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Early 2021 NFL Season Props – Opening Odds to Lead the League in Passing, Rushing, and Receiving

Nick Krueger

by Nick Krueger in NFL Football

Updated Jul 5, 2021 · 3:59 PM PDT

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry running with the ball during a game.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs with the ball against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn., in this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, file photo. Henry was selected Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, for The Associated Press NFL All-Pro Team. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen, File)
  • Odds have been posted for season-long leaders in all NFL offensive yardage categories
  • Derrick Henry is only repeat favorite from last season after rushing for more than 2,000 yards last year
  • Read below for an overview of each category, with tables featuring players and odds

NFL training camps are set to begin at the end of this month, and hype for the upcoming season has picked up with the odds release for regular-season offensive leaders.

Derrick Henry is the lone player to return atop one of the categories after he opened at +600 last season to finish as the league’s top rusher. Henry made good on that bet, and finished with over 2,000 yards on the ground. His odds are shorter this season at +450, and that comes after the Tennessee Titans traded for superstar wide receiver Julio Jones.

Check out this year’s list of leaders and odds below, and get a head start on making your NFL futures picks.

Passing Yards | Rushing Yards | Receiving Yards

Odds to Lead NFL in Passing Yards

Player Team Odds at FanDuel
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs +310
Dak Prescott Cowboys +500
Josh Allen Bills +850
Tom Brady Buccaneers +950
Justin Herbert Chargers +1200
Matt Ryan Falcons +1300
Aaron Rodgers Packers +2000
Matthew Stafford Rams +2000
Trevor Lawrence Jaguars +3100
Joe Burrow Bengals +3400
Derek Carr Raiders +3700
Ryan Fitzpatrick Washington +3700
Kirk Cousins Vikings +4100
Kyler Murray Cardinals +4100
Jared Goff Lions +4400
Russell Wilsons Seahawks +4400
Ryan Tannehill Titans +6500
Zach Wilson Jets +6500
Ben Roethlisberger Steelers +7000
Jameis Wilson Saints +7000
Baker Mayfield Browns +8500
Carson Wentz Colts +8500
Sam Darnold Panthers +8500
Tua Tagovailoa Dolphins +8500
Daniel Jones Giants +13000
Jalen Hurts Eagles +13000
Jimmy Garoppolo 49ers +13000
Lamar Jackson Saints +22000
Mac Jones Patriots +22000
Andy Dalton Bears +30000
Cam Newton Patriots +30000
Davis Mills Texans +30000
Drew Lock Broncos +30000
Justin Fields Bears +30000
Taysom Hill Saints +30000
Teddy Bridgewater Broncos +30000
Trey Lance 49ers +30000
Tyrod Taylor Texans +30000

All odds as of July 5th, 2021.

Mahomes Back on Top

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was second to Drew Brees in the opening odds to lead the league in passing yards last season, but Houston’s Deshaun Watson actually topped them both at the end of 2020.

Of course, Brees was out for a big stretch of the year, but Watson eked-out 84 more passing yards than Mahomes with 4,823. The 2021 status of the Texans QB remains in limbo as he deals with legal issues off the field and continues to demand a trade. Houston also drafted Stanford quarterback Davis Mills with its first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mahomes looks like an even safer pick when the next player behind him is Dallas’ Dak Prescott, who is returning with a huge contract and a reconstructed ankle in 2021. Prescott was on a tear prior to his season-ending injury in Week 5, but how confident or skittish he may be is an unknown at this point. Betting on Prescott as an upside play would make for a better feeling than thinking of him as next best pick to Mahomes.

A more fun option might be the fifth name on the board, Justin Herbert at +1200. The Chargers’ QB nearly broke Andrew Luck’s record for most passing yards in a single season by a rookie, and did so in 15 games. Replacing tight end Hunter Henry with Jared Cook isn’t going to fire up too many people, but Henry has yet to play a full season. Meanwhile, Cook finished with just 109 fewer receiving yards than Henry last season on 23 fewer receptions.

