My preseason predictions aren’t completely dead, but they’re not looking great. I blame it on a combination of they’re injuries and my arrogance.
You have to admit, De’Von Achane had you thinking I might’ve nailed a darkhorse pick. Then he got hurt and went to IR, and a certain rookie QB started lighting up the field.
Here are my updated predictions based on where players are at the halfway point of the season, plus some personal judgment of my preseason picks.
Most Valuable Player
Lamar Jackson (+500)
At first glance, he doesn’t have the kind of dominant stats you might expect from an MVP frontrunner. He’s on pace to throw for about 3,700 yards and run for 800, but that’s only part of the story. If he stays on that current pace, the numbers won’t cut it, but my prediction is based on what I expect him to do down the stretch.
After starting the year fairly quiet, Lamar is finally starting to look comfortable in new OC Todd Monken’s offense. He also leads the league in completion percentage. He’ll continue to get better in the offense and develop rapport with Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Zay Flowers.
Previous prediction: Jalen Hurts
This is actually looking like it could be a good pick, as Hurts was +1100 when I picked him and is now second only to Patrick Mahomes at +320. But Hurts looks like there’s just something a little off, and Lamar is putting on passing clinics.
Coach of the Year
Shane Steichen (+6000)
There’s one with a tasty line. First, Steichen took Anthony Richardson, who many saw as more of a project player, and helped him come out looking really good. Then Richardson got hurt and the Colts kept rolling with Gardner Minshew II.
You could say “but they’re only 4-5,” but another way to say that is “holy crap, how are they 4-5?” More importantly, they have an incredibly weak schedule the rest of the season. After last year’s disaster, if they pull off 10-7 with a backup QB, Steichen needs to be considered.
Previous Prediction: Arthur Smith
Oof, that didn’t age well. He actually may be closer to the bottom than the top. The Falcons offense has gobs of talent, and somehow look terrible almost all the time. Smith was at +1400 before the season, now he’s at +11000.
Comeback Player of the Year
Damar Hamlin (-175)
His odds have actually dropped slightly, as he started the year at -285, but he’s been inactive for most of the season. I’m hesitant about this cause my previous prediction was that he would win it the moment he stepped on the field. The problem is that he’s only been active for a single game and didn’t play any snaps in that one.
Get him out there for an extra point so he can lock this one down.
Offensive Player of the Year
Tyreek Hill (+140)
He’s just off the pace of breaking the record for receiving yards in a season. If he doesn’t get that record, I think this will be extremely close, as A.J. Brown is right on his tail.
Previous Prediction: Christian McCaffrey
This is another one where my original prediction still has a great chance. McCaffrey started the year on a torrid pace, but has cooled considerably, especially through the Niners 3-game skid. That said, he started the year at +1100 and is now just behind Cheetah at +160.
Defensive Player of the Year
Micah Parsons (+190)
Sticking to my guns here, even though I think Myles Garrett, also +190, has been better to this point. I expect Parsons to string together some multi-sack games down the stretch.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
C.J. Stroud (-550)
With 14 TDs to just 1 pick, Stroud is making waves that have people talking about him as the overall MVP. If he keeps somewhat close to this pace and the Texans make the playoffs, he has to be in that conversation.
Previous Prediction: De’Von Achane
If he had stayed healthy, I would be standing by this pick. Achane absolutely blew up defenses from the moment he stepped on the field. But despite his absurd 12.1 yards per carry, availability has value.
He started the year at +3500 in this category, jumped up to +5000 after being a healthy scratch in week 1, then tore the league up until he got that all the way down to +450 before his injury. He now sits at +4600, a product of both his injury and Stroud’s rise.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Jalen Carter (-320)
I took a shot with my original pick and whiffed badly, so I’ll play this one safe. Carter has been a dominant force, which is rare for a rookie defensive lineman. It usually takes some time to develop the bulk and strength to hold up against NFL guards, but Carter came out firing. He’s got 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 TFLs at the halfway point.
Previous Prediction: Nick Herbig
In my defense, this was a predicated on T.J. Watt missing some time. He has not, and Alex Highsmith has been really good on the other side, leaving the rookie Herbig largely off the field. He’s shown flashes when he’s had opportunities, and I think he’ll still develop into a great player in the league.
After starting the year at +6500, Herbig is now at +25000. I’ll take the L on this one, but keep an eye on him in the future.