It’s been a good run so far with the player props primer column, as I am currently sporting a 29-15 (66%) record through Week 11. However every week the slate is wiped clean and we start anew. Let's take a look at my favorite plays for Week 12.
Justin Fields vs. Indiana - 282.5 Passing Yards (Fanduel)
The blue-chip superstar has led Ohio State to averages of 46.3 points and 303 yards per game thus far in 2020. The closer the game is, the more yards he throws for, as the only time he went under the 282.5 mark was in the opening week 52-17 blowout of Nebraska where he didn’t play the final 10 minutes of the game. Conversely he played most of the game against both Rutgers and Penn State and averaged 316 passing yards in those two contests. He’s currently sporting an absurd 96 percent adjusted completion rate. Not to mention the fact Ohio State is coming off a bye and has won the last 24 straight matchups against Indy.
On the other side, Indiana managed to suppress Sean Clifford, Noah Vedral and Rocky Lombardi to sub-240 yard passing efforts. However against Michigan they allowed 344 passing yards to Joe Milton, who is currently being challenged for his starting job for a winless Wolverine team that is so bad their fan base is burning Jim Harbaugh’s trademark khaki pants in effigy.
The old cliche' applies here - big players, make big plays, in big games. Indiana is currently ranked ninth in the nation and now they meet the vaunted Ohio State Buckeyes who are ready to unleash their inner Kraken against the first consequential team they’ve played all season. I simply cannot envision Fields not coming out and solidifying his Heisman candidacy with a huge passing performance in a high profile game against the Hoosiers. At Draft Kings, the line is 309.5! Take the FanDuel OVER 282.5, as you're getting a ton of line value.
Justin Fields vs. Indiana - 44.5 Rushing Yards (Draft Kings)
Indiana has played a set of offenses in Penn State, Rutgers, Michigan State and Michigan that leave much to be desired. Even so, they’re only allowing 111 yards per game on the ground, which is excellent despite the sub-par competition. Fields hasn’t cleared 40 yards in nine of his last eleven games, with the most notable outlier being a 15 carry, 54 yard showing in a 52-17 blowout against Nebraska Week 1. The last two games he rushed six times in each for a total of -4 and 7 yards respectively. He has also taken at least two sacks in each game this year for an average of 16 rushing yards lost. Given how ridiculously efficient Fields has been in the pocket, and my sincere belief that Indiana’s magical run is about to run head-long into a reality-check, I don’t see the need to risk Fields in the run game. While I love the passing over, I am playing the odds here and taking UNDER 44.5 rush yards.
John Metchie vs. Kentucky - 92.5 receiving yards
Outside of a pair of 150+ yard explosions against Texas A&M and Tennessee, Metchie has failed to eclipse the 80-yard mark in his other four games this year. Taking into account his performances in the wake of Jaylen Waddle’s injury, and he only managed to surpass the 50 yard mark twice in three games. Alabama’s last game was against Mississippi State, where the Crimson Tide shutout a retooling Bulldogs team 41-0. In that contest Metchie only secured three passes for 18 yards. Beyond that, Metchie has only reeled in four receptions or less in three of his last four games, A perilously low usage rate considering this week's prop line calls for him to break the 93-yard barrier.
Bama has the pleasure of facing a Kentucky team that gave up 35 points to Vanderbilt last week. The Wildcats play at a snail’s pace and rely on an overwhelmingly run-oriented offensive approach which tends to slow the game down. If the game flow follows a similar trajectory as the Tide’s last game against Mississippi State, they will likely get up to a quick lead and then sit on it while Kentucky struggles to mount sustained drives. With Metchie’s variable usage thus far, you’re pretty much just looking to dodge a big play in the first half before HC Nick Saban turns the page to the Iron Bowl which is slated to take place next week. That is so long as the pandemic doesn’t ruin that magical affair like it has ruined just about everything else in 2020. I’m backing the UNDER 92.5 on Metchie due to his unpredictable usage in a look-ahead spot.
Trevor Lawrence at Florida State - 305.5 Passing Yards (FanDuel)
This is a “welcome back” play for Trevor, as I get the feeling he’s going to want to remind everyone why he was the overwhelming front-runner for the Heisman prior to his two week coronavirus absence. Florida State is allowing 271 passing yards per game to mere mortals like Bailey Hockman, never mind a golden-god like Sunshine Lawrence.
Clemson averages a robust 353 passing yards per game and is coming off the well-publicized heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame. I get the feeling the Tigers will be out for blood Saturday in an attempt to solidify their current number four ranking, which still puts them in position to make the CFB Playoff if they can take out ND in the ACC Championship. A motivated Clemson with something to prove spells certain doom for the Noles. Take FanDuel’s 305 yards OVER, as DK’s is listed at a more logical 325.5.
Chuba Hubbard - 124.5 rushing yards (Draft Kings)
In Oklahoma State’s last game at Kansas State they squeaked out a 20-18 victory over the Wildcats. In the win Chuba Hubbard only rushed six times for 31 yards before giving way to his heir-apparent, LD Brown, who racked up 110 yards in 15 carries before also departing late in the game. (side note: every time I see his name, I envision JB Smoove’s Curb Your Enthusiasm character yelling “LD!” ) Keep in mind, this isn’t the 2019 version of Chuba, as he is only averaging 4.6 YPC this season compared to 6.4 YPC last year, which also happens to be LD’s average this season.
Reports out of Stillwater indicated Hubbard had been dealing with a high-ankle sprain heading into the Kansas State tilt. It remains to be seen how that ailment will affect him for Bedlam this Saturday. In addition to the injury question marks swirling, the Oklahoma State offensive line is missing three starting lineman from an already suspect unit that ranks 104th in line yards. Conversely Oklahoma’s defensive line has played unusually well, ranking 12th in line yards allowed while holding opposing offenses to a sterling 98 yards rushing per game.
This game features a pair of defenses that are much better than what we are accustomed to seeing from these teams, and offenses that are not nearly as potent. It feels like a 27-24 type game to me as opposed to 38-35. Throw in the strong play of the Oklahoma State backup RB carrying Larry David’s initials, and you’ve got a strong case for the UNDER 124.5 play on Hubbard.