The 2021 NFL Regular Season is over and the official awards will be presented at the NFL Honors prior to the Super Bowl. But in the run up to that, I’m giving my take and fearless predictions on NFL MVP, Coach of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year and Fantasy MVP. Below are my picks and the reason why. We’ll see how close I come when the official awards are announced in February.
NFL MVP: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is it cliché? It probably is at this point. But the field of contenders all has some flaws. I really liked what Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor did but given the finish for their teams, and the fact Matthew Stafford was also a contender, it was hard to settle on them. Aaron Rodgers had a strong season, too, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he got it. But I’m going with Brady because of what he continues to do in defying age and the odds. He threw for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns against just six interceptions. And he did it with the Buccaneers seeing a constant rotation due to injuries. Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette all missed time. Brady was the constant as the Bucs won 13 games and finished as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. He gets my vote.
Coach of the Year: Rich Bisaccia, Las Vegas Raiders
This was a much tougher one for me. I strongly considered Nick Sirianni, who got the Eagles into the post-season despite low, low expectations for the team. I also considered Mike Vrabel, who held the Titans together despite myriad injuries to finish at the No. 1 seed in the AFC. But, ultimately, I settled on Bisaccia, who took over at the Interim Coach for the Raiders in Week 6 after Jon Gruden resigned. It was a tough position and a tough season for the Raiders, but Bisaccia was a steady hand that helped the team finish 7-5 and earn a Wild Card playoff berth. I hope he gets the job in 2022, but regardless he is my pick as Coach of the Year.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
Chase had a phenomenal year, catching 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was a huge force in the Bengals pass offense and put up some eye-popping numbers. There were a few good rookie performances, but Chase was at his best in the biggest moments, catching 11 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns in Week 17 to guide the Bengals past the Chiefs and win the AFC North. He was the most outstanding rookie performer.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
One of the big differences between the 2021 Cowboys and the 2020 version was the play on defense. The heart of that was the Cowboys’ top pick, linebacker Micah Parsons. He played in 16 games, recording 84 tackles, 13 sacks, three passes defensed and three forced fumbles. He was the heart of an improved defense that carried the Cowboys to 12 wins and an NFC East title. That pushed him to the top of the heap for me.
Fantasy Football MVP: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
What you’re looking for in a Fantasy Football MVP is someone who greatly outperforms their draft position. When it comes to Samuel, heading into 2021, he wasn’t even universally regarded as the best receiver on his team. And yet, he exploded as a runner and receiver in 2021. He finished as the No. 11 scoring player in all of fantasy, including the No. 3 scoring receiver. For a guy you got at a discount, he became an every week producer. Samuel finished with 77 receptions for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns, adding 365 rushing yards and eight more touchdowns. That’s the kind of value that makes you a league winner and the Fantasy Football MVP.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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