Opening Line Report: 2024 NFL Rookie of the Year Awards


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Opening Line Report: 2024 NFL Rookie of the Year Awards

The 2024 NFL Draft recently concluded, and sportsbooks didn’t waste any time getting their initial rookie futures out to the betting public. I recently broke down this year’s rookie class for fantasy purposes (RBs, WRs, QBs and TEs), and it’s now time to see who are the best candidates to bring home the awards for Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Wagering your hard-earned money in May and waiting for bets to be settled in eight months isn’t the easiest pill to swallow. Nevertheless, if we’re able to get the best of the lines before the markets fully mature in the future it will make the wait until the end of the season worth it in the long run. Make sure to shop around for the best lines and odds if you have access to multiple sportsbooks. You’ll see more volatility between books on NFL Futures in the off-season than you’ll see on game lines and player props during the season. Let’s see if we can find some value in these rookie player props.

The first thing we should examine is who has won the Rookie of the Year award over the last decade to determine what players are strong candidates to win the awards this season.

Check out all of my 2024 NFL Futures articles during the off-season and my Best Bets for the 2024 season…Rookie player props are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of May 7 unless otherwise indicated.

Past Rookie of the Year Winners

YearOffensive Rookie of the YearDefensive Rookie of the Year
2023C.J. Stroud, QB, 2nd pick (+850)Will Anderson, EDGE, 3rd pick (+400)
2022Garrett Wilson, WR, 10th (+2000)Sauce Gardner, CB, 4th (+1200)
2021Ja’Marr Chase, WR, 5th (+1800)Micah Parsons, EDGE, 12th (+600)
2020Justin Herbert, QB, 6th (+3000)Chase Young, EDGE, 2nd (+150)
2019Kyler Murray, QB, 1st (+150)Nick Bosa, EDGE, 2nd (+700)
2018Saquon Barkley, RB, 2nd (+155)Darius Leonard, LB, 36th (+3050)
2017Alvin Kamara, RB, 67th (+5000)Marshon Lattimore, CB, 11th
2016Dak Prescott, QB, 135th (+900)Joey Bosa, EDGE, 3rd
2015Todd Gurley, RB, 10th (+1350)Marcus Peters, CB, 18th
2014Odell Beckham, WR, 12th (+2500)Aaron Donald, DT, 13th

The NFL MVP is overwhelmingly dominated by quarterbacks just about every season, but the Offensive Rookie of the Year has been more of an equal-opportunity award between the three main skill positions. Running backs have won the award three times in the last 10 seasons but not since Saquon Barkley did it in 2018. Wide receivers have captured the honor three times in the last decade, including back-to-back victories by Garrett Wilson and Ja’Marr Chase in 2021-22. C.J. Stroud snapped the two-year run by WRs last season, which gives quarterbacks four OROY winners since 2014.

Primary pass rushers dominated the Defensive Rookie of the Year with three consecutive wins (Micah Parsons, Chase Young, and Nick Bosa) in 2019-21 before Sauce Gardner broke the streak in 2022. Will Anderson made it four pass-rush winners in the last five years last season while cornerbacks have won the award three times in the last nine years.

The offensive winner has come from inside the top-12 picks eight times in the last 10 years and from inside the top 10 in six straight seasons. Alvin Kamara (2017) and Dak Prescott (2016) each won the OROY after being drafted outside the top 60 picks. The Defensive Rookie of the Year winner has come from inside the first round in nine of the last 10 years, with Darius Leonard being the lone exception in 2018. Narrowing it down even further, the DROY has come from inside the top 13 picks eight times in the last decade, so the high-end defensive prospects typically come through to win this award. The DROY will come from outside that range this year since a defensive player wasn’t selected until 15th overall.

The offensive side has had four offensive winners start the season at +2000 odds or longer while the defensive side hasn’t had a player higher than +1200 odds win in the last five years. Now that we’ve looked back for some clues about what players we should focus our attention on, let’s spin it forward to see if we can find some value in these rookie futures.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Caleb Williams (Chi) +200Jayden Daniels (Was) +600Marvin Harrison (Ari) +700
Malik Nabers (NYG) +1400J.J. McCarthy (Min) +1600Xavier Worthy (KC) +2000
Keon Coleman (Buf) +2000Bo Nix (Den) +2000Rome Odunze (Chi) +2000
Drake Maye (NE) +2000Ladd McConkey (LAC) +3000Brian Thomas (Jax) +3000
Brock Bowers (LV) +4000Jonathon Brooks (Car) +4000Adonai Mitchell (Ind) +4000
Xavier Legette (Car) +5000Jaylen Wright (Mia) +5000Ja’Lynn Polk (NE) +6000
Trey Benson (Ari) +6000Ricky Pearsall (SF) +6000Michael Penix (Atl) +7500
Jermaine Burton (Cin) +7500Blake Corum (LAR) +7500Roman Wilson (Pit) +7500
Troy Franklin (Den) +10000Isaac Guerendo (SF) +10000Javon Baker (NE) +10000
MarShawn Lloyd (GB) +10000Spencer Rattler (NO) +1000051 at +15000 or higher

Brolley’s Bets

Jayden Daniels (Was) to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (+1400, FanDuel). Placed April 26

I hope you bet on Daniels when he was at +1400 odds. I gave out the wager on our Discord, Sirius/XM, and of course in my NFL Futures article the day after the Commanders selected Daniels second overall. Daniels’ odds have been bet down to anywhere from +600 to +700 since draft weekend. He’ll immediately be one of the top running threats at the position from Day 1, and he should get play volume after Kliff Kingsbury’s last three offenses finished inside the top eight in plays per game by averaging 65+ plays. Caleb Williams’ is the deserving favorite with three stud receivers at his disposal on a team with a win total of 8.5 victories, but Daniels is more ready for immediate success after starting 55 games over five college seasons. He’ll look to follow in the footsteps of the dynamic Robert Griffin III, who also won the Heisman Trophy before winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year after Washington selected him second overall.

