Ah the Pro Bowl, an annual holiday for already rich people to go to a sunny destination and pretend to work for a week. Not known for its big storylines or levels of intrigue, it’s a chance for players, coaches and fans alike to kick back, try some crazy stuff out and enjoy a bit of a spectacle without any consequences.
Unless of course, you’re one of the smart people planning on winning some single-game fantasy matches, in which case you need players to perform just like every week No Days Off fantasy fans, remember that! Let’s have a look at who shone and who faded in the game’s premier exhibition event!
Stud: Michael Thomas – WR
So the best receiver in the game of football showed up in a big way in the Pro Bowl: this should not be a surprise. The end-of-season exhibition game is often seen as just a holiday for some players though, so it’s heartening to see that there is no let-up from Michael Thomas when it comes to his craft, even in a meaningless game.
Thomas caught 5 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown on Sunday as the NFC team mostly relied on Kurt Cousins to throw the rock. While he was outpaced by Davante Adams for catches and touchdowns (6 and 22 respectively) and by Kenny Golliday for yardage, his 8 targets were a team-high. This just shows that even outside of the Saints setup Thomas is recognised as a go-to target within the game, so bear this in mind for your Fantasy teams in future, in case you missed out on him in your single-game lineup this week!
Stud: Mark Andrews – TE
The Pro Bowl’s pass-heavy, shot-happy style usually sees at least one tight end feast in the box scores, and this year’s edition was no exception. Enter Mark Andrews, the Baltimore Ravens breakout tight end and the biggest beneficiary of Lamar Jackson’s extended presence under centre in this game. While Jackson took the offensive MVP honours in the game, Andrews impressed by putting up a stat line familiar to his owners from the regular season. In an exhibition game!
The Ravens standout managed to haul in nine of his 10 passes – a whole 5 more catches than anybody else on the AFC roster – for 73 yards and a touchdown. Andrews had two more catches than each of the AFC’s other three touchdown scorers combined and paced the entire game on both teams for receptions. In your single-game PPR team full of Flex players, Andrews was a gift to fantasy owners this Sunday!
Dud: Austin Hooper – TE
Not all tight end Pro Bowl performances are created equal, unfortunately. This is something that those who took a punt on Austin Hooper having a breakout day learned to our regret this Sunday. While he had a career year and solidified himself as a red-zone target and a reliable fantasy tight end all through the regular season, Hooper took a leaf out of the Atlanta Falcons playbook and choked on the big stage. Presuming we can call the Pro Bowl a big stage?
The Falcons starter did manage to catch a ball, but that was it. One catch, on one target, for a whopping three yards. That’s a nice week’s work for your Pro Bowl appearance fee and a free holiday to Orlando, but maybe if he were a little more like NFC team-mate Michael Thomas fantasy owners wouldn’t be complaining about him after his dismal Sunday outing.
Dud: Jarvis Landry – WR
This is going to seem a bit churlish for a guy who, in his defence, was just playing in the Pro Bowl after a long and disappointing season with the Cleveland Browns, but the argument for Landry’s inclusion here is based on numbers. He has always been a reception-monster throughout his career, and in this game, Landry had a respectable four catches, tied for 2nd-most on the team.
In typical Landry fashion, he managed to average less than 10 yards per catch, totally just 34 yards on those four receptions. The problem is that he was targeted a team-high 10 times in the game! Landry had plenty of opportunities to put up some big numbers for the AFC team here, but he failed to do so. Watching this showpiece as a Landry-owner was maddeningly frustrating on Sunday, and the barely-acceptable stat line was your reward for having faith in him.