NFL Comeback Player Of The Year Odds: Nobody Knows If Damar Hamlin Barely Playing Matters

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Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
nfl comeback player of the year odds

We’ve entered the final stretch of the NFL season. Sports betting sites and bettors are still unsure who will win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Damar Hamlin remains the favorite in the odds, but there’s still doubt, with Joe Flacco surging up the board. Both will likely not play Week 18, while a third candidate, Baker Mayfield, can still win the NFC South. Let’s dive into the odds to see if anyone is worth a bet before the market closes after Week 18.

2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds

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NoBody Agrees What NFL Comeback Player Means

As a football matter, this awards market is a bit absurd.

One choice is Joe Flacco, who has gone from unemployment to playing five games and securing the AFC 5-seed. He’s the fourth starting QB for the Browns this season. He’s thrown 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The other choice is Damar Hamlin. What happened to him last season was obviously terrifying and horrible. That he is still alive, let alone still collecting an NFL paycheck, is incredible. But there is no on-field argument for him winning this award because he has barely played this season despite being medically cleared.

If not for Hamlin, this award would be much easier to handicap. Joe Flacco’s been a wild ride in saving Cleveland. Baker Mayfield is now leading the NFC South somehow! There were rumors Matt Stafford was going to retire a year ago! But how to talk about this award in a way that isn’t somehow gauche lingers.

On football merit, Flacco’s success is being graded on an easier curve than Baker’s for reasons that don’t really make sense. Then again, I don’t get why you should get the award for a “comeback” from being bad at football, but voters disagree with me. Baker’s been underrated and really good this year! He’s sixth in Dropback EPA!

If the argument is Hamlin hasn’t played enough, isn’t it reasonable to wonder if voters will also think Joe Flacco has not played enough games either?

Will The Voters Agree?

This is a voted-on award, and awards markets are as much about reading the voters as they are reading the merits of the case. Joe Flacco is the non-Hamlin favorite because, in large part, the media love that he’s doing better than Deshaun Watson and bringing his family along for the ride.

The Browns have gone from paying a QB $250 million after two dozen accusations of sexual improprieties to, now, turn-back-the-clock Joe Flacco. Rooting for the guy whose career was over is fun! It’s a way to throw dirt on Watson, which many in the media are eager to do. Flacco’s done nothing particularly impressive – 25th by Dropback EPA, 24th by Success Rate – and his best win is the Jaguars with Trevor Lawrence on a sprained ankle.

This should be Baker. If it’s a pick based on anything actually achieved on the football field, Baker’s the most logical choice. But it’ll likely be Flacco … if enough voters are okay with moving on from Hamlin’s story.

As much as everyone is incredibly happy that Hamlin is alive and well, it’s incredibly hard to give an award to someone who is usually left off the game-day roster. Flacco could get it because he’s embarrassing Deshaun and has a feel-good story.

Neither will deserve it over Baker Mayfield, but who deserves it most is not the exercise here in trying to decide which player to bet.

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