Travis Kelce Given the Best Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving, Metcalf a Close Second

Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce (87) and Tyreek Hill (10) celebrating after a touchdown.

Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce (87) and Tyreek Hill (10) react after a touchdown reception during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1,250, 70 more than Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf
  • Kelce has had at least 100 yards receiving in five of his last six games and is averaging 124.8 a game in that span
  • Metcalf has surpassed 100 yards receiving only once in his last five games

The oddsmakers envision the race for winning the NFL receiving yardage title being nearly too close to call.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is the favorite. Yet Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf is close behind with five others being given at least some shot at the crown.

Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards

Player Odds
Travis Kelce (Chiefs) +340
DK Metcalf (Seahawks) +350
Stefon Diggs (Bills) +400
DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) +460
Tyreek Hill (Chiefs) +500
Davante Adams (Packers) +700
Justin Jefferson (Vikings) +1300

Odds taken Dec. 15 from FanDuel.

Metcalf was the favorite entering last week’s games. Kelce was tied with Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs as the third choice after Metcalf and Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was favored to lead the league when the season began. However, his 2020 has been marred by injury and a suspension. Metcalf’s odds were +1600 and Kelce’s were +2500.

Kelce’s Production Going Up

Kelce currently leads the NFL with 1,250 receiving yards, giving him a 70-yard lead over Metcalf with three games to play.

Kelce has moved into the top spot after posting 136-yard games each of the last two weeks over the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins.

In all, Kelce has 90 receptions on 120 targets, nine touchdowns and an average 13.9 yards a catch. He is fifth in the NFL in receptions and sixth in TDs.

Furthermore, he is the first tight end in NFL history with five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Over the last two months, Kelce has been seemingly unstoppable.

He has 749 yards over his last six games since Nov. 1 for a 124.8 a game average. Kelce also has 50 receptions during the span.

Kelce had over 100 yards in five of those six games. In the other game, he totaled 82 yards.

The surge followed Kelce’s quietest game of the year in Week 7 when he caught three passes for 31 yards. In fairness, though, he also was targeted just three times.

Kelce also had only one 100-yard game in the first seven weeks.

2020 NFL MVP Odds Tracker

Metcalf’s Production Going Down

While volume of catches has at least somewhat allowed Kelce to amass has yardage total, Metcalf has been more of a big-play receiver.

Metcalf is third in the NFL in yards per reception at 17.1 and first with 15 receptions of at least 25 yards. That offsets him standing just 20th in receptions.

Metcalf’s totals are 69 catches on 106 targets for 1,180 yards and 10 touchdowns.

While Kelce’s production has gone up as the season has worn on, Metcalf’s has gone done.

Metcalf has logged 100 yards just once in his last five games. That came in Week 12 when he had 177 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Metcalf went over 100 yards in four of his first eight games and eclipsed 90 yards seven times.

Here is a look at all the players who still have at least some chance of winning the receiving yardage crown:

NFL Receiving Yards Leaders

Player Receiving Yards
Travis Kelce (Chiefs) 1,250
DK Metcalf (Seahawks) 1,180
Stefon Diggs (Bills) 1,167
Tyreek Hill (Chiefs) 1,158
DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) 1,155
Davante Adams (Packers) 1,144
Justin Jefferson (Vikings) 1,078

Strength of Schedule

The Chiefs finish the season by playing the Saints at New Orleans on Sunday before back-to-back home games with Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers.

Kelce faces two tough matchups in the Saints, who are fourth in the NFL in pass defense, and the Chargers, who are seventh. However, he could feast on the Falcons’ 30th-ranked unit.

The Seahawks visit the Washington Football Team this Sunday then visit the Los Angeles Rams and finish at home against the San Francisco 49ers.

That is a difficult road for Metcalf. The Rams lead the league in pass defense, Washington is third and the 49ers rank fifth.

With the strong finishing kick that he is showing, Kelce has to be the pick over Metcalf to lead the league in receiving yards.

An intriguing value bet, though. is Adams. He has surpassed 100 yards in three of his last four games and has more than making up for the two games he missed early in the season with a sprained ankle.

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John Perrotto