Can Purdy Win Rookie Of The Year In Six Games?

brock purdy jumping

Extrapolate Brock Purdy’s stats from his first three NFL games (two full games, one he entered midway through the first quarter, and one in which he threw nine passes in garbage time, so let’s call it three games total) over the 14 that some other quarterbacks have played, and here are his projected stats:

3,164 yards
28 TDs
9 INTs

His 66.7% completion rate, 100.6 rating, and 67.9 QBR stay the same, of course.

The completions would have him tied for 11th among qualified starters, the completion percentage 11th, the pass attempts 12th, the yards 13th, the touchdowns fourth, the rating seventh, and the QBR fifth.

The extrapolation is far from an exact science, in part because there’s a lot of possible fluke baked into a sample size of three football games. But if you’re willing to go with it, Purdy’s stats line up somewhere in the vicinity of Geno Smith and Trevor Lawrence. He wouldn’t be an MVP candidate, but if you’re ranking the best QBs in the league this season, you’re making a case to slide him in around the bottom of the top 10.

Oh, and his team is 3-0 with him under center, if you care about that sort of thing.

Purdy is a rookie, as you probably know, since his “Mr. Irrelevant” draft status (last player taken) has been referenced in every sentence written or spoken about him in the past couple of weeks. And if he’d been the Niners’ starter all season with results and stats even remotely close to this, he’d have the Offensive Rookie of the Year award sewn up.

But since there are only three games left to play and he’s going to end up having taken the field for only about one third of the NFL season, OROY voters could find themselves with quite the conundrum to consider — just as oddsmakers do now.

Purdy, not even on any OROY odds boards two weeks ago, now has the fifth-shortest price almost anywhere you look. He’s left in the dust the only other quarterback candidate, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, whose odds range from +5000 to +7000. Here are the OROY odds, as of Monday morning, for the top six candidates at three leading national sportsbooks:

So Purdy is anywhere from 10/1 to 14/1. At PointsBet, which has relatively risk-averse pricing on everyone but frontrunner Garrett Wilson, Purdy was 22/1 before leading San Francisco to a win over Seattle last Thursday night.

Against the average rookie class, he probably wouldn’t be in the hunt right now, but Purdy appears to have a shot at OROY because no candidate has staked an emphatic claim.

Jets receiver Wilson has 67 catches for 966 yards and 4 TDs. Those numbers are solid, but a far cry from 2021 OROY Ja’Marr Chase’s 81/1,455/13. The Packers’ Watson has 25 catches for 401 yards and 7 TDs. Seattle running back Walker has 696 rushing yards and 9 TDs. Saints WR Olave has 63 catches, 940 yards, and 3 TDs.

Nobody is running away with it. And nobody in contention but Purdy is a quarterback (apologies, Mr. Pickett).

This is an unprecedented situation. Since 2000, the fewest games played by an Offensive Rookie of the Year winner was Odell Beckham Jr.’s 12 in 2014. Purdy will play half that many.

The 49ers host the Commanders in Week 16, visit the Raiders in Week 17, and are home against the Cardinals in Week 18. They should be favored in all three. For Purdy to have a shot at OROY, they probably need to win all three and have him play in all three (if San Francisco’s playoff seeding is locked in, it’s possible he’d sit in Week 18). It would help his case if Wilson puts up mediocre numbers down the stretch and/or the Jets miss the playoffs (they’re presently one game out).

It seems a realistic proposition. Is it realistic enough to justify a +1400 wager? That’s for the bettor to decide. And then it’s up to a panel of 50 members of the Associated Press to vote and determine the fate of the wager.

With that, let’s take a look at the opening lines and other assorted betting odds and ends for Week 16.

The consensus lines

Most lines vary by half a point in either direction, with slightly different vigs from book to book, so it’s always advisable to price-shop at all the available mobile sportsbooks in your state. But here are the consensus (most commonly found) spreads for each of the 16 games in Week 16:

Jaguars at Jets (-1)
Bills (-9) at Bears
Saints at Browns (-3)
Texans at Titans (-7)
Seahawks at Chiefs (-10)
Giants at Vikings (-3.5)
Bengals (-3.5) at Patriots
Lions (-3) at Panthers
Falcons at Ravens (-7)
Commanders at 49ers (-7)
Eagles at Cowboys (-1.5)
Raiders at Steelers (-2)
Packers at Dolphins (-4.5)
Broncos (-1) at Rams
Buccaneers (-4) at Cardinals
Chargers (-3.5) at Colts

Line move to watch

As always, lines involving QB health question marks or including the teams playing Monday night in Week 15 (Rams and Packers) are strongly subject to change. But if you’re looking for a game that doesn’t fit those criteria, how about the most heavily hyped game of the week, Eagles at Cowboys?

The line quickly shrunk from Dallas -1.5 to Dallas -1 at some books, and it would seem to have the potential to flip to Philly being favored. Logically, the Cowboys shouldn’t be favored, even at home, against a 13-1 opponent after nearly losing to the Texans and then collapsing against the Jaguars.

My hunch is that the bookmakers made the Cowboys the favorite to open the week because they were favored in the game all along on the look-ahead lines, and oddsmakers didn’t want to open up any wider of a “middle” opportunity than they needed to. But I suspect that middle is going to widen anyway.

