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Long Shots Could be the Play in NFL Receiving Futures

Catching footballs in the NFL has always been a glamorous undertaking but some of the rules instituted the last few seasons have made playing wide receiver a downright cushy job and a flanker put into the right situation can have a huge year in today’s game.

Take T.Y. Hilton, for example. The Colts’ No. 1 wideout led the NFL with 1448 yards on 91 receptions after opening the 2016 season with +3300 odds to accomplish the feat.

Julio Jones and Antonio Brown are the co-faves for the second straight year at +400 apiece over at online sportsbook Bovada with Odell Beckham coming back at +500 but the real money is finding the next T.Y.

The key here is to uncover an offense that’s likely to earn a lot of its yardage through the home run ball. Andrew Luck’s favorite target didn’t have the most receptions last year but what he did have was the most catches of 20 or more yards. In a lot of cases, a receiver's success is a product of his situation and although talent plays a big part, it matters a lot more who’s throwing the ball and how many times he throws it deep down the field.

Indianapolis was the fourth-most explosive passing offense in 2016 according to unconventionalstats.com and they were joined in the top six by the Falcons, Redskins, Steelers, Titans and Patriots. Assuming those teams all run similar offenses in 2017, there’s a good chance that our receiving leader comes from one of them and a gamble on one of the long shots could be worth a punt.

Given those parameters, Brandin Cooks is a great bet at +3300. The former Saint was acquired in the Patriots offseason reload for multiple draft picks and figures to be Tom Brady’s No. 1 option in the upcoming season. Cooks finished 2016 with a career-high 1173 yards but the fourth-year man could be set for a significant bump with his targets now coming from the quarterback some are calling the best to ever play the game.

Playing the position a lot like his Indianapolis counterpart, Cooks has been a big-play guy since he entered the league in 2014 and will give the Pats that deep threat they haven’t had since the days of Randy Moss.

2017 NFL Season: Who Will Lead The NFL In Receiving Yards?
  • Antonio Brown +400
  • Julio Jones +400
  • Odell Beckham +500
  • T.Y. Hilton +1200
  • Mike Evans +1200
  • A.J. Green +1800
  • Amari Cooper +1800
  • Dez Bryant +2000
  • Michael Thomas +2800
  • Jordy Nelson +2800
  • Brandin Cooks +3300
  • DeAndre Hopkins +3300
  • Allen Robinson +5000
  • Demaryius Thomas +5000
  • Doug Baldwin +5000
  • Golden Tate +5000
  • Emmanuel Sanders +5000
  • Jarvis Landry +5000
  • Travis Kelce +5000
  • Alshon Jeffery +5000
  • Terrelle Pryor +5000
  • Sammy Watkins +5000
  • Rob Gronkowski +5000
  • Greg Olsen +6600
  • Julian Edelman +6600
  • Kelvin Benjamin +6600
  • Larry Fitzgerald +6600
  • Michael Crabtree +7500
  • DeSean Jackson +7500
  • Davante Adams +10000
  • Martavis Bryant +10000
  • Stefon Diggs +10000
  • Willie Snead +10000
  • Keenan Allen +10000
  • Pierre Garcon +10000
  • Brandon Marshall +10000
  • Randall Cobb +10000
Odds as of July 11 at Bovada