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Ben Gretch is back with his Week 4 receiving props picks. This week, it's all rookies.
ANALYSIS

Top NFL Receiving Props For Week 4: Targeting Three Wide Receivers

The first three weeks of this season have been crazy, with a host of injuries, some wild game environments, and a lot of small sample factors impacting what we’ve seen. With an extra week this regular season as an additional factor, I’m of the mind we haven’t seen most of what will become the key storylines of the 2021 season take shape just yet.

That’s not to say there haven’t been big early trends — there always are in football. But especially for these first two rookies, I think there’s plenty of meat left on the bone in terms of what they will become this year. Let’s get to the top receiving props for Week 4.

Jaylen Waddle — over 3.5 receptions (-150, Caesars)

Jaylen Waddle — over 45.5 receiving yards (-115, DK)

This receptions prop is silly, and while it’s juiced up, it feels like a no-brainer. The Dolphins have offensive line issues and Jacoby Brissett was forced last week to get the ball out quick, leading to 13 targets for Waddle at a super low average depth of target (aDOT) of 3.1 yards. Those short passes are highly catchable balls, and Waddle wound up with 12 receptions.

Along with Waddle, Mike Gesicki was also targeted 12 times in a similar role (both operate heavily out of the slot), so it certainly looked like a team-level trend where Brissett is looking in that area right now. Waddle’s yardage prop is a little tougher — he only had 58 yards last week on his 12 catches — but even at the low aDOT his yardage was fluky. To be fair, Brissett throwing 49 passes was also a bit noisy, and was influenced by a close game that went into overtime, and featured a lot of passing late.

Still, I like Waddle to rack up enough short volume to hit the receptions number, and he’s an explosive player with big-play potential who I expect to average substantially more yards per reception than he did in Week 3. Waddle’s gone over this yardage prop in all three games so far — he averaged over 10 yards per catch across his 10 catches in Weeks 1 and 2 — and he’s gone over the receptions prop all three. With Will Fuller back in the lineup last week, Waddle’s routes per dropback actually rose to a season high, because Fuller mans an outside WR role opposite DeVante Parker, but his presence on the active roster made Albert Wilson a healthy scratch. Wilson was a bigger threat to Waddle’s slot role, and Waddle should only be more involved going forward if Wilson continues to be inactive with Fuller playing.

Kyle Pitts — over 4.5 receptions (+134, FanDuel)

There’s not a ton of data that supports this bet, but that’s why it comes at plus money. What we do have is a major role — Pitts’ routes started very high, but have increased each week from 79% of dropbacks in Week 1, to 80% in Week 2, up to 85% this past week. The other important element here is the Falcons are struggling mightily, and so they are actively looking for ways to fix what they’ve done so far, not to repeat it.

Pitts in Week 1 saw eight targets but caught just four, then he caught five of six passes in Week 2. It was only in Week 3 — where he saw just three targets and caught two — where his volume wasn’t particularly close to this number. And in Week 3, he saw shadow coverage from Adoree Jackson, a cornerback, which both shows the respect he’s immediately received from opposing defensive coordinators, and also may not have been something Atlanta had been expecting. But the reality is Pitts has such a size advantage that he should be able to win in a matchup like that — that he’s a matchup nightmare is a big reason he was a top-five pick — and the Falcons will be working to figure out ways to overcome the early-season looks they’ve seen to get Pitts going.

So far this year, Atlanta’s second and third-leading receivers in terms of receptions are both running backs. Pitts sits fourth, behind both Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson, and that’s an issue for Atlanta. Head coach Arthur Smith was creative in the ways he used Jonnu Smith last year — Smith was more of a traditional tight end, to be fair — but I’m expecting the Falcons to dial up a few screens or similar play designs to get Pitts easy looks in the near future.

Dyami Brown — under 27.5 (-114, FanDuel)

Let’s make it three for three on the rookies. Brown lost routes last week to veteran Cam Sims after catching just four of 10 targets through the first two games. In Week 3, he was blanked on his two targets.

Making matters worse, Washington has activated Curtis Samuel off IR and head coach Ron Rivera has confirmed he will be “ready to roll” in Week 4. Washington already has Terry McLaurin outside and Adam Humphries has been playing a big role in the slot, so the other outside wide receiver spot seems like where Samuel might spend most of his time, especially with Brown struggling and already losing snaps to Sims there. There’s a shot Brown sees his role cut way down to a very small percentage of snaps and routes, but even while playing a lot he only has 32 receiving yards so far this season.

Top NFL Receiving Props For Week 4 Picks

Jaylen Waddle — over 3.5 receptions (-150, Caesars)

Jaylen Waddle — over 45.5 receiving yards (-115, DK)

Kyle Pitts — over 4.5 receptions (+134, FanDuel)

Dyami Brown — under 27.5 (-114, FanDuel)

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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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