Players in the NFL are starting to report for camp across the league and there have been a handful of players that have decided to opt out of the season because of coronavirus concerns. One of the most recent players to decide to sit out the 2020 season is Chiefs RB Damien Williams.
While Joe Burrow remains the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, the odds have shortened for Clyde Edwards-Helaire after the Williams news. Edwards-Helaire was around +600 at most sportsbooks. Now, he is +400 at the Westgate Superbook and +450 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Some additional news that has affected the Offensive Rookie of the Year market is the health of Tua Tagovailoa.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is still likely to start the season for the Dolphins at quarterback (Fitzpatrick is -335 to start Week 1 at DraftKings) but if Tua is healthy, it is only a matter of time before he takes over. The former Alabama quarterback is +800 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at DraftKings and +1000 at the Westgate Superbook.
Who is the best bet to win Offensive Rookie of the Year?
Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (+1400 at Westgate Superbook)
Jonathan Taylor has been my favorite bet to win Offensive Rookie of the Year since the NFL Draft. Last year, I was all over Josh Jacobs to win the award at +800 and he would have brought home the hardware if he did not get hurt and miss Oakland’s final three games of the season.
Indianapolis traded up three spots in the second round pick to grab the former Wisconsin star. Taylor rushed for over 6,000 yards in three seasons in Madison. Additionally, he averaged 4.2 yards after contract over his college career. Now he walks into the NFL and gets to rush behind a dominant offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, Indianapolis had the second-best run blocking unit in the league in 2019. All-Pro Quenton Nelson’s two-year run-blocking grade is best among all guards. Add in a 38-year-old Phillip Rivers, who threw 20 interceptions last year in Los Angeles, Jonathan Taylor is going to get the rock a lot.
My biggest concern with Taylor is ball security. He fumbled six times in 2019 at Wisconsin.
If you were wondering, unlike MVP, running backs can win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Four of the last seven winners were running backs. With +1400 odds, it’s hard for me to pass on Jonathan Taylor to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow (+230 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
While there is no debate that Burrow will be the starter in Cincinnati, I hesitate to grab those short odds for him to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. It could be a “wait and see” approach like Kyler Murray last year. Murray was available for +400 or better during the 2019 season.
There are good reasons to like Burrow to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Assuming health, Burrow will have a solid receiving core to throw to in 2020. A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and rookie Tee Higgins are a solid trio for Burrow to be working with.
Burrow is the consensus favorite in sportsbooks but his odds are too rich for my blood.
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (+1000 at Westgate Superbook)
“When there’s practice, you’ll see him out there.”
That is what Dolphins head coach Brian Flores told reporters on Wednesday about Tua Tagovailoa. The former Alabama quarterback sustained a serious hip injury against Mississippi State in mid-November last season. If he truly is healthy, it will be difficult to keep the fifth-overall pick off the field.
When Tua is on the field, does he have enough weapons to win Offensive Rookie of the Year? DeVante Parker had a tremendous 2019 campaign with 72 receptions for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns but the remainder of the surrounding crowd is not very exciting.
At 10-1, it is not my favorite bet on the board but it is certainly intriguing considering the success Tua had throughout his career at Alabama. The biggest questions surrounding Tua will continue to be his durability.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+450 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
The odds for Edwards-Helaire to win Offensive Rookie of the Year continue to shorten. The former LSU running back is +360 at FanDuel Sportsbook and +400 at the Westgate Superbook after the news of Damien Williams opting out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns.
After winning the Super Bowl, the Chiefs used its first round pick on more offensive weapons for Patrick Mahomes to use (I think Aaron Rodgers would enjoy that, too). Edwards-Helaire was a very productive running back in 2019 at LSU. As Pro Football Focus pointed out, “the Chiefs’ first-round pick was one of the more complete running backs we saw in 2019 -- he tied for the most receptions that resulted in at least a 10-yard gain (23), and he broke a whopping 71 tackles on 214 carries with another 14 broken tackles coming on his receptions.”
Andy Reid has compared Edwards-Helaire to Brian Westbrook, who had a ton of production with Reid in Philadelphia. I think Kansas City is the perfect fit for Edwards-Helaire but I have two concerns.
First, the price on Edwards-Helaire continues to drop. I feel like the value is gone. Secondly, Patrick Mahomes is the best football player on the planet and has a ton of weapons at his disposal. With Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, and Mecole Hardman, the Chiefs don’t need Edwards-Helaire to be successful.
I would need juicer odds to pull the trigger on Edwards-Helaire to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.