We are entering that point in the season where we start debating MVP candidates. And since this is America, we are of course divided on this issue.
The analytics nerds lean Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, the counting stat brethren love what Kyler Murray is doing, and the truly insane think Dalvin Cook deserves it. I won’t link out to anyone in the latter group. I’ll leave that to Old Takes Exposed.
The betting markets currently have Wilson as the front runner (+125) with Mahomes (+200) and Rodgers (+350) hot on his heels. Josh Allen (+2200) remains the best dark horse bet, but let’s be honest, he’s not overtaking any of those other three. If you want to clutch your rosary beads and bet Murray or Cook, the sports books will gladly pay you out +3300 if it hits.
If you’re asking me—and lemme tell ya, no one is asking—I’ll take Mahomes. The season leader in net expected points added (EPA) on pass plays has won the MVP award each of the last 4 seasons. EPA measures how each play potentially affects the score of the game relative to the situation on pass plays. Mahomes currently has a large lead on the rest of the field in EPA this year.
The Injury Landscape. There’s a couple particularly interesting injury situations at running back this week that can shake up the slate. I’ll also post the full practice rundown from Wednesday below.
- David Johnson (concussion) didn’t practice yesterday and the team seems down on his chances to play. This would elevate Duke Johnson to a starting role and make him a great play in all formats. His 16 carries last week were a career high.
- Kenyan Drake returned to practice yesterday, which should damper any enthusiasm for another 25+ touch game from Chase Edmonds. Edmonds is still the back you want here, though.
- There’s a chance Nick Chubb returns this week. The team said they’ll make the call tomorrow. Kareem Hunt’s splits have actually been better for fantasy when Chubb is playing, so no need to panic there.
- Pete Carroll on RBs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde: “Chris is running. More so than Carlos is able to at this time. Chris is ahead of Carlos coming back. He’s going to run today and tomorrow. We’ll see how he handles that. I can’t tell you anything more than that right now.” If neither can play this weekend, we are looking at another split between DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer, and Alex Collins.
- Coach Matt Rhule said Christian McCaffrey’s AC joint injury isn’t a season-ender and that he is “day-to-day” or “week-to-week”..T.Y. Hilton (groin) is good to go for the Colts tonight. Adam Humphries (concussion) and Jack Doyle (concussion) won’t play tonight. Mecole Hardman was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Neither Tevin Coleman (knee) or Raheem Mostert (ankle) are expected to return from IR this week. Joe Mixon (foot) was rehabbing on the side at Wednesday’s practice...Preston Williams (foot) is headed to IR.
DNP: David Johnson (concussion), Carlos Hyde (hamstring), Chris Carson (foot), Jerry Jeudy (shoulder), Deebo Samuel (hamstring), John Brown (knee/rest day), Justin Jackson (knee), Antonio Gibson (shoulder), Kenny Golladay (hip),
Limited: Drew Brees (shoulder), Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring), Matt Breida (hamstring), Laviska Shenault (hamstring), Miles Sanders (knee), Noah Fant (ankle), Mark Ingram (ankle), Cooper Kupp (wrist), Damien Harris (chest/ankle), N’Keal Harry (concussion), Kenyan Drake (ankle), Chris Godwin (finger), Devonta Freeman (ankle)
Full: Alshon Jeffery (calf), Aaron Jones (calf)