Breaking down the Pro Bowl slate is unlike any other. Last year, one of the cheapest players on the slate wound up being the best play, which we’ll touch on later. The NFC is a 1.5-point underdog in this one, with the total set at 51. Here’s how the slate breaks down.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices
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PRO BOWL SHOWDOWN SPOTLIGHT
Russell Wilson ($8,400) and Drew Brees ($7,600) have nothing to prove in this game, and I’d imagine they want to play as little as possible. Roster them at your own risk, but either could lead a touchdown drive early in the game.
Kirk Cousins ($5,000) pops to me as a much more reasonable QB play. It’s his second Pro Bowl, and he’s in it to replace Aaron Rodgers, potentially giving him some extra motivation. I could see Cousins playing the entire second half of this game.
Michael Thomas ($9,400) is way too overpriced for this game, but we do have to pay up somewhere. Maybe you can make a contrarian build by stacking the two Saints stars and hoping they hook up for an early touchdown. I don’t have much of a take at the TE position, so if you think the Saints bond together for a big drive, Jared Cook ($5,600) is a consideration. Brees and Thomas are the only QB/WR duo of actual teammates in the game.
Davante Adams ($7,800), like Thomas, is just banking on a deep touchdown. If you’re making multiple lineups, he’s nothing more than a name you can sprinkle in.
Amari Cooper ($5,800) feels like just as good a play as any of the WR priced above him on the NFC squad. Why pay $2,000 more for Adams other than to have exposure to as many touchdown threats as possible?
Kenny Golladay ($4,600) is actually my favorite WR of the bunch. If those three veterans get benched early, Golladay could finish out the game as the WR1. He should be highly motivated as the youngster of the group playing in his first Pro Bowl. Golladay’s 11 touchdowns this season were more than any of his WR teammates in this game.
Austin Hooper ($5,200) is the other TE, and did catch a 20-yard touchdown in the game last year. Cook seems like he has more upside for the deep ball, though.
Running backs are dead in the Pro Bowl. Ezekiel Elliott ($8,200) is an easy fade for me at this price. He had three carries for 33 yards and two catches for 14 yards last year, and should play a similar role this year.
Alvin Kamara ($6,800) has a little bit of appeal as a pass-catcher, but again, this game isn’t for RBs. Kamara had just two touches in the game last year.
If someone rips off a long TD run for the NFC, I’d go with Dalvin Cook ($6,400). It’s unlikely he’ll see more than five touches, though, so it doesn’t feel great rostering him.
Cordarralle Patterson ($1,200) and Deonte Harris ($800) are my favorite two plays on the slate. Not only do they bring kick return upside, but these special teamers always seem to get into the game at WR/RB late to make a play. Last year Anthony Sherman wound up with seven touches for the AFC — three receptions for 92 yards, and four carries for 11 yards and a touchdown. His 19.3 DKFP for under $1,000 broke the slate.
I’m fading kickers and defenses in this one. The Pro Bowl is about offense and touchdowns!
Lamar Jackson ($10,000) is the most expensive player on the slate, but given the kick return values and the fact that the cheaper plays could see the most snaps in the second half, I think we can Captain Jackson for $15,000. Lamar is jacked up to be playing in his first Pro Bowl, and starting in the game. It’s very rare for a QB to run in the Pro Bowl, but if anyone makes some plays on the ground, I like Jackson. I could easily see him leading the game in rushing, and maybe he helps us out through the air as well.
Deshaun Watson ($8,600) is a nice pivot off Jackson, but doesn’t come with quite as exciting a narrative. If you’re entering multiple lineups or stacking QBs, then maybe Watson becomes a play.
Ryan Tannehill ($5,400) is a pretty strong value. I prefer Cousins because he’s playing behind more established guys, but nobody thought we’d ever see Tannehill in this spot this season. Look for him to make the most of it heading into free agency.
The AFC WRs are much more affordable. Keenan Allen ($7,000) has played well in these games, and actually led all receivers last year with four receptions for 95 yards.
Jarvis Landry ($6,200) is another good possession WR that could rack up a few catches in this game. I’d prefer Allen, but Landry makes some sense as well.
D.J. Chark ($4,800) and Courtland Sutton ($4,200) are my favorite WR plays here, though. Like Golladay, both are playing in their first Pro Bowl, but I think both should be over the moon just to be in this position. Look for Tannehill to hook up with these two a lot in the second half. You could consider stacking all three.
Mark Andrews ($6,000) is a good play to stack with Jackson. It’s an expensive stack, but we easily have the value to make it work. Andrews put up a 68-891-10 line with Jackson at the helm this season.
Jack Doyle ($3,600) is probably an afterthought, but did catch a couple of balls the last time he played in the game.
The Pro Bowl is not built for the likes of Derrick Henry ($7,200). That also applies to Nick Chubb ($6,600) and Mark Ingram ($3,000), who are all downhill runners.
Henry’s hot right now because of the postseason run, but this is a time to fade him. The only reason I have any RB interest here is because Ingram is so cheap, but he likely doesn’t play much because he was banged up to end the season. Even with that likely meaning extra snaps for Chubb, it’s really tough to roster a RB.
Andre Roberts ($400) and Matthew Slater ($200) are your special teamers here. I think both NFC plays have more value, but Roberts would be my play between the two here.
Final Score: AFC 28, NFC 21
The AFC has been the better team in recent seasons and I think could be the hungrier roster with some key players playing in their first Pro Bowl … but it’s the Pro Bowl, so who knows. Let’s hope for a shootout.
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