Jimmy McGinty continues his NFL 2018/19 Previews and he looks at the markets for Most Passing Yards, Rushing and Receiving Touchdowns.
Most Passing Yards
I touched on this in both the team previews and MVP preview. I like Rivers and Stafford here.
In 2016 they were 5th and 6th despite ranking 9th and 10th for attempts. Last season they jumped to 2nd and 3rd despite winning just 9 games each. I’ve both pencilled in for 9+ wins again in 2018 so there shouldn’t be a drop in passing yards. In fact I think they’ll both be even more productive.
Stafford has a strong trio of receivers in Tate, Jones and Golladay. Their run game isn’t super appealing which is all the better here. They face bad teams in Jets, Bills, Dolphins, 49ers, Cardinals and Seahawks. And the better teams they do face may force Stafford to throw often. Garbage time yards count too. The biggest thing going for Stafford is he’s now operating behind a quality offensive line. Decker, Lang and Wagner missed multiple games last year and Stafford got sacked 47 times (only Brissett got sacked more). They also drafted a guard in the first round which should help.
Rivers should also see an improved offensive line in front of him. Mike Pouncey was signed from Miami and Forrest Lamp returns from an ACL. Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Mike Williams give the Chargers four very usable receivers. On an easy schedule Rivers will care open loads of defences.
Brady topped the table last year but he has lost Cooks, Edelman for 4 games, Mitchell and Matthews. The offensive line took a hit losing Nate Solder and now Isaiah Wynn also. Matt Ryan is a danger but I’ve backed him for MVP. If you fancy a long shot its Alex Smith. He finished 8th in passing yards but now plays in Washington (where Cousins finished 7th). The Redskins, if all helathy, have a great offensive line, talented tight-end and a few receiving options. And importantly for this bet is they lost their running back to injury just last week.
2pts win Philip Rivers 12/1 William Hill
2pts win Matthew Stafford 12/1 William Hill
Starting with last year’s top 5: Gurley – the Rams are due some scoring regression after a fairy-tale year. Ingram – suspended for 4 games. Howard – is going to feature in a more passing based offense this year. Bell & Fournette have a right chance of jumping up from tied 3rd but both have had injury troubles over the past few seasons.
I prefer the chances of Melvin Gordon and Derrick Henry. Both are the main men in the backfield of teams expected to take steps forward in the scoring ranks this year.
Henry only scored 5 TDs last year but he was playing second fiddle to DeMarco Murray (who got 6). Now with just pass catching RB Dion Lewis as opposition he’ll have a lot more carries and he’ll get all the goal line work. The Titans were miserable last year, but as mentioned in the AFC South preview they will get the benefit of coaching upgrades in 2018. Their offensive line being one of the league’s best also helps Henry.
The Chargers offensive line isn’t as good as the Titans but it’ll probably be the best that Melvin Gordon has operated behind since joining the NFL. He punched in 8 TDs last year and 10 the year before. I’ve pencilled the Chargers in for 10+ wins on an easy slate; it’s hard not to see Gordon benefitting in the scoring ranks. He is the clear no.1 in LA.
Only 2 of the top 10 in this table last season didn’t finish with winning records. There may be nothing in it but that could be a worry for fans of the favourite Zeke Elliott and the likes of Barkley, Collins, Johnson and McCoy.
1pt win Derrick Henry 12/1 – I’ve only seen this market with redzonesports, hopefully others will follow
1pt win Melvin Gordon 20/1
In the 6 games that he played last season Aaron Rodgers threw 16 TDs. Brett Hundley played the other 10 games and managed 9 TDs. That’s a quick snapshot of what the Packers receivers had to work with for a big chunk of the season. Yet despite that, Davante Adams still managed 10 TDs, enough for tied 2nd place in receiving TDs. He had 12 the season before (also tied 2nd) despite Jordi Nelson having 14 as Rodgers favourite target. Now Adams is number one and expecting to have Rodgers for a full 16 games – I’m going to say he scores 15 TDs.
Jimmy Graham is an obvious danger to the selection now in Green Bay as well. He topped this table when in New Orleans in 2013 and also had 10 last year when with Seattle. However he got the most rezone targets of any player in the League last year. The Seahawks had very little else going for them in the red-zone. Green Bay is different. Rodgers has a repore with Adams already. He’s not used his tight-ends much over the past few seasons so may not change that a whole lot just because they have Graham. He did very little else bar catch TDs in Seattle so I’m not that excited about him contributing regularly in Green Bay.
Randall Cobb hasn’t caught more than 6 TDs in any of the past 3yrs. It’s all about Adams now.
1pt win Davante Adams 12/1 – I think redzonesports are the only firm with this market, let me know if I’m wrong.