On Sunday, the NFL released the final 10 players making up its Top 100 heading to the 2022 season. Determined by player vote, the NFL Top 100 honors those in the game most respected by their peers.
TheLines decided to explore a natural follow-up question. What are some interesting or notable betting markets involving the best players in the NFL? We highlighted one season-long player prop or award market for each of the top 10 while providing a full list of betting options that you can peruse if you want to place a wager.
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No. 10: Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
Prop bet of note: Receiving TD leader
In KC, out the door goes Tyreek Hill. The Cheetah takes the following triple slash line with him, averaged over the past five seasons: 83.6 catches, 1,207.4 yards and 10 TDs. That’s a lot of production to make up, and the expectation is that Kelce will shoulder some additional load and serve as the clear top target. In a high volume offense, that creates a rather high ceiling. But which prop makes the most sense to consider?
While Kelce’s route running remains exceptional, he has clearly lost a step or two. Heading into his age-33 season with significant mileage on his tires, that comes as no surprise. He probably can’t consistently break long gains after the catch these days.
But we’ve seen even declining TEs like Rob Gronkowski remain potent red zone weapons due to their size and skill. Kelce could decline gracefully and still score a bunch this year as the top red zone target in a high-powered offense.
The Chiefs face a difficult schedule but could play several shootouts, particularly within a division that leans toward offense. As long as Andy Reid still has his fastball, Kelce to lead the league in TDs should be live.
No. 9: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey
Prop bet of note: Defensive Player of the Year
Naturally, when we see a defensive player in the NFL Top 100, the first inclination is to check on a Defensive Player of the Year prop. Unfortunately, defensive backs have a rather bleak history when it comes to this award. Sack masters have dominated, which makes sense as they have an easier time accruing a high-profile stat. Only a handful of DBs have won even in the heavier passing era since 2004 rules changes:
|Position||Number Of Awards, 2004-2021|
Only Charles Woodson and Stephon Gilmore managed to snag the award in recent years from the CB position. Even an elite corner may lag in interceptions if he experiences a low frequency of targets. Look no further than future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis never winning the award.
The Rams should remain a very strong defense. And Ramsey will need that if he has any hope of breaking through. The downside: an intimidating schedule of opposing offenses that includes the AFC West.
No. 8: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Prop bet of note: Total passing yards O/U
Mahomes surpassed this number in three of the past four seasons, averaging 4,676.8 on 15.5 starts per year. That includes a 14-start 2019 campaign with 4,031 yards. If he fires at his career average of 301.4 yards per game and starts every game, he’ll finish north of 5,000 yards. Given the Chiefs’ grueling schedule, it seems unlikely he misses a game for rest at the end.
That means the market has essentially bet on some regression from the Chiefs offense. Obviously, losing Tyreek Hill could have an impact. But the Chiefs replaced him with a good mix of solid vets and young upside, adding JuJu Smith-Schuster and noted deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling while drafting intriguing route runner Skyy Moore. Along with Kelce, plenty of weapons still exist here, and the offensive line should provide ample time for Mahomes to find his targets.
No. 7: Raiders WR Davante Adams
Prop bet of note: Receiving yards leader
Since his 2017 breakout campaign and ascension into the elite tier, Adams has averaged 1,239 yards and 11.4 TDs per season. Those are incredible numbers even in an era of inflated passing game stats.
Of course, they came with cinch Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers pitching him the rock. Things should become a big more difficult in Las Vegas, reunited with college teammate Derek Carr. Carr has done plenty of good work in recent years, though, possibly putting himself in the second or third tier of QBs depending on how you break it down.
Moreover, the Raiders look to have an over-friendly profile as a team. While the offensive line looks weak, the passing game weapons are elite, with Adams and TE Darren Waller leading the way. And the defense should likely give up a pile of points again. Only seven teams conceded more in 2021, which means shootouts may abound for the Raiders.
No. 6: Steelers EDGE TJ Watt
Prop bet of note: Defensive Player of the Year
Obviously, Watt continued a family tradition of taking home DPOY hardware with his win last season. Now, he finds himself in a top tier of NFL Top 100 and top tier of 2022 DPOY candidates along with fellow sack artists Myles Garrett and Aaron Donald.
With some awards, we have seen voter fatigue impact things and make it tough for prior winners to repeat. Recent history says this hasn’t been an issue for DPOY, though. Both JJ Watt and Donald won the award back-to-back as part of three-in-four-years runs. However, the last back-to-back winner before that was Lawrence Taylor in the early 1980s.
One factor potentially works against him. While the Steelers made the playoffs last year, things don’t look so promising on that front for 2022. They have a win total of and playoff odds of .
Why does that matter? Well, voters have generally been inclined to give the award to a player on a playoff team. In the past 15 years, only one winner played for a non-playoff team (JJ Watt, 2014). So, TJ Watt will probably need his team to surpass expectations.
