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Ten Fantasy Football Players Worth the Gold Price

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If you ignore this list, not even Beric Dondarrion and his Lord of Light can stop your fantasy team's Watch from ending.

You're ranking Odell Beckham, Jr. how high? Okay, then. Bump Eli up.
You're ranking Odell Beckham, Jr. how high? Okay, then. Bump Eli up.
Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

On the "gold price," direct from the Game of Thrones wiki:

The iron price is a concept in the culture of the ironborn, and their local religion of the Drowned God. Paying the iron price means seizing something from those one has defeated rather than paying or treating for it. Thus, it is a primary aspect of the "Old Way", the traditional lifestyle of the ironborn. The opposite of the iron price is "the gold price" - paying for possessions - which is considered shameful for a man to pay.

Shameful, eh? To pay what a thing is worth? Well, I am here to tell you, ironborn, that all of your leaders were shameful. Except for Asha. Asha Greyjoy was a boss. But other than her, you ironborn were a disappointment.

Paying the gold price when something is valuable, however, is not disappointing. So in honor of Jon Snow's eternal awesomeness, here are ten players who are worth the cost on draft day. If you ignore this list, not even Beric Dondarrion and his Lord of Light can stop your fantasy team's Watch from ending.

Note: All rankings are taken from FantasyPros.

Rob Gronkowski

The most expensive player on this list, Gronk is as safe a pick as can be had in fake football. And spare me the injury reports of the past, okay? If you gave in to those fears last season, you probably missed out on a championship. Every player carries injury risk in the violent NFL game, so why not take the one who offers a huge advantage at an unpredictable position? Among all tight ends in 2014, Gronk was first in targets, fourth in receptions, first in yards, and tied for first in touchdowns. And remember, that's with him beginning the season on a pitch-count, too. The man will be a beast--nay, a Mountain--even if he is without the services of Tom Brady for a few games to begin 2015. Select Gronk, and you are off to the sort of blistering start that Robb Stark himself would admire.

Calvin Johnson

He is currently the sixth-best wide receiver according to the experts at FantasyPros. That is a far cry from being a top six overall pick in most leagues last season. With his return to health, though, Megatron is a prime example of a "floor" selection. Look, I'm not saying the five guys ranked ahead of Calvin don't deserve their rankings. What I am saying is that nothing stands between Calvin and a vintage season. He is only 30 years old, and getting him as the WR6 is a fair deal. At that ranking there is some injury-risk built-in, as well as some acknowledgement of his talent level and situation. Be honest. You don't love Matthew Stafford but you know he is going to throw the rock at least 600 times this season. Stafford hasn't thrown less than 600 passes in any of his 16-game seasons in the NFL. And Calvin is still the primary target--and a massive one. In the Game of Thrones universe he would play for the Direwolves, not the Lions. And he would be the biggest direwolf. With the best hops. And the biggest paws. Shaggydog he is not.

Jordy Nelson

He is a clinician. He is tied to a Hall-of-Fame quarterback. And he is the WR7 on FantasyPros, ranked at 15th overall. Much like Calvin, I am not saying Nelson is "under-ranked." But I do believe he is appropriately-ranked. He was the third best wideout in 2014. He ranked fourth in targets, sixth in receptions, fourth in yards, and tied for second in touchdowns. The man is mercilessly-consistent. If he were a character in Game of Thrones he would be the one who does a lot of damage, but without all the fanfare. The best comp I can come up with is Gendry. That's right. Nelson is the "The Bull." Can't you see him in that bull's head helm? You wish that helm came in purple, Vikings fans.

DeAndre Hopkins

The man is a lock for tons of volume in 2015. I don't care if his quarterback is Vinny Testaverde. "Nuk" is ranked 24th overall and is the 12th-best wide receiver on the boards right now. Last season he was the WR15 on 127 targets, even with Andre Johnson still in Houston. Now with Andre in Indianapolis, I defy you to name another viable receiver on the Houston depth chart. You can't. Nuk is money in 2015 on opportunity alone. He should safely receive 140-150 targets this season as the primary receiver in Houston. He is the talented one in a bad situation. A situation that may bring him glory, but ultimately cap his massive potential. He is basically the NFL's version of Jon Snow. Watch your back, DeAndre.

