Rich Hribar

Postseason Rankings

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Championship Round Rankings

Thursday, January 18, 2018


For those of you that are trying to cram in every morsel of fantasy football that the 2017 season must offer, playoff pools and DFS for postseason games are underway to fulfill our final fantasy needs. I’m going to take some space each week to rank the positions from the remaining teams as a guide to maximizing those final efforts.

 

The NFL is already an inherently volatile game weekly when we have 16 matchups to dissect, so when we cut the weekly player pool down to eight teams in four games, we’re inviting variance to run amuck. In DFS games, we can swerve into that variance to a degree by maximizing player exposure to cover as many angles as clairvoyantly possible. I typically avoid cash games for the NFL Playoffs, but want to run out as many different tournament lineups as possible in multi-entry fields over trying to hit a bullseye in single entry contests.

 

Quarterbacks

 

1. Tom Brady (vs JAC)

2. Blake Bortles (@ NE)

3. Case Keenum (@ PHI)

4. Nick Foles (vs MIN)

 

Notes: There’s a large talent gap here from Tom Brady to the field. The Jaguars can create an interior pass rush that has been the undoing of Brady-led teams when they have lost in postseasons prior, but Jacksonville has also shown some vulnerability in terms of allowing fantasy production over the final leg of the season. Even outside of the pinball numbers Ben Roethlisberger posted last week against Jacksonville when the Steelers were in complete chase mode for three quarters, the Jaguars have given up some big fantasy games over the past six weeks, allowing Russell Wilson (24.8), Jimmy Garoppolo (22.9) to post over 20 points outside of that game by Roethlisberger. The quarterbacks that the Jaguars have stopped over that span are Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota and T.J. Yates. Brady doesn't have the rushing capability to add to his floor, but he's still the best option at the position... Blake Bortles has scored at least 16 fantasy points in 10 of his past 12 games played. The Jaguars have protected Bortles over the past three weeks, but he could easily have the most passing volume of the field this weekend as he will undoubtedly be asked to make more plays than he has in the opening two rounds. Opposing passers are averaging 36.9 pass attempts per game against the Patriots while Bortles is averaging 3.1 rushing points per game on the year with 30 or more rushing yards in three of his past four games…Like Bortles, Case Keenum has been a solid floor play for fantasy, scoring at least 15 points in seven of his nine games since the Vikings’ Week 9 bye despite throwing for two or fewer touchdowns in eight straight games. Keenum struggled against pressure last week at home (3-of-11 passing) and goes on the road to face a defense that forced the most pressures in the league. Last week may have just been a blip, however, as Keenum was solid versus pressure during the regular season, ranking eighth in quarterback rating…Nick Foles has thrown one touchdown over his past 79 passes and gets a defense that allowed the fewest passing touchdowns and ranked second in yardage allowed per game in the NFL this season. The Vikings were a much tougher defense at home this season, but Foles has the lowest floor and ceiling from this collective group of passers.

 

Running Backs


1. Dion Lewis (vs JAC)

2. Leonard Fournette (@ NE)

3. Latavius Murray (@ PHI)

4. Jay Ajayi (vs MIN)

5. Jerick McKinnon (@ PHI)

6. T.J. Yeldon (@ NE)

7. Rex Burkhead (vs JAC)

8. James White (vs JAC)

9. LeGarrette Blount (vs MIN)

10. Corey Clement (vs MIN)

 

Notes: The Patriots should finally get Burkhead back on the field, but Dion Lewis has been too good to put back in the bottle. Lewis is the first NE player at any position to have at least 125 yards from scrimmage in three straight games since Curtis Martin in 1995. Lewis also has five or more receptions in four of the past five weeks. Even if Burkhead cuts into his scoring upside, we just watched Lewis miss out on three touchdowns from the New England backfield a week ago and still end up fine. Now that we're reducing the number of options at the position, high yardage totals and is still relevant. Opposing running backs scored 41.4 percent of the fantasy points produced by skill position players versus Jacksonville during the regular season -the highest share in the league- and so far in the playoffs, the Jaguars have given up 119 total yards to LeSean McCoy and 155 yards to Le’Veon Bell… Leonard Fournette looked better in the first half last week than he had at any point over the past two months and is the easiest bet on the board at the position to push 20 plus touches this weekend. He has at least 21 touches in six straight games played. There is some déjà vu in play here as this is the second power back in a row that New England will face that is coming off a slump-busting game in terms of inefficiency. The Patriots run defense has tightened up a touch here, allowing 2.7 YPC to opposing backs over the past three weeks and they have allowed just one running back to rush for a touchdown over their past nine games...Latavius Murray led the NFL in carries and rushing touchdowns from inside of the 5-yard line over the final eight weeks of the regular season and he scored once again last weekend in the Divisional Round. He has at least 21 touches in four straight games to go along with that scoring upside as well. The slight downside is he is reliant on finding the end zone as he has more than two targets just once on the season and has reached 100-yards from scrimmage just three times on the year. But the Eagles has been giving up some production to backfields since their Week 10 bye. Over the eight games since that break, Alfred Morris (91 yards), Mike Davis (101), Todd Gurley (135), Marshawn Lynch (92), Ezekiel Elliott (141) and Tevin Coleman (93) have had at least 90 yards from scrimmage…Jay Ajayi’s 18 touches last week were his most since joining the Eagles and he’s chipped in over 40-yards receiving in two of his past three games played. The rub with Ajayi outside of a tough matchup against a Minnesota defenses that just allowed 68 yards rushing on 21 carries to a strong New Orleans running game is that Ajayi was lifted at the goal line a week ago for Blount…Jerick McKinnon has not held much a ceiling, topping 60-yards from scrimmage just once over his past nine games.  A big part of that has been the Vikings controlling games and not forced to use him out of the backfield as he has more than three receptions in just three of those nine contests…T.J. Yeldon has had 52, 77 and 77 total yards in three of his past four games with 15 receptions on 20 targets over those games. If the game gets away from the Jaguars, he could be in line to be a receptions-based play while the Patriots were 26th in receiving points allowed to opposing backfields…It’s tough to gauge how much Rex Burkhead will be used this weekend, but he is a scoring threat if active. Burkhead out-touched Lewis 7-1 inside of the 5-yard line from Weeks 10-15 prior to his injury…James White is dependent on Burkhead remaining out as he failed to play more than 17 snaps in three of the five full games that Burkhead played after the bye week…LeGarrette Blount is staying in the 7-9 touch range per game over the past month and is a touchdown or bust commodity.


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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
Email :Rich Hribar



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