Hey guys, I've been on pregame for a while now but haven't been posting my plays. Going to try to change that up this NFL season by posting my player props for the season and weekly. Started doing NBA props this past season and had an extremely successful season so I will start posting those plays next year.
Onto my first season long prop of the season.
Larry Fitzgerald OVER 850.5 YARDS -130 (5DIMES)
Throughout his career, Larry Fitzgerald has topped this number in 11 out of 14 seasons which is an astounding 78.6% of the time. The only seasons where he failed to reach this mark were his rookie year (2004 - 780 yards), his 9th season (2012 - 798 yards) with QBs, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Lindley and his 11thseason where he only played 14 games (2014 - 784 yards). In those three years, he was the either the team leader in receiving yards (2004 & 2012) or the team leader in yards per game (2014). In order for Fitzgerald to amass 850.5 yards this season, he would need to average 53.9 yards per game which he has done in 12 out of 14 seasons (85.7%). He has also played a full 16 games in 11 out 14 seasons which is crucial because staying healthy is key to winning overs for season-long player props.
In 2017, Larry Fitzgerald had 161 targets (27.2% of the team’s target share), 109 receptions, and 1156 yards. This accounts for 92 more targets, 66 more receptions, and 648 more yards than the 2nd player in each respective category. His 2017 QBs were Carson Palmer who started 7 games before being injured for the season, Blaine Gabbert who started 5 games and Drew Stanton who started 4 games. Throughout watching the season, you can argue that the Cardinals had the worst QB play in the league. Another key player, RB David Johnson, basically missed the entire season. Although the correlation between losing a RB and accruing receiving yards as a WR seem obsolete, Johnson is a star at the position which would cause for teams to gameplan to stop him but the season ending injury caused the attention of the defense to be focused on stopping their other star, Larry Fitzgerald.
For 2018, you can expect Larry Fitzgerald to once again be the team leader in targets, receptions and yards. His competition for targets in the receiving corps include Brice Butler - a newly acquired WR from Dallas who hasn’t topped 320 yards throughout his 5 year career; Chad Williams - a raw third round pick from last year who was only able to get on the field for 6 games and had a receiving line of 3 receptions for 31 yards; JJ Nelson - an extremely undersized speedster (5’10, 160 pounds) who hasn’t topped 35 receptions or 600 yards throughout his 3 year career; Christian Kirk - a promising 2nd round pick of the 2018 draft who is best suited to man the slot, the only problem for Kirk is that Fitzgerald took 51.6% of his snaps from the slot in 2017 so Kirk is expected to start his career on the outside; and Ricky Seals-Jones - an undrafted 2nd year player who transitioned to TE after playing WR at Texas A&M who accounted for 12 receptions and 201 yards as rookie. As you can see, the Cardinals receiving corps is very unproven asides from the future Hall of Famer.
The Cardinals also completely made over their QB room, signing Sam Bradford to a two year, $40 million contract and drafting Josh Rosen with 10th pick overall. Although, Sam Bradford is very injury prone, when he is on the field, he is an extremely accurate passer. In his last full season, 2016, he broke the NFL record for completion percentage, completing 71.6% of his passes, only for to be broken the next year by a HOF QB, Drew Brees. Now, if Bradford were to get injured or benched, Josh Rosen is the next man up. Although, he is unproven since he’s a rookie, I think that it’s safe to say that he would be an upgrade on journeymen, Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton.
The last factor to look at is that Arizona’s season win total is 5.5 which is tied for the lowest win total in the NFL. This means that Vegas is expecting the Cardinals to be losing more than winning and, in the NFL, losing means more passing, in attempt to comeback into the game. Out of 10986 plays as the leading team, they attempted a pass on 5031 times (45.8%) but out of 14703 plays as the trailing team, they attempted a pass on 8998 plays (61.2%). This is a whopping difference of 15.4%. During the 2017 season, teams averaged 63.4 plays per game, however, the Cardinals ran the 7th most plays in the NFL at 66.1 plays per game. If we use the NFL average number of plays per game (63.4) multiplied by the difference in pass attempts from a team leading and trailing (15.4%), that would equate to an extra 9.76 pass attempts per game. The NFL average for pass attempts per game is 34.34 so an extra 9.76 pass attempts per game is 28.4% of total pass attempts.
