NFL Player Props: The 4 Best Bets to Lead the League in Receiving Touchdowns

Davante Adams' elite red zone workload makes him a favorite to lead the NFL in receiving scores. Who else is a good betting value?

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?

*Checks notes*

I have not.

NFL odds has a good number of player stats props posted, including the one I'm about to discuss: most regular season receiving touchdowns.

Here are the listed players and their odds to lead the league in receptions, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Player FanDuel
Player FanDuel
Travis Kelce +850 Davante Adams +850
Tyreek Hill +950 Stefon Diggs +950
D.K Metcalf +950 Calvin Ridley +950
Mike Evans +1100 Justin Jefferson +1100
DeAndre Hopkins +1100 Adam Thielen +1100
Amari Cooper +1200 AJ Brown +1200
Tyler Lockett +1700 Darren Waller +1700
CeeDee Lamb +1700 Chris Godwin +2600
Terry McLaurin +4400 Keenan Allen +4400
Kenny Golladay +6000 Julio Jones +6000
Ja'Marr Chase +6000 DJ Moore +6000
Diontae Johnson +6000 Antonio Brown +7500
Tee Higgins +9000 Odell Beckham Jr +9000
George Kittle +9000 Cooper Kupp +9000
Chase Claypool +9000 Will Fuller +10000
Russell Gage +10000 Rondale Moore +10000
Michael Pittman +10000 Marquise Brown +10000
Kyle Pitts +10000 Kadarius Toney +10000
Jaylen Waddle +10000 Devonta Smith +10000
Deebo Samuel +10000 Corey Davis +10000
Breshad Perriman +10000

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

Across 21 seasons from 2000 to 2020, there have been 27 total instances of a player leading the league in receiving touchdowns -- or (obviously) tying for the league lead.

Among those 27 individual player seasons, we have seen target totals span as low as 98 (James Jones in 2012) among eventual touchdown leaders.

Further, 9 of the 27 (so, 33.3%) of the players leading in touchdowns had a target market share below 25.0%. Then again, 23 of the 27 still managed at least 8.0 targets per game.

To clarify, I'm not saying we should be ignoring volume, yet unlike with receiving yards props and especially reception props, projected volume isn't as critical for touchdown leaders.

Notably, since 2012, 10 of the 11 players with at least a share of the season lead in receiving touchdowns ranked inside the top 20 in projected receiving touchdowns, according to numberFire's model. The lone outlier was Doug Baldwin (28th) in 2015.

We can get a little weirder with these props as a result, but we shouldn't get too wild, either.

The Results

Tyreek Hill (+950)
Our projections are really quite high on Tyreek Hill's touchdown expectations. His 13.6 touchdowns are most among any projected player by roughly 1.5 scores.

That's going to be hard to beat.

Hill's +950 odds are tied for third-highest on the board, but he shattered those expectations in the season simulations by a huge margin, due to such a high baseline projection from numberFire's model.

We're dealing with a big-play receiver in Hill who happens to be tied to the quarterback with the highest touchdown projection for the season, so it's hard to argue siding with Hill among the other high-end favorites.

Davante Adams (+850)
Okay, I know I discussed Hill as the best bet among the top, but Davante Adams' touchdown projection (again, around 1.5 shy of Hill's) is still 0.8 scores better than anyone else's, according to numberFire.

That allowed him also to rate out as a positive expected value in the season simulations.

Including the playoffs, Adams had a league-leading (by far) 46.3% red zone target share in games played last season. He averaged 2.3 red zone targets per game, and nobody else averaged even 1.8.

Keenan Allen (+4400)
In looking for longer shots, we should want them to be inside the top 20 in numberFire's projected touchdowns and preferably hold an expected target rate of at least 8.0 per game.

Keenan Allen is slotted for 9.6 targets per game and ranks 10th in projected scores at 8.8.

Allen outperformed his +4400 odds (which imply a 2.2% probability) by leading the league in 2.5% of the 10,000 simulated seasons.

Odell Beckham (+9000)
Odell Beckham has a really interesting case here at such long odds, odds that would suggest he's just 1.1% likely to lead the league in receiving scores.

Beckham topped the league in 1.7% of the 10,000 simulations, and while he misses the 8.0-target-per-game cutoff we're striving for, he's rating out at 7.8.

Plus, 6 of the 27 players to lead the league in our post-2000 cutoff averaged between 7.8 and 8.8 targets. The slightest bump in volume puts him well within that comfort zone.

Beckham also ranks 15th in projected touchdowns entering the season (8.1), and he did see 0.7 end zone targets per game, a borderline top-30 rate last season. His 29.4% end zone target share ranked 21st among players with at least 7 games played, too.