Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
- Heading into the final week of the NFL season, Justin Herbert (-1200) is the clear favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is the only other player worth considering at +700
- Read below for a comparison of the two players and a look at Jefferson’s potential for an upset
The 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award is now just a two-horse race, according to the latest odds released by FanDuel.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is now far-and-away the most likely player to win this year’s honor at -1200, with Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson as the only other option on the board at +700. After last week, Herbert’s average odds improved from -825 to -1050, with Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa and Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool still in the mix at +2975 and +5000, respectively.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson made a short-lived move into the projected finalists, but after a toe injury in Week 13, he missed the next two games and fell out of contention. With just one week left in the regular season, there isn’t much opportunity for a shakeup in the NFL OROY odds, and Herbert has been the favorite since Week 3.
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
|Player||Average Before Week 16||Current After Week 16|
Current odds taken from FanDuel on Dec. 28th.
What Have You Done for Me Lately?
Even as Herbert was building momentum and a solid OROY résumé early in the season, his numbers weren’t resulting in many wins for the Chargers.
Justin Herbert sets the rookie passing TD record with 28! #BoltUp
📺: #DENvsLAC on CBS
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/BVP8uIyKIx pic.twitter.com/uMIAyJF8e2
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020
Rumors persist about head coach Anthony Lynn’s dismissal at the end of this season, but the Chargers have won their last three games. During that stretch, Herbert has thrown for 810 yards, completed 72-percent of his passes, and thrown five touchdowns to just one interception. This week, Herbert finishes his first season as it began; against the Kansas City Chiefs. In his Week 2 debut, he completed 66-percent of his passes for 311 yards and very nearly picked up the win against KC.
For a moment, it seemed as though Tagovailoa had a chance to pull the rug out from underneath Herbert as the Dolphins headed towards the playoffs. The fifth overall pick has only lost two of his eight games as a starter for the Fins, but he was benched for a week after a poor Week 11 showing against Denver, and he turned in another subpar performance this past week against Las Vegas.
2020 NFL MVP Odds Tracker
The Longest of Longshots
Those that are torn between buying a lottery ticket or betting on Jefferson might be better off going with the former.
Justin Jefferson is a route artist 🎨 pic.twitter.com/Q9HpAom3vq
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) December 25, 2020
Since Randy Moss in 1998, only three other wide receivers have won Offensive Rookie of the Year, the most recent of which was Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. OBJ finished that season with 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in a year where the list of first round quarterbacks was headlined by Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel.
Jefferson’s target share has exploded since Week 10, and he isn’t far off of Beckham’s yardage total, with 1,267 heading into his final game. However, he only has seven touchdowns and is up against a Detroit side this week that only allowed him to make three catches on four targets when they last played in Week 9. He had the same catch-to-target ratio in his previous game against Green Bay, and only finished with 26 receiving yards against the Packers.
Formula for an Upset
For Jefferson to have any chance of winning the award, he would have to do something big to upstage the work that Herbert has put in all season. Herbert already broke the rookie record for touchdown passes in a season with 28, but Jefferson still needs 111 yards to best Anquan Boldin’s rookie record of 1,377 receiving yards or 23 catches to beat Boldin’s record of 101.
Since 2004, eight quarterbacks have won the award, including Kyler Murray last season. At this point, a bet on Jefferson to win OROY is also a bet on him to turn in the best single-game performance by a wide receiver, because anything less isn’t enough to overtake Herbert.
Nick Krueger has over a decade of experience in sports media, covering a wide range of events including two Olympic Games for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick throughout his career have included college football recruiting, NCAA athletics and Major League Baseball Spring Training.