Week 4 was not as kind to the Educated Bets crew as the other weeks have been so far, but it’s time to bounce back! Brett Ford (@FadeThatMan) and Tyler Gentile (@808Paperboi) have gone back to the lab to cook up some exquisite player props! Using expert analysis and diligent research, Brett and Tyler have compiled a list of the best places to leverage player performance for profit this week.
Please note: Listed lines and odds are subject to change from sportsbook to sportsbook, and may have moved since the article was written and posted.
Michael Pittman Jr. over 59.5 receiving yards (-110)
- We’re picking on the Tennessee Titans pass defense again this week, this time through Michael Pittman Jr. of the Indianapolis Colts. After being held to just one reception for 15 yards against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, Pittman will be as poised for a breakout as any receiver in the league.
- In each of his first three games this season, Pittman earned double-digit targets, pulling in 8.67 receptions per game in those three contests combined. Against the Rams, Anthony Richardson‘s lackluster passing performance had a direct effect on Pittman’s production.
- Despite his poor performance, Pittman did garner a 20.9 percent target share, tied for the largest of all Colts pass catchers in Week 4. In two and a half games with Richardson under center, Pittman has garnered a 26.4% target share, good for 17 receptions for 124 yards and a score.
- “The Titans’ pass funnel defense has been excellent at encouraging teams to pass on its porous secondary while limiting production on the ground so far this season.” Sound familiar? I literally wrote the same thing last week, and it’s still true. Defensive backs Kristian Fulton, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Roger McCreary have been uninspiring, with poor performances against alpha receivers such as Ja’Marr Chase, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, and Chris Olave.
James Conner over 60.5 rushing yards (-120)
- James Conner has had a sneaky good season so far, running as the true bell cow back for the Arizona Cardinals through the first four weeks. In each of the Arizona Cardinals’ first three games, each of them highly competitive, Conner topped this total and rushed at least 14 times. Last week against the San Francisco 49ers, the Cardinals were blown out but Conner still rushed 11 times while backups Emari Demercado and Ezekiel Turner combined for just two carries.
- The Bengals have not been good against the run this season. Let’s not forget Week 1 when Nick Chubb and the Browns rushed for more than 200 yards against them. The Ravens’ backfield by committee went for 178 rushing yards in Week 2 while Derrick Henry popped off 122 yards by himself last week.
- Over the course of his career, Conner has rushed for 4.58 yards per carry against the Cincinnati defense in six games opposite the Bengals. Averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season, and 5.5 yards per carry in two games at home, Conner is one of my favorite plays this weekend.
De’Von Achane over 50.5 rushing yards (-125)
- De’Von Achane followed up his Week 3 coming-out party with a 100-yard Week 4 performance on just eight carries against the Bills while incumbent Raheem Mostert gained just nine yards on seven carries. It appears Vegas is still deciding whether or not the Miami Dolphins will lean on Achane as the primary back, but as bettors, we want to be a week early, not a week late.
- Achane has proven to be the more explosive back, averaging a completely unsustainable 11.4 yards per carry, but he has shown a potentially sustainable trait of being able to break off runs for big gains. The Dolphins have chosen to utilize Achane in several different ways, not just exclusively out of the backfield. Two of his best runs have come off of jet sweeps, in which he has shown extreme proficiency in using his speed to round the corner and pick up big yards.
- In each of the last two games, Achane has topped this total in just one carry.
Miami Dolphins Player Stats
1,306 Pass Yards/9 TD
309 Rush Yards/6 TD
249 Rush Yards/7 TD
28 Catches/470 Yards/4 TD
12 Catches/210 Yards
Andrew Van Ginkel
19 Tackles/5 Sacks/3 TFLpic.twitter.com/gEZJz4aXUW
— SportsTalk (@TheSportsTalk0) October 4, 2023
- In each of the New York Giants’ first four games, the opponent’s primary running back has rushed for at least 70 yards. The Giants rank 22nd in rushing defense DVOA and 21st in opponent yards per carry.
