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NFL Futures: Best Bets to Lead League in Receiving Yards (2019)

by July 11, 2019

Continuing our series of NFL Futures, we’re moving over to wide receivers. This week, we’ll check out our writers’ favorite bets to lead the league in receiving yards in 2019.

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First, let’s check out the odds courtesy of 888Sports:

Player Odds
Julio Jones +500
Odell Beckham Jr. +700
DeAndre Hopkins +700
Juju Smith-Schuster +1000
Antonio Brown +1100
Mike Evans +1200
T.Y. Hilton +1200
Michael Thomas +1200
Davante Adams +1600


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What is your favorite bet to lead the NFL in passing yards in 2019?

Davante Adams (GB): +1600
Either Antonio Brown or Julio Jones has led the NFL in receiving yards in four of the past five years. If someone else leads the league in 2019, it will be Green Bay’s Davante Adams. Over the past two seasons, Adams has averaged 6.6 receptions and 81.0 receiving yards per game when Aaron Rodgers has been quarterback (RotoViz). That projects to 105.6 receptions and 1,296 yards over 16 games while battling for targets with former Green Bay wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson. Last season, Adams finished second among all wide receivers with 169 targets and first with 31 red-zone targets. Despite ranking 78th at the position in slot percentage, Adams finished fourth with 457 yards after the catch in 2019 (PlayerProfiler). New head coach Matt LaFleur has already stated a desire to use the 6-foot-1, 212 lb Adams in the slot more this year, creating opportunities for increased yardage. As the clear alpha WR1 tethered to Aaron Rodgers, there is no better value to lead the NFL in receiving yards than Adams at +1600.
– Mike Randle (@RandleRant)

Being a WR1 on a team with a world-class quarterback like Aaron Rodgers makes Davante Adams a solid bet to lead the NFL in receiving yards in 2019. Adams was second in the NFL last year with 169 targets, and Rodgers has already come out and said that he wants more targets for his stud receiver. Packers coach Matt LaFleur intends to utilize Adams in the slot this year which will take him away from elite cornerbacks. There is no reason to believe why Adams can’t improve on his career marks of 92.4 receiving yards per game and 8.2 yards per target set last year. Green Bay did little to improve their offense, so expect Adams to take on all the work he can handle.
– Nic Turner (@sportzbandit)

Amari Cooper (DAL): +3300
Cooper is the bet that returns the most cash while still having a legitimate shot to finish as the top receiver. After joining the Cowboys, we saw the receiver Cooper could be. He finished with 725 yards in nine games, which is just shy of 1,300 yards when projected out over a full season. Cooper has now had an offseason to build chemistry with Dak and have a designed role in this offense. We also cannot forget to mention that Kellen Moore is the new offensive coordinator, and as a young, former quarterback, you can expect him to get a bit more excited to call and design the home run play to Cooper than pound the rock with Zeke. Cowboys’ receivers also have the fifth-easiest schedule this season, which makes sense since they get to play six games against their divisional opponents.
– Zach Brunner (@FantasyFlurry)

If you’re looking to place a future like this, you absolutely have to be looking at long shots since so much can happen over the course of an NFL season. That’s why I’m going with Amari Cooper who is definitely one of the longer shots but may be the only one with a legitimate chance to lead the league in receiving. In six games with Oakland last season, Cooper’s stats were terrible, failing to even eclipse the 300-yard mark. With the Cowboys, he was able to surpass 300 yards in two games. Of course, having two games where Cooper combined for nearly 400 yards means the other seven with Dallas saw him average less than 70 per game. But the Cowboys went all-in on Cooper and it paid off in year one. In year two, I expect them to find even more ways to utilize him.
– Philip Wood (@Phil_Wood_Jr)

Julio Jones (ATL): +500
While this may seem like a very safe and obvious choice, there is no one I trust more than Julio Jones in the wide receiver department. Now that Antonio Brown has shipped off to Oakland with a quarterback who is not “Big Ben” Roethlisberger, Jones’ chances of leading the league in receiving yards just got significantly better. Last year in 2018, Jones led the league in receiving yards with 1,677. That total was 105 yards more than the runner up who was DeAndre Hopkins with 1,572. Of the top receivers with the best odds currently (DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas), Julio Jones has had the longest-lasting connection with his quarterback in Matt Ryan. For the last eight seasons, Ryan and Jones have been a lethal combination, tormenting defenses throughout the league with their explosive plays. Remember when Julio Jones lit up the Carolina Panthers’ defense for 300 yards on 12 catches and a touchdown in 2016? How about when he torched Tampa Bay in 2017 for 253 yards on 12 catches and two scores? Jones is an absolute physical specimen at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 220 lbs making him a nightmare matchup for any cornerback in the league to deal with on a weekly basis. Furthermore, Atlanta has brought in OC Dirk Koetter who was coordinating the offense back between 2012-2014, so there is a rapport there between the two which is a fantasy manager’s dream. Lastly, he even has extra motivation this year to have a big season since he is due for a new contract once 2019 is over. Jones has proven he can lead the league in receiving yards, and he can absolutely do it once again for a third time in his career.
– Matthew Catalano (@MatthewCatala16)

