Oct 18, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is congratulated by Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel after a touchdown run during the second half against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Henry favored as Comeback Player of the Year

Which player who was felled by injury last season or who turned in a terrible performance is due for a major rebound this season? Figure that out and you could bank some cash on the Comeback Player of the Year futures.

Last season Joe Burrow was a deserved winner of the award. In 2020 as a rookie Burrow’s season was cut short after a major knee injury. Burrow returned in 2021 and lit it up while leading the Bengals to their first playoff berth in six years and their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988.

Derrick Henry an easy favorite

Derrick Henry being listed as the Comeback Player of the Year favorite should come as little surprise. In 2020 Henry become only the eighth running back in NFL history to surpass the 2000-yard mark in a single season. Last season a foot injury limited him to only eight games. If Henry can return and come close to another 2,000-yard season, he could easily run away with the award.

Brian Robinson has a shot?

Too soon for that headline? The oddsmakers listing Brian Robinson next at +600 may be a bit of a surprise considering he’s a rookie and hasn’t played a single game in the NFL. That being said, if Robinson can comeback and play this season after being shot twice in the leg in August he could be award worthy.

Winston and McCaffrey return from injury

New Orleans’ quarterback Jameis Winston is also listed at +600 and he’s followed by Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey at +700. Both are looking to bounce back from injury plagued seasons.

After acting as Drew Brees’ backup in 2020 Winston was ready to takeover as starter last season. Unfortunately, a knee injury ended his season after only seven games. Winston has the talent to put up big numbers, but he’s also known for putting up big numbers in the interception column. If he can get the Saints back in the playoffs, he could get some award consideration.

McCaffrey is easily a contender for the award after injuries have limited to only 10 games the last two seasons. McCaffrey is a duel threat out of the Carolina backfield and if he can finally stay of the field for a full season he could put up huge numbers and easily snag this award.

Etienne a dark horse

A true dark horse, and maybe one of the best value bets for Comeback Player of the Year award is Jacksonville running back Travis Etienne at +3000. He’ll be making his NFL debut this season after missing all last year due to a broken foot. Etienne has nowhere to go but up, and the same can be said for his team he Jaguars.


Archived NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds article from Aug. 24, 2020

Last season’s major slump or horrible injury can be this season’s big rebound, making NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award futures odds an annual rite of betting passage.

Alex Smith earned the honor by rebounding from a horrible injury and extended layoff. In 2019, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill parlayed a comeback season into a huge contract. He claimed the award after taking over the starting QB job in Tennessee last year and leading the Titans to the playoffs. Tannehill was the second straight QB to win the award following Andrew Luck in 2018 and the fourth QB to win it in the last eight years.

The co-favorites on the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award futures at FanDuel were both quarterbacks: Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and Washington’s Alex Smith.

Dak or Saquon?


Dak Prescott enters the season as the overwhelming favorite to win the comeback player of the year award at +200 according to FanDuel, and rightfully so. He only played in five games last season but was leading the NFL in passing yards before he went on season-ending IR. Prescott is currently not practicing due to a shoulder injury but should be ready to go for Week 1. He has all the talent in the world surrounding him. If he can stay healthy, he could have a big year. 


Saquon Barkley is already in his fourth season and hasn’t flashed his natural ability since his rookie campaign. His second season was mediocre to his standards, and he only played in two games last season before tearing his ACL. Sitting at +700 to win the award at FanDuel, Barkley will have the best offense he has ever had around him this season. The revamped wide receiver room should open up some holes for Barkley.


Last season was a flat-out disaster for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles went 4-11-1, and Wentz was arguably the worst quarterback in the league. He was shipped to Indianapolis this offseason, where he will be reunited with his former offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Under Frank Reich in 2017, Wentz finished second in the NFL with 33 passing TDs and played three fewer games than the leader Russell Wilson who had 34. If Wentz can recapture some of that 2017 magic, watch out. 

Check out the full list of NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds at FanDuel and DraftKings and earn a generous bonus.

2020 Archived article

Roethlisberger is coming off a lost season in which he played only two games after suffering an elbow injury that required surgery. If Roethlisberger can put up his usual numbers and lead the Steelers back to the playoffs, he could be a shoo-in for the award.

Smith hasn’t seen an NFL field since 2018. Near the end of the NFL season, he suffered a gruesome fracture that nearly killed him. It was a miracle that he didn’t lose the leg. Smith’s comeback story has player of the year written all over it if he can perform well enough on the field to back it up.

Following Roethlisberger and Smith on the comeback player odds list at FanDuel are two more quarterbacks: New England Patriot Cam Newton at +400 and Detroit Lions Matt Stafford at +800.

Newton’s 2019 season with the Carolina Panthers was cut short as he appeared in only two games due to a Lisfranc fracture. He has plenty of pressure on him in New England taking over for Tom Brady. However, if he can pull it off and New England remains a dominant force, it could lead to comeback player honors.

Stafford also missed a good portion of 2019 due to injury. A fracture in his back limited him to only eight games. One thing to remember about Stafford, is that he basically carries the Lions’ offense. Maybe that’s how he broke his back. If Detroit has any success this season, he’ll likely get the credit which could lift his award chances.

The first non-quarterback to show up on the odds list is Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt at +1000. Watt appeared in only eight games last season due to a torn pectoral muscle. Watt has been plagued by injuries and has only played in 32 games in the last four seasons. If he can regain his old form – and that’s a big if – he could be a popular choice.

There’s one player on the odds list that already has a NFL Comeback Player of the Year award on his mantle. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski at +1100. He won the award in 2014. He has another shot after returning from retirement to join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

A few other notable names on the odds list that could be worth taking a flyer on include A.J. Green (+2000), Nick Foles (+2500) and David Johnson (+3000).