NFL Week 18 Player Contract Incentives and Bonus Milestones: Which props have value?

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Welcome to Week 18!

It’s the finale of the 2023 NFL regular season, when the remaining division titles will be handed out and the playoff field will be set. It should also be a wildly fun week of prop betting, as a whole host of players have incentives in their contracts that can be hit to trigger lucrative bonuses.

The most important thing to keep in mind this week is not every contract incentive offers value in the betting market. In certain situations the target is so low that it does not align to what the prop number will be; in other cases it may be outrageously high. In some instances, the particular game matchup throws a wrinkle into the equation. You can’t just blindly bet on players to reach their bonus targets. Well, you can — but it wouldn’t be wise. Just like every other trend or data point that we use to handicap games every week, context must be added before placing a bet. 

Here are my best efforts to provide that context and help you bet better on perhaps the most fun prop weekend in football. Make sure you also read our NFL picks for every Week 18 game, with us up +58.7 units on our predictions this season.


Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens contract incentives

Odell Beckham Jr. needs 185 yards for a $750K bonus

Odell Beckham Jr. needs 5 catches for a $250K bonus 

Odell Beckham Jr. needs 2 touchdowns for a $500K bonus

Jadeveon Clowney needs 0.5 sacks for a $750K bonus 

From a bonus perspective, nobody has more at stake this weekend than Baltimore receiver Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ can put himself in the money in receptions, yards and touchdowns. His most likely target is 5 catches, which would net $250K. Touchdowns (2) and yards (185) incentives are more of a longshot. The Ravens face a Steelers defense that ranks #22 in the NFL against the pass, allowing 233.9 yards per game and 22 passing touchdowns on 7.4 yards per attempt. It must be noted that Baltimore, which has already secured the #1 seed in the AFC, will be resting quarterback Lamar Jackson. Beckham should be able to make 5 grabs, but hitting the other 2 numbers is probably too much to ask.

On the other side of the ball, Ravens linebacker Jadeveon Clowney needs half a sack to get $750K. Pittsburgh has given up the ninth-fewest sacks this season (33).

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts contract incentives

Dalton Schultz needs 4 catches for a $250K bonus

Devin Singletary needs 165 rushing yards for a $125K bonus  

This AFC South showdown is a win-and-in situation; the winner would even capture the division crown if Jacksonville loses to Tennessee.

It’s important for 2 players, too. Houston tight end Dalton Schultz is 4 receptions away from a $250K payday. Schultz has made 14 catches over the past 3 games, including 8 against Cleveland and 4 against Tennessee. Texans running back Devin Singletary needs a season-high 165 yards to grab a $125K bonus. Singletary went for 150 at Cincinnati in November, has delivered 2 other performances of at least 112 yards and is coming off a 16-carry, 80-yard effort against the Titans last week. The Colts’ defense is #17 in the NFL against the pass (224.8 yards per game) and #27 against the run (127.8 ypg).

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans contract incentives

DeAndre Hopkins needs 49 receiving yards for a $1 million bonus

DeAndre Hopkins needs 7 receptions for a $250K bonus 

Jacksonville has to win to clinch the AFC South championship. Tennessee is out of it. Nonetheless, Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will certainly be playing hard on Sunday.

Hopkins needs 49 yards to pocket $1 million (very doable). He needs 7 catches to add an additional $250K (much more difficult but still well within the realm of possibility). Hopkins has 68 receptions for 1,011 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. He caught all 7 of his targets for 72 yards during last weekend’s blowout loss to Houston. The veteran out of Clemson has made at least 7 receptions on 4 occasions this season. He has reached the 49-yard mark 10 times. The Jaguars are #27 in the league in passing defense, surrendering 245.3 yards per game on 7.1 yards per attempt. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers contract incentives

Lavonte David needs 0.5 sacks for a $150K bonus 

Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David has to record half a sack for a $150K bonus when they face the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. David has 4.5 sacks in 2023, including 2.5 in the last 5 contests. Carolina has been victimized by the third-most sacks in the NFL this season (62).

