Since voters have decided nobody but quarterbacks can win NFL MVP anymore, the Offensive Player of the Year award has become the one that non-quarterbacks have a chance to win.
Four of the last five OPOYs have been non-quarterbacks. Two running backs (Todd Gurley and Derrick Henry) and two receivers (Michael Thomas and Cooper Kupp) have won. Patrick Mahomes' ridiculous 2018 season swept MVP and OPOY.
That means the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award is tougher to analyze. There's also a better chance for a good longshot bet to cash. Our Yahoo Sportsbook team looked over the odds for our best bets:
PETER TRUSZKOWSKI: Justin Jefferson at 12-to-1 for me. Jefferson was incredible with Mike Zimmer as his head coach and now he’s got an offensive mind leading the way in Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell was the man at the helm for Cooper Kupp’s brilliant season last year and Jefferson is already being lined up in the backfield during camp to exploit matchups. I think Jefferson is the most talented receiver in the game and now he has a coach who seems motivated to take advantage of that.
MARK DRUMHELLER: I like Lamar Jackson here at +2000. I think he is in the conversation for co-MVP but ultimately he gets the consolation award. According to Football Outsiders adjusted games lost metric, the Ravens were impacted more by injuries last season than any team in the last 20 years. Now, they get healthy just in time for Lamar to position himself for a monster payday. Let’s cash in as well.
NICK BROMBERG: It’s hard to argue against the cases for Lamar Jackson and Justin Jefferson so I’m going to give you a long shot to consider: Nick Chubb. The Browns’ running back is at +2800 and will have to carry Cleveland’s offense for the majority of the season with Jacoby Brissett set to open the season as the team’s starting quarterback. If Kareem Hunt’s role in the offense diminishes, Chubb will likely have to take on more of a workload. And if Cleveland posts a winning record over the first 11 games and Chubb runs wild, voters are going to take notice.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Here’s where you’re betting on a big stat hauler, preferably from a non-quarterback – the voters often view MVP as a quarterback award, and OPOY the consolation prize for someone who puts up pinball stats. Count me in on Justin Jefferson, tied to a Year 3 season, an exciting offensive makeover, and a quarterback who’s good enough.
FRANK SCHWAB: I don’t know if Jonathan Taylor can repeat his 2021 season, but I don’t mind his +900 odds. But for my best bet I’ll be a little boring, follow the rest of the world and take Justin Jefferson. His odds of +1200 are fine. To throw out one longshot, let’s do some lunch money on my Yahoo Sports co-worker Austin Ekeler at 80-to-1.