Three Dark-Horse NFL MVP Candidates In 2021

Three Dark-Horse NFL MVP Candidates In 2021

The current Vegas odds of this year’s League MVP favor the usual suspects. Brady, Mahomes, Rodgers, etc.

PlayerOddsFractional
Patrick Mahomes+5005/1
Aaron Rodgers+100010/1
Josh Allen+120012/1
Russell Wilson+140014/1
Tom Brady+140014/1
Dak Prescott+140014/1
Odds of each player winning MVP award according to Draft Kings Sportsbook.

As you can see Mahomes is the clear-cut favorite to win MVP this year and for good reason! He has the individual talent and a ton of weapons at his disposal, however, I believe this year’s MVP is not included in the chart above…

Baker Mayfield (+3500)

I see Baker Mayfield as a solid contender for MVP this year. He has a great receiving corps which includes a healthy Odell Beckham Jr, Jarvis Landry, and pass-catching TE Austin Hooper. Mayfield also has a guy that could have a breakout year in the slot, Donovan Peoples-Jones.

Over the past 3 years, we have watched Baker slowly progress into a decent quarterback for the Browns. I see him taking a big leap this year.

In an interview with ESPN, Baker said that his chemistry and relationship with OBJ have both grown.

“Year 1, we were definitely just trying to get used to each other last year,” Mayfield said. “Last year, didn’t have a full season by any means because of the injury. This year, I think we’ve had our backs up against the wall, the two of us together, I think we can relate a lot on those types of things. But having success is always sweeter when it’s not just handed to you. It’s not the easy road when you hit adversity and you have to battle through it.”

Baker Mayfield

According to ESPN, since OBJ was traded to Cleveland in 2019, Mayfield and Beckham have the worst completion rate (55.6%) of any quarterback-receiving duo, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. I expect this duo to take a huge leap this year coming off an injury and having built chemistry this offseason.

Matt Ryan (+3500)

I may be a little biased here, but hear me out! Though the Falcons as a team were a flop last season, Matt Ryan was exceptional. Last year, Ryan had a 65% CMP, while throwing 26 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

He has a new offense and toy in rookie TE Kyle Pitts. Pitts was the highest-drafted TE in history for good reason. He broke the 20-year record for wingspan at the combine and is a great route-runner that can go up and get 50/50 balls with ease.

With an Arthur Smith offense that favors two TE sets, Hayden Hurst and Kyle Pitts will be put to work with pass-catching. Throw Calvin Ridley in the mix, and you can expect a lot of yards gained through the air in this offense.

Matt Ryan has thrown for more than 4,000 yards for the 10th consecutive year. In the history of the game, only Drew Brees has accomplished this feat.

Jeff benedict, fansided

Matt Ryan is nothing if not consistent. The Falcons offense consistently put up 30+ point games last year. With him still playing at such a high level, Ryan is a no-brainer dark-horse MVP candidate for 2021.

Derek Carr (+6500)

Probably the hottest take in this article. Carr has been a solid QB for the Las Vegas Raiders for several years. He has an elite pass-catching TE in Darren Waller, as well as Henry Ruggs, who is forecasted to take a big leap this year.

It will take a lot for this to happen. To put things in perspective, let’s take a look at last year to see how far away Carr was from the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers.

QBCMP %TDINTQBR
Aaron Rodgers70.7485121.5
Derek Carr67.3279101.4

Obviously, Aaron Rodgers had a historic year last year, but Carr’s touchdown to interception ratio is solid. These stats above put Carr in the top-15 of quarterbacks for last year. Carr also ranked 11th in total passing yards (4,103), surpassing Kyler Murray, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford.

Waller will need to live up to his fantasy value and catch at least 10 TDs this year for this to be possible. We will also need to see the big leap from Henry Ruggs, which may or may not happen this year (or at all.)

As I said, it’s a stretch and it a lot will have to go right for Carr to be crowned MVP, however, with a receiving corps that continues to improve, it’s definitely a possibility Carr wins MVP in a Gruden offense.

Christopher Council

My name is Christopher Council, and I am a 24-year-old young professional living in Atlanta, GA. I follow and support all Atlanta professional sports. My mission is to deliver sports news that is accurate and free of politics. Let's continue to make sports our escape!

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