Best Bets To Lead The League In Rushing

Eddie Griffin

Written by: Eddie Griffin

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Read Time: 3 minutes

When it comes the rushing title in the NFL, it’s as much about opportunity as it is about talent. Derrick Henry proved that last year by rumbling for a league high 1,540 yards after the Titans finally committed to him as a lead back. Henry was one of only 2 backs to get over 300 carries last year. The other was Ezekiel Elliott. It’s no surprise they come in as the favorites to win the title this year. According to DraftKings, Henry comes in at +700 and Elliott’s number is +800.

Here are my five bets to win the 2020 rushing title, along with some sleepers.

Henry may have a great chance to win the title, but that doesn’t make him a good bet. His odds are the worst you’ll get of any one player, so let’s look at five others who may have just as good a chance with a better payoff.

1. Ezekiel Elliott

Sure the odds are only slightly more in your favor at +800, but Elliott’s opportunity is what makes him stand out. The Cowboys are a high-powered offense with Dak Prescott in a contract year and first round talent CeeDee Lamb now in the fold. They also play in the weak NFC East, meaning they should often have the lead. That means Elliott will eat. He’s durable, therefore a good bet for 16 games, and another 300+ carries.

2. Josh Jacobs

Guess who averaged the same yards per carry as Christian McCaffrey last year and an even better average than Elliott? Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, who only played in 13 games. Had he played in 16, he might’ve challenged Henry for all the marbles. Jacobs racked up 4.8 yards per carry in his rookie year and now will become an even bigger focal point for Las Vegas. Plus, the team spent a lot of draft capital on the receiver position. Put the new guys like Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards next to tight end Darren Waller, and defenses won’t be able to stack the box. You can bet Jacobs at +1400, which is a steal.

3. Chris Carson

The Seahawks offense is always centered on Russell Wilson, but with each passing year, they’re going to want to do as much as they can to keep him healthy. That means, run the ball. Carson averaged 4.4 yards per carry last year and finished with over 1,200 yards. He’s also unlikely to have to deal with giving carries away to Rashaad Penny, who’s out injured to start the year. Carlos Hyde has been added to the room, but the team was force feeding Penny at times because he was a first round draft pick. There’s no such pressure with Hyde. Carson’s number is +1600.

4. Joe Mixon

Mixon is not quite as sneaky of a pick in that his odds are +1200. That said, he was tied for 5th in the league last year in carries, so the opportunity is there. He has a rookie quarterback in Joe Burrow running the show, so they’ll want to lean on the run game as much as possible. Mixon racked up 1,137 yards last year and provided good health, should surpass that number this year.

5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Why wouldn’t fresh legs and an Andy Reid system make a gambler salivate? Edwards-Helaire was a stud at LSU and now brings his talents to the same system that saw Kareem Hunt, Damien Williams, & Spencer Ware put up big numbers. Obviously it’s a high-powered offense with a lot of mouths to feed, so leading the league will be tough, but Edwards-Helaire has a valuable number at +2000. The Chiefs are going to want to showcase their first round pick, so he’s going to touch the ball a lot.

Mid-tier magic – Raheem Mostert

He averaged 5.6 yards per carry last year and now takes over as the lead back in Kyle Shanahan’s system. That in and of itself is intriguing. Add in new left tackle Trent Williams and the numbers are going to be there. It’s just a matter of opportunity as Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon are also in a crowded running back room. Mostert’s number, like that of Edwards-Helaire, is at +2000.

Long shot – David Montgomery

He’s coming off a rookie year where he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry, but that’s why you can get good odds at +5000. Montgomery is the unquestioned lead back for the Bears, who have always loved to run the ball. A groin injury during camp brought up questions about his availability for the first few weeks, but he is now on track to play week 1.