2021 Award and Stat Predictions: Living in Patrick Mahomes' World

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Andrew: Hello and welcome once again to Scramble for the Ball, where we resume normal scheduling with our traditional feature-length look at the odds we haven't already covered in our team-by-team over/under columns. Instead of picking the Chiefs to be really good and the Jets to be really bad, it's time to pick Patrick Mahomes for MVP, Derrick Henry to pile up the most rushing yards, and Adam Gase to be the first coach fi—wait, Gase isn't a head coach anymore? Well that complicates things.

Bryan: That's right, we're moving from team odds to individual player odds. If you thought we were bad at picking between one of two options, wait until we have 100 to choose from! We've been so successful at this historically that we're back doing it again, as opposed to sitting on a massive pile of our gambling winnings.

Andrew: If you're looking to us for actual NFL betting advice, you might want to check our Lock of the Week records over the past five years before you go any further. This column does not constitute financial advice.

Of course, the fact that we can pick from 100 options on some of these props is itself A) ridiculous and B) more evidence of why the house always wins. Why is Patrick Mahomes, a quarterback who has never had more than two rushing touchdowns in a single regular season, an individual option to lead the league in rushing touchdowns, and not just categorized under "the field?"

Bryan: Think of the story you'll have with that betting ticket! The story of, uh, ripping it up almost immediately now that you have thrown your money down the drain. At +50000, the betting sides will be happy to give you that bet, and equally happy to take your money when it's all over.

Andrew: For purposes of Vince's sanity and your page load times, we're restricting the tables in the nuttiest categories to roughly the top 20 or so names. Rest assured, if we pick some ludicrous longshot (Marquez Callaway to lead the league in receiving touchdowns!), we (a.k.a. Bryan) will link you to the full list so that you can confirm the craziness.

Bryan: As a reminder, for each prop, we're picking three players. The first is the player we think is most likely to win the category, regardless of the odds given. The second is the player we think is the best bet—the best value for your money. And our third is our favorite longshot, someone with long odds that we think could well end up surprising people, if the chips fall the right way.

Editors' Note: These lines fluctuate quite regularly, and can differ from site to site. These specific odds all come from either Draft Kings or Bovada, and were all correct as of time of writing.

Player Stat Props

MOST PASSING YARDS

Passing Yards
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Patrick Mahomes +350 Baker Mayfield +4000 Jalen Hurts +10000
Dak Prescott +600 Derek Carr +4000 Zach Wilson +10000
Tom Brady +650 Kyler Murray +4000 Jimmy Garoppolo +13000
Josh Allen +850 Sam Darnold +5000 Lamar Jackson +15000
Matthew Stafford +1200 Tua Tagovailoa +5000 Trey Lance +20000
Aaron Rodgers +1400 Trevor Lawrence +5000 Andy Dalton +25000
Justin Herbert +1400 Ben Roethlisberger +5000 Cam Newton +25000
Matt Ryan +1400 Jared Goff +5000 Justin Fields +25000
Russell Wilson +2000 Ryan Fitzpatrick +5000 Mac Jones +30000
Joe Burrow +2500 Daniel Jones +8000 Tyrod Taylor +40000
Jameis Winston +2500 Carson Wentz +8000 Davis Mills +50000
Ryan Tannehill +2800 Teddy Bridgewater +8000 Taysom Hill +50000
Kirk Cousins +2800 Drew Lock +10000    

Bryan: And now, what will be a ritual for the rest of the decade: opening up this article by mentioning that Patrick Mahomes is very good at his job.

Andrew: You heard it here first, folks.

Bryan: Actually, you kind of did hear it here ... well, not first, but you're probably still riding high from picking Mahomes in a bunch of these categories back in 2018, his first season as a starter.

Andrew: That's true, and I'd like to thank you for reminding our audience of that, saving me the trouble. There's a wee interesting trend here, however, that I think is worth mentioning specifically in this category. Mahomes would, in fact, not be my pick here, and I don't think he's good value at all at +350.

Sure, from 2016 to 2018 the league leaders in this category were three of the best quarterbacks in recent football history (Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger). But Brees led the league in a playoff-less 7-9 season featuring one of the worst defenses in league history; Brady's 4,577 yards in 2017 were the lowest total to lead the league since 2006; Roethlisberger was hauling a less-than-stellar Steelers team to 9-6-1; and the past two leaders have come in the form of a 7-9 season from Jameis Winston and a 4-12 season from Deshaun Watson. This isn't Peyton Manning and the 2013 Broncos anymore. We're not looking for the best quarterback on the best team in the league; we're looking for somebody who'll be dragging the franchise on his back, and that's not quite what I expect from the Chiefs.

Bryan: I very much endorse this policy of overthinking things, and am curious as to who you do have as your favorite to lead the league. I am taking Mahomes; he's the only player our KUBIAK projections have cresting the 5,000-yard mark, but your argument is at the very least intriguing. Dragging a franchise, huh ... you're not going with Matthew Stafford, are you?

Andrew: Stafford won't need to drag the Rams anywhere. I would have considered him if he was still in Detroit, and I've touted him a few times in these columns, but I don't think he's good value in Los Angeles. Your question is a good one, though. I'm really not sure who my actual favorite would be. Prescott looks a decent bet, because that Cowboys defense was horrendous last year and he gets a few tasty matchups. Justin Herbert and Matt Ryan are very inviting down there at +1400 because both of those guys are on teams where defense is more aspirational than actual.

Bryan: Herbert is my pick for best value. The Chargers have sworn that they're going to implement a higher-pace, no-huddle type offense, which should give Herbert more opportunities to throw the ball. I know, I know, Brandon Staley is going to come in and fix the defense and it's all gonna be perfect after one year. Bah. They'll be involved in more of their fair share of shootouts, and Herbert has a real shot at hitting 5,000 yards.

Andrew: Russell Wilson would probably be my favorite if Pete Carroll would ever actually just let him do his thing, and Joe Burrow will be throwing a ton with a very decent receiver group on a very bad team. Then there's Trevor Lawrence. I've already expressed my high opinion of the potential receiving group there, and the Jaguars are very, very bad. If he wasn't a rookie, he'd be very high on my list of possibilities.

You're probably right, I'm probably overthinking things. Mahomes is the favorite, but Dak Prescott is my favorite. If you get Herbert for best value, I get Matt Ryan. And I'll snag Joe Burrow as my longshot, because the Bengals are going to be very bad indeed and his receivers are much better than I think most casual observers realize.

Bryan: I'm dipping a little further down the table for my longshot, though I'm sticking in the same division. He's a former league leader in this category! He's an extra year removed from extensive elbow surgery! He has been pushing the ball down the field in preseason! He's at +5000 odds! Let's give it up for Ben Roethlisberger! And I'll look like an idiot in October when his arm falls off.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Dak Prescott (+600) Matt Ryan (+1400) Joe Burrow (+2500)
Bryan Patrick Mahomes (+350) Justin Herbert (+1400) Ben Roethlisberger (+5000)

MOST PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

Passing Touchdowns
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Patrick Mahomes +330 Ryan Tannehill +2000 Zach Wilson +6500
Tom Brady +500 Derek Carr +3500 Teddy Bridgewater +6500
Josh Allen +750 Kyler Murray +3500 Jalen Hurts +8000
Aaron Rodgers +800 Trevor Lawrence +3500 Jared Goff +8000
Russell Wilson +900 Jameis Winston +3500 Justin Fields +10000
Dak Prescott +1200 Ben Roethlisberger +4000 Tyrod Taylor +10000
Matt Ryan +1600 Lamar Jackson +4000 Trey Lance +15000
Justin Herbert +1800 Carson Wentz +5000 Cam Newton +20000
Matthew Stafford +1800 Daniel Jones +5000 Drew Lock +25000
Baker Mayfield +2000 Ryan Fitzpatrick +5000 Mac Jones +25000
Kirk Cousins +2000 Sam Darnold +5000 Taysom Hill +25000
Joe Burrow +2000 Tua Tagovailoa +5000    

Bryan: I am surprised Aaron Rodgers is so low on the list, comparatively speaking. He led the league with 48 touchdowns a year ago; no one else had more than 40. Some residual "maybe he won't play, and we don't want to update our rankings" fatigue? An acknowledgment that he's turning 38 years old and could see age hit him like a brick wall? Maybe, but he was a big enough leader last year that you'd have to really sell me on not having him as the favorite going in. It's not like his offense was disassembled this offseason or anything!

Andrew: Aaron Rodgers is a great shout, and solid value at +800. He and Davante Adams will be my go-to pairing for passing/receiving touchdowns as long as they play together, whether in Green Bay or (cough) Denver next year. I also like Tom Brady in this category, because I think Giovani Bernard adds a dimension to that offense that they were missing last year. Honestly, I'm slightly surprised they didn't bring in James White instead, but Bernard is a good fit for that role. However, Rodgers is the better value and the better candidate.

Bryan: I'm going to be a little boring here by repeating my value and longshot bets from the passing yards category, going with Justin Herbert and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively. If they get enough volume to do well in passing yards, they should have similarly solid seasons in touchdowns. It's not like running backs or receivers, where you have goal-line specialists (quiet down, Kyle Shanahan, I hear you). If I like a player to put up volume passing, I like them here too.

Andrew: I certainly think that's reasonable. Really, I think the best value is all in the top five, so I'll nab Russell Wilson as best value even though he has only marginally longer odds than Rodgers. Sure, Pete Carroll's philosophy is to pound the rock as much as possible, but Wilson will end up having to bail him out a ton, and he has the targets to do so.

