The Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year races have taken shape through the first half of the season. With nine weeks of the regular season remaining, it's time to analyze the favorites according to the latest odds for who'll win the award (via Caesars Sportsbook), along with our favorite sleeper for each.
Offensive Rookie of the Year odds
- Texans QB C.J. Stroud: -800
- Rams WR Puka Nacua: +700
- Lions RB Jahmyr Gibbs: +1500
- Falcons RB Bijan Robinson: +1500
- Vikings WR Jordan Addison: +2000
- Titans QB Will Levis: +2000
Stroud has led a Texans team that held the No. 2 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft to a 4-4 record through the first half of the season. He has had his Rookie of the Year moment leading Houston to a comeback victory with 46 seconds remaining against the Buccaneers. His production has not been the result of a nickel and dime offensive attack. The Ohio State product has the fifth-highest air yards per attempt (8.5), according to TruMedia.
Stroud's rise has come as Nacua has fallen off pace a bit and Robinson has fallen off even further. When Cooper Kupp returned from injury, many wondered how that may impact Nacua. Prior to Kupp's return, the rookie averaged 9.75 receptions for 125.25 yards on 13 targets per game. Since, he has averaged five receptions for 62.5 yards on 8.8 targets.
Gibbs has been given more opportunity over the past two weeks without David Montgomery and his production has skyrocketed. The concern is that his usage will dip when Montgomery is available once again.
When removing the high and low outliers of Robinson's season, he is averaging 15.3 touches per game for 77 yards. The No. 8 overall selection has fumbled twice as well. At this point, it is Stroud's award to lose.
Addison's situation is similar to Gibbs' in the sense that he has been the beneficiary of an injury at the position. The rookie from USC has made the most of increased opportunity as a result of the Justin Jefferson injury. Will he sustain that production when Jefferson returns?
Sleeper: Dolphins RB De'Von Achane (+3000)
For any sleeper to become a possible OROY winner, Stroud will have to come back down to earth a bit. If he continues his current level of play, then he is going to run away with the award. Achane has only played in four games but he averaged 131.75 all-purpose yards. If he returns from injury soon and continues to produce, then he could have a shot.
The other player to consider here is Levis, who has played well in his first two starts. There is a lot of ground to make up on Stroud, but anyone looking for value should consider the newest starter in the AFC South.
Defensive Rookie of the Year odds
- Eagles DT Jalen Carter: -300
- Seahawks CB Devon Witherspoon: +240
- Texans EDGE Will Anderson Jr.: +900
- Lions DB Brian Branch: +1200
- Chargers EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu: +2500
Since 2010, the breakdown of the Defensive Rookie of the Year winners is relatively split: four edge rushers, three defensive tackles, three linebackers -- Dallas' Micah Parsons being the most recent -- and three cornerbacks. Within that sample size, five of the past seven winners, including Indianapolis' Shaquille Leonard and Parsons, averaged 9.7 sacks between them. Leonard had seven sacks as a rookie, which was the lowest for a non-cornerback winner over that same time period.
The two without sack production were Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner. They combined for seven interceptions. The NFC has won the award in four of the last six years.
Carter's 14.9% pressure rate is the fifth-highest among interior defenders, according to TruMedia. He has just four sacks to show for his efforts but the No. 9 overall selection is consistently impacting the backfield and disrupting play.
Witherspoon carries himself like one of the top cornerbacks in the game. He is eager to help in run support, in addition to his coverage duties. Seattle has confidence in his ability to play to the field or the boundary. Opponents have completed 42.9% of passes directed at Witherspoon for 171 yards. He has as many interceptions as he has allowed touchdowns.
Carter and Witherspoon are the most likely recipients of Defensive Rookie of the Year. The third favorite, Anderson, has just two sacks this season and, although his play has better than the production, voters will want to see significantly more sack production.
Sleeper: Rams EDGE Byron Young (+4000)
Young leads all rookies with five sacks and two forced fumbles. His 13.6% pressure rate is the third-highest by a rookie this season, according to Trumedia. If he finishes with 10+ sacks, then he is going to be under consideration.