By Adam Thompson | | 10 mins
3 Best Player Futures Bets To Back This 2021 NFL Season
Deshaun Watson led the NFL in passing yards in 2020. Derrick Henry led the way in rushing yards. In the receiving category, the honor went to Stefon Diggs.
But repeating as a yards leader in the NFL doesn’t come easily, especially for quarterbacks and receivers.
Henry has won the last two rushing titles. Ezekiel Elliott had taken two of the previous three. The last receiver to win back-to-back yards titles was Calvin Johnson (2011 and 2012). Before him, it was Andre Johnson (2009, 2008). The last player not named Johnson to accomplish it was legend Jerry Rice in the mid-1990s. Drew Brees is the only player to repeat as passing yards champion since Warren Moon did it for the Oilers back in 1990 and 1991.
NFL Yardage Futures: Passing, Rushing And Receiving
|NFL Futures Market||Player||Odds|
|Most passing yards||Matt Ryan||+1400 at DraftKings|
|Most rushing yards||Derrick Henry||+400 at PointsBet|
|Most receiving yards||Calvin Ridley||+1000 at FanDuel|
Passing Leader: Matt Ryan, Falcons
Odds: +1400 at DraftKings
Deshaun Watson led the NFL in passing in 2020, throwing for 4,823 yards. Patrick Mahomes came in second at 4,740 but would have flirted with 5,000 yards had he played in the Chiefs’ meaningless Week 17 game.
Dak Prescott is more of an X-factor. Prescott was averaging 423 yards per game before being lost for the season in Week 5. He should be a popular pick for this prop. The one thing holding him back might be Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy. When he was in Green Bay, McCarthy regularly kept Aaron Rodgers in the 3,900-4,400 range because of the coach's penchant to use the run. If Ezekiel Elliott shows up, McCarthy will use him.
On the flip side, Ryan and the Falcons won’t be a run-first offense. The team traded Julio Jones but added Kyle Pitts, and still has a solid set of WRs including Calvin Ridley.
Ryan has missed one game in 11 years and has thrown 600-plus passes in most of them. Atlanta’s defense isn’t likely to hold down many opponents. That means more throwing for Ryan. If Mahomes doesn’t go 17 games, Ryan might be the guy to take the top spot.
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Receiving Yards Leader: Calvin Ridley, Falcons
Odds: +1000 at FanDuel
We’re dipping into the Atlanta well again here. Julio Jones is out of the picture, but he only played in nine games last season. Ridley immediately became the No. 1 option for Ryan and flourished with 143 targets and 90 receptions for 1,374 yards (in 15 games), and achieved that while being a No. 2 option half the time. In Jones’ heyday, he would get anywhere from 150 to 200-plus targets.
Ridley, a fourth-year pro, should be hitting his prime and he plays the part of someone with the drive to take his game to new levels. DeAndre Hopkins ( +750 ) and Stefon Diggs ( +800 ) are higher on the odds chart at sportsbooks, but Ridley is the only one on a prolific pass team with a QB that has no running options. Looking for a dark horse at sports betting sites? Justin Jefferson of the Vikings ( +1400 ) might be that guy.
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Rushing Yards: Derrick Henry, Titans
Odds: +400 at PointsBet
It’s boring going with the NFL odds favorite, and it often doesn’t pan out for any variety of reasons. But Henry is the exception. The last two years, Henry has not only led the NFL in rushing yards, he led the league in rushing attempts and rushing touchdowns. He’s No. 1.
Last year Henry had 75 more rushes and nearly 500 more yards than his NFL-leading 2019 season. The addition of Julio Jones to the Titans offense may suggest more passing, but I think it suggests more focus by the defense on throwing, and one less linebacker to pay attention to Henry.
Dalvin Cook ( +600 ) of the Vikings is probably the top threat to Henry. Cook ranked second in the NFL in rush attempts, but was 66 shy of Henry’s mark. The previous year, Henry edged Ezekiel Elliot. Don’t overthink it when opening your sports betting app to wager.
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