My longshot's also drawing from the same well as my yardage leaders: Joe Burrow will have to throw a ton, the receivers are good, and the line really isn't.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Aaron Rodgers (+800) Russell Wilson (+900) Joe Burrow (+2000)
Bryan Aaron Rodgers (+800) Justin Herbert (+1800) Ben Roethlisberger (+4000)

MOST RUSHING YARDS

Rushing Yards
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Derrick Henry +350 David Montgomery +3000 Jalen Hurts +10000
Dalvin Cook +550 Lamar Jackson +3500 Melvin Gordon +10000
Nick Chubb +700 Darrell Henderson +3500 Kyler Murray +10000
Jonathan Taylor +900 Clyde Edwards-Helaire +3500 Tony Pollard +10000
Christian McCaffrey +1000 Miles Sanders +3500 Kenyan Drake +10000
Saquon Barkley +1200 D'Andre Swift +4000 Raheem Mostert +10000
Ezekiel Elliott +1600 Mike Davis +4000 Phillip Lindsay +10000
Antonio Gibson +1800 Alvin Kamara +4000 David Johnson +10000
Gus Edwards +2000 Damien Harris +4000 Zack Moss +10000
Joe Mixon +2200 Austin Ekeler +5000 Trey Sermon +10000
Aaron Jones +2200 Javonte Williams +6000 Michael Carter +10000
Chris Carson +2500 Ronald Jones +8000 Alexander Mattison +10000
James Robinson +2500 Kareem Hunt +8000 A.J. Dillon +10000
Najee Harris +2800 Chase Edmonds +8000 James Conner +10000
Sony Michel +3000 Myles Gaskin +8000 Leonard Fournette +10000
Josh Jacobs +3000        

Bryan: The question for me here isn't whether or not Derrick Henry is the favorite, it's whether anyone else has enough of a chance to be considered a value, and not just a pool of longshot odds. Only one other player is projected by KUBIAK to be within 70 carries of Henry in 2021, Dalvin Cook. Henry's projected volume is from a bygone age, Curse of 370 or no Curse of 370.

Andrew: Yeah, it's notable that in four of the past five seasons, the rushing yardage champion has also been the league leader in rushing attempts. The only argument against Henry is that he'll break down eventually. I won't be betting on that happening this year. Henry's the pick.

Bryan: Henry's my value pick as well, but I can't make him my longshot and go three-for-three; that's not how longshots work. Instead I'm going with someone who did not have odds when I first put together our tables last week: Gus Edwards. J.K. Dobbins is probably the biggest name to get injured this preseason, and while that's terrible news for him, the Ravens do have a solid replacement as a rusher ready to plug in. Edwards actually had more carries than Dobbins last year as it was, and I like him to keep a higher share of those carries splitting time with Ty'Son Williams or Justice Hill. Plus, having Lamar Jackson running RPOs is a cheat code for running back value. Edwards has averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry in each of his three years in the league, and ranked seventh among running backs there last year. Opportunity knocks.

Andrew: I quite like Nick Chubb as a value pick, because I expect the Browns to be better than they were last year, and that should mean more second-half rushing. It's not just about record; in a lot of their wins last year, they didn't really have the option to just sit on a lead like the top teams can. Chubb can hurt teams whether grinding the clock or running the normal offense, and doubling up the odds compared to Henry is enough to swing me that way.

There are three running backs from last year's 1,000-yard club who can reasonably be described as longshots for this year: David Montgomery, James Robinson, and Josh Jacobs. Of those three, Jacobs had the lowest tally a year ago, but I give him the best chance to get the volume he needs to break into the top five this time around. I don't think the Raiders will do much more than exist in the standings, but that's better than I expect from the Bears and Jaguars. Jacobs will need to do a little more with his carries this season, but the opportunity is a little more open for him compared to the other longshots.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Derrick Henry (+350) Nick Chubb (+700) Josh Jacobs (+3000)
Bryan Derrick Henry (+350) Derrick Henry (+350) Gus Edwards (+2000)

MOST RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS

Rushing Touchdowns
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Derrick Henry +450 Sony Michel +3500 Austin Ekeler +6500
Dalvin Cook +450 Jalen Hurts +3500 Taysom Hill +8000
Christian McCaffrey +800 Damien Harris +3500 Myles Gaskin +10000
Johnathan Taylor +800 Miles Sanders +4000 Melvin Gordon +10000
Nick Chubb +800 Clyde Edwards-Helaire +4000 Malcolm Brown +10000
Alvin Kamara +1400 Joe Mixon +4000 Cam Newton +10000
Ezekiel Elliott +1400 D'Andre Swift +4000 Zack Moss +10000
Aaron Jones +1800 Najee Harris +4000 Leonard Fournette +10000
Antonio Gibson +1800 Josh Allen +5000 Raheem Mostert +10000
Saquon Barkley +1800 David Montgomery +5000 Latavius Murray +10000
Gus Edwards +2200 Chase Edmonds +5000 Tua Tagovailoa +10000
James Robinson +2500 Javonte Williams +5000 Trey Sermon +10000
Josh Jacobs +2800 Lamar Jackson +5000 Jamaal Williams +10000
Chris Carson +2800 Ronald Jones +6000 Phillip Lindsay +10000
Kyler Murray +2800 Kareem Hunt +6000 Kenyan Drake +10000
Darrell Henderson +3000 James Conner +6500 AJ Dillon +10000
Mike Davis +3500        

Bryan: Henry also led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2020, but this is a much closer and more interesting race. Losing Jonnu Smith might affect some Titans red zone play calling in Henry's favor, but this is far from a walk.

Andrew: Looking at last year's top three, we can scratch Alvin Kamara right out of there. He's not getting another six-touchdown day against the Vikings, and he had 10 touchdowns across his other 14 games. That's good, but not league-leading good.

Bryan: Kamara did lead the league in rushing touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line with 11, but you're right; that was because of the Christmas Miracle, and isn't exactly likely to be repeated.

A lot of this boils down to opportunity, and to which coaches like tapping their backs when they get to the goal line. Last year, Dalvin Cook led all running backs with 26 carries inside the 5-yard line and had 10 touchdowns of his own, more than Henry managed at point-blank range. Considering the Vikings don't have three-wide packages to speak of, and Irv Smith just got hurt, and Alexander Mattison doesn't get a heck of a lot of work as Minnesota's RB2. I think Cook's my favorite here.

Andrew: This is the other place where Henry is my favorite, as the obvious pick. A new offensive coordinator with the best power back in the game will want to prove his boys can get that done. It's a boring pick, but it's the right one.

Bryan: My value pick is going to be Ezekiel Elliott, coming off of a career-low six touchdowns. It turns out that offenses are less effective when you have Andy Dalton under center (yes, I hear you Matt Nagy, we'll get to you later, too). Zeke still tied Cook with 26 carries inside the 5-yard line; they were just less effective because everyone and their brother knew that was all Dallas could do. Open up the threat of a pass or two, and lanes should become a little easier for Elliott to find.

Andrew: Value is way more interesting. It took Jonathan Taylor a wee while to establish himself as the top back in Indianapolis, even after they lost Marlon Mack. But those final four weeks of 2020 look very tasty indeed ahead of this season, and we also have a team that might not trust their current quarterbacks quite as much as they did Philip Rivers.

Bryan: Here is where I agree with your Josh Jacobs longshot, just in terms of getting into the red zone rather than churning up yards in general. Jacobs had 21 carries inside the 5-yard line, fourth-most among running backs. He only converted them into six touchdowns, but the volume is there. Kenyan Drake isn't exactly a goal-line thumper. If Jacobs can be a little more efficient, he can turn more of those carries into scores. And heck, he jumped from seven to 12 touchdowns last season; it's not like I'm taking someone with no track record of success. Get that 51% success rate up a few points and you could well have a league-leader.

Andrew: I'm torn between Jacobs and Mike Davis of the Falcons for my longshot pick, but ultimately I do think that volume wins out. That means I'm picking Jacobs again. Man, this is way more than I thought I would mention him in this article.

Bryan: It's OK, Andrew; you don't have to hide your eyepatch and spiky shoulder pads. This is a Raiders-accepting zone.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Derrick Henry (+450) Jonathan Taylor (+800) Josh Jacobs (+2800)
Bryan Dalvin Cook (+450) Ezekiel Elliott (+1400) Josh Jacobs (+2800)

MOST RECEIVING YARDS

Receiving Yards
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Calvin Ridley +750 Kenny Golladay +3500 Alvin Kamara +10000
Justin Jefferson +850 Darren Waller +3500 Deebo Samuel +10000
Stefon Diggs +850 Tee Higgins +3500 Parris Campbell +10000
Tyreek Hill +900 Ja'Marr Chase +3500 Tyler Boyd +10000
Davante Adams +900 Robert Woods +4000 DeVonta Smith +10000
DeAndre Hopkins +1000 Diontae Johnson +4000 Jaylen Waddle +10000
DK Metcalf +1200 Will Fuller V +4000 T.J Hockenson +10000
Travis Kelce +1300 Courtland Sutton +5000 Darnell Mooney +10000
A.J. Brown +1500 Jerry Jeudy +5000 Antonio Brown +10000
DJ Moore +1600 Tyler Lockett +5000 Marvin Jones +10000
Amari Cooper +1800 George Kittle +5000 Kyle Pitts +10000
Terry McLaurin +1900 Adam Thielen +5000 Rashod Bateman +10000
Allen Robinson +2000 Robby Anderson +5000 Emmanuel Sanders +10000
Keenan Allen +2200 Chase Claypool +6500 Denzel Mims +10000
Mike Evans +2500 Brandin Cooks +6500 Mecole Hardman +10000
Michael Thomas +2500 Michael Gallup +8000 Hunter Henry +10000
CeeDee Lamb +2500 DJ Chark +8000 Tre'Quan Smith +10000
Chris Godwin +2500 Jarvis Landry +8000 Henry Ruggs III +10000
Julio Jones +2800 Corey Davis +8000 Russell Gage +10000
Odell Beckham +3500 Brandon Aiyuk +8000 A.J Green +10000
Cooper Kupp +3500 Mike Williams +8000    

Andrew: I mentioned above that I would be betting on Rodgers and Davante Adams as long as they were playing together, and that applies here, even accounting for the players above them on the table. I don't expect either Stefon Diggs or Justin Jefferson to replicate their totals from a year ago, for slightly different reasons. Calvin Ridley's the house favorite purely because Julio Jones is no longer in town; it's oversimplifying things to say that Jones moving on automatically bumps Ridley to league-leading value. Adams is the clear and unquestioned best receiver on his own team, streets ahead of the other options, and his quarterback's best buddy. He's by far my favorite among the top five.

Bryan: I'm surprised neither of us even mentioned Josh Allen in the passing section, considering how much volume the Bills' offense generated last year. It turns out, if you always pass the ball, you get a lot of passing yards. That's the kind of advanced statistical analysis you have come to expect from Football Outsiders. I am going to side with Stefon Diggs as my favorite, even though he has been nursing a sore knee. He's obviously great, the Bills want to throw the ball a ton, and Diggs is the least likely Buffalo receiver to miss any time. Check, check, check.

