- Ben Roethlisberger (+250) is the favorite to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year
- Matthew Stafford (+800) was on pace to throw for almost 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns before a back injury cost him the last 8 games of 2019
- Derwin James (+4000) and Bradley Chubb (+6600) hope to return to the path to stardom after injury-marred sophomore seasons
Ryan Tannehill was named 2019 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after enjoying a career renaissance in Tennessee, but in each of the five years prior, the award went to players who successfully returned from a season-ending injury.
Quarterbacks have also won the CPOY 12 times in the past 18 seasons, so after we review the odds below, it’s only logical to begin our breakdown by looking at the signal callers whose 2019 seasons ended on the operating table.
2020 COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR ODDS
|Player (Position, Team)||Odds|
|Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Steelers)||+250|
|Rob Gronkowski (TE, Buccaneers)||+450|
|J.J. Watt (DE, Texans)||+500|
|A.J. Green (WR, Bengals)||+600|
|Nick Foles (QB, Bears)||+600|
|Cam Newton (QB, Free Agent)||+800|
|Matthew Stafford (QB, Lions)||+800|
|Myles Garrett (DE, Browns)||+1200|
|Antonio Brown (WR, Free Agent)||+2000|
|Andy Dalton (QB, Cowboys)||+3300|
|C.J. Mosley (LB, Jets)||+3300|
|DeSean Jackson (WR, Eagles)||+3300|
|Joe Flacco (QB, FA)||+3300|
|Derwin James (S, Chargers)||+4000|
|Jordan Reed (TE, Free Agent)||+5000|
|Akiem Hicks (DE, Bears)||+6600|
|Alex Smith (QB, Redskins)||+6600|
|Alshon Jeffery (WR, Eagles)||+6600|
|Bradley Chubb (DE, Broncos)||+6600|
|Keanu Neal (S, Falcons)||+6600|
QUARTERBACKS RETURNING FROM INJURY
Ben Roethlisberger (+250) is the favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year after missing almost all of 2019 with an elbow injury. While the 38-year-old is only a year removed from setting career-highs in passing yards (5,129) and touchdowns (34), his weight also seems to be at a career high at the moment.
If you’re worried about Big Ben’s conditioning, consider fellow gunslinger Matthew Stafford (+800). Before missing the second half of 2019 with a back injury (that’s now apparently fully healed), the 32-year-old was absolutely balling out in Darrell Bevell’s Lions offense, throwing for 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in just eight games. Double those stats and Stafford would be a lock to win his second-career CPOY award.
QB1 is healthy and ready to go! pic.twitter.com/KHQhAWXUNN
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) May 16, 2020
Nick Foles is comically overvalued at +600, but Cam Newton (+800) could pay off if he ever finds a new team. There are also some other quarterbacks who weren’t injured last year that you should absolutely consider if you can find favorable odds.
Following a disastrous 2019 under Freddie Kitchens, Baker Mayfield will have a chance to revive his once-promising career with new head coach Kevin Stefanski and a rebuilt offensive line. The Colts’ beefy O-Line could also propel Philip Rivers to his second-career CPOY.
Finally, what about Tom Brady? If the soon-to-be 43-year-old ends up throwing 30+ touchdowns in a winning season in Tampa Bay, he would almost be a shoo-in.
SKILL POSITION PLAYERS IN CONTENTION
Reigning WWE 24/7 champion Rob Gronkowski (+450) is the favorite among non-QBs, but the 31-year-old is among the top sucker bets on the board. Unlikely to be a full-time player at this point in his career, Gronk will need at least 10 TDs to win the award for the second time.
After missing the last season-and-a-half with an ankle injury, there’s no telling what version of A.J. Green (+600) we’ll get in 2020, but we do know he’ll be catching passes from Joe Burrow, the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, on a Bengals team that should rack up points.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to new @Buccaneers TE and 4x time All-Pro @RobGronkowski! 🎂 pic.twitter.com/Hq8wezlmWU
— NFL (@NFL) May 14, 2020
Antonio Brown‘s explosive potential makes him worth mentioning at +2000, but my guess is that Mr. Big Chest has already played his last snap in the NFL. We’d prefer to bet on his former teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster, but he’s not even on the board.
BEST BETS ON DEFENSE
Given that a defensive player has only won CPOY once in the past 12 seasons — and that guy (Eric Berry) won the award after was returning from cancer — it’s almost ludicrous that J.J. Watt is listed at +500.
Instead of betting on a 31-year-old who’s well past his Hall-of-Fame prime, grab Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb at +6600. The former No. 5 pick recorded 12 sacks as a rookie in 2018 and could be set up for career year under defensive mastermind Vic Fangio.
Dear eight pound, six ounce, newborn infant Jesus:
Please give us 16 games of Derwin James next seasonpic.twitter.com/dud0DpH3Zk
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) May 7, 2020
Chargers safety Derwin James is also incredibly intriguing at +4000. Before a stress fracture in his foot caused him to miss most of last year, the Swiss Army Knife was viewed as the steal of the 2018 draft after recording 100+ tackles, 3.5 sacks and 3 interceptions in a Defensive Rookie of the Year-worthy season.
Best bet: Matthew Stafford (+800)
Value bet: Derwin James (+4000)