Meet the Candidates

Steve Dugas, Draft Guru

November 18, 2006

As we head into the final three weeks of the YFFL season, it's looking like all these playoff races are going to come right down to the final Monday Night Football game of our regular season, Panthers vs. Eagles. After what seemed to be a slow first few weeks of scoring we've had a few players go off and now records are being threatened. I remember a conversation I had with the commissioner around week 4 or week 5 - we were thinking that not a single running back was going to break 100 for the season, but now I would be shocked if LT didn't break 200. So with the stars of the league ready to decide their team's fates as we play each team within our division once more, here is a rundown of the players likely to end up on the YFFL MVP ballot come seasons end.

LaDainian Tomlinson (Chickens)

It's hard to believe Tomlinson has 152 points on the season through ten weeks considering he had 28 through the first five, but since then he has gone off for 124 and is threatening to break Priest Holmes' single season record of 190. At this rate, Emmitt Smith's all-time record isn't even safe to last the rest of the season. LT could lose some votes to McNabb, but McNabb has cooled off of late after getting off to a scorching start. If the two of these players continue to put up 20 points a game apiece there is no question I will lose the bet I made with Mike and he will have a 4' banner hanging in his home. To win LT likely needs to lead the league in points and keep the Chickens in the driver's seat of the NFC. Even if LT loses the lead in scoring I think he should win; he's the best player in the league and has been for years. The only thing missing from his resume is an MVP award and a banner.

Peyton Manning (Huskers)

After shopping Manning during the preseason, the Huskers have to be glad they hung onto the most consistent player in the league. After a slow start by Manning standards he now has the quarterback lead for points. He has only failed to reach double digits twice and has led the Huskers on an unexpected playoff run. The Huskers remain only a half game out of the NFC wild card lead and Manning has been the biggest reason why. Manning will have to have some huge games down the stretch if the Huskers are going to make the playoffs. Every game is must win as they square off against their division foes. To have a shot at a third MVP Manning must deliver the Huskers to the playoffs.

Willie Parker (Merry Men)

Parker was another player who was shopped leading up to the YFFL draft, even being offered to the Chickens for a QB. It would be scary to see what the Chickens would be like with a solid player like Parker paired with LT. Willie Parker was elevated to the starting lineup when Deuce McAllister was dealt for Jon Kitna and he hasn't looked back since. Parker has amassed 88 points so far and has been keeping the Merry Men right in the thick of things in the best division in the league. Without Parker the Merry Men would be 3-6-1 and getting a jump start on draft prep. Parker has delivered all season long and has helped the Merry Men overcome the loss of Alexander for six games. For Parker to have a shot at the MVP the Merry Men would have to snap the Buddies 7 game win streak this weekend, make the playoffs, and score about 70 points the last few weeks. Just to land on the ballot would be a great accomplishment for this young and emerging player.

Larry Johnson (Buddies)

Everyone expected huge things for LJ this season but he got out of the gates a little slow and only scored 8 points as the Buddies found themselves sitting in the basement at 1-2. Since then LJ has scored 98 points while leading the Buddies to 7 straight victories. He's only had one huge game in which he scored 30 but otherwise every game he delivers at least one TD and 100 yards rushing. LJ has had to deal with the loss of the Chiefs starting QB, injuries to players along the offensive line and the retirement of Willie Roaf, which makes the season he has had all that more impressive. To win the MVP award, LJ will need to keep playing great and it would be a great help if the Buddies were able to sweep their entire division once again en route to 10 straight victories.

Donovan McNabb (Chickens)

Through the first 7 weeks of the season this guy was the league MVP. He should still be considered for the award but will likely miss out due to the monster second half his Chicken teammate LT is having. McNabb will be lucky to even come away with a Pro Bowl berth, something he has amazingly never done due to spending his entire career in the same conference as Peyton Manning. McNabb's personal best point total for a season is 183 (207 if he had started every game) and that total is likely within reach. McNabb is the reason the Chickens were successful early and they wouldn't be leading their division if not for his play those first 7 weeks. For McNabb to have a chance to win MVP he will need to pass his teammate LT for the scoring lead and deliver at least two victories these final three weeks.

Marc Bulger (Thugs)

Bulger has finally been able to stay healthy this season and it's showing up in the box scores. He has 100 points and has been the star of another solid season by the Thugs. The Thugs were not expected to contend this season but week after week they pull out wins and Bulger has delivered 6 games of double digit points. He is the only Thug in the top 25 in scoring, which is surprising for a team that has held down the wild card for most of the season. There is one blemish as Bulger has been shut out not once, but twice. The quarterback position has reverted back to circa 1999-2000 and is now the most important position in the YFFL; teams routinely lose if their QB doesn't get in on the action. For Bulger to win this award he needs to move up a few spots in the statistical rankings, deliver a victory in Week 13 over the Merry Men and make the playoffs.

Honorable Mention

  • Jeff Wilkins (Brothers) - #11 in league in scoring
  • Rex Grossman (Refugees) - Led Refugees revival
  • Eli Manning (Boys) - Poised to seize wild card lead
  • Nate Kaeding (Boys) - Key cog for Big Boy scoring machine
  • Brett Favre (Dragons) - Keeping Dragons ahead of Big Boys