But speaking of teams that throw the ball a ton, I'm going to go with Travis Kelce as my best value pick. Picking any tight end here is iffy, but by DYAR, Kelce was actually the league's top slot receiver in 2020. The Chiefs are also down a weapon in their passing attack with Sammy Watkins out of town. Patrick Mahomes is the kind of guy who could probably will a can of potato chips into a great offensive performance (hiya, Byron Pringle!), but Kelce was already second in the league in receiving yards with Watkins in the lineup. A tight end hasn't led the league in receiving yards since the 1970s, and that's only if you count Harold Carmichael, who was more of a wideout by 1973. Kelce could easily take home the honors here.

Andrew: I'm possibly going too homeristic with my next two picks, though homeristic in the London sense, not the Saints sense. Ex-Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson had another 1,000-yard season catching passes from dud quarterbacks last year, the third of his career so far. He hasn't quite scaled the heights of 2015 again, when he racked up 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns catching the wayward flings of Blake Bortles, but even a washed-up Andy Dalton can chuck the ball in the general direction of a good receiver, and Robinson might get to play with Justin Fields later in the year. A top-10 finish last year, with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, only further enhances Robinson's resume.

Bryan: We have already mentioned my longshot pick, a new face in a new place—Julio Jones. He has been ramping up slowly as he returns from injury, both specific (a new leg problem) and general (a zillion things from 2020). With Jonnu Smith out of town, the Titans really only have two legitimate pass-catching options in Jones and A.J. Brown, and Brown is recovering from knee surgeries of his own. The chance for volume for Jones is there, if he's healthy, and a healthy Julio is one of the best wideouts in the league.

Andrew: My longest of longshot picks is a current Jaguars receiver, and by far the top target on the current roster. DJ Chark had 1,000 yards in 2019 as the favorite target of Gardner Minshew, but fell to 700 last time out with the calamitous cast under center. Now he gets to play with a legitimate starting quarterback for the first time as a professional, and I like this to be a proper breakout season for the former LSU wideout.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Davante Adams (+900) Allen Robinson (+2000) DJ Chark (+8000)
Bryan Stefon Diggs (+850) Travis Kelce (+1300) Julio Jones (+2800)

MOST RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS

Receiving Touchdowns
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Davante Adams +700 Robert Woods +4000 Marquise Brown +6500
Tyreek Hill +800 Robert Tonyan +4000 T.J. Hockenson +6500
Calvin Ridley +900 Diontae Johnson +4000 Brandon Aiyuk +6500
Travis Kelce +1000 Tee Higgins +4000 Jerry Jeudy +6500
Adam Thielen +1200 Keenan Allen +4000 Deebo Samuel +8000
Mike Evans +1400 Antonio Brown +4000 Dawson Knox +8000
DK Metcalf +1400 Cooper Kupp +4000 Mecole Hardman +8000
Justin Jefferson +1400 Odell Beckham +5000 Robby Anderson +8000
DeAndre Hopkins +1600 D.J. Moore +5000 Mike Gesicki +8000
Stefon Diggs +1600 Courtland Sutton +5000 Brandin Cooks +8000
Amari Cooper +2000 Marvin Jones +5000 Sterling Shepherd +10000
A.J. Brown +2000 Michael Gallup +5000 T.Y. Hilton +10000
Tyler Lockett +2000 Chase Claypool +5000 Jarvis Landry +10000
Darren Waller +2800 Kenny Golladay +5000 Zach Ertz +10000
Chris Godwin +2800 Mike Williams +5000 Blake Jarwin +10000
Ceedee Lamb +3000 Will Fuller +5000 Jaylen Waddle +10000
Julio Jones +3500 Tyler Higbee +6500 Michael Pittman +10000
Michael Thomas +3500 Rob Gronkowski +6500 Hunter Henry +10000
Allen Robinson +3500 George Kittle +6500 Jonnu Smith +10000
Kyle Pitts +3500 Gabriel Davis +6500 Marquez Valdes-Scantling +10000
Ja'Marr Chase +3500 DJ Chark +6500 Irv Smith +10000
Terry McLaurin +4000 Juju Smith-Schuster +6500 Nelson Agholor +10000
Mark Andrews +4000 Devonta Smith +6500 Cole Beasley +10000

Andrew: Again, I've already given the game away here, but the favorite is the incumbent title holder: Davante Adams is the clear top option on his own team, and his league-leading total was 20% higher than second-placed Tyreek Hill. The value isn't great, but he's the favorite for good reason.

Bryan: Firmly seconded. Davante Adams is your favorite here, and really should be getting higher odds than +700. I'm not saying he's my value pick or anything crazy like that, but there's a gap between what he should produce and what the rest of the league is doing.

Andrew: For value, I kinda like DeAndre Hopkins. Despite the impressive yardage, I don't think the Cardinals truly figured out what to do with him after bringing him in last year. Another season with both Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury will see them develop more of a rapport, and he'll become more of a threat at the goal line as a result. Hopkins led the league with 13 touchdowns (admittedly a relatively low league-leading total) in 2017, and that's the kind of threat he brings if he's used correctly.

Bryan: I'm sticking with Travis Kelce as my value pick, for most of the reasons outlined above. Now, Kelce's 11 touchdowns last year were a career high, and I'm going to go way out on a limb and say that the leader here is going to have a few more than 11 touchdowns. But of all the people with four-digit odds, I think he has the biggest potential for going off on a monster year inside the red zone.

Andrew: I don't even really know where to go for a longshot pick. The guys with the strong track records are naturally near the top of the table, and no, my Marquez Callaway pick earlier was not exactly serious. A.J. Brown may be a bit undervalued due to the presence of Jones; Jones has never really been a touchdown machine, and Brown is the one with the established rapport with his quarterback. Is +2000 even a longshot though, when my value pick is +1600? Give me something from deeper in the pool, and let's double down on a guy I really like in a situation I really don't. Allen Robinson at +3500 is definitely a longshot, but at least he could be one with a slight chance of coming through.

Bryan: My longshot is going to be Keenan Allen. He's the potential beneficiary of all that increased volume from the rumored up-tempo Chargers offense, and he doesn't really have any competition on Los Angeles' roster on intermediate targets. Hunter Henry's departure also means that someone is going to have to make up for those touches, and who better than Allen, arguably the most consistently productive receiver over the past four years? Besides, at least one of us should creep into the second column for our longshot, and I'll bite that proverbial bullet.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Davante Adams (+700) DeAndre Hopkins (+1600) Allen Robinson (+3500)
Bryan Davante Adams (+700) Travis Kelce (+1000) Keenan Allen (+4000)

Award Props

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Most Valuable Player
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Patrick Mahomes +500 Jameis Winston +4000 TJ Watt +10000
Aaron Rodgers +1000 Joe Burrow +4000 Jacoby Brissett +10000
Josh Allen +1200 Christian McCaffrey +4000 Saquon Barkley +10000
Russell Wilson +1400 Derrick Henry +5000 Nick Chubb +10000
Tom Brady +1400 Carson Wentz +5000 Jonathan Taylor +10000
Lamar Jackson +1600 Jalen Hurts +6500 Raheem Mostert +10000
Kyler Murray +1600 Derek Carr +6500 Daniel Jones +10000
Dak Prescott +1800 D'Andre Swift +6500 Trevor Lawrence +10000
Matthew Stafford +1800 Drew Lock +6500 Davante Adams +10000
Justin Herbert +1800 Jimmy Garoppolo +6500 Jared Goff +10000
Ryan Tannehill +2800 Dalvin Cook +6500 DeAndre Hopkins +10000
DeShaun Watson +3500 Cam Newton +6500 Trey Lance +10000
Matt Ryan +3500 Sam Darnold +6500 Taysom Hill +10000
Baker Mayfield +3500 Ben Roethlisberger +8000 Michael Thomas +10000
Kirk Cousins +3500 Alvin Kamara +8000 Ezekiel Elliott +10000
Tua Tagovailoa +4000 Antonio Gibson +8000 Aaron Donald +10000

Bryan: The last 10 years have seen nine quarterbacks win this award. The one exception was Adrian Peterson back in 2012, oh so long ago. Is it even worth our time to consider anyone but a passer for this award, even at the longest of longshots? If a 2,000-yard season from Derrick Henry isn't enough to win this award, is there anything a running back can do nowadays? Never mind a receiver, or the monster season a T.J. Watt or Aaron Donald would need to even garner consideration.

Andrew: It's easy to lose sight of just how monstrous that Peterson season was. Peterson averaged over 130 yards per game in dragging an offense quarterbacked by Christian Ponder (totaling under 3,000 yards passing all year), with Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins as its starting receivers, to the postseason. Derrick Henry had a great season last year, but making the playoffs with Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Jonnu Smith isn't quite the same level of achievement. What Peterson did would be more like a running back carrying last year's Eagles to 10-6. Yes, I think that running back would still win MVP.

Bryan: Even then, I imagine the voters today will get wowed by a 5,000-yard season and go in that general direction, but I suppose we shouldn't slam the door entirely on the possibility of a back running his way into contention. I'd be very, very surprised, mind you, but it's not impossible. I guess!

For me, the favorite here is Patrick Mahomes, and then I have to decide if he's at least two times as likely to win the award as Aaron Rodgers. I don't think I can safely say that about anyone, so I'll take Mahomes for my favorite and Rodgers for my value. Battle of two of the last three MVPs! ... Sorry, Lamar.

Andrew: For me, the Chiefs are the team most likely to finish with the NFL's best record at the end of the year, and the quarterback of the team with the best record is always likely to be in the conversation. Again, Mahomes is the runaway favorite for a reason. I like the value on Rodgers, but I like him a little less as the incumbent on a Packers team that may decline a bit this year. Whereas I think some of last February's shine will linger around one Thomas E. Brady, especially if the Buccaneers perform as expected and run away with their first NFC South title since the (G.W.) Bush administration.

Bryan: I like the Brady pick. I'd argue there might be some Brady fatigue there but, well, Rodgers has also won the dang thing three times now, so that argument doesn't really hold water!

My longshot is Dak Prescott. We'll talk about him more in a later award, but I think Prescott's case would be pretty clear. If the Cowboys are as good this year as we thought they would be in 2020 before Prescott's injury, then the argument isn't hard to make—Cowboys bad without Prescott, good with him. Hard to concoct a more telling depiction of value than missing time and watching everything catch on fire. It's a longshot because there's no guarantee that Prescott will be back to his normal self in 2021, and there's no guarantee the Cowboys will be good even if he is, but it's a logical story you could tell, and stories do end up winning awards a lot of the time.

