Best NFL Week 1 Player Props: Deshaun Watson Over/Under 22.5 Rushing Yards?
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson
- If you're looking to bet player props in Week 1 NFL, you've come to the right place.
- The props offering value include: Deshaun Watson's running yards, Tarik Cohen's receptions, Case Keenum's passing TDs, Austin Ekeler's rushing yards and Rashad Higgins' receiving yards.
Prop bets can be some of the most exploitable bets on the board in any given week. They typically feature smaller limits and take less action than traditional game bets, so it’s not as imperative for the sportsbooks to hang accurate lines.
This is where the FantasyLabs Player Props tool comes in handy.
We take each prop bet listed across five of the most popular sportsbooks and leverage them against our player projections from Sean Koerner, the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in each of the past three seasons.
Each prop bet then receives a grade, with 10 being the absolute best. Our Props tool killed it in the last NBA season, with props graded a 10 covering at a 66.4% clip against the closing number.
We currently have 31 props with a Bet Quality of 10 for Sunday’s NFL slate.
Here are five props that are offering value today.
All lines are as of 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Browns WR Rashard Higgins
The pick: Under 16.5 receiving yards (-110)
Higgins is a fringe wide receiving talent. He averaged just 20.8 receiving yards per game last season, despite the fact that he saw plenty of playing time for a receiver corps largely devoid of NFL caliber players.
That won’t be the case this season: The Browns get Josh Gordon back from suspension, traded for Jarvis Landry and spent a third-round pick on Antonio Callaway.
All three of those players will play over Higgins vs. the Steelers on Sunday, and David Njoku and Duke Johnson also figure to be highly involved in the passing game.
That doesn’t leave a lot left for Higgins considering that Tyrod Taylor only averaged 201.3 passing yards per game while in Buffalo.
The weather conditions in Cleveland should also hinder the passing game: The current forecast calls for winds of close to 20 mph and torrential rain.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson
The pick: Over 22.5 rushing yards (-115 @ Sportsbook.ag)
This line makes absolutely no sense to me. Watson has averaged 42.17 rushing yards per game as a starting QB and has rushed for at least 23 yards in each of them.
That includes a game vs. the Patriots in Week 3 of last season when he rushed for 41 yards on eight carries. The Patriots also allowed the ninth-most rushing yards to the QB position last season.
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler
The pick: Over 16.5 rushing yards (-115)
Ekeler is a legitimately good football player. He only carried the ball 47 times last season, but he averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
His role also expanded as the season progressed: He averaged 5.1 carries per game from Week 7 through Week 14 before suffering a broken hand. Ekeler has a nice matchup Sunday vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, who profile as one of the worst defenses in the league this season.
They were particularly poor defending the ground game, ranking dead last in rushing defense per Football Outsider’s DVOA metric.
Broncos QB Case Keenum
The pick: Over 1.5 passing touchdowns (+168)
Keenum will be making his first start as a member of the Denver Broncos, and he couldn’t have asked for a better matchup.
He’ll be taking on a Seattle Seahawks defense that’s a shell of itself.
Earl Thomas will play after ending his holdout, but Richard Sherman and Cam Chancellor are gone. Their replacements don’t look great either: Shaquill Griffin and Dontae Johnson finished 65th and 83rd respectively out of 85 qualifiers last year at cornerback per Pro Football Focus.
Keenum proved last season that he can be a capable QB, and he should benefit from an above-average receiving duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Getting better than 1.5-1 odds makes this bet enticing. Even better: Sharp money has come in on the over in this contest.
Bears RB Tarik Cohen
The prop: Over 3 receptions (-115 at Sportsbook.ag)
Cohen is one of the most dynamic players in football. Despite the fact that he’s technically listed as a running back, most of his damage this season figures to come in the passing game.
He graded out as the seventh-best receiver at running back in 2017 (per PFF) and could spend more time playing in the slot this season.
His matchup with the Packers also figures to be a good one: They ranked 31st in running back pass efficiency defense per Sharp Football in 2017.
Cohen averaged 3.31 receptions per game in 2017, and he has the potential to go well over that mark in Week 1.