Welcome to my Week 16 NFL player prop column. This week is just plain chaotic when it comes to player props. Numbers and lines have moved and continue to move at a rapid pace as storms and bitter-cold temperatures have descended on much of the country. Though player props have not been readily available until recently, it is still worth noting that this week features the four lowest passing yardage props ever. More than 40 percent of starting quarterbacks have a yardage prop below 200 yards. That means that running the football should be the order of the day for many teams. There are a few spots where I believe we can take advantage of both the weather and the matchups. So without further ado, let’s get to the props. Please tail responsibly and keep up with the latest news before placing any wagers.
Week 16 NFL Player Props
J.K. Dobbins OVER 60.5 Rushing Yards (-120, PointsBet)
The first of this week’s NFL player props is a yardage prop that seems wild to me. This means J.K. Dobbins will either smash this number, or it will completely blow up in my face. There is likely no in-between. Since Dobbins returned to the lineup two weeks ago, he has rushed for at least 120 yards in consecutive games. Perhaps more importantly, he looked much healthier last week than he did the week before. Dobbins ripped off four runs of at least 10 yards on just 13 attempts last week. Baltimore removed Dobbins from this week’s injury report. All signs seem to point towards the Ravens featuring Dobbins prominently on Saturday against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Ravens have fallen out of the lead in the AFC’s North Division and need this game to stay atop the Wild Card race. I expect Baltimore to rely heavily on the run game to attempt to secure a victory. Baltimore will be without Lamar Jackson for another week as he continues to deal with a knee injury. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley has proven ineffective in the passing game in Jackson’s absence. Huntley has just 413 scoreless yards on 74 pass attempts this season. Baltimore should be able to run the ball effectively against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta allows the seventh-most rushing yards to opposing backs as well as the ninth-most yards per carry before contact. They have also given up at least 67 rushing yards to the last five primary backs they have faced.
The weather may also be a factor in this matchup, though not as detrimental as other Week 16 sites. This game will feature double-digit wind speeds and a wind chill of around zero degrees. The conditions and the matchup dictate that Dobbins should get plenty of work in this game. Given his recent output, I think alternate yards props could be in play as well. For example, Dobbins is +680 as of this writing to hit 110 rushing yards. That reflects implied odds of just 12.82 percent. Yet this is a number that Dobbins has eclipsed in each of his last two games. I would not go overboard betting on his alt-yardage props, but I think they are positive-EV plays when taking all factors into account.
Devin Singletary OVER 10.5 Rushing Attempts (-130, FanDuel)
Soldier Field is one of the locations where the weather should play a rather large role this week. The temperature is expected to be in the single digits with wind chills well below zero. More importantly, winds are expected to remain steady in the 20-25 MPH range. That will have quite an impact on the passing and kicking games. In turn, running the ball should be of paramount importance to both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills. You certainly do not need to coerce Chicago to run the ball. They lead the NFL in both rushing attempts and rushing yards. But Buffalo is no slouch in the run game either. Buffalo ranks third in the NFL in yards per carry. A lot of that is because of Josh Allen’s prowess on the ground, but rumors of Singletary’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
First, it was supposed to be the team’s acquisition of Nyheim Hines that would reduce Singletary’s role. Then it was the increased workload and continued acclimation of rookie James Cook. Yet Singletary still leads the team in carries by a wide margin. He has had at least 13 carries in seven of his last nine games. The only two misses in that timeframe were games against the New York Jets. That leads credence to the theory that his lack of involvement was gameplan-specific. I do not expect that to be the case this week. Aside from the weather, the matchup should allow Buffalo to run the ball. The Bears have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns and over 1,500 rushing yards to opposing running backs this season. The Bills are also favored to win this game by eight points, which should increase the rushing attempts for all of Buffalo’s ball carriers.
The only other place I have seen Singletary’s rushing attempts thus far is at PointsBet. There, the number is 11.5, but the price is +100. I will stick with the FanDuel play, but that is tempting considering his recent results. Either way, I do prefer his rushing attempts over his rushing yards. Chicago is not great against the run by any means. However, I do think the whipping winds will allow them to stack the box a bit against the run. I could easily envision a scenario in which Singletary clears a dozen carries but fails to produce at a per-carry clip. In his last six games, there have been three times in which he has had exactly 13 carries but no more than 51 rushing yards. I feel that Singletary’s attempts are the safer of his player props in this instance.
Jared Goff UNDER 245.5 Passing Yards (-120, PointsBet)
The Detroit Lions are one of the feel-good stories of the 2022 NFL season. They currently sit at 7-7 and are in the hunt for a playoff berth after starting the year 1-6. During their seven-game ascent into contention, quarterback Jared Goff has been a steadying force. Goff has thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception in that stretch, including six straight games without a turnover. Still, the Lions’ signal-caller has continued to exhibit extreme home and away splits this season. The Lions have only played outside four times this year. In those four contests, Goff has averaged 220.5 passing yards and has only gone over 236 on one of the four occasions. That was last week when his final pass attempt resulted in a 51-yard touchdown. He ended the day with 252 passing yards.
I do not expect Goff to suddenly air it out against the Carolina Panthers this week. Carolina has been sneaky good against opposing passing attacks in recent weeks. In their past five games, only one quarterback has surpassed 210 passing yards against the Panthers. And that was in a game against Seattle in which Carolina held an early 17-0 lead. Though this game should be competitive, I do not see the Panthers jumping out to such an advantage against an improving Detroit team. The Lions have shown great balance offensively in their recent hot stretch. Detroit has run the ball at least 28 times in seven consecutive games. Unless they uncharacteristically come out flat and fall behind, the Lions will not ask too much of Goff in this spot.
In Goff’s four outdoor games this year, he has only thrown a total of three touchdowns. He has yet to throw for more than one score in any of those four games. I mention this because I strongly considered his touchdown prop instead of his yardage prop. However, I believe that yardage props are a bit less subject to variance than touchdown props. Therefore, I am sticking with Goff’s yardage number. If you are so inclined, his touchdown number is 1.5, with most sportsbooks skewing it towards the under.
I am also considering the over on Sam Darnold’s passing yards as a bit of a correlation play. It currently sits around 195 yards on most books. Detroit’s run defense has completely stifled the opposition of late. They have allowed a total of 167 rushing yards over their past three outings. Meanwhile, their pass defense still has a ways to go to catch up to the competition. In their last eight games, six quarterbacks have had at least 250 passing yards against the Lions. That includes season-high yardage totals for Aaron Rodgers (291), Daniel Jones (341), and Zach Wilson (317). As someone who has seen a fair share of Sam Darnold, I believe he is at least better than Wilson. Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Bah, humbug.