Player Props: Best NFL Receiving Yardage Bets
Previously, I've highlighted some of the best yardage props on FanDuel Sportsbook for both quarterbacks and running backs. Next up are the receiving yardage props for pass-catchers. At -112 odds on either side, you simply pick whether a player will go over or under his listed number of receiving yards. Teams must play a full 16-game schedule for bets to stand.
Using numberFire Editor-in-Chief JJ Zacharasian's player projections as a guide, let's see which props we should target.
Davante Adams (1174.5 yards)
A toe injury limited Davante Adams to 12 games last season, but he still nearly reached 1,000 yards receiving and was on pace for 1,330 over a full season.
That's all well and good, of course, but as we know from fantasy football, usage and volume are the primary drivers of raw stats, and Adams certainly wasn't lacking in those departments as Aaron Rodgers' go-to guy. In 2019, Adams owned a 30.4% target share and 32.9% air yards share -- both easily tops for the Green Bay Packers. His 9.1 targets per game ranked eighth in the NFL.
Part of this was a lack of competition, with no other Green Bay pass-catcher reaching even 500 receiving yards or a 15% target share. For that reason, we shouldn't be surprised if Green Bay uses an early draft pick to select a wideout in the NFL Draft.
But even if the Packers bring in some fresh blood, we shouldn't see a significant change in this Rodgers-Adams connection. Adams dominated targets in 2018, too, racking up 1,386 yards with a 29.1% target share and 37.2% air yards share.
JJ's projections show Adams getting 1,285.9 yards, and he's neck and neck with Julio Jones as JJ's WR2 or WR3 in fantasy behind only Michael Thomas. However, the yardage props for those two are far higher, with Thomas set at 1,404.5 and Jones at 1,349.5, showing the potential value in betting on Adams instead.
Technically, Adams has exceeded 1,174.5 yards only once in his career, but he had to share the field with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in prior seasons, and now he's pretty much the only show in town. He should continue to be one of the league's most productive wideouts in 2020.
Pick: Over 1174.5 yards
DeAndre Hopkins (1124.5 yards)
There's always some uncertainty when a player switches jerseys, but this sure looks like an appealing number to bet the over on DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins exceeded 1,124.5 yards in five of the past six seasons with Houston, and the only time he didn't over that span was when Brock Osweiler was his starting quarterback. He was a true target hog with the Texans, finishing top five overall in targets four times, with a target share over 30% in each of those campaigns. Even in a slightly underwhelming 2019 season -- at least by his lofty standards -- Hopkins averaged 8.8 targets per game (150 total) with a 30.9% target share and 36.2% air yards share.
That being said, his usage figures to drop in his new offense. No Cardinals receiver saw a target share above 25% last season, with Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald seeing 108 and 109 targets apiece -- well short of the totals Hopkins has achieved over the years. Between Kirk, Fitzgerald, and running back Kenyan Drake, Hopkins likely won't be sniffing 30% of the targets anymore.
Even so, Hopkins should lead Arizona in targets, and he doesn't need to duplicate his Houston volume to hit the over. JJ's projections have him at 1,177.2 yards on 138.4 targets, which would be his lowest target total since 2014. No, that's not leaps and bounds over this prop, but it's still a very solid median projection, and it's entirely possible Hopkins exceeds these expectations if he develops strong chemistry with Kyler Murray.
Pick: Over 1124.5 yards
Zach Ertz (924.5 yards)
Of the receiving yardage props available on FanDuel Sportsbook, the biggest gap between JJ's projections and the over/under is Zach Ertz -- and not in a good way. JJ has Ertz at 802.7 yards, putting him 121.8 yards short of 924.5.
At first glance, this might seem like an overly pessimistic projection. After all, Ertz produced 916 yards last season and 1,163 in 2018. Those marks were backed up by volume, too, as he led all tight ends in targets per game over those seasons and led all Eagles pass-catchers in both targets and target share.
The trouble is that high usage primarily came about through injuries to the Eagles' other playmakers and a lack of pass-catching depth.
In 2019, DeSean Jackson effectively only played one full game (three appearances), Alshon Jeffery got through eight full games (10 appearances), and Nelson Agholor was healthy for just 11. It was telling that the player who saw the next most targets and receptions behind Ertz was fellow tight end Dallas Goedert.
The year before that -- Ertz's best statistical season -- Mike Wallace broke his leg in Week 2 (ultimately his last NFL appearance), leaving Ertz, Jeffery, and Agholor as the only players to see over 50 targets (Jeffery missed three games himself, too). While Philadelphia attempted to address this with a midseason trade for Golden Tate, he ultimately wasn't much of a factor down the stretch.
Even if we give Ertz credit for his 2018 campaign, it looks like an outlier season, as it's the only one where he's ever gone over 924.5 yards. Since seeing a rise in snaps from 2015 onward, that 2018 season is also the only one in which he's played all 16 games over the past five years. Sure, he's only ever missed one or two games in a given season, but he can't afford to miss any time to hit this number. He also turns 30 in November.
Most important of all, a healthy group of Eagles pass-catchers in 2020 should significantly bump down his targets. Jeffery, Jackson, Goedert, and running back Miles Sanders are all back, and the Eagles are another team that could target wide receivers in the draft. Agholar is gone, but he wasn't particularly effective even when he saw the field in 2019.
Jeffery and Jackson aren't exactly beacons of health, but you pretty much need a repeat of those 2019 injuries for Ertz to go over this total -- and he still fell short of it last season. In the eight weeks Jeffery played over 70% of the snaps, Ertz only managed a 21.3% target share, down from 26.1% in his other seven games. And for what it's worth, when all three players were healthy in Week 1, Ertz had a 17.9% target share.
With so many factors working againsy Ertz, this over/under just seems too high, and the under is an awfully tempting bet.
Pick: Under 924.5 yards