Top NFL Rushing Props For Week 2: Targeting Three RBs
We had a good Week 1, comfortably hitting on all three rushing props discussed here, so we’re back for Week 2. There’s one prop this week that stands out above all others, and is my favorite prop of the week. Let’s start with that, then hit two more rushing props I like.
AJ Dillon over 35.5 (-110, DK)
The Packers invite teams to beat them on the ground, and the Saints did that very effectively in the first half of Week 1, putting up drives of nine, 15, and 15 plays to severely limit Green Bay’s offensive snaps. By the time Aaron Rodgers took over to start his third drive of the first half, there was 1:07 left in the half, and the Packers had run just 12 plays.
That drive featured no rush attempts just before half, and then the Packers threw 14 times against just four rush attempts in the third quarter, before they were so totally out of the game that Jordan Love took over at quarterback with more than 10 minutes left in the fourth. The net result was Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combining for just nine carries, with Jones taking five and Dillon four. Third-stringer Kylin Hill added four rush attempts as well, but those were all in the fourth quarter after Love had taken over.
My read coming into the season was the Packers would use Dillon quite a bit alongside Jones, much like they did with Jamaal Williams. Dillon is a 247-pound tank with good agility and workhorse bonafides from his college days, so he especially would be expected to split the rushing work more than the pass-catching out of the backfield. In Week 1, that role didn’t materialize, but Dillon did enter the game for the Packers’ second drive, even after a 15-play Saints drive in between. What that indicated to me was the Packers do want to play Dillon — the long Saints drive meant Jones was plenty rested, but they still went with Dillon for that second drive because the plan seemed to be to alternate drives. We saw similar in the third quarter.
In Week 2, the Packers should be in much better position to run more plays and find offensive balance between the run and pass while at home against the Lions. I expect Dillon up around 10 carries, with the potential to break 15 if Green Bay is salting away a late lead. A big back who falls forward, Dillon’s averaged over 5.0 yards per carry on his first 50 NFL rushes — hitting this line of 35.5 rushing yards should be no sweat as long as he gets about eight attempts.
The Week 1 outcome for the Packers as a team, and how it forced them away from the run, masked what looked like positive news for Dillon’s involvement going forward. That gives us a soft line — Jones’ rushing yardage total is nearly double given the expected game environment in Week 2, and while Jones should have a higher line, it shouldn’t be close to double. Dillon’s rushing yardage is my favorite prop of the week.
Darrell Henderson over 54.5 (-115, PointsBet)
Henderson played a whopping 94% of the Rams’ offensive snaps in Week 1, trailing only Najee Harris for the largest snap share among running backs last week. Only six running backs played more than 75% of snaps, and among them, Henderson has the lowest rushing yardage over/under for Week 2 — Harris’ over/under is already up over 70 yards, while the other four are all above 60.
So the market isn’t necessarily buying into Henderson’s Week 1 role, and it’s also probably aware that the Rams came out passing, and Henderson saw nine of his 16 carries in the fourth quarter. Henderson totaled 58 of his 70 Week 1 rushing yards in that fourth quarter, with the game all but decided, so his lack of early involvement might be a bit of a concern for him hitting this number.
Still, the Rams are road favorites in Indianapolis, where the Colts were beaten at home by the Seahawks last week. Russell Wilson was efficient through the air, but Seattle was also efficient running the ball against the Colts defense, with Chris Carson picking up 91 yards on 16 carries. Even if Henderson gives up a few more snaps to Sony Michel this week, I’m expecting his strong late-game performance from the fourth quarter of Week 1 to carry over to plenty of Week 2 opportunities. He’s a good bet to rush about 15 times again this week, which explains his median projection of 73 rushing yards at Run The Sims, where their Player Prop tool has Henderson as a 77.7% probability of going over this number.
James Conner over 34.5 (-110, DK and MGM)
Conner played the short side of a committee with Chase Edmonds in Week 1, but the two were on the field together at times, and Conner wound up playing right around half the snaps at 49%. He also led the team in rush attempts as Edmonds handled far more work in the passing game, and despite Conner not rushing particularly efficiently, he was able to rack up 53 yards on 16 carries.
The Cardinals won pretty easily on the road at Tennessee in Week 1, and return home as favorites to host the Vikings, who are fresh off an overtime loss in Cincinnati. Arizona’s defensive line was especially strong in their win over the Titans, and it’s possible the Cardinals are ready to make the next step as a team. If they are able to win at home, there will be some second-half rush opportunities for both Conner and Edmonds.
Conner’s situation is a lot like Dillon’s above. I’m more confident in the Packers creating the positive game script that inflates rushing attempts than I am for the Cardinals, and I’m also more confident in Dillon’s rushing efficiency than Conner’s. But these are similarly low over/unders, and this number is very manageable for Conner given he should be in line to get close to or reach double-digit carries.