Andrew: Prescott and Stafford are about the longest odds that I think are in any way realistic, and of those you definitely state the superior case. It's pretty clear that a healthy Cowboys squad should be the best team in that division, and if that isn't the case then the coach is likely to get plenty of blame. There's also a case to be made for Ryan Tannehill's chances in the event of an injury to Derrick Henry, but I'm not one for betting on injury outcomes. It's boring when we agree, but Dak Prescott is the correct choice.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Patrick Mahomes (+500) Tom Brady (+1400) Dak Prescott (+1800)
Bryan Patrick Mahomes (+500) Aaron Rodgers (+1000) Dak Prescott (+1800)

COACH OF THE YEAR

Coach of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Brandon Staley +1000 Sean McVay +1800 Mike Vrabel +3000
Bill Belichick +1200 Matt LaFleur +1800 Mike Zimmer +3500
Urban Meyer +1400 Mike McCarthy +2000 Jon Gruden +3500
Arthur Smith +1400 Robert Saleh +2000 John Harbaugh +3500
Kyle Shanahan +1400 Ron Rivera +2000 Nick Sirianni +3500
Matt Rhule +1600 Kevin Stefanski +2000 Mike Tomlin +4000
Brian Flores +1600 Joe Judge +2200 Pete Carroll +4000
Vic Fangio +1600 Matt Nagy +2200 Zac Taylor +4000
Kliff Kingsbury +1800 Frank Reich +2500 Dan Campbell +4000
Sean Payton +1800 Andy Reid +2800 David Culley +6500
Sean McDermott +1800 Bruce Arians +3000    

Andrew: Which bad team from last year is likely to be half-decent this year? Hoo boy, I do not like the top of this list.

Bryan: Giving Brandon Staley the best odds is a little like putting the cart before the horse; we don't know if the Chargers will be good yet. Giving Urban Meyer the third-best odds is a little like putting the cart before a second, equally immobile cart.

Andrew: Right. If the Jaguars are any good, the credit will go to Trevor Lawrence, not Meyer. Meyer is already attracting a degree of criticism for the way the Jaguars are operating under his stewardship, and I suspect success for Lawrence will be seen as a can't-miss talent overcoming Meyer, not Meyer himself doing a good job. I don't see how Arthur Smith can have the sort of results with the Falcons that will earn him the award either, and a Matt Rhule winning bet relies entirely too much on Sam Darnold for my liking.

Bryan: Why not, then, go with the consensus best coach in the league? If this award truly went to the best coach every year, then Bill Belichick would have way more than his three awards, the last of which came in 2010. There was voter fatigue after a while; things got too easy for the Patriots, and it made other choices far more tempting for much of the last decade.

Andrew: A first winning season without Brady would seem to provide that extra impetus Belichick might need. That was true even before news broke that he would be trying to achieve that with a rookie quarterback. I don't know that I'd make Belichick my favorite, but he's my favorite among the bookies' favorites, and the Mac Jones news only makes me like that pick more. In a similar vein, my value pick is one of the many Seans that pad out the +1800 odds. If the Saints can somehow compete with the Buccaneers for the NFC South title, or even make a strong play at a wild-card berth to begin the post-Drew Brees era, and Payton can make a legitimate success out of Jameis Winston, all the pieces are in place for a coach of the year award to follow.

Bryan: I, too, glanced at the Sean Zone for quite some time. And then I, too, made the homer pick for my best bet. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two drives in the 49ers-Raiders preseason game, with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance rotating and steamrolling over the outmatched Las Vegas backups. Ending the drives with two rushing touchdowns from two different quarterbacks? I'm all in on the 1927 San Francisco 49ers, thank you very much. If that offense takes off, is fun and successful all year long, and the 49ers win the division, I think Kyle Shanahan gets a lot of credit for managing the quarterback situation. Assuming, of course, he's alive at the end of the season, which no one can guarantee. At the least, it's more attention-grabbing than sending out Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers and winning football games!

My longshot is John Harbaugh, completing my trifecta of established coaches. The AFC North is considered a hell of a slugfest between last year's champion Steelers, the up-and-coming Browns, and the Ravens. If Harbaugh and Baltimore come through there, they have a real shot—especially if they're flirting with perfection. After all, we said that the Ravens were one of the few teams with a chance in every game, with their hardest matchups on the road. If they're 14-3, 15-2, 16-1 ... well, it's a longshot, but his chances are better than anyone else in that third column.

Andrew: My longshot is Bruce Arians. I don't quite understand how a Super Bowl champion that didn't win their division last year, and should steamroll that division this year, isn't among the favorites. Sure, there would be a little bit of too-late amends for 2020 coming into play, but that's exactly why I like the value. A potential 13-4 Buccaneers team coming off a Super Bowl year would make the popular Arians a very, very strong candidate.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Bill Belichick (+1200) Sean Payton (+1800) Bruce Arians (+3000)
Bryan Bill Belichick (+1200) Kyle Shanahan (+1400) John Harbaugh (+3500)

FIRST COACH TO LOSE JOB

First Coach to Lose Job
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Matt Nagy +700 Frank Reich +2000 Brandon Staley +5000
Mike Zimmer +700 John Harbaugh +2000 Mike Tomlin +6600
Zac Taylor +800 Brian Flores +2000 Nick Sirianni +6600
Vic Fangio +900 Sean McVay +2500 Urban Meyer +6600
Jon Gruden +1000 Sean Payton +2500 Robert Saleh +8000
Mike McCarthy +1200 Kyle Shanahan +2500 Kevin Stefanski +8000
David Culley +1400 Pete Carroll +2500 Sean McDermott +10000
Kliff Kingsbury +1400 Ron Rivera +2800 Bill Belichick +10000
Matt LaFleur +1600 Dan Campbell +2800 Bruce Arians +10000
Matt Rhule +1600 Arthur Smith +3300 Andy Reid +10000
Mike Vrabel +1600 Joe Judge +3300    

Andrew: Can I just pick Matt Nagy in all three categories? I know he's not a longshot, but this is the only thing he's winning this season.

Bryan: I'm with you on Nagy being the favorite, and by a wide, wide margin. And I could even get behind you on taking him as the best value at +700, though I think there are at least some other names who could come into play.

Andrew: His price isn't great, so I'm not entirely serious on that, but he is going to be the first coach to leave his post and that is kinda' an important measure of value in this category. My actual, serious value pick is Zac Taylor. Most head coaches who are any good show something in their first couple of seasons, bad situation or not. Taylor has shown absolutely no reason to believe that he is any kind of long-term solution for the Bengals. The only reason I don't have him as my favorite is I believe they'll wait until after the season to relieve him of his duties, but it's absurd that he's below Mike Zimmer on the board.

Bryan: There is one other name I'd consider strong in the value category. I keep banging on about Jon Gruden here every year as the Raiders continue to baffle me with pretty much every decision they make, off-field and on. I still think it would be more likely for Gruden to quietly retire rather than be fired, but it is first coach to lose job, not first coach to be fired. Still, no, I agree with your Taylor pick as well. Burrow's injury gave him a second chance; he won't get a third if the Bengals don't deliver.

My longshot is Kliff Kingsbury as the much-promised offensive revolution brought in by his Air Raid hasn't really developed. There's a strong argument he's the worst coach in the NFC West. If the Cardinals aren't in contention for a playoff berth this year, his 13-18-1 record up to this point isn't enough to really give him anything to fall back on.

Andrew: Joe Judge won't be back next year, but like Taylor, that will happen after the season rather than during it. He won't be the first to go. I can see Ron Rivera as a possibility to retire, but the reason is a bit grim to use as justification for a bet. David Culley won't walk and he won't be fired, even though he might not be back in 2022. Really, Kingsbury is the closest thing to a longshot that might happen midseason. The Cardinals took a severe swoon last year; another dropoff like that might make for a very short December in the desert.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Matt Nagy (+700) Zac Taylor (+800) Kliff Kingsbury (+1400)
Bryan Matt Nagy (+700) Zac Taylor (+800) Kliff Kingsbury (+1400)

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Offensive Player of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Patrick Mahomes +700 Antonio Gibson +3500 Kareem Hunt +6500
Derrick Henry +700 Najee Harris +3500 Cooper Kupp +6500
Christian McCaffrey +1000 Chris Carson +3500 Mike Davis +6500
Aaron Rodgers +1200 Joe Mixon +4000 Clyde Edwards-Helaire +6500
Dalvin Cook +1400 Kirk Cousins +4000 Josh Jacobs +6500
Josh Allen +1500 Aaron Jones +4000 Melvin Gordon +6500
Nick Chubb +1600 J.K. Dobbins +4000 Ceedee Lamb +8000
Alvin Kamara +1600 Ryan Tannehill +5000 Odell Beckham +8000
Davante Adams +1600 DK Metcalf +5000 Tua Tagovailoa +8000
George Kittle +1600 Matt Ryan +5000 D'Andre Swift +8000
Lamar Jackson +1800 Joe Burrow +5000 Mike Evans +8000
Travis Kelce +1800 DeShaun Watson +5000 Chris Godwin +8000
Tom Brady +1800 Baker Mayfield +5000 Robert Woods +8000
Saquon Barkley +1800 Leonard Fournette +5000 Will Fuller V +10000
Russell Wilson +2000 Kyle Pitts +5000 Ryan Fitzpatrick +10000
Kyler Murray +2000 Damien Harris +5000 Cam Newton +10000
Stefon Diggs +2000 Jalen Hurts +5000 DeVante Parker +10000
Matthew Stafford +2200 Julio Jones +5000 Jimmy Garoppolo +10000
Tyreek Hill +2200 Carson Wentz +6500 Jerry Jeudy +10000
Jonathan Taylor +2500 David Montgomery +6500 Ben Roethlisberger +10000
Calvin Ridley +2500 Amari Cooper +6500 Derek Carr +10000
DeAndre Hopkins +2500 Allen Robinson +6500 Trey Sermon +10000
Dak Prescott +2500 Darren Waller +6500 Jarvis Landry +10000
Ezekiel Elliott +2500 Adam Thielen +6500 Trevor Lawrence +10000
Justin Herbert +2800 Miles Sanders +6500 Kenny Golladay +10000
Justin Jefferson +3000 Jameis Winston +6500 Ja'Marr Chase +10000
Taysom Hill +3000 Terry McLaurin +6500 Courtland Sutton +10000
Michael Thomas +3000 A.J. Brown +6500 Sam Darnold +10000
Raheem Mostert +3500 Keenan Allen +6500 Chase Claypool +10000
Austin Ekeler +3500        

Bryan: Ah, the runt of the awards. With quarterbacks basically always winning the MVP award, no one really has come to an agreement on what this award actually signifies. Should it always be a double, like Patrick Mahomes in 2018? Should it go to the best non-quarterback, like Derrick Henry in 2020? Is it for fantasy volume as opposed to general MVPness, like Drew Brees in 2011? Nobody knows!

