- Earlier this season, Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley was a top contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
- Much like the Falcons as a team, the first-year wide receiver fell off the map down the stretch.
- A big Week 14 from Saquon Barkley has all but ended the 2018 OROY race.
In late September, Atlanta Falcon receiver Calvin Ridley burst onto the NFL scene with a 146-yard, three-touchdown game against the New Orleans Saints. It was his second straight week finding the end zone and it consolidated the 26th-overall pick as a serious contender in the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year odds, moving him all the way from +3200 to +1100 .
How good was Calvin Ridley last week? Good enough that at halftime the Saints moved CB Marshon Lattimore off Julio Jones and onto the rookie WR.
— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) September 28, 2018
A week later, he added two more touchdowns and 54 more yards against the Bengals, further improving his OROY odds to +620, behind only Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield at the time.
How things have changed. Below are the latest OROY odds from Bovada. Notice anything missing?
2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
|2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year Favorites||Odds at Bovada|
|Saquon Barkley (RB, Giants)||-850|
|Baker Mayfield (QB, Browns)||+450|
|Phillip Lindsay (RB, Broncos)||+1500|
|Nick Chubb (RB, Browns)||+2800|
|Sony Michel (RB, Patriots)||+4000|
What happened to Calvin Ridley’s OROY campaign?
After falling back to +5000 in early December, Ridley is no longer even on the list.
Performance wise, the former Alabama standout has been trending downward since October. He’s only found the end zone twice in his last nine games and only topped 75 yards once (93 yards at New Orleans in Week 12).
The final nail in the coffin of his OROY hopes came in Week 14 when he managed just ten yards and one catch on four targets against Green Bay. That was the fourth time in five games he was held under 40 yards.
While his end-of-year numbers will wind up looking solid, especially for a rookie wideout, his production seriously waned as the season progressed even though his target share didn’t drop off that much. Call it hitting the rookie wall, perhaps.
|88.0||Receiving Yards Per Game||43.7|
|5.0||Receptions Per Game||4.0|
|6.3||Targets Per Game||6.0|
With no running game to speak of and Ridley failing to provide a credible secondary threat to Julio Jones, Atlanta’s offense has fizzled. The team has now lost five in a row while failing to score more than 20 points in any of those five games.
That stands in stark contrast to what is going on in East Rutherford at the moment.
Saquon Barkley has the 2018 OROY in the bag
Since a quiet Week 2 against Dallas, Saquon Barkley has been a model of consistency for the New York Giants. He’s recorded at least 100 yards from scrimmage in 10 of the last 11 and scored at least one touchdown in eight of those.
Actually, “model of consistency” drastically undersells Barkley. The last four weeks, he has absolutely shredded defenses, effectively locking up the OROY award with three games to play.
|65.1||Rushing Yards Per Game||134.5|
|124.0||Total Yards Per Game||159.3|
Adding to his OROY inevitability, Barkley’s performance is actually helping the Giants win games. They have won four of their last five and are somehow still kinda, sorta alive in the NFC Wild Card race (if you squint really hard). That was unthinkable six weeks ago when this team was 1-7.
Even if Barkley gets injured in practice this week and doesn’t play another snap in 2018, he’s done enough to win the award. He leads Phillip Lindsay by almost 200 rushing yards, over 400 receiving yards, and three touchdowns.
Barring a miracle playoff run from Baker Mayfield and the Browns (which ain’t happening), Saquon will have some shiny new hardware on his shelf come February.