USA Today Sports

AFC's most important players: NFL betting breakdown

Not one player makes a team, especially in football. However, there are some clubs out there that would begin to crumble if one key cog was ripped from the clockwork.

NFL.com columnist Adam Schein highlighted these talents in his recent lists of the NFL’s “Most Important Players” for the 2013 season – revealing not just the best or most valuable guys on the roster but “identifying the guy who needs to achieve - and overachieve -- for the team to reach its potential.”

While these players are indispensable to their teams, oddsmakers and most football bettors don’t quite feel the same. We asked sportsbooks and some of the sharpest NFL handicappers in the country to set estimated point values for each of Schein’s selections, according to their impact on the pointspread if they were to sit out game.

Here are the “Most Important Players” in the AFC and their estimated value to the pointspread:

Elvis Dumervil, LB Baltimore Ravens

Point value: 0.5-1 point

Why so valuable: Baltimore is hoping Dumervil can spark a defense that lost its heart and soul, Ray Lewis, to retirement.

Mario Williams, DE Buffalo Bills

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Schein points to the hiring of new head coach Doug Marrone and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, saying those two could spark the great potential in Williams.

Andy Dalton, QB Cincinnati Bengals

Point value: 2-6 points

Why so valuable: Schein believes Cincinnati could be a contender and just as easy miss the playoffs. It all depends on Dalton and his maturity and poise in the competitive AFC North.

Joe Haden, CB Cleveland Browns

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: On a team lacking talent, Haden is one of the lone bright spots – despite his troubles – and will keep opponents honest when picking on the Browns weak stop unit.

Montee Ball, RB Denver Broncos

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: The Broncos need a ying to Peyton Manning’s yang and the rookie out of Wisconsin could become a force in first year.

Andre Johnson, WR Houston Texans

Point value: 1-2.5 points

Why so valuable: The Texans are in the Super Bowl hunt but losing Johnson would expose their lack of depth at receiver. Without him making plays, defenses can tee off on Arian Foster and the running game.

Antoine Bethea, FS Indianapolis Colts

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: The love affair with Andrew Luck overshadows just how important Bethea is to the Colts success. Schein sees big things from him in during his second year in Chuck Pagano’s defense.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Jacksonville Jaguars

Point value: 2-3 points

Why so valuable: Needs no real explanation. If he’s healthy and motivated, bettors may be able to stomach the Jaguars.

Eric Fisher, OT Kansas City Chiefs

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: The Chiefs drafted the rookie lineman No. 1 overall to protect their big offseason addition, Alex Smith, and pave the way for RB Jamaal Charles. They need Fisher to adapt to the pro game quick.

Lamar Miller, RB Miami Dolphins

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Reggie Bush is gone, so keeping the heat off QB Ryan Tannehill and giving the Miami attack any balance falls on Miller.

Chandler Jones, DE New England Patriots


Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Schein says injuries stopped the Patriots from seeing just how good Jones could be in his rookie season. New England will score but it needs to hold its own on defense to stay among the contenders.

Santonio Holmes, WR New York Jets

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Whether it’s Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith throwing the passes, Holmes will be on the receiving end of most of them. “If on his A-game, two to 2.5 (points) in that offense,” says Aron Black of Bet365.com.

Darren McFadden, RB Oakland Raiders

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Schein says McFadden’s health could be the difference for the Raiders, giving them a true game changer. Black says McFadden could be worth as much as 2.5 points if he returns to form.

Troy Polamalu, SS Pittsburgh Steelers

Point value: 1-2 points

Why so valuable: Polamalu has lost a step but is still being counted on to pick up the slack for Pittsburgh defense. “I might have stretched it giving him as much credit as I did in these ratings,” says Covers Expert Bruce Marshall.

Philip Rivers, QB San Diego Chargers

Point value: 4-5 points

Why so valuable: Schein points to the laundry list of injuries around Rivers and the coaching change for his downfall over the past two seasons. This could be a make-or-break year for him in San Diego.

Andy Levitre, OG Tennessee Titans

Point value: 0-1.5 points

Why so valuable: Levitre’s work on the o-line is vital to RB Chris Johnson getting back to 2,000-yard rushing seasons.


Click here to see the NFC's "Most Important Players".

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

            share   SHARE   rss   RSS FEED   email   EMAIL   print   PRINT
Hide All Responses
avatar

Posted by tmurda666
1 year ago

need a fantasy article...
avatar

Posted by 1129ken
1 year ago

Mario Williams ? We hear that every year. Color me skeptical.
avatar

Posted by omb1
1 year ago

Umm...no offense but where in the hell is Peyton Manning? I would have to give him a value of 10 - 14 points...
         1      
You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

Posted by omb1
1 year ago

"Umm...no offense but where in the hell is Peyton Manning? I would have to give him a value of 10 - 14 points... "

Unknown error.