Underdog Fantasy NFL Picks: Thursday Night Football (Football Team-Giants)

Image Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Monday Night Football game was kind to those of us who took my advice. So let’s keep things rolling this week in the Thursday Night Football contest.

If you are new to Underdog Fantasy, then 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.

Below, I’ve included a couple of my favorite Underdog Fantasy Picks across their player prop pick ’em contests.

Sterling Shepard MORE Receptions Than Logan Thomas

Image Credit: Chris Pedota- NorthJersey.com

This is easily my favorite pick for the Thursday Night Football contest for a few reasons. First, BetPrep expects this to be a laugher, projecting Thomas for 4.65 receptions and Shepard for 7.03 receptions. Second, the Football Team is a 3.5-point favorite, lending to a more pass-heavy game script for the Giants if things go according to the script. Further, the Giants might willingly pass more regardless of the situation. According to Sharp Football Stats, when the scoring margin ranged from trailing by seven points to leading by seven points, Big Blue passed at a 65% clip. Meanwhile, Washington passed at just a 45% rate.

Finally, the pecking order for targets significantly swings things in Shepard’s favor. Last week, Taylor Heinicke attempted 15 passes, directing a team-high four to Terry McLaurin, followed by a two-man tie between Dyami Brown and Thomas for second with three each.

Conversely, Shepard was the unquestioned top pass-catching option across the board for the Giants, ranking first in targets (nine), receptions (seven), receiving yards (113), and caught the team’s only touchdown. It gets better, though! According to Pro Football Focus, Daniel Jones dropped back 43 times, and Shepard was on the field for all of the passing snaps, running a route on a team-high 40 of them to boot. In addition, he’s the chain-mover handling the slot at a 65.1% rate and tallying an average depth of target of 9.9 yards, far shorter than Darius Slayton’s 12.0 aDot and Kenny Golladay’s 16.3 aDot.

Antonio Gibson OVER 87.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards

Image Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, BetPrep projects an easy-ish cover. They project him to rush for 78.68 yards and add 14.93 receiving yards, good for 93.61 rushing-plus-receiving yards. I noted Washington’s probable favorable game script and their run-heavy tendencies in Week 1 above, and those factors work in Gibson’s favor.

He has a few more variables working in his favor, too. First, Heinicke targeted two times to zero targets for J.D. McKissic. Second, Gibson toted the rock 20 times compared to three rushes for the rest of the backfield combined. That’s serious domination of rushing work.

The matchup is likely favorable as well. Football Outsiders ranked them middle of the pack at 15th in run defense Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) last year. So even that’s an average matchup. However, after coughing up the second-most rushing yards to running backs (146) per Pro-Football-Reference last week,  they rank 26th in run defense DVOA this year. Yes, 70 yards came on a late carry by Melvin Gordon. Still, I argue the big run allowed is damning since the Broncos were leading by two scores and obviously looking to salt the clock, and they still couldn’t prevent it.

Darius Slayton UNDER 3.5 Receptions

Image Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-NorthJersey.com

Let’s make it three-for-three for my expectations aligning with BetPrep. They have him projected for 2.97 receptions. With things working out approximately as well as they could for Slayton last week, he managed only three receptions on seven targets.

Expanding on the favorable variables, do-it-all back Saquon Barkley was limited to only 48% of the team’s offensive snaps in his first game back from reconstructive knee surgery. Perhaps, the team loosens his playing time restriction coming out of the opener unscathed. Although, it’s possible they again suppress his snaps due to the quick turnaround. Regardless, I don’t expect Barkley to be less involved.

The team was also without tight end Evan Engram. He’s yet to participate in practice this week, but head coach Joe Judge won’t rule him out yet while citing him “making lots of jumps in terms of how he’s working.

Also, Golladay was on the field for 40 of 43 dropbacks, running a route 38 times, despite missing significant time before the season dealing with a hamstring injury. Comparatively, Slayton was on the field for 35 passing snaps and ran 33 routes. Additionally, the team seemed to emphasize getting their first-round pick, Kadarius Toney, a couple of touches, targeting him twice on his four routes. So maybe his role will grow. Finally, tight end Kyle Rudolph ran a route on 27 of the 34 passing snaps he played, netting two receptions on five targets. Therefore, I think it’s more likely Slayton’s role diminishes than it grows the rest of the year, starting as soon as this week.