As we look ahead to the 2021 NFL season, FanDuel Sportsbook has posted odds for league leaders — options to lead the league in passing, rushing and receiving — and there is some excellent value. Those of you who tailed my picks know I love the Sunday specials on who leads the league in yards, so these bets are right up my alley.
I am looking for the odds that don’t reflect the probability of a player leading the league, not necessarily who is going to do it — the key thing is getting the betting advantage. As with betting any long shot, I am always looking for the odds to be in my favorite, as I just need to hit one out of every 23 bets to be profitable on a +2400 selection.
What are the odds that Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing?
Last year, Derrick Henry rushed for 2,027 yards, or 470 more than second-place Dalvin Cook. He finished so far ahead of the field that Jonathan Taylor, who had the third-most rushing yards, was 858 yards behind Henry. Rushing king Henry had a ridiculous 378 rushing attempts last season, one of only two players to have over 300, with Cook's 312 coming in second. Henry is a home-run hitter who gets insane volume, and if he stays healthy is the runaway favorite for the award. He should be closer to +200 than +450 and at DraftKings Sportsbook, his season-long rushing prop is 200 yards higher than the next-closest player. Already having him over 1,450.5 rushing yards on the season, a number that has since climbed by 100 yards, getting more down on the king seems like a +ev move.
I am not a big fan of Zeke at this stage of his career, but the Cowboys are, and that is what matters. Despite being incredibly inefficient last season, Elliott still finished fifth in the league in carries, rushing 244 times in 15 games. Now he gets his offensive line back healthy, after both All-Pro lineman Zack Martin and Tyron Smith missed time last season. Elliott also played on one of the league's worst offenses due to injuries both up front and to Dak Prescott — prior to Prescott’s injury, this offense was on a historic pace. Elliott won the rushing title in 2018 and finished in fifth in 2019, and with his projected rush volume, odds of +2400 are simply too long to ignore.
Note: I originally wrote this bet up as a FanDuel play, but it is +20000 on William Hill, which may be the single worst value I have ever seen on futures.
Last year, only three players had eight or more games with at least 93 receiving yards — Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley and Moore. Diggs went on to lead the league in receiving yards, Ridley tied for fifth and Moore finished with the 11th-highest total of 1,193 yards in 15 games. If you read my content on FTN Fantasy, you will know I am all in on Moore this season. While Moore finished 11th in total receiving yards, he was all the way down at 29th in catchable targets. He is one of the league's top threats both deep and after the catch and has significantly outperformed Robby Anderson on intermediate routes, throws Sam Darnold targets at a 5% higher clip than Teddy Bridgewater. Obviously, there are questions around Darnold, but if he takes the leap — he’s not playing for Adam Gase anymore — Moore could be in for a massive season. No player in football averaged more yards per route run on a catchable target rate of 70%, and Moore was close to some of the league leaders in yards per route run despite having a catchable target rate 8-15% worse than the league leaders. If he is given a better opportunity, he could explode this year, and leading the league in receiving yards is within his range of outcomes.
Jameis Winston player props to lead NFL in passing yards
Note: I originally wrote this bet up as a FanDuel play, but the odds are better on William Hill.
Before you ask, no I have not started drinking on this holiday weekend. This is one of those bets where the odds are simply too long and it's worth taking a shot on — $14 wins you $1,000 on this bet. Winston led the NFL in passing in 2019 and is not a stranger to racking up yards due to his gunslinger mentality. He is -280 to be the Saints starter, and if he is able to win the job and keep it, he should be in the mix for top-five finish in passing yards. Let us not forget when Drew Brees was healthy and still had arm strength, he led the league in Sean Payton's system three straight years between 2014 and 2016, and Winston has that downfield passing ability the offense has lacked for a few years. If everything clicks, he has a chance to compete for the crown.