NFL Player Props: The 4 Best Bets to Lead the League in Receiving Yards
We're inching closer and closer to the 2021 NFL season, and while we're still a few days away from kicking back and watching the games on Thursday, Sunday, and Mondays, we have plenty to tide us over.
Whether it's fantasy football drafts (for which we have a customizable draft kit and player projections), best-ball drafts on FanDuel or team futures bets at FanDuel Sportsbook, there's something for everyone.
And did I mention the props?
I have not.
Here are the listed players and their odds to lead the league in receptions, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
|DeAndre Hopkins||+750||Stefon Diggs||+800|
|Calvin Ridley||+1000||Tyreek Hill||+1200|
|Travis Kelce||+1300||Davante Adams||+1300|
|D.K. Metcalf||+1300||Justin Jefferson||+1400|
|A.J. Brown||+1400||Keenan Allen||+1700|
|Terry McLaurin||+1900||Amari Cooper||+1900|
|Julio Jones||+2400||Allen Robinson||+2400|
|CeeDee Lamb||+2600||Mike Evans||+2700|
|Chris Godwin||+2700||Ja'Marr Chase||+2800|
|Odell Beckham||+3100||George Kittle||+3100|
|Darren Waller||+3100||Tee Higgins||+3200|
|D.J. Moore||+3200||Robert Woods||+3500|
|Cooper Kupp||+3500||Chase Claypool||+3700|
|Adam Thielen||+3700||Tyler Lockett||+4400|
|Kenny Golladay||+4400||Corey Davis||+4400|
|Kyle Pitts||+7000||Christian McCaffrey||+11000|
Which players make for the best bets?
To find out, I used numberFire's player projections as the baseline along with historical ranges of outcomes to see which players outperformed their odds most frequently across 10,000 season simulations.
Some Historical Precedent
The 21 season leaders in receiving yards have a few things in common.
Of those 21 instances, 20 featured at least 150 targets (Torry Holt had 139 targets back in 2000), and all managed at least 23.8% of their team's targets in their yardage-leading season. Remember, we're shifting up to a 17-game season this year, so we should be seeking around 9.4 targets per game from our preferred bets.
Additionally, as we saw when examining the best reception leader bets, these outlier performances came from predictable players.
Since 2012, only one single-season yardage leader (Josh Gordon in 2013) was projected for fewer than 156.0 targets, per numberFire's preseason projections.
Tyreek Hill (+1200) & Travis Kelce (+1300)
The best overall value to outperform odds is pretty easily Tyreek Hill.
Hill's +1200 number implies just a 7.7% probability, but Hill paced the NFL in yardage across 10.7% of the 10,000 simulated campaigns. That's immense value.
While we're at it, teammate Travis Kelce (+1300 to lead the NFL in yardage) rates out as the second-best value. He wound up leading the way in 8.7% of the simulations, allowing him to outperform his implied probability of 7.1%.
numberFire's projections anticipate big things from the Kansas City Chiefs' offense behind Patrick Mahomes, who is projected to pace the NFL in passing yards with only one other passer coming within 400 yards of him.
Stefon Diggs (+800)
Stefon Diggs is the favorite to lead the NFL in receptions at FanDuel Sportsbook, but he didn't make the list for the best value bets to do so. Instead, he leads the way in terms of most receiving yards.
Diggs' +800 number suggests an 11.1% chance to lead the NFL in yardage, but among our 10,000 season simulations, Diggs wound up leading the way 11.8% of the time, which gives him some value in an otherwise tight race.
Diggs has a baseline projection of 1,576.8 yards, putting him within 3.0 yards of the top projection (DeAndre Hopkins' projection is 1,579.5 yards), according to numberFire.
The volume is guaranteed for Diggs, assuming health, and he gets a season-high projection, per our algorithm. He is also projected for a 30.0% target share, via numberFire's data.
Justin Jefferson (+1400)
I'd love to recommend a long shot, but none of them rate out as strong values, and I'm not here to recommend flashy long shots who probably won't lead the NFL in receiving yards.
That puts me on Justin Jefferson, who is a fair value at 6.7% to lead the league in yardage as a sophomore.
Jefferson's expected target share (27.0%) puts him in the top six, and we know there's big-play upside from the Minnesota Viking after he had the second-best Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target mark among qualified receivers last year.
Jefferson projects for 9.2 targets per game, which is very much within the range of where we've seen prior yardage leaders in the past.