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Julio, Stafford and season-long player prop betting the offseason’s biggest moves

May 27, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during oraganized team activities. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It was a busy offseason for player movement in the NFL, with high-profile players like Julio Jones, Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Orlando Brown and Ryan Fitzpatrick switching teams. When players switch teams, it can be difficult to project production given how many new variables are in play: coaching staff, offensive scheme, QB for a wide receiver, offensive line for a running back, etc.

But this uncertainty can be a good thing for sports bettors, as Vegas is also in a similar predicament as to how to project season-long player prop totals for players in new situations. 

Using PFF’s projections, we can identify value bets to make on season-long player prop totals.

All odds are via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Matthew Stafford to the Rams

After 12 seasons in Detroit, Matthew Stafford was traded to the Rams in a blockbuster package headlined by Jared Goff and two future first-round picks. Going from Matt Patricia to Sean McVay is definitely an upgrade at head coach for the former first-overall pick, and going from Goff (71.6 passing grade in 2020, 20th in the NFL) to the big arm of Stafford (78.6, 13th) is definitely an upgrade for McVay, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and others in L.A.

The sportsbooks and PFF see eye-to-eye on projecting Stafford’s production in 2021. DraftKings has Stafford’s passing yard prop at 4595.5, while PFF has him projected for 4565.4. DraftKings has his passing touchdown over/under at 28.5, while PFF has him at 28.4. The betting value here is not for Stafford, but rather for his wide receivers.

Oct 11, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) runs after a catch as Washington Football Team free safety Troy Apke (30) defends during the second half at FedExField. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Between an upgrade at QB1 and Cam Akers’ unfortunate season-ending Achilles tear, the Rams’ offense naturally projects to be more pass-heavy in 2021. Look no further than an increase in deep throws. Both Kupp (11) and Woods (7) ranked outside the top 75 players in deep targets last season, while Stafford and the Lions were bombing it deep to wide receivers the seventh-most in the NFL (76).

While it might seem like Kupp took a step back in 2020, posting a career-low three receiving touchdowns, he’s actually a prime bounce-back candidate. Not only did Kupp have the highest PFF offensive grade of his career in 2021, but we have seen Stafford feed a slot receiver like Golden Tate in the past. The takeaway? PFF projects Kupp to hit the over for all three receiving props — 93.5 receptions, 1005.5 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns.

PFF doesn’t project Woods, Kupp’s running mate in the wide receiver room for the last four seasons, quite as favorably. While PFF does like the value at over 92.5 receptions for Woods, PFF projects him to underperform compared to his Vegas season totals at both 995.5 receiving yards and 6.5 receiving touchdowns.

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