Andrew: I like just going with the best non-quarterback, even though that's not how it actually works. For that, I like Dalvin Cook a little better than Derrick Henry. Cook's a little more diverse, and a little less likely to succumb to cumulative wear. Henry has staved off that regression so far, but the only person to defeat Father Time doesn't play in Tennessee.

Bryan: Great minds thinking alike and all that. Henry should probably have more rushing yards, but I picked Cook to have more touchdowns, and he's actually useful in the receiving game. Plus, he plays on a team that's generally considered less potent offensively, which is a plus.

Travis Kelce, who I had all over the receiving props, is my best value at +1800; as much as I love George Kittle (and I really, really love George Kittle), it's hard to argue that Kelce shouldn't be the favorite for this award in the minds of the voters, as he's going to have the better fantasy numbers.

Andrew: I like Saquon Barkley as a possible comeback player, though not as much as I like Dak Prescott. Neither's getting a sniff here though. Alvin Kamara is my value pick, as the most likely focus of both the Saints passing and running game while Michael Thomas isn't around. Kamara could even be a dark horse MVP candidate if things break his way. He's very solid value here.

Bryan: Ezekiel Elliott is my longshot, to round off "players I already talked about, like, 10 awards ago." If the Cowboys offense runs smoothly, but Prescott doesn't win MVP, then Elliott for OPOY might be a way of throwing some acknowledgement to the offense.

Andrew: My longshot's another running back, because I'm a little boring like that. I already discussed some reasons to like Jonathan Taylor earlier in the article. Taylor could very well be the focus of the Colts offense for much of the year, for a broad variety of different reasons. We give the Colts the best odds to win that division. If Carson Wentz lands somewhere between his two extremes, and Taylor has an impressive season as the Colts ground-and-pound their way to a division title, he could easily earn some votes in a similar vein to his aforementioned division rival.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Dalvin Cook (+1400) Alvin Kamara (+1600) Jonathan Taylor (+2500)
Bryan Dalvin Cook (+1400) Travis Kelce (+1800) Ezekiel Elliott (+2500)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Defensive Player of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Aaron Donald +500 Matt Judon +3500 Trey Hendrickson +5000
Myles Garrett +500 Shaquil Barrett +3500 J.C. Jackson +5000
T.J. Watt +800 Von Miller +3500 Leighton Vander Esch +5000
Chase Young +850 Kenneth Murray +3500 Lavonte David +5000
Joey Bosa +1000 Jeremy Chinn +3500 Arik Armstead +5000
Nick Bosa +1600 Vita Vea +3500 Stephon Gilmore +5000
Derwin James +1600 DeForest Buckner +3500 Cameron Jordan +5000
Khalil Mack +1600 Jerry Tillery +3500 Myles Jack +5000
Devin White +1800 L'Jarius Sneed +3500 Za'Darius Smith +5000
Jamal Adams +2000 Anthony Harris +4000 Shaq Lawson +5000
Darius Leonard +2000 James Bradberry +4000 Cole Holcomb +5000
Xavien Howard +2000 Brian Burns +4000 Leonard Floyd +5000
J.J. Watt +2000 Uchenna Nwosu +4000 Isaiah Simmons +5000
Demarcus Lawrence +2500 Marlon Humphrey +4000 Adrian Amos +5000
Bradley Chubb +2500 Anthony Barr +4000 Patrick Queen +5000
Devin Bush +2500 Tre'Davious White +4000 Mario Edwards +5000
Bobby Wagner +2500 Jerry Hughes +4000 Donta Hightower +5000
Jessie Bates +2500 Andrew Van Ginkel +4000 Denzel Ward +5000
Montez Sweat +2500 Danielle Hunter +4000 John Johnson +5000
Marcus Peters +2800 Eric Kendricks +4000 Jamel Dean +5000
Chandler Jones +2800 Roquan Smith +4000 Brandon Graham +5000
Budda Baker +3000 Justin Simmons +4000 Eddie Jackson +5000
Tyrann Mathieu +3000 Minkah Fitzpatrick +4000 Marcus Davenport +5000
Jalen Ramsey +3500 Antoine Winfield +4000 Fletcher Cox +5000
Carlos Dunlap +3500 Jaire Alexander +4000    

Andrew: This is your annual reminder that Aaron Donald owns this award until further notice.

Bryan: Winning the award three times in four years will do that; anyone who doesn't have Donald as their favorite is trying too hard to be contrary. I will go for a better value pick, though, as Donald's odds have gotten very, very low. Chase Young had a very good rookie season; he's on a line with a lot of talent around him and is playing in one of the softer divisions in the league. I could see him getting 13, 14, 15 sacks, being a nightmare on a division-winning team, and earning the award that way. Just to provide some variety from Donald, Donald, Donald.

Andrew: I'm not sure why Myles Garrett is ahead of T.J. Watt in the list, but like you, I like the value of Chase Young better than both. I already mentioned in our NFC East article that I think Washington will surprise some people this year. A defense-led tilt at a division title will bring Young into contention here.

Bryan: Za'Darius Smith is my longshot here, in part because I don't know how much he can actually build on back-to-back seasons with a dozen or more sacks, and he didn't earn a ton of DPOY talk with those years. He did finally reach the second-team All-Pro squad last year, though, so his name is popping up more among the voters. Of all the people at +5000, he's likely to put up the best numbers. A career year from him could have him well in the running.

Andrew: The other player I really like to break out this year on a great defense that could propel an unfancied team into the postseason is Bradley Chubb. For a long time, this was Von Miller's team. That torch may have already passed, and this season could provide the evidence. I suspect Denver's defense will be very good indeed, and Chubb's pass rush will be one of the simplest explanations given.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Aaron Donald (+500) Chase Young (+850) Bradley Chubb (+2500)
Bryan Aaron Donald (+500) Chase Young (+850) Za'Darius Smith (+5000)

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Trevor Lawrence +350 Davis Mills +3500 Kellen Mond +6500
Justin Fields +600 Michael Carter +3500 Sam Ehlinger +6500
Zach Wilson +750 Kadarius Toney +4000 Amon-Ra St. Brown +8000
Trey Lance +750 Rashod Bateman +5000 Khalil Herbert +8000
Najee Harris +800 Rondale Moore +5000 Chris Evans +8000
Kyle Pitts +1000 Kenneth Gainwell +5000 Jamie Newman +8000
Mac Jones +1000 Pat Freiermuth +5000 Cade Johnson +10000
Ja'Marr Chase +1600 Dynami Brown +6500 Jaelon Darden +10000
Javonte Williams +1600 Josh Palmer +6500 Tylan Wallace +10000
Jaylen Waddle +2000 Dyami Brown +6500 Tommy Tremble +10000
Devonta Smith +2200 Penei Sewell +6500 Hunter Long +10000
Trey Sermon +2500 Rashawn Slater +6500 Brevin Jordan +10000
Elijah Moore +3000 Kyle Trask +6500 Alijah Vera-Tucker +10000
Terrace Marshall +3500        

Bryan: I am annoyed, because for months, I was ready to say that if Trey Lance started at least a dozen games, he would win this award. Now he's splitting time with Jimmy Garoppolo, and who knows what that will mean for his numbers and his opinion among the voters and so on and so forth. Part of the argument would have been if Lance started 12 games, he would almost certainly have to do better than the competent baseline Garoppolo sets, but now he'll have a role from Week 1, ready or not, and some awkward growing pains early might impact the voters, no matter what Lance turns into. Thanks for making my job harder, Shanahan.

And yes, as of press time, Draft Kings lets you bet on both Dynami Brown and Dyami Brown. I did not know that Washington has a pair of identical twins disguised as one person, Prestige style.

Andrew: Trevor Lawrence is the favorite for good reason. If the Jaguars win more than, ooh, three games this year, Lawrence will get most of the credit for that. He's the unquestioned top prospect on a bad team, but with decent targets in a defensively challenged division. That's a recipe for OROY if ever I saw one.

Bryan: I agree with you on Lawrence, and I'll take that logic a step further. If there is a rookie quarterback who has a solid season on a winning team, they will always win this award. With five first-round passers joining the league this year, the odds that one will win this title has to be very high. And for that reason, I'm taking Mac Jones as my value pick—one of the five, with a significant amount of receiving talent around him, and the starting job after the surprise Cam Newton cut. Jones could game-manager his way to a strong winning season and a playoff berth, and get a perhaps over-heavy share of the plaudits.

Andrew: That breaking news from New England, which came the day after we originally wrote this article, completely turned this pick on its head for me. The one problem with Lawrence is those miniscule odds, which had originally led me to Najee Harris as a value pick. Harris has much better odds, and again is the unquestioned starter on a team that could make some noise this winter. I even originally wrote that don't think he'll win, because I believe it'll be one of the quarterbacks. The news that Jones will be the starter in New England means I'm joining you in that camp. I doubt you'll see odds of +1000 on Jones for long, so get them while they're hot if you can.

Bryan: My longshot is a running back as well, but I'm going down to Javonte Williams. It looks like Denver is going to do a lot of ball-control offense, trying not to screw things up for their defense. Williams has really shined in preseason while Melvin Gordon has been bothered by a bad groin, to the point where Williams got to sit the last preseason game out while Gordon had to play to try to get some work in. I could see him getting the starting nod sooner rather than later, and turning that into a productive year on the ground.

