Three NFL player props I'm playing in Week 5

By Adam Burke  ( 

October 6, 2022 05:00 PM

Will this be the week that business picks up in the NFL? We’ll have to wait and see, but something has to give eventually. The league’s 32 teams are collectively averaging just 21.9 points per game. If that holds, it will be the lowest total since 2017 when teams scored 21.7 PPG.

We haven’t even hit the cold conditions and bad weather yet that come along with games in November or December, so the lack of scoring is a bit of a concern, especially for fantasy football players and prop bettors. Raiders/Chiefs on Monday Night Football is the only game lined in the 50s this week, but we’re sure to have some games that surpass expectations.

Here are some prop bets to consider for Week 5:

Baker Mayfield Under 195.5 Passing Yards (-115)

You hate to kick a man while he’s down, but Mayfield is down bad and so is head coach Matt Rhule. The former Baylor boss came into this season on the hottest of hot seats and nothing has really transpired yet to turn the A/C on his burning buttocks. The Panthers are 1-3 and haven’t managed 300 yards of offense in any of their four games to this point.

Reporters are starting to ask a lot of questions about Mayfield and this may be the week where Rhule pulls the plug and goes with Sam Darnold in an attempt to save a sinking ship. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo didn’t have inspiring comments this week either, as the focus was on all of the batted balls that Baker has had. As a short quarterback, those have always been a problem, but they’ve been in the spotlight even more with this inept offensive start.

No quarterback likes pressure, but I can tell you as a Browns fan that watched a ton of Mayfield that he handles it worse than most. He draws a 49ers defense with the highest Pressure% in the NFL at 34.2% per Pro Football Reference and 15 sacks thus far. San Francisco also generates pressure mostly with the front four, which means they’re stout in coverage as well -- and Baker is known to force the ball.

Whether he just plays badly or gets benched, the projections should be very low for him on Sunday.

James Robinson Over 61.5 Rushing Yards (-125)

Thinking about game state is critically important when handicapping props. Whether a team has a lead or is trailing will dictate the snap counts for certain players, especially running backs. In this case, Robinson should be in line for a healthy workload. The Jaguars are favored by a touchdown against the Texans, and I happen to like them to cover that spread.

If Jacksonville is going to win and cover, that should mean a steady stream of carries for Robinson, whose two highest games by snap count percentage were the wins over the Colts and the Chargers -- games that the Jaguars won comfortably. Robinson has eclipsed this total in three of his four games, falling short last week against the Eagles. Jacksonville only ran 46 plays in that game and Robinson had eight carries out of 22 snaps. The Jaguars trailed the entire second half and it made more sense to have Travis Etienne on the field.

This week should go differently and Robinson draws a Texans defense that has allowed over five yards per carry and ranks 29th in Defensive Rush DVOA. We’re paying a little juice with the DraftKings number, but shop around and see if you can find a better one in the market.

Pat Friermuth Over 35.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

This prop could also apply to George Pickens (37.5 yards), but the Steelers will likely need to the football a lot against the Bills. They’re likely to be trailing by two scores throughout the game and that means establishing the run won’t carry a lot of value. Plus, the time is now to evaluate Kenny Pickett. It is in the organization’s best interest to use the next 13 games to see what they have in the former Pitt QB so that they can figure out how to move forward.

Pickett was 10-of-13 in relief of Mitch Trubisky last week. He also had six runs, so the ball was in his hands to make plays, which opens up opportunities for guys like Pickens and Friermuth. My thought here is that the Bills will be protecting against the deep ball and explosive plays with a lead, which means Friermuth can do a lot of damage underneath.

Four of Pickett’s 12 targets went to Friermuth, the same number that went to Pickens. I think either one makes sense, but I slightly prefer Friermuth given what I mentioned about a lot of underneath stuff being open.

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