Receiving Yards Props12 Weeks of 2019 NFL Futures Predictions
There is just five weeks to before that Hall of Fame preseason NFL game gets kicked off, and with six 2019 NFL futures behind us, we really are getting down to the time of year when football starts to consume most of the brain power for handicapping resources. You can take a look at all the past futures topics we've covered with the links below, but just like the past two weeks, it's an individual prop wager that gets the focus this week.
Having already discussed potential ROY candidates and those pass throwers that could finish 2019 with the most mileage under their belts, this week it's all about the guys on the outside catching those passes. It's a title that's been dominated by two men the past five years with Antonio Brown (twice) and Julio Jones (twice) finishing the season with the most receiving yards in four of the past five years, and those two names are up there again this year in terms of being favored in this category once again.
Antonio Brown finds himself in new colors this year though, joining a Raiders team that's still seemingly on the outside looking in in terms of the playoff picture. Julio Jones and the rest of the Falcons are looking to get back to playoff football themselves, and so far in Jones'career, leading the league in receiving yards has meant no playoffs for he and the rest of the Falcons. As is the case seemingly every year, balance on offense is the key to success in the NFL, and that's not generally what you get when you've got one guy catching all the stuff through the air.
Historically speaking, only three of the past eight winners of this title have seen their squads make the playoffs that season, and two of them were Antonio Brown with the Steelers and their squad being great overall. The other was Calvin Johnson back in 2011 when Detroit snuck into the playoffs with that final Wildcard position. That might not seem that important, but what it does suggest is that there is some sort of general predictive full team outlook that lends itself to having the top pass catcher in the league. You typically want the top receiver on a team that's often good but not good enough – regarding playoff potential – that has suspect offensive options around them otherwise.
Everyone knew Atlanta wanted to throw the ball up to Julio as much as they could last year, and the same can be said for the 2016 Indianapolis Colts when TY Hilton lead the league, the 2015 Atlanta Falcons with Julio, the 2013 Cleveland Browns when Josh Gordon came onto the scene, and the 2012 Detroit Lions with Calvin Johnson trying to duplicate his success from the year before. “Good but not good enough” is what will lead you to this year's receiving yards leader, and here are two guys that hopefully fit that mold.
Regular Season Receiving Yards Bet #1
Davante Adams (+1600)
Early reports out of Green Bay this summer have suggested that Adams will be touching the ball a lot this fall, and if Aaron Rodgers gets “more freedom” to call things at the line of scrimmage, we could end up seeing the ball in Adams' hands six or seven times out of every 10 plays.
Green Bay as an organization has been forced to go “cheap” on offensive weapons around Rodgers thanks to his huge contract at the QB position, and what that does from an organizational standpoint is put pressure on the franchise to connect with the young draft picks etc that they bring in. It kills the overall depth a team can have on both sides of the ball, meaning that the defense is one that will give up plenty of points, forcing the offense to play from behind a lot and thus throwing the ball more. Or to sum it up in five words or less; good but not good enough.
The Packers are now in what, Year 3 or 4 of searching for a viable, name brand RB, and even the depth at WR coming into camp has a lot of unknown's behind Adams. Which means when the going gets tough for Green Bay, Rodgers will only have eyes for Adams as he knows what he can expect from the now-veteran in the system. He's publicly already stated that he'd love to get the ball to Davante more, and with Green Bay likely being involved in plenty of back-and-forth games stylistically this year, Adams is going to have plenty of chances to pad his stat lines.
Regular Season Receiving Yards Bet #2
Stefon Diggs (+4000)
Diggs is a much bigger longshot here as he's got to compete with teammate Adam Thielen for receptions, and that is probably what ultimately holds him back from this title. But who knows what a full season brings in terms of injuries etc, and Green Bay's rival in the NFC North isn't going to be shy about putting the ball up now that it's Year 2 for QB Kirk Cousins in the system. An injury to Thielen could see Diggs' usage rate spike, and for someone who's already considered the “stretch the field guy” in Minnesota's attack all it really takes is an increase in targets for him to be in contention here.
Like the Packers, Minnesota enters the year as a great candidate to be one of those “good, but not good enough” teams as they likely hover around the .500 mark all year. Getting in air show duels with the Lions and Packers twice a year will help the passing numbers go up, and while it's not easy to throw on the Bears, you'd better be able to to have success.
Cousins is similar to Rodgers in the sense that he's got a big contract to live up to, and while Vikings fans would prefer that equate to playoff appearances and playoff wins, the jury's still probably out on whether or not Cousins can be that type of guy. He's someone that can put up great regular season numbers when asked to, and that's all we've got to concern ourselves with here.
Diggs could be that guy in the Antonio Brown mold of being a receiving leader that's not huge in size with the majority of their production coming from jump balls (like Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson, and Josh Gordon). Diggs has the speed and precise route running skills to be Minnesota's version of Brown if they choose to make him the focus, and who knows, a little luck with a few 80+ yard bombs to Diggs and this 40-1 shot could have us at the window in the new year.
NFL Win Total Predictions
1) Baltimore Ravens
2) Indianapolis Colts
3) Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers
4 Atlanta Falcons
5) NFL ROY
6) Passing Yards