Underdog Fantasy NFL Picks: Monday Night Football (Lions-Packers)

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Week 2 comes to a close with a Monday Night Football showdown between NFC North rivals. Last week, we closed the week right by nailing the three highlighted Underdog Fantasy Pick ’em selections. So let’s repeat the feat this week. First, however, if you’re new to Underdog Fantasy, have no fear.

It’s easy to get started. Here’s how it works:

  • Create an account on Underdog Fantasy.
  • Use the promo code PROPS to claim an extra $10 on your first deposit.
  • Go to the Pick’em Games.
  • Make two or more selections to receive a correlated payout of 3x, 6x, 10x, or 20x.
Use the promo code PROPS to get $10 free!

It’s pretty fun, and Underdog Fantasy is available in most states except for the following: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana, Montana, Washington, Delaware, and Iowa.

Now, let’s take a look at my favorite Underdog Fantasy NFL picks for Monday Night Football of Week 2.

Longest Completion: Aaron Rodgers (-2.5 Yards) OVER Jared Goff

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When you think about arm strength and deep balls, who comes to mind first, Aaron Rodgers or Jared Goff? Obviously, you think of Rodgers.

Case closed, right? Not exactly. Still, there’s a good reason you instinctively think Rodgers and not Goff. First, Goff’s a dink-and-dunk passer.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Goff’s average throw depth of 6.1 yards downfield in 2020 was the second-lowest among quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts. Comparatively, Rodgers’ mid-pack mark of 7.4 yards downfield was notably deeper.

Second, Rodgers uncorked and completed more deep balls last year. According to Pro Football, Rodgers completed 32 of 77 deep passes — defined as 20-plus yards. He had the third-most deep passes and fourth-most completion.

On the other hand, Goff completed only 13 of 43 deep passes. Hell, he attempted only 11 more deep passes than Rodgers completed. Unfortunately for Goff, he’s throwing to less-talented pass-catchers in Detroit. Thus, his job won’t be any easier completing deep passes, putting a lot of pressure on his receivers to do damage after the catch.

Conversely, Rodgers has all of the personnel still in tow who helped him post impressive deep-ball numbers last year. Finally, the Lions struggle with explosive passing plays. According to Sharp Football Stats, they coughed up the highest average explosive pass rate (19%) in Week 1. Further, they tied for the highest average explosive pass rate yielded in 2020.

Could we get unlucky with missed tackles or a blown coverage? Sure. However, the odds are in Rodgers’ favor to complete the longer pass, and I’m comfortable laying the 2.5 yards.

Robert Tonyan UNDER 32.5 Receiving Yards

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Tonyan’s coming off a breakout 2020 campaign. However, most of his damage was done catching touchdowns rather than piling up receiving yards. Still, his 36.6 receiving yards per game are clear of his yardage prop.

Of course, understanding how he got to his per-game average last year is imperative. He played in all 16 regular-season games, going over 32.5 receiving yards eight times. Therefore, he fell short eight times. Adding in the postseason doesn’t break the tie, as he went over in one game and under in the other.

However, the scoring margin might lend some insight to which side of his yardage pick is the better play. Including the postseason, the Packers won nine games by 10-plus points. This number’s essential because the Packers are 11.5-point favorites. In those games, he went over his 32.5 yardage total four times and under five times.

Week 1 was a disaster for the Packers, so it’s probably best to take everything with a grain of salt. Still, his 24 passing snaps and 21 routes ranked fourth on the team. It will be tough to reach his yardage prop if he’s behind three others for targets. Further, if the Packers win by the lopsided margin expected, the game script should call for taking the air out of the ball and milking the clock.

I’m expecting an emphatic rebound from the Packers. Ergo, I’m buying into a run-heavy finish reducing Tonyan’s target outlook. My confidence for Tonyan going under is also enhanced by BetPrep aligning with my expectations, projecting him for only 24.37 yards.

T.J. Hockenson OVER 56.5 Receiving Yards

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This prop aligns with my previously mentioned expectation the Packers trounce the Lions. Playing most of last week in catch-up mode, Hockenson was on the receiving end of a co-team-high 11 targets, reeling in a co-team-high eight receptions and leading the team with 97 receiving yards.

Clearly, he had the attention of Goff, meshing perfectly with his dink-and-dunk tendencies. Believing in Hockenson surpassing his yardage total is supported by more than box-score scouting.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hockenson played 61 of 63 dropbacks, running routes on 53 plays. Both of those marks led the way on the team by a wide margin. That’s ideal for prominence in the passing attack.

Still, there’s more goodness to discuss. The Lions also prioritized moving him around the formation, playing him in the slot for 39 passing snaps, wide for five, and inline for 17. Apparently, they recognize his value in the passing attack and are treating him like their top pass-catching option.

If this game turns into a blowout where the Lions are playing in a negative game script, Hockenson should see many targets. However, if the Lions surprisingly keep this close, it’s a decent bet Hockenson had a hand in the unlikely situation since he’s a key cog in the offense. In other words, I don’t harbor any game-script concerns for Hockenson hitting his yardage over.