There is nothing better than doing a bunch of research for the weekend’s NFL games and having a vision of what should happen. The excitement leads to daily entries and player props with a bounce in your step when the lights go on at kickoff. I mean, going 5-0 in player props should be a walk in the park when I have better insight than “the man” setting the lines. If only it was that easy.
Last week I went 2-3 in my five-player prop at Underdog. I was so confident that I upped my investment to $150 with the hopes of winning $3,000. I’m now 6-4 overall with $200 in losses. Here’s a recap of the five selections:
· Darnell Mooney (Over 45.5 receiving yards) loser
· Travis Etienne Jr. (Over 17.5 receiving yards) winning
· Christian Kirk (Under 65.5 receiving yards) loser
· Kyle Pitts (Over 47.5 receiving yards) winner
· Justin Fields (Over 178.5 passing yards) loser
The most disappointing of the five picks was the loss on Christian Kirk. I expected the Chargers’ top CB J.C. Jackson to play, but he was scratched within an hour of me placing the bet. Even with that news, Kirk’s under/over total for receiving yards fell to 57.5 by Sunday. I thought I was the wise guy getting in early, even with the news going against my play. The loss with Mooney and Fields was a pairing, so if one came in, the other most likely would have hit. Unfortunately, Houston didn’t understand it needed to stop the run to increase their chances of winning. By Sunday, Kyle Pitts’s receiving yards over/under rose 52.5.
Here’s my five-player parley for Underdog in Week 5:
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (Over 13.5 Receiving yards)
Pollard would be 2-for-3 on this prop bet in 2022 (14, 55, and 0 receiving yards). This past Monday night, Dallas had him on the field for 44 percent of their plays, which was just below his season average (46.4 percent). He shined in the run game (13/105), giving him 203 combined yards with one touchdown and four catches over the past two weeks. His explosiveness commands more chances. In his only game last season vs. Washington, Pollard had two catches for 16 yards. His receiving stats in 2021 were better in Dallas (23/230 – nine games) than on the road (18/119 – 7 games). Running backs have eight catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets against the Commanders this season. Pollard could win this prop bet with one reception, but he really needs at least two catches to be a winning play. Pollard has recorded two or more catches in 14 of his last 19 games.
Travis Etienne Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (Over 17.5 receiving yards)
Over the last two weeks, I’ve used Etienne twice in player props at Underdog. I was lucky to win both plays (over 49.5 rushing yards in Week 2 and 17.5 receiving yards in Week 3). His usage has been strange for the Jaguars, considering his potential ceiling. Despite gaining over 17.5 receiving yards in all three games (18, 33, and 30), his prop total has been the same in back-to-back weeks. The last two games for the Jaguars didn’t play out as expected. They dominated the Colts on the scoreboard, thus removing some receiving chances for Jacksonville’s receivers. Then last week, the Chargers didn’t put up a fight on the scoreboard, allowing the Jaguars to play from the lead for the second straight contest. Etienne picked up most of the mop-up touches at running back in the fourth quarter, helping him hit on his prop bets. The Eagles want to run the ball to control the clock, but they have already passed for 916 yards. They should score more than 20 points in this matchup, forcing Jacksonville to attempt more passes. Running backs have 18 catches for 92 yards on 26 targets against Philly. I expect Etienne to have more chances in this game while continuing to work as the Jaguars’ top pass-catching back.
Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars (Under 5.5 catches)
Kirk has six catches in all three of his starts for Jacksonville (6/117, 6/78/2, and 6/72/1), pushing him to sixth in wide receiver scoring (62.70 fantasy points) in PPR formats. In 2021 for the Cardinals, he had six catches or more in seven of his 18 games. This week, I expect him to see a lot of CB Darius Slay, thus lowering his potential targets. Four receivers have more than 5.5 catches against the Eagles (Amon-Ra St. Brown – 8/64/1, Justin Jefferson – 6/48, Curtis Samuel – 6/48, and Terry McLaurin – 6/102). The key to winning this play is Slay shadowing Kirk on a high percentage of plays.
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (Over 11.5 yards receiving)
Over the first three games, the Eagles have rotated in Gainwell (29.1 percent) and Boston Scott (16.4 percent) behind Miles Sanders at the running back position. With Scott out this week, Gainwell should see a bump in chances while remaining in a limited role. Philadelphia could also have Trey Sermon active, but he isn’t much of a factor in the passing game. Last week, the Eagles threw one of their 35 pass attempts to their running backs for a loss of two yards. Their usage has been minimal as well over the first two games (4/21 and 5/19). The dance with Gainwell comes from the Jaguars’ defense allowing a high volume of catching to running backs (26/201 on 30 targets). He finished with 12 yards receiving or more in seven of 17 matchups in his rookie season.
Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans (Over 46.5 receiving yards)
Woods' stock started to rise last week, leading to a season high in receiving yards (85) and targets (9). His playing time has been similar over his first three games (71 percent, 66 percent, and 72 percent) as he works his way back from his offseason knee surgery to repair a torn ACL. Over the first three weeks, the Titans only attempted 28 passes per game. Their wideouts don’t have a touchdown this season. The Colts handled the Chiefs’ wide receivers well last week (10/139 on 17 targets) with reasonable success against Houston (12/139) and Jacksonville (12/134/2). I’m banking on Ryan Tannehill playing well based on his success in 2021 in two matchups (265/3 and 197/3). Woods should account for at least 25 percent of the Titans’ passing yards going forward.