If we're going to have a conversation about Derek Carr as a potential NFL MVP candidate this season, then Darren Waller's continued growth and success in the Las Vegas Raiders' offense needs to be a part of that conversation.
Waller has picked up right where he left off a season ago, catching 20 passes on 33 targets through the first three games of the year. He has 224 receiving yards, ranking fourth-best amongst tight ends with still a full game left to play.
Waller and the Raiders head to Los Angeles for a Monday night matchup against the Chargers as 3.5-point road underdogs despite a perfect start to the season. The over/under for tonight is currently listed at 52.0 points.
Here are three predictions I expect to happen for Waller and Las Vegas tonight; all of which you can bet on at WynnBET Sportsbook.
Darren Waller Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+110)
Waller is in the midst of a two-game touchdown drought, but has been targeted four times over the last two games in the red zone. I think he's due for some positive regression to the mean and is a mismatch for anyone that the Chargers try to put on him for a 50/50 ball in the middle of the field or one-on-one to the outside.
With how well the Chargers handle opposing wide receivers (tops in the NFL), Waller is an immediate priority for Derek Carr, especially in the red zone.
Darren Waller OVER 65 Receiving Yards (-120)
WynnBET has the actual prop number set at 68.5 at -115 odds. Rather than take the higher number, I'll give myself a 3.5 yard cushion as part of their "Build Your Own Bet" prop series at WynnBET for slightly lower odds.
Waller has seen his receiving yards drop consecutively in each of the first three games, but he'll need to be a focal point in addition to running the ball to move the football against the Chargers.
Don't forget, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce torched L.A in Week 3 with 7 catches for 104 yards. I project Waller for 71.5 receiving yards tonight.
Darren Waller OVER 5.5 Receptions (-150)
Tough amount of juice to lay for a prop, but Waller must be an integral part of the Raiders' success if they're going to hang around in this matchup.
I don't look at Waller's decreased target share as a bad thing at all. In fact, because so many of their receivers have big-play ability, that should open up Waller for more volume even more. I like Waller to finish with 7 receptions tonight.
Despite Carr likely throwing for the fewest amount of yards he's had all season, I still expect a solid performance from Waller against L.A, hitting multiple overs on his props tonight.
Darren Waller Projections vs. Chargers
- 7 receptions, 72 yards and a touchdown