2018 NFL Quarter Point Awards
With the completion of NFL Week 4, we are officially a quarter of the way through the 2018 season (minus Carolina and Washington, who had Week 4 byes). Everyone loves to hate “too early” award winner predictions, so it is my turn to add to the hate. We are going to look at the quarter way point award winners for the 2018 NFL season. Not only will we look at who will the MVP, but because we love betting, we will also look at some wagering MVPs.
Betting Team MVP
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only team with a perfect 4-0 record both straight up and against the spread. As well, if there were 4 more points scored in their Week 4 Monday Night Football matchup against the Broncos, they would be a perfect 4-0 SU, ATS and OVER.
The Los Angeles Rams were a half-point from perfection, but finishing as a PUSH in Week 4 versus the Vikings on Thursday night ruined the dream. The Broncos have the worst record ATS at 0-3-1.
The OVER/UNDER MVP is a four horse race with the Buccaneers, Chargers and Bengals having all 4 games going OVER and the Arizona Cardinals 4-0 on the UNDER. I was looking for a tiebreaker, and I found two, for the same team.
The Buccaneers have the highest average points above the OVER at 13.4, aided by a 38.5 point difference against the Saints and 12 more points than needed against the Bears, even though the Bucs only scored 10 of the total of 58. On top of that, including the preseason, the OVER is 8-0 in the Buccaneers’ 8 games played in 2018.
My definition of an MVP is a player that would be missed the most if they were removed from the lineup. A team’s most valuable player is one that means the most to his team, and two players fit that bill at this point of the season. QB Jared Goff and RB Alvin Kamara.
Let’s start with running back Alvin Kamara’s rushing stats, where you will find him 1st in touchdowns (5 – tied with Carlos Hyde), 1st in first downs (21 – tied with Todd Gurley), and the 8th most yards at 275. But Kamara is not your traditional running back and is used more like a wide receiver.
To go along with those great rushing stats, Kamara is 3rd in receptions (35), 1st in yards after catch (232), 4th in targets, 15th in yards, and with 14 more first downs as a receiver, he has accounted for a total of 35 first downs. Arizona has had a total of 50 first downs though the first 4 weeks.
Jared Goff can be found at the top of most QB stat categories through Week 4. He’s 2nd in yards, 3rd in completion percentage, 2nd in yards per attempt, 2nd in TDs and has the best passer rating at 127.3. He looks very comfortable in Sean McVay’s offense, and has the options necessary to keep defenses guessing.
Just because there has to be a winner, I’m going to go with Kamara. If you took him out of that Saints offense, defenses will lock in on WR Michael Thomas and will be able to shut down even the great Drew Brees. I don’t know much about Rams’ backup QB Sean Mannion, but knowing McVay and his way with QB’s that Mannion would be ready to run his offense. With a top running back and a crew of wide receivers unlike any other team, the Rams offense would run better without Goff than the Saints’ would without Kamara.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
This one is easy…Calvin Ridley. I was all over the Falcons first round pick in the 2018 draft, visualizing the Alabama duo tearing it up in the dome in Atlanta, and I’m a Saints fan (No homer on Kamara MVP J). After Ridley was held without a catch in his first game, I told a buddy Ridley will have a crazy career stat where he was held catchless in his first game then caught a pass in his next 100…time will tell.
Ridley is not at the top of the yards or receptions list as yet, but he has the most receiving touchdowns in the league at 6, and finding the endzone wins games. He is 9th in average yards per reception at 17.6 with 264 yards on 15 receptions. Watch for Ridley to be a major big play threat when it really counts in December.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
This is a close race at this point in the season with both Derwin James and Darius Leonard proving their early rounds selection. The Chargers drafted James 17th overall and the Colts got Leonard with the 2nd pick of the second.
Derwin James is a big play safety, recording a game-changing play in each of his first 4 games with one sack in three different games and an interception in the other. However, I’m giving it to Darius Leonard.
The rookie linebacker leads the league in total tackles (38), combined tackles (54), 6th in sacks (4), and keeps filling his stat line with 2 passed defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Leonard “tweaked” an ankle injury in Week 4 according to Colts Coach Frank Reich, but still managed to rack up 8 solo tackles, 5 tackle assists and a sack before leaving. Hopefully it’s not a dreaded high ankle sprain and Johnson doesn’t pull out of the race.
That was a fun, quick look at the first quarter of the 2018 NFL season. This is a “what have you done for me lately” league, so we have a ton of time for all this to switch around 3 or 4 times over. But lets look back on this one in January and see how close I was. Good luck the rest of the way.
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