NFL player prop of the day: The sky is the limit for Darnell Mooney

·2 min read

I've spent weeks looking at and researching player props for this NFL season. Most of the lines look right, some are a little soft, a few were left on the board too long before being taken down or changed. And then there's this one prop that keeps jumping off the page like a 1992 Kris Kross concert.

Chicago Bears receiver Darnell Mooney isn't a household name yet, but he's about to fill your household with money. Over 700.5 receiving yards on BetMGM is my favorite player prop of the year. I'm going hard on this one.

To the moon

A 2020 fifth-round pick, Mooney didn't start until week 8 of last season. He saw 98 targets in his rookie year, which he turned into 631 yards on 61 receptions. 

He ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash coming out of Tulane and was often used as a deep threat for the Bears. 44% of his targets were 10+ yards downfield, but only 45% were catchable. Nearly a quarter of his targets were 20+ yards downfield, and a dismal 29% of those were deemed catchable.

Mooney would have produced much more with halfway-decent quarterback play. Andy Dalton is the starter for the moment, but I believe Justin Fields will be QB1 before too long. Fields' deep ball accuracy in college was 68% on throws of 20+ yards.

Darnell Mooney set a franchise record in 2020 for most receptions by a Bears rookie. (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)
Darnell Mooney set a franchise record in 2020 for most receptions by a Bears rookie. (Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports)

While setting a franchise record for receptions by a rookie, Mooney was also shaking defenders out of their cleats. He forced the most missed tackles on receptions out of any rookie wideoout and was tied for fourth in the entire league, with guys like Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf.

Some rookies buy cars or jewelry with their first NFL paycheck. Mooney bought a Jugs machine and put it in his living room. His work ethic has clearly been paying dividends, as he was one of the standouts of Bears training camp this year.

This line of 700.5 receiving yards is way lower than it should be. Mooney was only 70 yards short of that in 2020, starting in just nine games and with quarterbacks who couldn't hit him when he broke wide open down the field. He's now locked into the WR2 spot and is about to see a lot more volume from a more accurate quarterback. The only way he doesn't hit this number is if he gets injured. I'm hammering the over for my biggest prop bet of the season.

Stats provided by PFF, SharpFootball and pro football reference

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