Best NFL Offseason Player Futures: Calvin Ridley to Lead the League in Receiving Yards, NFL Futures Friday

With the NFL draft in the books, I’ll be rolling out more Futures Friday content as we ramp up towards the start of the 2023 season. In this article, I’ll break down why I think Calvin Ridley is an intriguing upside play to lead the NFL in receiving yards at +4500 odds.

Calvin Ridley’s Rocky Road

It’s been a trying couple of years for Calvin Ridley. In 2020, Ridley appeared to be breaking out as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He had 1,374 yards and 9 touchdowns that year despite dealing with what was later revealed as a broken foot. A former five-star high school recruit and first-round pick in the NFL, Ridley was ascending into the elite player he was always meant to be.

In the 2021 offseason, the Falcons picked up Ridley’s fifth-year option and traded away Julio Jones, signifying their belief in him as the future of the offense. However, Ridley’s situation faltered amidst complications from his foot injury. He played in just five games that year before stepping away from the team to focus on his mental health.

In a Player’s Tribune article in March, Ridley opened up about his battles with anxiety and depression amidst injuries, a robbery at his home, and the burden of immense expectations.

During this time away from the team, Ridley placed an ill-fated wager on the Falcons that led to a year-long suspension. It was a far more costly bet than most anyone else has ever made. However, Ridley has said that he didn’t appeal the suspension because he felt that he needed the time off to work on his mental health and rehab from his foot injury.

Ridley’s Redemption

Fast forward to today, and there’s a new buzz around Calvin Ridley emanating from Jacksonville. Ridley has found a fresh start with his new team, and he’s the healthiest he’s perhaps ever been, both physically and mentally. He also has the luxury of being the WR1 for Trevor Lawrence who’s set for a third-year breakout into full-fledged superstar.

“I am a 1,400-yard receiver with a broken foot,” Ridley told reporters at the Jaguars’ offseason program in April. “So I know that I can make the plays and I know that I am one of the better receivers in this league.” Ridley also said that his time with the Jaguars has been “amazing” so far and spoke to his excitement about being part of the new team.

In the hero’s journey, trials and tribulations can lead to far greater accomplishments than ever thought possible. It’s impossible to read Ridley’s Player’s Tribune piece or listen to his interviews without feeling his genuine remorse and sheer determination to get back to the top of the mountain among his peers.

Can Ridley Lead the NFL in Receiving?

Last season, Justin Jefferson was the NFL’s leading receiver with 1,809 yards. He’s currently priced at +700 odds on DraftKings to repeat that feat this season and is tied with Ja’Marr Chase with the shortest odds. However, there are reasons to believe Ridley could compete for the most yards in the league this year.

Ridley had 1,374 yards in 15 games in his most recent full season in 2020 while playing on a broken foot. That year, Ridley was seventh among qualified receivers in yards per route run, 11th in PFF’s wide receiver grades, and 4th in fantasy points per game. He did that with a 35-year-old Matt Ryan – now he’s catching passes from a rapidly ascending Lawrence.

The Jaguars should be among the NFL’s most pass-heavy teams again this season after Lawrence ranked seventh with 584 passing attempts. In that offense, Christian Kirk, who is a solid wideout but lacks the same elite upside as Ridley, ranked 14th with 1,108 receiving yards. Ridley has enormous upside in this offense.

The Bet: Calvin Ridley to Lead the NFL in Receiving (+4500, 0.25 units)

Running NFL Futures Log

I’ll update this every week with futures picks hyper-linked to my past articles for your convenience. If there isn’t a link, it’s because I haven’t written an article for it yet. Here’s the running list as of May 26:

WagerOddsSportsbookUnitsDate Placed
Bijan Robinson to win Offensive Rookie of the Year+450DraftKings14/27/2023
Philadelphia Eagles over 10.5 wins-150DraftKings15/3/2023
Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South+300FanDuel15/5/2023
Chicago Bears to win the NFC North+350Caesars15/5/2023
Miami Dolphins to win the AFC East+350Caesars15/5/2023
Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West+275DraftKings15/5/2023
Calvin Ridley to lead the NFL in receiving yards+4500DraftKings0.255/26/2023
Arizona Cardinals under 5 wins-110Caesars1.15/26/2023
Tennessee Titans to Win the AFC South+400DraftKings16/7/2023
New York Jets under 9.5 wins+120Caesars16/15/2023
I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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