The NFL’s Most Valuable Player race is beginning to come collectively 5 weeks into the 2021 season, with a number of quarterbacks rising on the quick checklist of MVP candidates. The chief of the league’s solely remaining undefeated crew is tied for the finest Vegas odds and, unsurprisingly, has the most first-place votes from our panel. Those jockeying for the entrance-runner spot have 13 extra weeks to make their case.
We requested a gaggle of analysts — Stephania Bell, Matt Bowen, Mike Clay, Courtney Cronin, Jeremy Fowler, Domonique Foxworth, Kevin Seifert, Field Yates and Seth Walder — to vote on the top gamers in the MVP race proper now. Then we used these 9 units of rankings to present our top 5 candidates total, utilizing Heisman Trophy-esque scaling for every rating, to find out how the subject stacks up thus far.
We’ll additionally take a look at just a few gamers who have seen their MVP inventory both spike or plummet in the early going. And lastly, ESPN analytics author Seth Walder weighs in on an beneath-the-radar MVP-caliber participant, and ESPN Chalk analyst Doug Kezirian identifies his top worth wager for MVP via 5 weeks. But first, listed here are the gamers off to an MVP-caliber begin.
Note: All odds are through Caesars Sportsbook.
Top 5 | Just missed | Stock watch
Under-the-radar | Value wager
2021 stats: 1,512 passing yards, 110 speeding yards, 13 complete TDs, 4 INTs, 68.4 Total QBR
Murray has made life tough for opposing defenses along with his fast throws and means to flee the pocket, and it has paid off in the type of a 5-0 begin for the Cardinals, the franchise’s first such begin since 1974. Murray’s MVP marketing campaign is bolstered by his changing into the third participant in NFL historical past with 1,500 passing yards and a 75% completion share in the first 5 video games of a season, on top of the incontrovertible fact that he has the Cardinals sitting atop a loaded NFC West.
The Arizona QB may be the entrance-runner coming into Week 6, however he’ll should get his crew again to its early-season type after failing to achieve 30 factors or 400 yards for the first time all season in an uninspired win over San Francisco. Murray is at the moment the co-favourite at +500 to win MVP.
2021 stats: 1,576 passing yards, 14 complete TDs, 3 INTs, 66.1 Total QBR
The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year was a part of an instantaneous traditional 47-42 win over Cleveland, in which the Chargers scored 26 fourth-quarter factors. Herbert has appeared nice late in video games in his second season. According to ESPN Stats & Information analysis, Herbert’s QBR is up by greater than 30 in the fourth quarter and additional time from his rookie season, and he has already thrown extra touchdowns in these conditions whereas additionally averaging almost three extra yards per passing try. In reality, his 89.3 QBR in the fourth quarter/OT leads all QBs this season.
Herbert and Lamar Jackson face off this Sunday after main their groups to impactful wins in Week 5 in a sport that can virtually actually issue into how this checklist seems a number of weeks from now. Currently, Herbert is +700 to win MVP, tied for the fourth-finest odds.
2021 stats: 1,370 passing yards, 188 speeding yards, 14 complete TDs, 2 INTs, 65.3 Total QBR
Allen turned the narrative of his regression the other way up and has Buffalo on a 4-sport profitable streak after a loss to Pittsburgh in the opener. On Sunday evening, the quarterback captivated the NFL in a extremely anticipated prime-time rematch of the 2020 AFC Championship, throwing for 315 yards (on 15 completions) and three touchdowns whereas speeding for 59 yards and one other rating in a win over the Chiefs. It was the third sport of Allen’s profession with 300 passing yards and 50 speeding yards, which is tied for the fourth most in NFL historical past.
If Buffalo can reap the benefits of its upcoming stretch towards Tennessee, Miami and Jacksonville, Allen will possible hold cruising as a top candidate for MVP honors. He is +500 at the second, tying with Murray atop the board.
2021 stats: 1,767 passing yards, 16 complete TDs, 2 INTs, 65.6 Total QBR
The 44-12 months-previous quarterback continues to do MVP-like issues on a weekly foundation — he is +600 to win his fourth award — and he has a brand new achievement so as to add to a prolonged checklist. Brady recorded his first profession sport with 400-plus yards passing and 5 touchdowns in a forty five-17 win over the Dolphins. Those 45 factors scored in Week 5 marked the sixth time Tampa Bay has notched at the least 44 factors since Brady, who leads the league in passing yards (1,767) and completions (149) this season, took over in 2020.
With the assist of an extra sport this season, Brady’s 353.4 passing yards per sport places him on tempo to turn into the first quarterback to throw for over 6,000 yards in a season. And he is additionally on tempo to eclipse a profession excessive in touchdowns with 51, which might be the second time he breaks 50 in his profession.
Field Yates is not frightened about Tom Brady’s thumb damage impacting his enjoying standing towards the Eagles in Week 6.
