Every team took the field over the Thanksgiving holiday but six of the 32 clubs take their bye in Week 13. You’d have to return to Week 7 to find the last time this many teams were on a bye, and the player prop pool was this shallow.
In the penultimate week for byes in the NFL, the final third of the regular season arrives with playoff positioning about to emerge as a plot every week.
The holiday feast of football helped us point to a few get-them-while-you-can bargains outlined below.
–Packers TE Tucker Kraft under 26.5 receiving yards (-120 at BetMGM)
The Packers (5-6) are hunting for a wild card spot (no, seriously) thanks to back-to-back wins over the Chargers and the Lions. Jordan Love might be making a case to remain the starter for the Packers. He has five touchdowns and no interceptions during this recent winning streak.
Through 11 games, Love has a 19-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his first year as an NFL starter. One thing that’s clear with Love’s game is that he’s trying to push the ball down the field.
Per Pro-Football-Reference, the Utah State product ranks fourth in intended air yards per pass attempt (9.3). If we look at the target share to tight ends, the Packers rank 22nd (18.1%) in this metric.
Green Bay will face a Chiefs defense that FTN Fantasy ranks seventh in its defense-adjusted value over average metric (DVOA) against opposing tight ends.
One spot above the Chiefs in sixth is the Detroit Lions, who held Kraft to 15 or fewer receiving yards in both meetings this season.
Kraft has only one game this season with more than two targets (3), and given how Love looks to stretch the field vertically, I recommend taking the under with Kraft’s receiving prop at 26.5 yards.
–Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence over 20.5 completions (-120 at BetMGM)
Although TeamRankings has the Jaguars as one of the more balanced teams, ranking eighth with a run rate of 44.32%, they also rank eighth with 65.6 plays per game.
Thus, given the number of plays per game, I’m not shocked to learn that the Jaguars have a positive pass rate over expectation (PROE) at 2.5%. In other words, the Jaguars call more passing plays than the average team in similar situations.
Yet Lawrence ranks ninth in Total QBR (61.7) despite being 20th in touchdowns (12). His completion percentage of 67.3 percentage puts him 11th in the league.
Lawrence, proving to be a very accurate passer, is coming off back-to-back performances with 23-plus completions. In 11 games this season, Lawrence finished with 21 or more completions eight times.
Jacksonville draws a Bengals’ pass defense that ranks 23rd in expected points added (EPA). Given the number of plays we can project for this offense, the completion prop feels a bit short at 20.5.
–Panthers RB Miles Sanders over 8.5 rush attempts (-100 at PointsBet)
Since joining the Panthers on a four-year deal, it hasn’t been a banner year for Sanders, primarily because of injuries. After averaging 4.9 yards per carry on 259 rushing attempts with the Eagles, Sanders is averaging just 3.1 yards on 97 attempts this season.
Sanders hasn’t lost a step at just 26 years of age. After all, it wasn’t like he had a heavy workload during his time with the Eagles. In his first three seasons with the Eagles, Sanders averaged 160 carries per season.
Sanders’ struggles are a microcosm of a Carolina season that’s been forgettable at best. And with just one win on the year, the Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich.
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will take over as the interim head coach. Although I’m not expecting Tabor to be a long-term solution, he does allow the Panthers to hit the reset button.
In the 10 games featuring Carolina’s rookie quarterback Bryce Young, he finished with under 30 pass attempts just once (29). While I understand that the Panthers often find themselves behind early in games, they are increasingly likely to be patient trying to achieve better balance offensively.
Per TeamRankings, Carolina ranks fourth in the league with a pass rate of 62.87%.
Tabor is likely to be conservative, trying to protect his quarterback while showing a more significant commitment to running the ball, even against a solid Buccaneers defense.
–Field Level Media