Top NFL Receiving Props For Week 2: Nelson Agholor Poised to Break Out?
Patriots WR Nelson Agholor, Over 47.5 Receiving Yards @ -115 (DraftKings)
Headed into the season, it was fair to wonder whether or not Nelson Agholor’s revival season in Las Vegas last year was a fluke. Agholor not only produced a career-high in yardage in his lone year with the Raiders, but did so on 18.7 yards per reception, which was about 6.5 yards higher than his previous season-high. Agholor evolved into a legit deep threat with the Raiders, in addition to being someone who could do enough in the short to intermediate game to warrant staying on the field as more than just a role player.
Agholor’s Patriots career only has a week of play to go off of, but he looked about as promising as he could have. The former Philly outcast looked to pick up right where he left off with the Raiders, finding work on a flurry of routes beyond ten yards. Per Next Gen Stats’ charting, Agholor earned three receptions beyond the ten-yard range, as well as two more targets that fell incomplete.
The best of those receptions was a seam route down the middle, in which Agholor had to hang onto the ball through a tough hit delivered by a safety patrolling the middle of the field. Making those kinds of plays is how one endears themselves to a quarterback, not to mention Agholor was already the offense’s best option beyond 10 yards anyway.
With a putrid Jets secondary on the docket for this week, Agholor has a chance to have another nice week. That Jets defensive front is stout against the run, too, so the Patriots may be inclined to lean more on the passing game, at least until they inevitably pull out ahead. The hope is that the Patriots can expand their passing game even further down the field, and that Agholor would be the beneficiary of that, but even sticking with the same approach from last week’s Dolphins game should net Agholor his touches.
Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett, Longest Reception Over 22.5 Yards @ -110 (DraftKings)
I can not promise I will have a Tyler Lockett bet every week, but he is going to have my attention so long as the matchups are favorable and the Seahawks offense keeps cookin’.
Last week, the thinking in taking Lockett as the first scorer was that the Seahawks could get plays over the top against a Colts defense that has progressively struggled to stop explosive passing plays. Lockett earned that opening touchdown, beating one of the Colts’ safeties in a two-high coverage with a nifty post route.
While the Titans defense may not be quite as fond of two-high coverages that can be exposed by post routes and the like, they simply do not have the talent at cornerback to handle Lockett (and DK Metcalf, for that matter). Kristian Fulton is not yet who they hoped he would be when they drafted him in 2020, and rookie Caleb Farley still looks hindered by the back issues that forced him to slip a bit on draft day. Janoris Jenkins, while still fair game to jump a route for a pick at any time, can not move like he used to, either.
Just last Sunday, the Titans gave up at least one 20-plus yard reception to four different Cardinals receivers, including rookie Rondale Moore and a partially-washed A.J. Green. Not only is Lockett simply a better player than all but DeAndre Hopkins among that Cardinals group, but we can safely assume the Seahawks will continue trying to target down the field, particularly on play-action. Until proven otherwise, Lockett will be the guy to look out for with that strategy.
Chargers WR Mike Williams, Over 4.5 Receptions @ -105 (DraftKings)
This pick is less about my faith in Mike Williams and more about what Dallas’ defensive strategy was against the Bucs. In the season opener, Dallas used second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs to trail wide receiver Mike Evans for most of the game. Left, right, outside, inside — it did not matter where Evans lined up, Diggs was following him.
Diggs proved capable in that role, too. Evans was held to three receptions for 24 yards on six targets, none of which netted a touchdown. Part of that stat line is thanks to how loaded the rest of the Bucs pass-catcher group is and Tom Brady not being one to force targets unnecessarily.
In this Chargers versus Cowboys matchup, Williams is not likely to be the one who is subjected to Diggs trailing them all game. Keenan Allen, the better and more versatile receiver of the two, is a better bet to be the guy that Diggs trails around the field. Now, that does assume Dallas’ philosophy for trailing a wide receiver this year is all about taking away the best player and not necessarily creating the best matchup for the cornerback, but still.
That leaves Williams to be one of a few weapons left on the Chargers offense to pick apart an otherwise horrendous Cowboys secondary, particularly if he can get any matchups against cornerback Anthony Brown. Brown was the subject of many, many receptions against the Bucs, and teammates Jourdan Lewis and rookie Nashon Wright did not look ready to provide anything better.