2021 stats: 1,386 passing yards, 13 complete TDs, 3 INTs, 56.6 Total QBR
Dallas is 4-1 for the first time since Prescott’s rookie 12 months in 2016 and establishing itself as one in all the top groups in the NFC. The quarterback is surrounded by a number of gifted gamers, which have allowed the Cowboys to subject an explosive, diversified assault and rating 170 factors in their 4-sport profitable streak. Prescott has thrown at the least three landing passes 4 occasions this season, most lately in a 44-20 defeat of the NFC East rival Giants. He’s an enormous a part of why Dallas is firing on all cylinders, rating second in completion share (73.9%), tied for third in passing touchdowns (13) and sitting tenth in passing yards (1,386).
Not solely is Prescott in the thick of an MVP race (+700) crowded with elite quarterback performances, he is additionally the entrance-runner for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award after lacking most of the 2020 season resulting from a extreme ankle damage.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson’s heroic efforts towards Indianapolis almost pushed him into the top 5. The 2019 NFL MVP has spent the first 5 weeks of the season dispelling each notion about his development and the limitations of his sport in his third 12 months as a beginning quarterback. In a Week 5 win over the Colts, Jackson overcame the largest deficit of his NFL profession (19 factors) and set the NFL document for completion share (86%) in each 400-passing-yard and 40-passing-try video games. On top of proving he may be an elite passer, Jackson is additionally exhibiting he can play from behind and win. The 31-25 additional time victory vs. Indianapolis was the second time since Week 2 that Jackson needed to come again from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. His earlier resulted in a 36-35 victory over reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams
Stafford by no means got here near profitable the MVP in 12 seasons with Detroit however is making his case for the award after main the Rams to a 4-1 begin. He has profession-excessive marks in completion share (68%), yards per try (9.2) and yards per completion (13.6, tied for first in the NFL), and he has the finest TD-INT ratio (12-3) of his profession via the first 5 video games of a season. It’s too early to name Stafford the savior of the Rams, given how nicely all the things else is structured round him, together with the offensive line, his receivers and his match in this scheme, however Stafford’s play has Los Angeles squarely in the combine as early-season Super Bowl contenders.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
The reigning MVP rapidly returned to type after opening the season with one in all the worst performances of his profession. A blowout win over Detroit actually helped him get the critics off his again, nevertheless it was Rodgers’ MVP-level efficiency in Week 3 that reminded people why he is one in all the biggest to ever do it. The San Francisco 49ers left the quarterback 37 seconds to drive down the subject and put the Packers in place for a stroll-off victory. The two touchdowns he threw at Cincinnati in Week 5 pushed Rodgers forward of Philip Rivers for the fifth-most passing touchdowns of all time with 422.
Also acquired top-10 votes: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Titans RB Derrick Henry, Rams DT Aaron Donald, Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs, Packers WR Davante Adams, Browns DE Myles Garrett and Raiders QB Derek Carr
Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
Arguably no different defensive participant has had a greater begin to the season than Diggs, whose six interceptions are twice as many as anybody else. The 23-12 months-previous cornerback is the third participant since the NFL merger with at the least one interception in every of his crew’s first 5 video games and is enjoying a significant position in turning round Dallas’ protection a 12 months after it set a franchise document for factors allowed.
Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns
Garrett leads the NFL in sacks (7.0) and is starting to separate himself from Rams defensive sort out Aaron Donald, who has received Defensive Player of the Year honors in three of the previous 4 seasons. The Browns’ edge rusher launched himself into the MVP combine along with his 4.5 sacks of Chicago quarterback Justin Fields and is tied for second with 30 complete pressures.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs’ 2-3 begin has them in unfamiliar territory. For the first time since the 2019 divisional playoffs, Kansas City is not favored to win the Super Bowl. And for the first time since Week 1 of 2018, it is not the favourite in the AFC West. The Chiefs’ struggles proceed to revolve round their protection, however Mahomes has been outshined by Herbert, Jackson and Allen in all three of Kansas City’s losses. It would not assist that the famous person quarterback has thrown the third-most interceptions (six) in 5 video games — as many as he threw all of final season.
Mina Kimes thinks the Kansas City Chiefs have the finest likelihood to repair their season over different NFL groups.
Walder’s beneath-the-radar MVP candidate
Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
On performs when opponents have focused Diggs as the nearest defender, the Dallas protection has accrued 29 complete EPA, in accordance with NFL Next Gen Stats — or 31 EPA over common for an out of doors nook this 12 months. Let’s examine that to quarterback manufacturing. If we add collectively offensive EPA on performs in which a quarterback both dropped again to cross or ran the ball, solely 5 quarterbacks recorded 31 EPA over common for the place. Moreover, it is also a lot simpler to discover a QB with that type of EPA manufacturing than a nook, and the rarity of Diggs’ manufacturing at his place will increase its worth. That’s why Diggs is a top-10 lock.
Kezirian’s MVP worth wager
Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams
This is an especially aggressive race proper now, and it is onerous to justify single-digit odds in this one-method betting market. However, I imagine the Rams have positioned themselves fairly nicely to complete with the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so Stafford presents the most worth on the board at +1100.