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2 49ers among favorites to win Player of the Year awards

Jul 8, 2024 at 7:56 AM

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Christian McCaffrey is the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, while Nick Bosa earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors after the 2022 season. As the upcoming season approaches, DraftKings Sportsbook sees the potential for both players to secure their second career selections.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill (+700) of the Miami Dolphins is the only player with better odds than McCaffrey (+750) to win NFL Offensive Player of the Year this season. McCaffrey's award-winning 2023 campaign included his second career season surpassing 2,000 scrimmage yards. Additionally, he earned an NFL-leading 1,459 rushing yards and a league-topping 21 total touchdowns.

McCaffrey leads a crowded 49ers running back room that includes Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, and newcomer Isaac Guerendo. Despite the impressive depth behind him, McCaffrey's determination to stay on the field resulted in him leading the NFL with 339 touches. Head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed this situation last month.

"We have guys that can run the ball," Shanahan said. "We have to protect Christian from himself. He doesn't like to ever come out, no matter what the situation is, and I do think that's something we could protect him with more. When you are such a threat in the pass game, it's a little bit different. And when you get touches from a running back, a lot of times you're the last choice, just everyone's deep, and you throw it to a checkdown."

However, this doesn't mean the coach is opposed to his star running back maintaining a significant workload.

"Man, I'm glad he was out there for that checkdown," Shanahan continued. "That means no one's around, and he is getting up the field, and he is as good of a threat on a checkdown as there can be. But if he's just taking the wear and tear with 20 carries and stuff every game, and he's definitely good enough to do that, and he has proved he can stay healthy. But you'd like to take some of that off of him and give it to other guys also."

Bosa's award-winning 2022 campaign included a career-high and NFL-leading 18.5 sacks. Although his sack total dropped to 10.5 last season, Bosa admitted that his lengthy contract negotiations likely contributed to his slow start, something the 49ers hope won't be the case with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, the latest player seeking a rich contract extension from the team.

Despite the production drop, Bosa still earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, he is tied with Maxx Crosby (+700) of the Las Vegas Raiders for the third-best odds to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Only T.J. Watt (+550) of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Micah Parsons (+550) of the Dallas Cowboys have better odds. The most recent award recipient, Myles Garrett (+800) of the Cleveland Browns, has the fifth-best odds.

In May, Bosa noted that he feels healthier than ever as he gears up for his sixth NFL season, hoping to build upon his last two seasons.

"I feel really good," Bosa shared. "I think it's been one of my better offseasons of just kind of it was a long year, so I took it nice and slow to get back into it. I'm not as young as I once was, so I'm taking it a little slower. But everything's great. I'm feeling as good as I've felt."

With both McCaffrey and Bosa poised for potentially standout seasons, the 49ers' chances of making a deep playoff run and once again contending for a Super Bowl look promising.
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