NFL MVP is one of the most interesting props on the board this season because there are a lot of narratives worth watching heading into the season. There are some up-and-comers on the top of the board, and there are some vets looking to throw their hat into the ring.
Patrick Mahomes was a pretty clear MVP winner following his record-setting season for the Chiefs in his first year starting at quarterback. The clear question mark here is, can he do this again or was this just a one-hit-wonder?
In this case, I think he can do it again, but the season they stumbled upon last season could be a little bit out of reach. Last season, Mahomes came in as young QB with a lot to prove. He proved that he could do just about anything asked of him.
This year, my biggest concern for Mahomes is how he reacts to the new concepts that teams throw at the Chiefs and their scheme. Last season, the plays that Mahomes and crew were making were things that you never really saw before. Now, every single team on their schedule has had a year to prepare for the things they really couldn’t comprehend last season.
I think that there may be a few teams that run out different schemes and ideas that could stop the Chiefs, and that could become a recipe for disaster. However, I think that the scheme and talent are too much for this to happen more than a few times next season.
I would expect a drop-off from Mahomes, but not a huge one. I think pegging him as the leader in the clubhouse and assuming that someone needs to come out and beat him is the correct assumption right now. At +400, I don’t think I will be betting Mahomes right now, but if there are issues with my favorites down the board, I am not opposed to it before the season starts.
Storm the League
I think that there are two QBs in the second tier of value that are in a fantastic spot to make the jump to MVP. These two players are Andrew Luck (+700) and Baker Mayfield (+1300).
Let’s start with Luck, and preface that Andrew Luck is currently dealing with a calf injury that could turn out to be a problem. Everything I say about Luck here is assuming that he is suiting up to play Week 1. I will not be betting him here until we get confirmation of this, and the line will not move much at all in the wrong direction if you wait.
Luck is the leader of what I project to be a very prolific offense with two of the fastest players in the NFL at WR, along with Devin Funchess, Ebron and Doyle being one of the best TE pairings in football, and Marlon Mack. This team should be dynamic in all parts of the field, and Luck is more than talented enough to benefit from the elite playmakers that he should have around him.
The Colts defense is young and improving. I don’t expect them to be an elite defense that causes the Colts’ passing attack to slow down late in games, but I do think that they will be good enough to win a lot of games if Luck plays like an MVP. Luck is my favorite play on the board right now.
Baker Mayfield is less of a proven commodity than Luck as an NFL QB, but he is in a similar situation. Odell, Jarvis, Njoku, Chubb, and Baker look to be one of the most talented offensive cores in football, and I expect them to flash this year. I am not sure that the Browns will put up the same numbers as the Chiefs last year, but with Todd Monken at OC, I expect them to throw the ball a lot.
The Browns defense has star players and solid play all over, and I expect them to help contribute to wins, especially if this offense can live up to its potential. I like the story and hype around Baker’s brand if the Browns can win 11+ games this year.
Only one non-QB has won an MVP in the NFL since 2007, and I don’t think it is going to change any time soon, especially with the numbers QBs are putting up now. That being said, who are the best options at other positions?
I really like Christian McCaffrey at +5000. The Panthers are not good, but they’re not bad. This is a great scenario for a longshot MVP candidate because someone has to get credit for a team overperforming.
Also, CMC has breakaway speed and elite elusiveness and an insane amount of touches to work with. CMC was close to 2,000 total yards last year, and I think if he can break a few more big ones this year, we will be talking about him in the MVP race with an overperforming Panthers team.
At WR, Julio Jones is my favorite option at +8000. Julio has a tendency to have a few monster games every year while also having some questionably slow games as well. The thing here is that Julio is basically unstoppable if you try to get him the ball, and he has everything you could ask for from a WR. I don’t think Julio is likely to win this award, but he has the elite upside to do so with multiple 150-yard, 2-TD games if he can stay healthy.