I’m going to mix things up this week due to an unexpected opportunity related to awards markets. If you’ve been tuning into our biweekly awards show, you may have heard Adam mention that I also work for The 33rd Team. Six of The 33rd Team’s many NFL contributors have an awards vote. That group gave out their midseason awards, which you can check out here.
I’m going to use those insights from actual awards voters to discuss some of the positions that we’ve given out throughout the year and how to treat them going forward.
Adam, Leone, myself, and I’m sure several others bought Jalen Hurts MVP tickets at 40:1 last spring. With Josh Allen’s loss to the Jets, Hurts and Patrick Mahomes now sit on top of the MVP race. If Allen’s injury situation causes him to miss more than one game or if it significantly limits what he can do, that’s a huge boost to our Hurts’ position. I’d argue that Mahomes is having his best season in several ways, but the Chiefs have the league’s toughest schedule while the Eagles have the easiest. Hurts has an advantage on the team success front. Hurts has been live all year in this race, but there is now a very realistic path to him winning this award. Three of The 33rd Team’s six panelists would vote for Hurts to win the MVP today, so voters are at least open to that idea at the midway point.
Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow have a path to contention via production, which is the one area we probably need more out of Hurts from. Lamar Jackson still has a path, but Hurts has major supporting cast and schedule advantages over Jackson. If you have a Hurts longshot ticket, you’re in a very strong position right now.
Offensive Player of the Year
The 33rd Team’s panel was split at three votes a piece between Tyreek Hill and Josh Allen. This is exactly why I’ve avoided this race more than any other, because the conditions for victory are pretty undefined. Hill has been the best wide receiver in the league for years, and now he has a real shot of breaching 2,000 yards receiving on the year. If he falls short, team success is a negative for Cooper Kupp and if Josh Allen misses time or is negatively impacted by his injury, that’s real bad news for Stefon Diggs.
I use this award to essentially bet on the best skill position player knowing a quarterback might end up taking this one down. Using that philosophy, Justin Jefferson is a pretty good get at +1100 on FanDuel, if you didn’t bet him with us at 30:1 to 40:1 this spring. If you didn’t and you have a Tyreek ticket, I’d consider buying in on Jefferson if the news about Allen ends up being bad.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
If you tailed Evan Silva on Dameon Pierce this spring, Levitan or myself with Chris Olave, and Gary Hartman with Kenneth Walker III a few weeks back, you’re going to win this award barring injuries to all three of these players. If you just have Silva’s longshot ticket from this spring, it’s at least worth considering insuring it with Walker and Olave positions. Since five of The 33rd Team’s six panelists would vote for Walker, and the Seahawks are having a much better year than the Texans, this one is a bit like the decision to insure Cooper Kupp with a Jonathan Taylor position in last year’s Offensive Player of the Year race. You may want to stand pat, but it’s at least worth considering a hedge of sorts in these situations where you have an exceptional longshot ticket.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
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