NFL Picks: Updated Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/3/2014
After every quarter of the NFL season (i.e. four weeks), Bovada will offer updated individual player prop futures odds. While it's a bit too early to speculate on the NFL MVP -- Andrew Luck has taken over as the very slight 5/1 favorite over Peyton Manning (11/2) -- there is a clear favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Here is each prop option and an analysis.
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers receiver (5/2): Do the Panthers look a bit silly for having let Steve Smith go this offseason? In one way, yes, because Smith is still very productive at age 35 with the Baltimore Ravens. However, in one way the answer is no because Benjamin resembles a young Calvin Johnson. I wish I had taken Benjamin in my fantasy dynasty league. The former Florida State star, who caught the winning TD pass in last season's BCS Championship Game, has been targeted 36 times and has caught 21 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns, all team highs. Benjamin was the 28th player selected. He is going to make some teams (Rams, Dolphins, Jets, Chiefs and Browns to name five receiver-needy teams; St. Louis and Cleveland had two shots at him) really regret passing on him.
Brandin Cooks, Saints receiver (3/1): This guy was my second-favorite back in the preseason as I expected he would be a perfect fit in the pass-happy Saints offense -- especially with Darren Sproles gone. Figured the Saints would use Cooks often on receiver screens, reverses, etc. The former Oregon State star and No. 20 overall pick hasn't been bad but hasn't really taken advantage of his burning speed yet. He has 23 catches but for only 199 yards with one score. He has rushed three times for 49 yards.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars quarterback (4/1): Bortles had long odds on this prop in the preseason because the Jaguars swore to anyone who asked that they were going to sit the former Central Florida star all season and let him learn watching Chad Henne. Apparently the Jags then realized who Chad Henne was and benched him at the half of Week 3. In his first start last week, in San Diego, Bortles was 29-of-37 for 254 yards, a touchdown and two picks. His 78.4 percent completions was the best ever for a QB making his first start with at least 30 attempts. Bovada also has a Bortles season special of "over/under" 62 percent completions on the season (both -115).
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings quarterback (6/1): This prop was up before Thursday's game, and Bridgewater's odds rose slightly after he sat out the blowout loss to Green Bay with an ankle injury. He should be OK to start Week 6 against Detroit. Bridgewater, the last pick of the first round, also made his first start in Week 4, completing 19-of-30 for 317 yards against the Falcons. He hasn't thrown a TD or interception in 50 attempts overall. With Matt Cassel out for the season and Christian Ponder awful, there's no question Bridgewater will start the rest of the way if healthy.
Sammy Watkins, Bills receiver (15/2): Watkins might turn out to be a fine player, but I believe the Bills are going to massively regret giving up their first-round pick to Cleveland to move up to No. 4 in this year's draft to snag Watkins before the Raiders potentially could have him at No. 5. Watkins has caught 17 passes for 197 yard and two scores -- he has dropped at least six passes by one count. Buffalo's sad quarterback situation is going to hurt Watkins' stats.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns running back (9/1): This guy, once the top running back recruit in the nation who was booted from Georgia, wasn't a long shot to make the Cleveland roster in camp, much less have ROY odds. Crowell always had talent, but he was an off-the-field problem. Thanks to an injury to Ben Tate, Crowell has made the most of his chances, carrying 27 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns. The problem is that he's still third string behind Tate (supposed to return this week) and Terrance West.
Bishop Sankey, Titans running back (12/1): I was really high on Sankey in the preseason, assuming he would supplant Shonn Greene as the team's starter pretty early on. Fumbles were a problem, and Sankey has just 24 carries for 123 yards and a score. The good news for those who bet on Sankey is that Coach Ken Whisenhunt said this week that Sankey is going to start seeing more reps. So he still has a shot on this prop, although the Titans' QB problems don't help him.
Terrance West, Browns running back (12/1): West, a third-round pick out of Towson, has carried 47 times for 204 yards and two scores as Tate's primary backup. I don't see him getting enough carries to win this award with Tate and Crowell around.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings running back (20/1): The Vikings' third-round pick out of Georgia Southern wasn't expected to play much this season, but that changed with the Adrian Peterson situation. McKinnon has carried 30 times for 166 yards. Alas, he's still technically the backup to Matt Asiata. So unless Asiata gets hurt then McKinnon won't get enough touches.
I understand why Benjamin is the favorite, but teams are going to start focusing on him because the Panthers have little else at the position. Thus, I'm going with Bortles even the though Jaguars have a chance of going 0-16. He will put up nice numbers throwing from two touchdowns down in every game.
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