- New York Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has publicly talked about the struggle in preparing for the Dolphins’ offense this week. How much of that is coach speak and how much of that is legit? That’s a question for another day. Martindale has shown a tendency to blitz so far this season, running the second-most blitzes in the NFL through the early part of the season. If Achane and the Dolphins can run away from that kind of blitzing pressure, it can create massive holes for big gains.
C. J. Stroud over 1.5 passing touchdowns (-105)
- C. J. Stroud has played outstanding football through the first quarter of the season, garnering some well-deserved Offensive Rookie of the Year hype. After a frustrating Week 1 performance against a stout Ravens defense, Stroud has thrown two touchdowns in each of his last three games with no signs of slowing down.
- Even with positive game scripts in each of the Houston Texans’ last two contests, Stroud has still managed to toss 30 pass attempts for 280 or more yards and a pair of scores in each game.
- Houston is playing at the fifth-fastest tempo in the NFL and has two developing pass-catching weapons in Tank Dell and Nico Collins, both of whom have blossomed with Stroud under center.
- Dell and Collins have both excelled against man coverage this season and the Atlanta Falcons lean toward man-to-man coverage on a relatively consistent basis. The Falcons have also ranked 27th in pass defense DVOA so far this season, so Stroud could have a field day.
Chris Olave over 4.5 receptions (-130)
- I typically don’t like to target the New England Patriots’ defense, but this week is different. In their Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, New England lost its best cover corner, early season Defensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner Christian Gonzalez, and its best pass rusher in Matt Judon.
- Olave was extremely limited last week, garnering just one catch for four yards on a season-low six targets against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s no way the New Orleans Saints allow their alpha wide receiver to go back-to-back weeks with that kind of production. With the Patriots missing their top cover corner, it’s likely that the Saints force feed their top pass catcher with volume.
- Despite just six targets a week ago, Olave still ranks ninth in the NFL with 9.5 targets per game, earning a 26.6% target share this year.
- Derek Carr has an injured shoulder. It was pretty evident in last week’s game and unless he miraculously healed this week, it will look pretty similar again on Sunday. His average depth of target was just 3.4 yards last week, and he dumped the ball off to Alvin Kamara a whopping 14 times. Some of those short-field targets are likely to make their way to Olave this week.
Kyren Williams under 57.5 rushing yards (-125)
- Don’t bet against the Philadelphia Eagles rushing defense. The Eagles’ defensive front has been one of the best in the NFL, ranking first in the league in rush defense DVOA and has allowed just 63.0 rushing yards per game to opponents.
- The Eagles have not allowed any single rusher to top 50 yards yet this season and have allowed just 3.3 yards per carry on the year.
- Williams has received a boatload of touches this season but has been relatively inefficient with just 3.8 yards per carry on the year. Williams topped this total just once in four games this season, reaching 100 yards last week in an overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
- The Rams return heralded wide receiver Cooper Kupp from injured reserve, which could increase the volume of short passes and take away from the run game.
- Both Sean McVay and Rams’ GM Les Snead have publicly commented about lessening Williams’ workload. This is a great spot to fade the Los Angeles running back.
Zay Flowers anytime TD (+200)
- The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers meet up for a rivalry game on Sunday afternoon, and as Ravens middle linebacker Roquan Smith described, you aren’t officially a Raven until you’ve beaten the Steelers. It’s time for Zay Flowers to earn his feathers.
- Flowers has been the most heavily targeted Ravens’ pass catcher so far this season, including two games with 10 targets, and has been heavily involved in the red zone through four games with five targets and two carries. However, he still has not found the end zone.
- Odell Beckham Jr. is likely to miss another game while Rashod Bateman projects to be back from injury (albeit in what could be a limited role). Mark Andrews has caught touchdown passes in each of the past two games, meaning that some positive regression could be headed Flowers’ way.
- The Steelers pass defense has been torched by Nico Collins, Davante Adams, and Brandon Aiyuk so far this season, faring poorly against teams’ top pass-catchers. This matchup bodes well for both Flowers and Andrews (also +200 anytime TD).
