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Lamar Jackson running away with MVP odds, but who is most valuable running back?

Running backs don’t quite get the love anymore!

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball for a first down against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens win over the Buffalo Bills coupled with the Seattle Seahawks loss to the Los Angeles Rams might just have sewn up the MVP award race. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had been pushing Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, but a poor outing in LA has sunk him in the odds race.

Entering Week 14, Jackson was installed at -278 to win the MVP award, while Wilson was +325 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Wilson was turning into a long shot, but there was still a chance. Following Sunday’s games, Jackson is now listed at -715 and Wilson has sunk to +600. It’s all but settled.

Jackson will likely win the unanimous vote for MVP, and the DraftKings odds show it to be an almost entirely quarterback race. Of the 14 players still getting odds, 11 players are quarterbacks. The non-quarterbacks are running back Dalvin Cook (+10000), wide receiver Michael Thomas (+10000), and running back Christian McCaffrey (+15000).

McCaffrey leads all players in total yards from scrimmage, with 1,946 yards. The top rounds out with Dalvin Cook at 1,611, Nick Chubb at 1,547, Leonard Fournette at 1,496, and Derrick Henry at 1,449.

If we’re looking at efficiency metrics, Mark Ingram has been the most effective thus far, ranking first in DYAR and DVOA at Football Outsiders. Christian McCaffrey is second and third in those respective categories. Ezekiel Elliott is third and fifth, respectively. Interestingly enough, Latavius Murray is second in DVOA behind Ingram.

Cook and McCaffrey are the only players in that group still getting any kind of MVP odds. Cook is playing for the wild card leading Vikings, while McCaffrey is playing for a 5-8 Panthers squad. Cook deserves plenty of credit for his work in the Vikings offense, but Kirk Cousins has taken a decent step forward this year. On the other hand, McCaffrey has been playing with Kyle Allen as his quarterback after Allen replaced Cam Newton. Allen got off to a hot start but has been woefully inconsistent.

If you removed Cook and McCaffrey from the two offenses, which team would be worse off? Alexander Mattison is talented but we don’t really know what he would do in a permanent full time role. That being said, McCaffrey’s backup is Reggie Bonafon who has 12 carries this year. I suspect the Panthers would be worse off, but it’s a tough call.

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