Over the past couple of decades, the NFL has continued to veer away from the run in favor of an aerial bombardment. QBs have always been the marquee stars of football, serving as the focal point for offensive distribution. More than ever, running backs and fullbacks are expected to support the pass, instead of the passing game flowing from a ground and pound mentality.
Quarterbacks also benefit from the evolution of offensive systems designed to create space in the pocket and downfield. Prior to the 2008 season, Dan Marino was the only pivot able to break the 5,000-yard mark. Since 2008, four QBs have eclipsed 5,000 yards eight times. In 2017, consider these five quarterbacks before singling out your go-to pivot. The best thing about this prop bet is that it is entirely independent of your Super Bowl futures 2018 bets.
Drew Brees +325
New Orleans Saints – 4889-4918 yards
Absolutely no one was surprised when Drew Brees finished on top of the 2016 passing list. He completed the season with 5,206 yards, nearly 300 more than Matt Ryan, his closest competitor.
Few QBs match Brees’ consistency, especially when it comes to stacking impressive stats for fantasy players. Drew’s capacity to spray accurate passes around the field continued last year, the pivot missing only 9.7% of his throws – also tops in the league. Another QB may end up topping Brees, but his ridiculous level of consistency is the reason he’s the favorite to repeat as passing-yard champion.
Kirk Cousins +1600
Washington Redskins – 4710-4786 yards
The best dark horse for this particular category is Kirk Cousins, who’s projected by NFL and ESPN pundits to finish near the top of the charts in 2017. Despite favorable projections, sportsbooks have listed Cousins as a strong underdog, in some cases up to four times less likely to finish the season with the most passing yards. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon won’t lineup to receive throws for the Washington QB this year, but he still has a great quartet of targets in Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor Sr., Josh Doctson and Jordan Reed. As such, Cousins is a great pick because the payout is greater than the risk.
Tom Brady +550
New England Patriots – 4621-4728 yards
If you don’t feel that Brady’s the GOAT by now, nothing will convince you. Sure, hating the Patriots is entirely logical for anyone outside the state of New England, but their ability to field elite teams for more than a decade should be respected by friends and foes alike. Oddsmakers certainly respect what Brady and the Patriots bring to the table, assigning the second-best odds for top passing yards to Tom. Last year he was suspended for the hilarious deflategate incident, which made it impossible for him to finish tops in passing yards. He’s got a shot this year, even if Brees and Ryan are more likely to accrue greater yardage.
Matt Ryan +1000
Atlanta Falcons – 4396-4469 yards
Another superb value for top passing yards prop bets would be Matt Ryan, who almost became the legendary QB that prevented Brady from breaking Montana’s Super Bowl record. Ryan edged out Kirk Cousins for the second spot on top passing yard table, and finished more than 500 yards ahead of Aaron Rodgers. Considering that Ryan and the Falcons will never take their foot off the pedal again, Matt should finish top-three in passing yards, potentially unseating Brees in the process.
Aaron Rodgers +800
Green Bay Packers – 4287-4341 yards
Perhaps the best thrower of all current QBs, maybe even all-time, Aaron Rodgers legend continues to grow. There isn’t a man alive who possesses the same combination of power, creativity, and accuracy, enabling a multitude of miracle passes, including a trio of the most amazing Hail Mary plays witnessed by football fans. One of the few QBs with the ability to make up random schoolyard plays that work, Rodgers could easily win top spot for passing yards in 2017.
Odds courtesy of Bovada and Bodog