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Underdog's Fantasy Pick ‘Em is a fun way to test our powers of prediction against the market. The two keys to success are picking the best players to target and taking advantage of correlations where we can increase our odds. You play Pick ‘Em by simply choosing "Higher" or "Lower" on at least two player props. If you choose successfully, this is the payout structure:
- Two picks = 3X
- Three picks = 6X
- Four picks = 10X
- Five picks = 20X
In this weekly article, we will list our favorite plays of the week and the reasoning behind them.
Week 3 Review
Overall Picks (5-9 on the week, 26-16 on the season)
Overall Units (-3, -2 on the season)
- We swung for the fences with a 20-to-1 prop with five running back receiving overs. Miles Sanders (16.5) came up just short with 13 yards. All four of the others went over. Bijan Robinson (25.5) had 32 receiving yards, Jerome Ford (12.5) had 19, Raheem Mostert (14.5) had 36, and James Cook (19.5) had 48.
- We went 0-for-5, taking higher passing and receiving totals in the Steelers/Texans matchup. The theory of the play was that the five were highly correlated and would hit over 5% of the time (making it a positive expected value at 20-to-1 odds) if the game was a competitive shootout. That game script did not play out, but the correlation held up.
- We went 1-for-3 on the assortment of unders. Two players we thought might be limited due to nagging injuries exceeded expectations.
Lessons learned: We were four Miles Sanders receiving yards away from a huge week. The process on the Steelers-Texans was solid, we did not get the game script we were hoping for with the Steelers passing game struggling due to in-game injuries and general poor play. If there is a lesson here, maybe it is to stick to three- or four-way entries instead of going for five at a time.
Week 5 Picks
1. Rookie Targets
We are going with a hodgepodge of rookies who have impressed early in the year. As the season progresses, these top rookies should continue to see their roles increase and perhaps their props do not reflect this positive trajectory.
Higher than 23.5 Rushing Yards
- Spears is averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry and looks like a potential star if his usage increases.
- Spears is already solidly involved in the offense and seeing the field a good amount. He has played at least 53% of the snaps in all but one game. He is averaging 5.0 carries and 3.5 targets per game.
- Spears has had at least 27 rushing yards in all but one of his career games. That game was against the NFL's best defense (Cleveland) in a 27-3 blowout.
- We are banking on at least a handful of carries, and Spears continuing to be efficient and explosive with those carries.
Higher than 33.5 Receiving Yards
- Josh Downs is second on the Colts in receiving yards, behind only Michael Pittman Jr, and has a 29.6% share of the team's wide receiver yardage.
- Downs has three straight games with at least 34 receiving yards.
- He is averaging 6.3 targets per game on the season and has been seeing some deeper targets down the seam in addition to the typical underneath routes out of the slot.
- The Colts are playing a Titans pass defense that has allowed 206.3 receiving yards per game to opposing wide receivers.
Higher than 29.5 Receiving Yards
- For the fourth time in five weeks, we are recommending higher on Robinson's receiving prop. While the number we need to hit has been going up each week, it remains just a bit too low.
- Robinson has seen at least five targets and 27 receiving yards in every game of his career to date and is averaging 6.1 yards per target. He is on pace to catch 81 passes for 570 yards this season and there is nothing fluky about his hot start. The Falcons offense is scheming him up plenty of touches as a receiver.
- The Texans are giving up the 10th-most receiving yards to opposing backs (37.0 per game).
Higher than 37.5 Receiving Yards
- Wilson has steadily been emerging as one of the go-to weapons in the Cardinals offense. He is coming off of the best week of his young career with 7 catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns last week against the 49ers.
WR Michael Wilson talks his smooth transition into the league, how he earned the trust of his coaches and QB's, how to beat this Bengals secondary, and more on this week's Sideline Exchange êœœ— Arizona Cardinals Insiders ðŸŽ¤ðŸŽ™ (@AZCardsInsiders) October 5, 2023
- Prior to last week, Wilson was not seeing a lot of targets but he has been making the most of his opportunities and is clearly worthy of seeing more targets again in Week 5. He ranks sixth amongst all NFL players (minimum 3.5 catches per game) with 16.9 yards per reception.
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