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PrizePicks Week 9 Preview

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) scores a touchdown late in the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 in Indianapolis, Ind. Titans Colts 127

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ANDREW ERICKSON

JUSTIN FIELDS, CHICAGO BEARS: OVER 169.5 PASSING YARDS

The disrespect for Justin Fields has gone too far, especially since the rookie quarterback is coming off his highest-graded performance of the season (76.7).

A passing yardage prop this low is hard to find in today’s pass-happy NFL, so pounding the over is the optimal approach here. After all, every quarterback who has faced the Pittsburgh Steelers this season has eclipsed at least 172 passing yards, and Fields has done so himself in all but one of his five starts this season.

He's also thrown more and more passes as the season has gone on; he has thrown the ball 29 times per game over his last three games, setting him up nicely to soar right past the 169.5-yard mark.

The Steelers rank 29th league-wide in PFF coverage grade on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield, so expect the rookie to pick up massive chunk passing gains. PFF’s fantasy projections have Fields tabbed for 203.7 passing yards in Week 9.

JONATHAN TAYLOR, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: OVER 2.5 RECEPTIONS 

The Indianapolis Colts' second-year running back has run a route on 55% of the team’s dropbacks over the last four weeks, a mark that ranks 13th at the position. As a result, Taylor has caught at least three passes in three of those four games, setting him up nicely to skyrocket past the over on his 2.5 receptions player prop. 

The Thursday night matchup versus the New York Jets also works heavily in Taylor’s favor, as the Jets have allowed the second-most targets and fourth-most receptions to running backs this season. 

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BEN BROWN

Jonathan Taylor, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: OVER 80.5 RUSHING YARDS

After a slow start to the 2021 season, Taylor has finally taken over as the Colts' lead back and played a season-high 70% of snaps last week. This increased workload featured an 85% rush attempt share, taking his rush attempt share to 61.5% on the season.

Taylor now gets to face a New York Jets defense that ranks 22nd in PFF’s opponent-adjusted run-defense grade and sits at the same ranking in overall defense. 

Indianapolis will enter this game as 10.5-point favorites after some market correction moved in the Jets' favor. The matchup staying in that scoring differential would help Taylor’s rushing usage, as the game should be far enough out of reach to allow the Colts to salt away a victory but not too far where Taylor gives way to backups.

On a short week, expect the Colts to ride Taylor on the ground to an easy victory.

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.
Kirk Cousins, MINNESOTA VIKINGS: UNDER 280.5 PASSING YARDS

The Sunday night loss to Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush brought Minnesota’s season to the point of disaster. Cousins has been effective in his limited role, but his usage suggests that he is nothing more than a game manager who relies on his head coach to call timeouts. Despite the weapons available to him outside, Cousins seems content to dink-and-dunk his way underneath if not handing the ball off to Dalvin Cook

The betting market received some interest in the Vikings early in the week, with the spread holding to the lookahead number of -5.5. Baltimore has exceeded expectations offensively but has a league-average rank defensively.

The Ravens' play in coverage has been the highlight of the defense so far, with Marlon Humphrey & Co. getting out to a 10th overall ranking based on PFF’s opponent-adjusted grades.

If the expectation is that Minnesota keeps this within a touchdown differential, then we should expect a similar vanilla game plan from the Vikings that attacks the weakness of the Baltimore defense. If that plays out, Cousins isn’t going to come close to this passing yardage number, with PFF’s fantasy projections well short of this number at 257.6.

Take the under here, as almost all of the likely paths to how this game plays out have Cousins falling short of still-lofty passing yardage expectations. 

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