I don’t know who is going to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. You can make a case for every contender, but you can make just as good an argument against each one as well. Whoever does win is likely to have a big Week 18, and awards voters, like everyone, are susceptible to recency bias. This week, for each Offensive Rookie of the Year contender, I am looking for player props as a better way to bet this market.
Kenneth Walker -140
Garrett Wilson +210
Brock Purdy +450
Kenny Pickett 18/1
Christian Watson 25/1
Chris Olave 25/1
Isiah Pacheco 80/1
George Pickens 100/1
First up is Seahawks running back and current market favorite, running back Kenneth Walker. Currently at 936 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on the season, Walker’s rushing prop is listed at DraftKings at 78.5 -115. While I expect breaking the 1,000-yard barrier is on Walker’s mind this weekend, the Rams' defense isn’t going to let those yards come easy, even without Aaron Donald in the lineup. I am betting against Kenneth Walker by taking the under on his rushing yard and rushing + receiving props for this weekend.
Kenneth Walker UNDER 78.5 Rushing Yards -115 (DraftkKngs) $575/500
Kenneth Walker UNDER 89.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards -114 (FanDuel) $570/$500
Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson has bounced back and forth as the favorite with Kenneth Walker for most of the second half of the season, and Wilson has put up respectable numbers in New York. He has 74 receptions/1,014 receiving yards/4 receiving touchdowns, the first two setting new Jets franchise records for a rookie. But that says more about the Jets' poor track record drafting wide receivers as much as it does the impressiveness of catching 74 receptions/1,014 yards on 130 targets. The revolving door at quarterback between Zach Wilson, Mike White and Joe Flacco didn’t help things either, and fortunately for Wilson, he gets one last chance to showcase his skills with Flacco throwing to him in Week 18. Joe Flacco is not very exciting, but in the three games he started this season, Garrett Wilson had 33 targets, while Flacco attempted 59, 44, and 52 passes. If Garrett Wilson is going to win OROY, he’s going to need to score a touchdown this week. Two would be even better.
Garrett Wilson Anytime TD scorer +255 (DraftKings) $500/$1275
Garrett Wilson to score 2 or more TDs 20/1 (DraftKings) $500/$10,000
Garrett Wilson to score 3 or more TDs 80/1 (DraftKings) $200/$16,000
There are no props listed yet for the 49ers game, so I can’t bet anything on Brock Purdy. I still stand by my previous thoughts that Purdy winning OROY would be unprecedented, but Purdy has also checked every box so far and done everything you could have asked him to do. But I don’t think five starts are going to be enough. With 10 starts, Purdy is very likely the favorite. If/when props for this game do go up, I would bet Purdy OVER 1.5 touchdowns but I don’t see anything yet.
Kansas City running back Isiah Pacheco has played well since becoming a larger part of the Chiefs' offense in the second half of the season. While Pacheco has seen his usage increase, I don’t think his full-season numbers are close to good enough to jump any of the other contenders. But I am happy to bet Pacheco to score a touchdown tonight.
Isiah Pacheco anytime TD -110 (DraftKings) $550/500
The Steelers need a win and some help to get the final playoff spot in the AFC. Both Kenny Pickett and George Pickens remain fringe OROY contenders at this point, both lacking the season-long numbers historically necessary to win this award. But when you break it down, 49 receptions/729 yards and 4 touchdowns (3 receiving/1 rushing) for Pickens isn’t much worse than Garrett Wilson’s 74 receptions/1,014 yards and 4 touchdowns. Especially when you consider Wilson has 50+ more targets than Pickens. Do I think George Pickens is going to win the OROY? No, very likely he will not. But a big game with the playoff on the line is not out of the question.
George Pickens Alternate Receiving Yards OVER 60 +300 (FanDuel) $500/$1,500
George Pickens Alternate Receiving Yards OVER 80 +700 (FanDuel) $300/$2,100
George Pickens to score 2 or more TDs 23/1 (FanDuel) $250/$5,750
Pickens to score 3 or more TDs 65/1 (DraftKings) $100/$6500
Similar situation for Pickens’s teammate and starting quarterback Kenny Pickett. Outside of quarterback wins, I don’t think Pickett has the gross numbers to compete for OROY, but there is something to be said about being a rookie quarterback and potentially leading your team to the playoffs. If the Steelers make the playoffs, it will be with their rookie quarterback leading the way.
Kenny Pickett OVER 1.5 touchdown passes +165 (DraftKings) $500/$825
Chris Olave is another receiver with comparable numbers to Garrett Wilson. His numbers are good; they just aren’t good enough. 67 receptions/982 yards, 3 touchdowns just isn’t going to win OROY, especially on a non-playoff team. But again, when you compare Olave’s numbers to Garrett Wilson, they aren’t that far off, and both are receivers on non-playoff teams. The only reasonable thing to do here is bet Olave TD props this weekend and see if he can’t edge out Wilson.
Chris Olave anytime +180 (Fanduel) $500/$900
Chris Olave to score 2 or more TDs 2x 11/1 (Fanduel) $200/$2,200
Chris Olave to score 3 or more TDs 3x 95/1 (Fanduel) $100/$9,500
While gross stats are important, the impact a player has had on his team should also be taken into consideration. For example, Garrett Wilson is over the 1,000-yard mark, and Chris Olave has a chance to join him this weekend. Both have seen 100+ targets this season, and both are playing for teams eliminated from the playoff before Week 18. George Pickens has 78 targets, and Christian Watson only 60, but both are playing Week 18 games for playoff spots. Should it matter more that Watson and Pickens are contributing on potential playoff teams? (Yes, yes it should.) The best price I could find on Watson to score a touchdown was +145, and I think that’s a bit too low. I’d like to see Watson score two touchdowns against the Lions to get him to 10 on the season. I think that might get him back into the conversation.
Christian Watson to score 2 or more TDs +800 $500/$4,000