Before the fantasy football draft season is in full swing, we have the opportunity to set our baseline expectations for the upcoming campaign through betting futures and prop markets. Since the 2020 NFL Draft, the one futures market that continues to appear mispriced is Offensive Rookie of the Year. With prices fluctuating significantly between books for Tua Tagovailoa, he is the clear value in this 2020 draft class at the right price.
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This award has been dominated by rookie running backs in recent years, with the position earning the title in four of the past seven seasons. Going back to 2010 is when we see the start of the last quarterback streak, with that position winning in five of the past 10 seasons. It is true that running backs typically have an easier learning curve to contribute right away in the NFL. The previous OROYs at the running back position have been highly drafted, with Alvin Kamara the latest selection in the fourth round. Both Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley were first-round selections, and Eddie Lacy tumbled into the second round.
This year’s crop of rookie running backs is one of the best we have seen in quite some time, but only Clyde Edwards-Helaire has the high draft pedigree along with a path to meaningful touches that could carry him to this award. All other rookie running backs appear to be entering some sort of significant timeshare. Although Kamara provides us with a historical data point to emerge seemingly out of nowhere, it is not a dart throw worth making in 2020. Last season provided us a concrete example for the direction voters are heading when they handed Kyler Murray the award after a ho-hum season even though Miles Sanders made significant contributions to a playoff team.