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Why JuJu Smith-Schuster Will Smash his Player Props By Week 14

A certain offshore player prop bookmaker is forecasting a serious step back for Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in his third year, and they’re about the only ones in the projections community that see it that way.

BetOnline has been late to the game getting their season-long player props live, but the good news is that their lines are significantly off from lines at that have been subject to market forces for a few months now at places like 5 Dimes and books in New Jersey.

Earlier this week, we looked at two other lines that looked soft, and their Smith-Schuster receiving yards line is particularly vulnerable as well.

Here’s why Smith-Schuster’s player prop receiving line could easily be eclipsed by Week 14.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Over 1,250 Receiving Yards (-115 @ BetOnline)

We aim to have a two-game cushion on any season-long overs to account for the possibility of missed time due to injury, and Smith-Schuster’s O/U of 1,250 yards fits the bill.

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The third-year wunderkind went for 1,426 yards last year despite having one of the all-time greats in Antonio Brown drawing 168 targets across from him. Smith-Schuster won’t get all of those now that Brown is a Raider, but there’s no reason to believe he’ll many fewer than the 166 attempts Ben Roethlisberger sent his way last year, either. And a 200-target season is a realistic possibility.

  • With a career yards-per-target average (YPT) of 9.56, Smith-Schuster could hit 1,250 yards in as few as 130 targets.
  • And given his 10.4 targets-per-game pace while playing “behind” Brown last year, 130 targets is achievable by Week 13.
  • Even if he somehow drops off to 9 targets per game without Brown, he can play to his career YPT averages and hit this yardage mark halfway through Week 14.
  • If he sinks to 8 targets per game – an unlikely 23% drop in volume – he can still hit it by Week 15.

The Steelers aren’t going to suddenly change their stripes. Starting with the most recent season, here’s where they ranked in total pass attempts: 1st, 2nd, 14th, 15th, & 6th. At worst, they’ll pass at a median rate; more likely, they’re among the league leaders again.

Polarized Markets

This number is even more notable for the fact that it flies in the face of what the rest of the market is saying.

Our analysts in New Jersey tell us two books there have the line set at 1,350 yards, while another his it 1,290. Meanwhile, 5 Dimes is the most bullish of all with an O/U 1,375.5 yards, a 10% discrepancy on BetOnline’s number.

Projections

Multiple Football experts and analytical models concur. Let’s compare an aggregate projection of five different fantasy experts (via Fantasy Pros), along with projections from RotoViz – some of the sharpest guys in the industry – against the line from BetOnline.

O/U Consensus Projection Difference RotoViz Projection Difference
JuJu Smith-Schuster 1,250 1,398.20 11.60% 1568 25.44%

I would describe fantasy projections as a mean outlook leaning towards conservative. Even so, Smith-Schuster’s consensus forecast beats this betting line by 11.6%. RotoViz gives JuJu 179 targets and sees him beating this line by an incredible 25.44%.

They’re not looking through rose-colored glasses either — with so much vacated volume, it’s difficult to come up with non-injury scenarios where the new top dog in Pittsburgh gets less than 160 targets.

Conclusion

You should be approaching the over on any NFL season-long prop with caution, but this one is too good to pass up.

Cross your fingers for an injury-free season and enjoy your Christmas prop bonus.

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