Patrick Mahomes could easily win another MVP Award this season. There’s no fun, or profit, in backing him to repeat as the winner of the prestigious honor though. Instead, you should be looking for valuable long shots to back this time of year. Fortunately, we’re here to give you five guys we like to pay off big if things break right for them in 2019.
5. Kirk Cousins
Cousins might be wildly overpaid, but that doesn’t mean he can’t put up big numbers for the Vikings offense. If he throws for 5,000 yards and Minnesota wins the division, a lot of people are going to walk back their criticism of Cousins.
Remember, he’s blessed with dynamic weapons at the skill positions. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are unquestioned stars at wide receiver. If Dalvin Cook can stay healthy it will give Cousins a massive weapon to utilize in the backfield. The offensive line play is a question, but first round pick Garrett Bradbury should solidify the front from the center position.
66:1 odds just aren’t giving Cousins enough respect. He may not be a guy who can lift up the players around him, but that’s not required in this offense. Executing the plan and leaving the Vikings to a division title will earn Cousins a lot of credit when MVP votes are being cast.
4. Julio Jones
Wide receivers need some love on this list too. Jones just happens to be the most complete wideout in the game. That’s why he deserves better MVP odds than 150:1.
If Jones is going to bring home the hardware, he’ll need to have an epic season. 2,000 yards receiving won’t be enough. He’ll need to push the 2,500 mark. There may be too much balance in the Falcons offense to give him that much work, but there’s no denying the fact that he has a special connection with Matt Ryan.
A subtle factor in his candidacy should be the Atlanta defense. For him to put up video game numbers, they’ll need to repeat last year’s dismal season. That’s unlikely, but again, it’s not impossible. There’s a lot of value to be had in laying down some coin on Julio in the preseason.
3. Ezekiel Elliott
Long shot quarterbacks aren’t going to be the only players on this list. There’s a strong case that Elliott is the best value on the board with the potential to wager on him at 60:1. Assuming he doesn’t miss any games, it’s hard to imagine him not competing for the rushing title.
In other words, his MVP candidacy is going to boil down to whether or not the Cowboys win enough games for him to merit consideration. Most predictions have Dallas hovering just over the .500 mark. If they hit double-digit wins, Zeke is going to get a lot of love from the national media.
Don’t count out the possibility of him strengthening his case by catching a lot of passes from Dak Prescott this season. Kellen Moore’s new offensive scheme should give Elliott the chance to catch the ball in space more often. A few big plays in the passing game could push him over the top when all is said and done.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo
Garoppolo’s 2018 season was ruined by injury. There’s no reason to think he won’t bounce back as a healthy player in 2019. Assuming he does, Garoppolo is primed to put up big numbers in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
You can bet on the 49ers gunslinger at 50:1 right now. That’s a great value for a player who could flirt with 5,000 yards passing this season if things break right. If Garoppolo is that productive, it will lead the ‘Niners to a division crown. The narrative of a quarterback returning from injury to lead his team to a surprising playoff run will win him a lot of MVP consideration. Garoppolo is definitely a quarterback who can take home the award.
1. Lamar Jackson
Jackson definitely qualifies as a long shot. If you act now, you can wager on him to take home the MVP Award at 80:1. That’s a solid long shot given just how easy it is to envision a scenario where he brings home the hardware.
The Ravens offense is trying to prove that not everyone in the NFL has to throw the ball frequently to be successful. They’re going to run the ball more than anyone else in the league. Jackson is going to get a ton of those carries from the quarterback position.
That reliance on the run game is going to make Baltimore dangerous via play action. That’s where Jackson will need to get a little bit of good luck to pad his stats.
Imagine a world in which the Ravens go 12-4, win the division and Jackson rushes for 1,000 yards and throws for another 3,000. That would at least get him in the MVP conversation. It’s not likely a likely outcome, but it’s a long way from impossible.