Each week through the Super Bowl, FTN’s resident blabbermouth and player props purveyor, Brad Evans, will attempt to not bleed his pockets dry outlining his favorite picks on the NFL slate. Fade or follow? That, of course, is entirely up to you. And, as always, use the FTN Prop Shop tool to unearth the best lines.
Prop 1: Stefon Diggs 90.5 receiving yards vs. Indianapolis
OVER. Death, taxes, excessive flatulence post Taco Bell consumption and Diggs hitting the over on yards and/or receptions every dollar-counting week. These, my fellow degens, are life’s great consistencies. In seven of his last nine regular-season games, Buffalo’s top target sailed past the proposed threshold. He’s a butter-coated squirrel, a slippery route runner who steadily generates space and wins one-on-one battles. He finished the first 16-week stanza WR3 in total target share (29.2%), WR7 in total YAC and WR2 in completed air yards. In lockstep with Josh Allen, he will again be peppered with targets. In total, the Colts surrendered the seventh-most yards to WRs during the regular season, including letting 10 cross the 91-yard mark. Diggs’ primary adversary, CB Xavier Rhodes (79.2 passer rating, 50.6% catch percentage allowed), is no pushover. Still, the catch king’s evenness and massive workload suggest a sweatless ticket cash.
Prop 2: J.K. Dobbins 0.5 touchdowns (+125) at Tennessee
OVER. Have the oddsmakers popped multiple Valiums? It’s bizarre they continuously set Dobbins’ anytime touchdown juice in plus territory. Take advantage. Over the past six weeks, the rookie shed the peach fuzz and acquired significant virility. Totaling 27.4% of the red-zone work, he scored in six consecutive games, busting through tacklers at an impressive 3.81 YAC per attempt rate. Goal-line gremlins Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson always lurk, but Baltimore’s stellar offensive line and run-first, run-often identity should again lead Dobbins to the Promised Land. More importantly, the Titans defense is undeniably forgiving. This season, Tennessee has yielded 4.57 yards per carry, 99.5 rush yards per game and 15 ground scores just to RBs. Dobbins slammed his way to 70 yards and a score against Mike Vrabel’s club Week 11. With all the chips on the line, a stat line replication is entirely doable.
Prop 3: Tom Brady 294.5 pass yards at Washington
UNDER. Forget ‘Terrific,’ Tom Tepid could soon make a guest appearance. Putting Father Time in the corner, the fortysomething QB displayed little to no skill erosion during the regular season. He topped 300 pass yards in his final three games and cruised past the proposed threshold in half his overall contests. His pace-setting output in air yards per attempt (9.1) alongside vigorous workloads (38.1 att./game) and a ridiculous trio of WRs (Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans) explain why he ranked No. 3 in the league in total pass yards. Still, the number is aggressive. Washington is a daunting matchup for a sloth-footed passer who must be kept clean. When rattled, Brady can crumble, evidenced by his 54.5 under pressure passer rating. The Fighting Footballs, trotting out feared bookends Chase Young and Montez Sweat, ranked No. 9 in pressure percentage during the regular season. Equally impressive, Washington’s secondary surrendered a mere 210.2 pass yards per game. Only Jared Goff and Ben Roethlisberger eclipsed 295 yards. In the end, landing in the 265-275 pass yards range is most realistic, unless, of course, Ron Rivera’s anemic offense suddenly takes on a Kansas City-like identity. Evans’ availability (knee) only complicates matters.
Prop 4: Jonathan Taylor 73.5 rush yards at Buffalo
OVER. The adage, “Good things come to those who wait” undoubtedly applies to Taylor. As is the case with most uber-talented rookies, accumulated reps and time eventually transforms one from a timid to terrorizing player. Over the final six weeks of the regular season, the Wisconsin product finally resembled the pulverizing power back from his college days. He smashed through arm tackles, exploded repeatedly into the second level and consistently reached paydirt. From Week 11 on, he amassed the second-most rush yards (741), tallying 3.75 YAC per attempt while chipping in a 24.8 missed tackle percentage. Now Indy’s bell cow, he should exploit Buffalo’s soft interior. During the regular season, the Bills allowed 4.47 yards per carry and 96.4 rush yards per game. If the Colts can avoid an early knockout punch, Taylor is destined to pound his way to at least 80 yards and a score.
Prop 5: DK Metcalf 60.5 receiving yards vs. LA Rams
UNDER. Some dudes just have your number. When it comes to the sophomore sensation Jalen Ramsey is a boogeyman. The decorated corner’s physicality and textbook technique twice limited Metcalf greatly in the regular season. In their showdowns, the receiver totaled eight receptions for 87 yards and no scores. Dishing out a similar treatment on other premier wideouts, Ramsey allowed a 73.0 passer rating, 0.53 yards per snap and 50.0% catch percentage to his assignments this year. Metcalf, much like the Seattle offense as a whole, slowed tremendously down the stretch. In his final three contests, one against L.A., he failed to eclipse 60 yards. The third time around, in a game with a projected 42 total, DK’s precipitous decline is likely to continue.
Last week’s record: 5-0