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The NFL Comeback Player of the Year award is one that combines heartwarming stories with a high level of play on the football field. Early this season, there is a clear favorite to win this award. But the question early in the year is whether or not we will see enough play on the field from that favorite to justify his selection as the season wears on.
Here, we will break down the latest NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds and give our take on some of the most intriguing members of the race to claim this honor. Be sure to check back on a regular basis for the latest odds and updates.
Odds via bet365 as of September 12, 2023.
At this point in time, our choice to win Comeback Player of the Year is Breece Hall of the New York Jets. Hall suffered a season-ending knee injury last year, wrecking what had been a productive rookie season for the running back out of Iowa State. He has bounced back from that injury quickly, and is back producing from the beginning of this season for the Jets.
Hall had a huge game to start this season against the Buffalo Bills, which came in handy given that Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles for the Jets in that game. Hall kickstarted the offense of the Jets in that contest, breaking a long run in the first half that got the Jets on the scoreboard and started building confidence for an offense that sorely needed it with Zach Wilson forced to take over at quarterback.
Hall’s value in the Jets offense will be huge throughout this season now that Rodgers is expected to miss the remainder of the year. Expect his usage to be higher than expected as the Jets will likely lean more heavily on their running game, as their passing attack will struggle with a backup quarterback. That will mean a productive year for Hall, which will help justify his selection for this award.
There is also tremendous value on Hall to win this award relative to some of the other names on the list above. He is at +1600 to win Comeback Player of the Year after Week 1, and Hall’s combination of production on the field and the fact that he made a massive comeback from injury will make him close to the favorite before long.
While our pick to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award is Breece Hall of the Jets, there are several other names worth paying attention to in this race. Here, we break down some of those names and discuss their candidacies to finish ahead of Hall in the Comeback Player of the Year competition.
Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple head injuries last season, including a very scary concussion at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Miami Dolphins quarterback was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL before getting hurt last season and has picked up where he left off early this year.
In Week 1, Tagovailoa put up big numbers against the Los Angeles Chargers, as the Dolphins won a high-scoring game on the road. He has a long way to go to win this award, and his pass protection will need to hold up to keep Tagovailoa safe and healthy for the duration of the year. But the Dolphins' signal-caller is off to a good start and should be in the mix for this award for much of this year.
Another quarterback worth considering in the Comeback Player of the Year futures market is Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams. He and the Rams had a disappointing 2022 season, as the Rams failed to build on their championship season the year before, with Stafford getting injured down the stretch in the process. But Stafford led the Rams to an upset win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, and is now on the radar of bettors in this market.
Stafford’s stock could continue to rise if he can continue to deliver wins for the Rams without his top target on the field. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp is on injured reserve to start this year, making things more difficult for Stafford than expected going into the year. But if Stafford can keep putting points on the board without Kupp, he could snatch this award from the competition.
The heavy favorite for the Comeback Player of the Year award this season is Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills. After suffering a cardiac event during a game last season, Hamlin is back with the Bills and played throughout the preseason for Buffalo. But the question for his Comeback Player of the Year candidacy will be how much he plays during the regular season for the Bills.
It is entirely possible that Hamlin will win this award just for taking the field this season, and that would be understandable given what he went through late last season. But there is an argument to be made that he is not impactful enough on the field to justify winning this award for reasons that go beyond the sentimental.
It is not often that players are up for Comeback Player of the Year honors due to self-inflicted issues. But Calvin Ridley missed all of last year due to a violation of the league’s gambling policy. He is back on the field this season and looked great in the first week of the season for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ridley appears to be a preferred target for Trevor Lawrence in the passing game for the Jaguars. He may not have the backstory needed to generate support for this award. But the potential for so much on-field production could outweigh that concern in this futures betting market.
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In 2022, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year was Seahawks QB Geno Smith. After languishing in backup QB territory for six years, the 32-year-old quarterback broke out for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns on the way to a Pro Bowl nomination.
The exact criteria aren’t easy to nail down, but the gist revolves around the concept of overcoming massive adversity. A panel of 50 voters independent of the NFL will cast their ballots in January, with the award being announced in February.There is no confirmed date just yet but expect the ceremony to be held on February 7, 2024 — the same time margin as last season between the NFL Honors and the Super Bowl.
Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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