NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year Odds: Can Rams WR Puka Nacua Catch Texans QB CJ Stroud?

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Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
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Week 18 of the NFL season is here, and there’s still some intrigue left in the Offensive Rookie of the Year odds at the best betting sites around the country. The race for OROY isn’t quite dead, as much as it looked so before Texans QB CJ Stroud suffered a concussion. If voters are still considering Rams WR Puka Nacua, the final week of the regular season may decide the award.

NFL Rookie of the Year Odds

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NFL Offensive Rookie Rookie of the Year Odds

CJ Stroud is the favorite in this market. There’s no argument against that fact. He has the moribund and frankly joke franchise that is (or, I guess, was) the Texans knocking on the playoff door in Year 1. He’s ninth in the league in passing yards, 14th by Dropback EPA, and has only thrown five INTs despite being a rookie. He’s been everything Texans fans could have dreamed.

He also missed two weeks, threw two TDs in December, and since Week 13, he has been worse than Desmond Ridder, Easton Stick, and Tommy Devito by EPA. Some of this is circumstance (a game in pouring rain vs. New York), but Stroud is riding the wave of early-season greatness. This could look stupid if he comes out this week against Indianapolis and shreds them apart, but the race has slightly caught up to him.

Can Puka Nacua Spring An Upset With Record-Breaking Season?

Puka Nacua is 29 yards away from breaking the rookie record for receiving yards and will likely break it this week. The Rams can play starters this week to ensure the 6-seed, as a loss and Green Bay win would drop L.A. to the 7-seed. Assuming Nacua breaks it and does so easily, could there be a case for him winning OROY?

It’s also not just that Nacua would be breaking this record. It’s that the record held by Houston Oilers wideout Bill Groman has stood since 1960 – 63 years ago. However, it only took Groman 14 games to reach this astronomical mark.

If Houston wins this week, and therefore the Texans win 10 games, it’s likely Stroud’s award. Turning a doormat franchise into a 10-win team will be seen as more valuable than what Nacua’s done, especially given his accomplishment could be diminished as a product of the 17-game season.

If Indianapolis wins and Stroud struggles again this week, the door could be open. It’s a coin flip game, and the Colts are the Colts are to win. Nacua is likely playing against the Niners’ backups for most of the game, and if he blasts them, Offensive Rookie of the Year odds could draw even closer together.

Fundamentally, there’s little that makes me think that Nacua can win this. Stroud’s accomplishments cannot be overstated for just how terrible the Texans have been in recent years. Turning that ship around to a winning season is likely to get you OROY.

OROY Rankings

With only Week 18 left in the season, this is what my (entirely fictional) ballot would be for this season. Given I’m assuming that Nacua will break the rookie receiving record already, there’s nothing that could shift my top two.

  1. Texans QB CJ Stroud
  2. Rams WR Puka Nacua
  3. Lions TE Sam Laporta
  4. Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs
  5. Dolphins RB DeVon Achane

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