Bally Sports’ resident truffle pig, Brad Evans, constantly scours legal sports in a search of market inefficiencies he’s willing to slap some action on. Each week, crack open a cold one with him as he sorts through his favorite six-pack of player props. Fade or follow? That, of course, is up to you.
1. Davante Adams to lead NFL in receiving TDs (+900, Caesars)
If you’re a fan of money, Adams, at 9/1 to set the pace in end-zone jigs, is worth your well-earned time and income. He and Aaron Rodgers are the football equivalent of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, an unflappable and destructive tandem who are the most efficient red-zone producers in the NFL. Last season, they connected for 18 touchdowns in 14 games.
Adams, who logged the highest target share in the league (32.0 percent) and most inside-the-20 looks (27), has minimal competition for his QB’s attention. Last fall, Rodgers posted a ridiculous 136.5 passer rating when zeroing in on No. 17. Combine that with multiple matchups against vulnerable secondaries (e.g. Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati and Arizona) and it’s not unrealistic to think the pair combine for 20 scores. In what could be their final act in Green Bay, expect a season worthy of a standing ovation.
2. Daniel Jones UNDER 23.5 pass TDs (-110, Caesars)
It’s possible Jones isn’t worthy of quarterbacking make-believe Bishop Sycamore. In his second season, he was nothing shy of lousy. Point a finger at the coaches, Saquon Barkley’s ACL injury or the broken offensive line — they all played influential roles in his demise — but the passer himself isn’t absolved from any wrongdoing. He slotted at QB27 in adjusted completion percentage and outside the top 30 in a slew of additional advanced analytics. Yuck.
Overt optimists buy Barkley’s return (matched with the addition of Kenny Golladay) will favorably alter the calculus. However, eclipsing the proposed threshold doesn’t compute. Golladay is already battling soft tissue issues, “Quads” will be eased in and the offensive line, by all beat writer accounts, is transparent. Also, trusted tight end Evan Engram is a likely PUP candidate after suffering a calf injury in the Giants’ final preseason game. Tally it up and 20 TDs could be a reach.
3. Damien Harris OVER 845.5 rush yards (-135, DraftKings)
Everyone wins. Cam Newton’s departure may or may not have been tied to his vaccination status, but most likely he was cut simply because he’s an empty vessel, a fading former league MVP in the twilight of a once blindingly bright career. Insert Mac Jones, a capable, in-command and accurate rookie (81.6 adj cmp% in -reseason) who instantly raises all boats, Harris included.
With the threat of Newton stealing away precious red-zone carries gone, the unrivaled top RB on Bill Belichick’s depth chart, according to Patriots beat writers, is likely to elevate his game. Last season, Harris averaged a robust 69.1 rush yards per game over 10 contests, and he chipped in 3.02 yards after contact per attempt. August darling Rhamondre Stevenson will replace him roughly 6-8 times per game, but Harris should see a handsome uptick from last season’s 13.7 carries per game. Operating behind a top-five offensive line and with Jones keeping defenses honest, he flirts with 1,000 yards this season.
4. Antonio Brown OVER 700.5 receiving yards (-115, DraftKings)
On-field pugilism and off-the-field dastardly deeds aside, Brown, provided he keeps his head on straight, is in a money-making position for those willing to chase the over. Yes, Tom Brady will continue to spread the love, but Brown, assuming he reprises his prominent role from last season, should cruise past the total above. Last year in eight contests, he carved a 131-target, 95-catch, 1,026-yard 17-game pace with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans pushing “Tequila Tom” for downfield shots. Notably, Brown also finished WR11 in YAC per reception and WR21 in yards per route run.
The competition for targets is fierce, and the 33-year-old Brown is no spring chicken. However, boots on the ground have reported the veteran looks primed to write his “new chapter.” Early in camp, head coach Bruce Arians noted the former All-Pro is “the healthiest he’s been in a few years.” Considering Brady’s still-magnificent efficiency and steadfast commitment to his former houseguest, 800 yards may be a floor.
5. D.J. Chark UNDER 905.5 receiving yards (-130, Draftkings)
Urban Meyer saying vaccinations were weighed on deciding roster cutdowns. Urban Meyer headbutting his helmet-less QB in celebration. Urban Meyer admitting his team doesn’t have an offensive identity. Urban Meyer dropping boom mics on the field during practice. Just go ahead and toss the entire oil tanker on an already raging dumpster fire, Jaxson de Ville. The Jaguars are a mess.
With a shoddy offensive line, Travis Etienne out for the year and a clueless head coach running the show, the season could unravel quickly down in Duval County — Chark’s included. The wide receiver, who missed most of August due to a busted finger, is in a prime letdown position, an all too familiar feeling. Last season, he experienced a rapid production decline. On a sizable 93 targets in 13 games, he hauled in 53 catches for 706 yards. His WR9 finish in unrealized air yards and WR90 standing in catchable target rate denote inept QB execution. Trevor Lawrence is a massive upgrade, but the missed time combined with Laviska Shenault’s growing role and Marvin Jones’ arrival imply a suboptimal 2021. Roughly 825-875 yards is his likely max.
6. Robby Anderson OVER 900.5 receiving yards (-112, FanDuel)
The voice behind one of the all-time most hilarious viral videos in social media history, Anderson may not know the difference between an anthropomorphic bear or panther, but he certainly understands how to catch passes, lots of them. Reunited with Sam Darnold, the pair could extend their memorable yesteryear fantasy playoff runs with the Jets over a full 17-game season in Charlotte. Joe Brady’s vertical-heavy attack will take numerous shots downfield. If Darnold staves off the apparitions, he could finally live up to his former top pick billing.
Last season with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, Anderson was an unheralded pass-catching machine. On 136 targets, he grabbed 95 balls for 1,096 yards. He also ranked appreciably in total air yards (WR15), yards after catch (WR5) and total deep targets (WR12). His fast-spinning wheels and route savvy are ideal traits. Yes, D.J. Moore and rookie hotshot Terrace Marshall will vie for Darnold’s affections, but Anderson’s prior chemistry with the QB should make him a go-to target. FanDuel’s proposed line, 50-100 yards lower compared to other sportsbooks, is a bargain in what should be a 1,000-plus yard campaign.