NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds 2022-23

The Comeback Player of the Year award is always a fun one to watch. Players who are coming off of down seasons for whatever reason – usually missed time due to injuries – come back with a vengeance and light up the league. 2021 was a wacky year with the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of elite players suffered major injuries, so there are a number of candidates for the Comeback Player of the Year award this season. The best value on this future bet can often come prior to the start of the season, so let’s take a look at some of the players who have the best shot for a terrific comeback year.

2021 CPOY Recap

Joe Burrow won the NFL 2021 Comeback Player of the Year award following an impressive return to elite form following an ACL injury that prematurely ended his rookie season. Burrow ranked first in the NFL in completion percentage, second in passer rating, and threw for 34 touchdowns to 14 interceptions as the Bengals made the postseason for the first time since 2015. Burrow earned 28 votes while Dak Prescott trailed just behind with 21 votes.

CPOY Historical Analysis

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year award has an interesting past. From 1963-1966, the Associated Press awarded a Comeback Player of the Year to one player each from the NFL and AFL. The award was then dissipated before being reinstated in 1998. On one occasion, the award was split between linebacker Tedy Bruschi and wide receiver Steve Smith. Since 1998, a quarterback has won the award 14 of the 25 times (56%). That includes the past four years when Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, and Joe Burrow have won. A wide receiver has won 3 of the 25 times (12%), a defensive lineman has won 3 times, and a safety, tight end, running back, and linebacker have each won once. Since 2008, an offensive player has won 13 of 14 times (92.8%).

How to Approach 2022 CPOY Betting

In past years, we have seen players like Alex Smith come back from devastating injuries that have dominated national media storylines. Eric Berry was a Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor who was able to return to the NFL field. It may seem obvious, but the best media narrative is likely the one that will drive a player to win CPOY. However, this season doesn’t have one standout player with a, particularly inspiring storyline. Derrick Henry, Jameis Winston, and Christian McCaffrey are among the top favorites for the award, all of whom are coming back from significant season-ending injuries.

With the quarterback position winning 56% of the last 25 Comeback Player of the Year awards, I have a lot of interest in the quarterbacks at the top of the odds list. Jameis Winston had a 5-2 record as a starter before getting hurt last year and could lead the Saints back to the postseason. Daniel Jones could have a resurgent season in his first year with new head coach Brian Daboll. Mitchell Trubisky and Marcus Mariota could revitalize their respective careers as they compete for starting jobs with rookies in new landing spots. The two running backs at the top, Henry and McCaffrey, are still worth considering even with the trends leaning towards passers.

tennessee titans

RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

The current favorite for the Comeback Player of the Year award is Derrick Henry, the Titans’ running back who missed the final nine games of the 2021 regular season to a foot fracture. He wasn’t the same player in his one playoff appearance as he took 20 carries for just 62 yards, a 3.1 YPC clip, and a touchdown. However, he’s much further removed from the injury now and could be looking to return to his elite form. Over the first eight games of last season, Henry was well on pace to lead the NFL in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns for the third year in a row. Henry ran for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020 and was the First-Team All-Pro running back. If he can return to that level of play, it’s easy to consider him a shoe-in for this award.

new orleans saints

QB Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

Jameis Winston’s career appeared to have turned a corner through the first part of last year as he had led the Saints to a 5-2 record in his seven starts last year prior to his unfortunate season-ending ACL injury. Winston’s volume wasn’t crazy in those games – he only completed 14.8 passes per game in his six full starts (he was injured partway through that seventh game). However, the Saints also had very limited receiving weapons. That isn’t the case this year as Michael Thomas is pushing to regain his health, rookie Chris Olave should make an immediate impact, and Jarvis Landry helps round out the offense. Deonte Harty is also a high-level deep threat. If Winston can stay healthy and put it all together this season in a playoff push, he’s a strong bet to win this award.

carolina panthers

RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

In 2019, Christian McCaffrey earned a First-Team All-Pro nod as he compiled 2,392 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns in a historically productive season. Since then, he has only played in ten total games as he has dealt with a myriad of injuries. McCaffrey has been productive in those games – he’s averaging over 115 yards from scrimmage in those ten appearances – but concerns over the wear-and-tear of his aggressive workload will remain into this season. The Panthers will reportedly explore different options for handling his workload to keep him healthy throughout this season, but the recent injury history make him a risky bet for this award. Still, with the much-improved offensive line, it’s easy to see McCaffrey having an elite season if he can stay healthy.

new york giants

QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants

It’s a make-or-break season for Danny Dimes in New York as new head coach Brian Daboll attempts to see if the former first-rounder has any juice left. Jones has had his moments of solid play over the past few years, but overall, his stats have been incredibly underwhelming – he has just 21 touchdowns to 17 interceptions over the last two years. Daboll is a revered offensive coach and the Giants have enticing offensive talent with Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and rookie Wan’Dale Robinson. The Giants play in arguably the worst division in the NFL with one of the easiest schedules in football, so a Wild Card push isn’t out of the question if Jones performs well. If the Giants make the playoffs, history suggests their quarterback would be a strong candidate for this award.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. As the United States embarks on an exciting journey towards the legalization of sports betting, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to cover industry news, NFL and NBA odds, and more.

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