Odds to Lead NFL in Rushing Yards

Player Team Odds
Derrick Henry Titans +450
Christian McCaffrey Panthers +600
Dalvin Cook Vikings +600
Nick Chubb Browns +850
Cam Akers Rams +1100
Jonathan Taylor Colts +1100
Antonio Gibson Washington +1600
Joe Mixon Bengals +1600
Saquon Barkley Giants +1600
Aaron Jones Packers +2400
Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys +2400
Najee Harris Steelers +2800
Chris Carson Seahawks +3100
J.K. Dobbins Ravens +3100
David Montgomery Bears +3400
Josh Jacobs Raiders +3400
De’Andre Swift Lions +4400
Mike Davis Falcons +4800
Alvin Kamara Saints +5500
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Chiefs +5500
Austin Ekeler Chargers +7000
Damien Harris Patriots +7000
James Conner Cardinals +8500
Javonte Williams Broncos +7000

Henry Keeps Chugging Along

It’s really difficult to argue against Henry as the top choice, but can a case be made for Christian McCaffrey or any of the others at the top of the group?

The Panthers’ do-it-all back missed 13 games last season with a myriad of injuries.  When he played the entire 2019 season, he was on the field for 93% of the Panthers’ offensive snaps. In the two games he was able to play last season, he faced eight defenders in the box at a significantly lower rate than Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, and Cam Akers.

What works in Henry’s favor and against players like McCaffrey, Cook, or Saquon Barkley is the added regular season game this year. Although McCaffrey had proven himself durable in his first three seasons, there will be speculation that things are starting to catch up with him a bit. Carolina has one of the softest schedules this season, but has a suspect offensive line and Sam Darnold at QB.

Outside of Henry, perhaps the most compelling choice is Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor. The Wisconsin product had an emphatic finish to the 2020 regular season, when he went off against Jacksonville for 253 yards. By the final four games of last season, he was on the field for around 60% of the Colts’ offensive snaps, and he finished 2020 with 1,169 rushing yards.

Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards

Player Team Odds
DeAndre Hopkins Cardinals +750
Stefon Diggs Bills +800
Calvin Ridley Falcons +1000
Tyreek Hill Chiefs +1200
D.K. Metcalf Chargers +1300
Davante Adams Packers +1300
Michael Thomas Saints +1300
Travis Kelce Chiefs +1300
A.J. Brown Titans +1400
Justin Jefferson Vikings +1400
Keenan Allen Chargers +1700
Amari Cooper Cowboys +1900
Terry McLaurin Washington +1900
Allen Robinson Bears +2400
Julio Jones Titans +2400
CeeDee Lamb Cowboys +2600
Chris Godwin Buccaneers +2700
Mike Evans Buccaneers +2700
Ja’Marr Chase Bengals +2800
Darren Waller Raiders +3100
George Kittle 49ers +3100
Odell Beckham Jr. Browns +3100
D.J. Moore Panthers +3200
Tee Higgins Bengals +3200
Cooper Kupp Rams +3500
Robert Woods Rams +3500
Adam Thielen Vikings +3700

New Faces Highlight Receiving Group

A conversation could be had about who benefited from having the other guy more: Bills QB Josh Allen or wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Nobody doubted Allen’s arm strength, but questions about his accuracy and decision-making were persistent critiques before last season. Diggs did plenty to remedy those concerns, but even if he picks up where he left off, the competition is stiff when it comes to whether or not he can repeat as the league’s top pass-catcher.

Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson was in the conversation for Rookie of the Year honors last season, and could be a savvy bet in 2021. After establishing himself last year, he’s due to come away with a larger share of snaps than he did in 2020 at 82%. His receptions were responsible for a huge chunk of Minnesota’s air yards at 36.37% and the Vikings offense has a number of pass-catchers to keep opposing defenses from doubling him to oblivion.

Hopkins pays out well as the top option, and he should be in the conversation of top receivers by the end of the season. Arizona might not be as dynamic of a rushing team this year without Kenyan Drake, and Kyler Murray will likely be asked to do more on offene.  Hopkins had just six fewer targets last season than Diggs and finished with similar share of his team’s total air yards as his Buffalo counterpart.

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