Koerner’s Ultimate NFL Props Breakdown: Drew Brees and the Best Longshot ‘First TD’ Plays
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott (21), Sony Michel (26), Drew Brees (9).
- Sean Koerner runs through his favorite player prop bets for the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, including 4 long shot "first TD" props.
- Some of the players he touches on below includes Ezekiel Elliott, Sony Michel and more.
We have an awesome player prop tool at FantasyLabs, where we compare the player props from various sportsbooks to my projections to show where you can find the most betting value.
Bets with a Bet Quality of 10 have gone 225-106 (66%) this season, so you can find some serious value.
Because of this, I’m going to mix it up this week and add some first-touchdown props that are offering value.
These are obviously less likely to hit, which means we need to lower how much we risk, but they offer a nice chance for some nice payouts when they do hit.
Player Props: Chargers vs. Patriots
Sony Michel over 61.5 rushing yards (-108 on FanDuel)
Hopefully you were able to check out my article breaking down the most rushing yards market, where we were able to snag Michel at +900 when my true odds have him closer to +740.
The line has moved down to +750, which all but kills the value on him there. You still have a chance to invest in him here with a pretty soft number of 61.5.
Like I mentioned in my other article, the Pats have saved their rookie running back from massive workloads due to his knee issues in order to deploy him heavily in certain spots. Their best chance of success should be a run heavy approach makes the over on his rushing prop a great play.
Mike Williams First TD Scorer (+1500 on FanDuel)
The second-year receiver broke out this season and is Philip Rivers’ main red zone weapon with a whopping 10 touchdown catches on the season — tied for sixth in the league.
One concern for his scoring odds could be the return of Hunter Henry, especially if they choose to utilize what should be limited snaps for him, exclusively in the red zone. Either way, with my true odds for him being around +1100, there’s enough of a buffer to offer clear value at this price.
Player Props: Eagles vs. Saints
Drew Brees under 290 passing yards (-118 on FanDuel)
We discuss the idea of mean being higher than the median all the time on our Fantasy Flex podcast. Peter Jennings typically references this phenomenon before taking the under on certain player props I offer.
Brees is a near-perfect example of that in action this season. His passing yards per game average this year is 266.1 yards while his median is only 243.
Digging even deeper, he has only had two games this year where he has thrown between 220-325 yards. That is remarkable to me, especially since that should be the sweet spot for where his passing yards in a single game should be.
I don’t think there is any doubt that Brees should have his way with the Eagles secondary. We saw him put up 363 yards in their first meeting earlier this season.
I would be the least bit surprised if he ended up having a monster game but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints control this game and can win it with their running game and solid defense. Ultimately, I think the median for him in this spot is closer to 270-275 giving us quite a bit of value here.
Josh Adams First TD Scorer (+2600 on FanDuel)
It takes some mental gymnastics to see value in this price, but hear me out. The Eagles’ running back situation is typically the toughest to figure out week-to-week based on its volatility.
Adams has taken over the Jay Ajayi role, as he typically leads the team in rush attempts, rarely sees any work in the passing game, and is better built to handle goal-line work. Out of nowhere, the Eagles gave Adams one carry last week and let Darren Sproles/Wendell Smallwood split the running back work.
This was a bit odd as both Sproles/Smallwood are smaller backs who specialize more in the passing game. We saw this backfire towards the end of the game when they let 5’7” 180 lbs Sproles get back-to-back goal-line carries in which he was stuffed on both. Adams is 6’2” 220 lbs and has proven he can handle that role.
There is a chance Adams is the odd man out this week, but if he was going into this game in his typical lead back role with goal-line situations, he would be closer to +1000 or +1200.
Part of investing in this bet is banking on head coach Doug Pederson coming to his senses a bit and banking on the Eagles’ running back usage changing so much week-to-week it goes in Adams favor here. One other thing to point out: this game could end up featuring Sproles/Smallwood a ton simply due to the fact the Eagles could trail most of this game as 8-point underdogs.
That would certainly leave Adams on the sideline, but we have to remember this market is the first touchdown scorer so we don’t have to worry about a negative game script for this market.
The path to winning this market is the Eagles getting down to the 1-yard line early on in the game, Pederson sending Adams to get the goal-line carry and for him to convert it. It’s a scenario that is too likely to be priced so high at +2600.
Player Props: Colts vs. Chiefs
Nyheim Hines over 24.5 receiving yards (-110 on 5Dimes)
We discussed Hines at length on our Fantasy Flex Pod this week. He disappeared with a zero-touch game last week against the Texans.
Hines played only nine snaps, and I think a large part of that had to do with the Colts being in control of that game from the start. As a result, it turned into a Marlon Mack game, and the Colts fed him the ball the rest of the way.
Hines is very game-flow dependent as the pass-catching back on the team, so this week’s potential shootout where the Colts are a 5-point road dog sets up much better for him.
It’s worth pointing out that in the Colts’ six losses this season, Hines has averaged 39.5 receiving yards, compared to just 17.1 in their 11 wins.
Chester Rogers First TD Scorer (+3800 on FanDuel)
A lot of attention will be on Mack, T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron from the Colts in this market — and rightfully so.
But Rogers is a very sneaky value at 38-1; I have his fair odds closer to 26-1. He is hardly a touchdown machine with only two on the season, but remember: Rogers is on the field for nearly every passing play.
With Ryan Grant ruled out again this week, the Colts’ target distribution should be much more narrowed, so I’m willing to nibble a bit on this prop.
Player Props: Cowboys vs. Rams
Dak Prescott under 1.5 TD passes (-120 on 5Dimes)
I am revisiting this same prop from last week at nearly the same price. The rationale is the same: The rushing expectations for Ezekiel Elliott and even Prescott himself take up a significant piece of the overall touchdown expectations for the Cowboys.
This factors into Prescott’s passing touchdown projection, but additionally, I pointed out that passing touchdowns do NOT follow a normal distribution.
So if a player is projected for 1.5 passing touchdowns it does not mean he is 50/50 to throw for over 1.5. The fair line for the under would actually be favored by -120 before factoring in the vig.
Sure enough last week, Dak only threw for one touchdown, while he and Elliott eache rushed for one score — almost proving my entire point perfectly.
I actually have Prescott’s passing touchdown projection a bit lower this week, making this a great prop to attack again this week.
In road games this season, Prescott has thrown for 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 4 touchdowns. I don’t use small split samples like that to make my projections or even make my bets, but they sure as hell help me be even more confident about locking in a bet.
Ezekiel Elliott First TD Scorer (+650 on FanDuel)
We get Zeke at a bit of a discount in this market this week. Most weeks he will be around +500 or even as low as +400 if the Cowboys are bigger favorites, so it makes sense that his odds are a little longer with Dallas 7.5-point underdogs.
There is also the fact that Zeke should be due for some positive touchdown regression, as his rush touchdown per attempt of 2% this year is well below his 3.2% career average.
Same can be said about his receiving-TD-per-reception rate of 3.9%, which comes in below his 4.4% average. (Granted, his expanded role in the Dallas passing game saw him post a career high three receiving scores.)
With his true three-down workhorse role in tact and the expected positive regression, this is a spot where I see some value in one of the favorites in the first-touchdown market.