NFL Player Props: Bet Adam Thielen, Juwan Johnson on Monday Night Football
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Thielen #19 of the Carolina Panthers.
Juwan Johnson comes into this Monday Night Football matchup as a quiet contributor to this new look Saints offense. And after reeling in three catches for 36 yards in Week 1, I’ll be looking to back the Saints tight end on his very light receiving yards line.
Chris Olave, a finally healthy Michael Thomas, and speedster Rashid Shaheed command a lot of attention on the outside for the Saints – the trio combined for a whopping 262 receiving yards in Week 1 against the Titans. But even with that production, Johnson was still able to command five targets.
Johnson ran a route on 32 of Derek Carr’s 38 dropbacks, including 19 routes from the slot, which led the Saints. Derek Carr was able to gash the Titans’ defensive back when they played man coverage – however, the Panthers seem to be adopting a zone-heavy look, synonymous with new coach Frank Reich’s time in Indianapolis.
Johnson was excellent last season against zone coverage, with a rate of 1.63 yards per route run – the ninth highest mark amongst NFL tight-ends (data per Pro Football Focus). With the Panthers sinking back into deep coverage to protect against the Saints receivers, I foresee plenty of room for Johnson to operate over the middle.
I have Johnson projected at five targets, turning those into 32 receiving yards.
Rookie quarterback Bryce Young predictably went through some growing pains in Week 1 against the Falcons. The signal-caller was only able to complete two of his 10 throws that traveled more than 10 air yards from the line of scrimmage.
Even with Reich mentioning the need for more chunk-yardage plays, I’m looking to fade Adam Thielen on his longest reception prop.
Thielen only saw two of Young’s 38 targets last Sunday, with an average depth of target of 4.5 yards. Yes, it’s an incredibly small sample size, but there are several factors leading me to this under.
DJ Chark is expected to suit up for the Panthers tonight, giving Young yet another downfield option. Chark joins Jonathan Mingo, Terrace Marshall Jr. and even tight-end Hayden Hurst as Panthers pass catchers more likely to see downfield looks than Thielen.
Thielen’s success in Minnesota was predicated on pinpoint timing with quarterback Kirk Cousins. It’ll take time to build that rapport with Young – but in the meantime, I’ll glady play this under.