Andrew: Amon-Ra St. Brown should win it for his name alone, but that's not one of the usual judging criteria. Your justification for Javonte Williams is a good one, but I'll take Ja'Marr Chase from the same section of the table. I really like the Bengals receiving group, and they're likely to throw a ton of passes this year. There will be opportunities for volume in that offense, and Chase will grow into the role as the season progresses. He'll be firmly in voters' minds by the time winter comes.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Trevor Lawrence (+350) Mac Jones (+1000) Ja'Marr Chase (+1600)
Bryan Trevor Lawrence (+350) Mac Jones (+1000) Javonte Williams (+1600)

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Micah Parsons +600 Asante Samuel +3500 Tommy Togiai +6500
Jamin Davis +800 Payton Turner +3500 Bobby Brown +6500
Jaelen Phillips +1000 Milton Williams +4000 Osa Odighizuwa +6500
Patrick Surtain +1200 Elijah Molden +4000 Daviyon Nixon +6500
Kwity Paye +1200 Derrick Barnes +4000 Ar'Darius Washington +6500
Zaven Collins +1400 Ronnie Perkins +4000 Kelvin Joseph +6500
Jaycee Horn +1400 Richie Grant +4000 Tay Gowan +6500
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoa +1400 Jevon Holland +4000 Ifeatu Melifonwu +6500
Jayson Oweh +1600 Pete Werner +5000 Marvin Wilson +8000
Azeez Ojulari +1600 Alim McNeil +5000 Thomas Graham +10000
Gregory Rousseau +2000 Levi Onwuzurike +5000 Benjamin St-Juste +10000
Tre'von Moehrig +2200 Baron Browning +5000 Tre Brown +10000
Nick Bolton +2500 Justin Hilliard +5000 Tyson Campbell +10000
Caleb Farley +2500 Jamar Johnson +5000 Tyler Shelvin +10000
Joe Tryon +2500 Carlos Basham +5000 Andre Cisco +10000
Greg Newsome +2800 Joseph Ossai +5000 Hamsah Nasirildeen +10000
Eric Stokes +3500 Rashad Weaver +5000 Divine Deablo +10000
Jabril Cox +3500 Aaron Robinson +5000 Dayo Odeyingbo +10000
Christian Barmore +3500 Chazz Surratt +6500 Cameron Sample +10000

Bryan: No defender was taken in the first seven picks of this year's draft, so this award is a little more up in the air than normal. No Chase Young, no Nick Bosa, no Denzel Ward—the field is more wide open than it has been in years.

Andrew: There are two picks here that I really, really like, and they're separated by just one spot in the odds, so I'm going to order them that way even though it's not quite how I'd pick them. Patrick Surtain could be the final piece in Vic Fangio's Broncos jigsaw, a puzzle that I think can be one of the toughest in the league for quarterbacks to solve. It may be too early for Surtain to assume top billing there, but a key component of a top defense will get votes, and Surtain should fit that bill.

Bryan: I'm going to go chalk with my favorite (surprise, surprise!) and go with Micah Parsons. I was concerned a little bit with the fact that he sat out 2020, but he has looked like lightning in the preseason—rushing the passer, clogging the run, covering receivers. The Cowboys have been looking for a solid, consistent linebacker for ages (no, Sean Lee doesn't count, he was always hurt) and Parsons might be the guy.

Andrew: In a very similar vein to Surtain, I absolutely love the fit of Jaycee Horn in Carolina. The Panthers want to play more man defense. To do that, they have to play better man defense. That's exactly what they drafted Horn to do, and he's entirely capable of doing it. The Panthers may not be playoff-ready just yet, but I expect their defense to take another big stride forward this year, and Horn will be a major reason why.

Bryan: Kwity Paye is my best value as I really like the idea of him pairing with DeForest Buckner on that Indianapolis line. Paye won't be Nick Bosa, but Buckner drawing attention might help him in a similar way to how Bosa was helped in 2019. He picked up a couple sacks in the preseason and looks explosive. He's a little further down than Parsons because of some historical issues with finishing his sacks, but he looks good so far.

Andrew: I would have loved to go with Joseph Ossai as my longshot, but Ossai tore his meniscus in preseason and will miss the entire year, so that's not happening. Instead, I'm going with Joe Tryon of the Buccaneers. One of the very few concerns I had for the Bucs heading into the draft was the age and lack of depth among their edge rushers; Tryon solves that and then some. He won't start right away, but he will leap straight into the rotation as a pin-your-ears-back edge rusher, likely against teams that are forced to pass, in a role that's perfect to get attention.

Bryan: Tre'von Moehrig is my longshot; he'll be starting from Week 1 and that's crucial for awards like this. The consensus top safety in the class fell into the second round due to a back injury, but that seems to be nicely cleaned up. The Raiders have been moving him to multiple positions, but he's the starting free safety, and one who should make an impact early.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Patrick Surtain (+1200) Jaycee Horn (+1400) Joe Tryon (+2500)
Bryan Micah Parsons (+600) Kwity Paye (+1200) Tre'von Moehrig (+2200)

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Comeback Player of the Year
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Dak Prescott +210 Michael Thomas +1200 Julio Jones +2500
Joe Burrow +700 Odell Beckham +1400 Anthony Barr +3000
Saquon Barkley +700 Courtland Sutton +1400 Devin Bush +3000
Christian McCaffrey +800 Sam Darnold +1600 Melvin Ingram +3500
Jameis Winston +1000 Derwin James +1600 James Conner +3500
Nick Bosa +1000 Chandler Jones +2500 O.J. Howard +3500
Carson Wentz +1000 Von Miller +2500 Leighton Vander Esch +4000
George Kittle +1000 Danielle Hunter +2500 Richard Sherman +5000
Jimmy Garoppolo +1200        

Andrew: If he comes back anywhere close to his previous level, this is Dak Prescott's award to lose. We all remember the condition his ankle was in the last time we saw him.

Bryan: I've tried very hard to forget the condition his ankle was in the last time we saw him.

Andrew: That too. He was on track to obliterate Cowboys franchise records at the time. Even a solid season in line with his career average will probably do that for him this time out.

In a very similar vein, if not Prescott, then Joe Burrow making his return from a multi-ligament knee injury has a very strong chance to generate a win here. Especially if, as seems likely, Burrow looks better than he did a year ago. He's my value pick.

Bryan: I'm confident enough in Prescott's return and talent level that I'm taking him both as my favorite and best bet, though Burrow is a very solid shout.

If I wanted a real longshot, I'd go O.J. Howard here, finally seeing what he can do in that Buccaneers offense ... but, no, I'm going with Christian McCaffrey. +800 isn't exactly a huge longshot by any stretch of the imagination (hence why I made sure to mention Howard!), but McCaffrey was one of my favorite players in 2019, and it will be good to have him back at full speed.

Andrew: Derwin James is a good longshot pick, too James is one of the best safeties in the game when healthy—which is, sadly, all too rare an event. I'm not totally sure what Jameis Winston, Carson Wentz, and especially Sam Darnold are coming back from. Darnold's still trying to break out; him coming back to his previous peak still means he'd be a really bad player.

Bryan: The Ryan Tannehill Memorial "Coming Back From Not Being Good at Football" award! Or, for Darnold, the "We Apologize For Adam Gase" award!

Andrew: I like a few of the receiver and edge rusher "injury return" picks a whole lot better. Courtland Sutton is the clear top receiver on that Broncos team, and him coming back from a torn ACL to go straight back into production as the No. 1 wideout would make him a solid contender. At seven times the favorite's odds, and twice my value pick's, that's good enough for me to make him my longshot. But really, this is Prescott all the way.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Dak Prescott (+210) Joe Burrow (+700) Courtland Sutton (+1400)
Bryan Dak Prescott (+210) Dak Prescott (+210) Christian McCaffrey (+800)

SUPER BOWL WINNER

Super Bowl Winner
Player Odds   Player Odds   Player Odds
Kansas City Chiefs +500 Tennessee Titans +3000 Atlanta Falcons +8000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +600 Indianapolis Colts +3500 New York Giants +8000
Buffalo Bills +1000 New England Patriots +3500 Carolina Panthers +9000
Green Bay Packers +1300 Dallas Cowboys +3500 Las Vegas Raiders +10000
Baltimore Ravens +1400 Miami Dolphins +3500 Philadelphia Eagles +10000
San Francisco 49ers +1400 Denver Broncos +4500 Jacksonville Jaguars +13000
Los Angeles Rams +1400 Arizona Cardinals +4500 New York Jets +15000
Cleveland Browns +1600 Pittsburgh Steelers +4500 Cincinnati Bengals +15000
Seattle Seahawks +2000 Minnesota Vikings +5000 Detroit Lions +20000
Los Angeles Chargers +3000 Washington Football Team +5000 Houston Texans +30000
New Orleans Saints +3000 Chicago Bears +6500    

Bryan: Last, but most certainly not least, we get to go on record with our Super Bowl champs. Historically, whichever team I pick here is doomed, so my condolences to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year's champions bring back their entire starting lineup—unheard of in an era of mass turnover, and not really a thing in the days before free agency either. I believe Tampa Bay's postseason form is more the true skill of their team than their regular season record would indicate, and I have spent too long waiting for Tom Brady to turn into a pumpkin to count on it now. I'm double-dipping my Creamsicles and bringing the party back to Tampa again.

Andrew: I wouldn't bet against Mahomes and the Chiefs, but really the Buccaneers have the most complete roster in the league and a division that's unlikely to stand in their way for a postseason appearance. They're the favorites.

Bryan: For value, most pundits have a three-way race in the AFC between the Chiefs, Bills, and Ravens. Of the three, the Ravens have the longest odds, and therefore the most value if you really think they're in the same tier. It's hard to pick a team that has been stymied by both the Chiefs and the Bills in the past, but they weren't that far off the pack—seventh in DVOA with solid performances on both sides of the ball. If they can expand their passing game to exist outside the numbers, look out.

Andrew: For value, I'm going with your homer pick. I really like the chances of the 49ers if that offense clicks. I wouldn't normally like the chances of a team starting Jimmy Garoppolo with a rookie backup, but this time the plan looks solid even when Garoppolo gets hurt. We've heard comparisons all year to Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn, but this looks to me more like Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. That ended in a Super Bowl appearance, and this may well head the same way

In the longshot column, it's horrifying to say it, but a Bill Belichick team bringing back a heap of defensive talent and importing a whole new array of targets for their pro-ready first-round quarterback should not be getting +3500 odds. The AFC doesn't have enough elite teams to fill out a playoff field, and the Patriots are tough enough to make some noise if they can get there. I hate myself for making this pick, but no way can I miss out on those odds.

Bryan: I'm afraid I'm with you, Andrew. The Monsters at the End of the Book may have had their head lopped off (and surgically attached to a pirate ship down south), but we haven't seen their body stop twitching just yet. Was last year the firm and final end of a two-decade long dynasty in Foxborough, or a false sense of security before the rest of the league has to try to keep up with the Joneses? At +3500, I'm not betting against it. Give me the Patriots as a longshot, and may the football gods have mercy on us.

