The Best Bets to Lead the NFL in Passing Yards Based on numberFire's Projections

Using our projections as a guide, which quarterbacks make for good bets to pace the league in passing yards in 2018?

Last season, Tom Brady led the league in passing yards. The three previous seasons, Drew Brees paced the league in passing yards. In fact, Brees has led the league in passing yards in 7 of the past 13 seasons.

Aside from these two Hall of Fame passers, there are only three active players who have led the league in passing yards: Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, and, of course, Matt Schaub.

There's a good chance one of these five guys will lead the league in passing yards yet again. OK, not Schaub, but the other four have a good chance, according to Betfair's odds.

Quarterback Betfair Odds
Ben Roethlisberger +500
Drew Brees +500
Tom Brady +500
Matthew Stafford +800
Philip Rivers +1000
Aaron Rodgers +1000
Matt Ryan +1600
Kirk Cousins +2000
Jimmy Garoppolo +2000
Andrew Luck +2000
Patrick Mahomes +3300
Carson Wentz +3300
Alex Smith +4000
Jared Goff +4000
Case Keenum +5000
Eli Manning +5000
Ryan Tannehill +5000
Derek Carr +6600
Russell Wilson +8000
Marcus Mariota +10000
Andy Dalton +10000
Mitchell Trubisky +10000
Cam Newton +10000
Blake Bortles +10000
Deshaun Watson +10000
Sam Bradford +15000
Tyrod Taylor +15000
Josh McCown +20000
Joe Flacco +20000
Dak Prescott +20000
AJ McCarron +25000
Ryan Fitzpatrick +30000
Sam Darnold +30000
Josh Allen +30000
Jameis Winston +30000
Baker Mayfield +30000

Four of the five favorites are the aforementioned passing leaders. Aside from these four, which players look like possible values? Let's take a look at numberFire's season-long projections to see who stands out.

The Data

This table is sorted by our passing yards projections, and Brady is projected to lead the league again.

QuarterbackBetfair OddsnumberFire Projections for Passing Yards
Tom Brady+5004,944
Drew Brees+5004,725
Aaron Rodgers+10004,621
Matthew Stafford+8004,538
Ben Roethlisberger+5004,502
Philip Rivers+10004,478
Kirk Cousins+20004,290
Matt Ryan+16004,283
Jimmy Garoppolo+20004,202
Russell Wilson+80004,109
Carson Wentz+33003,980
Jared Goff+40003,971
Andrew Luck+20003,933
Sam Bradford+150003,890
Derek Carr+66003,873
Alex Smith+40003,864
Eli Manning+50003,846
Deshaun Watson+100003,846
Andy Dalton+100003,833
Ryan Tannehill+50003,782
Marcus Mariota+100003,765
Joe Flacco+200003,719
Blake Bortles+100003,661
Case Keenum+50003,613
Dak Prescott+200003,484
Mitchell Trubisky+100003,434
Jameis Winston+300003,421
Patrick Mahomes+33003,314
Cam Newton+100003,314
Josh McCown+200003,205
Tyrod Taylor+150002,767
Josh Allen+300002,063
AJ McCarron+250002,004
Ryan Fitzpatrick+30000978
Baker Mayfield+30000460
Sam Darnold+30000432

The Most Valuable Value

Among the top-10 projected passers, per our numbers, Russell Wilson has the highest odds on Betfair at +8000. If you were to bet $100 on Wilson and he led the league in yards, you'd win an astounding return of $8,000. The implied odds of winning a +8000 bet are just 1.23%, but our projections have him surpassing 4,000 yards.

The Seahawks' defense has seen the departures of Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman. The Legion of Boom may be renamed the Legion of Gloom (*insert Price Is Right failure sound*). Wilson's defense getting worse could force him to pass more than usual, and his passing attempts have seen an uptick each year of his career.

Wilson's career yards per pass attempt is 7.8. Let's optimistically estimate that Wilson will throw 600 passes this season. Multiplying 600 by 7.8 gives us 4,680 yards. That's more than Brady's 4,577 yards from 2017.

It may sound like a crazy amount of attempts for Wilson, but on Betfair, the Seahawks over/under on wins this season is 8. Over his career, Wilson has attempted more passes in losses, according to the Rotoviz Game Splits App.

Over the past two seasons, when Wilson has been passing much more than in his early years, the trend kept growing.

It would take quite a season for Wilson to lead the league in passing, but at +8000, it's well worth a shot.

Other Values and Longshots

Deshaun Watson is probably a popular pick at +10000. Last season, he scorched the earth, throwing 19 touchdowns in just six games before suffering a season-ending injury. He attempted 204 passes last year with a ridiculous 8.3 yards per attempt. Common sense says that Watson will come back down to earth a bit this season. But what if he is really this dang good? If you extrapolate 8.3 yards per attempt over 600 passing attempts, you get a monstrous 4,980 passing yards.

It's unlikely to happen, but at +10000, his implied odds are only 0.99%. He has a better chance than that to light up the league yet again.

Jimmy Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins are two other values projected to finish in the top 10 in passing yards. They are both listed at +2000 on Betfair. Cousins threw for 4,917 passing yards in 2016, so the upside is definitely there. However, his ceiling may be capped if Minnesota's defense remains strong.

Jimmy GQ is still a bit of an unknown, but last season he stepped in and threw for 1,542 yards in five starts for a team that was very bad. That total extrapolated over 16 games gives Garoppolo 4,934 passing yards. While that's rather unlikely, +2000 gives you 20 times your bet and is worth the risk.