A market that we enjoy wagering on and talking about is the player’s futures market. Given the volatility and potential for injuries, it is downright fascinating, challenging and invigorating to try and solve the puzzle in these markets. Those who buy low (get great value) and are ahead of the curve are often rewarded. Conversely, those who are willing to settle for a short price are often left jilted and holding a losing ticket.
Today, we are going to look at the market for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. We will cover some of the extreme market movement and attempt to pin down a few players we feel have a chance to come away with the award and at the same time will reward their backers with a fair price. Successfully projecting the winners of these season-long awards is certainly more of a challenge than making MLB picks today where the variables are limited and there are fewer unknowns.
A Quick Look Back
Since 2010, quarterbacks have come away with the award 6 times while running backs have captured it four times and receivers have garnered the distinction twice, including last season when Bengal wideout Ja’Marr Chase was the recipient. Amazing fact about Chase’s win, he became the second player in NFL history to garner OROY accolades and appear in a Super Bowl in the same season, the other player was Minnesota’s Sammy White, a receiver like Chase, who did so in 1977.
Down Goes Hall
A second-round pick of the Jets in the 2022 draft, Breece Hall was not even the team’s starting running back when the season began. However, Hall shattered all expectations and became a key part of the team’s resurgence, running for 463 yards and 4 touchdowns before tearing his ACL at Denver, a week after his career-high 116-yard performance at Green Bay. At the time, Hall was priced at + 275 and favored to come away with the award.
Injuries Cut Both Ways
While Hall’s injury was a devastating blow not only to his team but bettors holding tickets for him to win the award, especially if they got in at 7-1 or higher, an injury paved the way for another player to ascend to the forefront. In Seattle, starting running back Rashaad Penny went down with a season-ending ankle and fibula injury in Week 5 opening the door for Kenneth Walker III a rookie who played at both Wake Forest and Michigan State.
Walker III certainly seized the opportunity, running for 97 yards in his first game as a starter before going off for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries against the Chargers. Thus began his meteoric climb in the markets. Priced at 25-1 before Penny’s injury, Walker went to 7-1 and then 2-1 after his monster showing and Hall’s injury.
After another 100-yard showing in Week 9 against Arizona, the market shifted once again on Walker III and now has him priced at + 150. One week later, he became the first player of the season to be priced less than even money and now is a minus 150 pick to win the award. At this point, our advice as far as taking Walker III is that the proverbial train has left the proverbial station. Kudos to you if you foresaw Penny’s injury and even after that if you anticipated the strong rushing performances by Walker III. However, with his low price, there simply just isn’t enough value to take him now.
Well, Who Else Is There?
Texans running back Dameon Pierce is currently 2-1 in the markets and we just don’t feel like he offers enough value, especially since given Houston’s poor performance, they are going to rely on him too much and therefore increase his risk of injury. So now, we need to look for a player with some upside who is priced right and can possibly ascend to the top (after of course we bet on him) and claim the award.
Jets wideout Garrett Wilson, a speedster from Ohio State is currently priced at 20-1. The Jets are a team on the rise and we feel as though this is more than fair price. Now he is a longshot for a reason since his quarterback Zach Wilson is far from elite. However, if the Jets make a late-season run and Zach Wilson blossoms, it is a fair bet to assume that Garrett Wilson will be a major part of that resurgence and success and therefore his stats will be gaudy and his price will be low, rewarding those who grabbed him at 20-1.