  Favorite Best Bet Longshot
Andrew Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+600) San Francisco 49ers (+1400) New England Patriots (+3500)
Bryan Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+600) Baltimore Ravens (+1400) New England Patriots (+3500)

Comments

45 comments, Last at 05 Sep 2021, 12:35pm

1 Defensive Player of the Year

No Chris Jones? Seems like he should at least make the list. I do like that Sneed made the list. That guy is going to be a star. 

13 Chris Jones is at +6500. …

Chris Jones is at +6500.  DPOY is the one award where put our cutoff at +5000 instead of +10000, as having 150 names in one table might well have caused Vince to murder us during the editing stage.

He'd be right to do it, too!

24 +6500?!

I'm on my way to Vegas. With Donald and Garrett getting +500, no way is that line for Jones accurate. That's HUGE value even on a longshot. 

25 No need to go to Vegas; it's…

In reply to by cstoos

No need to go to Vegas; it's right there on DraftKings as we speak!

Other players at +6500 for DPOY:
Jason Pierre-Paul
Chase Winovich
Cameron Heyward
Raven Greene
Jonathan Allen
Fred Warner
Bryce Callahan
Kyle Fuller
Darious Williams
Blake Martinez
Alex Highsmith
Joe Haden
Joe Schobert
Haason Reddick
Marshon Lattimore
Jaylon Smith
Deion Jones
Ronald Darby
Jadeveon Clowney
Troy Hill
William Jackson
Carl Lawson

 

....That last one is a sucker's trap, that one is.

45 I mean, I suppose he could…

In reply to by kramerthefirst

I mean, I suppose he could still sign with someone and contribute!

I just checked; he is still listed.  That would be, shall we say, an optimistic bet.

2 Last year I picked the…

Last year I picked the Seahawks. Even when they soaring on offense, I knew that pick was shaky. 

This year, I will go with Baltimore, who I predict will have a gritty, bumpy route to a couple road wins and the superbowl. 

3 Dak

Hard to concoct a more telling depiction of value than missing time and watching everything catch on fire

Yup, like Steve Nash won the NBA MVP by being hurt for 2 weeks and the Suns sucking toads while he was out.

4 I like most of your picks…

I like most of your picks here, but I think you're way off on Coach of the Year, which generally goes to someone whose team is a surprise contender. But every one of your picks was in the playoffs either last year or the year before. Bruce Arians won the freakin' Super Bowl last year - there's virtually no chance of him winning the award this year unless the Bucs go 17-0.

I like Brian Flores - yes, the Dolphins already went 10-6 last year, but they missed the playoffs, so most people didn't notice. It would only take some minor slippage from the Bills and a small step forward from Tua to make the Dolphins AFC East champs, and I think that would get Flores the award.

 

7 You do have a strong point…

You do have a strong point here.  The most ideal candidate for Coach of the Year is a new coach who takes his team to the postseason for the first team -- that's, like, the standard, kept in a vault in France next to the original kilogram.

The problem is, I just don't really see that happening this year.  I've got none of the six new head coaches making the playoffs this year, though Brandon Staley will get some serious consideration if the Chargers are just a little better than I'm expecting.

Alright then, so we're looking for a surprise contender from an established coach.  Well, I don't really have a surprise contender this year.  The Giants are +225 to make the postseason but could come out of a NFC East, so Joe Judge, Coach of the Year at 8-9?  Mike Zimmer with the Vikings picking up a wildcard spot, maybe?  Your right, the best candidate there is Brian Flores, but I think most writers who vote on these awards did notice they went 10-6 a year ago; going 10-7 or 11-6 and making the playoffs because the wildcard picture shakes up differently may not be enough to get him on top, though I would respect that as a value pick.

I just think the "Belichickian magic without Brady", especially with the guts to cut his established quarterback and go with a rookie from Day 1, would be a compelling enough story for people to get behind.  As would "Shanahan plays the shell game with his passers all season long and wins the NFC West because of it".  Plus, both of them did miss the playoffs last season, so there's a bit of a redemption arc going on there; and both are already considered great coaches around the league, so I don't think there would be any fears that they'd be giving out an award for a fluke (Hi, 2018 Matt Nagy!).  And us sportswriters love our freaking storylines, I tell you what.

 

I shall not make any great effort to explain or defend the Bruce Arians selection, other than to blame it on those crazy Brits.

27 Similarly, the fact that…

Similarly, the fact that Pete Carroll has any odds at all to be first fired, much less be as high in the list as he is (only +2500 vs. +4000 for COY!), is ridiculous. It's his job for as long as he wants it.

28 On the flip side is Harbaugh

+2000 to be fired first (tied for 12th place with Frank Reich) and +3500 to be coach of the year?  This makes no sense, I think Harbaugh has built up enough goodwill that the Ravens would need to go 4-13 or worse to even be considered being fired after the season, to be the FIRST coach fired he would need to have some kind of scandal and I can not imagine that happening.

I strongly agree with Bryan that if the Ravens have a monster season that Harbaugh can win coach of the year.

Harbaugh has coached 208 games with a 129-79 regular season record and 11-8 postseason record.  He has amassed this record with Joe Flacco as his starting QB in 163 of the 208 games (78.3%) and 15 of the 19 playoff games (78.9%).  He belongs in the Hall of Fame as a coach, not the unemployment line.

No coach in the modern era has accomplished more with such marginal QB play.

5 The Bills have also been…

The Bills have also been stymied by these Ravens!

anyway the path to the Super Bowl is ridiculously hard in the AFC

6 Most Passing Yards

While obviously Dak at +600 is a much better bet than Mahommes at +350, because of the value, if they both had the exact same odds, I'd still bet Dak over Mahommes every single time, because of the Dallas Defense.

9 What's really stopping me…

What's really stopping me there is questions about Dak's health, including that lingering shoulder injury that led to an extra MRI.  It's not enough for me to not call him one of the favorites, but it's enough of a question mark for me that I'd take Mahomes over Dak straight up.

8 Matt Nagy

Matt Nagy is, far and away, the WORST value on that list. Far and away,

There has been exactly ONE Bears Head Coach to not finish a season they started as the Bears HC: George Halas, who left for WWII during the 1942 season.

Anyone betting on Naggy being the first coach fired is betting on no coaches being fired during the regular season at all. And even then, I wouldn't put my money down on him being the first to go after the season...

EDIT: The Bears didn't even fire Marc Trestman mid-season after allowing back-to-back 50-burgers and him being constantly mocked by his own palyers!

Matt Nagy as the first coach to be fired would be a terrible value at +7000

10 Anyone betting on Naggy…

In reply to by BigCheese

Anyone betting on Naggy being the first coach fired is betting on no coaches being fired during the regular season at all. 

Who's really got a chance of being fired during the season? I think there's a good chance it doesn't happen this year. Maybe if the Bengals or Broncos seriously bomb?

Honestly I think there's a good chance this year ends up being a seriously low year for coach firings. The typical rate is around 5-6 per year, and I wouldn't be super surprised to see numbers as low as two. And I kinda struggle to see how it could get higher than three.

Just a weird year. If I look at all the teams who overperformed last year (Browns definitely, Titans a bit), I don't think either of those coaches would be in any danger. Likewise the former good teams most likely to decline due to personnel changes (Saints) or QB age (Steelers) don't have anything to worry about. Of the "not awful" teams starting new QBs (Chicago, New England, San Francisco) the only one I can imagine being fired is Nagy. And then like, all of the bad teams from last year basically have new coaches. The only teams with 5 or fewer wins last year that didn't change coaches were the Broncos and Bengals.

That's three. Total. And, I mean, I could paint a scenario where none of the teams in the entire league feel they need to make a change. Just feels like a lot of the teams that are primed to struggle have enough goodwill stored up to survive.

11 I will also point out that…

I will also point out that Houston experts guaranteed us last year that there was no way Bill O'Brien was being fired in midseason.  And they were right; he was let go well before the season hit the midway point!

Sometimes when things go bad, they go bad ~quickly~.

15 I direct your attention to…

I direct your attention to November 10, 2014. The Bears had just gone 23-51 @NE, BYE, 14-55 @GB, in a game that set a franchise record for points allowed in a half (42) and a league record for TDs allowed in a half (6).

Say what you will about Virginia McCasky, but the one thing she hates most of all is losing to the Packers. Getting pounded like that after two weeks of rest/preparation? Yikes!

All of this among constant allegations that Marc Trestman had lost the locker room and that players were blowing up at each other.

You could convincingly argue this was the low-point of the Bears franchise this century. And yet, they still waited until the end of the season to fire the coach...

Things that are more likely than Matt Nagy being fired mid-season (in Field's rookie campaign, no less!):

- The Bears win the Superbowl.

- Against the Jaguars.

- Having beaten the Giants in the NFCC.

- And the Eagles in the Divisional round.

20 I mean, his overall point of…

I mean, his overall point of "just because X has never happened before doesn't mean X won't happen now" is not wrong. Specially when applied accross such long time that the organizations aren't really the same anymore. But future behavior IS a good predictor of future one. And everyone* who was here for the Trestman debacle is still here. And if they didn't pull the plug in 2014 they're not pulling the plug any time soon.

 

*Except the GM, but there is zero chance Pace has the power to boot Nagy mid-season. Their fates are pretty much tied together.

32 Yeah, the only way I could…

Yeah, the only way I could see Nagy (and Pace) going before the season ends would be some sort of outright player mutiny, a la BOB last year - and in that case, it was precipitated by that deranged Hopkins trade and his public grousing on the way out. I haven't heard anything like that from the Bears so far.

16 I do think you're dead wrong…

I do think you're dead wrong on Nagy being the favorite, though. He's been *way* too confident about Dalton starting, so it just feels like the Bears FO has reassured him. Pace might get tossed if the year goes bad, but I wouldn't be surprised if they (pointlessly) keep Nagy on for another year.

Taylor's gotta be the favorite. Only reason he wasn't fired last year was he's got guaranteed money and the Bengals are cheap. Plus he's, y'know, actually a bad coach.

21 I agree about Nagy.  I haven…

I agree about Nagy.  I haven't commented in any of Tanier's weekly critiques, but the "Nagy is starting Dalton just to preserve his job" logic makes no sense.  Starting Fields is what a coach would do if he wanted to keep his job, because then he could defend himself with, "Of course we weren't going to be good this year, it was a year to let our rookie QB learn through experience."

