Bet Daniel Jones to Soar Over One of His Player Props
There were a plethora of rookie quarterbacks in the NFL last season auditioning as franchise quarterbacks, and it's safe to say Daniel Jones got the part. The New York Giants' rookie posted impressive numbers, tossing double the touchdowns (24) to interceptions (12) in just 12 games as a starter.
In his second season, oddsmakers have high expectations for the guy who was sixth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
FanDuel Sportsbook has set Jones' passing yards prop at 3,799.50 yards and his passing touchdowns prop at 26.5 scores, both of which would exceed last year's marks. Will we see progression or regression from the former Duke Blue Devil?
In 2019, Jones had the NFL's 34th-ranked protection among all quarterbacks (72.3%), per PlayerProfiler. With last season's offensive line, Jones ranked among the worst passers with 29 interceptable passes (fifth-most) and 51 danger plays (second-most).
The front office addressed the holes in the offensive line by drafting three linemen with their first five draft picks of 2020, including Georgia's Andrew Thomas at fourth overall. The team returns four starters with Thomas expected to take over as the starting right tackle.
The G-Men had Pro Football Focus' 19th-ranked offensive line a year ago, and they should be better up front in 2020.
Jones also showcased his mobility, finishing with the seventh-most rushing yards among quarterbacks (279) while adding two scores on the ground. In terms of efficiency, he posted a mark of 0.50 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry, which was right behind league MVP Lamar Jackson's 0.52 among quarterbacks with at least 40 rushes -- though Jackson had way more volume.
However, Jones isn't one for stretching the field, as his longest completed air distance on a pass was 47.4 yards, right behind 39-year-old Eli Manning's clip of 47.5. Jones finished 28th in deep-ball completion percentage (30.4%). He was also 32nd in the red zone completion percentage (53.1%), translating to the Giants sporting the 17th-ranked red zone touchdown percentage among offenses (57.1%).
In his 12 starts, Jones averaged 38.3 pass attempts and 252.3 yards per game. To hit his 2020 yardage prop, Jones will have to average 237.5 yards per game (assuming 16 games), which he already did last season. To go over his touchdown total, Jones would have to average 1.66 passing scores per game, a decrease from his 2.0 per game in his dozen rookie-year starts. By these numbers, FanDuel Sportsbook is banking on Jones to have a sophomore slump in the Giants' offense.
2020 Supporting Cast
The Giants have a pretty nice supporting cast around Jones, led by Saquon Barkley.
With Barkley and Jones together last year, Jones posted a 69.4% play-action completion percentage, ninth-best in the NFL. Barkley was second on the team with 52 receptions last season, and this offseason the Giants added Dion Lewis, another capable pass-game back.
The Giants' receiving corps posted a mere 3.8% drop percentage with Jones under center in 2019. Returning for their first fully healthy season together, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate give Jones some talent out side. In 2019, Slayton led the team with eight receiving touchdowns, followed by Tate with six and Shepherd with three. They combined for 14 of Jones' 24 passing scores.
And lastly, after missing eight games last year and undergoing foot surgery in December, tight end Evan Engram is back and is one of the keys to this passing attack. In fact, the team's top-five leaders in receptions all missed three games or more in 2019, so with better injury luck, this offense should be on the rise in 2020.
Jones will need a healthy squad around him to surpass his prop lines, and we project him to go over one of them.
numberFire's projections peg Jones to record career highs across the board, with 4,023.3 passing yards, 24.4 touchdowns, and 581.9 passing attempts. I'd have to agree and back Jones to surpass his passing yards prop of 3,799.5 yards (-112) but not his passing touchdowns line.
Volume should be on Jones' side and help him go over in the yards department, especially after he recorded 40 or more pass attempts in five of the last seven games of 2019. In all, Jones had 35 or more passes in 10 of his 12 starts last season.
The touchdown prop is a little tougher as Jones' may have a difficult time repeating his 5.2% touchdown rate from last season, a number which ranked 11th among all signal callers and was better than the touchdown rates of Aaron Rodgers (4.6%) and Dak Prescott (5.0%).
Jones' schedule isn't all that rosy, either. The Giants open up the 2020 season with five straight games versus defenses that were top-12 pass defenses a year ago, and in all, they have eight contests (Dallas twice) versus teams that were in the top 12 last year in pass D. They have seven games against teams that allowed 20 or fewer points per game in 2019, which could make points hard to come by in a lot of the Giants' 2020 games.
Back Jones to surpass his passing yards prop of 3,799.5 (-112) but go under his touchdown total of 26.5 (-128).