MVP Update: Brady and Wentz Continue to Thrive, Ryan Making a Run
It’s been a handful of weeks since my last points added update, and it seems like even longer ago considering that the focus of that piece was the surging numbers for Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson.
Watson, of course, is out for the year. Wilson hasn’t done poorly since, with some seeing the enormous burden he’s carrying as enough to make him the MVP. But from looking strictly at points added, Wilson has fallen considerably in the rankings.
Quarterback Points Added
The table above is sorted by points added per game, which continues to be lead by Tom Brady. Brady dwarfs other quarterbacks’ in terms of passing points added – net 65 versus 38 for second-place Carson Wentz. How Wentz keeps things close in total points added is on the ground, adding 18 points to Brady’s 0.3.
The biggest mover on the list is Matt Ryan, who has moved into third place, though still significantly behind the top-2 candidates. Ryan’s performance of late has resembled his epic 2016 campaign, while Brady and Wentz have been much more consistently adding points.
Drew Brees is also in the mix with the fourth-most points added. But this has been an atypical year for Brees. He’s remained efficient but lacks his usual volume with 100 fewer action plays than league-leader Wilson.
Non-Quarterback Points Added
The main reason the Saints haven’t needed as much volume from Brees is their vastly improved defence, but non-quarterback points added leader Alvin Kamara. Kamara has been on a tear of late, with a series of long plays boosting the scoring expectations of the Saints.
One of the larger takeaways of the non-quarterback table is how much more volatile it is that for quarterbacks. Many of the leaders weren’t in the top-25 when we last updated points added. One reason for this is the lack of volume for non-quarterbacks, the other is the dependence on chuck plays. Running backs, in particular, have difficulty accumulating points added, as running the ball is generally a point losing endeavour.
Kamara has destroyed the norms accumulating 12.4 points on the ground, while the next closest player (Duke Johnson) has less than five. It’s unlikely Kamara can keep up this hyper-efficiency, which could lead to more Brees usage in the future.
The Top-25 MVP Candidates
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Quarterbacks still dominant the leaderboard for points added per game, accounting for all of the top-5, seven of the top-10 and 11 of the top-25. There might still be a season in the future where a non-quarterback competes for the MVP, but this isn’t one of them.