As the NFL season quickly approaches there is plenty of things to be excited about. A lot of the NFL’s star players are making their debut with new teams. Coupled with the continued growth of sports betting, this season proves to be a unique one.
There is hardly one single position that is as anticipated as wide receivers this year. With arguably the leagues two best receivers, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr, both transitioning to new teams, fans and coaches alike are interested to see how this will shape the NFL. Bettors, on the other hand, can look to find value in these receivers and others like them.
This article will delve into top receivers over/under numbers and forecast what expect for this coming season.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, Over/Under: 1525.5 Yards
It is no mistake that Julio Jones remains the betting favorite to lead the league in receiving yards for the 2019 NFL season. Jones is coming off a league leading 1677-yard season in 2018, showing no signs of regression heading into 2019.
The Falcons are coming off a very productive season offensively. Their offense ranked among the top 10 in both offensive scoring and overall offensive efficiency. With the addition of breakout rookie receiver Calvin Ridley and the continued support of Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta had a very impressive cast of receivers. This year they return almost everyone on offense with key improvements to the offensive line, as well as an awaited return for Devonta Freeman.
Even alongside talented receivers Jones posted an impressive 67% completion percentage over 170 targets. This made him the most targeted Falcons receiver by almost 80 attempts. Last year marked his 3rdseason leading the NFL in receiving yards per game and his 2ndtime leading the NFL in overall receiving yards. Furthermore, he has surpassed 1400 receiving yards in 5 consecutive seasons and has surpassed this year’s number 3 times. It is clear that he has a clear track record of high offensive productivity. Coupled with a schedule that ranks in the bottom 10 in pass defense, there is no reason to believe Jones will not boast league high numbers yet again.
With a strong offense and a talented quarterback surrounding him, he should have no problem excelling as he has in years past. As long as he remains healthy for the duration of the season, he will go over this number.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburg Steelers, Over/Under: 1335.5
After the drama surrounding them last year, the Steelers offense is somewhat of a mystery going into this season. JuJu Smith-Schuster has huge shoes to fill now that Antonio Brown is gone. Surrounded by a relatively unexperienced group of receivers, the question becomes how much less open he will be without Antonio Brown drawing coverage from him.
Returning 2ndyear receiver James Washington and veteran tight end Vance McDonald and adding guys like rookie Dionte Johnson, the Steelers have enough to be optimistic about this year. James Conner will be entering this year as the starting running back after stepping up in Le’Veon Bell’s absence last year. Although he did not have as much of an impact in the passing game.
Ben Roethlisberger is entering his 16thseason. Even with a good offensive line, he managed to lead the league in interceptions in 2018.
It is fair to assume that JuJu will have a productive 2019 season. However, with question marks surrounding other offense members there will be plenty of defensive attention directed at Smith-Schuster. After racking up 1426 yards last year alongside Antonio Brown, it is hard to see him putting up similar numbers this season.
Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders, Over/Under 1250.5 Yards
Antonio Brown has been the topic of conversation almost all off-season. Since arriving in Oakland, Brown has taken fans and teammates on a rollercoaster of drama. After claiming to retire from football all together if he wasn’t granted permission to wear his old helmet, he has since come to terms with the NFL’s new rules surrounding the helmet and seems ready to go for this season.
Quarterback Derek Carr had plenty of success in his first season under new coach Jon Gruden. He put up good numbers despite facing the NFL’s 5thtoughest schedule of pass defense. Despite losing TE Jared Cook, Carr will have plenty of targets downfield. Receiver Tyrell Williams shows promise and should have success playing alongside AB. The Raiders also have WR Darren Williams who will surely draw defensive attention with his 4.46 speed.
Regardless of these impressive offensive pieces there is no question that AB is the star of the show. And rightfully so. Brown hasn’t finished with less than 1200 yards since his 2012 season in which he was limited to only 13 games. Furthermore, he has gotten this year’s over/under in 6 consecutive seasons. AB will receive plenty of targets and should surely reach this number yet again.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints, Over/Under 1275.5
All eyes are on Michael Thomas entering this season. The 4thyear receiver signed a 5 year, $97M contract extension making him the highest paid receiver in the league. Coming off a career-best season last year, expectations are high for his 2019 season.
From a receiver’s perspective, it is hard to ask for a better quarterback than Drew Brees. Brees continues to be one of the most consistent QB’s in the NFL. He has 70.8% completion percentage over his last 5 years. He has led the league in this metric over the last two years.
Since his arrival in New Orleans, Thomas has been Brees’ favorite target. He had a 83% catch rate over 170 targets last year. The teams second most targeted player was running back Alvin Kamara. Entering the 2019 season the Saints will have a healthy Ted Ginn and TE Jared Cook. Both will draw defensive attention away from Thomas.
After racking up 1405 receiving yards last year, it is safe to assume that Thomas will thrive in a rejuvenated Saints offense. With a veteran QB at the realm and plenty of surrounding talent, Thomas should have no problem getting this number.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns, Over/Under: 1285.5
There is a ton to be excited about for OBJ and the Browns as a whole this year. The offense, led by Baker Mayfield, has no shortage of talent.
With 1052 yards over just 12 games last year, OBJ enters a new system with a lot to build upon. Barring his health, the ceiling for Beckham’s performance in 2019 is extremely high. He has reached this number in 3 of his 5 seasons.
Led by college teammates OBJ and Jarvis Landry, the Browns have a strong passing game. TE David Njoku and WR Antonio Calloway will be a lot for defenses to handle in their own right. But paired with OBJ and Landry, it will be very difficult to scheme against that much talent.
As long as Beckham stays healthy and plays at least 14 games he should easily pass this total.