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Season-long player props can be a fun way to cash in on your hunches about which players will have great seasons and which will disappoint. We typically cover weekly player props on Monkey Knife Fight and are excited to do so every week again this season. Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture of season-long props requires a similar analytical process, but some key variables are different. We do not care about a specific matchup or LIKELY game script. Instead, we are looking at how we expect the player's team will perform over the entire season to gauge whether game scripts will be favorable in a macro sense. Plus, durability becomes a key factor to consider.
With COVID-19 likely to wreak havoc on player availability again, the overall lean will be towards taking the under whenever we do not feel strongly about a player's odds of hitting the over comfortably. We are going to advise fading some outstanding players. However, there are also some season-long props listed below that are just too juicy to pass up the over. In fact, we will argue some are near locks to go over as long as the player can stay healthy. Let's dive into 10 of the most interesting, high-profile, season-long player props on Monkey Knife Fight.
Quarterbacks: More Passing Yards
Tom Brady More Than 4,550.5 Passing Yards
Footballguys Consensus Passing Yards Per Game: 301.9
Over the final 10 games of the 2020 regular season, Brady averaged 309.2 passing yards per game. The Tampa Bay offense looked unstoppable over stretches late in the season. We have seen Brady put up big numbers in this offense, and we are projecting Brady to throw for more than 5,000 yards if he plays 17 games. As mentioned above, if it is close, we go with the under. In this case, the projections are not particularly close. Brady should comfortably clear 4,550 passing yards if he hits anywhere near his ceiling.
Let's put on our imagination caps and think that maybe it took Tom Brady a bit of time to learn a new offense last season. You know, first time with a new coach/team in 20 years.— Dave Kluge (@DaveKluge) August 28, 2021
His 16-game pace from Weeks 10-17:
Brady arguably has both the best passing-game weapons of his entire career and the best in the entire NFL. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are talented players in the middle of their primes. Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are amongst the best players in NFL history at their positions. It took Brown and Gronkowski a bit of time to work their way into playing shape, but by the end of the 2020 season, both were mismatch nightmares for opposing defense. Plus, Brady now has a reliable pass-catching running back in Giovani Bernard. The pieces are all in place for Brady to challenge for the NFL passing yardage championship.
Durability Aside from serving a four-game suspension in 2016, Tom Brady has not missed a game since 2008. In terms of durability, he is the gold standard. He has shown an ability and willingness to play through injuries and has perfected a training and nutrition regimen that has proven incredibly effective at allowing him to stay on the field year after year.
Josh Allen More than 4,517.5 Passing Yards
Footballguys Consensus Passing Yards Per Game: 272.5
The Footballguys passing yardage consensus feels conservative here. The Bills increased their passing play percentage from 55.0% in 2019 to 61.7% in 2021. With the way Allen played down the stretch of the 2020 season, we could see that passing play percentage continue to increase. In fact, the Bills offense really hit its stride in 2020 once offensive coordinator Brian Daboll amped up the number of passing plays. "Balance is important if it’s working. If one of them (the run or the pass) is not working, you better not have too much balance. You better do the other thing more,” Daboll said last November. The starting offense played just one half in the 2021 preseason, and the offense was extremely pass-heavy.
What Bills fans saw from Josh Allen and the starting offense today is what us in the media have been seeing basically every single day at practice since training camp began. Been saying on the radio how good he and they have been, so it’s good to see that show up in front of fans— Sal Capaccio ðŸˆ (@SalSports) August 28, 2021
Durability Allen is one of the most physically imposing quarterbacks in the NFL. He has not missed a game during his two full seasons as the Bills starter.
Quarterbacks: Less Passing Yards
Justin Herbert Less Than 4,550.5
Footballguys Consensus Passing Yards Per Game: 281.3
Barring injury, this one should come down to the wire. If Herbert matches our projection of 281 passing yards per game, he would need to play all 17 games to hit the over. When it doubt, the default in 2021 should be to take the under. There are going to be some COVID-related missed games. There is the potential that Herbert would sit out a meaningless Week 17 game. There is an injury risk for every player. The value here is on the under because Herbert has so many realistic paths to going under and only a relatively narrow path to hitting the over.
Patrick Mahomes II Less Than 4,999.5
Footballguys Consensus Passing Yards Per Game: 313.5
Patrick Mahomes II is a special player, and we are projecting a huge season with 313.5 passing yards per game. However, it feels like there is more downside than upside at this number because we need Mahomes to both post massive passing numbers and play a full season. If the Chiefs get the running game going and do not have to lean as heavily on Mahomes or lock up playoff seeding early, this could easily go under even if Mahomes has an MVP-caliber season. Again, we go back to the bigger picture view. If Mahomes hits the over, it will likely be by a very slim margin. 5,000 yards is a big number. A few blowouts where the Chiefs rely on the running game more or a minor injury that keeps Mahomes out for a week or two would push this under.
Durability Mahomes has not shown to be the most durable guy. He suffered a serious knee injury in 2019 and a major foot injury that required offseason surgery in 2020.
Matthew Stafford Less Than 4,500.5
Footballguys Consensus Passing Yards Per Game: 290.7des
2013 was the last season Matthew Stafford threw for 4,500 or more yards. The Rams arguably have the NFL’s best defense and play in what should be the NFL’s best division. Los Angeles may not need Stafford to put up huge passing game numbers to win games. Plus, the passing game weapons are fine but not elite like many make them out to be. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are above average, proven veterans but neither is an elite mismatch option. The team is counting on either 34-year old DeSean Jackson or 155-pound rookie TuTu Atwell to provide a consistent deep threat. Is this group that much better than Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and company were in Detroit?
