I’m a value seeker when looking for futures. I’ll take a select few of the most obvious bets on the board, but I’m mostly out there looking for the rare +500 bets and above hoping it skyrockets into a large sum.
Today’s Futures article will pivot to trying to identify which player will lead the league in rushing yards. It is important to keep in mind that injuries can quickly derail a counting statistic like this. No position gets injured at a higher rate, nor has more severe injuries than at the running back position. As such, I’m only going to personally place a select few bets on a wager such as this.
I’m stating this information just to show how risky these bets are from the start. There’s a reason the “favorite” is still marked at +750.
Let’s check out the candidates.
Note: All odds listed below are from either DraftKings’ or FanDuel’s Sportsbooks, but please shop around to find the best odds offered to you in your state before placing your wager.
Derrick Henry (+750 FD)
Do your due diligence on this rushing prop as the lines have been all over the place book-to-book. The one constant has been books listing Derrick Henry as the player with the highest odds of taking home this award for the second year in a row. Henry is coming off a monstrous 2019 campaign that saw him post league-leading totals in rush attempts (303), rushing yards (1,540), and rushing touchdowns (16). His usage rate was magnified in the playoffs, reaching 30+ carries in the Titans two playoff victories. He is literally the engine of this offense. As such, wear and tear has to enter our minds knowing he posted nearly 400 carries last season (including postseason). If Henry can stay healthy, the Titans project to remain an offense that runs through him, sporting a 49% rush play percentage (third-highest rate) that accelerates to 74% (league-high) when leading in games by 9+ points. Drawing a favorable strength of schedule should help put Henry and the Titans in the drivers seat more often than not, giving him strong odds of posting big rushing totals again in 2020.
Nick Chubb (+950 FD)
Coming in tied for the next best odds with Ezekiel Elliott is Browns running back, Nick Chubb. I prefer the wager on Chubb over Zeke given how each of their offenses and defenses are constructed entering the year. Cleveland added Kevin Stefanski as their head coach and we project the rushing attack to be the primary driving force of this offense entering 2020. Further backing this run-first sentiment are the offseason moves Cleveland made to boost the talent of this now mauling offensive line. They added one of the best right tackles in the league in Jack Conklin, who was PFF’s No. 6 graded run blocking tackle last year. They also added first-round talent on the left side in Jedrick Wills, a noted dominant run blocker out of Alabama that PFF’s Draft Guide tabbed as “best run blocker” in this year’s class. Add these two guys to a line that already helped propel Chubb to a 1,494 rushing yard campaign last year (second-most in the league) and a league-leading number of “breakaway” runs that went for 15+ yards (20), and it is easy to see why fantasy drafters have been gravitating towards Chubb this year. As Jeff Mans aptly wrote in his Cleveland Browns Coaching Breakdown, “the very idea of Nick Chubb in this system is exciting at least and downright erotic at best.” If you don’t want to mess around with your money, I’d wager on either Henry or Chubb to take this title.
Dalvin Cook (+1400 DK/FD)
Listed at +1400 odds on both DK and FD, Dalvin Cook presents some solid value on this wager. The Vikings are another organization centered around rushing the ball. They ran the ball at a 48.3% rate last year (fourth highest) and ranked fifth in rush attempts per game (29.2). If we look at the games where Cook was healthy and playing on over 60% of the offensive snaps — Week 1 through Week 11 — Cook averaged a robust 19.5 carries per game and 92.5 rushing yards per game. That extrapolates to a 1,480-yard season, which would put Cook right within the mix for the rushing title. OC Gary Kubiak’s run-heavy fingerprints were all over this offense last year despite Stefanski having the OC title. The rushing rates likely project to stay quite similar despite the change in OC (fifth time in last five years in MIN), which could lead to a productive rushing campaign from Cook if he can play a full 16 games this year.
Josh Jacobs (+1400 DK/FD)
The Raiders want to run the ball. In situation neutral gamescripts last year, the Raiders posted the fourth-highest run play percentage (53%). Their 62% run rate on first downs was third-highest rate in the league. If the Raiders can build on last year’s 7-9 record and keep games competitive, there’s a strong chance those rushing rates prevail. As a 21-year-old rookie running back, Josh Jacobs entered the league and averaged the third-most rushing yards per game (88.5), posted the most missed tackles rushing the ball (69), and was third in explosive breakaway runs going 15+ yards (16). This was with Jacobs missing three games. The Raiders added strong receiving talent this offseason to help keep those rushing lanes open for Jacobs — the Raiders were fantastic at identifying six-man or seven-man boxes and exploiting them for big rush gains last year — and retained all five starters on the offensive line. We may have just seen the tip of the iceberg in what Jacobs can provide as a potential workhorse for the new Las Vegas Raiders.