Another Thursday, another week of searching for TNF picks inducing a gag with the injury-riddled New Orleans Saints visiting the pathetic Arizona Cardinals offense.

After witnessing the Commanders vs. Bears clash last week, trying to find compelling Saints-Cardinals props or betting scenarios seems like a wasted effort. If only there was a juicy story or a savior to swoop in and save us from another ho-hum game…

Dramatic break. Look to the sky. Sees the silhouette of a deity-like figure with dreadlocks.

Our prayers have been answered, as DeAndre Hopkins will be making his season debut in Week 7!

For a week at least, we don’t have to bet on struggling (or backup) quarterbacks, a third-string wide receiver, or a star running back who’s largely ignored — on the menu this week, props DeAndre Hopkins, in all his chaos and glory directed by Kliff Kingsbury.

We don’t really I know how well “Nuk” will play — or how well he’ll even play — but my NFL free picks are pretty confident the Cards will max out their best WR time on the court.

Choice of DeAndre Hopkins TNF Accessories

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DeAndre Hopkins TNF Accessories

Saying things went wrong for QB Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals offense so far this season is an understatement.

After racking up nine points last week against the Seahawks’ pitiful defense, Kyler is now (among QBs with at least 10 pass attempts) 19th in the league in completion percentage, 37th in yards per attempt and 29th in passing yards. planned by attempt. .

His average target depth is also a career-low 7.1 yards, while his receiving core is losing a career-high 5.2% of his passes.

All of this, plus the injury news that Marquise Brown has also been out for at least six weeks, can’t help but make Kyler feel like Bonnie Tyler.

Isn’t there a white knight on a fiery steed?
Late at night, I toss and turn,
And I dream of what I need…
…I need a hero.

Well, Kyler’s dreams have been granted: he finally gets the return of No. 1 DeAndre Hopkins, who was suspended for the first six games due to PED but was Murray’s favorite target in his two seasons in the desert.

He must be strong, and he must be fast,
And he must be fresh from the fight

We don’t know exactly how strong and/or fast D-Hop will be, considering he’s basically played two games in the last 12 months (and the whole PED thing), but we do know he’s rested – and with the state of the Cardinals attack, he will attract a lot of attention.

With “Hollywood” Brown – who had played nearly 95% of the team’s offensive snaps for six weeks – the only pass catchers left with continuity are WR Rondale Moore (who missed the first three weeks but saw his snap counts go from 85.5% to 98.6% last week) and tight end Zach Ertz.

Aging AJ Green is playing about 55% of offensive snaps this season, while Greg Dortch has played less than 5% of offensive snaps in the past two weeks, and newly acquired Robbie Anderson isn’t expected to do much (apart from running deep lanes) after joining the team two days ago.

With Brown’s target share of 26.3% now up for grabs, Murray will surely look to Moore and Ertz – but no one on this court on Thursday will have had more reps and chemistry with Kyler than Hopkins, who had a target share 29.4% in 2020 and 20.5% in his 10 games last year.

It’s also a good situation for Hopkins to come back on Thursday. The New Orleans Saints the defense will no longer have CB star Marshon Lattimore, and without him last week the Saints allowed Ja’Marr Chase to record seven catches, while Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins also had six catches.

Hopkins probably won’t play a full count (although the catcher said he doesn’t think he should be limited), which worries me a bit about a yardage prop that falls between 58, 5 and 60.5.

However, I like his receiving prop: Hopkins will definitely play on key downs, and with a battered offensive line (now without Justin Pugh) and no threat of running play, the Saints will come after Murray – which means we could see lots of quick, short throws.

Against a secondary lacking in guys who can cover receivers, expect Hopkins to be the recipient of many of those important passes, taking him above his receiving prop for TNF.

Sustain: DeAndre Hopkins Over 4.5 receptions (-155 at DraftKings)

I mean, it’s only been a few days of training, but Murray is already looking forward to the return of his BFF grill:

I’ve already established that the No. 10 will get as many looks from Murray as possible in important situations, but he’ll be really stuck on Hopkins in the red zone.

The Cardinals are currently just 20th in the league with a red-zone touchdown percentage of just 50% — including 0-for-2 last week and just three touchdowns in their last 10 trips in the last four games.

Arizona’s leader in RZ targets this season is Ertz, who caught 4/11 targets, while Brown was 1/4 and the rest of the team is 6 of 12. Hopkins had zone target share red of 32.6% in 10 games in 2021 and a target RZ share of 26.1% in 2020, carrying almost half of his goals for seven TDs.

There may be questions about his overall snap count, but there will be no doubt that Hopkins will play in key red zone/goal-to-go situations. For the same reasons, I like that Hopkins exceeds his reception total because Murray will watch him when he plays. Factor in a bad Saints secondary and no rushing options for Arizona?

I like “Nuk” to get a few targets in the red zone…and bring at least one for a touchdown.

Sustain: Touchdown from DeAndre Hopkins at any time (+155)

Covers NFL betting analysis

In 2020, Murray was the 10th-best QB in Pro Football Focus on deep balls (over 20 yards), averaging about four attempts per game. He was even better last season, as connections with Hopkins, Green and Christian Kirk led to Murray being the highest-ranked QB on deep balls, averaging one shadow in five attempts per game.

His 2022 numbers? Still averaging five deep attempts per game… but he’s the 39th year QB. With Hopkins gone, Kirk leaving in the offseason, and Green going from reliable aiming last year (12/20) to 0/5 on field shots this year, Murray didn’t have anyone capable of consistently taking the top on defense.

Brown was his best option (5/14) but he’s also sidelined, meaning Murray’s viable targets are either Anderson (who doesn’t know the playbook at all but is fast and can run to down) or Hopkins, who (do you sense a theme here?) can step in and have an immediate impact.

Hopkins’ longest receiving total currently stands at 21.5 yards – a number he has failed to beat in his last two games of 2021. However, he has been visibly hampered by injuries in those games and has gone 13-5 against that number in his previous 18 games.

Despite a pitiful 26.7% completion rate on deep throws right now, Murray is still third in the NFL with 30 attempts from 20+ yards. He now has a bona fide weapon on the field at Hopkins, and against an exhausted Saints secondary that gave up three 21+ yard completions last week, I’ll bet the No. 10 catches at least one big chunk.

Sustain: DeAndre Hopkins longest completion Over 21.5 yards (-115)

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