In today's Monday Morning Quarterback column, Sports Illustrated's Peter King rates Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as a top five candidate for MVP.
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback, New York Jets. (LW: not rated.)
My upset pick here. I chose Fitzpatrick by a hair over Brandon Marshall, who achieved his sixth 100-catch season Sunday. I did it because week in and week out, Fitzpatrick gives a very strong Jets defense precisely what it needs out of the offense—just enough punch (3,724 passing yards, 29 touchdown passes, 12 picks)—and provides New York with the leadership it sorely lacked at quarterback with Geno Smith.
Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, and Andy Dalton were King's top four.
Voters use different criteria for the way they cast their MVP ballot. Some just vote for the guy they think was the best player no matter the outside circumstances. Others vote for the player they think carried the biggest load to make a team successful. Many factor in positional value.
I think no matter the criteria, it is difficult to make a case for Fitzpatrick as the MVP. He doesn't have the statistical case. He has a good supporting cast to help him carry the load both in terms of defense and receiving targets. I think most people watching the Jets would conclude Marshall has been the team's offensive MVP. He has made life a lot easier on Fitzpatrick and been a matchup nightmare all season for opponents.
With that said, Fitzpatrick's play has far surpassed my wildest expectations. During this five game winning streak, Fitzpatrick has 13 touchdowns against just 1 interception. Did anybody expect a 29-12 touchdown-interception rate and a quarterback rating over 90? Fitzpatrick isn't just a guy holding the fort and riding shotgun as the defense wins games. He is going out and making plays to help the Jets win.
The MVP consideration might be going a tad overboard, but it's cool to see Fitzpatrick getting this kind of praise.