The extra week between the championship games and the Super Bowl is usually just a drag, but at least the Pro Bowl gives you some football to hold you over in this stretch.
While the players on the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will be preparing for the biggest game of their lives in Santa Clara, California, the rest of the sport's biggest stars will be in Hawaii trying to finish the season on a high note. It's a laid-back atmosphere, but that doesn't mean the players won't be trying to put on a show for the fans.
Although the teams are jumbled as Michael Irvin takes on Jerry Rice with fantasy drafted rosters, the top players will be fun to watch regardless of who is playing with them.
|QB: Eli Manning, Giants||DT: Aaron Donald, Rams|
|QB: Derek Carr, Raiders||DT: Fletcher Cox, Eagles|
|QB: Tyrod Taylor, Bills||DT: Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers|
|FB: John Kuhn, Packers||DE: Cameron Jordan, Saints|
|RB: Adrian Peterson, Vikings||DE: Everson Griffen, Vikings|
|RB: Doug Martin, Buccaneers||LB: Elvis Dumervil, Ravens|
|RB: Chris Ivory, Jets||LB: Julius Peppers, Packers|
|WR: Jarvis Landry, Dolphins||LB: Tamba Hali, Chiefs|
|WR: Amari Cooper, Raiders||LB: Khalil Mack, Raiders|
|WR: T.Y. Hilton, Colts||LB: Clay Matthews, Packers|
|WR: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants||LB: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks|
|TE: Travis Kelce, Chiefs||CB: Marcus Peters, Chiefs|
|TE: Gary Barnidge, Browns||CB: Vontae Davis, Colts|
|OG: Richie Incognito, Bills||CB: Brent Grimes, Dolphins|
|OG: Logan Mankins, Buccaneers||CB: Jason Verrett, Chargers|
|OG: Josh Sitton, Packers||S: Eric Berry, Chiefs|
|OG: Nick Mangold, Jets||S: Mike Adams, Colts|
|OT: Kyle Long, Bears||S: Charles Woodson, Raiders|
|OT: Joe Staley, 49ers||ST: Cedric Peerman, Chargers|
|OT: Joe Thomas, Browns||KR: Tyler Lockett, Seahawks|
|C: Eric Wood, Bills||P: Johnny Hekker, Rams|
|K: Josh Brown, Giants|
|QB: Russell Wilson, Seahawks||DE: Michael Bennett, Seahawks|
|QB: Jameis Winston, Buccaneers||DE: Carlos Dunlap, Bengals|
|QB: Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings||DE: Ziggy Ansah, Lions|
|FB: Patrick DiMarco, Falcons||DT: Geno Atkins, Bengals|
|RB: Todd Gurley, Rams||DT: Calais Campbell, Cardinals|
|RB: Latavius Murray, Raiders||DT: Jurrell Casey, Titans|
|RB: Devonta Freeman, Falcons||LB: Sean Lee, Cowboys|
|WR: Julio Jones, Falcons||LB: Anthony Barr, Vikings|
|WR: A.J. Green, Bengals||LB: Lavonte David, Buccaneers|
|WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans||LB: NaVorro Bowman, 49ers|
|WR: Allen Robinson, Jaguars||LB: Derrick Johnson, Chiefs|
|TE: Tyler Eifert, Bengals||CB: Richard Sherman, Seahawks|
|TE: Delanie Walker, Titans||CB: Desmond Trufant, Falcons|
|OG: David DeCastro, Steelers||CB: Adam Jones, Bengals|
|OG: Zack Martin, Cowboys||CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Giants|
|OG: Marshal Yanda, Ravens||S: Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles|
|OT: Branden Albert, Dolphins||S: Reshad Jones, Dolphins|
|OT: Tyron Smith, Cowboys||S: Harrison Smith, Vikings|
|OT: Andrew Whitworth, Bengals||ST: Justin Bethel, Cardinals|
|C: Travis Frederick, Cowboys||KR: Darren Sproles, Eagles|
|C: Alex Mack, Browns||P: Sam Koch, Ravens|
|K: Dan Bailey, Cowboys|
Top Players to Watch
Russell Wilson, QB
The first overall pick in the fantasy draft by Team Irvin was an obvious pick. The Seattle Seahawks star was one of the best players in football over the past couple of months, totaling 24 touchdowns and just one interception in the final seven games of the regular season.
While other quarterbacks had great seasons, Russell Wilson separates himself with the ability to show up to this event, as noted by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk:
Of the six quarterbacks who were originally selected to the Pro Bowl, Russell Wilson is the only one who hasn't pulled out.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) January 26, 2016
Wilson is perfect for a game like this where he can show off his playmaking ability with both his arm and his legs. No one will care if the consistency is there, only if he can put together the type of memorable plays he has been a part of throughout his young career.
With Julio Jones, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson at receiver, he could just throw the ball up in the air and watch any of these guys come down with it no matter how accurate the pass. Wilson should get plenty of playing time with a chance to put up some big numbers in this one.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR
As the captain of Team Rice, Odell Beckham Jr. made sure his team's first pick was New York Giants teammate Eli Manning. Then again, he might not have had a real choice, per ESPN's Dan Graziano:
Eli said he told Odell Beckham, a Pro Bowl captain, "No pressure, but if you don't draft me, don't expect to catch any balls next year."— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) January 27, 2016
While he was likely joking, the duo connected for 13 touchdowns during the regular season as well as a plethora of exciting plays. Beckham has become known for his ability to bring down passes in some unbelievable ways, and he has already taken that skill set to Hawaii during practice:
No matter what type of numbers he has or who wins the game, fans will be happy if Beckham can grab another big-time catch or two. Few players in the NFL are more fun to watch than the second-year player, making the Pro Bowl the perfect showcase for his ability.
With former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry alongside him, Manning could end up having a lot of fun throwing the ball.
Marcus Peters, CB
This game is loaded with defensive stars from the likes of Aaron Donald to Khalil Mack, but the Pro Bowl isn't known for its physicality. There won't be many big hits over the middle or even sacks on blitzes. The defensive linemen won't even have much of a factor.
Instead, the defensive players making an impact will be the defensive backs. Although Marcus Peters is just a rookie, he showed he has playmaking ability with eight interceptions this season, tied for the most in the NFL.
The general manager who drafted him was certainly happy with the production Peters put together in his first season:
Although the cornerback still struggles with consistency and could end up allowing some big plays, he can make up for it by attacking the ball and getting it right back to the offense. Putting the young player alongside veteran Charles Woodson could also be fun to watch.
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