2023 NFL Betting: 9 Player Futures Bets to Take

Below, you’ll find nine futures bets I like, along with a discussion of several other options I’m not interested in betting on. For each bet, you can see the implied percentage odds for context, along with the sportsbook with those odds.

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Passing Yard Bets to Take

Deshaun Watson Most Passing Yards

Odds: +3000 (3.2 percent) on FanDuel

Deshaun Watson is the only long shot with a real chance to hit this. Watson’s last full season was in 2020 when he led the NFL in passing yards. He’s priced at or lower than quarterbacks like Russell Wilson (never had the passing volume), Geno Smith (let’s not get carried away with last year’s breakout darling) and Jimmy Garoppolo (struggles to stay healthy, not very good, and the Raiders have no offensive line). 

Watson will play behind a premium offensive line with solid weapons in Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Njoku and Cedric Tillman, with Nick Chubb in the backfield.

Jimmy Garoppolo UNDER 3650.5 Passing Yards

Odds: -115 (53.5 percent) on DraftKings

Garoppolo has been above this number in two of four seasons as a starter (3,978 passing yards in 2019 and 3,810 in 2022). However, that was playing in San Francisco, where he had Patrick Mahomes-level efficiency (8.3 yards per pass attempt). 

Seriously, Kyle Shanahan gets the most efficient passing seasons from his quarterbacks, year after year. Garoppolo goes from a great offensive line and great weapons to a much worse situation with the Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr threw for 3522 yards in 2022 at just 7.0 yards per attempt with Josh McDaniels. Garoppolo is definitely worse than Carr, whom the Raiders traded to New Orleans this offseason. 

Also, Garoppolo has health concerns, and he is going from a good offensive line to one of the league’s worst in Las Vegas. Injury risk and the chance of missed games will increase. 

After Davante Adams, there aren’t any inspiring weapons for high passing yardage, and Adams turns 31 in December. Garoppolo could hit this under even if he stays healthy, given how bad this Raiders team could be. Then, when you add in his injury profile, this was a bet I decided to take myself. 

Most Rushing Yards Market Overview

5 RBs Who Can Win

Jonathan Taylor, +800 (11.1 percent) on DraftKings

Jonathan Taylor projects for at least 300 carries, and QB Anthony Richardson is highly mobile, which should help Taylor’s efficiency. We saw Taylor average 78 rushing yards per game in 2020 and 2022, and he led the NFL with 1,811 rushing yards (107 per game) in 2021.

Derrick Henry,  +900 (10 percent) on FanDuel

Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing yards in 2019 and 2020, and he most recently posted 1,538 rushing yards in 2022. He’s 29, but there’s still a chance for the guy who has played at least 15 games in six of seven seasons to stay healthy and have more than 300 carries in 2023. The Tennessee Titans’ weak offensive line is concerning.

Nick Chubb +1000 (9.1 percent) on DraftKings

The Cleveland Browns may have the best offensive line in 2023. Chubb has seasons of 1,494 rushing yards (2019) and 1,525 rushing yards (2020).

While he likely won’t get more than 280-310 carries, his efficiency has been at least 5.0 yards per carry in all five NFL seasons, so he could be out-carried by 25-40 carries and still lead the league in rushing yardage.

Bijan Robinson, +1400 (6.7 percent) on DraftKings

The Atlanta Falcons were one of the run-heaviest teams last season. Tyler Allgeier is “just a guy,” and he still quietly posted 1,035 rushing yards as a rookie at 4.9 yards per carry. This is a solid offensive line, and Bijan Robinson projects for around 300 carries, much like Najee Harris (307 carries) or Saquon Barkley (261 carries) did in their rookie seasons. 

Robinson is an elite runner based on all his advanced college metrics, and coach Arthur Smith has a long history of running the snot out of the ball.

Breece Hall, +2000 (4.8 percent) on DraftKings

Breece Hall is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn ACL, according to several physical therapists on Twitter. He’s already running full speed in a straight line and should start cutting soon. If Hall is ready for Week 1, his odds should rise to the Chubb range. 

Quite simply, his current 20:1 odds are a bet on health, and it’s worth considering. Hall averaged 88 rushing yards (1,496 17-game pace) during his final four games of 2022. Aaron Rodgers will prevent teams from stacking the box against him, and Hall has the breakaway speed like Taylor and Chubb to produce chunk yardage consistently.

