• QB Trevor Lawrence and WR Calvin Ridley break out: Since the midway point of last season, Trevor Lawrence is second in the NFL in PFF grade. He is also first in big-time throws — the throws that stack up for huge QB performances — and atop basically every efficiency metric.
• Running it back: Judah Fortgang's same-game parlays gave a $100 bettor an 86.1% ROI in 2022.
Story: QB Trevor Lawrence and WR Calvin Ridley finally break out
• Since the midway point of last season, Trevor Lawrence is second in the NFL in PFF grade. He is also first in big-time throws — the throws that stack up for huge QB performances — and atop basically every efficiency metric.
• With Lawrence's emergence came his team's continued reliance on him. The Jaguars have been one of the pass-heaviest teams in the NFL, passing 5% more than expected, which has continued early this season. This means we should see plenty of passes for the Jags quarterback to have a huge passing day.
• Jacksonville has got off to a relatively rocky offensive start, but it is only a matter of time before this offense truly breaks out, and the Texans defense might just be what the doctor ordered.
• Houston will be without two of its starting cornerbacks and will be starting two players with sub-50.0 PFF coverage grades in their place.
• The Texans defense has deployed zone coverage at one of the highest rates in the league. Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley has dominated the target share against zone coverages, with a near-32% target rate, the third-highest rate in the NFL. Christian Kirk has seen just a 19% share against zone since joining the Jags, and with Zay Jones out, this should mean Lawrence will be looking Ridley’s way early and often.
Build: +3000 (PointsBet)
Story: QB Gardner Minshew’s big passing day leads the Indianapolis Colts to an upset victory
• It is a small sample, but Gardner Minshew has been terrific in Shane Steinchen’s offenses.
• Minshew leads the NFL in yards per attempt and has been one of the more efficient passers from an expected points added (EPA) perspective, as well. While it would be surprising to see Minshew sustain this play throughout the season, the signal could be directionally right, suggesting Minshew can piece together big passing performances and remain an above-average quarterback.
• Since Roquan Smith‘s arrival in Baltimore, teams have attacked the Ravens via the pass at a top clip, including doing so 4% more than expected this season. The Colts, who have been among the most pass-heavy teams this season, will let Minshew drop back often to accumulate yards.
• The Ravens will be without their top pass-rusher Odafe Oweh, safety Marcus Williams and their best cornerback Marlon Humphrey. The team's remaining corners have graded well below average in terms of preventing separation over the last few seasons, and while Mike MacDonald has all the makings of a terrific defensive coordinator, the team lacks talent on this defense with these injuries.
• Minshew’s small sample success invites a right-tail possibility for the Colts, and considering their team and opponents' tendencies, the Colts will be throwing often despite the market pricing Minshew as a fringe QB. If the Colts are to have success in this spot and cover or pull off the upset, it will likely be on the back of a big day from Minshew.
Build: 1: +2385 (FanDuel)
Build 2: +8770 (FanDuel)
Story: WR Rashid Shaheed catches a long touchdown, leading Derek Carr to a big passing day
There is perhaps no more underrated wide receiver in the NFL than Rashid Shaheed.
• Through the first two weeks of the season, Shaheed picked up right where he left off last year — in the top ranks of virtually every statistical category for pass-catchers, including dominating through creating separation, in contested scenarios and after the catch.
• But Shaheed is at his best on deep passes, where he has led the NFL in deep receiving grade since entering the league last season. Over the last two seasons, no QB has a higher rate of deep attempts than Derek Carr, who has thrown a deep pass on 21% of his dropbacks this season.
• Meanwhile, Green Bay finished in the bottom 10 in allowing explosive pass plays last season.
• With RB Alvin Kamara suspended and Jamaal Williams sidelined, New Orleans should tilt to the pass in this one, leaving Carr with many attempts and a few deep shots Shaheed’s way, which might be enough for him to clear his alt prop.