The Z Report

Lance Zierlein: Odds and End$ - I’ve got your props

Leonard Fournette could be in for a big year. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This is the time of year when the fantasy football owners out there are scouring the internet trying to glean as much information as they can about rookies, sleepers, expected targets for receivers, and emerging running backs.

For those who like to play the “game within the game”, this is the time of year they start looking for “futures” and finding the best values on the board. Because I love each and every one of you like you were my seventh or eighth child (I only have five), I’ve decided to give you action junkies my thoughts on some of the prop bets that I see right now. As for your fantasy ballers, I’ll get to you next week.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Derrius Guice (WAS) 10:1  * Update: Suffered torn ACL in 1st preseason game.

Sam Darnold (NYJ) 17:1

Calvin Ridley (ATL) 20:1

Saquon Barkley is the favorite at even money, but what fun is that? Sam Darnold has a good chance to be the man from start to finish with the Jets so 17:1 odds is a great value. Calvin Ridley is getting 23:1 odds which is terrific value considering his ability to hit big plays and his quarterback who can air it out. Derrius Guice is off to a strong start and I like him getting 10:1 better than Barkley at EVEN.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Roquan Smith (CHI) 3.5:1

Tremaine Edmunds (BUF) 9:1

Darius Leonard (IND) 20:1

I’m not going to lie, fading Broncos rookie DE Bradley Chubb at 3:1 won’t be easy, but the 2018 draft was the heavy with LB talent so let’s stick with these three. Roquan Smith is set to have a strong year right out of the gate and getting 3.5:1 is actually decent value. Tremaine Edmunds was as productive as they come in college and he has the athletic ability to translate that production into the pros. Leonard is flying under the radar somewhat, but he’s a great athlete who could end up playing all three downs for the Colts.

Rushing Leader

Leonard Fournette (JAX) 8.5:1

When you consider that Fournette had 268 carries last year, that young RBs are always most likely to get a heavy workload, and that Blake Bortles is the quarterback…. Well, you can see why I see this as such a value ticket.

Most Receiving Yards

Odell Beckham (NYG) 10:1

When he’s healthy (and happy?), Beckham might be the most talented receiver in the game today. Granted, it might not be safe to consider Beckham a happy camper right now, but he seems to believe that his contract will get worked out. If it does, then look out. If it doesn’t, he’s in a contract year and will likely be on his best behavior. Getting 10:1 for a talent like Beckham is great value.

Kirk Cousins OVER 25.5  Pass TDs

Alex Smith UNDER 23.5  Pass TDs

Ezekiel Elliott OVER 12.5 Rush TDs

Leonard Fournette OVER 10.5  Rush TDs

Michael Thomas OVER 7.5  Receiving TDs

Adam Thielen OVER 5.5  Receiving TDs


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With the end of the regular season in sight, the Houston Astros host the Kansas City Royals on Friday night, coming off a huge walk-off 2-1 win against the Orioles.

Two players from the finale against Baltimore really stood out for the 'Stros. Jeremy Pena, who had a clutch double late in the game, and Cristian Javier.

Javier struck out 11 batters over 5 innings surrendering only one run, which was exactly what the Astros needed in possibly the most important game of the regular season.

Both Pena and Javier were critical pieces to the Astros title in 2022, and it looks like they're rounding into form at just the right time.

Javier's struggles have caused many to question who would be the team's third starter in the postseason, behind Framber Valdez and Justin Verlander. Let's put this to bed right now, it's Javier.

This should be everything you need to know. Let's start with Hunter Brown. Brown has given up 5 earned runs or more in 4 of his last 7 starts.

How about JP France? France has surrendered 5 or more earned runs in 3 of his last 5 games.

However, Cristian Javier hasn't allowed 5 or more runs in a start since July 3. Javier may only give you 5 innings, but that's actually pretty common for starters in the playoffs. Teams typically remove their starters before the third time through the order.

Prime Time Pena

While the power hasn't been there for Pena this year, he is swinging the bat much better of late. Over his last 30 games, he's hitting .325 while slugging .453. Pena may only have 10 bombs on the year, but he's getting on base and hitting plenty of doubles.

If these two can contribute at a similar level to last postseason, the sky is the limit for the 2023 Astros.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion!

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