What’s up everyone, Jake (5-6 on the season) here filling in for Adam’s weekly player props article. Be sure to check out my own weekly prop bet article where I take a look at some first-half lines and over/unders. I filled in for Adam on Thursday night and managed to go two for two, so hopefully, we can recreate some of that magic here.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
Kyle Pitts O/U 48.5 Yards
Coming into the season, rookie tight end Kyle Pitts was getting a ton of hype for his pass-catching abilities. It hasn’t quite clicked yet for Pitts, who comes into this week’s matchup against the Washington Football Team with 11 catches and 139 yards. His numbers aren’t terrible, but they aren’t what people were expecting out of the gates. I don’t want to say that Pitts breaks out this week and puts in big stat lines week after week, but I do believe he’ll show what he’s capable of going forward.
The Falcons’ offense hasn’t been good this year, scoring just 16 points per game. The offensive line has been a trainwreck, having a very difficult time blocking for Matt Ryan, and the run game hasn’t been overly reliable either. There’s no way around it, the Falcons aren’t a very good football team, but that’s not the point here. The reason I’m taking the over on Kyle Pitts’ yards is Washington’s slot defense. They’ve been torched by slot receivers all year; Keenan Allen, Sterling Shepard, and Cole Beasley all had nine or more catches and 90 or more yards in their respective matchups against the Football Team.
Kyle Pitts is in the perfect spot to take advantage of that weakness. Pitts operates out of the slot on about half of his snaps and runs routes on 90% of pass plays. Although he’s listed at tight end, he’s rarely staying in to pass block. He’s really just a receiver that got overdrafted in fantasy due to his tight end eligibility. Lastly, although they haven’t played to their potential, Washington has some intimidating pass rushers in Chase Young and Montez Sweat. The Falcons’ offense line likely won’t be prepared to contain them, which may lead to some check-downs. Pitts’ average depth of target isn’t very high, just over seven yards, so he could be that safety valve and show off his run-after-catch abilities.
The Pick: OVER 48.5 Yards (-105, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Brandin Cooks O/U 5.5 Receptions
Brandin Cooks is a target machine. He also just turned 28 years old, which doesn’t make sense in my brain since he’s been around for as long as I can remember, but that’s not important for the purposes of this bet. Over the first three weeks of the season, Cooks has been targeted 31 times, catching 23 of them. It doesn’t matter if the quarterback is Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills, they love throwing Cooks the ball. He caught nine passes in each of his last two games, both blowout losses to better teams. It doesn’t even matter that the Texans are so bad, it actually helps the cause. The Bills are 17 point favorites in this one, and all signs point to a blowout. The Texans will be playing from behind all game which should lead to soft coverages and plenty of opportunities underneath for Cooks. You could also take the over on yards at 70.5 but it’s difficult to say how many yards after the catch he’ll be able to rack up with the Bills likely dropping a lot of players into coverage.
Tre’Davious White will probably follow Cooks regardless of where he lines up on Sunday due to the lack of threatening receivers behind Cooks on Houston’s roster. Last week, White followed Terry McLaurin for most of the game; McLaurin caught four balls for 62 yards on seven targets. It wasn’t necessarily White that caused the incompletions however, only three of the seven targets were contested. Cooks gets enough looks from the Texans that six catches shouldn’t be too much to ask for; especially if the game gets out of hand early and the Texans have to throw the ball often to play catchup.
The Pick: OVER 5.5 Receptions (-115, DraftKings SportsBook)
Damien Harris O/U 46.5 Yards
I hate to pick against my New England Patriots in any way shape or form, but this number is too high. The Buccaneers’ run defense is incredibly stout, holding opponents to just 63 yards per game. Unless Mac Jones takes a major step forward and starts throwing the ball downfield with success, I don’t know why the Bucs would do anything other than commit to stopping the run. As much as I hate to admit it, this is a bad matchup for the Patriots. Against the Saints, when they got down early, they were forced to abandon the run, leading to Mac Jones throwing the ball 51 times. Damien Harris only carried the ball six times for 14 yards before they went away from him. Devin White, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, and Shaq Barrett are all going to make life very difficult for the Patriots.
Damien Harris is a great running back; I don’t want to bash him at all, but I don’t know why this game is much different from the Saints game last week. The Saints committed to stopping the run, forced a couple of three and outs, got the lead, and never looked back. The Patriots even managed to get stops on defense, the offense just wasn’t there to keep them in the game. Unfortunately for my own sanity, Tom Brady and the Bucs are even better than the Saints, especially on offense. I hate to say it, but I think we see the same game again on Sunday night with the Patriots playing catch up. I have a friend who made a bet that the Patriots would get to ten wins; the loser has to chug a gallon of milk. That friend was me. For the sake of my stomach, I really hope I’m wrong about this one and the Patriots find success on the ground and a way to win this game, but I just don’t see it happening on Sunday night against the GOAT and his new (less cool) friends in Tampa Bay.
Pick: UNDER 46.5 Yards (-115, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)