Each week through the Super Bowl, FTN’s resident blabbermouth and player props purveyor, Brad Evans, will attempt to not bleed his pockets dry outlining his favorite picks on the NFL slate. Fade or follow? That, of course, is entirely up to you. And, as always, use the FTN Prop Shop tool to unearth the best lines.
Prop 1: Davante Adams 87.5 receiving yards vs. Tampa Bay
OVER. There likely isn’t enough kryptonite available on Krypton to slow down Green Bay’s Superman. Adams is a route tactician equipped with a cutting decisiveness on par with NFL greats enshrined in Canton. Whether on quick slants or sideline posts, he consistently generates breathing room, rendering any defender willing to take him on in single coverage useless. During the regular season, he ranked No. 1 in yards after the catch and top-five in several additional categories, including air yards share. Enticing at least 10 targets in five of his last six contests, he should surpass the above total for the eighth time this season. His assignment, Carlton Davis, played brilliantly last week in New Orleans, forcing Michael Thomas to choke down box score donuts. Still, Adams is a much stiffer challenge for a DB who’s surrendered a generous 1.40 yards per snap in 15 games. Bank on at least seven receptions for 90-plus yards and a score.
Prop 2: Aaron Rodgers 279.5 passing yards vs. Tampa Bay
OVER. Behind Rodgers’ smug expressions and underneath a thin layer of Bon Iver T-shirts lies the heart of a lion. The man is a fierce competitor, one who shouts four-letter frustrations at his receivers on his errant throws. The soon-to-be-named MVP exceeded all expectations against the league’s top pass defense last week tossing 296 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His pinpoint accuracy (QB2 on the season in adjusted completion percentage) whether on short, intermediate or deep balls carved up Jalen Ramsey and Co. Including last week, he reached 280 yards 11 times in 17 contests. Adding another slash mark in the category seems imminent. Yes, Tampa has shown some improvement defending the pass, but the foam-sworded Bucs have allowed 6.9 pass yards per attempt, 266.1 pass yards per game and 1.8 passing TDs per game on the season. Knowing how ironclad Tampa is up front, Matt LaFleur is sure to rely on his generational QB to move the chains. Snow and cold may be in the forecast, but Rodgers is destined to run hot. Bring the heat and the Bucs will get burned (Rodgers No. 6 in under pressure rating). When the white stuff settles, 290-300 pass yards is very doable.
Prop 3: Stefon Diggs 94.5 receiving yards at Kansas City
OVER. For those who’ve confidently wagered on Diggs props this season, we’re all Garth Brooks post-Inauguration Day performance, running around, hugging people, shaking hands and ignoring all COVID-19 protocols drunk with jubilation. All the wide receiver does is cash tickets. Carrying over his mammoth 29.2% target share from the regular season, he’s routinely gashed defenses, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in five of his last six games, including in back-to-back playoff appearances against Indy and Baltimore. His sharp routes, field-stretching abilities and unbreakable bond with Josh Allen should again cause defensive coordinator fits. Kansas City may be without the services of Bashaud Breeland who remains in concussion protocol. The Chiefs other starting DB, Rashad Fenton, is also banged up, dealing with an ankle setback. If both are unavailable, Charvarius Ward, who’s allowed a 102.1 passer rating this season, would likely bear the responsibility of covering Diggs. Mouthwatering. Regardless who follows him, the tacky-handed WR will surely reach triple figures yet again.
Prop 4: Leonard Fournette anytime TD (+190) at Green Bay
TO SCORE. Understandably admonished during the regular season due to peak inefficiency (2.71 YAC/att, 13.5% missed tackle percentage), Fournette shoved aside criticism and proved occasionally productive. When thrust into a primary role, he’s contributed on all three downs, hauling in multiple receptions while logging plentiful red-zone touches. With Ronald Jones limited by a nettlesome quad injury, Fournette recorded a workhorse-like 45 touches against the Fighting Footballs and Saints. Out of that workload he touched the rock seven times inside the 20 cashing twice for six. Green Bay clamped down on the run down the regular season home stretch but reverted to its exploitable ways last week against the Rams. Overall, the Pack has given up just over 4.4 yards per carry and 20 total touchdowns to RBs in 17 games. In what should be a voluminous game in scoring terms, look for “Playoff Lenny” to punch one in via ground or air.
Prop 5: Tyreek Hill 77.5 receiving yards vs. Buffalo
OVER. Comic book superhero The Flash fueled by an epic cocaine bender. That’s the speed Hill operates at every week. He’s a dart in the open field, a wide receiver who no defender can wrangle when he shifts into high gear. Taron Johnson is one such individual. Buffalo’s primary slot coverer will have a clear target on his back. Hill, who lines up in the slot 57.7% of the time, is sure to be the apple of a wounded Patrick Mahomes’ eye. This season, the DB has given up a generous 73.2% catch percentage and 1.42 yards per snap. The receiver’s electricity and route versatility present a substantial mismatch. He fell short of the above number four times in his last six and registered a season-low 20 yards versus the Bills in Week 6. However, atmospheric conditions in the prior matchup were suboptimal as a wind-driven rain hindered both teams. With weather expected to be more scoring conducive the second time around, Hill picks up from where he left off last week against Cleveland (8-110-0).
Column record: 10-5