The most exciting player in the NFL is Lamar Jackson, but the second-most exciting player in the league might be Jameis Winston. Winston is having a wild year. In a make or break season for his career, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is leading the league in passing yards and interceptions. His 4,573 yards are 239 yards more than Dak Prescott, and his 24 interceptions are six more than Philip Rivers. He also has a chance to catch Lamar Jackson and lead the league in touchdown passes, giving us some interesting props.
Who will lead the NFL in passing yards in 2019?
Jameis Winston -1000
Dak Prescott +500
Since the quarterback with the third-most passing yards in the NFL (Philip Rivers) is more than 500 yards behind Winston, Prescott and Winston are the only two players with a real shot at being the NFL’s passing leader, barring injury.
Winston put some distance between himself and Prescott over the last two weeks by becoming the first quarterback in history to throw for more than 450 yards in consecutive games. He averaged more than 10 YPC against Indianapolis and Detroit, and his performance last week was even more impressive considering Mike Evans was out and Chris Godwin was injured during the game. Winston hit journeyman receiver Breshad Perriman five times for 113 yards and three touchdowns, and sixth-round pick Scotty Miller had a career day, too.
Although Winston is a massive favorite to lead the league in passing and is on pace to surpass 5,000 yards, he might be very shorthanded in the receiving corps for Week 16. Miller was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, and both Evans and Godwin are questionable to play due to hamstring injuries. If neither Evans nor Godwin play, Tampa Bay’s passing game will suffer, as teams can only lose so much depth.
Two mediocre games could be enough for Winston to win the title over Prescott, though. Dallas plays Philadelphia in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend, and a Cowboys victory would lock up the NFC East. Prescott would be highly unlikely to play against Washington in the season finale as Dallas would be locked into the No. 4 seed with the victory.
While both Dallas and Tampa Bay play mediocre or worse defenses in their final two games, the Cowboys’ opponents are slightly better in pass defense as measured by yards per attempt. Philadelphia (7.0 YPA) and Washington (6.8 YPA) are both better in the back than Houston (7.2 YPA) and Atlanta (7.4 YPA), giving Winston an edge in this area, too.
Given these factors, Winston should be a heavy favorite to win the passing title, but -1000 is a little much considering Tampa Bay’s injuries at receiver. Dallas is an underdog this week at Philadelphia, too, so Prescott will be gunning for him in Week 17 if the Cowboys fall to the Eagles.
Will Jameis Winston lead the NFL in TDs and INTs?
It’s hard to imagine any other quarterback catching Winston for the dubious honor of being the quarterback with the most interceptions. Only two players are somewhat close to Winston’s 24 picks: Rivers has 18 and Baker Mayfield has 17.
That makes this largely a single event prop. Lamar Jackson leads the league with 33 touchdown passes after tossing five touchdowns against the Jets in Week 15, but Winston is only three touchdowns behind him. Russell Wilson is five off the pace with 28 touchdowns, and three other quarterbacks have 26.
Jackson is probably only going to play one more game as Baltimore will lock up home-field advantage with a win over Cleveland this week. The Ravens are double-digit favorites, per the NFL betting odds, on the road against the Browns, and they won’t want to risk the future MVP’s health in the season finale against a potentially desperate Pittsburgh.
Winston will certainly play in Tampa Bay’s last two games barring injury. He missed games in 2017 and 2018, but he has been durable this season despite being sacked 43 times. Bruce Arians will give him the opportunity to surpass Jackson if possible, so "yes" is a great bet here.