The award races are beginning to take shape as we head into Week 11 of the NFL season. The Rookie of the Year races is coming down to a couple of guys for each award. The New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks are the two standout teams when it comes to rookie performers. General managers Joe Douglas and John Schneider deserve a lot of credit for each of their respective teams’ 2022 draft classes.
We’ll cover each rookie award race and then give our best bets.
2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Breakdown
Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker is the favorite to win this award. The second-round pick out of Michigan State is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in his first 9 games in the league. His team is also first place in the NFC West, which has been a large contributor to Walker earning the title of ‘favorite’ in mid-November.
Dameon Pierce is the only other legit contender in this race. Pierce has run for 772 yards this season. The Texans running back has had a higher productivity level than Walker this year, but his team’s record isn’t building him a good case. At 1-7-1, the Texans would own the #1 overall pick if the season ended today.
Pierce still has a chance to catch Walker in this race. He’ll need to keep up the stellar play while hoping Seattle slips in the standings. Whether or not Seattle earns a playoff spot will be a large contributor when it’s time to hand out this award.
Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson has the fourth-best odds, which are +2500 on BetRivers. Wilson has been a big producer in the Jet’s offense. The rookie has put up multiple 100-yard performances but has also put up a couple of duds in the stat sheet.
The receiver has no shortage of talent but it seems like he’ll have to take his game to another level down the stretch if he wants to be in contention. His teammate, running back Breece Hall, was the favorite at one point. A torn ACL in Week 7 would unfortunately end his rookie season, along with his Rookie of the Year hopes.
2022 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Breakdown
Jets Cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner is the leader in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. Gardner has been a lockdown corner this season after being taken fourth overall in the draft. The rookie has 2 picks and leads the league with 13 pass breakups on the year. The best odds for Gardner are on FanDuel where he’s listed at -150.
Tariq Woolen is in contention for this award. Woolen has 5 interceptions on the year including one this past Sunday that came off Tom Brady. The 5th round pick was not expected to be in contention for this award, but he’s been a key reason why the Seahawks are in first place in the NFC West. Tariq Woolen’s best odds are on BetRivers where he’s listed at +400.
The 2022 first-overall pick, Aidan Hutchinson, is putting together a solid season in Detroit. Hutchinson has 5.5 sacks on the year, good enough to place him 3rd in the Defensive Rookie of the Year odds. FanDuel has the longest odds for Hutchinson, which are listed at +1100.
New York Giants edge rusher Kayvonn Thibodeaux is also on the board. Thibodeaux only has one sack this year but has done a good job putting pressure on the quarterback. At +4000 odds he’s a long shot, but he gives the Giants a promising future.
Who to Back?
It appears oddsmakers are putting a high value on team performance for the Rookie of the Year award. If this wasn’t the case Dameon Pierce would likely stand as a favorite right now. He’s still a great bet in this race. Pierce’s productivity level has remained constant and he could end up with 1,500 yards on the ground this year. Meanwhile, Kenneth Walker is coming off a poor performance in his team’s loss in Munich. At +200 odds, Pierce is a better bet, given you’ll only be able to find Walker in minus money.
The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year race is much simpler. Despite the sensational season Tariq Woolen is having, this award is Sauce Gardner’s to lose. If Gardner can remain healthy for the remainder of the year and the Jets earn a playoff spot, he should be a lock to take home the rookie hardware.
Jets fans have been waiting a long time for a draft class like this one.