Other Favorites Unlikely To Win

Below, I briefly detail why I have minimal interest in the six other running back favorites.

Josh Jacobs, +1200 (7.7 percent) on DraftKings

Josh Jacobs had 393 touches last year, the fifth-highest number over the past decade. The Raiders have no offensive line, and Garoppolo is a downgrade from Carr, so expect more stacked boxes against Jacobs.

Taylor and Harris from last season are the most recent flops in a long track record of running backs getting injured or struggling with their efficiency the year after an excessive workload.

Dalvin Cook, +1200 (7.7 percent) on DraftKings

Dalvin Cook is unlikely to be on the Minnesota Vikings at the start of the season due to his contract. It’s tough to find a landing spot where he gets 300 or more carries, and he’s only topped 264 carries in one of his six seasons due to health. He’s also getting up there in age, as he turns 28 in August.

Saquon Barkley, +1400 (6.7 percent) on DraftKings

Saquon Barkley’s home run-hitting style does not lend itself to rushing efficiency, and while he’s hovered around 1,300 rushing yards twice, it’s tough to see him going beyond that. He has never received 300 carries in any of his five NFL seasons.

Tony Pollard, +1600 (5.9 percent) on DraftKings

While he’s always been an efficient runner (career 5.1 yards per carry), Tony Pollard is a wild projection with these odds, given he’s never had more than 193 carries in any of his four seasons. The Dallas Cowboys are unlikely to give him 300 carries, as he’s a slightly undersized, explosive runner.

Miles Sanders, +1600 (5.9 percent) on DraftKings

Miles Sanders had 15.2 carries per game in 2022, by far his career high, and he took those carries for 1,269 rushing yards behind the Philadelphia Eagles‘ elite offensive line and alongside a mobile quarterback in Jalen Hurts

The efficiency likely drops moving to the Carolina Panthers, and if Sanders received 259 carries in 17 games for Philadelphia last year, it’s difficult to see him reaching 300 carries in Year 5.

Joe Mixon, +1800 (5.3 percent) on DraftKings

Joe Mixon was out-snapped by Samaje Perine in two of the team’s three playoff games last year. He’s no longer a prime running back, and the Cincinnati Bengals still don’t have a great offensive line. Mixon has never reached 300 carries in any of his six seasons, and his career-high for rushing yards is just 1,205.

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Receiving Yard Bets to Take

Garrett Wilson Most Receiving Yards

Odds: +2500 (3.9 percent) on DraftKings

Garrett Wilson just had 1,103 receiving yards as a rookie, playing with three different, below-average quarterbacks — Joe Flacco, Zach Wilson and Mike White. He now gets Rodgers. 

Wilson had seven games with at least 89 receiving yards last year. Four of those seven games were without Zach Wilson. Overall, he played eight games without Zach Wilson. Essentially, 50 percent of Garrett Wilson’s non-Zach Wilson games were 89 or more receiving yards. Even without Zach Wilson in the lineup, Garrett Wilson was working with White and Flacco.  

Wide receivers take a massive leap in Year 2 after they have a strong rookie season, and Garrett Wilson sported a 25 percent target share with a 10.4 average depth of target (aDOT). 

Translation: he’s getting massive volume moderately far down the field. For context, Amon-Ra St. Brown’s aDOT is just 6.1 yards. St.Brown has the same 25:1 odds in this market, even though he works much closer to the line of scrimmage than Garrett Wilson.

Stefon Diggs Most Receiving Yards

Odds: +2000 (4.8 percent) on DraftKings

Stefon Diggs led the league in receiving in 2020 (1,535 yards), then had 1,225 and 1,429 the past two seasons, respectively. He’s had 166, 164 and 154 targets playing in 16, 17 and 16 games during that span. 

The Buffalo Bills still have no other receiving options that should cut into his target share. Gabe Davis, Dalton Kincaid, Dawson Knox, Deonte Harty and Khalil Shakir are not players who should cut into Diggs’ role. 

The Bills’ defense has a chance to be worse than last year, as Von Miller is aging, and the team lost LB Tremaine Edmunds to the Chicago Bears. Also, the AFC East is getting better, as games against the Jets could be a shoot-out with Rodgers in town.

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