Odds tight, but still favor Jameis Winston for most passing yards
We are just past the halfway point of the NFL season, and the passing-yardage title is up for grabs. Fewer than 400 yards separate the top 12 passing leaders. This means there is plenty of value to go around on the most passing yards prop. Let's look at the top three candidates, as well as one longshot bet that could hit.
Jameis Winston (+250)The Buccaneers quarterback currently sits in third place in passing yardage, only 51 yards behind Philip Rivers. However, Rivers has played one more game than Winston and still has a bye week to come. Winston is fourth in passing yards per game and has gone over 300 yards passing in six of his last seven games. The Bucs' lack of a rushing game and a terrible pass defense means Winston needs to pass the ball to stay in games.
The upcoming schedule is a little bit of a mixed bag for the Bucs. Winston will face three pass defenses that rank in the top 13 in the league. However, he also faces four pass defenses that rank in the bottom eight in the league. Sticking close to average for these seven opponents will put Winston around 4,800 yards at the end of the season. That number would only be enough to win the passing title three times in the past 10 years.
Patrick Mahomes (+300)The Kansas City gunslinger missed two games and still has a bye week left. However, Mahomes is currently sitting at sixth place in passing yards and is only 190 yards behind Rivers. Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards per game (328.3), 16 yards per game more than Matthew Stafford in second place. If every quarterback in the league threw for their exact average the rest of the season, Mahomes would finish with 4,600 yards, almost 300 yards behind Dak Prescott.
The remaining schedule for the Chiefs does not bode well for Mahomes. He has two games against the Chargers (fifth in passing defense), along with games against the Patriots (second in passing defense), Broncos (fourth), Bears (15th) and Raiders (30th). Mahomes is unlikely to have enough opportunity to bounce back from two missed games and finish the season with the most passing yards.
Dak Prescott (+320)The Dallas quarterback is currently sitting in second place in passing yardage, only 39 yards behind Rivers, with one extra game on the remaining schedule. Prescott is also third in yards per game, behind only Mahomes and Stafford, who both have missed at least one game this season. The hiring of Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator changed the offense this season to be a little more pass heavy, and Prescott has thrived in it. This season he has put up three of the top four passing yardage games of his career.
The remaining schedule is average for the Cowboys passing attack. There are two extremely tough games against a top-three passing defense, four games against middle-of-the-pack passing defenses, and one game against a bottom-five passing defense. Prescott projects to finish around 4,900 yards and looks like the one to catch for the rest of the field.
Matt Ryan (+1000)If Ryan had not missed a game, he would be much closer to the favorites. He is fifth in yards per game and currently sits 13th in total yards, but he is only 500 yards behind Rivers with a game in hand. The Falcons have a bad defense, which will force Ryan to pass the ball more often down the stretch. Ryan gets to face the worst pass defense in the league twice, and he has a great history against the Panthers and Saints, who will be in three more of his remaining games. If Matty Ice can put up a couple 400-yard games and stay around 300 yards in the other matchups, he can finish the season around 4,700 yards and will be right in the hunt with the leaders.
PredictionI love Prescott as the third choice, as I strongly feel he should be the favorite. I believe only an injury or an absolute tear by one of the other leaders would prevent him from finishing the season on top.