With the kickoff to the 2020 NFL season quickly approaching, sportsbooks around the country are beginning to open up their extensive betting markets. Outside of Super Bowl futures and season win totals, three of the most popular markets involve predicting who will lead the league in passing, rushing and receiving yards.
As one of the top ranked season-long fantasy football players in the world, I incorporate sportsbook betting projections into my fantasy projection model. It has become a vital and integral portion to my monetary investments each season.
As more states begin to legalize sports betting, futures markets are becoming more popular by the day. The handle on these markets continues to soar as bettors look to bet on either players from their favorite teams or players they have drafted in their recent fantasy drafts over at the Fantasy Football World Championships (FFWC).
Let’s dive into these markets and break it all down!
WHO WILL LEAD THE NFL IN RUSHING YARDS IN 2020?
Last season, Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry led the NFL with 1,550 rushing yards. Henry also tied for the league-lead in rushing touchdowns (16) with Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers. He was sensational last year as the Titans made a surprise deep run in the AFC Playoffs. With the expected heavy usage on tap again this season, the oddsmakers have the reigning rushing champion as the favorite to repeat at odds of 7/1.
After Henry, the player who finished 46 yards behind him is Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb. The Browns starting RB comes in at odds of 8/1. My fantasy model is forecasting likely regression for Chubb this season with the increased touches for fellow star running back Kareem Hunt; now available for a full regular season after his eight-game suspension in 2019.
2020 RUSHING YARDS LEADER
Here are the three players who offer the most value and I will be backing at the windows: Saquon Barkley (9/1), Miles Sanders (20/1) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (20/1).
Barkley, who suffered an injury plagued 2019 season, still found a way to eclipse the 1,000 mark in just 13 games and the Giants offense could be explosive this season with a healthy Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard back to join emerging star Darius Slayton and veteran Golden Tate.
Miles Sanders, a player I love in the back-end of the first round of fantasy drafts, is a player who will easily build upon his 818 yard rushing output from last season. Sanders has no real competition in the Eagles backfield and is a player who offers solid value at odds of 20/1.
Finally my longshot play is Kansas City rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Now expected to take our lead duties, playing in arguably the best offense in the NFL, CEH could burst onto the scene, thanks to facing “soft” defensive run fronts as opposing clubs drop back into coverage in fear of the NFL’s best quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his plethora of explosive weapons in the passing game.
WHO WILL LEAD THE NFL IN PASSING YARDS IN 2020?
For me this is easy and it's a market I have already personally wagered heavily on. My advice is don’t overthink this. Patrick Mahomes (+450), as long as he stays healthy, will once again lead the NFL in passing yards like he did in his rookie campaign in 2018. A play outside of Mahomes that offers value is Dak Prescott at odds of 8/1. The Cowboys, who witnessed Prescott finish second in passing yards (4,902) only behind Jameis Winston (5,109), could potentially have the best offense in the NFC in 2020. I realize many will argue that 43-year-old Tom Brady will slide right into that projection taking over for Winston, but my model demands higher than odds of 9/1. Brady has shown signs of slowing down over the past few seasons and it is questionable if Tampa’s offensive line can keep him upright and protect that ailing throwing elbow that bothered him last season in New England.
2020 PASSING YARDS LEADER
WHO WILL LEAD THE NFL IN RECEIVING YARDS IN 2020?
New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas dominated the position last season and carried fantasy owners to league titles after posting an NFL record 149 receptions for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. My model once again is predicting dominance from the league’s best wide receiver once again in 2020, who deserves to be the betting favorite (5/1), but the 331 yard gap between him and the rest of the field will close this season.
2020 RECEIVING YARDS LEADER
The player who offers the best value to take Thomas’ title is Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin. The emerging star, who led the Buccaneers in receptions (86), receiving yards (1,333) and touchdowns (9) will only build upon those numbers this upcoming season. With Tom Brady’s strong propensity to target his slot receiver (see Julian Edelman) Godwin will easily become Tampa Bay’s biggest weapon in Bruce Arians’ aerial attack.
Further down the list, my longshot play is Calvin Ridley at odds of 28/1. You heard it here, Ridley is the wide receiver to own in fantasy leagues in 2020. The third-year talent is primed to breakout and take over the WR1 role away from aging star Julio Jones.