Nagy's starting Dalton either because he legitimately thinks Dalton gives them a better chance of winning or he and Pace don't want to renege on a promise they made when they signed him (the assumption / rumor is that he was promised the starting job).

23 Not an assumption/rumor. A…

Not an assumption/rumor. A local radio host was so hung up on that promise, that he managed to get into one of the press conference zoom calls and asked nagy directly whether he had promised Dalton the starting job. And Nagy confirmed it.

38 Thanks.I don't know what to…

Thanks.

I don't know what to think of that, i.e. how much to criticize Nagy and Pace for that.  At the start of free agency, it looked incredibly unlikely that one of the top QBs would be draftable by the Bears, so they were faced with rolling with Nick Foles or signing a QB.

Apparently, they liked Dalton more than any other free agent QB, to the point where they offered him several million more than Tyrod Taylor and Mitch Trubisky (and probably some others I'm not recalling right now).  It's totally fair to criticize that talent evaluation (and I probably would), but once they decided that Dalton was their best option, I can see how convincing him to sign with a promise to be the week one starter, no matter what, is defensible.

Of course, what happened is that a QB who many had rated #2 overall in the draft was available at #11, and the Bears traded up.  And Fields has looked good enough in practice and the preseason - and Dalton bad enough - that now that promise to Dalton looks very bad.

More broadly, I won't argue with anyone who wants to move on from Nagy, but I also wouldn't cheer it on.  I think he's been an OK coach saddled with a far worse GM.  If he's still sticking with Dalton after more than 2-3 wholly mediocre games, then he deserves a lot more criticism, but if that is not the case (either Dalton somehow defies the odds or Fields is starting by week 4), then I don't think it's that bad.  (Also, as excited as I am for his future, I don't think Fields moves the needle on their odds of beating the Rams on the road in week 1 very much, so the opening day decision seems very unlikely to cost them a win.)

39 I mean, I kinda think the…

I mean, I kinda think the whole "why are you sticking with Dalton" thing is a bit insane. On average, rookie QBs are bad, and improve quite a bit by year two, and I don't really believe that they need to be on the field to improve. Dalton's likely to be better than Fields this year, and likely to be around where Trubisky was or better, quite possibly good enough to be a playoff contender. So I don't really see the point in going with Fields this year, especially at the start of the season.

I think he's been an OK coach saddled with a far worse GM.

Yeah, that's almost why I think Pace is more likely to get fired than Nagy is this year. I mean, Nagy'll likely get fired next year if they bomb this year and Pace gets fired, but I think there's a decent chance the next incoming GM might hold onto Nagy for a year as well.

43 I have no problem with…

I have no problem with Dalton starting over Fields (Specially against the Rams and behind the worst OL in football). I do have a problem with the original signing, which is emblematic of how Pace is a master at overpaying for any player they acquire (bidding against themselves for Glennon, trading up one spot for Trubisky, etc.). They could easily have had Dalton last year when the Bengals were looking for a trade but instead they traded for Foles, gave him the worst contract ever (basically it boiled doen to: if he plays well, he can opt out for free but if he plays badly we're stuck for two years) and then had to let go of Kyle Fuller so they could give $10 Million to Dalton...

 

So yes, Pace is worse than Nagy, but not because Nagy is OK, but because Pace is comically bad at his job.

14 I am honestly shocked at how…

I am honestly shocked at how long the odds are on Joe Judge. I can EASILY see the bottom falling out of the Giants' season and him being blamed for it.

Fangio is also definitely on the hot seat, but I don't think Denver will be bad enough to get him fired mid-season. So you could be right.

Of course, the other wild-card is that Bears ownership could not have handled their GM/HC situation any worse in the past few years. Maybe Nagy, but DEFINITELY Pace should have been out of there after 2020. Instead they let him pick a new first-round QB and I truly beleive that gives them both far more leash than fans would like. Should Nagy be the Bears HC in 2022? Definitely not. WILL he be? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

26 Packers stuff

Pretty much agree with all the Aaron Rodgers stuff.

I know a CB getting DPOY is tougher than an edge rusher. But I think Alexander has a better shot than Smith as the Packers with a longshot at the award. Smith has been dealing with a back injury and is still in doubt for the season opener so that doesn't help his chances either. I think the in better shape Preston Smith and continually improving Rashan Gary are going to reduce his snap count even if healthy. Of course that can be a benefit because rest does matter for defenders, having a more reliable threat opposite you helps too, but I've just got worries about availability this year.

They are both serious longshots, but if you want a Packer defender for that Alexander I think is the better bet. He has that same rising name recognition going for him like Smith too. Of course I still don't have a full handle on what the new defensive coordinator has done, I don't get to watch practices and I don't put stock in the preseaon games. But I'm going to put my imaginary money on Alexandar have a crazy number of ints while still shutting everyone down than Z. Smith blowing up the sack numbers that get the votes for DPOY.

I don't think Adams is a good bet for the yardage leader. Touchdowns I'm neutral the Rodgers to Adams duo is just so dynamic and so damn good. TD's are also more variable so it's easier to miss games and still catch a bunch. But he hasn't played a full season since 2016. While he is a stud and I love getting to watch him, you need the games to get the yardage record, missing 2 games last season is probably why he didn't get it. His history just makes me feel he will miss 1-3 games again this year.

I also expect the combo of Amari Rodgers / Whatever Randall Cobb has left (which could be a lot), to siphon some of the yardage away since I expect they will present a few more open targets than Rodgers has had the last 2 seasons. I think they will also draw some coverage that might have gone to a TE the last couple of years when the team didn't have a player like them on the roster. So there will probably be 2 or 3 less "force the ball to Adams" because it's by far the best option, per game. He is still head and shoulders above the rest of the Packers receiver options, but having a good "twitch" slot type player should change the dynamics some. I think the team is a good bet to have more passing yards per game than last year, but I think the bulk of the extra yards are going to players other than Adams.

Not that any of this really matters it was a fun article, enjoyable read. Just wanted to put my homer thoughts out there.

29 Re:

In reply to by DisplacedPackerFan

Agree on Jaire. 

Sorta agree on Adams. He lead the league in TDs last year despite missing 2 games and although generally TDs are variable, they seem to be pretty sticky for him. Top 5 in targets return ready and healthy (Adams, Jones, MVS, Tonyan and Lazard). #6, Jamaal is gone, not Dillons skillset so that's probably a majority of Cobbs targets there. Amari probably isn't jumping out too quickly.

35 Yeah, that's why I was…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Yeah, that's why I was neutral on them picking Adams for the TDs. If he misses a few games it's less likely to impact his chances, but making up the potential lost yardage is way more difficult. A 3 or 4 TD game is not out of the question and when you probably only need 16 - 22 TD to lead (I keep forgetting it's 17 games now so even bigger numbers) so that makes up for missing a couple if you are just needing 1 a game. A 250+ yard game to make up the lost yardage, significantly more rare.

I agree that Amari isn't going to start quickly. My thoughts are that sometime midseason Cobb is going to miss some time (he hasn't played a full season since 2015 and age just makes smaller things more likely to take you out for a bit). By then Amari will be able to step in and do similar stuff and for the last 4 games or so of the season they'll be splitting time. That's why I listed them together. I expect them to fill the same role with only one of them really getting the snaps/looks. Sure with how LeFleur does offense they will both be on the field in some packages, but I doubt it will be a regular thing.

30 I feel like some of the…

I feel like some of the commentary is too dependent on results that happened last year. Who cares if Alvin Kamara's 6-TD game isn't repeatable? He has two years of 14+ TDs and is the unquestioned best weapon on his offense, especially while Michael Thomas is out. I kind of like his odds at +1400, though personally I'd bet on Chubb or Taylor in both yards and TDs. Derrick Henry is an amazing player and certainly projects for the most carries/yards in the league, but I'd never bet on an RB leading the league in yards for the third year in a row, especially coming off a 370 carry season. 

At WR, Davante Adams was spectacular last year, but it screamed "career year" to me especially for someone who is now 29. The receiving TD leader has historically had a lot of turnover and no one has gone back to back since Larry Fitzgerald in 2008-09. I like Calvin Ridley and DK Metcalf better there, though overall I'd stay away from that category as too difficult to predict.

 

 

31 2017 AFCN 1st round edge rushers

Garretts hype keeps preceding him despite TJ Watt getting votes for DPOTY the past two years (should've won last year!) and Garrett still sitting at a whopping...0 for his career.

Odd to have Myles ahead on DPOTY but no where to be found on MVP despite Watt being there. 

33 I was getting more and more…

I was getting more and more annoyed at how loony so many of the odds were until I reminded myself that those lines are set to attract bets from casuals and drunken homers, not make any actual sense.

41 Garrett's 0 DPOY votes to…

Garrett's 0 DPOY votes to date are due to basically non-repeatable events, though (the helmet swing, and an extremely bad long-COVID that left him finishing the balance of last season at half speed.)

 

He certainly was in the conversation in each of the last two+ seasons before those, so it projects to this season.

40 A few realities that make me…

A few realities that make me agree-to-disagree on best/value picks:

*Mike Brown doesn't fire coaches mid-season, and almost always hangs on to struggling coaches after more seasons than anyone else would. So I think Zac Taylor lasts the year at least.

*I am of course Chubb's biggest fan here, but his numbers will be limited quite a bit by sharing the load with Hunt. Also his one weakness is making it from inside the 5 to the endzone, even though he is terrific at getting you your chunk plays and first downs.

42 Considering how much virtual…

Considering how much virtual ink I've seen spilled this year talking about rookie QBs and how they usually struggle in year 1 as they need time on the field/bench to develop, I'm surprised by how little I've read about Tua (other than Boots Day's comment above), Herbert (though you guys do speculate about him becoming the next Dan Fouts and trying to through the Chargers into contention), Burrows (other than whether he's going to come back/stay healthy) and Hurts (other than will he be a starter tier QB or not).  Maybe I just don't read enough articles.

Anyway, if I was going to gamble on who's the next superstar, I'd probably look at the second year QBs.  And of those, a presumably now fully healthy Tagovailoa would seem a reasonable bet as someone who could lead his almost but not quite playoff team from 2020 into the playoffs for 2021 and, as Boots Day points out, likely boost his coach to Coach of the Year in the process (it doesn't hurt that Flores appears to be generally liked, which could help him win some votes).