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NFL Week 11 Main Slate Player Props: Fade Michael Thomas Without Drew Brees (Sunday, Nov. 22)

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Thomas

NFL player prop bets can offer some of the best betting value on the board in any given week. They typically feature smaller limits and take less action than traditional game bets, so the market can often be less efficient than NFL sides and totals.

This is where the FantasyLabs Player Prop tool comes in handy.

We leverage prop bets from across the industry against our player projections from Sean Koerner, the No. 1 in-season fantasy football ranker in three of the past five seasons. Each prop bet then receives a Bet Quality grade between 1 and 10, with 10 representing the largest betting edge.

Let’s break down five prop bets providing value for Sunday’s NFL Week 11 main slate:

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Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage

The Pick: Over 2.5 receptions (-139)

FantasyLabs Grade: 10 out of 10

Gage is coming off back-to-back games with just two catches, but there is still reason to be optimistic about him moving forward. He continues to serve as the Falcons’ clear WR3, and he played on at least 55% of the team’s snaps in each of the past two weeks.

He also saw six targets last week vs. the Broncos, and that many targets should lead to better production in the future. Overall, Gage has posted a catch rate of 67.3% this season, so he only really needs around four targets to potentially hit the over.

This matchup vs. the Saints should also work as a positive. They rank first in the league in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA, so the Falcons should struggle to get their ground game going. That will likely lead to more pass attempts for Matt Ryan, which could funnel a few additional targets to Gage.

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas

The Pick: Under 66.5 receiving yards (-115)

FantasyLabs Grade: 10 out of 10

Thomas has been one of the top receivers in football over the past few seasons, but he has not gotten off to a great start in 2020. He missed a handful of games with various injuries and a suspension, and his production when on the field has been way down. He’s finished with an average of just 3.3 receptions and 31.7 receiving yards per game through his first three contests.

Now, he’ll have to find production without the benefit of Drew Brees throwing him the football. The Saints are keeping their QB plans close to the vest, but it sounds like Taysom Hill will be playing most of the snaps at the position. Hill has never had an extended look at the QB position, attempting just 18 total passes through his first three seasons, but consider me skeptical that he can match Brees’ production. He profiles more as a Tim Tebow-type – someone who can make plays with his legs more than his arm – and I have zero interest in backing any pass catchers playing with that kind of quarterback.

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Cleveland Browns WR Rashard Higgins

The Pick: Over 2.5 receptions (-111)

FantasyLabs Grade: 10 out of 10

This is one of my favorite props of the week. Higgins hasn’t exactly thrived since Odell Beckham Jr. went down with an injury, logging just four total catches over the past two weeks. That said, it’s important to put those games into context. Both of those games were played in heavy wind, which limited Baker Mayfield to just 24 completions and 49 pass attempts. That kind of passing volume is extremely low for the modern game.

The Browns still profile as a team that wants to run the ball more than most, but I would expect more pass attempts from Mayfield in better conditions this week. Higgins has finished second in snaps among the Browns WRs with Beckham out of the lineup, so I’m expecting a much better performance from him vs. the Eagles.

New England Patriots WR Damiere Byrd

The Pick: Under 35.5 receiving yards (-128)

FantasyLabs Grade: 9 out of 10

The Patriots were able to secure a huge victory over the Ravens last week, and they did it on the back of their ground game. They finished with 39 rushing attempts compared to just 18 pass attempts, and that appears to be the preferred offensive philosophy for Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels given their current roster.

They should be able to lean heavily on the run once again this week vs. the Texans. Houston has been putrid at stopping the run this season, ranking dead-last in rush defense DVOA.

When the Patriots do take to the air, most of their throws recently have gone in the direction of Jakobi Meyers. He’s seen at least seven targets and five catches in each of their past three games. That doesn’t leave a ton of production for the rest of their receivers.

The emergence of Meyers also cut into Byrd’s playing time last week. He still played on 72% of the Patriots offensive snaps, but he had played on at least 92% of the offensive snaps in each of his previous six contests.

Miami Dolphins RB Matt Breida

The Pick: Under 28.5 rushing yards (-120)

FantasyLabs Grade: 10 out of 10

Breida is expected to return to the Dolphins lineup this week, but there is no guarantee that results in any significant playing time. He was clearly working behind Myles Gaskin to start the year, and Salvon Ahmed served as the Dolphins workhorse RB last week. Ahmed finished with 21 carries in that contest, and no other Dolphins RB had more than two.

With that in mind, I would expect Breida to serve more as Ahmed’s backup this week than force any sort of committee situation. Head coach Brian Flores has relied heavily on a single RB all season, and it appears as though Ahmed as that guy at the moment.

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