It’s looking like a two-horse race for the NFL rushing leader this year with Dalvin Cook the favorite at -125 odds and defending champ Derrick Henry at +110 odds, according to a recent update by DraftKings.

Dalvin Cook Derrick Henry NFL Rushing Yards Odds Leader Champion
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook currently leads the NFL in rushing yards. (Image: Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Despite playing seven games compared to Henry’s eight, Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook leads the NFL in rushing with 858 yards — 15 more than Henry through his eight games with the Tennessee Titans. Cook also leads the pack with 12 rushing touchdowns, compared to only eight by Henry.

Henry, the defending NFL rushing champion, racked up 1,540 yards in only 15 games last season. It’s difficult to secure back-to-back rushing titles in the modern NFL. LaDainian Tomlinson (2006 and 2007) is the only running back in the 21st Century to achieve consecutive rushing titles. Henry is currently +110 odds to secure his second NFL rushing title.

Dalvin Cook -125 858
Derrick Henry +110 843
Josh Jacobs +2000 588
James Robinson +2200 580
Kareem Hunt +2500 529
Clyde Edwards-Helaire +3000 586
Ezekiel Elliot +3000 572
Kyler Murray +3000 543
Alvin Kamara +5000 471
Aaron Jones +6000 447
Lamar Jackson +10000 469

Jim Brown holds the NFL record with eight rushing titles, which he secured within an astonishing nine-season period. Five players are tied for second with four rushing titles each: Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Steve Van Buren, Eric Dickerson, and OJ Simpson.

Rushing Rookies

Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 586 yards with the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. CEH finds himself ranked #4 overall on the rushing leaderboard.

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson rushed for 580 yards through eight games. Robinson sits in sixth on the leaderboard, and he’s been one of the lone highlights on a Jags team that’s won just one game.

Unlike CEH, who won a national title with LSU last season, Robinson flew under the radar while playing his collegiate ball at Illinois State. Every team in the NFL passed on him in the 2020 NFL Draft. Robinson signed with the Jags as an undrafted free agent.

QB Rushing Attack

A pair of quarterbacks are long shots to pull off the unthinkable, which is to lead the NFL in rushing. Lamar Jackson finished sixth last season while Kyler Murray is currently the NFL’s eighth-best rusher in 2020.

Murray is trying to become the first player in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for an additional 1,000. Murray is more than halfway there after posting sensational stats, especially for fantasy football owners. After eight games, Murray has 572 rushing yards. He also has eight rushing touchdowns, which is tied for third-best in the NFL with Cam Newton and Derrick Henry.

Lamar Jackson tallied 469 rushing yards and three rushing TDs through the halfway point of the season with the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson is nowhere close to last season’s high-volume rushing attack when he racked up 1,206 rushing yards for an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

Healthy RBs Win Rushing Titles

The key to winning a rushing yardage prop bet is health. If your running back can play all 16 games, then you’ll be in a good spot to secure the rushing title. If Cook can stay healthy for the rest of the season, he’ll have an inside track to his first rushing title.

Earlier this season, Green Bay’s Aaron Jones looked like he would lock up the rushing title. Then, injuries sidelined him for a couple of games. Jones rushed for 447 yards in only six games.

No Mas RB 2K?

Since 1999, the NFL saw only three running backs secure the rushing title with 2,000 or more yards: Jamal Lewis, Chris Johnson, and Adrian Peterson.

Lewis rushed for 2,066 in 16 games in 2003. In 2009, Johnson rushed for 2,009 yards in 16 games. AP, a three-time NFL rushing champion, is the last player to pass the 2K mark: in 2015, Peterson rushed for 2,097 in 16 games.

Over the past five seasons, only one rusher secured the title with more than 1,600 yards. Ezekiel Elliot, a two-time NFL rushing leader, secured his title in 2016 with 1,631 yards in 15 games. In 2018, Elliot led the NFL with 1,434 rushing yards in 15 games. Zeke sits in seventh place overall with 572 yards through nine games.

Alvin Kamara is a dual-threat back who’s become a valuable weapon for the New Orleans Saints, but you should probably avoid betting him to win the rushing title because he’s one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets. In his first three seasons with the Saints, Kamara never rushed for more than 883 yards. He did, however, tally 81 receptions (exactly 81 catches in 2017, 2018, and 2019).

The versatile Kamara combined for more than 1,500 rushing/receiving yards in his first two seasons with the Saints. In 2020, Kamara is on pace to pass 2,000 combined yards for the first time in his career. Through eight games, Kamara tallied more receiving yards (565) than rushing yards (471).