FF-Winners.Com Reveals: Top Wagers for 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award

A year after watching a cornerback win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award for the first time in nearly two decades, who are the favorites to win it this year?

Although the 2018 NFL Draft was heavy on big names on the offensive side of the football, there were a few standout prospects on defense who headlined this year’s class, and unsurprisingly, are among the favorites to win said hardware:

Tremaine Edmunds (+800) – After months of projecting him as a top-10 selection in the draft, it was something of a surprise to see Tremaine Edmunds fall to the 16th overall pick. The Buffalo Bills reportedly would’ve been content walking out of the draft with either one of quarterback Josh Allen or Edmunds with their top pick, so having the opportunity to walk out of the draft with both guys left them beyond thrilled. Head coach Sean McDermott made no reservations when discussing what Edmunds could do Buffalo’s defense; McDermott unquestionably sees Edmunds as being his version of Luke Kuechly, whom McDermott coached as the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. With the size of a (smaller) defensive end and the speed of a running back, Edmunds is a threat to literally rack up a myriad of stats, from sacks to tackles for losses to forced fumbles to passes broken up (if not interceptions). While he still has to further develop his football instincts, with the right coaching, he has the chance to be an absolute force in Buffalo very quickly.

Roquan Smith (+400) – Roquan Smith vs. Tremaine Edmunds was something of a “Miller Lite versus Bud Light” debate in this draft, with certain factions in the NFL favoring one over the other. But the Chicago Bears were absolutely thrilled to have landed Smith with the 8th overall pick, and to add him to a defense where they continue to add speed and athleticism. Under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, there are people who are immediately people who are comparing Smith to Patrick Willis, the former All-Pro linebacker whom Fangio coached while they were both with the San Francisco 49ers. As the textbook definition of “a football player,” comparing Smith to one of the best linebackers of the past decade isn’t that far-fetched. Nobody would be surprised to see him emerge as the best defensive player to come out of this draft.

Bradley Chubb (+140) – Bradley Chubb of the Denver Broncos is the favorite among the group, and for good reason. Even if he wasn’t the first defensive player taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, many people considered him to be the best defensive player among the class. Moreover, the simple fact is that big sack totals will very likely sway the votes of media members who cast their ballots for this award, and Chubb has the potential to approach – if not surpass – double-digit sacks. Most elite pass rushers taken high-up in the draft usually end up being the focus of the blocking schemes of opposing offenses, but anyone playing the Broncos has to deal with blocking Von Miller first and foremost. That’s going to present a lot of opportunities for Chubb to see one-on-one blocking situations, when he can leverage his size, strength, and relentless motor to attack helpless blockers.

FF-Winners.com Reveals: Top Wagers for 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

There’s no question that the 2018 NFL Draft will be defined by the five quarterbacks who were taken in the first round. But, it’s hard for most quarterbacks to see immediate success, given the steep learning curve they face when transitioning from the college game to the NFL.

Given that, who are the favorites to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award after this season? Here are three names to consider:

Ronald Jones (+3300) – They say the best gamblers aren’t so much looking at who’ll win, as much as they are looking for the best value for their wager. If you happen to be among the latter group, then running back Ronald Jones of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be right up your alley. Somewhat overlooked as the fifth running back taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jones was one of the most explosive running backs in the nation last year, finishing with 1,550 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns (both of which were top 10 among all running backs in college football). Playing within an offense that features skill position guys like Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson (and young talents on the cusp of breaking out, like O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin), there is plenty of space for Jones to gash defenses. It’s just a matter of time before he assumes the full-time job as the Buccaneers’ starting running back.

Sam Darnold (+1600) – Baker Mayfield was the surprise and Josh Allen was the prototype, which led to everyone forgetting the fact that Sam Darnold was the guy that most teams had declared as the best quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. The New York Jets – and their fans – should be thanking every religious being of their choosing for the fact that he fell to them at the #3 overall pick, because they might’ve finally solidified the position for the next decade. Darnold’s ability to scramble around the pocket and create big plays by delivering well-time darts down the field makes him eerily reminiscent of a bigger Tony Romo. Anyone paying attention to the happenings in the Tri-State area knows that Darnold looks like he has a stranglehold on the starting quarterback job for the Jets. If he has a good year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him emerge as a surprise challenger for this award.

Saquon Barkley (+140) – In reality, everyone knows this award is Saquon Barkley’s to lose. The running back with the generational physical talents and well-rounded game is a virtual lock to accumulate at least 250 touches this year (if not substantially more), given the fact that the New York Giants invested the #2 overall pick in the draft on him. At 5’10 and 230lbs, with the strength of a linebacker and the speed of a cornerback, Barkley is like a human cheat code. An accurate comparison that many have made for him, given his talents as a runner and a pass catcher, as well as his size and his strength, is Todd Gurley – that’s the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Without any sense of hyperbole, Barkley possesses that level of talent.

Fantasy Football: Don’t Buy Into The Hype of the Rookie Runners

Who knew that fantasy football could be so complicated? Up to thirty running backs selected in the 2017 NFL Draft season are expected to make a noticeable impact in fantasy football in the immediate future, and you can only imagine what that will do for the NFL betting picks for the 2018 season.

Rookies like Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, and Joe Mixon were selected in the first fifteen rounds of the ten-team NFL.Com draft. If that wasn’t enough, there is no end to the level of hype analysts are raising over Jamaal Williams, Kareem Hunt and Joe Williams.

It is hardly surprising that everyone expects depth charts to be dominated by these youngsters and more. And you would be hard-pressed to make a solid argument suggesting that this hype isn’t warranted.

Then again, does it make sense to overvalue players that haven’t even run a lap on an NFL gridiron? And it isn’t like this sort of hype has produced notable results in the past. Prognostications about rookies, especially the optimistic kind, rarely end well. Just look at DeMarco Murray. Everyone thought that his time with the Tennessee Titans was over after Derrick Henry, a Heisman winner was drafted. Murray went on to dominate that season.

If that sounds like it could be an isolated case, consider this; of all the rookie runners that have risen in the last decade, only two dozen have appeared in the top 25 in fantasy points. If those numbers do not make sense to you, that means only three rookie runners a year ranked in the top 25.

Whenever the draft season comes around and the hype surrounding rookies begins to rise, analysts and fans like to throw out names like Matt Forte, Chris Johnson and Jonathan Stewart from 2008. Those guys made it to the top 10 and it was a big deal. But one cannot ignore the fact that Rashard Mendenhall, Jamaal Charles and other high profile runners performed well below expectations.

Looking at the 2012 class, you can point to Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, and Alfred Morris as standouts. However, anyone who is anyone knows that 2012 didn’t have many talented options. The point is this: every rule has a few exceptions, and it seems a like a lot of analysts and fans in fantasy football are making their picks based on the exceptions instead of the rule.

Think about this. There have been 108 running backs in the NFL that have been selected in the first four rounds of the football draft over the previous decade. And among those running backs, only twenty-one have ever finished in the top 10.

Think about how demoralizing that figure should be, and then ask why rookie running backs are still being overvalued today.

Some rationale should be applied during the draft. And do not use the anxiety spreading online about rookie runners as an excuse to avoid rookie runners. That isn’t the take away here. The point here is this: be smart. Do not overreach for rookies. There are picks like Mixon that, while clearly impressive, should be saved for the third and the fourth rounds rather than the second. You do not want to miss on a player in the top fifty.

So, be smart.