In 2019 it was a bit of a tale of two seasons for the Denver Broncos. There was their long period of struggles, opening the year with a 3-8 record through 11 games. Then there was the period of success, closing out by going 4-1.
The big difference? Drew Lock took over as the starting quarterback for the final five games.
Now, heading into his first full season as a starter, Lock is getting huge +8000 odds to win NFL MVP in 2020 on FanDuel Sportsbook. That is tied for 30th among all players, and here are three reasons he's a real dark horse to win the award.
1. Lock's Passing Efficiency
Lock didn't dazzle with huge raw stats in his short rookie campaign, but he stood out in a couple key areas. His averaged adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A), which factors in touchdowns, interceptions and sacks, was the 10th-best mark for a rookie with five-plus starts in the past decade. One spot ahead of him? Cam Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP. Lock looked especially good protecting the football, as his 1.92 percent interception rate made him one of just eight rookie passers in the last decade to post a mark below 2.0 percent. He clearly has plenty of potential as a passer.
2. The Broncos Outstanding Defense
Denver's defense finished the 2019 season ranking 13th in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings — following up a stellar fifth-place finish in 2018. Why does this help Lock's MVP chances? Quarterbacks have won the last seven MVP awards, and all seven were on teams that won at least 11 games. Even if Lock is balling out, a defense that couldn't hold their own could blow his chances at the award. That's not likely to be the case in Denver.
3. Lock's Supporting Cast
As a rookie, Lock's supporting cast was underwhelming, to say the least. Over his five starts, only one Broncos player that caught a pass was a first-round pick (tight end Noah Fant), and eight of the 10 receivers Lock threw to were third-round picks or later. This offseason the Broncos brought in two first-round picks (Melvin Gordon and Jerry Jeudy) while adding another pass-catcher in the second round (KJ Hamler). So they've tripled the number of first-round picks in his arsenal, elevating the quality of the group across the board. That should go a long way to helping him reach his full potential.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.