A.J. Green is as valuable to his team as any player in the NFL—when he doesn’t have a big game, the Bengals lose—but there are caveats that come with choosing the NFL MVP, in that a wide receiver on a losing team typically doesn’t take the award. However, this fictional midseason award is for all of the elite receivers who are overlooked in the MVP conversation. Atlanta’s Julio Jones is right there with Green this season. Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown should’ve been a stronger candidate last season. And if Odell Beckham Jr. could get his head straight, he would be considered the single reason the Giants are a borderline playoff team.
But it’s important to note that Green, who entered Week 9 leading the NFL with 896 receiving yards, has elevated his game in 2016. No receiver has better body control, as evidenced by his Hail Mary catch against the Browns. If he played in a bigger market or had Beckham’s personality, he’d be a much bigger star (ditto for Jones). — Andrew Perloff