Many people believe that Micah Parsons is the best defensive player in the NFL. Even if you do not believe this, it is fair to assume that you find Parsons to be within the top three defenders across the entire league.
Current sports books seem to agree with the notion that Parsons is the best defender in the game, or they at least feel that he is poised to have the best defensive season. At the present moment, Parsons is the odds-on favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year at most books.
On Wednesday I appeared on Kay Adams’ show Up & Adams available on FanDuel TV and this overall subject came up. Kay presented FanDuel’s odds for DPOY and noted that Parsons is leading the charge. She asked who I would take to win the award and honestly, as amazing as he is, I’d shy away from that bet.
FanDuel lists Parsons as the favorite at +450 while DraftKings lists him there at +500. I believe in Parsons having a great season, but just because you are the best defender in the game does not mean you walk home with the DPOY award.
Much of who wins awards is narrative behind it, but even if it wasn’t another important piece is statistical accomplishment. Parsons has never finished a season (to be clear we are talking about two years, as incredible as they have been) shy of 13 sacks but he may not finish above that this season either. And the reasoning has nothing to do with his skill level.
We know that Parsons is the best player on the Cowboys roster and therefore, outside of Dak Prescott for positional reasons, the most important one. We have seen the Cowboys apply a bit of load management to their superstars down the stretch of seasons which means it is possible that the Cowboys put Parsons on ice a bit, whether that be in fourth quarters of games they are sitting comfortably in, or in a meaningless game in the final weeks of the regular season.
Consider that Parsons only played 38 defensive snaps against the Minnesota Vikings last year when the Cowboys blew them out (although he made a big impact early on in that game). That contest took place the Sunday before Thanksgiving and he only topped 50 three times over the rest of the year including a regular season-high 68 on Christmas Eve against the Philadelphia Eagles.
One of those games above 50 came in the team’s blowout of the Indianapolis Colts that was a bit close before it wasn’t. Parsons needed two sacks that night to take over as the league’s leader (at that point in the season) but only finished with one more across the rest of the regular season period, much of which was a result of his minimized workload.
We know that the Cowboys have a history of making sure that Parsons is as fresh as possible for the games that matter which come after the regular season, and therefore after he can amplify his case for any sort of DPOY award. As great as it would be to see him be rightfully crowned as the game’s best defender the odds, quite literally, do not suggest that this is a good bet.
But perhaps you disagree. Maybe you believe that Parsons can overcome the odds, again being a bit literal here, and take home DPOY despite knowing that the Cowboys will likely chill out a bit with him as we roll through December.
If you would like to see the rest of my appearance on Kay’s show you can do so right below. We also discussed Deuce Vaughn, Jalen Tolbert and the overall energy surrounding Mike McCarthy and the team this season.