It’s the Sunday Night game of the year, as Tom Brady makes his homecoming in Foxborough. The Buccaneers are road favorites by a touchdown, but our team is 100% focused on the prop market, and we’ve got one of our favorite SNF props for Buccaneers Patriots.
Tampa Bay continues to be perhaps the toughest team to run against in the NFL. Teams have been attacking the Bucs through the air whenever possible, and there’s one Patriots receiver who has been Mac Jone’s favorite target through the first three weeks.
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Jakobi Meyers Over 5.5 Receptions (-120 BetMGM)
Jakobi Meyers has turned into the Patriots’ number one option. Through three weeks, Meyers has 19 receptions on a 24% Target Marketshare, both of which are tops on the 2021 Patriots. Of his 29 total targets, Meyers has cashed this receptions number in two of the three games.
However, outside of his prolific production early this season, there are plenty of reasons to love this prop.
With James White now out for the season, Meyers is sure to see an increase in usage.
White was second on the Patriots in receptions (12) and was third in Target Marketshare (14%). White has held the “security blanket” role in the Patriots’ offense for years, and he’s been exactly that for Mac Jones through three games.
But now that White isn’t an option out of the backfield, Meyers is going to be Jones’ hot read almost every play.
Through three games, Meyers has had over 80% of his receptions out of the slot, per PFF. While he isn’t much of a deep threat, he’s often open on those short crossing routes, averaging less than 10 yards per reception. I expect him to receive a litany of short targets again on Sunday, especially considering Jones averages just 6.1 yards per attempt.
Tampa Bay Defense
It’s impossible to run on this Tampa defense, which ranks sixth in Rush Defense DVOA and has held opponents to just 3.1 yards per carry. However, the Bucs haven’t been great in the passing game.
Tampa Bay has allowed eight of nine receivers that have had a receptions line against them to go over their receptions line. The Buccaneers rank:
- 17th in Pass Defense DVOA
- 13th in PFF’s coverage grades
- 26th in PFF’s pass rush grades
Tampa’s looked suspect in the passing game this season, and while Jones probably won’t take advantage of that through chunk plays, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to dink-and-dunk to Meyers.
The Patriots have passed on over 63% of their play calls, good for ninth in the NFL. I’d expect them to stay away from Tampa’s effective rush defense, and instead attack their one weak spot. That will give Meyers tons of opportunities.
The projection market is high on Meyers, wherein I’ve seen his receptions total projected between 5.8 and 7.0. Run The Sims has his median receptions at six flat, which gives us a 20% edge on the current line.
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Meyers had a breakout season last year, and with Jones under center, the Patriots are going to continue to drop back a lot. Meyers is now the undisputed first option on passing plays, especially with White injured.
Meanwhile, Tampa’s elite rush defense is going to force Josh McDaniels to call more passing plays than usual. Which, in turn, will get Meyers more targets than usual.