The over on Larry Fitzgerald yards is a screaming value!
Why SAM DARNOLD will start MORE games than Josh McCown in 2018 (I got this at -150 on BOL, saw -215 most recently on 5D but haven't seen the line so sorry for posting this late)
In 2017, Josh McCown defied the odds and had a career season despite being on his 8th NFL team in 15 seasons and at the age of 38. Under first-year offensive coordinator, John Morton, McCown was able to set career highs in completion percentage, passing yards, and passing TDS despite only playing in 13 games due to injury. However, being injured is not an anomaly to McCown, who has a myriad amount of injuries throughout his career. Over the past four seasons (2014-2017), McCown has landed on the injury report for a concussion, broken ribs, broken clavicle in 2015 and 2016 and a broken metacarpal in his hand in 2017 that required surgery and ended his season. In these four seasons, McCown started in 35 games with not much success in regards to winning. He only has 7 wins to his name throughout those four seasons, meaning he has only won 20% of the games he has started. Before his 2017 career season with the Jets, he only won two out of the 22 games that he started (9.1% win percentage). That’s just not going to cut it in the NFL so it’s kind of surprising that this journeyman was the Jets starting quarterback last year, but it shows the lack of options the Jets had at the position. Now, McCown is going into his age 39 season and it’s reasonable to think that he is more of a mentor to Darnold at this point in his career than a starting-caliber QB. The Jets head coach, Todd Bowles, wants to win after back 5-11 seasons and is going to go with the player who gives them the best shot to win. We’ve seen what McCown can do and that he is not the future at the position so the Jets have every reason to give Sam Darnold the job as he presents the highest ceiling at the position on the team.
Onto the 2018 season, I expect big changes in how the QB room shapes up. The Jets fired their offensive coordinator over the offseason and promoted QB’s coach, Jeremy Bates into the offensive coordinator position. Morton was fired due to “his inability to establish the running game, a lack of in-game adjustments and a perception from players that everyone other than wide receiver Robby Anderson was an afterthought in the game plan doomed Morton” (nypost.com). As Bates steps into his new role as the OC, the Jets also added two quarterbacks in the offseason, a veteran QB, Teddy Bridgewater, who basically hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2015 and after trading up to the 3rd pick of the NFL draft, potential franchise-QB and savior, Sam Darnold from USC. Darnold is an uber-talented 21-year-old prospect with lofty expectations, who has been compared to QBs like Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, and Tony Romo. That is a high bar to set with being compared to three pro-bowl quarterbacks but it’s reasonable to think the Darnold can live up to the hype. During his career at USC, Darnold had 57 passing TDs and 22 interceptions with 8.5 yards per attempt. Albeit it was in college, the highest average yards per attempts last year in the NFL was Drew Brees at 8.09 yards/attempt. This stat shows that Darnold makes big throws and plays downfield which is crucial to having success in the NFL. He also has exceptional accuracy and anticipation which are the most important traits for a quarterback to have. Even though Darnold was three days late to training camp due to a contract holdout, he already has gotten first-team reps on his first day at practice which is a promising start. It shows that the Jets aren’t going to hold back their #1 pick due to a holdout or being a rookie. There have also been reports coming out of Jets camp that Darnold “has a very fair shot” to be the week 1 starter. The preseason will be a big test to see if Darnold is ready to start and he will be getting a lot of reps to show off his talent. McCown will likely be watching the preseason from the sidelines due to his brittleness. According to Warren Sharp’s strength of schedule rankings, the Jets face the easiest schedule in the first ten weeks so unless Darnold isn’t ready to start, the Jets should feel comfortable using him from day one.