Predictions for who’ll take home the NFL’s MVP award usually consist of a few predictable players. Aaron Rodgers has won it two years in a row, and four times over his career so far. Tom Brady, you’ll not be surprised to learn, has won it only three times. This year, the names with the best odds aren’t really a surprise either: Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and, yes, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.
But if you work your way down the list of odds, there are some interesting sleeper candidates who could force their way into the conversation. Here’s a look at some of those dark horse candidates. Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams — +1500
Stafford is on the fringes of being called a sleeper, but with seven players with better odds, we’ll throw him into the mix. He was third in passing yards last season and second in touchdown passes. The Rams beefed up their group of pass catchers with the addition of wideout Allen Robinson, who’ll be an excellent No. 2 behind Cooper Kupp. A healthy season from Cam Akers won’t hurt either, and there’s still the possibility that they could bring back Odell Beckham Jr, once he’s healthy.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles — +1800
Now, we’re getting into firm sleeper territory. Hurts had plenty of doubters about whether or not he could be a starter heading into last season, and he silenced those doubters. Hurts led all quarterbacks with 10 rushing touchdowns and nearly 800 yards on the ground. He’s a pretty good passer too, and the addition of AJ Brown gives him two stud wideouts (DeVonta Smith) to throw to this season.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens — +2500
If your short-term memory is lacking, it may surprise you to recall that Jackson won the MVP award in 2019, when he led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes, throwing on another 1,200 rushing yards and five scores on the ground for good measure. His numbers since that season have been good, but not enough to keep him in the conversation of being an regular MVP candidate. No doubt the departure of Marquise Brown is going to hurt him in the eyes of bettors, but Jackson is still a very good quarterback who could easily surprise us all in 2022.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans — +5000
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts — +5000
Last season, Henry was making a damn good case to be the first running back to win the MVP award since Adrian Peterson in 2012, before he went down with a foot injury halfway through the season. It’ll be a shock to see him return to that pace, but he could do it.
Taylor might be our best hope for a running back to claim the award. He led the league in all the major rushing categories last season, and he’s no slouch when it comes to catching passes. The Colts should be better this season, but, fair or not, a team has to be pretty good for a running back to take home the MVP award.
If Stafford can stay healthy, he’s the best bet from this list of players. Though, don’t sleep on Lamar Jackson; he’s due for a big comeback season soon.
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