Trevor Lawrence over 15.5 rush yards -120
- Trevor Lawrence has been rushing more this season and has eclipsed this mark in three of four games. He’s averaging roughly six carries and 25 rush yards per game in the early going.
- This week, he faces an elite Buffalo Bills pass rush that has generated the highest pressure rate this season. That pressure could lead to Lawrence utilizing his legs to pick up some yards.
- Last week against the Falcons, 4th in pressure rate, Lawrence ran for 42 yards on eight carries. The Chiefs are 3rd in pressure rate, and T-Law rushed for 26 yards on five attempts against them.
- It will be hard to contain this Bills offense, so the Jaguars will likely be lined up to pass the majority of the game.
Wan’Dale Robinson over 34.5 receiving yards (-130)
- The Giants will undoubtedly be in catch-up mode for most of the game when squaring off against the Dolphins, which should yield a pass-heavy attack. Saquon Barkley is still questionable to play, although, at the time of this writing, it appears more likely that he’ll sit once again.
- When Wan’Dale has played, he has generally seen a heavy dose of targets. He led the team with six last week which resulted in five catches for 40 yards. In his first game of the season in Week 3, he had five targets despite playing on just 21 percent of snaps.
- Excluding Week 1 of 2022 9when he sustained an injury), Robinson eclipsed this mark in three of his five other games. In two of those contests, he saw 13 and 8 targets.
- Clearly, Brian Daboll and the Giants love his ability considering his insane target share. They drafted him in Round 2 of last year’s draft for a reason.
- The Dolphins have allowed the 9th most receiving yards, which is a meager number to eclipse for arguably the top receiving option in the Giants offense.
De’Von Achane over 49.5 rushing yards (-125)
- On the opposite sideline, as heavy (-11) favorites, Miami ought to be running the ball a ton, and the Giants aren’t amazing at defending the running game, to say the least. Only eight teams are allowing opposing offenses to generate more yards per carry (4.4) and each starting running back to face them has gone over this mark: Tony Pollard (14-70), James Conner (23-106), Christian McCaffrey (18-85), and Kenneth Walker III (17-79).
- Achane is slowly taking over the majority of touches in the Miami backfield. He out-snapped Raheem Mostert 39-28 last week and had 18 carries to Mostert’s 13 in Week 3.
- The Dolphins’ rookie running back has showcased his elite speed in back-to-back games and has the potential to bust out a massive gain on any given play. He has the best PFF rushing grade of any running back through four weeks.
Bijan Robinson over 79.5 rushing yards (+110)
- Houston is 25th in rush EPA per play and they’re tied for 9th in highest yards per carry allowed. PFF rates this as the biggest run-blocking advantage of the week by a large margin.
- Zack Moss put up 88 yards on 18 carries against them, Travis Etienne equaled that yardage total on 19 carries, and Najee Harris posted 81 yards on 14 carries last week. Jaylen Warren also contributed 29 yards through his 8 rushing attempts.
- Atlanta is dead last in pass rate over expectation. Pounding the rock is all they want to do, and they will force-feed the ball to Bijan. He has two 100+ rushing games this year already and should be able to put up impressive numbers in this matchup.
David Montgomery over 73.5 rush yards (-115)
- As -9.5 point favorites facing a struggling rookie quarterback, there’s a high probability of the Detroit Lions controlling this game.
- They love to run the ball and are 31st in pass rate over expectation, trailing only the Falcons.
- The matchup couldn’t be any better. Carolina is dead last in rush EPA per play and only four teams have yielded a higher yards per carry to opposing rushers.
- Alexander Mattison put up 95 yards on 17 carries against them last week, Kenneth Walker was 18 for 97 with a pair of touchdowns the week prior, and the Falcons running backs combined for a 25-131-2 line in Week 1.
- The Lions’ best pass-catcher, Amon-Ra St. Brown, is doubtful to play. This could prompt them to run the ball even more.
