2021 Awards Futures with Borg & Betz (Fantasy Football)
Awards such as the MVP are about more than just predicting winners and finding the best odds. This comes down to our projections related to team performance (ie. win totals) and forecasting at end of the year narrative to produces an optimum scenario where a player can win that award. For more on win totals, go back and listen to the AFC and NFC win total podcasts.
Let’s break down historical trends, filter through the candidates by setting a few parameters with insightful questions, and give our current selections based on each “tier” for
- Most Valuable Player
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Offensive Rookie of the Year
- Comeback Player of the Year
Note: All odds are based on DraftKings Sportsbook at the recording of this podcast.
Most Valuable Player
Most valuable is a relative term and in each sport, the defining quality of “valuable” can be wide-ranging. However, for football purposes, MVP is essentially the best QB on a top-seeded playoff team. You need an absolute outlier of a season at the RB position to even be considered. Here are the winners dating back to 2005:
- QBs dominate the award… but you already knew that. But on top of that, since 2010 every QB that won the MVP also sported a 1st round bye as a top-2 seed in their conference.
- You also can spot some long shots among the winners. In hindsight, it’s wild to think of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson as long shots but before the season, they were buried in Vegas odds. Six of the last 11 MVP winners were considered long shots.
- We typically want to ignore the RBs and WRs in this category because you can have a monster offensive season and yet not sniff a vote for MVP. Take for instance the last two years. Derrick Henry (2020) and Michael Thomas (2019) both had record-setting seasons at their positions and won AP Offensive Player of the Year. Incredible. Yet neither one garnered even one MVP vote.
Questions to Narrow the Field
- Is this player capable of an outlier TD season?
- Can their team end up as the No. 1 seed in their conference?
The Current Favorites: Mahomes +450, Rodgers +900, Allen +1110, Brady +1500, Stafford +1500, Lamar +1600, Russ +1600, Dak +1700
The Middle Tier: Herbert +2000, Murray +2000, Mayfield +3300, Ryan +3300, Tannehill +4000, Wentz +4000, Burrow +5000, Cousins +5000, Hurts +5000, Derrick Henry/CMC +5000
The Longshots: Tua +6000, Winston +6000, Cook +6600, Newton +6600, Carr +7000, Jimmy G +8000, Lawrence +8000, Saquon +10000, Chubb +10000, Darnold +10000, Fields +10000, Fitzpatrick +10000
- Borg Take- Dalvin Cook is my fav RB on the board. I can foresee a scenario where he gets 25+ TDs & the Vikings are a top-2 seed.
- Betz Take- Tua Tagovailoa
Defensive Player of the Year
The Defensive POY award should be renamed the Aaron Donald memorial award. And shortly before that it was sponsored by J.J. Watt. Yes, six out of the last nine years those two defensive linemen have won the award. As you look through
|Year||Defensive POY||Position||Key Stat||Team Record||Playoffs?|
|2006||Jason Taylor||DE||13.5 sacks/9 FF/2 TDs||6-10|
|2008||James Harrison||ROLB||16 sacks + 7 FF||12-4||x|
|2009||Charles Woodson||CB||9 INTs + 3 TDs||11-5||x|
|2010||Troy Polamalu||S||7 INT + 1 TD||12-4||x|
|2011||Terrell Suggs||LOLB||14 sacks + 7 FF||12-4||x|
|2012||J.J. Watt||DE||20.5 sacks + 39 TFL||12-4||x|
|2013||Luke Kuechly||MLB||156 tackles + 4 INT||12-4||x|
|2014||J.J. Watt||DE||20.5 sacks + 29 TFL||9-7|
|2015||J.J. Watt||DE||17.5 sacks + 29 TFL||9-7||x|
|2016||Khalil Mack||OLB||11 sacks + 5 FF + TD||12-4||x|
|2017||Aaron Donald||DT||11 sacks + 5 FF||11-5||x|
|2018||Aaron Donald||DT||20.5 sacks + 25 TFL||13-3||x|
|2019||Stephon Gilmore||CB||6 INTs + 2 TDs + 20 PDs||12-4||x|
|2020||Aaron Donald||DT||13.5 sacks + 4 FF||10-6||x|
- Since 2005, 14 of the last 16 winners were on playoff teams. Only two of them (Polamalu-2010 & Donald-2018) were on teams that made the Super Bowl.
- Sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles, and INTs are the headliners in terms of statistical benchmarks. But when you go back and look at the winners, another common theme is turnovers returned for a TD. This looms especially large for cornerbacks and safeties.
- There also is a narrative aspect to this award as sometimes the “face” of one of the best defenses in the league wins the award. Brian Urlacher and Bob Sanders did not have any discernable statistic that should’ve separated them. This is a “football guy” award so there is room for advanced statistics to be ignored with this award.
Questions to Narrow the Field
- Is the player involved as a pass rusher who can fill the stat sheet?
- Will they be on a playoff team?
