The NFL field has been whittled down from 32 to 14 and the intensity ramps up the closer a team gets to the Super Bowl. We’ve picked five high-profile players from this week’s field and come up with reasons why we are convinced we’ll being heading the pay window with this Fab Five.
Mixon Things Up
There’s no doubt that Joe Mixon is the player who Cincinnati’s offense revolves around. However, he has a very interesting Over/Under for volume expectations (19.5 rushing attempts at -105 Over, -123 Under). To hit the Over, Mixon will need 20 carries – something he did just four times during the regular season and just twice since Week 3. It should be noted that one of those two over the last 15 games was a season-high 30 against the Raiders. But that was a game the Bengals jumped out to a huge lead and leaned on Mixon to keep it a huge lead. If the same situation happens, the Bengals will likely pull Mixon and let Samaje Perine or Chris Evans share the load. Mixon has come 17 or more carries in four of his last five games, but hasn’t hit 20 in any of them. It may get close, but Take the Under (-123).
Rob from the Rich
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski has a huge reception Over/Under for a tight end (5.5 catches at -102 Over, -127 Under). The clear indication here is that he won’t get to six receptions. However, in the two games that the Bucs were without both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, Gronk caught seven passes in each game and had 252 receiving yards. He missed the first game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but you can bet without a couple of his top weapons, Tom Brady will be locked in off the snap on Gronk up the seam. Six catches is a high bar for a tight end, but this is the postseason and that is Brady and Gronk. Take the Over (-102).
Let’s Show Brandon!
Of all the players who have been spotlighted in the second-half run by the San Francisco 49ers, WR Brandon Aiyuk has been overlooked despite making a significant contribution. The 49ers needed to win their last two games to make the playoffs and Aiyuk was more productive (10-201) than either Deebo Samuel (7-158-1) or George Kittle (6-39). The Dallas Cowboys defense is going to pay inordinate attention to Samuel and Kittle, which will leave Aiyuk in single man coverage. His Over/Under is modest (49.5 receiving yards at -114 for both the Over and Under). It may only take three receptions to hit that number because the Cowboys give up a lot of downfield splash plays and their attention will be on George and Deebo. Take the Over (-114).
Sometimes a number is set that you think should go one way. but it doesn’t … Such is the case for Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson. His Over/Under for receptions is high (6.5 receptions at -106 Over, -122 Under). In the 16 games he played this season, he caught seven or more passes in six games, and this game has all the makings of a 38-14 blowout that sees Ben Roethlisberger throwing 50 passes. However, as the weather has become colder late in the season, the Chiefs have become much more of a running/short-passing team willing to take a 14-play drive that eats eight minutes off the clock. Johnson is clearly capable of catching seven passes, but he may not get the opportunities he needs because the Steelers defense is on the field for 35-40 minutes. Take the Under (-122).
All Cooped Up
I’ve made more money on Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp than any other player. He has been seeing absurd Over/Under numbers for receiving yardage. There’s a reason for that. In 17 games this season, he topped 100 yards in 11 of them and had 92 or more in all but one game – the first meeting with the Arizona Cardinals. His Over/Under, as expected, is incredibly high for this week (106.5 receiving yards at -114 for both the Over and Under). Even in his worst statistical game of the season (5-64), Kupp was targeted 13 times. He was targeted 15 times in their second meeting and produced (13-123-1). That stat is telling. The Rams learned from the first game, when he caught just five of 13 thrown his way and changed it up – he caught 13 of 15 – mostly slant passes – the second time around. It’s hard to give away 106 yards, but this is Kupp. Take the Over (-114).
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