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Erickson: Best early Super Wild-Card Weekend player props bets

Bills quarterback Josh Allen is pressured by Jets Michael Carter ll.

Season-long fantasy football may be over, but the fun doesn’t have to end with DFS and player props readily available.


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I’ve been successful on PrizePricks throughout the 2021 season. Now, I am shifting toward covering my favorite weekly props from Super Wild-Card Weekend until the Super Bowl, and there will be a special emphasis on hitting inefficient lines early in the week. 

Jumping early on Philadelphia Eagles unders in Week 18 due to the overall ambiguity around the team limiting its starters helped me go 5-4 on my picks last week. Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith played just 19% of Philadelphia's offensive snaps in Week 18, so it was an easy bet to take the under on his receiving line. That’s where an edge can be found, and it’s our job as bettors to hammer the bad lines for as much plus expected value as possible.

For those making the leap from fantasy football to player props, PrizePicks is DFS made easy: Choose two or more players from the board and whether they go over or under their projected fantasy score or single stat. The payout increases with each additional leg, which is similar to a parlay bet.


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WEEK 18 RECAP 

HITS:
MISSES:

QB JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS: UNDER 250.5 PASSING YARDS

I’ve learned my lesson in back-to-back weeks chasing Allen's passing overs, as Buffalo's weather has caused my ultimate demise. Allen has not thrown for more than 250 passing yards at home since Week 3. 

And since Week 11 — once the calendar flipped to late November — the Bills quarterback has averaged just 185 passing yards per game at home. With the early weather forecasting for more frigid temperatures, I’d expect both teams to employ a run-heavy approach.

Pound the passing-receiving unders in this game before the lines are bet down. 

My favorite same-game parlays options with the under on Allen’s passing yardage prop include Mac Jones under 200.5 passing yards, Stefon Diggs under 75.5 receiving yards, Cole Beasley under 33.5 receiving yards and Kendrick Bourne under 35.5 receiving yards.

The most passing yards an opposing quarterback has thrown for at Buffalo this season is 212 passing yards, and the average is 140 yards. Even if Jones’ 19-yard performance from a few weeks back is removed from the equation, the average is still extremely low at 155 passing yards per game.

Jones' passing yards prop can still be found above 200 passing yards — 207.5 over/under — on Underdog Fantasy.

Diggs has beaten his projection at home once since Week 11 — last week versus the New York Jets when he had contract incentives on the line. Beasley has also surpassed his number at home just once since Week 11 and failed to eclipse his number in the last two games while splitting more snaps and routes with Isaiah McKenzie

The Bills' starting slot receiver has also yet to clear 25 receiving yards in his last three games versus the Patriots. 

Bourne took a backseat to Nelson Agholor, ranking third among Patriots WRs in routes run in Week 18 while owning just a 12% target share — equal to Beasley — in his last four games. 

PFF’s Fantasy Football Rankings include ranks from our experts, projections and our Strength of Schedule metric.

RB BRANDON BOLDEN, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: OVER 14.5 RECEIVING YARDS

Bolden has taken over as the Pats’ primary pass-catching back since James White was placed on IR. He has run a route on 50% of Mac Jones’ dropbacks and has gone over 20 receiving yards over the last four weeks. Factor in that Bolden has also accumulated at least 20 receiving yards in five of the six last Patriots’ losses  he should easily clear this number.

New England are 4-point road dogs, and PFF’s fantasy projections have Bolden slated for 22.7 receiving yards — the fifth-highest forecasted total on Wild-Card Weekend

TE HUNTER HENRY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: OVER 29.5 RECEIVING YARDS

Henry owns an 18% target share and 77% route participation rate over his last four games. The superb usage has vaulted Henry to the over in three of his last four games with his only dud coming at the hand of the Buffalo Bills.

But in that game, Henry saw six targets. They just happened to all be off-the-mark throws. Those outcomes tend to regress to the mean, so have confidence that the Patriots tight end goes over his receiving line.

QB JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS: OVER 41.5 RUSHING YARDS

With the weather news causing Josh Allen’s passing yards prop line to plummet, there’s no longer any value to betting it. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be out entirely on the Bills quarterback, who has turned his rushing up a notch the last six weeks.

He has run rampant averaging nearly 65 rushing yards and nine carries per game. Considering Allen has a strong postseason track record of relying on his legs — 59 rushing yards per game in four playoff starts — you need to be all over Allen’s rushing yards.

QB DEREK CARR, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: UNDER 261.5  PASSING YARDS 

Derek Carr has hit this passing yards total once since Week 13 and just twice since Week 8. The Raiders quarterback was held to 215 passing yards the last time he faced the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11. 

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