The NFL season hasn’t even started, and there’s already speculation about who will be MVP this season. One of the big names that’s being talked about is Andrew Luck. Luck had a great season last year, but was still young enough to make several mistakes. This year, he has a couple seasons under his belt and expectations are higher than ever. Luck led the NFL with 20+ yard passes that led to touchdowns with 12 last year, which is a promising statistic. It indicates that he is accurate in clutch situations, and this can quite easily lead to big numbers in the future.
Expectations do not necessarily equal reality, though. Luck has a ton of potential and he is young, but to be worthy of the MVP title, he would need the support of his teammates, especially his wide receivers and tight ends. T.Y. Hilton had a great season last year with 1,345 yards and 7 touchdowns. With 2 receptions out of 3 targets in his first preseason game, he’s already looking pretty good with 26.0 yards per carry. That’s obviously much higher than he will see in the regular season, but it’s a good indicator.
Luck has competition, though. He might be the favorite to many, but he’s certainly not the only player in the NFL that has a shot. Aaron Rodgers is already in repeat contention and Le’Veon Bell is a possibility at running back. Russell Wilson is also an outside possibility. The Seattle Seahawks QB has a great supporting cast, went to the Super Bowl last year, and has been showing improvement almost every year he’s been a pro. If he continues on the same trajectory as he has the last three seasons, he will be in contention this year, especially given some of the players on his team that have been helping such as Jimmy Graham.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning should also be included in the conversation. Manning is talented, but has had a weak supporting cast the last few years. Despite this, he threw for over 4,000 yards last year and had 30 touchdowns. If the Giants can pull it together this year and Manning starts making smarter plays more frequently, he does have the ability to have an MVP caliber year. He’s more mature now, too, which should help his decision making. Manning might be an outsider to the MVP vote, but he does have the natural ability to be included in the conversation, at the very least. He’s one of those “let’s see how the season goes” players, though.
As far as players outside of the QB position, it’s tough to gain the sort of foothold in the voting, but it is possible to become the MVP. One player that come to mind immediately is J.J. Watt, the defensive end. As a defensive player, his chances to earn the MVP are slim, but he is one of the most talented players in the NFL right now. Last year, he took home the honors of Defensive Player of the Year and was the first ever unanimously voted player to win this distinction. He was a contender for MVP last year, too. The Houston Texans player has been a point contributor, with a couple touchdowns and a safety. He’s far more than they could have expected, and despite being a defensive end, is a huge contributor offensively. A season like last year could put him in the running again, especially if no one does anything overly impressive offensively. He even makes the Texans a great choice for your daily fantasy football defense all by himself.