The NFL MVP race is officially a battle of the quarterbacks. Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Aaron Donald and a host of non-quarterbacks are putting together greater seasons, but 2019 has turned into the year of the quarterback.
Last week, Russell Wilson moved into a tie with Patrick Mahomes for the top spot in MVP odds DraftKings Sportsbooks. Wilson edged ahead early in the week, and then Mahomes dislocated his knee cap on Thursday Night Football. The injury is not as serious as initially projected, and Mahomes may only miss a few weeks. Nonetheless, his MVP odds took a big hit and he is now fifth at DraftKings Sportsbook sitting at +1000.
The top four coming out of Week 7 NFL Sunday are Wilson (+250), Aaron Rodgers (+500), Lamar Jackson (+600), and DeShaun Watson (+600). Of that group, Watson was the only one to see his team take a loss, losing 30-23 to the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback wins should not be a statistic, but people regularly cite it in discussing the quarterback position. Regardless of its viability as a stat, the QB win will often shake up MVP races.
All five quarterbacks have strong cases for taking home the MVP award. You could argue all five have carried their offenses. While injuries are never a positive, it is possible Mahomes injury could actually bolster his MVP candidacy. If the Chiefs struggle and then he returns and they turn it right back on, that’s a pretty solid argument to his value.
Of course, even though we have not seen the Seahawks, Packers, or Ravens without their quarterbacks, we know those offenses would take a hit. And we saw what happened to the Texans in 2017 after DeShaun Watson tore his ACL. Does the “what would the offense be without player X” argument matter when it could apply to all five players?
If we look at advanced metrics, we could consider Football Outsiders DVOA and DYAR metrics. DVOA points to a quarterback with more value per play, while DYAR points to a quarterback with more total value They are only updated through Week 6, but for that period, Mahomes is No. 1 in DVOA and No. 2 in DYAR, while Wilson is the reverse. Interestingly enough, Dak Prescott ranks third in both categories prior to the Cowboys Sunday Night Football win.
It’s going to be a fascinating race to the wire for the 2019 MVP award. We still have ten weeks of football remaining, so there is plenty of time for the race to shake up. Injuries are going to happen, and we already lost out on a possible “elimination game” after Mahomes’ injury. The Chiefs host the Packers on Sunday Night Football in Week 8, and now it’s Rodgers vs. Matt Moore. Nonetheless, this race will feature more twists and turns over the final two and a half months of the season.
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