Underdog Fantasy NFL Props: Wild Card Monday

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to throw the ball in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Inglewood, California.
Image Credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Do you feel like a sharp football fan? Does winning money sound appealing to you? Of course! Thankfully, Underdog Fantasy offers sports fans many gaming options such as best ball fantasy drafts and pick ’em NFL props challenges. As for the initial question posed, I’m here to help sharpen your football acumen by utilizing several helpful resources such as BetPrep projections to topple the over/under and rivals picks.

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.
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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 props for Monday’s Wild Card contest.

Zach Ertz OVER 5.5 Receptions

Tight end Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the Green Bay Packers during the second half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Packers defeated the Cardinals 24-21.
Image Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Zach Ertz has been the alpha for the Arizona Cardinals in the wake of DeAndre Hopkins’s injury in Week 14. According to Pro Football Focus, since Week 15, Ertz has been second on the Cardinals in routes (172) and receiving yards (253), leading the team in targets (42) and receptions (28). Further, he’s been targeted nine times or more in every game during that four-game stretch, netting six receptions, eight receptions, and precisely seven receptions in the previous two weeks.

Kyler Murray has looked his reliable tight end’s way early and often in four straight games. Unfortunately, Ertz hauled in only five receptions on seven targets in Week 14, facing the Rams. Nevertheless, that was with Nuk in the lineup. Further, even a minor uptick in looks with a larger piece of the pie available should nudge him above his over for 5.5 receptions.

Bet Prep projects Ertz for 5.5 reception, making this a legitimate coin flip using their projection algorithm. However, factoring in Ertz’s recent usage and the Rams scraping the bottom of the barrel to patch their safety position — they signed Eric Weddle out of retirement, and he hasn’t played since 2019 — leads me to his over.

Editor’s Note: New to NFL props? Check out our complete NFL Props Betting Guide to get up to speed! 

Matthew Stafford UNDER 274.5 Passing Yards

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at SoFi Stadium on November 07, 2021 in Inglewood, California.
Image Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Matthew Stafford passed for 280 yards in Week 4 and 287 yards in Week 14 against the Cardinals. However, he’s primarily been mired in a slump since Week 14, tossing an eye-popping eight interceptions with three games falling short of 250 passing yards in the last four weeks of the regular season.

In the last four weeks, Stafford’s only outlier contest was when he carved the Baltimore Ravens up for 309 yards in Week 17. However, according to Football Outsiders, the Ravens were 30th in pass defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). Meanwhile, the Cardinals are fifth in pass defense DVOA. In addition, it appears J.J. Watt will return tonight, adding another pass-rusher to the mix to provide problems for Stafford.

Finally, despite the Cardinals ranking only one spot worse in rush defense DVOA at sixth, it appears the path to success for the Los Angeles Rams is markedly easier on the ground. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Cardinals allowed the highest average explosive run rate (15%). Additionally, Arizona’s run defense has been a feast or famine proposition, and since their Week 12 bye, in the weeks since they allowed 112 rushing yards, 89, 126, 126, 45, and 202, per Pro-Football-Reference. In all, Arizona allowed more than 150 rushing yards six times in 2021. As a result, I expect Sean McVay to lean on his running game more than usual, a smart move given Stafford’s late-season turnover woes. Finally, Bet Prep projects Stafford for only 242.21 passing yards, supporting my decision to tout his under.

Odell Beckham Jr. Under 44.5 Receiving Yards

Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Rams goes through his pre-game routine before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Image Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

If Stafford falls short of his passing yardage prop, it stands to reason some or all of his pass-catchers will fall short of their yardage props. Odell Beckham Jr. is my favorite bet for Stafford’s receivers coming up short of his 44.5-yard receiving prop.

OBJ has played eight games with the Rams, eclipsing 44.5 receiving yards in only two of those games. But, of course, one of those games was in Wee 14 against the Cardinals. Nevertheless, he’s fallen short of 40 yards in four straight games to close out the 2021 regular season.

Since Week 15, OBJ has been second on the Rams in routes (138) and targets (22). However, Cooper Kupp is a target hog, and Beckham has been highly inefficient. OBJ has only 12 receptions, 101 receiving yards, and a grotesque 0.73 yards per route run (Y/RR) in the last four games of the regular season. In fact, out of 145 players targeted at least 10 times since Week 15, OBJ’s 0.73 Y/RR was 131st. Thus, I’m all about his under, and Bet Prep projects him for just 40.05 receiving yards.