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NFL Player Props: Bets for Week 1 - Prop Betting Picks for Rushing, Receiving Yards

Jonathan Taylor - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

The NFL season is finally back. After 207 days, we finally have legitimate NFL action awaiting us from now until February. We have real NFL football games to wager on!

We’re done with the preseason where you’re hoping that one seventh-round pick finds his way into the endzone. Now, those bets you’ve been planning for months can finally be placed with actual chances for cash on the line.

Starting in Week 1 all the way through the end of the year, I’ll be bringing you my favorite player props every single week. I’ll be operating off of the lines that are offered on the sportsbooks that are legal in Indiana, which is where I am located. However, always remember to shop for the best odds wherever you may be based. While I may have one line, you may have another that’s better at a different book.  All odds used were available at the time of publishing.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

NFL Player Prop Bets for Week 1

Jonathan Taylor

O94.5 Rushing Yards
Sportsbook: Caesar’s Sportsbook
Odds: -109

Last season, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor was the NFL’s leading rusher by an impressive 552 yards. He did so while averaging 106.5 yards per game despite running behind an offensive line that was constantly dealing with injuries throughout the season. Former quarterback Carson Wentz did little to threaten defenses, but Taylor was still able to run up high yardage totals all season.

Last year, per NFL Next Gen Stats, Taylor ranked third in rushing yards over expectation per attempt and fourth in rushing percentage over expectation. He also was tied for 17th in the percentage of his attempts that were against boxes with 8+ defenders in it, however, only one of the running backs ahead of him was within 100 carries of him. In Week 1, he gets a matchup with one of the worst teams in the NFL last season in the Houston Texans, who didn’t do much to improve this offseason. 

After ranking 22nd in rushing defense DVOA, the Texans drafted just one player in the front seven when they took Alabama linebacker Christian Harris in the third round. They were also 29th in explosive run defense, per Sharp Football Analysis. In four career matchups with the Texans, Taylor has never run for fewer than 83 yards against the Texans, including two games with over 140 yards. Taylor averages 6.16 yards per tote against Houston, and I think he starts his quest for another rushing title strong in Week 1. 

 

Tee Higgins

O68.5 Receiving Yards
Sportsbook: BetMGM
Odds: -115

Down the stretch last season, you could argue that Tee Higgins was the hottest player in the NFL outside of Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams. In his final 10 games, as he was inactive for Week 18 when the team rested their starters, Higgins had 62 or more yards in all but two games and 90 or more in seven of those 10. Now, in Week 1, he gets to keep that streak rolling into this season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Higgins only suited up for one of the two matchups with the Steelers last season, and he caught six of his eight targets in the 41-10 routing. Ja’Marr Chase has been the one getting the headlines for the last several months, and, rightfully so, but Higgins absolutely deserves his fair share of praise. He has a penchant for big plays thanks to his size at 6’4” & 215 pounds, but he also churns out yardage due to volume. In the 18 games that he was active last season, Higgins saw five or more targets in all but three games. Chase is the top dog, but Higgins isn’t far behind.

As far as defenses go, the Steelers were eighth in DVOA against the pass last season, and they are transitioning from Joe Haden to the newly acquired Levi Wallace, who was the 58th-graded corner per Pro Football Focus last season. The Steelers have relied heavily on their front seven to carry the secondary, and, after making multiple acquisitions to shore up the offensive line, the Bengals should be able to hold their own to give Burrow time to throw. 

 

Allen Robinson

U62.5 Receiving Yards
Sportsbook: FanDuel
Odds: -114

This offseason, the Rams continued to load up in their arms race to defend their Super Bowl crown, as they lured wideout Allen Robinson away from the Chicago Bears following a quiet year where he dealt with injuries and subpar quarterback play. Robinson slots in as the team’s WR2 following the departures of Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason. However, the offense still flows through Kupp, who won the receiving triple crown last season.

Robinson cleared the 62.5 mark just twice last season, although most of last year can be thrown out due to the circumstances he was playing in. Matthew Stafford is automatically the best quarterback Robinson has played with in his career, so he’ll be in a good spot all year. However, due to the way the Buffalo Bills play defense, it’s unlikely that Robinson is going to be the featured player in Week 1.

The Bills were the top team in the league last season in explosive pass defense, and they prefer to give up the short completions where they can rally up and tackle. Robinson is likely to take on that intermediate to deep work, especially if Van Jefferson, who has yet to practice this week, is unable to go. Robinson’s role in the offense will likely grow as the season goes along, but I have my doubts about how quickly he hits the ground running. 

Trevor Lawrence

O16.5 Rushing Yards

Sportsbook: FanDuel

Odds: -108

Last season, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence came out of the gate and fell flat on his face, but I’m not going to fault him too much. For one, asking a rookie to succeed right out of the gate is hard enough even in perfect circumstances is difficult. Asking him to do it when his head coach had one of the most tumultuous, to put it nicely, tenures in recent memory is just unreasonable. However, heading into Year 2, he is set up for more success this time around, and he has a great matchup to get started with.

We’re focusing on Lawrence’s running ability for this one. In college, Lawrence wasn’t asked to run often, but he showed the skills to scramble when necessary. Last season, he finished seventh in QB rushing yards, with three of the guys ahead of him being Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts, who have their running ability built into their team’s gameplan. Last season, Lawrence cleared this line in 11 of his 17 games, including each of the team’s final four games. 

The Washington Commanders ranked last in rushing yards allowed to quarterbacks last season, and their defense is going to be nearly identical to the one they had last year, with the major absence being Chase Young, who is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered near the end of the year. Jacksonville’s offensive line is still a work in progress that could allow some pressure to a Washington front that’s loaded with former first-round picks. This line is low enough that Lawrence should be able to get there with just a couple of scrambles thrown in the mix.

Alvin Kamara

O93.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards

Sportsbook: Caesar’s

Odds: -110

This line has moved slightly over the last couple of days, and, with the news that Michael Thomas could be suiting up on Sunday, we could see it move even more. I’m comfortable playing it here though because New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara should be independent of the game script no matter which way it goes. If it turns into a track meet, that means more passing work for him. If the Saints blow the Atlanta Falcons out, he should be running a lot, and he probably already has a good number of yards built up.

After offseason trouble put his season into doubt, Alvin Kamara will be suiting up with the Saints in Week 1, and he should be heavily featured in the offense from outset. Despite playing in only 13 games last season, Kamara led the team in receptions with 47 while catching passes from Trevor Siemian, Ian Book, Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. He also was the leading rusher by a healthy 524-yard margin. Veteran Mark Ingram is back, but this is firmly Kamara’s backfield to lead.

As far as the Falcons go, they leave a lot to be desired on the defensive side of the ball. They were ninth in receptions allowed to running backs while being 12th in receiving yards allowed. They have Grady Jarrett and AJ Terrell, who could make life difficult for Thomas throughout the game and open up room for Kamara to work underneath. In his career against the Falcons, Kamara has averaged 97.1 scrimmage yards per game, and I think he clears this 93.5-yard mark this week.



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