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Every year, the NFL selects a Comeback Player of the Year. If that player is on your fantasy roster, you almost certainly got great value when selecting him.
So who will be this player in 2021? We asked some of our staff to predict who will receive this award. They were almost unanimous.
- Dake Prescott - 7 votes
- Christian McCaffrey - 1 vote
Let's see exactly what was said.
Ultimately, my vote is Dak Prescott. He played less than half of 2020 and was on the torrid pace with Dallas' big-time offense and questionable-at-best defense. With the graphic look of Prescott's injury, the national spotlight on Dallas in general, and Prescott's realistic outcome of being an elite fantasy producer at the most critical position who generally wins the award, look for Prescott to take home the award in 2021.
I agree with Chad about quarterbacks winning this award. Since the AP started giving the award again in 1998, 14 of the 24 winners have been quarterbacks. Since 2008, 9 of the winners of the award have been quarterbacks. Dak Prescott was my preseason pick for MVP last season, and his gruesome injury was a tear-jerking moment, which is a good foundation for a comeback of the year award. His shoulder strain has me concerned, but I think he is the odds on favorite. Joe Burrow is another quarterback candidate if Dak Prescott stumbles. If Saquon Barkley were to win the award, he would be the first running back to win since Garrison Hearst won the award in 2001.
Dak Prescott gets my vote if the league puts a heavy weight on quarterbacks. Otherwise, Christian McCaffrey is as good a candidate as any. If McCaffrey is the clear-cut best fantasy running back, it won't be easy to consider anyone else for the award. A dark horse candidate is Antonio Brown, but is he even eligible with a suspension being the reason for his absence?
Dak Prescott has the best odds to win this award if he is fully healthy from Week 1. He suffered an atrocious injury that many people watched unfold live from their couches, and as mentioned, quarterbacks tend to win this award. Most importantly, Prescott on "America's Team" - fans of all different teams will find themselves rooting for him this season. If Prescott isn't at full health, Joe Burrow is another candidate who could easily take home this award after suffering a torn ACL and MCL. Christian McCaffrey would be my favorite pick if he comes back and absolutely lights the league on fire as he always did when he was healthy.
Prescott by the narrowest of margins over Burrow. Both will bounce back to pre-injury form, but I expect more of Burrow's production to come in losses. Wins matter to the national media, and Prescott is better positioned to get them in the NFC East than Burrow is in the AFC North.
McCaffrey is my pick. I expect he will easily eclipse 2,000 scrimmage yards and be the Offensive Player of the Year.
This will be a case of the result producing the narrative necessary to justify who qualifies as the player of the year. What makes a good story? Alex Smith and Eric Berry were great stories. Ryan Tannehill, not so much.
The official definition is vague: "The National Football League Comeback Player of the Year Award refers to a number of awards that are given to a National Football League (NFL) player who has shown perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance."
I mean, the runaway favorite has to be Dak Prescott at this stage. His injury was gruesome, and it happened early enough in the year. Joe Burrow played more than half of the season and had a run-of-the-mill ACL injury. Would Jared Goff having a good season qualify? Cam Newton? Teddy Bridgewater? Carson Wentz? I cannot see an Alex Smith-like story this year, but Dak Prescott is as close to the line as possible for a feel-good story. Christian McCaffrey is a get out of jail story should Prescott fail to deliver.
I’m not getting cute here. The answer is Dak Prescott. Prescott began the 2020 season on an absolute tear. He averaged 422.5 passing yards per game in four healthy contests, threw for nine touchdowns, and ran in three more scores. In Weeks 1-16, out of 52 quarterbacks with at least 40 pass attempts, here are some of Prescott’s 2020 ranks:
- Pass TDs per game - 12th
- Adjusted net yards per passing attempt - 7th
- Completion percentage - 12th
- Yards per attempt - 2nd
The Cowboys have a questionable defense, a much healthier offensive line, and an incredible offensive environment that will accentuate Prescott’s strengths led by arguably the best wide receiver trio in football, consisting of CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. Simply put, Prescott is going to put up monster numbers this season when healthy, and the NFC East is squarely up for grabs as well.