Burke: Find player props for Week 15 with COVID absences

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 17, 2021 11:31 AM

This week in the NFL is a downright mess thanks to the COVID-19 outbreaks that have affected just about every team. Practice squad players are going to end up playing meaningful snaps in nearly every game this week and some teams are even turning to third-string quarterbacks as a result of the illness.

The ‘Blurbs’ throughout the week have had a heavy focus on the COVID chaos, but it is a huge story and it only makes sense to talk about it further in a handicapping context. Sides and totals seem very difficult to bet at this point in time. There is an alternative solution to betting on the NFL this week that does carry an element of risk, but may pay off handsomely if you can isolate the right guys.

I’m talking about player props. When you look around the NFL, a lot of key players will be missing games. Take, for example, Jaylen Waddle with the Dolphins. If Waddle is indeed out, the Dolphins will be missing a player that has caught 38 passes on 46 targets over the last four games. Waddle’s 46 targets over the last four weeks rank fifth for the full season on this Miami roster. That is a lot of production to make up and you want to look for the guys that may do it. Guys like DeVante Parker, who just returned from injury prior to the bye week. Guys like Albert Wilson, whose snap share has increased the last four weeks.

The Seahawks have Tyler Lockett on the reserve/COVID list and DK Metcalf hasn’t really practiced this week. With 185 of the team’s 365 targets between them, take a look at the matchups and see who might be in line to pick up the slack. Freddie Swain and D’Wayne Eskridge have also missed practice this week. Penny Hart is the only WR left standing, but maybe you look for receiving props for the running backs or just simply expect TE Gerald Everett and Will Dissly to get all the attention.

Obviously the COVID cases are very fluid this week and you may lock in a player that ends up not playing, but nearly every sportsbook out there has a house rule that a player must play at least one snap or be listed as “active” for the prop to have action. Therefore, you can speculate on some of these guys risk-free if they end up on the COVID list.

Get creative. As I mentioned yesterday, volatility in a market creates opportunity for a sharp individual. See if you can find some of those positions with player props this week.

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