Betting News & Analysis

Jahnke: Best NFL Week 18 player prop bets

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs the ball for a 69 yard touchdown during the second half against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 18 is here, and it's time to take advantage of some high-value player props. 


Click here for more PFF tools:

Rankings & ProjectionsWR/CB Matchup ChartNFL & NCAA Betting Dashboards | NFL Player Props Tool | NFL & NCAA Power Rankings
Best Bets Tool


My picks went 1-2 last week. D’Onta Foreman not only went over 12.5 carries, but he more than doubled it with 26 on the day. Matthew Stafford failing to finish with more than 2.5 touchdowns was my first miss. He threw two touchdowns, but the Los Angeles Rams turned the ball over twice while in Baltimore Ravens territory, which prevented him from throwing a third touchdown. Dalton Schultz was supposed to stay under 47.5 receiving yards, but he went a little over with 54. The Dallas Cowboys didn’t run nearly as much as expected, as their running back recorded just 12 carries, so Schultz led the team in targets at 10. He wasn't very successful with his targets, but the volume enabled him to finish over his receiving yardage prop.

This article's record now stands at 26-19 on the season

Leverage PFF's player props tool to find the most valuable bets to make in Week 18.

RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts: Over 22.5 carries (-114)

Indianapolis has relied more on Taylor as the season has progressed. He was consistently receiving between 45-70% of Indianapolis' offensive snaps in the first half of the season but has now played seven straight games with over 70%. The increased playing time has directly led to more carries. He failed to reach 20 carries in his first nine games of the season but has 20 or more in six of his last seven.

Taylor’s production is still game-script-dependent. In wins, he runs more like any running back. He has received at least 27 carries in each of the Colts' last four wins and hasn’t surpassed 20 carries in a loss. Luckily, the Colts are 15 point favorites over the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. The Colts will clinch the playoffs with a win while the Jaguars will clinch the first overall pick with a loss. 

Taylor in the last four Colts victories
Week Carries Yards TD
11 32 185 4
13 32 143 2
15 29 170 1
16 27 108 0

The only concern is the Colts winning by too much, as it would create an opportunity to take their starters out early. Indianapolis has turned to Deon Jackson twice this season late in the fourth quarter. In both of those games, Taylor recorded over 30 carries. Therefore, Taylor finishing with more than 22.5 carries should be relatively safe as long as he doesn’t get hurt, or the Jaguars don’t pull off a miracle victory.

 

WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars: Under 33.5 receiving yards (-129)

This is a solid bet every week because Shenault hasn’t been effective in the Jaguars offense since early in the season. He’s finished with less than 33.5 yards in six of his last nine games. In the three games he’s finished with more than 33.5 yards, it hasn’t been by much.

There are two reasons why this is an even better bet than usual. Shenault missed Week 16 while on the COVID-19 list and returned in Week 17, but he only played 13 offensive snaps. He typically hovers between 50-80% of the team’s offensive snaps, but Week 17's total was a significant decline from normal. Chances are Shenault plays more in Week 18, but he still might not receive his usual snap share if he’s not 100%.

Fewest yards per route run for WRs from the slot (min. 250 routes)
Rank Player Team YPRR
1 Adam Humphries Football Team 0.56
2 Zach Pascal Colts 0.66
3 Ray-Ray McCloud III Steelers 0.82
4 Laviska Shenault Jr. Jaguars 1.23
5 Jamison Crowder Jets 1.26

Shenault also faces a tough matchup against Kenny Moore II in the slot. The matchup is one of the worst in PFF's wide receiver/cornerback matchup chart. He’s spent 71% of his snaps in the slot over the last five weeks, so he will almost always be facing Moore. The former Pro Bowl cornerback has allowed a 71.3 passer rating over the second half of the season — the third-lowest rating allowed by a full-time slot cornerback.

The Jaguars guarantee the first pick in the draft with a loss, so we might see more of a player rotation than usual. This all adds up to a fairly quiet end of the season for Shenault.

PFF's new Best Bets Tool allows you to take advantage of the best prop and game betting opportunities for each NFL slate during the 2021 season.

QB Zach Wilson, New York Jets: Under 0.5 touchdown passes (+136)

This is another bet that would have hit most weeks this season, and there are even more reasons to like it this week. Wilson has only thrown a touchdown in five of his 12 games so far this season.

The second overall pick is running out of receivers to target, as wide receiver Corey Davis, wide receiver Braxton Berrios and tight end Ryan Griffin are on injured reserve and won’t play in this game while Elijah Moore probably won’t play, either. Those four have caught 13 of the Jets' 19 passing touchdowns on the season.

Jamison Crowder is the top Jets wide receiver who is likely to play, but he’s missed the last two weeks with a calf injury and has been limited in practice. Keelan Cole, Jeff Smith and Denzel Mims will play at outside receiver

Rank Player Status PFF Grade YPRR
1 Braxton Berrios Out 74.3 1.64
2 Elijah Moore Likely Out 73.8 1.75
3 Corey Davis Out 66.7 1.74
4 Jamison Crowder Limited 64.5 1.12
5 Jeff Smith Playing 61.1 1.04
6 Keelan Cole Playing 60.6 1.22
7 Denzel Mims Playing 52.2 0.81

Wilson’s life will be even harder this week facing the Buffalo Bills defense, as they’ve allowed a league-low 11 touchdown passes this season. No team has allowed that few since the 2011 Baltimore Ravens led by Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. This is another situation where the Bills are playing to win the division while a Jets loss would help their draft status.

It will be a long day for Jets fans and an even longer day for Wilson.

Betting Featured Tools

  • PFF's Best Bets Tool reveals the bets PFF's data and algorithms give the biggest edge to within spread, total, player prop, and moneyline markets.

    Available with

    Elite
  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NFL game.

    Available with

    Elite
  • PFF's Player Props Tool reveals betting opportunities within player prop markets.

    Available with

    Elite
  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NFL power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NCAA game.

    Available with

    Elite CFB Prem Stats+
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr
College Subscriptions

Unlock College Player Grades and Preview Magazine

$7.99 / mo
$27.99 / yr

Unlock NCAA Premium Stats & PFF Greenline NCAA

$29.99 / mo
$119.99 / yr