It’s a long NFL season so you need something to cheer as the year goes on – so here’s The Wolf’s thoughts on some key NFL 2015 Futures markets to get you through the year….
Regular Season MVP
Contenders: Andrew Luck ($5.50), Aaron Rodgers ($6), Tom Brady ($8), Ben Roethlisberger ($15), Adrian Peterson ($17)
With the top five in betting this market, as always, is dominated by quarterbacks – the one we’ve left off the contenders list is Peyton Manning (whose current quote is $11) – The Wolf believes that Peyton will be hard pressed to rack up the numbers of some of the other QB’s on this list and therefore won’t be winning the MVP. Luck and Rodgers are hard to split – you just know both of them will put up monster numbers and that will make it hard for the judges to not have them high on their ballots by season’s end. Brady obviously becomes a big chance now that he won’t be suspended. He’s going to be motivated big time now but they certainly haven’t upgraded his weapons and the offensive line is probably going to be worst than last year. Roethlisberger is the best value – the Steelers offense could finish the year number one and if that’s the case then he’s going to put up big numbers which he did on multiple occasions last year. Peterson is another who’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder and if Minnesota becomes dangerous through the air it will open up room for Peterson on the ground, it’s very hard for a RB to outshine all the QB’s though.
Wolf’s Tip: Ben Roethlisberger ($15) – take the chance that Pittsburgh finishes as the NFL’s number one offense and Big Ben shines.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Contenders: Jameis Winston ($6.50), Melvin Gordon ($6.50), Amari Cooper ($7), Ameer Abdullah ($7), Marcus Mariota ($9), Todd Gurley ($11)
Either Winston or Mariota will win this if one of them has at the very least what you’d describe as a good year but, considering the team situations that both of them find themselves in, that’s a big if. If you back either of them then you’re taking the risk that either Tampa or Tennessee will be better than most predict this year because it would be hard for either of them to claim the award if they are stuck on teams who can’t win more than 4 or 5 games. Gordon is the first choice running back on a team that should have a good to very good offense – that puts him firmly in the mix barring injury. Now he’s not as talented as the two other running backs listed in our contenders. Ameer Abdullah lit up the preseason and will push hard for playing time behind incumbent Detroit starter Joique Bell, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario, certainly early in the season anyway, where Bell isn’t getting 60% – 70% of the carries and that’s going to hamper Abdullah’s chances big time. Todd Gurley is probably the best all purpose back of the three of them, but he’s coming off ACL surgery and the Rams may take it very slow with him early in the year – when he does get the green light though he is going to make a strong late push. Perhaps Cooper is the safest bet to have a season worthy of winning this award. He’s a clear number one receiver on a team that could find themselves throwing it a fair bit, and it was clearly apparent in the preseason that Oakland will want to get him involved in games early and often.
Wolf’s Tip: Amari Cooper ($7) – can just envisage a scenario where Cooper gets 90+ receptions, 1000+ yards, and 7+ touchdowns – that would be enough to win barring an outstanding season from another contender.
Most Passing Yards
Contenders: Andrew Luck ($3.75), Tom Brady ($5.50), Ben Roethlisberger ($6), Aaron Rodgers ($7), Matt Ryan ($8), Peyton Manning ($11), Drew Brees ($11), Eli Manning ($13)
It’s not always the quarterback that plays the best that ends up passing for the most yards – no more evident than Drew Brees tying for last season’s most yards (with Roethlisberger) in what was an average season by his standards. Brady and Rodgers could have MVP calibre years but they aren’t going to be winning this – Brady because the Patriots lack receiver depth, especially when it comes to wideouts who can spread the field, and Rodgers has never finished higher than 4th on this list since coming into the league and has a quality back to rely on in Eddie Lacy. Outside of Julio Jones, Matt Ryan lacks offensive weapons so that’s a no for him. Peyton would need a huge bounce back and at this stage of his career can’t see that happening. Brees is not without a chance but he again has offensive line deficiencies and now no Jimmy Graham. That leaves Luck and Eli Manning. Luck is a desrved favourite as he’s been climbing this list since he came into the league and has an array of weapons at his disposal. Manning is the value – he finished sixth last year and now gets a full season of Odell Beckham Jnr, plus he is in what will most likely be the best offensive division in the league (and conversley one of the worst defensively), so high scoring games should be the order. Not only that the NFC East plays the NFC South this year, another division lacking good defensive teams. Eli could throw for 5000 yards this year and if he does that makes him a big chance of taking this out.
Wolf’s Tip: Eli Manning ($13) – the Giants don’t have much outside of Eli and Beckham so there will be a huge reliance on Manning’s arm.
Most Receiving Yards
Contenders: Antonio Brown ($6.50), Julio Jones ($7), Odell Beckham Jnr ($8), Calvin Johnson ($9), Demariyus Thomas ($9), Dez Bryant ($9), Randall Cobb ($11), A.J Green ($13), T.Y Hilton ($15)
This is definitely the most even category – anyone of those contenders listed above could take this out. Attempting to narrow it down, Antonio Brown won it last year and can’t see how he doesn’t go close again. Jones is basically the only decent pass catcher on his team so he has to be in the mix. Beckham is a star and probably would have won this last year, in his rookie season no less, had he played the full compliment of games. Johnson is no value at $9 – he should be longer than that as the Lions will pound the running game more this year. Thomas is a downfield threat every game so even if he catches less passes he will still be thereabouts at the top in yards. Bryant needs to stay injury free, but he plays in a good division for receivers and is clearly Romo’s best target. Cobb now becomes Rodgers’ go to guy so that puts him there. Green probably can’t win it with Dalton tossing him the ball and Cincy have a good pair of running backs. Hilton has competition for targets and Luck loves to mix up his receiving options.
Wolf’s Tip: Odell Beckham Jnr ($8) – He has the least competition for targets in a division where throwing and scoring will be the norm, he just needs to stay injury free
Most Rushing Yards
Contenders: Adrian Peterson ($5.50), Marshawn Lynch ($7), DeMarco Murray ($7.50), Eddie Lacy ($9), Jamaal Charles ($9), Jeremy Hill ($11), LeVeon Bell ($15)
The key to Peterson winning this will be how effective Teddy Bridgewater can be through the air, because the second Minnesota start to look dangerous in passing situations that will be when Peterson busts out and he could be capable of putting up monster stats when teams have to focus on something apart from him. Lynch is in the mix but with Jimmy Graham there to help Wilson in short yardage situations and Fred Jackson being signed as a backup perhaps Marshawn won’t have as many touches as previous years. Murray is in a great offense but Chip Kelly likes to utilise everyone and Murray won’t be the total workhorse he was last year in Dallas. Lacy is some hope given that he may be relied upon a bit more with no Jordy Nelson, but that’s most likely to be on third down passing situations and in the end the Packers are a passing team first and foremost. Charles plays in a mostly conservative offense but concede he’d be some hope if things went his way and he stayed injury free. Jeremy Hill could be the real value – in the last 8 games of last season he rushed for the third most yards behind Bell and Lacy and has clearly established himself as Cincy’s workhorse. Bell would have to put up some huge numbers to be giving all this lot two games headstart – it’s not completely out of the question but it’s a tough ask.
Wolf’s Tip: Adrian Peterson ($5.50) – honestly believe he should be half that price, he is just in the perfect situation now to rack up stellar numbers and if he stays on the field all year he will take this out