No. 5: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor
Prop bet of note: Offensive Player of the Year
Taylor is the highest-ranked RB in the NFL Top 100. Offensive Player of the Year has historically often been the province of the top performing non-QBs in the league. Sure, plenty of signal-callers have won it too, but unlike the heavily QB-biased MVP, OPOY has been an egalitarian award. In fact, the nine RBs who won have equaled the nine QBs in the past 20 years.
Taylor has a fairly promising set-up to make another run, a year after he posted a runner-up campaign to Cooper Kupp. The Colts offensive line lost some pieces but remains pretty stout with road grader Quenton Nelson leading the way. The passing game should be a bit more threatening with Matt Ryan not liable to throw as many games away as Carson Wentz. And the scheme should remain sharp under Frank Reich.
As for the schedule, it includes more good than bad. The AFC South obviously should provide ample opportunity to run up some scores and big stat lines. While the NFC East will bring some stout fronts, the Colts also drew the AFC West this year, not known as a haven of run-stuffing units.
No. 4: Rams WR Cooper Kupp
Prop bet of note: Total receptions O/U
What a number. It’s no wonder he’s the highest-ranked WR in the NFL Top 100.
Speaking of last year’s OPOY, Kupp racked up 145 catches on a mind-boggling 191 targets. To put that into perspective, he had 186 catches in the prior two seasons on 258 targets. The spread between Kupp and No. 2 Davante Adams was greater than the spread between Adams and No. 10 Hunter Renfrow.
Kupp benefited from tremendous chemistry with new QB Matt Stafford and injuries to fellow wideouts Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. that created a target funnel. Furthermore, Kupp often operated out of the slot, giving him some room for more free releases.
That funnel could remain in 2022. New offensive coordinator Liam Coen steps in and will likely want to work in new arrival Allen Robinson. However, the WR room looks very thin beyond that. Van Jefferson has yet to prove himself on a consistent basis and the depth chart gets very shaky very quickly after him.
A potential wild card: how will Stafford’s elbow injury affect things for his pass catchers?
No. 3: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Prop bet of note: MVP
There was only ever one choice here. Rodgers reversed what looked like a potentially serious decline with resurgent back-to-back MVP campaigns. Now, however, much has changed.
Most obviously, Rodgers loses go-to weapon Davante Adams. Only Kupp finished with a higher team target share than Adams last year per Fantasy Data, and that by the slimmest of margins (31.7% to 31.6%). What will Rodgers’ game look like with a WR group that one might charitably call subpar in Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb and some unproven but not especially highly touted youngsters?
The market no longer expects great production. Rodgers’ game has always been about efficiency and ball security rather than massive volume. But it’s still a bit striking to see as his passing total.
Green Bay looks likely to rely much more on its talented defense this year. That seems likely to take Rodgers out of the running in his bid to match fellow franchise legend Brett Favre, the only winner of three consecutive MVPs.
No. 2: Rams DT Aaron Donald
Prop bet of note: Defensive Player of the Year
Already tied with Lawrence Taylor and JJ Watt as a record three-time winner, could Donald become the first to take this hardware four times?
Many may not realize the extent of Donald’s dominance in the voting here. Excepting his rookie year (when he won Defensive Rookie of the Year), here are his DPOY finishes by year, starting in 2015: second, fourth, first, first, fifth, first, third. So, he has finished no worse than fifth over the past seven years while consistently ranking at or near the top of every list ranking the best players in the league.
Donald’s incredible consistency and track record of health work hugely in his favor for these awards. It’s important to build up a body of work, and few do that better than Donald. He has missed a total of two starts in the past seven seasons. That counts as a remarkable feat in a sport as brutal as the NFL, particularly when a player experiences contact every single play.
No. 1: Buccaneers QB Tom Brady
Prop bet of note: Passing yards leader
The top of the NFL Top 100. Brady led this stat last year by quite a distance. His 5,316 yards counted as a career-best, although he actually tallied more yards per game in 2011. That number put him more than 300 yards clear of Justin Herbert in second.
The big key: nobody threw more passes than Brady’s 719. Not only did Brady remain healthy and well-protected behind an elite line, but the Bucs chose to throw more often than anyone in the league, putting it in Brady’s hands on 66.46% of their plays.
That could change this year with Bruce Arians stepping down as coach. He had an aggressive pass-first mindset. While staff continuity exists with Byron Leftwich remaining offensive coordinator, new head coach Todd Bowles comes from the defensive side, and he may prefer a more balanced approach.
Brady’s age also looms. He turned 45 in August, as you’ll hear approximately 4,621 times this season. The offensive line may take a step back after losing starting center Ryan Jensen to injury and penciling in a rookie at left guard. That could expose the aging Brady to more hits.
Overall, there still exists a path to cashing this for Brady backers. Almost all of Tampa’s late road games come in domes or warm weather cities, the only exception being notoriously passer-unfriendly Cleveland. That could help pump Brady’s numbers a bit.