Why Saints’ WR Chris Olave Is Good Bet in OPOY Market

This is not a mainstream idea yet, but fantasy football is a variant of sports betting. An odds board represents the market in sports betting, while ADP represents the market in fantasy football. 

Ultimately, every decision in either endeavor is driven by being above, below or aligned with market consensus. We can make decisions in fantasy and betting markets for an individual player like New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave. Let’s explore.

Who is Olave?

The Saints selected Olave with the 11th pick in the 2022 draft. He had an exceptional rookie season, breaching 1,000 yards receiving despite missing two games. He was an Offensive Rookie of the Year contender throughout the season. 

Here’s how Olave stacked up against Garrett Wilson, last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, on a per-game basis:

Player Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Target Share Air Yards Share
Garrett Wilson 8.65 4.88 64.88 25% 31.70%
Chris Olave 7.93 4.8 69.47 26.60% 43.70%

That’s closer than you would have expected, isn’t it? 

Wilson and Olave were the primary pass catchers for volatile offenses last year that started multiple quarterbacks. Wilson gets a massive upgrade at quarterback in Aaron Rodgers this year, but Olave benefits in a few different ways:

  • Derek Carr is an upgrade over Andy Dalton.
  • The Saints have one of the easier schedules in the league.
  • The NFC South is the most winnable division in football.
  • The Saints face the Giants, Rams and Buccaneers in the fantasy playoffs.
  • New Orleans has a premium offensive line, a positive for Olave, who was second in the league in air yards share last season.

The New York Jets’ schedule is filled with high-caliber pass defenses, and their offensive line is more volatile than the Saints’. It wouldn’t be a significant surprise if Wilson and Olave finished with similar seasons in 2023.

Olave in Fantasy Football

The Saints’ advantageous schedule, Olave’s high-end rookie campaign and the addition of Carr already have Olave as an early-round pick in best ball. He’s a mid-second-rounder on Underdog Fantasy, effectively at the end of Wilson’s tier. Olave is going near the second-to-third-round turn on DraftKings.

Carr’s willingness to feed Davante Adams extreme volume last year is another potential positive for Olave. If Michael Thomas does not return to form, Olave is the clear-cut top option in the Saints’ passing attack. 

Thomas put up at least 90 receptions in his first four seasons, but he’s only played in 10 total games in the past three years. Thomas returning to his 2019 form is less likely than him continuing to struggle with injuries. 

In that scenario where Thomas is little more than a role player, Olave has top-five upside at the wide receiver position. Olave is fairly priced on Underdog, but I’ve been loading up on DraftKings. That’s a decision to be above market on Olave at DraftKings costs.

How to Bet on Olave

My general process in awards markets is to bet on players with a realistic path to winning that I can get at a value. I bet on Olave to win the Offensive Player of the Year at 75-1 odds, which led to this writing. 

Since that bet was severely limited, I also hit it on FanDuel at 70-1 odds. The primary reason behind that move is Wilson is widely available at 25-1 odds in this race.

Wilson is well-priced in this market, but as we saw above, Olave was statistically comparable to Wilson last season. Both players are drafted in the same relative tier in best ball markets. Olave should be much closer to the 30-1 to 35-1 range in the OPOY market. 

During the time it took to write and publish this article, Olave’s OPOY odds have already moved down to the 50-1 to 55-1 range at most widely available sportsbooks. We don’t believe in betting bad lines here, but 50-1 is still a decent price for Olave. 

To back that stance, Olave is 30-1 to lead the league in yards receiving on FanDuel, while Wilson is 22-1. Whichever wide receiver leads the league in yards receiving isn’t an automatic OPOY winner, but they’ll be right in the conversation. Wilson’s odds difference on FanDuel between these two markets is +300, while Olave’s is +2000.

Another way to bet on or against Olave will be through his season-long props. Those lines aren’t public on either DraftKings or FanDuel, but we’ll revisit those options as we inch closer to opening day.

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