NFL Vegas Odds: Receiving Yards Totals for 2021 (Fantasy Football)

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This article is the first part in a series highlighting the current Vegas over/under lines for the NFL Season comparing the DraftKings Sportsbook lines and the Fantasy Footballers‘ Ultimate Draft Kit projections. I recently published an article about Forecasting 101 & Projecting Offenses giving some high-level thoughts on predictions and how to rightly assess team situations before the season. Let’s start this series by looking at receiving yardage totals as they are currently posted on DK Sportsbook.

Here are a couple of simple thresholds to give us a better consensus view of these lines:

  • For individual projection “overs”, I set the line at +150 receiving yards. However, for the consensus “overs”, I wanted to give even more room for error and set that line at +200.
  • For individual projection “unders”, the line was -100 receiving yards. Consensus “unders” are really hard to spot when using projections because the process assumes every player plays a full 17-game schedule. Only two players hit the consensus threshold of -100 receiving yards.

As Matthew Betz highlighted in our Early Vegas Unders Win Totals article, unders are truly where people make their hay in terms of being sharp on the lines. Unders typically hit anywhere between 51-55% of the time while overs successfully hit anywhere in the range of 45-49%, depending on what study you read. We generally have a tough time identifying where things can turn sideways when the outlook before the season is before chaos ensues.

One final note: this article is meant to solely show receiving yards discrepancies based on the award-winning Ultimate Draft Kit projections. The variance in an NFL season and nuance relating to actual NFL betting is another conversation in and of itself. If you’d like more content on Vegas win totals and DFS, check out the Fantasy Footballers DFS Podcast.

The Alphas

This first group is the easiest to be bullish on for a simple reason: they are good at football. These are the players in DFS we will be touting every week because of their guaranteed volume.

  • Calvin Ridley & Stefon Diggs– I’m grouping these two WRs together not only because they have the same receiving yards line (1350.5) on DraftKings Sportsbook but also because we saw both of them go over this line in 2020. Diggs has the highest Footballers average at a whopping 1619.3 receiving yards. He’s a guaranteed volume play and outside of injury, he looks like one of the safer bets on the board. Ridley ranks 2nd in the Ballers consensus (1590.3) and with Julio Jones out the door, it’s hard not envisioning him as the alpha in Atlanta. Adding in a 17th game gives us some cushion to assume these players per game averages from 2020 can drop and yet they can still surpass 1,350 receiving yards.
  • Travis Kelce– How do you not believe in Kelce? He’s essentially the greatest fantasy TE of all time attached to the best QB in the game. 1,300 receiving yards seems like such a high bar for a TE but he’s averaged 1,327 the last three years. Jason’s projection (+89.5) tempers the over a bit and we do need to bake in the fact he’s turning 32 at the start of the season. The bear case would be assuming he’s due for some regression or injury after not missing two total games over the last seven seasons.
  • Allen Robinson II– Robinson’s line feels a bit off at just 1090.5 but the major variable, in this case, is the QB play in Chicago. How long does Andy Dalton start? And how effective and how much volume can we expect from a rookie Justin Fields when he does get his shot? Nevertheless, you can easily tell yourself a story that this two-pack of QBs is the best ARob has ever played with his entire career. In Chicago, he’s averaged 70 receiving yards per game which puts his 17-game pace around 1,190. He’s no slam dunk but this is an alpha entering a contract year still in the prime of his career. Bet on the talent shining through and the sheer amount of targets he could see in this offense.
The Second Tier Century Club

This next group of players is intriguing because there are a number of cases where you can foresee WRs “taking the leap” and moving beyond the 1,000-yard mark they all hover around. This group also gives us two tight-ends that might be seen as a tier below Kelce but easily could surpass their receiving yards line in 2021.

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