All season, the staff at QB List are going to be picking out some of their favorite player prop bets for each game of the NFL season. Check in each week before games start to see our picks and (hopefully) see some solid advice! We’ll be keeping score as the season goes to check the accuracy of our bets.
Adam’s Betting Record: 14-14
Welcome to Thursday Night Football, Week 5! I’m back after a fun week off, so I hope you all missed me and enjoyed Jake Roy’s take on Player Props half as much as you enjoy my takes. In Week 3, I was finally able to post a >.500 week to draw me back to even in the betting record column. Now that I’m back at .500, it’s time to take my record up a notch. From now on, no more L’s. We’re strictly taking W’s from now on. Book it!
Anyways, a fresh Thursday Night Football game means a fresh batch of player props. So, let’s get to it!
Russell Wilson OVER 21.5 Rushing Yards (DK, -110)
On Fanduel: Russell Wilson OVER 21.5 Rushing Yards, -114
Russell Wilson is going to top 21.5 rushing yards this week because the Rams’ defensive pressure will force Wilson to get out of the pocket and make plays with his legs. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that fella Aaron Donald or the rest of this Rams’ defensive line but they do put a lot of pressure on opposing QBs. The Rams are in the top half of the league in defensive Adjusted Sack Rate (13th) and are 6th in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate, indicating their strength in putting pressures on opposing QBs.
Now, that’s all well and good, but how do the Seahawks protect their franchise QB?
Well, the short answer is that they don’t really protect him. The Seahawks rank 28th in offensive Adjusted Sack Rate and rank 19th in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate. And, if you need another site to tell you about the Seahawks’ failure to protect Wilson, PFF is not so high on the Seahawks’ line, either, rating the matchup between Seattle’s offensive line and the Rams’ defensive line as one of the least favorable passing matchups of the week.
A simple equation: Bad pass protection + Good defensive pressure = Sacks + QB rushing + Throwaway passes + $$ for us
However, a word of caution: Russ hasn’t really picked up a lot of rushing yardage this year. So far, he has topped 21.5 rushing yards just once, and that was last week against the 49ers. Russ is also quite good at throwing outside of the pocket and making things happen with his legs from behind the line of scrimmage, so I suppose there’s not much we can do if he decides to dissect the Rams’ surprisingly mediocre secondary with his arm from outside the pocket. In fact, he’s taken 3 sacks in nearly every game this year, with defenses of varying quality (Titans, Colts, Vikings, 49ers) getting to him with ease.
However, despite the combination of consistent pressure and few rushing yards, I think this is the week where Russ will have to turn on the jets and run for his life from Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams’ defensive front.
Also consider: Russell Wilson OVER 294.5 Passing + Rushing Yards (FanDuel, -110)
Van Jefferson OVER 44.5 Receiving Yards (DK, -115)
On Fanduel: Van Jefferson OVER 43.5 Receiving Yards, -114
WR Van Jefferson is going to top the 44.5 receiving yard mark because he is going to pick up an easier matchup with the Seahawks’ secondary, which will help him pick up targets and yardage. Last week, Jefferson showed out, picking up 90 yards on 6 targets from QB Matthew Stafford. This week, in what should be a high-scoring affair, Jefferson gets one of the league’s worst passing defenses (27th in Pass DVOA) and will potentially be covered by the third-best options in the Seattle secondary. It looks like Cooper Kupp will get coverage from Jamal Adams and Robert Woods will see coverage from D.J. Reed. And, Jefferson is projected to get a mix of Sidney Jones (yes, the former Philadelphia draft pick) and whomever else the Seahawks can throw at him. Jefferson should feast on that unit, especially now that Jefferson and Stafford appear to have developed some chemistry.
Now, because Jefferson appears to be the third receiving option in this offense, he can be a feast-or-famine type of player. In Week 2, against the Colts, Jefferson saw 3 targets and picked up just 14 receiving yards. The following week, against the Bucs, Jefferson had 6 targets and only picked up 42 yards. Matthew Stafford has managed to spread his targets around, despite the talented receivers he has to support him. Jefferson and Tyler Higbee have seen the same number of targets (18), while Kupp and Woods (46 and 25, respectively) are the clear top dogs in this offense. So, while Jefferson certainly has been playing quite well to begin the season, I’m not sure whether his performance is sustainable with so many other options available in the passing attack.
However, I think the matchup and the game script are too favorable to pass up on this bet. I think we’re going to see a performance similar to Weeks 1 and 4 from Jefferson as both teams score with relative ease.
Also consider: Van Jefferson OVER 3.5 receptions (DK, -120)
Good luck out there! Go win some money!