Best two out of three
By Jesse Pantuosco, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network.com) - Ever had a brain freeze?
Of course you have. We've all eaten ice cream. It's a painful experience to be sure, but not nearly as crippling as draft freeze.
What is draft freeze? Let me set the scene for you. You're stuck between two players and you don't know which one to pick. You have 11 windows up on your computer, the clock is ticking and you're already way past panicking. There's no way out.
Then, just when you finally decide who you're going to pick, the computer swoops in and chooses for you. The computer picks Khiry Robinson, third-string running back for the New Orleans Saints. Way to go, computer.
Basically, this is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone aside from having to sit through an entire Katherine Heigl movie. But I'm here to change that. No more Katherine Heigl and no more Khiry Robinson. Below are five sets of players going for the same price in auction leagues. I'm going to choose the best two from each set so you don't have to freeze up on draft night.
Sound good? Let's start with some wideouts.
Dez Bryant, A.J. Green & Brandon Marshall
The truth is, you can't go wrong with any of these three. Bryant, Green and Marshall are all studs. To me, Green is only a tad below Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas on the wide receiver hierarchy. With 180 targets last season (third-most in the NFL), he's a lock for the second round.
That leaves just Bryant and Marshall. I trust their quarterbacks equally (Tony Romo and Jay Cutler) so the real question is, who's going to see the most targets?
That's easy. Marshall wasn't even the leading receiver on his team last season. Alshon Jeffery finished sixth in the league in receiving yards to Marshall's 11th. Playing alongside another Pro Bowl wide receiver may actually give Marshall more room to make plays. But I still think Bryant, a red zone behemoth in 2013 (nine of his 13 touchdowns came from inside the ten), is the safer choice.
Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard & Alfred Morris
Ball and Bernard rushed for a combined 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Morris had more yards by himself (1,275) and almost as many TDs (seven). Ball and Bernard both have potential but Morris is the only sure thing. If you're able to snag him in the third round, consider that a steal.
Bernard is interesting because unlike Morris, he's also an excellent receiver (514 yards, three touchdowns last season). The fact that Cincinnati seems to be moving away from BenJarvus Green-Ellis (220 carries in 2013, down from 278 the year before) only strengthens Bernard's case.
Meanwhile, Denver ran the ball just 40.6 percent of the time last season. And when they did, Ball had a hard time holding onto the ball (three lost fumbles on only 140 touches). I like Ball, but he's my odd man out.
Frank Gore, Ryan Mathews & C.J. Spiller
Let's address some of the red flags. Danny Woodhead has basically turned Mathews into a two-down back while Spiller still splits carries with Fred Jackson. And Gore ... well he's just old.
Even with Woodhead getting most of the passing down work last season, Mathews was still able to secure 285 carries, fourth-most in the NFL. That's enough to sell me.
The Gore/Spiller conundrum is a little trickier but I'm going with Gore for a couple of reasons. Despite his mileage, Gore has been incredibly consistent throughout his career (1,000 rushing yards or more in seven of his last eight seasons). The same cannot be said of Spiller, who took a huge step backwards last season (1,118 total yards compared to 1,703 the year before). Spiller may have a higher ceiling than Gore but he comes with double the risk. Do the right thing and pick Frankie G.
Nick Foles, Robert Griffin III & Colin Kaepernick
When it comes to fantasy QBs, it's all about who your receivers are. DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon should make this year a cakewalk for Griffin III. Things aren't so bad for Kaepernick either. He'll have Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Stevie Johnson to throw to in 2014.
As for Foles? His best receiving weapon (Jackson) went to play with RG3, leaving him with just Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. Neither one has had a 1,000-yard receiving season and Maclin is coming off a serious knee injury.
Did I mention Griffin and Kaepernick can run the ball too (1,013 rushing yards combined last season)? Sorry, Nick.
Jordan Cameron, Greg Olsen & Dennis Pitta
First off, does it really matter? If you didn't grab Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, you're already at a huge disadvantage. But if paying $40 for a tight end isn't your thing, all three of these guys are pretty good options.
I'm not sure why people have soured on Cameron. He had over 900 receiving yards last season and that's only going to improve with Josh Gordon sidelined. Olsen should also benefit from Carolina's gutted receiving corps. Even when Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell were still on the team last season, Olsen saw a career-high 109 targets.
Pitta has been a popular bounce back candidate in fantasy circles but I don't trust him after missing most of last season with a dislocated hip. Plus, his quarterback, Joe Flacco, is coming off his worst season (30 turnovers and a career-worst 73.1 quarterback rating). Out of these choices, Pitta is the one I'd stay away from.
That covers draft freeze. For brain freezes, you're on your own.
08/06 17:01:53 ET