It’s also worth mentioning that Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield can trigger various bonuses if he finishes among a certain ranking in certain statistical categories. Mayfield doesn’t have exact target numbers to hit, but the bottom line is that he will be motivated. Of course, the entire team will be fired up; if the Bucs win, they win the NFC South.

Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions contract incentives

Alexander Mattison needs 74 rushing yards for a $250K bonus

Alexander Mattison needs 124 rushing yards for a $650K bonus 

Vikings running back Alexander Mattison needs 74 rushing yards to trigger an initial bonus and 50 more than that would get him an even bigger payday. Unfortunately for the Boise State product, he will be hard-pressed to earn any of it. After all, Mattison is RB2 in Minnesota behind Ty Chandler. He has logged only 5 carries the past 2 weeks, turning them into 16 yards. The Vikings are also facing a Lions defense that ranks #5 in the NFL against the runner, yielding 88.8 yards per game on 3.7 yards per carry.

All of that being said, the Vikings are out of it after losing to the Packers in Week 17. With nothing to play for, they may decide to give Mattison an unusual number of carries in an effort to get him over at least the smaller of these 2 incentive numbers. Chandler hasn’t done anything the last 2 games anyway, so Minnesota might as well give Mattison the rock.

Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints contract incentives

Calais Campbell needs 2.5 sacks for a $500K bonus

Bud Dupree needs 1.5 sacks for a $1 million bonus 

The Falcons will be playing hard on Sunday, because if the Buccaneers lose then Atlanta at New Orleans is for the moribund NFC South title.

Atlanta pass-rushers Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree would be playing hard even if their team was out of it, because they are very much in range of reaching their respective bonuses. Campbell needs 2.5 sacks for $500K; that would require a minor miracle. Dupree can get to his $1 million bonus with 1.5 sacks; that is far more manageable. Both have 5.5 for the season as they head into a matchup with a Saints offensive line that has given up 32 sacks this season. 

Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Chargers contract incentives

Chris Jones needs 0.5 sacks for a $1.25 million bonus 

Austin Ekeler needs 110 total yards for a $100K bonus 

Incentives will come into play in this matchup when Los Angeles has the ball. Chargers RB Austin Ekeler needs 110 yards from scrimmage to lock in a $100K bonus, while Chiefs DE Chris Jones needs just a half a sack to secure $1.25 million.

The Bolts are obviously out of playoff contention, so they can give Ekeler a steady workload in both the running and passing departments without caring about the game outcome. The 28-year-old amassed only 46 scrimmage yards in the first head-to-head matchup in 2023, but he should be able to fare better on Sunday against a solid but unspectacular K.C. defense that has given up the 16th-most fantasy points to running backs. As for Jones, he has 9.5 sacks in only 12 games of work now meets a Chargers offense that has allowed the sixth-most sacks (47). 

Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers contract incentives

Jordan Love needs Green Bay to make the playoffs for a $500K bonus 

Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love doesn’t have any specific numbers to target, but he stands to benefit from his team’s success. If the Packers punch a ticket to the playoffs, Love receives $500K in bonuses. Green Bay is in if it beats Chicago but would need significant help with a loss. Love will probably be airing it out early and often against a Bears defensive unit that is #1 in the NFL against the run. 

Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins contract incentives

Tyreek Hill needs 248 receiving yards to set the NFL all-time single-season record 

Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill can break the NFL’s single-season receiving record when the Miami battles Buffalo for the AFC East title on Sunday Night Football. Okay, he “can” because he’s Tyreek Freaking Hill. Anyone else would have zero chance of racking up 248 yards; Hill has a chance that is extremely close to zero. He is running into a Bills defense thats is #7 league-wide against the pass (198.4 yards per game) and given the stakes it’s not like the Dolphins’ offense is going to be messing around working about player bonuses.

It’s not going to happen, folks. Still, you want the ball in your best player’s hands in the biggest game of your season and that means Hill should be in line for at least a pretty big night.

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