2. Patriots WR Wes Welker (Last week: NA). Stats: 51 receptions (1st in the NFL), 785 yards (1st in the NFL), 15.4 average, 6 TDs. Wes Welker has been the driving force of an offense that is 3rd in points per game despite playing 4 non-losing teams. He has 110 more receiving yards than #2 Steve Smith (785 vs. 675) and ask Brady on third down how valuable you is, and how valuable he is in creating manageable third downs.
3. Ravens RB Ray Rice (Last week: NA). Stats: 89 carries, 398 yards, 4.5 average, 2 TDs; 21 receptions, 302 yards, 14.4 average, 2 TDs. I put Ray Rice just ahead of McFadden for a few reasons. One, the Ravens have a better defense and their schedule is easier which means more wins and more carries for Rice. Both Rice and McFadden attack in the running and passing game but I think Rice will benefit as the Ravens offense improves strongly while the Raiders offense sees more obstacles with their inexperience.
4. Raiders RB Darren McFadden (Last week: NA). Stats: 111 carries, 610 yards (1st in the NFL), 4 TDs; 18 receptions, 151 yards, 1 TD. I can’t remember a time when a player went from being labeled a “bust” for two seasons, then turned into one of the top 5 at his position. That’s what has gone down with Darren McFadden.
5. Patriots QB Tom Brady. Stats: 67.5 completion rate, 2163 yards (1st in NFL), 16 TDs, 8 INTs, 104.8 QB rating. A few of Brady’s interceptions have been – I believe – tipped by his receivers. I expect that if he finishes equal statistically with the other best QB, voters will either give it to the other guy or make both of them co-MVPs, since Brady has won 2 MVPs.
On the outside looking in: Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick