With the new football season finally here, NFL fans will want an idea of how their team, and the current roster, is going to perform. This includes spotting which players to look out for, or if there are some who are currently being overpaid and need to step up their game.
But can last year’s stats give any indication of who these players might be? Well, the team at USBettingReport.com looked at every NFL player’s cap hit and yards gained during the 2022-23 season, to see just who are the most cost-effective players based on cost per yard.
Interested in finding out what we discovered? Just keep on reading! And stay close for the top mobile sports betting apps throughout the NFL season.
The Most Cost-Effective Quarterbacks
Given that the quarterback position is associated with leadership, this is probably the position where you most want a player who’s bringing value to the team — and at legal online sportsbooks. So, let’s find out which teams are lucky enough to have a cost-effective quarterback.
Taking the top spot as the most cost-effective quarterback is Davis Mills of the Houston Texans, proof that sometimes you get what you pay for.
After being selected in the third round of the 2021 draft, Mills stepped in as a rookie after Tyrod Taylor was hurt. Mills threw for 2,664 yards and 16 touchdowns, earning the starter’s job for the 2022 season. But neither new coach Lovie Smith or Mills was the answer for the Texans, who struggled to a 3-13-1 record. Mills lost his starting job in Week 12 for Kyle Allen, only for Mills to return as the starter two weeks later. Mills played 15 games for the team last season, throwing for 3,118 yards.
With one of the lowest cap hits for a QB last season at $1,186,633, his cost per yard was just $381 – making him the most cost-effective QB in the NFL. But Houston paid for that cost effectiveness in the standings and are hoping No. 2 draft pick C.J. Stroud — along with new coach DeMeco Ryans — can spark a turnaround this season.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ very own Jalen Hurts manages to secure second place, just missing out on the top spot, with a cost per yard of $444. This is thanks to a cap hit of $1,643,230 and boasting 3,705 passing yards last season. Having helped lead his team all the way to Super Bowl LVII and having a strong argument to be last season’s MVP, it’s no surprise to see him so high up. His Eagles will also be among popular in NFL betting promos this season.
In third is Brock Purdy, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and the only rookie quarterback to make it into the top 5. Having scored 1,374 passing yards along with a cap hit of $724,252, Purdy’s cost per yard works out at $527. No wonder he’s managed to transform his original final pick ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ nickname around.
The Most Cost-Effective Wide Receivers
By quite a long shot, Rashid Shaheed’s performance during the 2022 season (488 receiving yards) with a cap hit of $41,528, lands him top spot as the most cost-effective wide receiver, with a cost per yard of just $85. Currently signed to the New Orleans Saints, Shaheed was only part of the practice squad when the season began before being promoted to the active roster in Week 6.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown takes second, with a cost per yard of $880. With a cap hit of $1,021,313 and recording a whopping 1,161 receiving yards, it’s not too surprising to see the Pro Bowler in our top three.
Boasting a cost per yard of $999, thanks to a cap hit of $391,670 and 392 receiving yards scored, Isaiah Hodgins is the third most cost-effective wide receiver in the NFL, according to our research. Formerly playing for the Buffalo Bills, Hodgins was claimed off waivers by the New York Giants in November 2022, a decision that has clearly paid off.
The Most Cost-Effective Running Backs
When it comes to which teams are getting the best value-for-money on their running back, the waiver wire actually holds some promise, as we identified Jaret Patterson as the best back on the market. Despite only being signed to the active roster from the practice squad in January, he managed to score 78 rushing yards last season for the Washington Commanders, which put together with his cap hit of just $45,833 (the lowest cap hit of all the running backs in the NFL), resulted in him costing just $588 per yard. While Patterson failed to crack the Commanders roster out of camp this summer, a team should add him soon as the season gets under way.
Next up is Christian McCaffrey, who got traded mid-season to the San Francisco 49ers from the Carolina Panthers. Getting 1,139 rushing yards with a cap hit of $690,000, CMC’s cost per yard comes in at $606.
In the third spot is Atlanta Falcons running back, Tyler Allgeier. Scoring 1,035 rushing yards with a cap hit of $788,474, Allgeier’s cost per yard comes in at $762. In fact, his performances last year meant he set a new Falcons rookie record for the most rushing yards in a single season, overtaking William Andrews 1979 record of 1,023.
The Most Cost-Effective Tight Ends
As for the most cost-effective tight ends, T.J. Hockenson put on stellar performances for the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions, scoring a total of 914 receiving yards that, when taking into account his cap hit of $536,111, means his cost per yard was $587.
Following behind with a cost per yard of $1,306, we have Jordan Akins, who scored 495 receiving yards for the Houston Texans last season with a cap hit of $646,386. Set to play for the Cleveland Browns in the upcoming season, it will be interesting to see whether he’ll prove to be just as valuable for the Browns or not.
Also ranking among the tight ends offering the best value-for-money, third spot goes to Juwan Johnson of the New Orleans Saints. On a cap hit of under a million ($895,000), Johnson’s 2022 season record of 508 receiving yards, means his cost per yard comes in at a respectable $1,762. In fact, his previous season’s performance likely helped land him a two-year contract extension with the Saints.
The Most Cost-Effective Overall Offensive Players
Now we’ve touched on each position individually, just which overall offensive players are truly worth their price tag, or even being undervalued?
Looking at his performance of 488 yards gained, while having the lowest cap hit in the entire NFL, Shaheed’s cost per yard of $85 really is astounding. Luckily, his performance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the New Orleans Saints, with his cap shooting up to $870,000 for the new season.
Mills’ 2022 season cap hit of $1,186,633 was pretty low for a typical quarterback, although his current cap hit of $1,423,794 more accurately reflects his status as the Texans backup QB.
Rounding out the three most valuable offensive players in the NFL is Hurts. Again, Hurts has a relatively low cap hit of just $1,643,230, which, when divided by his 3,705 passing yards, results in a cost per yard of just $444. Given how pivotal he was in getting the Eagles to the Super Bowl, it’s not a shock his cap hit has risen for the upcoming season by almost 275%, all the way to $6,154,286.
This data looks at every offensive player in the NFL (QB, WR, RB, TE) and evaluates the ‘cost per yard’.
In order to find the most valuable players in the NFL we analyzed all quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs and tight ends by how much they got paid last year, according to Sportrac’s figures on how much of cap hit they took up, and the number of passing/rushing/receiving yards based on ESPN’s official statistics from the 2022 season.
To work out the cost per yard, we divided the cap hit by the amount of yards the player got.
To make sure the data isn’t skewed, we removed the following from the ‘positions list’:
All QB’s that didn’t get more than 500 yards.
All WR’s that didn’t get more than 100 yards.
All RB’s that didn’t get more than 75 yards.
All TE’s that didn’t get more than 75 yards.
Data correct as of Aug. 16, 2023.
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