In keeping with movie-themed inspiration - like our previous High Fives offering - we are turning to current box office king, The Conjuring, for this week's five list. The correlation here being those players that instill the most fear in you on draft day. In other words, guys you are positively frightened by the prospect of drafting. I’ll start this horror show off with my High Five of players that chill me to the bone.
1. Darren McFadden - Run-DMC's talent certainly glimmers, but he's definitely not fantasy gold (silver?). I love the upside, and you can dream about what he might be able to do in a healthy 16-game season. But that's fiction, and we all know it. I have absolutely zero faith - none - that McFadden can sustain health for any meaningful length of time.
2. Hakeem Nicks - He seems to be modeling his career after Darren McFadden.
3. Vernon Davis - He's gaining top 5 tight end momentum, and I can see the case for it, but it's hard to ignore the fact that he combined for a line of 6/61/0 over the final six regular-season games last season (with Colin Kaepernick behind center, I should add).
4. Maurice Jones-Drew - In this case, I fear that my heart rules my mind when it comes to drafting MoJo. Admittedly, I've always been willing to blow by the caution flags when it comes to drafting my man-crush - sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.
5. Larry Fitzgerald - This is all about fear of an Arizona offensive line that I seriously doubt will be able to protect a statuesque Carson Palmer. I'd love to see Fitz's surrounding environment blossom again, but I'm not buying into that being the case just yet - at least not to the extent that he's going to return to being a top-end WR1 in '13.
Scott Pianowski offers up his bogeymen:
1. Rob Gronkowski - Many fantasy owners are willing to make Gronk health assumptions that I'm not willing to make. Look at all those late New England starts (seven games after the 1 pm ET wave). Good luck playing the guessing game here; I'm not doing it.
2. Randall Cobb - A terrific talent, but a Top 30 selection seems pricy given his build and limited resume.
3. Danny Amendola - His modest touchdown count doesn't worry you? What about his injury history?
4. Kyle Rudolph - Nothing against you, Mr. Rudolph, but chasing a player off a crazy TD/catch ratio is asking for trouble.
5. Bears Defense - The Chicago defense is currently a Top 75 pick? I must have missed a memo somewhere.
Dalton Del Don exorcises his demons:
1. Aaron Rodgers - In my opinion he's the best player in football and would be the first pick if franchises were to draft today (and the next 10 picks would all be QBs too), but in fantasy terms, quarterbacks simply shouldn't be taken early. It's an obvious strategic decision. Rodgers' ADP on Mock Draft Central is 8.76. No thanks.
2. Steven Jackson - When it comes to running backs, I can't get on board with someone with his career workload who costs such an exorbitant price.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew - Recent reports are positive, but MJD is coming off a serious injury and plays for a team that Las Vegas projects to finish with among the fewest wins in the league.
4. DeMarco Murray - I'm done drafting running backs high with such serious injury histories.
5. Darren McFadden - I'm done drafting running backs high with such serious injury histories.
Brad Evans brings his Noise:
1. Rob Gronkowski – When healthy, he’s essentially a top-five WR. However, long history of back troubles stretching back to college and possible PUP time are bone-chilling. At his current mid-40s ADP, too much to risk for maybe half a season.
2. Trent Richardson – Norv Turner RBs typically flourish, but favorite snack of injury imp.
3. DeMarco Murray – Poor pad level and upright running style leave him vulnerable to lower-body setbacks.
4. Kenny Britt – General lawlessness, injuries, Jake Locker … the stuff of nightmares.
5. Montee Ball – Master of RBBC disaster, John Fox, wears hooded robe, carries scythe.
Andy Behrens reveals his fantasy fears:
1. Greg Jennings - In today's NFL, it's almost not possible to suffer a more significant QB downgrade. Jennings can't seem to stay healthy and he's tied to the league's least productive passing game, yet we're drafting him as a no-doubt fantasy starter. No thanks. I have no idea why you guys are taking him ahead of Tavon Austin and Lance Moore, just to name two better options.
2. BenJarvus Green-Ellis - The Law Firm is attached to a promising offense, true, but he's a low-wattage player likely to share backfield duties with Giovani Bernard. BJGE is going ahead of a pile of backs who are capable of equal or better stats, including Mendenhall, Ivory, Lacy, Ingram ... lots of guys.
3. Jordy Nelson - Sometimes, just one or two spots in ADP makes all the difference. I'm not sure Nelson is clearly better than teammate James Jones, and you can get him 30 picks later.
4. Frank Gore - Love the player, but I'd expect the Niners to limit him to 250-275 carries, looking to keep him fresh for the postseason. Gore is going well ahead of Lamar Miller, Le'Veon Bell, David Wilson, DeMarco Murray, and a bunch of other guys I'd be equally happy to own.
5. Antonio Gates - You guys are just drafting a brand-name. Gates should not be selected as a top-12 tight end, not after his clunker of a season in 2012.
Let's finish this off with each expert's nomination for the one cinematic event that, to this point in their lives, has best succeeded at scaring the living crap out of them.
My vote: The Shining - Some conspiracy theorists argue that this was Stanley Kubrick's confession of faking/staging the Apollo 11 moon landing. Whatever. Frankly, it only adds to the chill factor of this masterfully creepy classic - "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ..."
Scott Pianowski: 1986 Red Sox highlight film - This was stocked in the horror section of some New England video stores. I can still hear Vin Scully's call in my sleep . . . "and it gets through Buckner . . . here comes Knight, and the Mets win it . . . and the Mets win it . . . and the Mets win it."
Dalton Del Don: Silence of the Lambs - The movie is great, but I probably shouldn't have been allowed to watch it at my age at the time of its release. So I blame my parents. (And yet also thank them. Seriously, this one stood the test of time).
Brad Evans: Paranormal Activity – 'Realistic’ presentation in ‘Blair Witch’ vein made demonic haunting very believable. Crazy to think it was only made for $15K, a true Shocker Special.
Andy Behrens: Salem's Lot - To this day, I have no idea why my parents allowed me to watch this '70s TV mini-series. I had nightmares about this scene until I was like 35.