This week, the Green Bay Packers head to Atlanta to face the Falcons in a matchup between teams that have a few key injury question marks. The Packers have Christian Watson and Aaron Jones questionable on offense, while cornerback Jeff Okudah carries the same status for Atlanta, who have also ruled linebacker Troy Andersen out for the game.
Those injuries impact a few intriguing Packers player prop bets from DraftKings this week. One finds us bullish on a player continuing his solid play from his debut, while the other looks at a potential injury replacement who could find paydirt in the right situation.
Bet 1: Luke Musgrave over 32.5 receiving yards (-120)
In his NFL debut last week, Musgrave was the Packers’ unequivocal TE1. He was on the field for 45 of the team’s 55 meaningful offensive snaps (in other words, snaps that came before the team substituted out the starting offense) good for a rate of 82%. In those 45 snaps, Musgrave was targeted in the passing game four times, catching three passes for 50 yards.
The ways Musgrave was used suggest that the Packers’ coaching staff wants to make him a focal point of the passing game and that they want to do so right away. He caught two of his three passes over the middle, one for a short gain of 4 yards and one for a gain of 9, then got wide open deep up the left sideline during a two-minute drill at the end of the first half and wasn’t quite on the same page as Jordan Love on what could have been a touchdown.
However, it’s his big play last week that should provide the most excitement. Musgrave got open on Y Leak, coming all the way across the formation and leaking out for a deep, 37-yard reception that could have been a touchdown as well. Combine some early receiving production with a clear willingness and effort as a blocker, and you have a player who will be on the field almost nonstop in nearly every situation.
Christian Watson remains questionable for the Packers, and if he can’t go, Musgrave should remain a key player for the Packers to help stretch the Falcons’ defense vertically. The extra factor here in Musgrave’s favor is that the Falcons will be without one of their starting inside linebackers on Sunday. Troy Andersen is one of a few linebackers in the NFL with the size and physical ability to match Musgrave’s, but he was ruled out on Friday’s injury report with a concussion. Go for Musgrave to hit the over comfortably in this matchup.
Bet 2: Patrick Taylor anytime TD +850
Aaron Jones’ status for this game looks very much in question, as he has been listed as questionable on the Packers’ Friday injury report and missed practice all week long. Even if he does play on Sunday, look for the Packers to keep his workload even more limited than usual. But if he can’t go — a strong possibility — the Packers will likely turn to AJ Dillon as the workhorse running back, with Emanuel Wilson and Patrick Taylor, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, as the changes of pace.
Wilson is a tempting pick as well at +650. But Taylor got a practice squad elevation last week and he was active over Wilson on gameday. He’ll surely be on the gameday one way or another this week, regardless of whether Jones can go, while Wilson playing is likely dependent on Jones being inactive. That alone is enough to make Taylor a more appealing pick, particularly since he has longer odds.
Last week, Taylor was largely a special teams player, but he got a few carries in the second half after Jones left the game as well as in garbage time. Furthermore, he was more effective in his limited playing time (5 carries for 22 yards) than Dillon was (13 carries for 19 yards), so the Packers should try to mix him in a bit more this week.
Taylor is a steady runner; he’s not one who’s likely to break off anything big. But he’ll be a part of the offense this week and especially if the Packers can pull away from the Falcons, he should get a handful of carries late. By banking on Taylor, you’re hoping he vultures a goal line carry from Dillon or gets a score in the late stages of the game, but at +850, it’s worth taking a shot.