Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Lamar Jackson: MVP in Reality and Fantasy?

The NFL MVP talk is generating a lot of buzz right now as two QBs, Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson, are the clear frontrunners. The honor almost always goes to a signal-caller, and the fact that two dual-threat types are the top candidates shows how the position has clearly evolved.

Quarterback is still the most essential position in the NFL, as finding a stable franchise player at the position seems to be a very challenging and often-elusive pursuit for some teams. In standard fantasy football leagues, the quarterback is less emphasized, since only 10 or 12 teams need a quality starter out of the roughly 32 starting-caliber options. Of course, two QB leagues give us a better appreciation for what real NFL teams have to deal with when seeking a quality solution.

After 13 weeks, Jackson is the second-highest scoring player in fantasy football and tops at the QB position. We also have to consider that the rising Baltimore superstar could be both the real and fantasy MVP this season.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


The NFL MVP Race

Jackson is obviously the most dynamic player in the game right now, and we have truly never seen a dual-threat like him before. He conjures up visions of Michael Vick as a runner but already looks like he can ultimately be a smoother and better passer than Vick ever was. The Ravens are the best team in the league right now, and Jackson is clearly the biggest reason why.

He gets my vote over Wilson right now because Jackson has knocked off top-quality teams like the Patriots and Seahawks, edged out the 49ers, and destroyed the Texans and Rams. Wilson threw a decisive pick-six in the loss to Baltimore, his only glaring mistake in an otherwise impressive season, but it’s enough to help give Jackson the edge, in addition to the outstanding five victories mentioned. While he struggled at times as a passer against San Francisco, he was still a distinctive difference-maker as a runner and led the drive that set up the winning field goal.

Wilson has more proven success as a pro, so he could be the guy you would want to lean on more in the playoffs. Only a couple of years removed from being considered a complementary piece to Marshawn Lynch and a shutdown defense, Wilson has become a standout axis of a team that seems to get better as the season progresses. But savvy NFL fans realized his value to the franchise long before now. The year before Wilson was drafted (2011), the Seahawks had Lynch and the Legion of Boom secondary in place and won just seven games.

Though many might bet on Wilson to lead a deep postseason run based on his previous experience, the NFL MVP is a regular-season award. In that regard, no one has been quite as outstanding as Jackson. Here is how my personal NFL MVP voting card would look like right now:

  1. Lamar Jackson – The most unstoppable force in the game and has five impressive wins over top teams to his credit
  2. Russell Wilson – A better passer than Jackson and maybe the best overall QB in the NFL with outstanding leadership abilities.
  3. Dalvin Cook – Clearly was the missing element to Minnesota becoming a true contender.
  4. Michael Thomas – A WR is not going to win it, but he is the best player at his position and the biggest standout on one of the NFC's best teams
  5. Patrick MahomesNo way you cannot mention him, but he did miss a bit of time

You'll notice an absence of 49ers because no single player has jumped out, which is a testament to their terrific play as a team. Aaron Rodgers has not consistently played at a high level as in the past. The Bills deserve a lot of respect, but Josh Allen is just not playing at an MVP level.

As for Christian McCaffrey, I don’t endorse MVP candidates on non-playoff teams in any sport. Of course, he can easily win the Offensive Player of the Year award, which he truly deserves. But with or without McCaffrey, the Panthers are not going to make the playoffs in 2019.  Stephon Gilmore deserves a mention as the best player on a defense that has been the reason for most of New England's success. Aaron Rodgers has not played at a high level all year, and the loss to San Francisco was definitely a significant minus.


The Fantasy MVP Race

When deciding the real-life MVP, it's important to consider where a team would be without that player and how essential he is to that team being one of the best in the league. In fantasy football, though, the parameters are different. Draft value becomes a huge factor.

If based only on a player's overall performance, McCaffrey would easily be the frontrunner for fantasy football MVP honors. He plays at what is considered the most top-heavy position in fantasy football and has outproduced his competition with ease.

McCaffrey was the second player drafted overall in the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) and third in most other platforms. Jackson was taken 90th overall in the FFPC and as low as 115th elsewhere. On draft day, he was considered a high-end fantasy QB2 (at best) by many owners.

Quarterback is certainly deeper for fantasy purposes than running back, making it tougher to vault a QB ahead of an RB in this conversation. But when you consider Jackson is a top-10 rusher in the NFL, he deserves the top spot over McCaffrey. You are getting top tier RB numbers at the QB position on top of his passing totals.

My Fantasy Football MVP Card looks like this:

  1. Lamar Jackson – A QB/RB hybrid who is the most unique fantasy player at any position.
  2. Christian McCaffrey – Will be the crux of many championship squads. The Fantasy MVP should include playoff considerations.
  3. Dalvin Cook – Some passed on him because of injury concerns and have spent every day since regretting it.
  4. Michael Thomas – Completely matchup-proof and a weekly superstar.
  5. Derrick Henry - Outplaying several RBs drafted ahead of him in his best year ever.

Others I considered for votes include Chris GodwinAustin Ekeler and John Brown. If Austin Hooper had stayed healthy he would have been fourth.

More NFL Analysis

More Recent Articles


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More

Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More

2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More

Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More

Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More

Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More

The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More

Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More

Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More

Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More

Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More

Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More

Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More

Biggest Breakouts Of 2019: Wide Receivers

As we enter the initial phase of offseason activities you have recently completed a painstaking process of creating and managing rosters, with the goal of winning fantasy championships in 2019. Now, many of you have already shifted your focus toward planning your drafts in Best Ball and redraft leagues, while others are contemplating how you... Read More

Tight End ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More