Player showdowns: This year's toughest fantasy draft decisions
Fantasy decisions on the macro level are important. When we look at interesting stats, or lessons, or sleepers and busts, we are helping form a picture for draft day. But for all the value that picture has, your fantasy draft will present some micro-level questions.
That’s what this is for. All offseason, PFF Fantasy’s Michael Moore is looking at some of those micro-level decisions. It’s draft day, and your options are one of two guys who are close together. Our macro-level advice has gotten you that far. But now it’s time to really decide, one way or another. Hopefully, by the time the real fantasy draft season rolls around, those micro decisions will be that much easier.
Keep up with all the showdowns here.
July 22: Devonta Freeman vs. Jordan Howard
Freeman’s breakout came in 2015, but he kept it going into 2016. Howard, meanwhile, seized the Chicago starting job a few weeks into the 2016 season and was one of the most productive backs in the league the rest of the way. Which one makes sense as your likely RB1 in fantasy for this year?
July 15: Philip Rivers vs. Ben Roethlisberger
Both were drafted in the first round of 2004, but that’s it for similarities. Roethlisberger has the bigger weapons, but he’s struggled to stay healthy. Rivers has had a middling supporting cast in recent years, but he never misses a game. Who is better set up for fantasy success in 2017?
July 8: A.J. Green vs. Mike Evans
By seasonal average, these two are eerily similar. Just off of 2016, Evans had the better raw numbers, but Green was on a great pace before injury. Both are typically going in the fourth/fifth range among wide receivers. But which one should be the preference?
June 17: Marucs Mariota vs. Cam Newton
One is a year removed from being one of the best fantasy players we’ve seen in some time, while the other is entering his third season without having played all 16 yet. Is Mariota’s rise overtaking any slip in Newton’s game?
June 11: Jay Ajayi vs. LeSean McCoy
The top tier of fantasy running backs in 2017 is, in some order, David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott. The next tier includes, among others, Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy and Miami’s Jay Ajayi. McCoy has been a consistent performer for longer, though Ajayi had a monster 2016 that included three 200-yard games. Who is the smarter investment?
June 3: Doug Baldwin vs. Jarvis Landry
Baldwin and Landry are two of the top slot weapons in the league. Landry is the undisputed top target on his team, and while that’s probably true of Baldwin as well, he has Jimmy Graham to deal with as well. Landry has a better running game around him. Which one makes more sense for 2017?
May 6: Travis Kelce vs. Greg Olsen
Rob Gronkowski is going to be the top tight end off the board in pretty much every fantasy draft for 2017. But Kelce and Olsen will be two of the top candidates for the next name. Kelce was No. 1 in 2016, while Olsen has been No. 4 three years in a row.
April 22: Kenny Britt vs. Terrelle Pryor
Pryor was a surprise performer for the Browns in 2016, signing with Washington in the offseason. The Browns replaced him with Britt, who himself had a career-best year with the Rams a year ago.
April 15: Tyler Eifert vs. Zach Ertz
Ertz has been maddeningly up-and-down for his career, with strong finishes to the years but slower starts. Eifert, meanwhile, puts up huge numbers when he’s on the field, but he’s missed more than half the game the last two years. Who is more trustworthy?
April 8: Derek Carr vs. Matt Ryan
Both quarterbacks spent much of the 2016 in the MVP discussion, with a late injury hurting Carr’s full-season totals. Which makes for the better play in 2017?
April 1: Keenan Allen vs. Allen Robinson
The Chargers receiver has been disappointing in his inability to remain healthy, while the Jaguar was a letdown because of his big falloff from his 2015 heights. Who is the best bet for 2017?
March 25: Eddie Lacy vs. Latavius Murray
Lacy was a top-10 fantasy back in 2013 and 2014. Murray was in 2015. Neither reached there in 2016, but both guys switched teams in free agency this offseason.