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NFL Week 6 Main Slate Player Props: It’s Time to Sell High on Robert Tonyan (Sunday, Oct. 18)

NFL Week 6 Main Slate Player Props: It’s Time to Sell High on Robert Tonyan (Sunday, Oct. 18) article feature image

Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Robert Tonyan.

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 4 main slate:

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones

The Pick: Under 72.5 receiving yards (-115)

Bet Quality: 10 out of 10

Jones was inactive last week for the Falcons but appears ready to return in Week 6 vs. the Vikings. He was limited in practice on Friday and then officially removed from the injury report.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Jones come back from an injury and be ineffective. He will occasionally come back earlier than usual to serve as a decoy, and he hasn’t always been able to finish games when playing at less than 100%. Jones tried to play through an injury in Week 4 against the Packers, but he ultimately left after playing just 15 snaps.

Even if Jones does play the entire game, there’s no guarantee he’ll hit the over on 72.5 receiving yards. He’s only gone over that threshold once this season, and that was all the way back in Week 1. The Vikings do represent an excellent matchup, but it’s possible that guys like Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and even Todd Gurley could ultimately cut into his pass-catching workload.

Minnesota Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr.

The Pick: Over 2.5 receptions (+135)

Bet Quality: 9 out of 10

The +135 odds on this prop are pretty juicy for Smith, who is coming off his best game of the season. He played a season-high 68% of the Vikings’ offensive snaps, which was slightly less than Kyle Rudolph’s mark of 74%. More importantly, Smith ran a pass route on 72.7% of the Vikings’ passing plays last week, which means he was highly involved in potential pass-catching situations.

Unsurprisingly, Smith finished with a season-high five targets, and he turned those into four catches for 64 yards.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Smith doesn’t find success vs. the Falcons if he retains a similar role in the Vikings’ offense. Atlanta has been atrocious defensively to start the year, and it currently ranks 30th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA. They specifically rank 25th in DVOA vs. opposing tight ends, so asking Smith to catch at least three passes is reasonable.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

The Pick: Over 1.5 passing touchdowns (-225)

Bet Quality: 10 out of 10

The over on passing touchdown props consistently pop up among the highest-graded bets using the FantasyLabs Player Prop tool. You do have to pay a pretty steep price for them, but that doesn’t preclude them from being excellent investments. The over on Roethlisberger’s passing touchdown prop is no exception. The current -225 odds translate to an implied probability of just over 69%, which is definitely selling him short. His thrown for at least two touchdown passes in each of his first four games this season.

Additionally, Roethlisberger has historically thrived when playing at home. He’s averaging more than half an additional touchdown pass when playing at home vs. on the road.

Roethlisberger shouldn’t face a ton of resistance this week vs. the Browns, who rank just 19th in pass defense DVOA to start the year. The Steelers are currently implied for a solid 27.5 points, and it seems reasonable to expect at least some of those points to come from Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ passing attack.

New York Giants WR Golden Tate

The Pick: Over 3.5 receptions (-165)

Bet Quality: 10 out of 10

The Giants weren’t expected to be very good this season, but their offense was surprisingly crowded. That said, there’s a lot less competition for targets these days with wide receiver Sterling Shepard and running back Saquon Barkley unavailable.

That leaves Tate and Darius Slayton as the primary receiving options for quarterback Daniel Jones. Tate has logged at least five targets and four receptions in each of his first four games this season.

Washington has a ferocious pass rush, but their coverage still leaves a lot to be desired. Tate in particular has an exploitable matchup as the slot receiver. He’s expected to work primarily against Kamren Curl, who has been Washington’s worst cover corner by a wide margin according to Pro Football Focus. This prop is priced up more than usual, but it still results in a Bet Quality of 10 out of 10.

Green Bay Packers TE Robert Tonyan

The Pick: Under 46.5 receiving yards

Bet Quality: 10 out of 10

The resurgence of Aaron Rodgers has been one of the biggest stories to start the 2020 season. He has appeared to recapture his old form, and he ranks first in adjusted yards per attempt, first in interception rate and second in touchdown rate. He would arguably be the NFL’s leading MVP candidate if not for an equally wonderful start for Russell Wilson out in Seattle.

Tonyan has emerged as a legitimate threat for the Packers, recording at least 50 receiving yards in back-to-back games. That said, I don’t think they’ll need to lean on him as much this week vs. the Buccaneers. His previous two games have come with Davante Adams out of the lineup, who typically commands a massive target share. Adams be back this week, which should mean fewer targets for the rest of the offense.

Additionally, the Buccaneers are one of the better defensive teams in the league. They currently rank fourth in pass defense DVOA, so this will easily be the toughest test of the year for Rodgers and the Packers’ passing game. Overall, I like the idea of selling high on Tonyan given the matchup and the return of Adams.

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