Welcome back to Thursday night picks, presented by PrizePicks. We’re in need of a massive bounce back in Week 15 after an 0-4 showing last week thanks to a Raiders collapse. Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did. Davante Adams put up a goose egg in the second half to finish with 71 yards, Josh Jacobs returned from a finger injury to finish with 99 yards and hit his over, and Tyler Higbee was a non-factor until the 4th quarter and never found the end zone. Maybe if the refs weren’t content to let Rob Havenstein choke out Maxx Crosby on every dropback, things would’ve gone differently, and I would’ve gotten a full night’s sleep at least once in the last week. Oh well — we’re on to Week 15.
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- One game line pick (Spread or Over/Under)
- One player prop OVER via PrizePicks
- One player prop UNDER via PrizePicks
- One TD scorer
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Thursday Night Football this week features 7-6 Seattle hosting 9-4 San Francisco, two teams that figure to be in the mix in the NFC postseason a few short weeks from now. The Seahawks lost a tough one at home to Carolina last week, while Brock Purdy and the 49ers manhandled the Bucs in a 35-7 blowout. The first-place 49ers are 3-point road favorites in this one, with the over/under set at 43.5
Season Record; 26-32, -1.2 units
GAME PICK: 49ERS -3
As the Niners sat at 3.5-point favorites through the early part of this week, I went back and forth on my selection for this game. But after their move to -3, I feel much better about taking them.
The line change is key because I do think this has the makings of a very close game. Seattle has lost three of four and has to turn it around soon to remain in the NFC playoffs. San Francisco is the better team without a doubt, but Seattle has much more to play for — not to mention the home-field advantage that I’m sure will be the main topic of the Amazon pregame show.
The main factor in this game on both sides is going to be the run game. San Francisco boasts the league’s ninth-ranked rushing offense, while Seattle’s run defense has been atrocious. Ranked 31st in the league for the year, the Seahawks have given up an average of 209 rushing yards per game over their last four. Christian McCaffrey should have a field day with that unit and take some of the weight off Brock Purdy‘s shoulders.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have the top run defense in the league, and Seattle’s best-case scenario at running back is Kenneth Walker, who is set to return for the Seahawks. Seattle’s lack of rushing attack will force Geno Smith to make plays with his arm against a defense that’s ranked eighth in sacks and tied for second in interceptions with 14.
It’s hard to go against Seattle at home, but the matchup here leaves me no choice.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY OVER 78.5 RUSHING YARDS
Usually, when a team loses its star receiver to injury, it opens up opportunities for other pass catchers to contribute. But considering Deebo Samuel‘s role in San Francisco’s run game, his absence may actually open things up for McCaffrey more than anyone.
CMC had his best game as a 49er last week, rushing for 119 yards and a TD and catching two passes for 34 yards and another score. Despite this outburst, McCaffrey has only topped this number twice since being traded and had actually averaged more yards receiving than rushing over his past three games going into last week. But with Elijah Mitchell and now Deebo out, McCaffrey will continue to get a ton of opportunities in the run game.
If McCaffrey gets 15 carries against this defense that gave up 223 rushing yards to Carolina last week, he should hit this number easily. Seattle virtually never brings down a ball carrier on first contact, and McCaffrey should have no trouble getting to the second level and stacking up 10-yard gains. The only thing that can hurt us is a lack of volume, and I don’t see that being an issue.
WILL DISSLY UNDER 16.5 RECEIVING YARDS
I hate taking unders when the total is set this low, but here we are. Will Dissly has been a mainstay in Seattle since 2018 and has already set career highs this year in targets, receptions, and yards. However, he’s always splitting reps with Noah Fant, who was acquired by Seattle in the Russell Wilson trade. They split time pretty evenly overall, but Fant has gotten more targets than Dissly lately and has done more with those chances. Fant has also out-snapped Dissly in four of the last five games.
Dissly is generally considered a better blocker than Fant, which puts him on the field often in running situations. But Fant is the better receiver, and in a game against a stout run defense with injuries in the backfield, Seattle will need to focus on getting the pass game going, and Fant should be on the field significantly more than Dissly. San Francisco has also yielded the fifth-fewest receiving yards to tight ends this year, so both players will likely struggle to contribute much in this one.
ANYTIME TOUCHDOWN: GEORGE KITTLE +200
George Kittle has received a lot of flak from fantasy managers this year as he sometimes becomes a glorified offensive lineman in San Francisco’s run-first offense. He’s on pace for just 55 receptions and 653 receiving yards in 2022, which would both be his lowest marks since his rookie year, aside from 2020 when injuries limited him to eight games. However, Kittle was targeted five times last week in Purdy’s first NFL start and with Deebo Samuel out, the young QB needs all the options he can get in the passing game.
Despite a slow season overall, Kittle does have four touchdowns this year, and Seattle has yielded the second-most fantasy points to tight ends with six touchdowns scored on them. I expect Kittle to turn on the jets to round out the season, and it starts with a TD on Thursday night in Seattle.