DraftKings ‘The Sweat’: Breaking down player award predictions for upcoming NFL season

The 2022/23 NFL season may still only be a few months away, starting September 8th, but that hasn’t stopped DraftKings predicting which players will end the season with the most prestigious individual awards

DraftKing contributors Geoff Ulrich and Pearce Dietrich gave their opinions on who is most likely to walk away with the NFL MVP, offensive player and defensive player of the year awards by the time the season ends in January, 2023. 

NFL MVP Award – Will a new team help Russell Wilson’s chances of a first MVP trophy?

The quarterback position in football is paramount to the game, and is a major reason why the NFL MVP trophy is year-upon-year dominated by the best quarterbacks in the game. 

DK sportsbook lists Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen as the early favourite for the award at +700, with former Superbowl and MVP winner Patrick Mahomes behind him at +900. But Ulrich offers an alternative to the betting favourites; Denver Broncos’ Russell Wilson

Former Seattle Seahawk Wilson left the team via a trade this offseason and the former Superbowl winner is looking to rediscover his form in Denver. 

“I still think Russell Wilson has an MVP season in him,” remarked Ulrich, who shied away from backing former offensive rookie of the year, the 24-year-old Justin Herbert who is expected to make another impressive leap this coming season. 

NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award – Will Cooper Kupp maintain his incredible performances from last season?

Last NFL season was a special one for the LA Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Not only did he take home the offensive player of the year award, he helped his Rams team win the Superbowl walking out as Superbowl MVP. 

On top of that, Kupp also led the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, making his first Pro Bowl appearance in the process. 

But will Kupp be able to maintain in what many believe to be the absolute peak season for the wide receiver; Dietrich is not too sure. 

“We could see Allen Robinson turn into the star receiver we’ve all been waiting on, so when the Rams start running this could be the year that one of those running backs becomes a star – that would see his (Kupp’s) workload regress,” commented Dietrich. 

NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award – Can Khalil Mack bounce back to win a second DPOY?

Like with most NFL awards, narrative plays a strong role in a player’s chances of winning an award. 

Aaron Donald is looking to make it four defensive titles after last season’s Super Bowl triumph. T.J Watt is aiming to follow in the footsteps of older brother J.J and catch up to the three awards he has won, whilst Myles Garrett looks to secure his first defensive title honour after years of impressing on the defensive end in Cleveland

All three aforementioned men are joint-favorites at +700 to win this upcoming season’s defensive player of the year award. But a name who isn’t getting as much love from the sportsbooks is Khalil Mack. 

Mack was recently traded to the LA Chargers and is one of the most decorated defensive players in the past decade. With the outside linebacker turning 31 in February, Dietrich believes Mack can still go on to do impressive things in LA. 

“I’m surprised to see him high up on the order, I think there’s a good reason to believe in him,” commented Dietrich. 

“He looked fine in the games that he played last year, wasn’t surrounded by a really good defense. Now he’s going to be surrounded by a pretty good defense. The Chargers have also brought in inside linebackers which frees Mack up to go for more of the stats.

“You’ve got to win and be a good defense to win this award, I think the Chargers will and he’s (Mack) not that old, he’s not that removed from his previous defensive player of the year award. He’s got the comeback narrative, everything is there.”