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NFL Preview: Best Bet to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards
The NFL is filled with so many talented wide receivers in a league that continues to become more pass-happy than ever. With that being said, which receiver has the best chance to finish the season as the league’s leader in receiving yardage? Barring injury, there is one clear and obvious bet to make for this market: Minnesota Vikings budding superstar wide receiver, Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson is entering his third NFL season, a season we typically see talented young receivers take that next step to joining the league’s elites at the position. Most recently, players such as Chris Godwin, Calvin Ridley, Michael Thomas, Cooper Kupp all experienced major breakthroughs in their third season. Although, Jefferson is not your typical third-year wide receiver. He has been an elite force in the league since day one, recording the most receiving yards by a player through his first two seasons. He is a special talent who should only continue to ascend in his third year.
Not to mention, Jefferson’s role within his offense’s system cannot be overlooked. He is ninth in the NFL in targets per game since entering the league, and during that time, Minnesota was typically known as a run-first offense under former head coach Mike Zimmer. Now in a more modern offense that emphasizes passing the ball, his weekly ceiling for targets is limitless. The Vikings have a new head coach in Kevin O’Connell, whose offensive scheme just helped Cooper Kupp put up the greatest statistical receiving season the league has ever seen in Los Angeles. The talent for Jefferson was never in question, it was the play-calling which seemed to hold him back at times (which is hard to believe given what he’s done under the circumstances during his first two seasons).
In 2021, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was amongst the league’s leaders in rush attempts on first-and-ten and second-and-ten situations. This slow methodical approach made it tough for the team to move down the field at times. Now, O’Connell wants to play in a more up-tempo style offense: “we will pass in a smart, aggressive way…” says O’Connell about the Vikings offense heading into the 2022-23 season.
The Vikings will be adapting to a more modern playstyle of the NFL under their rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell. Jefferson is coming off a season where he finished second in the NFL in receiving yards, while being in a run-first offensive scheme. If you combine his talent, his workload and his team’s new offensive approach, it is easy to see why he shouldn’t have any trouble taking that third-year leap we have seen so many young talented wide receivers take in recent years.
Jefferson and Cooper Kupp are the two favourites coming into the season to lead the NFL in receiving yards and for good reason. Even as the co-favourite, I am a big fan of this market value: Jefferson can be found at BetRivers (+850).
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