Aaron Rodgers

He is being ranked as the 26th-best player because people don't like winning? Rodgers is a Round Three pick? I mean, I suppose I see the logic in drafting two receivers early, or in taking Gronk and a receiver early. But if you've already done those two things and Rodgers is still available, please make him the next player and the first quarterback selected. He is tied to an excellent running back and to two elite wide receivers. Perhaps three elite receivers, if the early reports on Davante Adams are anything close to truthful. In short, Rodgers' weapons are ridiculous. And his ability to run is valuable. He should be a "set it and forget it" type again in 2015. The safety he offers your fake team is well-worth a Round Three price tag. Who is the safest person in Thrones? I don't really know, since that's a bit of an odd question. Melisandre would probably make me feel the safest, but that's just my own take. I'm sure everyone has an opinion.

Andrew Luck

Is 50 touchdowns a possibility? Some in the industry think so. Consequently, he is the obvious second choice at quarterback this season. I agree that Luck's ceiling is massive, but his propensity to turn the ball over makes this a fair ranking. He currently sits at 28th overall, which makes him a Round Three selection. I will happily pay that price in 2015, as Luck scored the second-most points of any player in 2014 (behind Rodgers). I prefer "floor" in the early goings, so I'd still take Rodgers over Luck. After ARod, though, Luck is a safe investment in the third round. The Colts ran more plays than any other team in 2014, and it is reasonable to think that they could be even better in 2015 with Andre Johnson in house. I will not be afraid to pay up for Luck at this price.

Brandin Cooks

Opportunity knocks for this sophomore wide receiver. It's like the time when Ned Stark got his head chopped off and Robb Stark became the King of the North. Except, in Cooks' world, there were multiple "fatalities." Jimmy Graham is now a Seahawk, and Kenny Stills is now a Dolphin. Marques Colston is still lurking around, but it is Stills drawing all the praise from Drew Brees this offseason. Cooks is literally the last man standing in this offense. And Brees is going to throw the ball over 600 times in 2015. In fact, he hasn't attempted less than 650 passes since 2009. Do you really think all those targets are going to running backs? Cooks is the 31st overall pick right now, and the 16th-best wide receiver. I blatantly disagreed with the expert rankings of Montee Ball heading into last season. Many people had that one all wrong. On Cooks, though, I am drinking the kool-aid. In fact, I would like to lead the charge. Bring me my warhammer! Has anyone seen Rhaegar? Or any other Targaryen?

Julian Edelman

I really hate to compare Edelman to the Imp, but I can't help myself. Undersized. Underrated. Always doing something productive. Tied to a royal family (Brady, Belichick). It all fits so well. Seriously, though. Brady will have more than one productive receiver on his team, and there is no discernible reason to think he will look away from Edelman in 2015. Other than Gronk, Edelman should be the guy soaking up Brady's targets. He should again muster 90-100 catches, and be undervalued at your draft table. Julian, I am sorry for the dwarf comp. You are much better looking.

Jordan Matthews

Only one receiver had more receptions, yards, and touchdowns from the slot than Matthews did in 2014. Some guy named Randall Cobb. Heard of him? Thought so! They are different receivers, though. Matthews is a big dude, for one. He is 6'3" and weighs 215 pounds. He is going to obliterate some nickel corners this season. Also, this is a Chip Kelly offense, people. The Eagles were second to the Colts in plays run last season. So Matthews should see plenty of volume. I am buying him in the fourth round this year. He is ranked as the WR17 heading into 2015 and that seems safe to me.

Eli Manning

If you are ranking Odell Beckham, Jr. all the way up into the stratosphere, then you have to show Eli Manning some love. Victor Cruz is expected to be healthy to start the season, and Giants coaches are already excited about Corey Washington's growth this offseason. In short, Eli has some weapons around him that should enable him to do some damage. He is also in his second year under OC Ben McAdoo, so he and his receivers should be more confident in the system than they were last season. There are so many correlations one could make with Eli in Game of Thrones. I will keep it simple, though. The younger brother who never gets any respect? Gotta be Rickon. Sorry, Eli.

I hope you enjoyed this. Please share your best NFL/Game of Thrones comps in the comments. I will leave you with this:

FOOTBALL IS COMING.