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Need player prop picks for Week 2 across the NFL? NFL handicapper Ben Gretch previews this weeks games and which QBs you should target for your passing props
ANALYSIS

Top NFL Passing Props For Week 2: Three QBs to Back on Sunday

Game environment plays a big role in determining whether a player prop goes over or under. For passing stats, the first thought is typically that we want teams to play from behind, because they will need to throw. But while that can sometimes help with volume, it doesn’t necessarily help a player rack up big passing numbers, because garbage time doesn’t immediately mean production. Sometimes teams just get blown out.

The real key is that the game is somewhat close. The best-case scenario for racking up stats is a back-and-forth game in the fourth quarter, where the teams are trading scores and with each trading the lead. You can wind up with a game where each team is losing each time they get the ball on offense — say one team turns a three-point deficit into a four-point lead, before watching their defense give up a touchdown that puts them back down three points when they get the ball back. Their opponent in that scenario is down four points when they take over and could be down four points again if the two teams are trading scores .

But even if we don’t find that holy grail, a close enough game where both teams are incentivized to be aggressive can be enough. For my top three passing props this week, the first two come from a game I expect to be close, pass-heavy, and fast.

Dak Prescott, over 304.5 pass yards (-115, DK/Caesars)

Justin Herbert, over 302.5 pass yards (-114, FD)

Dallas heads to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in a matchup of two offenses that both finished among the 10 fastest in Week 1 in situation-neutral pace, and were both in the top five in that same stat in 2020. The Cowboys came out throwing the ball all over the yard in Tampa last Thursday night, and while some of that was due to the matchup with the Buccaneers’ tough defensive front, it’s clear they’re comfortable with where Dak Prescott is health-wise.

Prescott threw for over 400 yards in looking like he hadn’t missed a step since his hot 2020 start before a major leg injury. Before getting hurt in Week 5 last year, Dak opened the season with passing yardage totals of 266 in Week 1, then 450, 472, and 502 in his other three full games. Amari Cooper looked fantastic in Week 1, and CeeDee Lamb looks ready to explode. Expect the Cowboys to continue to be a pass-friendly offense willing to push the ball.

The Chargers also got out to a fast start throwing the ball. Mike Williams stepped up to earn more targets in the shorter and intermediate areas of the field than he typically has in the past, and he looks like he might be ready for a legitimate breakout in Year 5. If that were to happen, it would give Justin Herbert a formidable WR duo with Keenan Allen. The Chargers led for most of the first half of their win over Washington before falling behind in the third quarter and retaking the lead in the fourth, but they stayed pretty pass-happy throughout. Washington played slow after losing their quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Herbert still threw for 337 yards as the Chargers pushed the tempo a bit.

Both of these teams look built to be in shootouts. Herbert threw for over 300 yards in eight of 15 games last year, and is more than capable of slinging it around. Prescott and the Cowboys might try to get Ezekiel Elliott more involved this week, but ultimately I think they’ll throw plenty. I like both quarterbacks in this one to go over their low-300s yardage over/unders in what should be a fun game with a hopefully exciting second half.

Lamar Jackson over 220.5 (-110, PointsBet)

The Ravens have had a hard time with the Chiefs over recent seasons, and in Week 3 of 2020 they got blown out at home while Lamar Jackson threw for just 97 yards. They might be in danger of that again, honestly, with a banged-up offensive line and the Chiefs’ defensive line capable of bringing plenty of pressure.

But I do like Lamar to go over this number for a few reasons. The running back situation is a mess. Ty’Son Williams looked great last Monday night before a couple of poor exchanges at the mesh point with Jackson and then a completely blown pass blocking assignment that led to a Jackson fumble. Those mistakes led to Williams seeing a bit less playing in the second half and overtime, where Latavius Murray took over. Murray looked old and slow, frankly, and the efficiency bump that most RBs get while playing alongside Jackson — because defenses have to respect Jackson’s ability to pull the ball and keep it himself — did not seem to apply to Murray, who averaged just 2.8 yards per carry on 10 tries.

That debacle led the team to activate Devonta Freeman this week, but how much help Freeman provides is anyone’s guess. The net result is the Ravens are going to have to lean on Jackson to compete with Kansas City. They’ll need him to do it with his legs, but they’ll also need him to air the ball out a bit. Jackson missed a few throws in Week 1, and the game did go to overtime so the Ravens got a few bonus plays. He threw for 235 yards on 30 passes. I expect we’ll see Baltimore throw even more in this one, particularly because they could trail for more of the game.

The offensive line is a concern, but in Week 1 Jackson found Sammy Watkins four times for 96 yards, and Marquise Brown also looked solid. The key will be whether Mark Andrews gets going after a quiet Week 1. His routes were up from last year, though, and I suspect we’ll see the tight end make an impact in this one.

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Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.

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