• TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons: Over 35.5 receiving yards — While the Falcons should still lean on the ground game, they should be expected to pass more frequently than season-long averages, given Tampa’s splits.
• TE Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills: Over 36.5 receiving yards — On the year, Kansas City’s 56.1 coverage grade against tight ends ranks 25th.
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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
The year of the backup quarterback continues across the NFL. Week 14 of 2023 kicked off with an exciting battle between the New England Patriots and Bailey Zappe versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mitchell Trubisky.
Despite turning the calendar to December, only two games have severe weather concerns, and there are a few spots we like for player props on the schedule.
Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts over 35.5 receiving yards (-114 on FanDuel)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the worst coverage grade in the NFL against opposing receivers lined up in the slot (42.0) and have allowed a league-worst 0.512 expected points per play and the third-most receiving yards (1,160). Linebacker Devin White and cornerback Jamel Dean have been ruled out, putting more inexperienced players on the field in the back seven for Tampa Bay.
Linebacker Lavonte David has long been one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL, but he is earning his worst coverage grade in five years by 20 grading points. Finally, undrafted rookie Christian Izien has taken over the slot duties from safety Antoine Winfield Jr. this season and has allowed 222 receiving yards to opposing players lined up in the slot, the eighth most in the NFL.
Kyle Pitts has lined up in the slot on 46.3% of snaps, the most of any alignment this season. From all alignments, Pitts has earned a 72.5 receiving grade with 41 receptions and 492 yards. From just the slot, Pitts has earned a 90.1 receiving grade with 26 receptions for 338 yards.
The Buccaneers' defense has been a pass funnel in 2023 while ranking third in expected points allowed per rush, and while the Falcons should still lean on the ground game, they should be expected to pass more frequently than season-long averages, given Tampa’s splits.
Buffalo Bills TE Dalton Kincaid over 36.5 receiving yards (-114 on FanDuel)
Injuries have decimated the Kansas City Chiefs‘ defense, including to linebacker Drue Tranquill and safety Bryan Cook in Week 13. The unit struggled to stop a Green Bay Packers offense over the middle of the field in coverage last week. Linebacker Nick Bolton is set to return to the lineup, but the leader of the defense is as good as any player at the position against the run while exploitable in coverage. In 2022, Bolton allowed a 95.8% completion rate (69 receptions on 72 targets into his coverage area) with 9.3 yards after the catch per reception, and he has forced four total incompletions on 85 targets from 2022 through Week 7 of this season — when he went down with injury.
On the year, Kansas City’s 56.1 coverage grade against tight ends ranks 25th, and the lack of production by the position overall against them is a misnomer, given the level of competition faced. Detroit Lions rookie Sam LaPorta had five receptions in his NFL debut, Evan Engram had six receptions for 57 yards and T.J. Hockenson had five receptions for 51 yards.
Over six games since Week 7, Kincaid has the following receiving yardage totals: 75, 65, 81, 51, 46 and 38. The drop in Kincaid’s receiving yardage line could be due to his recent three-game decline, and it may also be tied to the return of fellow tight end Dawson Knox. However, Knox played in Week 7 when Kincaid ran 33 routes — the second most of his career to that point and the fifth most this season. Kincaid’s uptick in production may be better explained by continued growth in the offense and better health, as he’s recovered from an offseason injury.
Despite Kansas City's offensive struggles in recent weeks that may carry over, Buffalo is not going to stop pushing the ball and trying to score as much as possible to put this game away while exorcising demons in Arrowhead.