NFL Week 16 Main Slate Player Props: Target Calvin Ridley vs. the Chiefs (Sunday, Dec. 27)

NFL Week 16 Main Slate Player Props: Target Calvin Ridley vs. the Chiefs (Sunday, Dec. 27) article feature image
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Calvin Ridley.

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 16 main slate:

Chicago Bears TE Cole Kmet

The Pick: Over 23.5 receiving yards (-120)

FantasyLabs Grade: 10 out of 10

Kmet is coming off just two catches for 12 yards last week against the Vikings, which makes this the perfect opportunity to buy low on him. He has become the clear No. 1 TE on the Bears depth chart, and he played on a perfect 100% of the offensive snaps last week. That surpassed his previous season high of 85%, which he recorded just one week prior. Kmet also saw seven targets in back-to-back games prior to last week’s performance, and he finished with at least 37 receiving yards in both contests.

This week, he draws an amazing matchup vs. the Jaguars. They have been the worst team in the league this season against the pass — they rank dead last in Football Outsiders’ pass-defense DVOA — and they have struggled in particular against tight ends. They rank merely 28th in DVOA against the position, so everything is set up for a bounce-back performance from Kmet.

Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal

The Pick: Under 38.5 receiving yards (-115)

FantasyLabs Grade: 9 out of 10

If Kmet is the premier buy-low option, Pascal stands out as the premier sell-high. He’s coming off a huge game last week against the Texans — he finished with five catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns — but that is a massive outlier on his recent game log. He finished with just one catch in each of his three previous contests, and he finished with no more than 27 yards in each of them.

Pascal also faces a very tough task this week vs. the Steelers. Not only does Pittsburgh have the No. 1 pass defense in the league, but the Colts will be down both of their starting offensive tackles. Anthony Costanzo has been ruled out with an ankle injury, while Braden Smith was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. The Steelers also rank third in adjusted sack rate, so Philip Rivers could be under heavy duress. That’s going to make it tough for the Colts’ passing game to find success.

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Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley

The Pick: Over 5.5 receptions (-148)

FantasyLabs Grade: 7 out of 10

This prop may seem aggressive, but it’s probably not high enough. Julio Jones has been ruled out vs. the Chiefs, which means Ridley should be looking at another monster workload. He’s played without Jones each of the past two weeks and has garnered at least 12 targets in both games.

Overall, he’s averaged 11.6 targets in five games without Jones this season, resulting in an average of 7.4 receptions. He’s also hit the over on 5.5 receptions in four of those contests, and the lone exception was a game in which he managed just five catches on 13 targets.

The game script should also work in Ridley’s favor. The Falcons are currently as 10.5-point underdogs in Kansas City, which means they could be forced to pass more than usual.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield

The Pick: Under 258.5 passing yards (-114)

FantasyLabs Grade: 10 out of 10

Mayfield has had a career resurgence over the past three weeks. He’s averaged 9.72 adjusted yards per attempt over that time frame, and he’s also racked up eight touchdowns to just one interception. He’s also averaged 324.7 passing yards per game in those contests, and he’s logged at least 297 in all three contests.

So why the under this week? For starters, he shouldn’t need to be as proficient for the Browns to beat the Jets this week. Despite the fact that the Jets won their first game of the season last week vs. the Rams, they are still the worst team in the league. The Browns are favored by nearly 10 points, so Mayfield probably won’t need to throw the ball as much as he did the past few weeks.

Additionally, the Browns are going to be without each of their top-four wide receivers. Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge have all been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which leaves them without a ton of viable pass catchers vs. the Jets. They can lean on their tight ends and running backs — two positions that Cleveland can safely consider strengths — but Mayfield should suffer without his top receivers in the lineup.

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

The Pick: Over 2.5 receptions (-193)

FantasyLabs Grade: 9 out of 10

Gallup has had an up-and-down season, which is not all that surprising. The Cowboys have one of the deepest groups of pass catchers in the NFL, and they haven’t gotten the best quarterback production since Dak Prescott was lost for the season.

That said, recording at least three catches is a pretty low bar for Gallup to clear. He’s averaged 7.6 targets over his past seven games, resulting in an average of 4.3 catches per game. He’s also logged at least three catches in five of those games.

Gallup has a solid matchup this week vs. the Eagles. Philly has struggled in pass defense this season, ranking just 23rd in pass defense DVOA.