NFL gun-slinging quarterbacks for 2017
Quarterbacks who have finished atop the NFL in passing yards in the last decade is a short list. Only six players — Drew Brees (4), Tom Brady (3), Aaron Rodgers (1), Peyton Manning (1), Philip Rivers (1), and Andrew Luck (1) — can lay claim to the feat. Most of that same group are the perennial contenders to do it again in 2017. Here’s which quarterbacks should earn your prop bet wager:
Tom Brady (+400)
The five-time Super Bowl champion enters as the slight favorite, according to BetOnline. He’s two years removed from leading this stat and primed to finish first again with new target Brandin Cooks. The speedy Cooks will be flanked by other quick receivers like Chris Hogan and recently acquired Philip Dorsett. All three can work on the outside or in the slot, which will make New England a matchup nightmare for opponents.
Moreover, the season-ending injury to Julian Edelman won’t diminish Brady’s chances as many believe. This Patriots offense is still loaded. At Brady’s disposal will be the best red-zone target in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski, a slew of pass catchers out of the backfield, and the aforementioned speed demon wideouts. This is Brady’s prop bet to lose.
Aaron Rodgers (+425)
Rodgers led the NFL in this category last season. However, the last time a signal caller pulled off the feat in consecutive years was 2012 by Brees.
Akin to Brady, Rodgers weapons were upgraded over the offseason. Green Bay signed tight end Martellus Bennett away from New England. He is an immediate difference maker. When was the last time Rodgers had a playmaking tight end? Jermichael Finley in 2012? Bennett will fill that five-year absence and more for Rodgers.
Between Brady and Rodgers, it’s really a toss-up. Both are going to have huge seasons, but here’s one small reason we’re favoring Brady. He plays in the AFC East, with two teams — New York and Buffalo — that are in full-rebuild mode. The NFC North is far more competitive, which hurts Rodgers chances slightly.
Drew Brees (+600)
Brees, along with Brady and four other quarterbacks, are tied for most passing touchdown titles all-time at four a piece. But Brees’ window appears to be closing.
Unlike Brady and Rodgers, Brees’ team spent the offseason trying to lighten his load. The Saints added Adrian Peterson to a backfield that already includes Mark Ingram. Both will get plenty of touches and Brees is also without Cooks, his favorite target. One man’s loss is another’s gain.
At the end of the day, head coach Sean Payton is still a pass-first play caller and Brees certainly isn’t chopped liver. But he pales in comparison to Brady and Rodgers for this prop bet.
Ben Roethlisberger (+1200)
Big Ben is the only player on this list that has yet to lead the league in passing touchdowns. However, if you’re looking for a bang-for-your-buck selection, Roethlisberger is your guy.
Based on pure talent, no one in the NFL has a better supporting cast than Roethlisberger. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are arguably the best players at their position, Martavis Bryant is back from suspension, and JuJu Smith has superstar potential. Roethlisberger is the triggerman behind the league’s most explosive attack and at +1200, so that’s pure value.
The biggest obstacle facing Big Ben is health. He’s missed multiple games each of the last two years and at 35 years old, Roethlisberger has hinted at retirement during the offseason. Perhaps the gunslinger goes out in a blaze of glory.