Top NFL Rushing Props For Week 3: Targeting Three Running Backs

NFL handicapper Ben Gretch breaks down his top NFL rushing prop picks for Week 3 from across the NFL.
Ben Gretch
Fri, September 24, 11:08 AM EDT

Top NFL Rushing Props For Week 3: Targeting Three Running Backs

Well, the AJ Dillon prop was a big whiff last week, and Darrell Henderson got hurt 1.5 yards shy of his over with a quarter left to play. His backup, Sony Michel, ran ten times from the point of Henderson’s injury through the end of the game and picked up 46 yards.

So last week’s rushing props did not go as well as Week 1’s smashing success, but we’re back again this week to get after it. And if you think I’ve learned any lessons from my misguided love for AJ Dillon, you’re sorely mistaken.

AJ Dillon Over 18.5 rush yards (-115) - Caesars

Look, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’m an idiot. I called Dillon’s rush yards prop my favorite bet last week because I was confident the Packers wanted to use him. They instead featured Aaron Jones early and often, which makes sense because Aaron Jones is outstanding.

I maybe should have considered that as more of a possibility because we’ve seen it before from the Packers, coming off a loss to feature Jones as a way to jumpstart their offense. The best example of this is back in 2019 when Jones had the only other four-touchdown performance of his career one week after the Packers’ first loss that season, then five weeks later, he had a three-touchdown performance — one week after their second loss. 

Jones is an incredibly talented player, but the Packers have always — I think smartly — managed his workload a bit. And more trends suggest they’ve deployed him most heavily when they’ve needed a spark, including his usage with and without Davante Adams in the lineup. What we saw in Week 2 was a bit irregular on a few levels, including Jones racking up 23 touches on just 45 total snaps, a very high rate for a lead back who plays on passing downs. From a big picture standpoint, it made sense — they got their offense going, and they’ve reminded defensive coordinators of the weapon they have in their backfield, which will ideally open things up for their passing game. 

How does all this relate to Dillon? Jones now has 15 career regular-season games with 20 or more touches, and just twice has he hit 20 touches the following week. He’s averaged 14.1 touches per game the week after a 20-touch game. To be fair, the Packers leaned on him harder than ever last year, and it’s entirely possible they just keep riding him this year. But my guess is the split we saw on Monday Night Football isn’t what we see in Week 3, and the Dillon rush prop has moved down. We’re now in a range where we don’t even have to be right that Dillon gets used more in Week 3 to go over. Even in Week 2, when Dillon was a total afterthought, he got five carries and totaled 18 yards, so he was right in this ballpark.

Caesar’s has the best line at 18.5, but you can get 19.5 at -110 over at DraftKings, and I like the over on both. I’m going right back to the well here. 

Chris Carson Under 71.5 rush yards (-120) - DK, Caesars, BetMGM

Chris Carson Under 17.5 rush attempts (-130) - Caesars

The props are elevated for Sunday’s Seahawks-Vikings clash that had an over/under of 55 points. This year, both teams have played an overtime game already, and a field goal decided both of their Week 2 games. Those close finishes typically feature elevated play volume and plenty of fourth-quarter production.

But Carson’s props are ones to target under. Seattle’s backup running backs haven’t done much this year, but Carson hasn’t been a true workhorse back for some time. In 2019, Carson rushed 20 times in eight different games, but since the start of 2020, he hasn’t had more than 17 rush attempts in any game.

In that stretch, Carson’s gone over the 71.5 rushing yards number just four times in 14 games and has more than 80 yards just once (Week 1 of this year, when he ran 16 times for 91 yards against the Colts).

Michael Carter Over 28.5 rush yards (-115) - PointsBet

The value on Carter’s prop is still flashing toward the under in some projections systems, but I’m not sure that’s accounting for what might have been a changing of the guard in Week 2.

After a Week 1 where Ty Johnson played more than half the Jets’ snaps and Carter and Tevin Coleman were both around a quarter, the rookie Carter’s snap share rose 20 percentage points in Week 2 to 45%, and he went from five touches to 13. He notably earned that additional work with an efficient game, including closing it well with 29 rushing yards on four fourth-quarter carries.

It’s still a three-way backfield, but Carter generated buzz as the most dynamic of the bunch and has looked it through two weeks. Coleman’s snap share fell from 26% in Week 1 to just 10% in Week 2, so he’s seemingly falling out of favor, while Johnson also lost some snaps and was tied with Carter at 45% playing time in Week 2. If that’s the split again, Carter’s in good shape to get enough work to hit this number in an offense molded after San Francisco’s attack that will run the ball and try to protect rookie quarterback Zach Wilson after a four-interception game.

If that’s not the split, then the most likely guy to keep earning is the rookie back, Carter. So it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if we see him up around a 60% share this week and cruising by this low prop figure.

Top NFL Rushing Props For Week 3 Picks

  • AJ Dillon Over 18.5 rush yards (-115) - Caesars
  • Chris Carson Under 71.5 rush yards (-120) - DK, Caesars, BetMGM
  • Chris Carson Under 17.5 rush attempts (-130) - Caesars
  • Michael Carter Over 28.5 rush yards (-115) - PointsBet

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Ben Gretch
@YardsPerGretch
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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