Another tough week for Educated Bets as picks went 1-4 in Week 16, but hopefully the holiday break has made up for it. Time to make up for all those holiday spending sprees with some monetary recuperation in the form of player props. Brett Ford (@FadeThatMan) has put together another week’s worth of the best NFL player props for Week 17, hoping to ring in the new year with a bundle of winning tickets.
Brandin Cooks over 40.5 receiving yards (-115)
- This is one of the best buy-low opportunities on the board this week as Cooks and the Dallas Cowboys face off against the Detroit Lions at home on Saturday night. The Cowboys have been extremely good at home while the Lions have already clinched the NFC North and don’t have much more to achieve this regular season.
- Cooks has reached this total in just five games so far this season and was targeted just twice a week ago, but his production should see an upswing in Week 17 against a Lions secondary that allowed K.J .Osborn to go off a week ago.
- The Lions have allowed WR2 types like Cooks to go for more than 40 yards in several games so far this season. Want examples? Look no further than Osborn, Malik Heath, Jerry Jeudy, or even a guy like Jalen Guyton (before Keenan Allen got hurt).
- Dallas will have much more to play for on Saturday, still vying with the Philadelphia Eagles for a chance at the NFC East crown. Meanwhile, the Lions clinched the NFC North a week ago; though they’re “competing” with San Francisco, Dallas, and Philadelphia for the top seed, they could experience a little bit of a hangover effect on the road this week.
Brandon Aiyuk over 68.5 receiving yards (-115)
- This one just doesn’t seem fair. Aiyuk was one of my favorite targets already entering this week with his matchup against the porous Washington Commanders’ secondary, but now there are indications that Washington is going to stick a practice squad corner on him:
The Commanders will be without their top two perimeter corners (where Deebo and Aiyuk primarily align), as well as starting safety Percy Butler against the 49ers.
There will be a CB (likely Tariq Castro-Fields) assigned to Deebo/Aiyuk throughout Sunday who has yet to play a snap…
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) December 29, 2023
- Aiyuk has eclipsed this total in just seven games this season but has seen 28 targets in the past four games combined. With Brock Purdy looking to bounce back after a dismal performance last week, there’s nobody better to throw the ball to than a man with a catch radius the size of an albatross.
- During their six-game losing streak, the Commanders have allowed opponents’ top receivers to go off in nearly every game (that Trevor Siemian was not quarterbacking). Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, Darius Slayton and DK Metcalf each went for more than 80 yards receiving when they faced the Commanders during their skid.
Josh Allen over 1.5 passing touchdowns (-135)
- This might be my favorite player prop of the week, as Josh Allen squares off against the New England Patriots and the remnants of their tattered secondary and maligned pass rush. Within the friendly confines of Orchard Park, N.Y. Allen should be able to connect on at least two touchdown passes.
- The New England Patriots secondary will be without four of its seven top players that featured in the Week 7 meeting between these two teams, including safety Jabril Peppers. With backups called into action at most of the secondary positions, Allen should be able to pick apart this defense through the air.
- Offensive coordinator Joe Brady has demonstrated a knack for attacking opponent weaknesses rather than just lining up and doing the same thing every week. Against Dallas, the Bills ran the ball on what felt like nearly every snap, exploiting the Cowboys’ beleaguered run defense. Then against the Chargers, Brady attacked through the air to target their secondary. Odds are he goes after the Pats with Allen’s arm this week.
- The Patriots rank second in the NFL in rush defense DVOA and first in rushing yards allowed per carry. Allen and the Bills attack through the air this week.
Stefon Diggs Anytime touchdown (+125)
- See above. Rinse, repeat.
- Stefon Diggs has scored a touchdown in each of his last four regular season games against the Patriots. He has been held without a score in three consecutive weeks, tying his longest stretch without a touchdown since he joined the Bills prior to the 2020 season.
- This is one of the first times this season that Diggs’ anytime touchdown prop has been at plus-odds entering a game. It’s an excellent buy-low spot for those who can stomach it, considering he’s been just WR40 in fantasy since Week 8.
Travis Kelce over 64.5 receiving yards (-115)
Travis Kelce over 99.5 receiving yards (+340)
- Travis Kelce has had a handful of rough weeks back-to-back but it’s time for the Kansas City Chiefs tight end to… shake it off. Fantasy managers know of Kelce’s five-game touchdown drought all too well, but it’s time for the perennial all-pro to get back to his elite era when he faces the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
- The Cincinnati Bengals have been notably bad against tight ends so far this season, allowing tight ends to rack up the most yards against them this season relative to the rest of the NFL.
- The Chiefs have lost three out of four games entering this week and will look at this contest as a must-win game, meaning they’ll likely scheme ways to get the football to their best player, Travis Kelce.
- With Isiah Pacheco likely to miss this game with a concussion, the Chiefs may rely more heavily on the pass than they have so far this season. If they can protect Patrick Mahomes better than they did last week against the Las Vegas Raiders, Kelce should be able to get the usage and yardage that we need to cash one (or hopefully both) of these props.
With 16 weeks of NFL action in the books, Educated Bets are hitting at a near 50% clip, going 54-57 so far this season. Because of some long-odds tickets cashing in, Educated Bets are up just over 20 units, meaning a $10 bettor would be up over $200 on the season. We’ll do our best to find the best spots to attack each week and keep rolling with winning plays.
We’re down to the last two weeks of regular season football; hopefully, we’ve managed our bankrolls responsibly. Even if you’re down, there’s no need to wager the entire bankroll in one week. Create a plan and stick to it. There’s no reason to go all-in on just one football Sunday.
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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)