NFL player props: There's no fade like Patrick Mahomes

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The world may end with a whimper but Week 10 of the NFL started off with a bang when the Miami Dolphins upset the Baltimore Ravens 22-10 on Thursday. After scouring hundreds of hollow player props on BetMGM, I've found four that I really like on Sunday, along with a game prop that has a lot of value. Here's my card, which is more wide receiver-heavy than Kelvin Benjamin:

Michael Pittman Jr. over 63.5 receiving yards

Jacksonville gave us Fred Durst and their limp secondary is giving the rest of the league whatever they want through the air. The Jags are surrendering the second-highest completion percentage and yards per attempt, as well as the fourth-most deep completions. They've been shredded by a bevy of alpha receivers and there's no longer any question that Pittman is the big dog in Indy. He is that guy, pal. Trust me. Pittman is averaging nearly eight targets per game, has a reception of 18 or more yards in eight of nine contests this year, and has hit this prop in six of nine, including his last three.

Diontae Johnson over 6.5 receptions

The third-year receiver has dominated Pittsburgh's target share since he was a rookie. Johnson has seen double-digit targets in five of the seven games he's played this season. With Chase Claypool out of the lineup in Week 4, Johnson caught nine balls on 13 opportunities against Green Bay. Claypool's toe injury has rendered him inactive for this weekend's matchup versus a toothless Lions defense. The Steelers' offense will be manufactured by Johnson & more Johnson.

Patrick Mahomes under 284.5 passing yards

If you were expecting a bounce-back game from Mahomes, this ain't it, chief. Raiders cornerbacks Casey Hayward Jr. and Nate Hobbs have been locking it down. Only two quarterbacks have hit this prop against Las Vegas, which blitzes at the lowest rate, yet ranks sixth in QB pressure. Mahomes hasn't fared well against effective pass rushes in 2021, posting a career-low QB rating (59.0) and completion percentage (38%) under pressure. He's gone over 278 passing yards three times this season and just once in his last seven games.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has passed for more than 278 yards just once in his last seven games. (Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has passed for more than 278 yards just once in his last seven games. (Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Williams over 61.5 receiving yards

You could build a pretty decent defense from all the Vikings players who have been ruled out of this game. Linemen Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce recently joined cornerback Patrick Peterson on injured reserve, linebacker Anthony Barr is out with a knee injury, and safety Harrison Smith is on the COVID-19/reserve list. Four of those five are Pro Bowlers. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is also questionable to play with a groin injury that knocked him out of last week's loss to the Ravens. We haven't seen Vikings disappear at a rate like this since the end of the 11th century. Minnesota has allowed four receivers to exceed 80 yards over the last two games and the secondary has been getting scorched by deep threats and big-bodied wideouts all year. Williams is both of those things. He's finally off the Chargers' injury report, putting him in line for a big day against a unit full of backups.

Cleveland Browns to use a coach's challenge first

I've been doing some research on this game prop — which is offered for every NFL game - and will be publishing an in-depth article on it in the near future. The short version is this: analytics-driven coaches tend to be more liberal with their challenges in an attempt to gain an edge, while the old-school coaches typically only toss their red flags in the case of a seemingly egregious call. Kevin Stefanski has initiated nine challenges in his 25 regular season games as head coach of the Browns, for an average of 36%. That's nearly double Bill Belichick's rate of 19% over the last nine years (26 challenges in 137 regular season games). Stefanski has initiated two replays this season. Belichick challenged once, out of confusion. It's certainly possible that the refs make a bad call that isn't reviewed by the replay official, forcing Belichick's hand, but history and Stefanski's style of coaching favor the Browns using a challenge first.

Stats provided by PFF, Pro Football Reference, CBS Sports, and nfl.com.

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