I’m a value seeker when looking for futures. I’ll take a few of the most obvious bets on the board, but I’m also out there looking for the rare +500 bets and above to throw a few bones at and hope it skyrockets into a large sum.
This week’s futures column is taking a look at which players have the best shot at taking home the MVP title. Over the last 20 years we’ve seen this award taken home by quarterbacks 17 times (85%) and running backs four times (20%). In 2003, Peyton Manning and Steve McNair tied for MVP honors. A running back hasn’t won this award since 2012 (Adrian Peterson). Since then, quarterbacks have taken home this award six-straight seasons. Will it be a seventh in 2019?
Let’s check out the candidates.
Remember, futures bets are generally risky propositions. Even just missing one game due to injury puts a player significantly at a disadvantage. The highest “favorite” in this category is still listed at +600 odds.
Note: All odds listed below are from DraftKings.
Patrick Mahomes (+600)
Patrick Mahomes won this award last year and will be trying to go for the rare back-to-back repeat. Mahomes lit the league on fire last year throwing for 5,097 yards, 50 passing touchdowns, and getting those oh-so-important “QB Winz” leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record. Can he come close to replicating those passing numbers?
Historically, odds are against him.
|Quarterback||Year||TD Rate %||Next Season||Next Season TD Rate%|
Every quarterback that threw for over a 7.0% touchdown rate — Mahomes had an 8.6% TD Rate last year — has declined substantially in this statistic the following season (2.4% average). Regression is the most likely outcome for Mahomes, but there are still reasons why he could turn in a follow-up MVP season. Even if his touchdown rate were to go down, the Chiefs defense was recently ranked one of the worst by PFF. That could subsequently lead to Mahomes being forced to pass late in games to preserve (or get) a lead. There’s no guaranteeing his defense can keep it for him. That could lead to more passing late in games, boosting his overall passing volume.
Mahomes also did not do much with his legs last year. For a player as athletic and agile as Mahomes, he only racked up a 60-272-2 rushing stat line. Mahomes sports a 95th percentile agility score and 4.8 speed. I think the key to Mahomes getting this award back-to-back will be if he can improve on his rushing numbers. Andy Reid has worked with mobile quarterbacks in the past and it wouldn’t surprise me if they expanded the playbook a little more here in 2019.
Can the reigning MVP repeat? I’ll throw some money at it given the +600 odds.
Andrew Luck (+900)
The second-highest odds to take home this award belong to Andrew Luck (+900). Luck had an incredible bounce-back season last year after missing all of 2017 due to injury. The Colts front office has helped put Luck in a spot to succeed this year by surrounding him with better receiving talent and bringing in an influx of defensive talent to help keep them in games. GM Chris Ballard truly does deserve some kudos for the work he’s done the past few years here in Indy.
Not only do the Colts have an improved roster heading into the 2019 season — voters like teams with high wins — the Colts also have a soft schedule of defenses. They were top-five in easiest passing strength of schedule by my analysis with some very soft layup matchups for Luck and the Colts to pour it on. Luck is coming off career-highs in completions rate (67.3%) and Quarterback Rating (98.7). A strained calf has limited him in training camp, but I don’t expect that to bother his passing mechanics once Week 1 starts. I’m very high on the additions of what Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell bring to this offense, so I’m jumping on this +900 wager for Luck.
Drew Brees (+1200) and Aaron Rodgers (+1200)
I’ve gone into detail what my thoughts are for Drew Brees (+1200) from a fantasy perspective. While I’m not particularly high on him as a fantasy passer, I still believe he could legitimately contend for this award. The NFC South is loaded with soft passing opponents this season. It just comes down to how often Brees throws in the red zone. Last year, the Saints threw the ball at the fifth-lowest rate inside the red zone (47.6%). The addition of Latavius Murray probably indicates that they’ll stick close to that rate. If, however, the Saints opt to keep defenses off balance and throw more there, then I think Brees could contend for the award with a 40-plus touchdown season. That’s a lot of “if’s”, though. Probably best to pass.
Aaron Rodgers (+1200) remains an enigma with how he and the new coaching staff will work together. After 11 years working in a West Coast system, Rodgers will have to learn a new offense and work with a new OC that isn’t keen to allow audibles at the line. We’ll see how that internal battle plays out, but we can expect the offense — from a philosophical viewpoint — to have a rather balanced run/pass ratio. Rodgers is set with a significant number of playmakers entering the year with varying degrees of experience. The Packers defense also spent quite a bit of money picking up free agents and spending early draft picks to bolster the entire unit. I think the Pack should be in for a double-digit win season, but I’m not uber-confident that Rodgers is the sole reason they get there.
This will be my 87th article posted after starting at FG/EF on June 1st. I imagine in 15-20% of them, you’ll find a note on my love for Cam Newton (+4000). At those incredible odds, I’m taking a stab at Newton to become MVP for the second time in his career. Newton won the award back in 2015 coming off a season where he threw for 3,837 yards and 35 passing touchdowns. He also ran for 636 yards and 10 scores. The Panthers were 15-1. It’s all about the wins for the MVP race, and the Panthers are another squad that I want to bet on the OVER. The Panthers started last year with a 6-2 record before Cam’s shoulder injury (popped up on the injury report Week 8) progressively got worse and aided in their end-of-year demise. The Panthers added some help to the front-seven and plan on entering the year running multiple fronts given all the talent they have across the defensive line. Newton has been eased into training camp, but he looks ready to go by all reports. He has talent littered everywhere across the field for him to throw to and is part of that very soft NFC South passing SOS. +4000 odds are too inviting for me to take my favorite fantasy quarterback this year. I’m in.