Before we know it, the 2022 NFL season will be kicking off, so it's time to get real about our player props.
Which of these players is offering the best value in those markets? That's what I want to find out.
So, that's why I'm leveraging numberFire's NFL player projections to see what I can uncover.
To take the process a step further, I'll be using numberFire's game-by-game projections for the 2022 NFL season.
I'll be using those as the basis for 10,000 season simulations. Of course, this means that the results will be tied closely to how our projections view the league as a whole.
That said, I made sure to account for game-by-game variance and injury risk (based on historical position averages) to make sure that the season simulations resemble reality.
Here are the results.
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||+5000||848||0.3%|
|Michael Pittman Jr.||+5000||1,132||2.3%|
The Historical Precedent You Should Know
We've had a few relative surprises in league leaders in recent seasons.
It's hard to think about after his 2021 campaign, but entering last season, Cooper Kupp ranked 27th in projected receiving yards by our model. While that might sound egregious, he was only around 10 projected receiving yards per game shy of being the WR15.
In 2020, Stefon Diggs led in receiving while ranking 26th in our projections. He was entering his debut season with the Buffalo Bills, who had just ranked 24th in pass attempts and 26th in yards the year prior. Even with that situation being what it was, Diggs was projected to be within 100 yards (i.e. just 6.3 yards per game) from ranking as the WR14 in pre-season yardage projections.
That level of predictability should matter for our picks, and we shouldn't chase long shots in this market.
The 5 Best Bets to Lead the NFL in Receiving Yards in 2022
Ja'Marr Chase (+1200)
The best value in the simulations is Ja'Marr Chase. Chase is projected for 1,561 receiving yards (91.8 per game) to rank second in the NFL behind just Kupp (more on him in a second).
Chase largely stands to benefit from a Cincinnati Bengals offense that can't really go down from a volume standpoint. Cincinnati ranked just 20th in pass attempts and 25th in plays in 2021. His quarterback, Joe Burrow, is a standout bet to lead the league in passing yardage, too.
Cooper Kupp (+850)
It's been 10 years since we saw a repeat league-leader in receiving yards (by the G.O.A.T. Calvin Johnson in 2011 and 2012), but the data does like Kupp even at +850.
Kupp is projected to lead the NFL in yards (1,667 or 98.0 per game at a 17-game pace). Even with history against him and plenty of competitors, +850 is still a fair number with a sizable payout.
Mike Evans (+2000)
Helping the case for Mike Evans to lead the NFL in yardage is volume. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (731 pass attempts) were the only team to attempt more than 675 passes during 2021's regular season, opening the season on the PUP list seems very possible for Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski has re-retired.
Evans is projected to finish fifth in receiving yards outright (1,320) and beats his implied odds in the simulations.
Tee Higgins (+3500)
What's that? Another Bengal? Yep.
The projection model likes Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase to go wild in 2022. Higgins is actually slated for 1,194 yards in 2022, ranking him 10th among all wideouts. He's tied for 17th in odds to lead in receiving, however.
Michael Pittman Jr. (+5000)
The other player who is besting his odds in the simulation model is Michael Pittman Jr., who is getting a new quarterback this season with Matt Ryan joining the Indianapolis Colts.
While Indianapolis ranked 27th in pass attempts last year, Pittman Jr. finds himself ranked 17th in projected receiving yards at 1,132 (or 66.6 per 17 games, well within the range of historical leaders' projections).