Julio Jones may well be the favorite, but that is for good reason. Jones returns to a team where there has been little change on the offense — other than improvements on the offensive line. Matt Ryan is one of the better quarterbacks in the game, and with the schedule working his way in putting him indoors for the majority of the season that’s even better. The issue that Jones has had for fantasy has been the number of touchdowns that he scores, as he has always been one of the league leaders in receptions and yards. In fact, last season he ended up as the leading receiver 105 yards ahead of the second-placed DeAndre Hopkins. Jones is looking for an improved contract, and that is going to give him even more motivation this season.
– Richard King (@RichKingFF)

Tyler Lockett (SEA): +4000
I don’t expect Lockett to maintain 2018’s insane efficiency — in which he caught a TD on every 5.7 receptions — but I do expect he and the Seattle passing game to experience much more ‘favorable’ game scripts in 2019 (favorable from a passing stats accumulation standpoint, not from their coaching staff’s standpoint, which wants to run like it’s 1965). The increase in passing volume, combined with Wilson and Lockett’s clear chemistry in the deep passing game, along with the added vertical threat outside in D.K. Metcalf, makes Lockett a nice value shot at leading the league in passing yards.
– Jared Still (@jaredstill)

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT): +1000
JuJu is coming off a season in which he finished with 111 catches for 1,426 yards as the Steelers’ number two WR behind all-time great Antonio Brown. Brown’s dramatic departure leaves the Steelers with an additional 169 targets and 1,300 receiving yards to divvy among the rest of the weapons. Other guys such as Donte Moncrief and James Washington will have opportunities, but JuJu is going to see at least a portion of those targets. If Moncrief and Washington fail to step up, 2018’s leading passer and top gunslinger is known to force-feed the receivers he trusts while ignoring those in his doghouse. A slight decrease in efficiency is possible with increased defensive attention, but he was already four targets away from leading the NFL last year and will be Ben’s go-to target week in and week out.
– James Esposito (@PropZillaa)

Mike Evans (TB): +1200
Since entering the league in 2014, Mike Evans has been a model of consistency. He has ranked in the top 12 in receiving yards and top 11 in targets each season, while never playing fewer than 15 games. He has never totaled less than 1,000 receiving yards and set a career-high last year with 1,524 yards. This total was third behind only Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins, despite ranking 14th among WRs in receptions. Dirk Koetter and his aerial attack is gone but is replaced by offensive guru Bruce Arians. In two of Arians’ last three seasons as Cardinals head coach, his team ranked first and ninth in total offense, and second and ninth in passing offense. Vegas set the Buccaneers O/U for wins at 6.5, ranking them last in their division. This sets up for plenty of passing opportunities as they chase leads. We have seen how productive Evans can be while not racking up as many receptions as his competitors. Look for new coach Arians to dial Evans’ number the majority of the time, which will result not only with Evans near the top of the receptions list but at the top of the yardage list at season’s end.
– Mike Spector (@MikeSpector01)

Kenny Golladay (DET): +5000
I also like Davante Adams, but this long shot was a bit more enticing. In seven games with Golden Tate, Golladay averaged 6.3 targets per game and in eight games without he was at 9.4. He finished 17th in the league with 1,063 yards in his second season and became the No. 1 target halfway through the year. Progression is almost guaranteed with around 1,300 yards a good bet and from there, anything can happen in this category. The Lions got Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson, but that should only leave for less coverage on Golladay.
– Adam Zdroik (@RotoZdroik)

Christian Kirk (ARI): +6600
I think even the most bullish fans of the Air Raid in Arizona might just be underestimating the potential volume of the Cardinals’ offense. Christian Kirk at +6600 to lead the NFL in receiving yards is a bet on just that. While Kliff Kingsbury might be the first Head Coach to come directly from the Hal Mumme, Mike Leach coaching tree, the Air Raid concepts (such as mesh, four verts, and Y-cross) have long been utilized on the NFL level. What has not been often employed is the philosophies that are at the core of the Air Raid, going all the way back to Iowa Wesleyan where they were first employed. Those philosophies include going all-shotgun, HUNH (hurry-up, no huddle), WR *and* QB reads based upon ‘open grass,’ and ‘balance’ in an offense being about all five skill-players getting touches in space. Combine all of the philosophies with Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk’s familiarity with the offense (they’ve both been running variations all the way back to Allen HS and Scottsdale Saguaro HS respectfully), and I can see Christian Kirk being in line for a massive breakout in year two.
– Jared Still (@jaredstill)

Here are each of our 2019 NFL futures bets:

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