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Cincinnati Bengals vs Philadelphia Eagles
A.J. Green vs LeSean McCoy
While it may sound crazy to compare an all-star wide receiver to a runner who hasn’t seen the field in the last month you need to consider draft strategies. Next season, much like this one, the talent at running back will fall off faster than wide receiver. That’s not to say that Green isn’t worth an early selection. It just means that there is some hidden additional value based upon limitations at the running back position. Even if McCoy can’t suit up again due to concussion complications, he will still have a tremendous amount of value on the line.
Bryce Brown’s explosion onto the fantasy scene is the last thing McCoy owners wanted to see. Ideally, when you own a player that goes down with injury, you want the squad to suffer, showcasing the worth of the missing player. A great example here would be Maurice Jones-Drew and the slew of disappointing runners that Jacksonville has attempted to fill the void with. Brown, however, has come through in a big way, perhaps working his way into an RBBC approach when McCoy finally returns.
Both Green and McCoy look to be options after the middle portion of the first round. Drafters could have a decision to make as early as the tenth pick. If Brown takes off on another tear and A.J. Green continues his fantastic season the decision may not be as difficult as perceived now. Green has the potential to earn a ton of value while McCoy runs the risk of dropping from a top three pick to outside the first round.
New York Giants vs Atlanta Falcons
We all know who the top guy at the wide receiver position is going to be next season as Megatron chases down Jerry Rice’s receiving record. After Calvin Johnson though, there appears to be a void as to who the clear cut number two guy is? With Larry Fitzgerald continuing his fall from grace we begin to wonder who will be moving up and taking over. A.J. Green is certainly deserving given his impressive play. Roddy White’s amazing consistency makes him a competitor for a top slot. Brandon Marshall’s numbers are back to an elite level now that he’s reunited with Jay Cutler. We can’t forget Demaryius Thomas in Denver, either. Two of the rising stars throwing their hats into the ring will be squaring off this Sunday as the Giants take on the Atlanta Falcons. Where will Julio Jones and Victor Cruz place in the wide receiver race?
Both are incredibly explosive players, capable of taking any pass the entire scoring distance. Both are at the 1,000 mark, give or take a couple yards, and scoring hasn’t been an issue as Cruz has nine and Jones has seven with three games remaining. This game is being dubbed a shootout as two of the better quarterbacks in the league are fighting for their teams’ playoff lives. Whoever responds with most production between Jones and Cruz will have the inside track of finishing ahead of the other. Both will likely see top ten rankings but who will finish closer to the top five?
Both Jones and Cruz will make for potential second round picks in 2013. Their production this week should have a massive impact on both of their average draft positions and overall rank next season. If Manning and Ryan decide to turn this into a shootout, we could see an absolute slug fest between the two young dynamos.
Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
Next season will contain a few new faces in addition to the usual suspects at the quarterback position vying for first round selection. In many cases, Rodgers was taken as the number one overall pick on draft day. While he’s been good, he hasn’t been what we were expecting. In fact, he’s losing ground to quarterbacks that were selected well after him as Tom Brady and Drew Brees continue their dominance and Peyton Manning crawls back up the charts. With more and more options becoming available at the quarterback spot, Rodgers value begins to decline a bit.
While Rodgers value takes a bit of a hit, Brandon Marshall continues to rise back to the elite. In just his first season with the Bears, Marshall has become virtually the entire passing attack. He’s catching everything and scoring touchdowns on a weekly basis. He’s back to being one of the most trustworthy options at wide receiver. Our expectations will clearly be higher going into his second season in the Chicago offense.
With Rodgers moving back a little in average draft position and Marshall moving way up, owners could have a debate on their hands at the end of the first round. Do you go with the quarterback early or wait for a few rounds? Does Marshall’s value supersede the former MVP? This question is still clouded a bit but this divisional matchup could offer some clarity. If Rodgers is able to find his usual five touchdown self, he’ll obviously be on the climb back up to the top. But if he comes through with another single scoring outing and Marshall goes off against the weakened Green Bay defense, the plot will thicken and the debate will ramble on.
Washington Redskins vs Cleveland Browns
We’ve seen some crazy early potential first round mock drafts already taking place. One name that has popped up frequently is Robert Griffin III. In fact, in a few cases, he comes off the board just behind Tom Brady. Cam Newton saw a similar rise up the charts between his rookie and sophomore campaigns and has answered the call more often than not. Is Griffin worth taking ahead of the some of the better running back options, for example, fellow rookie Trent Richardson?
It could turn out to be second year man vs second year man in 2013 as both Richardson and RG3 will offer worlds of potential. Griffin has certainly pleaded his case as his passing numbers added to his rushing totals are nothing short of elite. Then again, the fantasy world has watched the workhorse back become almost extinct, making Richardson a good find. The potential for injury seems to be a wash as both have been dented up in their first year. Their playing styles make them both amazing yet high risk for missing time. Who will it be coming off the draft board first? Week 15 may be the deciding round in this heavy weight bout.
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