Usually, NFL Comeback Player of the Year goes to someone coming off a major injury.
That isn't always the case. Ryan Tannehill won in 2019, when the Tennessee Titans traded for him, he became their starter and had a fantastic season. All he came back from was being discarded by the Miami Dolphins.
But typically, you start to pick the award by figuring out who was injured last season and might rebound in a big way. Our Yahoo Sportsbook team looked at the NFL Comeback Player of the Year odds at BetMGM and offered our best bets:
FRANK SCHWAB: I liked Christian McCaffrey earlier in the offseason but his odds have dipped to +750. The value is gone. Therefore I’ll go down the list and take Travis Etienne at +3000 as my best bet. He missed his rookie season with a foot injury but has first-round talent and will be a centerpiece of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense. That’ll get him in contention for the award.
MARK DRUMHELLER: I’m with Frank on this one. If I was at a buffet, my plate would overflow with Travis Etienne at +3000. Jacksonville’s 41.3% early-down rushing success rate was 8th-best in the NFL last season. They won’t lose that with Doug Pederson’s two-tight end sets. Trevor Lawrence is set to face the easiest schedule of pass defenses this year. Etienne’s explosiveness and pass-catching ability will help him carve out a huge role in Pederson’s offense.
NICK BROMBERG: If Michael Thomas gets back to his dominating self he’s a great pick at +1100. I realize that’s a massive if, however. Thomas has played in five games since he had 1,725 yards in 2019. But his 28-game absence will endear him to voters if he comes back and posts a season with over 1,000 yards. And he will be the top target for Jameis Winston as long as he’s on the field.
PETER TRUSZKOWSKI: Baker Mayfield. We’ve seen his odds go from 16-to-1 to +800 over the past few weeks and I’m fully buying it. Mayfield played hurt almost all of last season, tearing his labrum in the first half of a Week 2 game. 2021 was putrid for Mayfield both on and off the field with his performance and the OBJ situation. However, we quickly forget that Mayfield was top-10 in a lot of efficiency metrics in 2020 and we thought the Browns finally had a franchise quarterback. Healthy now, playing for his NFL career and a second contract, expect Mayfield to have a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. The Panthers have a good defense and some elite skill position players in Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore. I think this team can surprise a lot of people, and if they do, Mayfield will get a lot of the credit.
GREG BRAINOS: I’m shocked that Travis Etienne is as high as +3000. He’s the best value on the board, followed by Allen Robinson at +2500. Sean McVay did everything he could to land the stud receiver, now Robinson finally has a decent quarterback and a competent offensive scheme to thrive in. I’m expecting a big bounce back from his awful 2021 stat line and think we’ll see something closer to the 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown campaign he enjoyed his second year in the league.