Durability After some injury-plagued seasons early in his career, Stafford strung together a number of 16-game seasons in a row. That streak came to a screeching halt when a back injury cost him half of his 2019 season. There were rumblings he was not fully healthy heading into 2020, but he did manage to play a full 16-game season.
Running Backs: More Rushing Yards
Nick Chubb More Than 1,347.5
Footballguys Consensus Rushing Yards Per Game: 86.9
Nick Chubb is arguably the best pure runner in the NFL. He has been amongst the league leaders in a number of key metrics each of the past three seasons.
#Browns Nick Chubb led all RBs in rushing yards over expected per attempt (1.75), yards after contact per attempt (4.06), and PFF elusive rating (130.0) in 2020.— Cody Suek (@CodySuek) August 25, 2021
No bark, all bite. https://t.co/hilwIK4q3D
While yards-per-carry is a notoriously flawed predictive measure, it is still worth noting that Chubb has averaged over 5.0 yards-per-carry every season. He has been especially effective late in games. In fact, he averaged an incredible 10.0 YPC in the fourth quarter last season. This is a talented young Cleveland team with a loaded defense and potentially elite offensive line. The bigger-picture look at potential game scripts bodes well for Chubb's potential to have a monster rushing season.
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Injury is the primary concern here. Durability Chubb missed four games (plus parts of another) last season, which led to him running for just 1,067 yards. Before that injury, he had shown solid durability in his NFL career and late in his college career. If we get 16 or 17 games from Chubb, he should smash the over here.
Running Backs: Less Rushing Yards
Derrick Henry Less Than 1,550.5
Footballguys Consensus Rushing Yards Per Game: 104.8
If Henry plays a full 17 games and Tennessee does not manage his workload, this should go over slightly. The guess here is that Tennessee will want to limit Henry's workload more than in past years and lean more heavily on a passing game that, with the addition of Julio Jones, could make the leap to one of the league's best.
Durability Henry is coming off a 396-carry season, which followed a 386-carry season (both totals including playoffs) before that. History has not been kind to backs after massive usage seasons. After back-to-back 400+ carry seasons, Terrell Davis never played more than eight games in a season again. Shaun Alexander, following a 430-carry season in 2005, never lasted 16 games in a season again. Larry Johnson fell off a cliff after logging 429 carries in 2006. DeMarco Murray never eclipsed 300 carries again after a 416-carry season in 2014. In each of these cases, we made excuses for why these players would be different and break the trend of backs slowing down after massive usage seasons. Many are doing the same now with Henry, pointing to his unique physical gifts. He may be the exception to the rule, but the value is on the side taking the lessons of history into account.
Dalvin Cook Less Than 1,380.5
Footballguys Consensus Rushing Yards Per Game: 94.6
Cook has averaged 85.1 rushing yards per game in his career. If he hits a similar per-game number this season, he would need to play 16 games to hit the over. There also should be some concern that this season goes sideways for the Minnesota Vikings. The team tried aggressively to land Justin Fields, and the relationship between Kirk Cousins and the franchise feels fraught. The offensive line was iffy to start with and lost one of its best players (Riley Reiff). The early returns from his potential replacements are not positive. Injuries are also starting to mount up, with Irv Smith Jr. potentially looking at a lengthy absence. There are game script questions, and this feels like a close enough prop even assuming 16 games that the value is on the under.
Durability: Cook has never played more than 14 games in his career. He has averaged just 10.8 games per season in his career. A bit undersized for a workhorse back, Cook has had many serious lower-body injuries dating back to his high school and college days.
Wide Receivers: More Yards
Tyreek Hill More Than 1,375.5
Footballguys Consensus Receiving Yards Per Game: 82.5
Over his final seven games of the 2020 season, Tyreek Hill caught 52 passes for 735 yards and 8 touchdowns. This was the point of the season that the Chiefs offense really found itself and took off. With Sammy Watkins now in Baltimore and Travis Kelce turning 32-years old in two months, there is no reason to believe Hill’s role will decrease. In fact, we should continue to see him eat up a progressively larger share of the offensive pie. The consensus projection of 82.5 yards per game is probably too conservative. Hill, who just turned 27-years old in March, is right in the middle of his career prime, and the only thing likely to keep him under 1,375 receiving yards this season is a multi-game absence.
People who haven’t been in this position will scream get hands on but when TYREEK HILL takes a speed release if you ain’t ultra confident in your speed you are fasho getting outta there! Lol âœŒðŸ¾pic.twitter.com/ZbNs04rghZ— Big CROCKYâš¡ï¸ (@eric_crocker) August 28, 2021
Durability There are some modest reasons for concern. Hill is dealing with a mild case of knee tendonitis, and he has played in 86% of his career games. However, the wager here is on Hill staying healthy and putting together a few huge receiving games on his way to another monster fantasy season.
Stefon Diggs More Than 1,375.5
Footballguys Consensus Receiving Yards Per Game: 89.4
Over the second half of the 2020 season, Diggs led the NFL in receiving yards per game (105.0). That is a full-season pace of 1,785 yards. The Bills passing offense made the leap to elite and, as noted in the Josh Allen section above, looks primed to pick up in 2021 right where it left off. Buffalo replaced John Brown with Emmanuel Sanders but otherwise brought back the same core receiving group as last season. Diggs should again dominate targets and production.
Durability If Diggs can come close to the 105 YPG pace from the second half of last season, he would need to play in 14 of 17 games to hit the over. He has managed to play in 14+ games each of the last four seasons.