2022 NFL OPOY Candidates
are the 5 listed below. They’ve distinguished themselves with outstanding catches and impossible runs. A couple have taken abysmal teams and lifted them to at least compete, and some have had given offensive squads elevated to Super-Bowl contenders. Here’s what their credentials are, as well as their most notable statistics.
NFL OPOY Candidates Cooper Kupp LA Rams
The basics, Cooper Kupp has 64 catches for 686 yards in 7 games. Totals are great, but only 35% of last year’s totals through about 40% of the year’s games. Cooper Kupp started the year as a favorite for OPOY, and he remains probably the top pick. He came from a small FCS Eastern Washington college (some historical stats here), and he wasn’t even rated a top 100 player in 2020.
Fans want to know, “What makes Cooper Kupp so hard to stop?” (h/t to ESPN). His stats are still phenomenal though. PFF shows he’s catching almost 80% of his targets on opponents’ 50-20, and also 70% of when he’s targeted by his QB in the red zone. Despite continued efficiency, this year is only halfway over and there are other contenders.
NFL OPOY Candidates Tyreek Hill Mia Dolphins
The basics, Tyreek Hill made 69 catches for 961 yards in 9 games. Acquiring Hill was a tremendous addition for the Miami Dolphins. In the offseason, they made the trade for this game-breaker to pair with Tua Tagovailoa. Preseason, PFF had a great article about how he would transform the Dolphin offense. Their prediction is true thus far, he’s 1st in the league in targets, catches, and also yards. His best games this year were 188 last week (Lions) and 177 two weeks before (Vikings).
NFL OPOY Candidates Nick Chubb Cleveland Browns
First, the basics, Nick Chubb has carried 149 times for 841 yards this year. Nick Chubb came out of the gate hot this year. He started through four games, according to Gridiron Heroics betting writer Boris, with at least 100 yards each game. Chubb started at good odds for OPOY, as he opened at +2000 (along with Christian McCaffrey).
He’s been a real workhorse this year, as every year, (h/t Dawgs by Nature) with his carries over the last 5 years second only to Derrick Henry of the TN Titans. We’ll see if he can challenge these top two receivers for the OPOY trophy.
NFL OPOY Candidates Saquon Barkley NY Giants
First, the basics, Saquon Barkley has carried 163 times for 779 yards this year, according to ESPN. He’s on a historic pace in many ways, according to Giants.com . Through 4 weeks he beat the 4-game records of Tiki Barber and Rodney Hampton. Entering a big contract year, Barkley has been healthy in the Daboll-called offense. In preseason ESPN said, “this summer Barkley, the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, looks more like the player he was in the past than at any point last season.” The Giants have been surprisingly good this year, and continued success will help his chances.
NFL OPOY Candidates Josh Jacobs LV Raiders
First the basics, Jacobs had 121 rushes and gained 676 yards through 7 games this season. He started slowly, but set a Raider record with 140 rushing yards in 3 consecutive games. (full story on NFL.com) . His rushing is not just efficient, but also productive. According to Pro Football Focus, his 5 touchdowns are tied for 4th in the league and 5.6 average per rush are tied for 8th in the league. A loaded wide receiver corps was forecast to diminish the need for Jacobs. But his play has been the outstanding part of this forgettable Raiders season.
The player whose team makes a great playoff push will get the OPOY. These 5 candidates have stats that are comparable, but 1 or 2 highly-watched pivotal games may sway voters. Jacobs being part of a downtrodden Raiders team hurts his chances greatly. Chubb as well is on a team that may not make the playoffs. It’s most likely up to the other 3 candidates to distinguish from the crowd. Cupp is outstanding but it’s difficult to repeat as OPOY. On the other hand, Hill is paired with another great WR, Jaylen Waddle, and because Tua for the Dolphins is such a great QB, Hill may not get his fair credit. Be sure to watch the season for the great ending.