,108 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Zay Jones followed behind with 823 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Both receivers are good players, but Ridley certainly has the talent to overtake either and become the number-one option.

He's looked explosive as ever in training camp:

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence finished ninth in passing yards, seventh in attempts, and tied for tenth in passing touchdowns last season. Many are expecting him to take a big leap this season which means his numbers should improve in those categories.

Ridley also has gone over both these numbers in his first three years in the NFL. In 2020, he had 1,374 receiving yards and nine touchdowns and did all that in 15 games. He also averaged 15.3 yards per reception that season which could pair well with Trevor Lawrence who finished third in the NFL last season for the most 20+ yard completions. During that peak season, he averaged 91.6 receiving yards per game. That might be a lofty number to re-create but he's averaged 68.2 yards per game for his career.

Calvin has been an effective red zone target over the course of his career (A key TD element).

Here's how he's been targeted inside the 20-yard line since his 2018 rookie season:

  • 2018: 8 targets- 6 receptions- 5 touchdowns
  • 2019: 8 targets- 5 receptions- 4 touchdowns
  • 2020: 20 targets- 11 receptions- 7 touchdowns
  • 2021 (5 games): 11 targets- 8 receptions- 2 touchdowns

Had he played more than five games in 2021, those numbers would've ballooned.

Last season, 21 of Trevor Lawrence's 25 passing touchdowns came inside the 20-yard line. Adding Ridley to the mix should help that number grow and this QB-WR duo could quickly become one of the deadliest in the NFL.

 

Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints

OVER 5.5 receiving touchdowns (+100 FanDuel)
OVER 74.5 receptions (-112 FanDuel)

Chris Olave was able to turn in a really good rookie season despite some not-so-great quarterback play around him. The 11th overall pick in the 2022 draft finished the season with 72 receptions, 1,042 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in 15 games. He also was targeted 119 times. The 119 targets ranked 23rd in the NFL, I'd like to believe Olave sees an increase there.

New Saints quarterback Derek Carr has gotten a lot of flak in his career but he is an upgrade from Andy Dalton and should be motivated for a resurgence season.

Aside from just being an excellent receiver, Olave has big play ability which is what makes him such an intriguing player. This is something Derek Carr can capitalize on and Carr has never been shy of letting the long ball fly. Last season, Carr averaged a career-high 9.1 air yards per pass attempt. Olave averaged 14.5 yards per reception in his rookie season.

Inside the 20-yard line, he caught 7 of 11 targets for two touchdowns. I like that there is potential for growth in the red zone and also a more competent quarterback at the helm.

He also only had a 60.5 percent catch percentage last season, there's room to improve. I would not be surprised to see him get into the 80s for receptions this season.

For plus money on the touchdowns, I love the value here.

 

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George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers

OVER 750.5 receiving yards (-110 DraftKings)

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens is a freak athlete. In his rookie season last season, he had 52 receptions on 84 targets for 801 yards in 17 games.

Looking at the natural progression of a player with his talent, Pickens should likely clear this number again. He also liked playing alongside Kenny Pickett and his numbers reflected it. In the 13 games he played with Pickett, Pickens had 683 receiving yards and all four of his receiving touchdowns.

Kind of similar to Olave, I just expect Pickens to see an increase in production. George was targeted 67 times in that 13-game sample. There were 39 WR/TE who got targeted at least 100 times in the 2022 season. Pickens would've been around that number had he and Pickett played a full season together. He and Pickett have also now had a full offseason together knowing where their roles stand.

Pittsburgh will trot out Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson alongside Pickens. Having those three along with Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth should open up Pickens. All the defensive attention can't be on him because the Steelers have other weapons that will hurt you.

Pickens has flashed that incredible athletic ability with plays like this at training camp:

George Pickens is at the top of my list of players I'm hoping to see take a leap. The Steelers can be sneaky fun this season and Pickens will be the primary reason why.

 

A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

UNDER 1,125.5 receiving yards (-112 FanDuel)

I had to throw one under in here and to AJ Brown fans, I apologize.

The first thing that stood out to me was the disparity between FanDuel and DraftKings on where his O/U should stand.

DraftKings currently has him at 1,050, while FanDuel has him up to 1,125. A 75-yard difference felt like a lot and I'm going to capitalize on taking under on the larger number here.

AJ Brown had a career year last season, catching 88 passes and racking up 1,496 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns in 17 games.

He was third in the NFL in yards per reception at 17.0. Brown also finished fourth in the NFL in receiving yards despite finishing 13th in receptions. This shows a reliance on big plays which is something I don't like to bank on year to year. AJ Brown had an excellent season but the formula to repeat it isn't so simple.

Then there's the DeVonta Smith piece of all this. The 24-year-old played second fiddle to Brown last season but the soon-to-be third-year pro could very realistically rise while Brown takes a back seat.

Factor in Dallas Goedert, D'Andre Swift, Quez Watkins, and Jalen Hurts keeping the ball, and there are a lot of ways to keep the ball out of AJ Brown's hands. Philadelphia finished fifth in average time of possession per game last season. They can keep the clock moving and I think they will be right back in that slot this season.

This is also projecting but I do think the Eagles will be amazing and could have a playoff berth wrapped up going into the final week. This would mean Brown and the starters would likely sit, giving him one less game to hit his total.

After having nearly 1,500 receiving yards last season, I was expecting the O/U to sit in the 1,250 range. Naturally, when I see a number lower than what I expected, my instinct is to jump on the over right away. This number feels uncomfortable enough that I've talked myself into how much I love it.



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