Can Kevin Stefanski help Baker Mayfield rebound from a disappointing 2019 season? Photo by @ByNateUlrich (Twitter).
- Le’Veon Bell averaged just 3.2 yards per carry in his first season with New York
- Baker Mayfield took all but three of Cleveland’s offensive snaps last year and only managed 3,827 passing yards
- See below for analysis and picks for our favorite 2020 NFL season player props
The return of the NFL is only days away, and while Super Bowl futures have been available for months, we can now finally wager on season long NFL player props.
The Player prop market is typically one of the softest NFL markets you can find and there’s usually a ton of value in betting unders. I know you’re probably thinking it’s no fun to bet against something happening, but that’s exactly why the value exists. The majority of the public feels the same way and oddsmakers exploit that by inflating the totals.
The great thing about betting unders is that you have multiple ways to win your wager. The player could simply fail to produce at a high enough level to exceed the lofty total, or his season could be cut short due to injury or rest.
3. Le’Veon Bell Under 800.5 Rushing Yards
- Over odds (-110), Under odds at DraftKings (-110)
It’s no secret that New York Jets head coach Adam Gase is not Le’Veon Bell’s number one fan. Gase didn’t want the Jets to bring Bell on board prior to last season, and this year he’s brought in Frank Gore, his old buddy from his Miami days, and drafted La’Mical Perine in the 4th round.
Le’Veon Bell took a rep with the second team. Don’t see that every day. Hmm. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 30, 2020
Reports out of training camp is that Bell is only seeing roughly 60% of the carries and with the Jets expected to frequently be in negative game script, it’s going to be tough for the running back to exceed this total. We also have to consider Bell’s injury history. He’s played 16 games just once in his six-year career and if New York is out of the playoff hunt earlier than usual, the Jets might want to give Perine additional reps.
Bell averaged just 3.2 yards per carry in 2019 and New York is expected to have four new starters on its offensive line this season. With no preseason games to help prepare, the o-line could struggle to find continuity and that’s just another reason to bet against Bell.
2. Josh Allen Under 7.5 Rushing TD
- Over odds (-110), Under odds at DraftKings (-110)
We all know Josh Allen is at his best when he pulls the ball down and takes off. Allen has rushed for 17 touchdowns in his two NFL seasons, and over 1,100 yards.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 21, 2019
But is his rushing TD rate sustainable? In 2019, Allen scored on eight of his 11 carriers (73%) inside the 10-yard line. That’s insane. For context, Lamar Jackson, considered not only the best rushing quarterback, but one of the NFL’s top rushers, scored on just 5 of 14 carries (36%) inside the 10. Allen finished last season with 9 touchdowns on the ground and if he’s going to exceed 7.5 in 2020 he’s going to have to once again run extremely hot.
— Nate Mendelson (@NateMendelson) November 17, 2019
He could certainly accomplish the feat, but I’m willing to bet regression is coming. Also working against Allen is the upgrade Buffalo made to its running back corps. 37-year-old Frank Gore is out, and 3rd round draft pick Zach Moss is in. Moss was a touchdown machine in his final season at Utah, scoring 15 times on the ground. You don’t draft a running back that high if you don’t intend to give him the rock and Moss appears destined to steal some of those Allen red zone carries. Don’t forget the Bills also have talented sophomore Devin Singletary on the roster and that seems like too many mouths to feed for Allen to go over this prop.
1. Baker Mayfield Under 3,899.5 Passing Yards
- Over odds (-112), Under odds at FanDuel (-112)
In 2019, Baker Mayfield was under center for all but three of Cleveland’s offensive snaps. Despite basically never leaving the field, he still only threw for 3,827 yards in an offense that passed the ball on 59.61% of its plays.
“How in the world, with the same coach and better personnel at skill positions, how are you 35 QBR points worse then you were last year?” – @Peter_King talks Baker Mayfield’s regression and #Browns struggles pic.twitter.com/GW2R2JnCmy
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) November 6, 2019
Mayfield regressed sharply in his sophomore season, posting a lower quarterback rating, completion rate, average yards per attempt and touchdown percentage than in his rookie campaign. Now he’ll suit up for his third different head coach in three seasons, and there’s no secret to what Kevin Stefanski wants the Browns identity to be.
Baker Mayfield Stats
|Year||Pass YDS||Cmp%||AY/A||TD%||QB Rating|
Under Stefanski last season, the Minnesota Vikings rushed the ball at a 49.3% clip. Not only did that style lead to a Wild Card berth and a playoff victory, but also a hyper efficient season from Kirk Cousins. The Vikings QB set a career high in quarterback rating and posted a career low INT rate. Stefanski employed a run heavy approach and dialled up play action at a very high rate. Despite Cousins’ extreme efficiency he still only threw for 3,603 yards.
We can expect a very similar game plan for this year’s Browns. Cleveland has one of the best one-two running back duos in the league and it makes sense to take some of the pressure off Mayfield’s shoulders. The Browns also added another tight end in the off-season to bolster their 12-personnel package, which also hints at a run first game plan. Expect Mayfield’s efficiency to improve in 2020, but his passing yardage to fall short of this total.
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.