NFL Week 1 player props: Can we believe what we hear?

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At 104-78-2 in our player props last season, we had our share of "Sunday Fun Days." The record is even more satisfying given what a struggle the opening week was, as we were under .500 that day. It helps us understand we're embarking on a marathon and taking educated guesses regarding player usage can be a fool's errand this early. But we'll take the risk of wearing the dunce cap in the name of excitement for Week 1, using what we've been told to guide the way.

Michael Carter over 13.5 receiving yards

"Michael Carter is the heartbeat of our offense." - Jets offensive coordinator Mike Lafleur.

Ok, I didn't see that one coming, but apparently, the second-year back is highly thought of by the guy calling plays. With the Jets likely to trail in the second half and Joe Flacco dying to throw checkdowns, we'll bet on Carter being on the field and on the other end of those passes.

Jacoby Brissett under 205.5 passing yards

"It's very easy for me to not be Deshaun." - Jacoby Brissett

This total might seem low, but Brissett has thrown for over 200 yards in fewer than half his career starts, and his 13 completions on 23 attempts in his one preseason look for the Browns isn't awe-inspiring. The Browns' roster is good enough to win this contest with a conservative game plan that they wouldn't use if they had their suspended No. 1 quarterback, just as they did in games started by Nick Mullens and Case Keenum last year.

Davis Mills over 220.5 passing yards

"I love what he is going to be able to do leading us." - Texans head coach Lovie Smith.

Coach Smith and I are on the same page after Mills went 7-2 to the over on his passing yards in the final nine games last season. We were along for the ride, and I'm back in line this year. He'll need to connect early and often to stay with the Colts on Sunday, but after a full offseason of preparation as a QB1 and a rebuilt offensive line, I expect him to take another step forward starting in Week 1.

Travis Etienne over 24.5 receiving yards

"That catch he made (coming up the sideline), he ran a great route." - Trevor Lawrence

This line might seem high given the above quote was after Etienne's only catch of the preseason, but Lawrence knows what kind of a weapon his fellow Clemson Tigers standout is out of the backfield. It's why Etienne ran routes with the receivers when he was first in camp in 2021. With James Robinson potentially ready for a big workload on the ground, Etienne will be on the field in passing situations.

Mac Jones over 31.5 pass attempts

"If you think we're gonna run the veer offense, no." - Bill Belichick

Shockingly, Belichick has been cagey about his offense, but the GOAT's a pretty sharp guy and has likely noticed the need for a pass-first offense in 2022. I don't care who's calling the plays, I'm willing to bet they'll be dialing up throws for Jones, who proved he can handle a more aggressive offense in his rookie season.

Marcus Mariota over 24.5 rushing yards

"He's got a new look and a new lease on life." - Titans head coach Arthur Smith

This is Mariota's last chance to be a starting quarterback, and it appears he knows that, impressing his former Titans offensive coordinator - who vouched for the signing. As long as Mariota is healthy, he'll be using his legs to help sustain the Falcons' drives.

Miles Sanders over 47.5 rushing yards

"I attacked rehab and am ready to go." - Miles Sanders

The Eagles ran for 236 yards in their destruction of the Lions last year, but Sanders missed that stat-stuffing bonanza. After a hamstring issue limited him in training camp, this line might be depressed for the tailback, who should get the most carries for Philadelphia.

Nick Bosa over 0.5 sacks

"He knows he's not going to win every rep." - Justin Fields

The Bears' quarterback is aware he has a rookie left tackle protecting his blindside. That should make for a long day for Braxton Jones given how often Nick Bosa will be attacking him. If Bosa doesn't get a sack, we'll tip our caps to the Bears' makeshift offensive line and Jones in particular.

Justin Jefferson over 6.5 receptions

"Now I see why Cooper Kupp was open so many times." - Jefferson

It won't be easy against a good Packers secondary, but if Jefferson is going to have a Kupp-like season with Kevin O'Connell moving from Rams offensive coordinator to Vikings head coach, this has to be a buy-low number given the 145 receptions Kupp had last year.

JuJu Smith-Schuster anytime touchdown (+110)

"I've still got it." - Smith-Schuster

Patrick Mahomes has a big-bodied receiver to target in Andy Reid's cutesy goal-line offense. Reid has shown he's not averse to going out of his way to feed a locker room favorite, the new guy, or in this case, maybe a player who's seen as a replacement for a fan favorite.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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NFL Week 1 player props: Can we believe what we hear?
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