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: 7-4 (Check out my picks from Sunday’s games)
Week 2, the week where everyone is overpaying for players that had 1 good week! Unless you’re a Texans fan (sorry), hope still springs eternal because a Week 1 loss isn’t enough to sink your team’s playoff hopes! Don’t get too discouraged by a bad week (Packers fans, this is for you) or two.
Now we have the opportunity to watch a juggernaut Giants squad go up against a dynamic Washington Football Team offense. QB Daniel Jones is hoping to rebound from a mediocre effort against the Denver Broncos, as Jones went 22/37 for 267 yards and TD pass. Jones actually led the Giants in rushing yardage, as RB Saquon Barkley racked up a whole 26 yards on 10 carries. It doesn’t get any easier this week, as the Giants take on the Football Team’s elite defense. Last week, WFT held a very talented Chargers offense to just 20 points, forcing QB Justin Herbert into an interception and sacking him twice. RB Austin Ekeler was held to 3.8 yards per carry on 15 carries. So, it doesn’t look promising for Jones and Co.
On the other side, WFT just lost QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to injury, which means Taylor Heinecke will be taking the snaps under center for Washington this Thursday. After Fitzpatrick was removed from the game, Heinecke filled in somewhat admirably, completing 11/15 passes for 122 yards and a TD. You might remember Heinecke as the QB that helped Washington come within a few points of ending the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run before it ever really started in last year’s divisional round. In that game, Heinecke passed for 306 yards on 26/44 passing. He also rushed for 46 yards and a TD. So, it’s very possible that Heinecke is a future MVP, considering he did all that against the Bucs’ vaunted defense.
Now that we have a good idea of the narratives for each team, let’s take a look at some of the favorable prop bets from this matchup:
Antonio Gibson OVER 90.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (DK/FD)
I think Antonio Gibson will be able to pick up over 90.5 rushing and receiving yards against the Giants because the Football Team will have game script working in their favor and I expect Gibson to feature heavily in their offensive strategy to take some of the strain off of their inexperienced QB.
The Washington defense is very good, which should keep the Football Team in the game and provide plenty of rushing opportunities for Gibson. Last season, they ranked 3rd in FootballOutsiders’ defensive DVOA, 3rd in ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate, and 10th in Team Run Stop Win Rate. And, they ranked 6th in Opponent Points per Game in 2020 (21.2 oPPG). And, early indications are that 2021 will bring more of the same from Washington’s defense. When teams fall behind early, they tend to lean on the passing game to try to catch up and the running game tends to get tossed off to the side. With such a strong defense, the Football Team should be able to prevent the Giants from pouring on the points early, which should prevent Washington’s running game from disappearing.
The other thing working in Gibson’s favor is that Taylor Heinecke is an inexperienced QB. He has 1 real start to his name in 3-ish seasons in the NFL, so he is essentially still a rookie. Even rookies and young quarterbacks need a strong supporting cast to help them win games and Gibson is a logical choice for increased offensive opportunities because of his rushing and receiving skills. All Heinecke has to do is hand the ball off to Gibson or dump the ball off to him for a quick, easy pass. Either way, the Football Team is taking the ball out of Heinecke’s hands and letting the very talented Gibson do the work for the offense.
Smart readers might be asking, “That’s all well and good, Adam, but what happens if the Giants’ defense keys in on Gibson and stacks the box to stop the run?” That’s a great question and I’m not sure I have an adequate answer. However, I think the Giants’ defense is not good enough to hold off occasional chunk plays from Gibson. Even if their running defense (which is surprisingly adequate!) can hold off Gibson on the ground, Heinecke and the Football Team can still take advantage of Gibson’s receiving talent and burn the Giants that way.
In all, the combination of a favorable game script, a mediocre matchup, and plenty of opportunities should be enough to carry Gibson over the 90.5 scrimmage yard mark. Even if the offense stalls under Heinecke’s leadership, Gibson is still going to have opportunities, and opportunities matter more than matchup in fantasy football.
Also consider: Antonio Gibson OVER 17.5 receiving yards
Daniel Jones UNDER 229.5 Passing Yards (DK/FD)
On the flip side of “Washington’s defense is very good,” I would expect Daniel Jones to struggle heavily against the Football Team’s strong defense, forcing him to finish with UNDER 229.5 passing yards. In 2020, Washington stifled Jones, holding him to well under 229 passing yards in both matchups:
While game results from 2020 don’t guarantee the same result in 2021, Jones only surpassed that 229 passing yard-mark 5 times in 14 games. Strangely enough, Jones passed for over 229 yards against some of the strongest defenses on his schedule (Pittsburgh was ranked 4th in defensive pass DVOA, Tampa Bay was 5th, etc.) and under 229 yards against some very mediocre defenses.
I don’t trust Jones to throw for over 267 yards like he did last week against the Broncos because he is simply not a very good quarterback in a not very good offense facing a strong defense that knows him quite well. The best member of the offense, Saquon Barkley, is still recovering from his torn ACL and is coming off a 26-yard rushing performance. There isn’t enough talent in this offense to pick up Jones if he struggles to complete the easy passes available to him. I’ll continue picking against Jones and Co. until he shows legitimate improvement as a passer.
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)