3 NFL Player Prop Bets for Thursday Night Football: Week 2
Player props can be useful in a variety of ways, from taking advantage of them straight up within the betting market to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy football.
Here we'll focus on utilizing our projections and a slew of other tools and simulations to help make money betting player props. For this article, we are using the odds provided at FanDuel Sportsbook to pinpoint spots where value can be had this week.
The prop-betting experience on FanDuel Sportsbook is getting even more fun. You can track your player props with real-time updates and place in-game props with ease.
Each and every week I'll be bringing separate prop bets articles for Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and the Sunday main slate.
Note: Betting lines and our player projections may change after this article is published.
Austin Ekeler Over 53.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
With two of the best offenses in the league going head-to-head, let's jump into some player props.
The Los Angeles Chargers are on the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, where the over/under is set at 53.5 points and the Chiefs are 4.5-point favorites. This has all the makings of a shootout -- given the talent on both sides -- so let's find some props for tonight's action.
Let's start with Austin Ekeler over 53.5 rushing yards. Week 1 of the NFL season saw Ekeler pile up only 36 rushing yards, but it's a one-game sample size and we can dig a bit further.
Ekeler played on 50.77% of the offensive snaps in Week 1, which was the highest of any running back on the Chargers by a decent margin. Both Sony Michel and Joshua Kelley played on 24.62% of the snaps, showing Ekeler is the clear number-one option for LA.
In Week 1, the Chargers had 26 rushing attempts by running backs, Ekeler accounted for 14 (53.8%) of them. That's right where he is projected tonight, per our model, as we forecast him for 15.48 carries, with Michel being the next highest at 3.74. Long story short -- Ekeler is the lead back for the Chargers and will be handling most of the work.
For the Chiefs, they ended Week 1 as the league's eighth-worst run D by our numbers.
Add all of this up, and numberFire's projections have Ekeler going for 70.55 rushing yards -- well over his 53.5-yard prop total.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Any Time Touchdown (+150)
For an any time touchdown prop, JuJu Smith-Schuster is worth considering.
To no one's surprise, the Chiefs brought the offense early and often in Week 1, with 44 total points and five passing touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes. The passing attack saw Mahomes spread the ball around a good bit, and Smith-Schuster wasn't able to find the endzone.
He did finish with 8 targets and 6 receptions for 79 yards -- all encouraging signs for the first-year Chief. Those 8 targets were good for a 20.5% target share, which was the second-highest on the team behind Travis Kelce. That's where we should see the two of them tonight -- Kelce is projected for 9.05 targets with JuJu projected for 6.79 looks.
The Chiefs have a 29.00-point implied team total, and the player -- JuJu -- who had the second-most targets for KC last week and is projected for the second-most this week has great odds (+150) for a touchdown.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Under 15.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
Finally, we turn to an under for a Chiefs' running back.
That would be under 15.5 receiving yards for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. CEH did cross this mark with 32 receiving yards last week against the Arizona Cardinals, but that was a bit of an outlier. In 2021, CEH played in 12 total games and finished under 15.5 receiving yards in nine of them -- or 75% of the time.
It should also be noted that CEH was not the clear primary running back for the Chiefs last week. While the lopsided score likely skewed these snap counts a bit, Jerick McKinnon played on 39.39% of the snaps, CEH on 36.36%, rookie Isiah Pacheco on 24.24%, and Michael Burton on 13.64%.
Four different running backs saw action for the Chiefs, and CEH wasn't even the most targeted running back. McKinnon led the way with four targets while CEH had three.
That is where we should see them tonight, with numberFire's projections having McKinnon pegged for 3.20 targets and CEH at 2.45.
This all leads to CEH being projected for only 13.75 receiving yards, hitting the under on his receiving prop.