Best bets to lead NFL in receiving yards: DJ Moore, A.J. Brown have elite upside
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With just one week until the NFL season begins, we're running through our best bets to lead the league in key statistical categories. Today, we'll discuss the league's top receivers, with record-setting wideout Michael Thomas leading the pack. Here are our best values in a crowded field:
|Odell Beckham Jr.||+2800|
Julio Jones (+900)
Any list of potential receiving champions has to include Jones, who led the league in receiving yards twice (2015, 2018) with at least 1,650 yards in both seasons. His 9,388 receiving yards since 2014 are more than 1,500 yards higher than any other receiver, and he's tallied at least 1,400 in five of those six seasons.
He finished second in yards behind Thomas a year ago with a disappointing mark by his standards (1,394 yards), as the Falcons' horrendous pass-blocking hindered Matt Ryan's ability to find his top receiver. With some further development from a pair of first-round linemen the team drafted in 2019, the offense should be able to funnel enough volume Jones' way to cash at reasonable odds.
DJ Moore (+2800)
Few players have started their career with as much promise as Moore. He finished ninth last year with 1,175 receiving yards, and his yards per game would have ranked fourth if not for an injury early in Week 16. It was a historic campaign nonetheless - his receiving yardage was the 14th-highest in a season in NFL history for a player before their 23rd birthday, cracking a list littered with current and future Hall of Famers.
The injury prematurely ended a torrid stretch for Moore, who'd amassed 711 receiving yards over his previous seven games - good for a ridiculous 1,625-yard pace. He did that despite unstable quarterback play, so his upside is even higher with Teddy Bridgewater manning Joe Brady's offense in Carolina. This might be the best price he sees for his entire career.
A.J. Brown (+3300)
A market like this only rewards elite upside, and Brown certainly has that. In 2019, he became only the 15th rookie to record at least 1,050 receiving yards and posted the fourth-best catch rate (61.9%) among those players. He was also incredibly efficient getting there - his 12.51 yards per target ranked third in NFL history (min. 75 targets) by any player since the stat was introduced in 1992.
The Titans' rising star averaged 100.8 yards over his final six games with Ryan Tannehill at the helm. That's a 1,613-yard pace over a full year, which would have led the league in two of the last four seasons. Sure, it won't come that easy over 16 games, but the potential is there for Brown to explode as a long shot.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.