Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson wasn’t the only player who benefitted from his MVP run in 2019. A rising tide lifts all boats, and, aside from Jackson himself, no player saw their stock rise more than tight end Mark Andrews.
Andrews emerged as a star in 2019. He was Jackson’s go-to pass-catcher with a team-leading 98 targets and found the end zone 10 times. His final stat line of 64 catches for 852 yards and the aforementioned 10 scores has Ravens fans and fantasy football players very excited for what’s to come in 2020. What do the oddsmakers think, and what information can be gleaned from where Andrews’ over/under is set?
MyBookie.ag offers the following prop bets for Andrews in 2020:
Receptions: 64.5 (Over -120; Under -120)
Receiving Yards: 899.5 (Over -120; Under -120)
Receiving TDs: 9.5 (Over +120; Under -160)
One of the most fascinating aspects of Andrews’ 2019 season is the scarce amount of offensive snaps he played relative to his production. While fellow tight end Nick Boyle was on the field for 69.6% of Baltimore’s offensive plays, Andrews was out there on only 41.4% of offensive snaps. That was the same amount as No. 3 tight end Hayden Hurst, who was traded from Baltimore to the Atlanta Falcons earlier this offseason. Blocking versus receiving skillsets obviously play a major role in which tight ends are on the field at any given time, but it’s reasonable to expect an increase in volume for Andrews this season.
The Ravens had a four-headed monster at tight end in 2018 that included Maxx Williams. Baltimore moved on from Williams prior to the 2019 season and we saw a change in Andrews’ workload. Andrews saw a 10.4% increase in snaps (457 compared to 414) and was on the field for 6.54% more of his team’s offensive plays in 2019 compared to 2018. Is it reasonable to expect a similar jump with Hurst in Atlanta, Andrews coming off a breakout season, and the Ravens likely needing to play starters in Week 17 this year?
Assuming similar passing volume from the Ravens in 2020, a 10.4% increase in snaps gets Andrews to around 504 over 15 games and 538 if he plays all 16. He averaged a catch every 7.14 snaps last season. To reach 65 receptions and cash a winning ticket on the over, Andrews would only need to play 464.1 snaps if he maintains his catch rate from 2019. Even a one-catch-per-eight-snaps pace needs only 520 snaps to reach the over. Barring an injury, the best bet on Andrews’ receptions prop is over 64.5 (-120).
The posted total of 899.5 receiving yards is 47.5 yards above Andrews’ mark in 2019. If you subscribe to the logic laid out above and are considering wagering on the over for receptions, you’ll like the over on receiving yards too. It’s kind of a package deal. If he repeats his 13.3 yards-per-catch mark from last season, he’ll need 67.7 catches to reach 900 yards. Let’s take a closer look at how snap counts affect this total.
Andrews averaged .214 targets per snap last season. At that rate, given an increase to the 538 targets mentioned above, Andrews should get about 115 targets in 2020. If his 8.7 yards per target number stays constant, that amounts to 1,003.7 receiving yards. Keep in mind, these per-snap/target numbers tend to decrease when volume increases (that 8.7 mark as a sophomore dropped from 11.0 as a rookie, for example). So, to reach the 900-yard plateau for an over bet to cash, Andrews needs to average 7.83 yards per target on 115 targets. The best bet on Andrews’ receiving yards prop is over 899.5 (-120).
Touchdowns are where things get tricky. Andrews was one of only three players (and the sole tight end) to score double-digit touchdowns in 2019. He’ll need to repeat that output for over bettors to cash on that wager. He’s fighting an uphill battle, especially since touchdown regression is expected for Jackson, who had a league-high 9% touchdown rate last season. You can read more about how Jackson’s inevitable regression to the mean will affect his touchdown total here. He’ll still be great, but the safe bet is to assume he’ll be in the mid-20s in terms of passing touchdowns. In that case, it’ll be extremely tough for Andrews to get to 10 touchdowns again. The best bet on Andrews’ receiving touchdowns prop is under 9.5 (-160).
Most of the attention around the Ravens offense in 2020 will focus on Jackson’s continued progression following his MVP campaign and how rookie running back J.K. Dobbins works his way into the offense. However, how Andrews handles more playing time is arguably the most intriguing storyline. Does he cement himself among the elite at the position or was 2019 his peak? I think a 70/1,000/7 season is very doable for Andrews. If he accomplishes that, he’ll be welcomed with open arms into the NFL’s elite tight end class.
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