Intriguing moneyline underdogs to consider

It’s too soon to say whether I get to roll out the “Red Hot Rasky” moniker or just go with “Lukewarm Rasky,” as last week’s big gold medal pick, Rams +295 at Packers, will get settled on Monday Night Football. So far, we had a winner with Jags +200 over Cowboys and a loser with Ravens +125 at Browns. If you’re reading this column Tuesday or thereafter, you’ll know whether Red Hot Rasky won big or Lukewarm Rasky broke even.

As for the Week 16 options, a quick note that I’m not counting the Eagles. They’re +105 at DraftKings as of time of writing, but you have to draw the line somewhere on what counts as an underdog — and +105 is south of that line. So here are this week’s best possible values:

Bronze medal: Raiders +130 (Betfred) at Steelers. Two 6-8 teams, both playing primarily for pride, and though Pittsburgh has the more clear-cut motivation — needing to go at least 2-0-1 to keep coach Mike Tomlin’s streak of never finishing below .500 alive — Vegas has the slightly superior talent. Either team at plus money would be worth a sprinkle in this one, and it’s the visiting Raiders who happen to have that underdog stamp.

Silver medal: Commanders +290 (FanDuel) at 49ers. For all the praise heaped upon Purdy, he is still just a rookie, making his third NFL start, and him playing like, ya know, a rookie, is always a possibility. Combine that with Washington being precariously positioned with regard to the postseason and thus bringing maximum motivation to Levi’s Stadium, and you have a dog worth backing at nearly 3/1.

Gold medal: Texans +275 (Unibet) at Titans. The Texans almost beat the Cowboys. They almost beat the Chiefs. They want so badly to play spoiler. And the Titans, banged-up losers of four straight, are eminently spoilable. Sure, Derrick Henry always tortures the Texans, but he’s nearly 300 carries into yet another crazy workhorse season. Maybe this is the week he looks human against Houston.

Textbook teaser candidates

Fans of the three-team (or more) teaser know what to look for: favorites of 6 or more who become very safe bets if you reduce the spread by about a touchdown. Here are this week’s options that fit the bill:

Bills: Can tease down to -3 or -2 visiting the loser-of-seven-straight Bears.
Titans: Can tease down to -1 or pick’em hosting the loser-of-nine-straight Texans.
Chiefs: Can tease down to -4 or -3 welcoming the loser-of-four-of-five Seahawks.
Ravens: Can tease down to -1 or pick’em at home against the loser-of-five-of-six Falcons.
49ers: Can tease down to -1 or pick’em in San Fran against the 0-1-1-against-the-Giants Commanders.

Pick three (or more), pick 6 points or 7 (or 6.5), and let the sweating of a +140 or so return begin. Despite the presence of Washington and Houston as “intriguing moneyline underdogs” in the above section, each of these five potential teaser legs has some appeal. The Bills seem the safest bet, so make them the anchor leg and go from there. (This will be a hilarious sentence to read next week when all of these favorites cover their teased lines except the Bills.)

Gadget plays

I’m looking forward to Saturday’s Bookmaker Disrespect Bowl between the Vikings and Giants, the two teams who’ve gotten sold short all season long on the odds boards (see Giants +4.5 at Washington this past Sunday, for example). The disrespect seems to have balanced out to give bettors a fair spread of Minnesota -3.5.
That Christmas Day three-game slate of Rams-Broncos, Cardinals-Bucs, and Dolphins-Packers must have looked spectacular to the networks before the season began. Now, however? The Rams-Broncos over/under of 35.5 feels like a microcosm of how most of these teams’ seasons have gone.
Do not bet -20000 favorites. Just don’t do it.
Who has the worst record against the spread in the NFL this year? Those stumbling, bumbling, overrated — but still NFC South-leading — Tampa Bay Bucs, who are 3-10-1 ATS. But unless you’ve been playing close attention to lines and betting, you’d probably be surprised to learn the next-worst team ATS is Kansas City. Despite an 11-3 IRL record, the Chiefs are just 4-9-1 with the points. They’re an ATS outlier, as the rest of the bottom six consists of the Saints, Rams, Packers, and Bears.
The Lions, meanwhile, are tied for the second-best ATS record at 10-4 and have covered in seven straight.
Speaking of Detroit, Jared Goff has entered the chat for Comeback Player of the Year. We’ve been warning you in recent weeks that massive favorite Geno Smith was vulnerable, and at FanDuel, for example, the Seahawks QB has suddenly gone from -700 to +110. Next is Christian McCaffrey at +200, and in third place, at +250, not even listed at most sportsbooks a week ago, is Goff. Although CPOY tends usually to go to players who’ve returned from injury, Goff in my view is actually representative of what a CPOY should be. He was once a successful quarterback, took his team to a Super Bowl, then fell off a cliff, got traded, and became the butt of jokes. He was perceived by many as on the road to Backupsville. But now he’s winning high-pressure games and putting up good numbers again, the way he did in 2017 and 2018. Not to minimize what it takes to overcome a serious knee injury and rush for a thousand yards, but what Goff is pulling off is the sort of comeback we don’t see nearly as often.

Photo: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY

Author: Ryan Gonzales