When it comes to NFL player prop projections, there is simply no one better than our own Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner.
Using our Player Props Tool on Action Labs, we can easily identify the biggest discrepancies between his projections and the Thursday Night Football props on PrizePicks to target the ones with the most value as the Steelers head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings.
What is PrizePicks? A daily fantasy operator — meaning they’re available in more states than sports betting is! — PrizePicks offers a unique opportunity for action on player props in which you parlay two or more plays together.
NFL Props for Steelers-Vikings
Kirk Cousins Over 21 Completions
The Steelers’ run defense will force the Vikings to throw, getting Cousins over this total.
Sean Koerner project Cousins for 34 passing attempts, right around his projected total at most sportsbooks. At his seasonal 68.4% completion rate, that projects to 23.3 completions, more than 10% above this total. As the Vikings defense has continued to struggle to stop the opposing offense, Cousins’ passing attempts and completions have continued to rise — he has averaged 36 pass attempts and 24.8 completions over their last four games.
Even with the return of running back Dalvin Cook, I don’t anticipate the Vikings to have success on the ground against the Steelers. The Vikings need a win to remain in the playoff hunt, and their most efficient offensive option will be to have Cousins take advantage of a weak Steelers secondary.
Najee Harris Over 65.5 Rush Yards
There are few running backs who receive a higher touch volume than Najee Harris, who I expect to be heavily used again on Thursday night.
Harris ranks first among all running backs in both snap share (85%) and opportunity share (87.3%), per PlayerProfiler. The Vikings have one of biggest discrepancies between rush and pass defense DVOA, ranking 13th in pass defense efficiency yet 29th in run defense efficiency.
Harris gutted out 71 tough rushing yards against an elite Baltimore run defense on 21 carries. Minnesota has allowed the opposing lead running back to reach the following yardage totals:
- Jamaal Williams: 71 rush yards
- Elijah Mitchell: 133 rush yards
- A.J. Dillon: 53 rush yards
There’s no reason to believe that Harris won’t hit this total, provided he gets his standard usage. We project Najee for 70 rushing yards, on a prop total that is set at 73.5 yards at most other sites.
Justin Jefferson Under 89.5 Rec Yards
This line has increased after the news of Adam Thielen’s absence due to a high ankle sprain. However, this new total is an overreaction and I project Jefferson to fall short of the almost 90-yard total.
Jefferson has hit this total in three of his past four games, but I certainly expect Pittsburgh to bring more defensive attention his way in Thielen’s absence. The Steelers rank first among all teams with 3.1 sacks per game, including 3.7 sacks per game in their last three contests. That pressure should limit the Vikings ability to connect on long pass plays.
Look for Cousins to keep the Pittsburgh pass rush off-balance with short to intermediate throws, opening up more options for K.J. Osborn, Tyler Conklin, Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. I see Jefferson getting high receptions, but less yardage than recent games.
Cousins and Jefferson have connected on a 48-yard or higher completion in three of the past five games. If Jefferson doesn’t have that big reception, he should fall short of this prop. We have Jefferson projected for 88.6 yards, just slightly below this total. It also falls short of the 92.5 yard total listed at most other sites.