NFL Season-long Player Props: Individual Over/Unders for Cam Akers, Najee Harris, Justin Jefferson, More
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images. Pictured: Najee Harris.
Our NFL experts here at Action Network have converged to give you their best bets on season-long player props this season.
If you think a certain player is primed to break out, or possibly underperform, check out what our experts think to cross reference that vibe.
Cam Akers Under 1,225.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (DraftKings)
I’ve only seen this at DraftKings, so you’ll want to grab it quickly. Sean McVay has called Akers and Darrell Henderson co-starters throughout training camp, and reports from beat writers confirm they have been splitting first-team reps evenly. While I think Akers ultimately ends up as the lead back, he would have to average over 72 scrimmage yards per game all season to go over this number. That’s a lot to ask of a player who missed three games his rookie season and all but one last year — not to mention he’s already missed time in camp. Betting RB unders in general tends to be profitable. Starting RBs missed a median of three games last season while collectively averaging fewer than 13 games. I have Akers projected for 1,112 scrimmage yards — more than 100 below the posted total.
Aaron Jones Under 66.5 Receptions (DraftKings)
Jones should see increased usage in the passing game, but 67 catches is still a lot to ask of a player who has never caught more than 52 in a season and has missed multiple games in four of five seasons as a pro. Only three RBs cleared this total last season. And even though Jones was sixth among RBs in catches, he still fell 15 receptions short of this total, which demonstrates just how difficult hitting this over is. Jones also splits snaps with AJ Dillon, averaging a 59% snap rate while running a route on 56% of Aaron Rodgers’ dropbacks. I have Jones projected to set a new career high in catches (58), but that still falls nine receptions short.
Mike Evans — Most Receiving Touchdowns (+800)
Twenty of Tampa Bay's 43 passing TDs last season went to players no longer on the roster. Someone has to catch all those extra TDs. And that someone's name is probably Mike.
I project Evans at 15 TDs and he has the potential to fly past that number. Even at 15, that's three touchdowns higher than any other player projection. That may not seem like much, but in a category this close, a 25% margin is massive. That puts Evans further ahead of the field in this category than any other projected player in any statistical category and it means I'd make him a clear favorite in this category, probably something like +400.
Put another way: Mike Evans is not just the best bet to lead the league in receiving TDs, but at +800, he's the best season leader bet on the entire board.
Josh Jacobs — Most Rushing Touchdowns (+5000)
It appears Jacobs may not be long in Las Vegas. The Raiders didn't pick up the final option for next year on the former first-round pick's contract. Jacobs may not be part of Las Vegas' future plans, but that's all the more reason for them to run him into the ground this season.
Jacobs hasn't been a particularly efficient runner, but he does get consistent volume and finds the end zone regularly. Jacobs had nine rushing TDs last season, 12 the previous year and finished top 10 in the NFL both times. He has 28 TDs in 43 games and Derek Carr has never been a big passing TDs guy.
Josh McDaniels could be the key here. The Patriots almost always ranked near the top of the league in rushing attempts with McDaniels as offensive coordinator, and they often ranked top three in rushing TDs. It's hard to say whether that's a McDaniels or a Bill Belichick tendency, but that offense loved to punch it in near the goal line, and that's one thing Jacobs is great at.
The Raiders are expected to score a heap of points with the addition of Davante Adams. Josh Jacobs could be this year's James Conner, an inefficient, volume back who threatens to lead the league in rushing TDs. He is badly underpriced at +5000.
Samantha Previte: Najee Harris Under 1,150.5 Rushing Yards
Harris had a phenomenal rookie campaign, but I am wary of expecting lightning to strike twice. He was utilized heavily last season and saw the second-most attempts of any player, behind only Jonathan Taylor, and averaged over 18 attempts per game. However, Harris had a less-than-impressive 3.9 yards per attempt, which ranked 40th among qualified rushers.
Harris’ rushing yards total is 1,150.5, which means he would need at least 295 carries to reach that mark (assuming 3.9 yards per carry). Using that math, he would either have to 1) increase his efficiency, 2) play in all 17 games to break that total or 3) increase his usage even more.
1) Increasing efficiency could be difficult in light of the Steelers’ permeable offensive line, which ranked 26th last year, according to Pro Football Focus. The line contributed to Harris’ inefficiency last season and will likely deter him again in Year 2.
2) Expecting any running back to play in all 17 games is simply unrealistic given the inherent injury risk. Harris carries even more risk as he is now dealing with a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Reports indicate it may not be serious and he did appear in the Steelers’ final preseason game, but I am concerned about any player, especially a running back, with a foot injury.
3) This is probably the most viable path for Harris to break the total, but 295 carries is already a hefty workload, especially taking into account his usage in the passing game and the likely number of negative game scripts a Mitchell Trubisky-led Steelers team could find themselves in.
Taking the under on running back totals is the obvious play, but even more so for players who rely on volume — not efficiency — like Harris. I’m not predicting a full-on sophomore slump, but I could easily see him falling short of this lofty rushing yard total.