• WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks — longest reception over 17.5 yards (-114 FanDuel): The Seahawks have finally figured out how to use Jaxon Smith-Njigba after weeks and weeks of running him underneath and passing to him only at the line of scrimmage.
• JSN with a favorable matchup: The much-talked-about DaRon Bland and longtime elite corner Stephon Gilmore start on the outside for the Cowboys, while Jourdan Lewis — and his 47.5 PFF coverage grade — mans the slot. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has lined up in the slot on 72.7% of his snaps and has covered this longest-reception line every week since the Seahawks' bye in Week 5.
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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
It is difficult to analyze the true value of big wins against bad teams, and that is why there may still be some lingering intrigue about the Dallas Cowboys.
Still, the looming question remains of how this team performs against good opponents. And while the Seahawks are not as high-end as the likes of the San Francisco 49ers or Philadelphia Eagles (teams that beat this Cowboys team fairly convincingly this season), they are a sizable upgrade on the New York Giants, Carolina Panthers and Washington Commanders, who are ranked 32nd, 31st and 28th, respectively, as far as market rating is concerned.
The market is very high on the Cowboys, though, and they sit as a 9-point favorite against the relatively league-average Seattle Seahawks.
There was some buyback when the spread got to 7 points against the 49ers last week, so there are still believers in this team at the right price, but they did not put up much resistance that day, generating just 4.58 yards per play on offense. Things do not get easier this week.
The Seahawks run defense was one of the league’s stronger units over the first six weeks of the season against a weak schedule, but it has allowed almost five yards per carry since then, surrendering the most rushing yards over expectation of any team in that period.
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks: Longest reception over 17.5 yards (-114 FanDuel) & 60+ Receiving Yards (+200 FanDuel)
The Seahawks have finally figured out how to use the rookie wideout after weeks and weeks of running him underneath and passing to him only at the line of scrimmage.
Over the first six weeks of the season, Smith-Njigba’s average target depth sat at just 4.2 yards. Over the last six weeks, that has jumped to 8.3 yards, and he is generating 1.7 yards per route run in that period versus 0.84 to start the year.
He still has some issues with drops — his 11.1% drop rate is the eighth-highest rate among all wide receivers with at least 25 targets — but he has the best matchup of the Seahawks' three starting receivers.
The much-talked-about DaRon Bland and longtime elite corner Stephon Gilmore start on the outside for the Cowboys, while Jourdan Lewis — and his 47.5 PFF coverage grade — mans the slot. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has lined up in the slot on 72.7% of his snaps and has covered this longest reception line every week since the Seahawks' bye in Week 5.
JSN’s floor has been raised considerably over the last month or so, and the betting market has done a good job accounting for that, with his receiving yard prop in the mid-40s. But because he has not shown off the high-end ability we know he possesses, I do not think the market does a great job at capturing his range of outcomes and potential upside.
Although the baseline number for his prop is probably correct, I think there is some value in taking an alternate prop or two at a lower cost.
An interesting comparison would be his Week 9 matchup against a Baltimore Ravens team that possesses real strength at outside corner but has been far weaker in the slot, much like Dallas. In that game, Smith-Njigba posted season-highs in catches (6) and yards (63), and I think we could see something similar on Thursday Night Football.