NFL Offensive Player of the Year Race: Kupp & Taylor the Players to Beat

Will Tennessee's Derrick Henry Run His Way to NFL Offensive Player of the Year Honor?

Quarterbacks are Lagging Behind in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds

The various NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards are as different as the leading candidates and that should make for some interesting trends as the NFL season progresses.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who swept all three awards in 2018, is the last quarterback to be named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He also won the Sporting News honor in 2020 while Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson won two of the three Offensive Player of the Year awards in 2019.

Last year, Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp was the winner of the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers Association’s awards while Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor received the nod from Sporting News.

The season is quickly approaching so let’s take a look at where the current Offensive Player of the Year odds stand.

Kupp is Ready to Catch on Once Again

The list of receivers to win back-to-back NFL Offensive Player of Year awards isn’t short, it is nonexistent
Cooper Kupp would make history if he is honored as he was following his brilliant 2021 season.

The legendary Jerry Rice won the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year honor twice, but it happened six years apart.

Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints was honored by the AP in 2019 while Antonio Brown, then with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the winner of the Sporting News Offensive Player of the Year award in 2017.

Kupp certainly deserved all the recognition he received after hauling in 145 passes for 1947 yards and 16 touchdowns during the regular season. He added 33 catches (on 42 targets) for 478 yards and six TDs in four postseason games as the Rams won the Super Bowl.

When looking at the NFL player odds, Kupp is tied for the best odds at +700 to be named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year. Other receivers near the top include San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel (+900) and Las Vegas Raiders’ Davante Adams (+1200).

Taylor, Henry Figure to Hit the Ground Running

When 2021 began, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry was the running back who was garnering all the attention.
Henry had five straight games with more than 100 rushing yards and he had 10 touchdown runs during that stretch.

With an extra game in the regular season, there was a chance of Henry breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season NFL record of 2,105 rushing yards. However, Henry’s season ended after nine games to keep him from becoming the first player in NFL history with two 2,000-yard rushing seasons.

Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts had just one 100-yard effort in his first five contests. Then he ripped off nine such games over the next 11. He would finish the season with 1,811 rushing yards in his second NFL season.

Taylor is tied with Kupp (+700) atop the current NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds. Henry isn’t far behind at +900. They are followed by Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb at +1400 and +1600 respectively. Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook (+2500) is next up, followed by Green Bay’s Aaron Jones at +4000. With the emergence of A.J. Dillon with the Packers, Jones would certainly be the riskiest pick among the top running backs while there has been talking of Minnesota moving more to a pass-first offense with new coach Kevin  O’Connell running the show.

Allen, Hebert, and Mahomes get Passing Grades

When it comes to the top quarterbacks, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes share the honor of being the top candidates as all three come in at +1600.
Mahomes likely would have been the favorite if not for his top outside receiver Tyreek Hill being traded to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason.

Allen has the top odds to win NFL MVP with the Bills also having the top probability of winning the Super Bowl.

Seeing Jackson up next at +2200 is not too surprising, however, the other name coming in at +2200 will raise some eyebrows. Deshaun Watson is facing the potential of a lengthy suspension as he is being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple massage therapists.

Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, and Arizona’s Kyler Murray each have +2500 odds. Next up are veteran QBs Tom Brady of Tampa Bay and Matthew Stafford of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Kelce Representing the Tight Ends

Running backs, receivers and quarterbacks have won the various NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards however, tight ends haven’t been as fortunate.

If someone were to break through, Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs has the best odds at +2800.
It is hard to know what to expect from Kelce. Will he receive even more targets without the speedy Hill around or will the absence of Kansas City’s top deep threat allow teams to devote more attention to slowing down Kelce?

San Francisco’s George Kittle (+4000), Baltimore’s Mark Andrews (+7000), and Mike Gesicki of Miami (+8000) are other tight ends to watch.

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