The Current Favorites: Aaron Donald +400, Myles Garrett +600, TJ Watt +700, Nick Bosa +1100, Joey Bosa +1200, Chase Young +1600
- Borg Take- Nick Bosa
- Betz Take- Myles Garrett
The Middle Tier: Khalil Mack +2000, Derwin James +2500, [Shaquil Barrett, Minkah Fitzpatrick Stephon Gilmore, Danielle Hunter, Darius Leonard, Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, JJ Watt, Devin White, Tre’Davious White +3300]
- Borg Take- Danielle Hunter
- Betz Take- Minkah Fitzpatrick
The Longshots:[Bradley Chubb, Jadeveon Clowney, Xavien Howard, Chandler Jones, Marcus Peters +4000], [Jamal Adams, Jaire Alexander, Chris Jones, Eric Kendricks, Marshon Lattimore, Demarcus Lawrence, Za’Darius Smith, Tyrann Mathieu, Yannick Ngakoue +5000]
- Borg Take- Bradley Chubb or Za’Darius Smith
- Betz Take- Xavien Howard
Offensive Rookie of the Year
The new hotness… we love it. If you’re in dynasty mode, this year’s rookie class is just about the greatest thing you could spend your time discussing. This award differs greatly from the MVP as QBs are not a slam dunk by any means. Here are the offensive rookie of the year winners since 2005 including Vince Young, who won the award despite throwing for more INTs than TDs?!?!
|Year||Off. Rookie of The Year||Position||Key Stat||Team Record||Playoffs?|
|2006||Vince Young||QB||5 GWDs/ 2199/12 /13||8-8|
|2007||Adrian Peterson||RB||Ran for 1341 & 12||8-8|
|2009||Percy Harvin||WR||2,000 All-Purpose||12-4||x|
|2012||Robert Griffin III||QB||He was electric||10-6||x|
|2013||Eddie Lacy||RB||1435 Total Yards & 11||8- 7-1||x|
|2014||Odell Beckham Jr.||WR||Unreal in 12 games||6-10|
|2015||Todd Gurley||RB||1106 & 10||7-9|
|2016||Dak Prescott||QB||Dak & Zeke||13-3||x|
|2017||Alvin Kamara||RB||Caught 81 passes||11-5||x|
|2018||Saquon Barkley||RB||Production monster||5-11|
|2019||Kyler Murray||QB||24 total TDs||5-10|
|2020||Justin Herbert||QB||31 passing TDs||7-9|
- Don’t go fishing for the long shots. Since 2005, 13 of the last 16 rookie of the year winners were 1st round picks. In fact, 11 of those 13 were top-10 picks with only the WRs (Percy Harvin & Odell Beckham Jr.) having outlier-type of seasons.
- It may sound obvious but playoffs usually aren’t on the table for rookies as the teams that draft them high in the first round, likely got there due to horrible record. The 49ers are in a unique situation this year grabbing Trey Lance at pick 3 although they are projected for 10.5 wins.
- RBs have a real shot in this category due to the fact they can gain meaningful roles in Year One. Teams that spend 1st round draft capital at the RB position (even if we think it’s a sub-optimal team-building strategy) usually end up giving those players huge workloads right away.
- QBs aren’t a guarantee because there is such a huge adjustment to the NFL. Their stats usually are 60% of what an MVP candidate might put up. Justin Herbert set the rookie TD record this past year but before then Baker Mayfield (27) and Peyton Manning/Russell Wilson (26). by the way, 5th on that list is Daniel Jones with 24.
- A tight-end has never won the Associated Press award although Pepsi has a ROY award they handed out to Jeremy Shockey with its initial 2002 award. Kyle Pitts truthers be warned!
Questions to Narrow the Field
- Is this player a 1st Rounder?
- Is there a story mixed with their stats?
The Current Favorites: T. Lawrence +300, [Justin Fields & Trey Lance +600] Zach Wilson +700, Najee Harris +800
- Borg Take- Trevor Lawrence will start from Day 1. Harris is also a solid bet.
- Betz Take- Najee Harris at +1300 on FanDuel
The Middle Tier: Mac Jones +1000, Ja’Marr Chase +1100, Kyle Pitts +1100, DeVonta Smith +1400, Jaylen Waddle +1600, Travis Etienne +2000, Javonte Williams +2000, Trey Sermon +2500
- Borg Take- If Julio Jones is shipped out of town, Kyle Pitts certainly will have the opportunity and the narrative in place to be the first TE to win this thing. Williams is probably my favorite of this tier.
- Betz Take- Trey Sermon & Javonte Williams.
The Longshots: Rashod Bateman +3300, Michael Carter +3300, Kadarius Toney +3300, Elijah Moore +4000, Terrace Marshall Jr +5000, Rondale Moore +6600
- Borg Take- No thanks.
- Betz Take- Meh, none of the above.
Comeback Player of the Year
An award made for Hollywood. The Comeback player of the year award winner is about a good storyline more than anything. Alex Smith started only six games throwing for fewer passing yards than Nick Foles and finishing with only six passing TDs, fewer than Mike Glennon! (If you’re a listener to the DFS Podcast, you know I had to get in a good Glennon reference… Mr. NSFW!) I need to give some props to ETR’s Ryan Reynolds who recently put out a sharp article on this exact topic.
|Year||Player Name||Pos||Team Record||Injury/Adversity||Playoffs?|
|2013||Philip Rivers||QB||9-7||Poor Play||x|
- If we look over the last decade, 10 of the 11 previous winners were on playoff teams with the lone exception being my boy Keenan Allen whose team.
- A winning record looks like a must but remember, we’re all suckers for a good storyline. Returning from a horrible injury and exceeding expectations is the actual prerequisite over exact records.
- Being a QB is easily the best bet in this category although this year we have a few unique elite talents among the favorites that are non-QBs. Dak is the overwhelming favorite this year and the fact he is still plus money is shocking.
Questions to Narrow the Field
- Are they coming off a relatively significant injury?
- Does their team exceed expectations and/or make the playoffs?
- Borg Take- Dak FTW!
- Betz Take- Dak- Able to get this at +200 last week!
- Borg Take- Carson Wentz is intriguing if you stroll down narrative street long enough.
- Betz Take- No thanks.
- Borg Take- I mean, bet against Tim Tebow? Couldn’t be me. But for real, don’t spend your money there.
- Betz Take- Odell Beckham Jr.