A guy could get used to this two games on Monday night football trend. Alas, it’s not meant to be, as this will be the final double-header until Week 14. What better way to appreciate the magic than with a pair of compelling matchups? The better without Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the reigning NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles in the first contest. Followed by a re-match of Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. Wherever your rooting interests lie, we’ve got you covered from a props perspective.
This article will discuss 3-5 of my favorite pick’ems from various DFS sites like Betr, Sleeper Fantasy, PrizePicks, and Underdog Fantasy.
Monday Night Football NFL Fantasy Pick’ems
Baker Mayfield Lower 21.5 Completions
The honeymoon phase has worn off, and it’s time for some of these early-season outliers to regress toward usual production. That could have a two-fold impact on Baker Mayfield’s completions tonight. Not only are we anticipating diminished metrics from Mayfield, but the Eagles defense should also improve from their league-worst standing.
Through two games with the Bucs, Mayfield has inflated his metrics well beyond normal ranges. He’s completing a career-best 69.1% of his passes without any interceptions and an MVP-worthy 104.4 quarterback rating. Now, it’s time for that bubble to burst. Mayfield has set himself on an inevitable path with regression, and the correction phase should start against the Eagles.
Granted, there have been some personnel changes for the Eagles, but their defense isn’t as bad as we’ve seen from them through the opening two weeks. Opponents are averaging 326.0 passing yards per game against Philly, the third-worst in the NFL. The more compelling stat is that it is nearly double the 171.6 the Eagles gave up last year. Even with changes, the Eagles shouldn’t look this bad.
It might be asking a little much, but Mayfield’s regression collides with the Eagles’ projected defensive improvements. The end result should be fewer completions from Mayfield as Philadephia regains their defensive composure.
Rachaad White Lower 3.5 Receptions
We’re taking a correlated approach with our second pick, outlining Rachaad White’s receptions as a function of Mayfield’s regression. White has emerged as the primary running back for the Bucs, but his contributions to the aerial assault won’t be as pronounced as they were in Week 2.
Last week, White took on a more significant role with the offense despite decreased usage. The Bucs running back played 71.8% of snaps, below the 79.4% played in Week 1. Still, his touches went up as he saw a bump in targets against the lowly Chicago Bears. Look for White to take a backseat in the passing game as the Bucs try to stretch the field against the Eagles.
Even if he maintains his amplified target share from last week, it’s unlikely White sustains his catch rate. The former third-round pick has hauled in all seven of his receptions this year for a 100% benchmark. Even though he’s one of the most sure-handed running backs in the game, it’s impossible for White to maintain that standard.
Fewer receptions from White is an inevitable consequence of regression from Mayfield. Moreover, if the Buccaneers are playing from behind, as the spread implies, checkdowns won’t help them get back in the game. Look for White to stay below 3.5 receptions.
Puka Nacua Higher 6.0 Receptions
No one could possibly have seen this coming. Sean McVay has gotten the most out of a mid-round wide receiver draft pick. Sarcasm aside, Puka Nacua’s rise to stardom has been a meteoric one. The rookie receiver has stepped into Cooper Kupp’s role and excelled. Even against the Bengals’ fierce pass defense, he remains a high-volume target for Matthew Stafford.
Not to overstate this, but no one in the history of the NFL has accomplished what Nacua has through the first two games of his career. Stafford has thrown his way 35 times already this season, with Nacua hauling in a record-breaking 25 of those. Further, the BYU product has hit double-digit receptions in both contests, validating Stafford’s reliance on him in the passing game.
More importantly, Nacua’s target share remains unaffected, as Kupp remains out for at least the next two games.
Factoring in anticipated regression, Nacua’s receptions are set too low. The Rams have deployed their aerial assault religiously this season, leading the league with 46.5 pass attempts per game. There’s plenty of charge left in Nacua’s football magnet and he should surpass his receptions number.
Kyren Williams Higher 0.5 Rushing+Receiving Touchdowns
As good as the Bengals have been against the pass, there are a lot more holes in their armor trying to stop the run. That’s good news for Kyren Williams, who has emerged as the primary weapon out of the Rams’ backfield.
Although the Rams have prioritized the passing attack, Williams has still delivered exceptional fantasy performances. The second-year pro has run for at least 52 yards in each of the first two games, finding paydirt in both contests.
What makes this prop so appealing is that it factors in receiving touchdowns. As we saw last week, Williams is a viable option in the passing game. The Notre Dame alum was targeted ten times against the San Francisco 49ers, grabbing six receptions for 48 yards and a score.
It’s evident that McVay relies on Williams in the red zone, and all the running back has done is reward that trust. Even though he may have opportunities to exceed his rushing yards or touches prop, we like Williams to maintain his lofty touchdown metrics and cash against the Bengals.