J.J. McCarthy Prop Bets: How Many Passing Yards Will McCarthy Have in 2024?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
J.J. McCarthy Prop Bets: How Many Passing Yards Will McCarthy Have in 2024?

The Minnesota Vikings did what they needed to do in the 2024 NFL Draft -- they drafted a quarterback in the first round to replace former starter Kirk Cousins. The team traded up one spot last Thursday night to take Michigan Wolverines signal-caller J.J. McCarthy with the 10th overall pick.

McCarthy was the fifth quarterback selected this year and had his supporters across NFL Draft analyst circles after his National Championship-winning 2023 season. Expectations will be high for him in his debut NFL campaign.

How many yards should we expect the rookie to pass for in his inaugural season? FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL Player Props market has his line set at 3,075.5 yards. Will that be a mark he can reach, or is the bar set too high? Let's take a look.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after this article is published.

J.J. McCarthy Prop Bets

J.J. McCarthy 2024 Regular Season Passing Yards

Why J.J. McCarthy Could Pass for Under 3,075.5 Yards (-112)

All but five NFL offenses finished the 2023 season with at least 3,075.5 passing yards last year, so this might not initially seem like a very high bar to clear. But over the last five NFL Drafts, just 5 of the 15 quarterbacks drafted in Round 1 have actually cleared that mark in their rookie seasons.

So what happened with those other 10 quarterbacks? There's not one catch-all answer to explain the 33% hit rate, which illustrates how difficult in can be for a rookie to put up legit counting stats in their first season.

We can write off players from this group like Jordan Love and to a lesser extent Trey Lance for being drafted to sit behind entrenched starters, but that still leaves 8 first rounders that finished below 3,075.5 yards.

The primary barrier standing in the path of those rookies has been playing time. Bryce Young is the only QB in the split to play more than 13 games and still fall short of 3,000 yards, meaning the rest of those who fell short all played 13 or fewer games, which made it hard for them to put up eye-popping stats.

McCarthy's first roadblock to the field will be former second overall pick Sam Darnold, who signed with the Vikings this offseason on a one-year, $10 million contract. Darnold has real, on-field experience. We've seen cautious NFL coaches favor veterans over rookies for Week 1 starts in the past, even with rookies as talented as Justin Herbert, so it's fair to question whether or not McCarthy will win the starting gig before the season officially begins.

The other half of playing time is, unfortunately, injuries. Joe Burrow would likely have passed the 3,075.5-yard mark had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury in his 10th game. Anthony Richardson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 4 last year, robbing him of a chance to accomplish the feat. Injuries are an unavoidable and unpredictable part of the sport and were a big reason why only 18 NFL starters reached 3,075.5 passing yards in 2023.

Lastly, there's still a chance McCarthy isn't ready for the NFL, even if he wins the starting job. NFL teams looked at McCarthy's collegiate resume and believed he's good enough to spend a first-round pick on, but front offices thought the same thing about Zach Wilson, Kenny Pickett, and even Darnold in years past. There's always a chance any rookie QB is overwhelmed in Year 1.

Why J.J. McCarthy Could Pass for Over 3,075.5 Yards (-112)

The recent 33% success rate for first-round passers hitting the over on 3,075.5 yards isn't especially encouraging, but looking at the picture from that kind of zoomed out viewpoint cuts out a good deal of important context. And if we're adding context in, McCarthy's chances of beating the over look pretty nice.

Unlike contemporaries such as Bryce Young, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa and so on, McCarthy is landing on a team with bona-fide NFL weapons throughout the passing attack. Justin Jefferson needs little introduction, 2023 first-round pick Jordan Addison is coming off of an impressive rookie season, and tight end T.J. Hockenson is one of the best in the business (though his 2024 season will start late due to injury). Running back Aaron Jones is a proven pass-catching threat, as well.

Minnesota's pass-game talent led to Nick Mullens averaging 261.2 passing yards per game as the team's third quarterback last year -- a casual 4,440.4-yard pace over a full season. If McCarthy is capable of putting up Mullens-type numbers in his rookie season, he would need to play just 12 games to beat 3,075.5 passing yards.

Kirk Cousins was leading the league in passing yards before his season-ending Achilles injury, and Joshua Dobbs averaged 208.0 yards per game over his pre-benching four-game stretch as the top quarterback despite joining the team via trade partway through the season. The Vikings' offense appears to be a very quarterback-friendly system, so it's fair to be optimistic that a top 10 NFL Draft pick can put up respectable numbers at its helm.

As we mentioned before, the only barrier to McCarthy's playing time this year is going to be Sam Darnold, who is just not very good at NFL quarterbacking. If McCarthy can clear the Darnold hurdle to become the starter in Week 1 and then plays a full season, he'd need to average just 180.9 yards per game to finish with more than 3,075.5 yards.

The market likes McCarthy's setup enough that he has the second-shortest odds to finish with the most regular season passing yards (+280) among rookie quarterbacks -- a market our Skyler Carlin broke down. Only first overall pick Caleb Williams has shorter odds than McCarthy, so it's fair to say early bettors are optimistic about the Michigan product's outlook for the 2024 season.

Projections from ESPN's Mike Clay point toward the over, too, as Clay forecasts McCarthy to produce 3,527 passing yards in just 14 games.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.