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Rich Hribar

Postseason Rankings

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Complete Playoff Ranks

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


NFL postseason playoff contests have arrived for those who need one final taste of fantasy football action form the NFL season. From salary cap formats, points leagues, weekly lineups with the entire pool available from old-fashioned serpentine and auction drafts, these contests vary from site to site and come in a plethora of home cooked up rules. Regardless of what rules your league is operating under, the main objective is still to score the most points possible and scoring the most points possible typically involves maximizing the most games out of the player field. That’s a lot easier to say than to do when the best teams in the league are playing in a one and done loss format, but we’re here to lend a hand navigating the NFL playoff outlook for fantasy purposes and full playoff rankings. While this is more of a broad stroke of the brush, I will also be doing weekly ranks with more detail for each round of the postseason every Thursday. So check back in on those days for a more thorough breakdown of the individual players.

 

Super Bowl Odds

 

TeamOdds
New Orleans Saints 5/2
Kansas City Chiefs 9/2
Los Angeles Rams 11/2
New England Patriots 6/1
Chicago Bears 8/1
Baltimore Ravens 14/1
Los Angeles Chargers 16/1
Dallas Cowboys 25/1
Houston Texans 25/1
Seattle Seahawks 25/1
Indianapolis Colts 25/1
Philadelphia Eagles 25/1

 

*Per Vegas insider

 

The Favorites

 

The Saints lead the way as favorites to not only make the Super Bowl, but to win the entire thing. They’ll host the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional Round.  The Saints getting homefield advantage was huge as they are 5-0 at home in the postseason under Sean Payton and Drew Brees and the last time they had home-field advantage throughout the postseason was 2009, when they won the Super Bowl. If you're looking for players to go the distance, the Saints are the chalk.

 

The Chiefs and Rams follow up the Saints as we’ve completely covered the field of the best three offense in the NFL at the top of the pile. If you’re in a league where you have limited transactions or salaries, you’ll need to have foresight in setting your Wild Card lineup to place yourself in position to pivot to Saints, Chiefs and Rams players as the rounds advance. Of those teams, the Rams find themselves in an interesting spot for fantasy purposes since there’s high probability they could face the Bears defense in the Divisional Round. While their first game was in the cold, Chicago climate, they offered zero offensive upside in that game and we still couldn’t count on ceiling potential from their skill players in the rematch.  Patrick Mahomes is coming off the highest-scoring fantasy season for any player ever. He'd be my locked-in 1.01 selection in serpentine drafts. Even though Drew Brees has higher odds to give you three games, Mahomes' weekly ceiling is just too high and could trump any player here in overall scoring even if he ends up a game short to another passer.

 

The Patriots can’t be overlooked and things should set up well for them to advance to the conference finals. All of their potential outcomes for the Divisional Round are favorable. They have already beaten the Texans with Deshaun Watson under center in each of the past two seasons if Houston wins on Saturday and could potentially face a rookie quarterback at home in the Divisional Round should the Colts and Ravens win their games this weekend. The Ravens would pose a threat to New England as they have gone 2-2 against the Patriots in the postseason under John Harbaugh. Of course, the other side of that coin is that no rookie quarterback has ever won in New England since Bill Belichick arrived in 2000. Even if New England ends up facing the Chargers (with Colts and Charger wins), Philip Rivers is 0-4 in New England for his career. If the board plays out as it lies, we would get a New England versus Kansas City rematch in the AFC Championship, who played a fantasy-filled 43-40 shootout earlier in the season. 

 

Four-Game Potential

 

Having players available go the distance without forcing you to make roster changes is huge and the Bears have the highest Super Bowl odds of teams playing Wild Card Weekend. If the Bears win on Sunday against the Eagles (they are the largest favorite of the weekend), they automatically are locked into a rematch with the Rams in the Divisional Round.  Of all the teams playing this weekend, the Bears have the best odds to give you a shot at three or more games played.

 

The Ravens follow up the Bears, but their opponent this weekend, the Chargers is immediately behind them.  That Ravens-Chargers matchup is a follow-up from a game that we saw two weeks ago, with the Ravens winning 22-10 on the road. The Ravens current run-oriented offense is immensely tough to prepare for in a week, but the Chargers will get to adjust and face it for the second time in three weeks. It’s also worthy of note that the Chargers also played the Ravens run game the “best” of anyone over Lamar Jackson’s seven starts. The Chargers still allowed 159 rushing yards that game but did hold Jackson to his lowest total by far (39 yards). In the end, the Chargers are the best gamble from a fantasy stance since their offensive pieces are inherently better individual fantasy options to begin with and would still have a possible game with the explosive Chiefs left on the table for those pieces.

 

The Rest

 

The Colts are undoubtedly the most intriguing team left from a fantasy stance because their core (Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron) are in a great spot for fantasy production in the Wild Card Round. They just won on the road in Houston in Week 14, and should they win once again on Saturday, would automatically be tossed into another potentially high-scoring game versus the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. All three of those core players had two strong games each against the Texans already and all three are inherently pricey options in salary-based leagues at their positions, which allows you to make immediate pivots over to other higher-end plays on the teams with bye weeks should the Colts fall to the Texans. I would have a hard time not using Andrew Luck right away in those formats.

 

Similar to the spot Luck is in, Ezekiel Elliott was league’s best all-purpose back from Weeks 9-16, leading the league in yards from scrimmage over that span and catching the second-most passes behind Christian McCaffrey over that time. We’re getting him as a home favorite to start off against a Seattle defense that allowed 150.2 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backfields over their final 10 games of the season.  Should the NFC hold serve this weekend with the Cowboys and Bears winning, Dallas would head to New Orleans, a team they beat 13-10 at home in Week 13. Elliott has such an advantage over the initial field of opening round running backs, that I would just use him in the formats that allow you to make transactions and have individual player overlap. 

 

The Texans are in an interesting spot because of their layout. They are favorites this weekend against the Colts, but their two main offensive players (DeAndre Hopkins and DeShaun Watson) have both ceiling and floor games on their resumes against Indianapolis this season. While Hopkins is the best wide receiver in lay on Wild Card Weekend, the Colts allowed just one WR1 scoring week all season long – granted it was to Hopkins himself in the first meeting between these teams- and New England (who Houston automatically plays with a win) has always concentrated efforts into limiting Hopkins. In six career games against the Patriots, Hopkins has never topped 78 yards receiving with zero touchdowns. Both Hopkins and Watson could be major assets because their ceiling potential is being the highest scoring player at their position in any week, but it's also possible that both give you just a baseline of solid production in one game.

 

Seattle is a tough team to love from a fantasy stance. They open in a potentially slow-paced game versus the Cowboys in which both teams are going to try and do similar things. Should they win, they would then go to New Orleans barring an Eagles upset.

 

The Eagles were underdogs all of the 2017 postseason and won the entire thing, but things are a little different here having to win three straight games on the road as opposed to when they were at home last season and had an opening-round bye. It’s definitely in the realm of possibilities that they can catch a Mitchell Trubisky hiccup game to open things up for them to pull a potential upset this weekend but asking them to then go into New Orleans and then on the road again is a tall ask. It’s also not like even if they were to beat the Bears, we can expect their offensive players to provide highly-usable fantasy lines in that game. They are largely a stay-away team for me in formats where you lose players along the way and will get my exposure to them in DFS formats.

 

Quarterbacks

 

 

Running Backs

 

 

Wide Receivers

 

 

Tight Ends

 

 

Kickers

 

 

DST

 

  • New Orleans
  • New England
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Kansas City
  • Chicago
  • Baltimore
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Seattle
  • Indianapolis
  • Philadelphia

 

 

 



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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