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NFL Props for Thursday (9/28)
I understand that some may be hesitant to trust Christian Watson due to his hamstring injury, but he’s had ample time to recover. The Green Bay Packers have been incredibly cautious with his rehabilitation. He even practiced last week and warmed up for pregame. My gut feeling is that they simply wanted to err on the side of caution and preserve their WR1 for this crucial divisional matchup.
I suspect that we’ll see a report tomorrow mentioning a snap count for Watson, which is entirely expected. Just as a point of reference, Romeo Doubs found himself in the same situation as Watson in Week 1 with a hamstring injury. He was reportedly on a snap count, yet he still led the team in route percentage at 67%. This percentage might have been somewhat skewed due to the blowout win.
Detroit’s run defense has been impressive, ranking 8th in Rush EPA and 3rd in Success rate. They’ve managed to limit Chiefs RBs to 14 attempts for 45 yards on the ground, Seahawks to 22 for 62, and Falcons to 17 for 45. The fact that they contained the Falcons, who are a top-tier run game in the league, suggests they are legit.
On the flip side, their pass defense has been decent, ranking 17th in dropback EPA and 20th in Success rate. It’s important to note that these numbers might be somewhat inflated due to their recent game against Desmond Ridder. Given this, there should be opportunities for Green Bay in the passing game. In the past year, Watson cleared this line in 7 out of 8 games, averaging 65.4 receiving yards per game.
Let’s not overlook Watson’s talent either. As a rookie, he averaged 2.29 Yards Per Route Run. To put that in perspective, other rookies who averaged at least 2.25 YPRR include Odell Beckham, Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Christian Watson, and Chris Olave. Watson is a tremendous talent, and I expect his target share to reflect that. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Jordan Love leads all quarterbacks in the highest average depth of target (aDOT), which is great news for a downfield threat like Watson.
I’m enthusiastic about this matchup, confident in this line, impressed by Watson’s talent (especially in comparison to those around him), and encouraged by Love’s willingness to throw the ball downfield. I would play this up to over 39.5 at similar odds.
Christian Watson (Over 37.5 Receiving Yards -115 @ MGM)
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