You can make a case for New Orleans'
Alvin Kamara, but he was one half of a dangerous backfield tandem (along with Mark Ingram).
Kareem Hunt, on the other hand, was the most important player in the
Chiefs' offensive success. When he was at his best, that team won. When he wasn't receiving enough touches, Kansas City often lost.
Oh, yeah: Hunt also
led the league in rushing.
I don't want to be dismissive of
Kareem Hunt. He was excellent this year. But
Alvin Kamara totally revamped the
Saints' offense. And he was the first rookie since Gale Sayers to have at least five rushing touchdowns, five receiving TDs and a special teams score. Since Gale Freaking Sayers. Not to mention, he split backfield touches with
Mark Ingram and was still a G.
Deshaun Watson would've stayed healthy, he might've been my pick for MVP. He was
that good. The
Texans had an immediate shift on offense and showed a ton of promise in those games
vs. New England
The game looks too easy for
Alvin Kamara. He was dynamic in the run game
Drew Brees' favorite target at times. This kid could be a slot starter on most teams.
Alvin Kamara overtook
Kareem Hunt in the second half of the season. Kamara made the
Saints' offense nearly impossible to stop. Not to mention, he totaled more than 1,500 scrimmage yards, scoring 13 touchdowns in the process.
Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing while averaging 4.9 yards per carry -- tied for third-best in the league among qualifying running backs. He also had just one fumble on 272 attempts. To put that in perspective, consider that MVP candidate
Todd Gurley fumbled five times in 279 attempts. Hunt was a better receiver than most thought he would be (53 catches for 455 yards and three scores).
I also considered
JuJu Smith-Schuster and
Alvin Kamara here.
It was a close race back midway through the season, but Kamara ran away with this one down the stretch.
Kareem Hunt is a highly productive running back and led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards. The Toledo product can do it all as an RB: run inside, run outside, catch the ball out of the backfield. He gave the
Chiefs balance in the offense, which helped
Alex Smith enjoy his best season as a quarterback.
This was a tough call for me between
Kareem Hunt and
Alvin Kamara, but I'm going to go with the latter. For the fantasy geeks among us, he was a waiver-wire hero. But even more than that, his presence on the roster made the
Saints realize that future Hall of Famer
Adrian Peterson was expendable. That alone should be worth some sort of accolade.
Most people are going to take one of the running backs in this category, but I have to hand it to
Deshaun Watson. He was phenomenal in his six starts (20 total TDs), and the
Texans improved immensely when he was in the game. We truly saw his impact when he got hurt, too -- the team finished 1-9 in games he didn't start.
Kareem Hunt was a revelation to start the year, but
Alvin Kamara's consistent greatness, eye-popping plays and statistical success IN A TIMESHARE make him the winner for me.
I'm sticking with
my midseason pick, Kareem Hunt. He took the league by storm early on and finished his rookie campaign with 1,327 rushing yards, 455 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.