Other Bets I Considered

Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ari) to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (+700, FanDuel)

  • Why I like Harrison: Harrison is expected to have a monster rookie campaign based on his second-round ADP in Underdog drafts and his lofty season receiving yardage (1050.5) on FanDuel. Arizona has the fifth-most available targets (217) and the fourth-most vacated WR targets (164) after Marquise Brown (Chiefs) and Rondale Moore (Falcons) left in the off-season. Harrison should step into the role previously occupied by DeAndre Hopkins, who averaged 6.3 receptions and 78.8 receiving yards per game with 17 scores in 31 games started by Kyler Murray.

  • Why I ultimately passed: Last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year race showed that receivers aren’t going to win this honor over a quarterback in close situations. Puka Nacua set NFL rookie records with 105 receptions and 1486 receiving yards, but he received just 2 first-place votes behind runaway winner C.J. Stroud. This is a media award and I also worry that Harrison could get lost in the shuffle playing in Phoenix compared to Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels playing in bigger media markets in Chicago and Washington D.C., respectively.

Michael Penix Jr. (Atl) to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (+7500, FanDuel)

  • Why I like Penix: He’s a true dart throw at such long odds but Penix is set up for immediate success if he’s thrust into the lineup early in his career with weapons like Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson. The Falcons will also face by far the NFL’s easiest schedule based on season win totals, which means Penix could quarterback a division champion/postseason qualifier if he’s forced to play significant snaps as a rookie.
  • Why I ultimately passed: Placing a wager on Penix to win the OROY is essentially betting on Cousins to have a season-ending injury relatively early in the campaign. I won’t hesitate to bet on Penix later this summer if there are signs of Cousins’ rehab stalling out or hitting a snag, but all indications are that Cousins is on pace to be ready for training camp.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Dallas Turner (Min) +450Laiatu Latu (Ind) +500Jared Verse (LAR) +1200
Quinyon Mitchell (Phi) +1200Terrion Arnold (Det) +1200Byron Murphy (Sea) +1400
Chop Robinson (Mia) +2500Cooper DeJean (Phi) +2500Jer’Zhan Newton (Was) +3000
Edgerrin Cooper (GB) +3000Darius Robinson (Ari) +3000Kool-Aid McKinstry (NO) +3000
Braden Fiske (LAR) +3000Mike Sainristil (Was) +3000Nate Wiggins (Bal) +3000
Austin Booker (Chi) +4000Kamari Lassiter (Hou) +4000Payton Wilson (Pit) +4000
Junior Colson (LAC) +4000Tyler Nubin (NYG) +400053 at +5000 or higher

Brolley’s Bets

Chop Robinson (Mia) to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (+2500, FanDuel). Placed May 6

The Defensive Rookie of the Year has been dominated by players at the top of the odds board for the last five years. Robinson doesn’t quite fit that mold at this stage of the off-season as the seventh favorite at FanDuel, but he’s as high as the fifth favorite at DraftKings at +1300. At least he’s a primary pass rusher, which is the position that’s dominated the award in recent seasons. Robinson, at 21 years old, is maybe a year or two away from making a major impact at the professional level, but he’ll be in the mix to win the DROY if he’s ready to do it as a rookie. The Dolphins need him to be ready from Day 1 because their top three pass rushers from last season are potentially out of the picture for Week 1. Jaelan Phillips (Achilles) and Bradley Chubb (ACL) are candidates to start the season on the PUP list because of late-season injuries, and Andrew Van Ginkel signed with the Vikings.

Robinson has some big shoes to fill after the Dolphins finished third in pressure rate (39.7%) and second in sack rate (8.6%) last year, but he could benefit from the attention Phillips and Chubb will draw once they’re healthy enough to play. Robinson tore up the combine with a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and 10’8” broad jump, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the box score at Penn State. He mustered just 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in two seasons. Robinson is hoping to have immediate professional success like another Nittany Lion Micah Parsons, who won the 2021 DROY after a relatively quiet 6.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in two college seasons.

Nate Wiggins (Bal) to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (+3000, FanDuel). Placed May 7

I’m letting Baltimore’s track record of finding high-caliber, first-round defensive talent guide me on this longer shot wager. The Ravens reportedly turned down eight trade offers to stick and pick Wiggins 30th overall after he slipped to the back end of the first round with the first defensive player not coming off the board until 15th overall. The Ravens have selected defensive players five times in the last decade with Kyle Hamilton (2022), Patrick Queen (2020), and C.J. Mosley (2014) each earning First-Team All-Rookie honors, and Marlon Humphrey (2017) joining those three players as eventual All-Pro players. Odafe Oweh (2021) is the only Ravens’ first-round defensive pick since 2014 that hasn’t yet developed into an All-Pro player yet

The early expectation is that Humphrey will move into the slot where he’s spent much of his career to make room for Wiggins to play on the outside. Per PFF, Wiggins allowed 49 receptions on 102 targets (48.0%) for 561 yards (5.5 YPT) in his final 23 games (4.4 targets per game) at Clemson. He had just 3 INTs in his last two seasons because teams rarely threw at him, but he turned two of his INTs into touchdowns. He could get more opportunities to make plays in a secondary that has Humphrey, Hamilton, Marcus Williams, and Brandon Stephens. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll play a part in one of the league’s best defenses for the defending AFC regular season champs.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 64.3% clip last season and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.