They are the last four words that any YFFL owner or player wants to hear: "Too Close to Call". The MVP race got interesting this week as front-runner Duante Culpepper laid an egg and barely avoided a zero in the scoring column. Crippling his campaign even more were stellar games by Priest Holmes and Peyton Manning. Don't count out the ageless Curtis Martin who's 2004 performance is drawing comparisons to Jack Nicklaus' legendary win at the Masters at age 46 in 1986. But who's my darkhorse to come out on top of this highly contested MVP race? Here's my breakdown through 8 weeks of the YFFL season.
5. Priest Holmes, Huskers
Positives: Holmes scores TDs almost at will and for the third straight year, looks to lead all RB in points.
Negatives: Plays for a team that might not reach the playoffs. Kev Sansone may have worn out Holmes' welcome last year when he voted him league MVP despite playing for a team that finished tied for last in the NFC West.
Outlook: If Holmes continues on his record-setting scoring pace, and the Huskers can overtake the Chickens for the division title, voters will be reluctant to vote for anyone else. Holmes' magic numbers: 15.6 (PPG needed to break his single season scoring record) and 5 (more wins it will take to best the Chickens for the division title)
4. Curtis Martin, White Guys
Positives: Everyone "wants" to vote for this guy. He's been in the league for so long and played for such a horrible team that he could attract a number of "sympathy" votes. Oh, his numbers aren't that bad either. Five 100-yard rushing games in 7 games total to go along with eight TDs.
Negatives: He is currently tied for ninth in overall scoring and his workload could be diminished as the White Guys and Jets rest him up for the playoffs.
Outlook: If the White Guys can capture the NFC bye and Martin can pass Alexander and Barber in points, he'll likely be the most improbably YFFL MVP ever.
3. Daunte Culpepper, Merry Men
Positives: Culpepper had a monster first half of the season and was considered a "lock" to bring home his first official MVP award (Dugas will argue that he won the MVP in 2000 but I don't recall any vote that year). The Merry Men are off to their best start ever and figure to be a lock for the playoffs.
Negatives: Culpepper is arguably the most-hated player in the league. His actual talent is now in doubt as he as struggled in consecutive weeks without Randy Moss to throw to.
Outlook: If Culpepper can prove to voters that he is actually a great QB no matter if Moss plays or not, he might be able to save his MVP season.
2. Peyton Manning, Dragons
Positives: Leads the YFFL in scoring following his second 5-TD performance in Week 8. The Dragons are right in the thick of things in the NFC playoff picture and clearly would be much worse without Manning at the helm.
Negatives: It's hard to point out any negatives. The Dragons have to make the playoffs though if Manning truly is an MVP.
Outlook: If Manning and the Dragons continue on their hot streak and win the division, Manning should be the front-runner for league MVP.
1. Terrell Owens, Chickens
Positives: The addition of Owens has put the Chickens over the hump and landed them atop the Power Rankings for nine consecutive weeks now. Owens is undoubtedly the best WR in the YFFL today and should shatter the single-season WR scoring record of 106.
Negatives: He plays WR. No WR has ever factored that greatly into a YFFL MVP race. McNabb might steal a few votes away from him as well.
Outlook: The Chickens wouldn't be the Super Bowl favorites without him. He has transformed the league's most disappointing team into the league's most dominant team. And all of this from the WR position. He won't put up 150 points this season but he will get close and that is hard to do as WR.