- Montgomery is the clear bell-cow in the offense and that was on full display last week Thursday when they played the Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Montgomery handled 32 of the 40 running back carries and finished with 132 yards on the ground. He had 74 yards on 21 carries in Week 1 against the Chiefs and went 16/67 in Week 2 before leaving the game in the 4th quarter in Week 2.
Puka Nacua 60+ receiving yards -125
- If you’re using DraftKings, be sure to check out the alternate receiving yards tab. They occasionally have mispriced lines, like this one here. It’s listed at 64.5 -115 at the time of this writing.
- Call me a Puka Nacua homer at this point. This is the third straight write-up for Nakua from yours truly, and for good reason. He continues to deliver and has soared over this line in every game so far this season.
- Some people might be scared off by Cooper Kupp’s return, but Nacua shouldn’t be affected too much. Think of Nacua as the Robert Woods to Cooper Kupp circa 2018-2020. Kupp typically resides in the slot, while Nacua has lined up on the perimeter most of the time.
- No one can run the ball on the Eagles. The best way to attack them is through the air, where they are 20th in EPA per play allowed. They have allowed the sixth most passing yards per game.
- This Sean McVay offense has always skewed pass-heavy and they are tied for sixth in pass-rate over expectation this year.
Wil Lutz over 1.5 field goals made -115
- The New York Jets have fielded one of the best red zone defenses over the last two years. Across four games this season, no one has been better. Their defense hasn’t been quite as elite as last season, but some of that is due to playing the Bills, Dallas Cowboys, and Kansas City Chiefs. Through four weeks they are tied for 14th in yards per play allowed and 23rd in EPA per play.
- New York has allowed the most field goal attempts over the last two seasons. They have allowed three field goal attempts per game this season and every kicker to face them has gone over this mark.
- In previous weeks, Tyler Bass went 3-for-3 and Brandon Aubrey was 5-for-5. Chad Ryland converted only two of his four attempts, but Harrison Butker went 3-for-3.
- Dating back to last season, this prop has cashed in 10 consecutive games against the Jets. Wil Lutz should follow suit kicking at home in altitude.
- The Broncos franchise might not be fixable in its current form, but Sean Payton has made Russell Wilson and the offense serviceable. They have averaged the 4th-most yards per play and are 11th in EPA per play in the early going.
- The Denver Broncos are just 15th in red zone scoring, however, and Lutz has had two field goal attempts in three of four games. He missed a 55-yard field goal in Week 1, so he has cleared this in just two of the four contests.
- Lastly, the forecasted weather looks to be perfect in Denver with only mild winds. Kicking at Mile High is usually a boost for kickers.
Brandon Aiyuk over 58.5 receiving yards (-115)
- In what could be an NFC Championship preview, this SNF game should be an absolute banger and will be an interesting test for Brandon Aiyuk and the passing attack of San Francisco.
- Dallas plays the 2nd-highest rate of man coverage. Meanwhile, Aiyuk has feasted against man coverage this season with the 2nd-best receiving grade according to Pro Football Focus. Without Trevon Diggs, this Cowboys’ secondary isn’t as scary. New England struggled last week, but we saw the Cardinals expose them a bit. Marquise Brown had a 5-61-1 line and Michael Wilson had 86 yards on two grabs. If Arizona was able to put up 28 points on that defense, imagine what Kyle Shanahan’s offense will do.
- In his two uninterrupted games this season, Aiyuk has sailed over this number. He had an 8-129-2 line in Week 1, and a 6-148-0 line against Arizona last week.
- He’s one of Purdy’s go-to targets and has the highest average depth of target (16.3) of any 49ers pass catcher. All 17 of his receptions have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.
As bettors, we must remember to maintain discipline throughout the course of the season. There are 18 weeks of football in the regular season alone, not to mention the playoffs. There’s no need to wager the entire bankroll in one week. However, as you accumulate winnings, don’t be afraid to incrementally increase unit size. Create a plan and stick to it. There’s no reason to go crazy on just one football Sunday.
Do you or a loved one have a problem with gambling? Call 1-800-426-2537 for confidential help and support.
(Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire)