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Week 5 NFL Player Props: Running Wild

We are reaching the point in the NFL season where most teams are starting to form their identities on both sides of the ball. I feel like we know enough about most of these teams and their tendencies to know what they want to do, what they are good at, and what they are not so good at. This week I am focusing on three rushing matchups that I love. In all three cases, we have running backs on top-10 rush offenses facing bottom-10 rush defenses. Of course, more goes into it than that. Which is why I dug into the underlying metrics to confirm my biases. And I can indeed confirm that I still love all three of these spots. So, I present to you my three favorite Week 5 NFL Player Props.

Week 5 NFL Player Props

David Montgomery OVER 70.5 Rushing Yards (-115, PointsBet)


David Montgomery has averaged 23 carries per game in his first three games as a member of the Detroit Lions. The sportsbooks do not expect Montgomery to keep up that pace in Week 5. They have set his rushing yards prop at anywhere from 70.5 yards to 73.5 yards. Call me crazy, but I would not be shocked to see Montgomery log 20-plus carries in this game. Detroit played last Thursday, so they have a couple extra days of rest heading into their Week 5 tilt with the Carolina Panthers. The Lions are also 10-point favorites in this game. If they get ahead, I expect them to give Montgomery plenty of carries. Detroit has the second lowest PROE (pass rate over expected) in the NFL this season. They want to run the football. And, oh, by the way, the matchup itself is about as good as it gets.

Carolina has the worst defensive DVOA versus the run in the NFL, and it’s not particularly close. They also rank dead last in adjusted line yards and 30th in running back yards per carry. The only two teams trailing the Panthers in that metric are the two teams who have faced De’Von Achane the last two weeks. (More on him in a second.) Five running backs have carried the ball at least 10 times in a game against the Panthers so far in 2023. Four of the five averaged at least five yards per carry. Even Alexander Mattison, whose metaphorical head Vikings fans and fantasy football managers alike were calling for before last week, ran for 95 yards on 17 carries against Carolina. That feels like an absolute baseline for what Montgomery should accomplish on the ground this week.

With all due respect to Mattison, Montgomery is a much better rusher than Mattison is. Montgomery ranks 18th among 51 qualified running backs in Pro Football Focus’ rushing grade. Mattison ranks 34th, even after his solid performance last week against the Panthers. By the way, don’t kill the messenger, but Jahmyr Gibbs ranks 35th. This is Montgomery’s backfield on early downs and when the Lions are playing from ahead, as is expected on Sunday. This is my favorite Week 5 NFL player prop and feels like a smash spot given the combination of elite usage and matchup. I am jumping on this now because I can easily see this number hitting 75 or higher by Sunday morning.

De’Von Achane OVER 49.5 Rushing Yards (-115, DraftKings)


The sportsbooks are split on which Miami Dolphins running back they prefer this week. De’Von Achane’s rushing yards prop is at 49.5, while Raheem Mostert’s sits at 48.5. I would not blame anyone who favors Mostert. As we have seen, both backs can eat in this offense. But I have to back the rookie phenom after seeing what he has done over the past two weeks. Achane ranks in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing yards, yards after contact, explosive runs, breakaway percentage, elusive rating, and several other categories. And here’s the thing – he has only carried the ball 27 times. He has already proven to be one of the most electric players in the league with the ball in his hands. I expect the Dolphins to keep feeding Achane in a good matchup with positive expected gamescript.

The New York Giants allow 1.8 yards per rush before contact. That is the highest number in the NFL. They have also allowed each featured back to amass at least 70 rushing yards against them. Again, the issue seems to be how much work Achane will get. I do not know exactly how the distribution of carries between the Dolphins’ running backs will play out. But I do think it will be enough for Achane to get us to 50 yards. Miami is the biggest favorite on the Week 5 board, as they are favored by 12 points. I expect there to be plenty of carries to go around for Achane, Mostert, and possibly even Jeff Wilson. This may be the last week we get Achane’s rushing yards prop at such a low total, so get it while the getting is good.

James Conner OVER 58.5 Rushing Yards (-120, BetMGM)


Unlike the situation in Miami, we know that James Conner is going to get the lion’s share of work in the Arizona backfield. Conner has carried the ball 62 times this season. No other Cardinals running back has earned more than 12 carries. And Conner has enjoyed quite a bit of success so far in 2023. He ranks in the top five in all of the categories I mentioned above with Achane, except for breakaway percentage. However, Conner is tied with Achane and two others for second in the NFL with five breakaway runs. That is why I find it curious that the books are projecting Conner to rush for under 60 yards on Sunday. So let’s dig into the numbers and the matchup.

Last week was the first game this season in which Conner failed to rush for at least 62 yards. And he was facing the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco allows the third-fewest rushing yards per game. Surely there is no shame in “only” rushing for 52 yards. Also, the Cardinals lost that game by 19 points and were trailing by double digits every time they had the ball from the second quarter on. I would argue if the game were closer, Conner would have had a few more carries and gone over this number. But as the great Christopher Walken once said in Joe Dirt, “The past is past. The future’s now.” So what can we expect from James Conner in Week 5? The short answer is a lot of volume.

Arizona ranks 30th in the NFL in PROE. They want to run the ball, and they should be able to do so against a vulnerable Cincinnati Bengals front. The Bengals allow the second-most rushing yards per game in the NFL. And their underlying metrics are not much better. They are 31st in yards per carry before contact and allow 4.89 yards per rush to opposing running backs. The Bengals rank 27th in adjusted line yards and 28th in stuff percentage. They are simply not a good run defense. Vegas projects this as a close game, with Cincinnati installed as a three-point favorite. If that is the case, Conner should get a minimum of 15 carries in this game. That should be enough to propel him over the 58.5-yard threshold, making this another one of my favorite Week 5 NFL player props.

Week 5 Rankings for your season-long leagues: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Half-PPR by Position | Flex Rankings | Positional Ranks w/ K & DST | Dynasty | Superflex Dynasty

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