Which NFL players are poised to beat or fall short of their Week 3 rushing yards total? We cover who to include in your weekend parlay here.
Before we get to the NFL Week 3 Rushing Yards Parlay, a look back at Week 2:
Another close-but-no-cigar 2-1 record with the bonus prop also hitting. Joe Mixon, Geno Smith, and Joshua Kelley under his total all got there for us. However, Houston’s Dameon Pierce managed only 31 yards to fall short of his rushing total. You can see it here.
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The good news is that after two full weeks, we are getting a feel for what teams are doing with their running games, and which defenses have the ability to stop those running games.
For example, while Pierce didn’t get there for us, he did move up to 15 carries. He had the opportunities, he just didn’t execute.
This week’s parlay will focus on targeting players in solid matchups with the best chances of exceeding a typical performance.
Travis Etienne OVER 67.5 Rushing Yards vs. Houston Texans (-115)
Plenty of apprehension towards Etienne during the preseason has been largely unfounded through two weeks.
He saw 18 carries in an opening win over the Colts, and a dozen last week in a game where the Jaguars were playing catch-up (unsuccessfully) most of the way against Kansas City. It hasn’t been the most explosive start, but this is the spot where he can get going.
Rookie Tank Bigsby from Auburn was expected to cut into Etienne’s time but didn’t see a carry in last week’s game. It’s Etienne’s backfield for now. With the Jags nine-point favorites over Houston, we can realistically hope for a game script like the one from Week 1 that sees the running back approach 20 carries.
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That’s the second part of this play. The Houston rushing defense, allowing 4.3 yards per carry and 75.5 rushing yards per game to running backs. Remember, this includes week one where Baltimore’s JK Dobbins went down with an injury in the third quarter just as he seemed primed to pick up a second rushing touchdown against the Texans.
In two games last year against Houston, Etienne rushed for 108 and 71 yards respectively. That second number would make for a sweaty bet, but we just need to beat 67.5.
Desmond Ridder OVER 13.5 Rushing Yards vs. Detroit Lions (-130)
For this week 3’s rushing yard, you can more or less cut-and-paste last week’s Geno Smith section here.
The Lions were the worst defense in the NFL stopping quarterbacks from running with the ball last year. So far in 2023 both opposing QBs (Patrick Mahomes and Smith) have gone over their totals against this team.
The best thing here is the 13.5 figure allows for a bad day to be erased quickly. Last week, the Smith prop appeared doomed through three quarters – but one Lions pass rusher got out of his lane and Geno popped off a 15-yard scramble for a first down and got us home. One play, that’s all it takes at a number like 13.5.
Let’s look at Ridder, a hit-or-miss runner through a half-dozen career starts. Infour of those starts, he’s stayed at less than 10 rushing yards – but the other two starts saw him run for 38 yards in each game, which would obviously fly past this number.
Is it gameplan-based? Is it scramble opportunities? The Lions provide both, and they’re down at least two defensive starters with no James Houston or CJ Gardner-Johnson available.
Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier have the Falcons’ running game in the top spot in the NFL. Detroit will sell out to stop this duo, which should make for some easy keeper opportunities for Ridder on reads or option-type looks. Falcons coach Arthur Smith is a strong believer in a powerful and diverse running game, and figures to scheme up enough opportunities to get us the necessary yards.
Khalil Herbert UNDER 34.5 Rushing Yards vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-115)
Toughest thing about playing week 3’s rushing yard props? Getting the best number!
Don’t believe it? I had two other players in mind for this week’s “Under” and watched as both their totals fell a full five yards in the first hour or so after they were posted.
So Herbert is the choice, a running back in a less-than-desirable situation… and I don’t just mean “he plays for the Bears.”
Rookie Roschon Johnson has been coming on strong to the point that Chicago and national media are hinting the Bears need to switch to a 50/50 split or just make Johnson the outright starter.
Meanwhile, the Bears are 12.5-point underdogs to Kansas City in what on paper appears to be the biggest mismatch of the young NFL season.
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This week, Chicago quarterback Justin Fields addressed the idea that he’s been playing in a manner that seems ‘robotic’ and then, depending on what you believe, brought his coaches into the conversation for the reason why he’s playing that way.
Personally I think Fields’ comments were wildly overblown, but that’s not why you’re here. The atmosphere around the Bears is such that there’s increased pressure on Fields, increased affection for Roschon Johnson, and a game script that likely dictates a need for the Bears to throw the ball.
Herbert hasn’t seen double-digit carries in a game yet this season. He also hasn’t hit the 38 rushing yards he’d need to reach this number either. A timeshare with Johnson looks increasingly likely, QB Fields is probably the best pure running threat on the team, and the Chiefs were stingy against the run (48 yards allowed) in last week’s win against Jacksonville.
It all adds up to an under for Herbert on Sunday.
Week 3 Bonus Play: Jerome Ford UNDER 44.5 Rushing Yards vs. Tennessee Titans (-105)
This goes against everything you’ve seen all week. He put up 100+ on the ground against Pittsburgh after Nick Chubb’s disheartening injury Monday. He was also the No. 1 waiver wire darling on every fantasy owner this week.
I was also surprised to see a low number like 44.5, then I looked closer.
Tennessee’s defense is where running backs’ numbers go to die in 2023. Ask Joshua Kelley, last week’s under play, or the entire New Orleans backfield in week one.
On the Cleveland side, I’m not sure whether Kareem Hunt is going to play a big role this week after signing Wednesday. However, giving a free agent running back $4 million for this season suggests:
- Hunt’s role will grow sooner rather than later
- The Browns aren’t convinced Jerome Ford is THE guy
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Also, Hunt played in Cleveland last season. It hasn’t been that long, and there’s reason to believe he could have a role Sunday.
Whoever is running the ball, they’re likely to be doing it without either of the tackles on the vaunted Cleveland offensive line. Right tackle Jack Conklin’s already on IR, and now LT Jedrick Wills Jr. is questionable on a short week.
By the same token, there are some ‘questionable’ designations on the Tennessee defense. Primarily pass rushing types like Harold Landry and Denico Autry, along with safety Amani Hooker.
Is it the week for Cleveland to look to get DeShaun Watson untracked? You’d have to figure on a more pass-heavy attack against the Tennessee rush defense.
But more than anything, a number like 44.5 seems low for the type of hype train that’s followed Jerome Ford since Monday night. And you know what they say about things that look too good to be true.
Week 3 NFL Rushing Yards Parlay (+518)
Odds from DraftKings:
- Travis Etienne over 67.5 yards
- Desmond Ridder over 13.5 yards
- Khalil Herbert under 34.5 yards
A $50 wager on Rob’s Week 3 NFL Sunday parlay could win $309.19.