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Post-Season Fantasy Football Guide

Complete Playoff Ranks

by Chet Gresham
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Welcome to the NFL Playoffs, Fantasy Rankings Division. When drafting/picking players for a playoff long fantasy game there are many pitfalls, but the biggest one is that we just aren’t good at picking winners of NFL games. If we were I’m guessing Vegas wouldn’t really be all that profitable, but they are and we’re dumb. But when picking players for the entire playoffs, we have to pretend to be smart. To start off pretending to be smart let’s look at the Super Bowl odds:


Seattle Seahawks 12-5

New England Patriots 3-1

Denver Broncos 6-1

Green Bay Packers 6-1

Dallas Cowboys 17-2

Pittsburgh Steelers 14-1

Indianapolis Colts 28-1

Baltimore Ravens 40-1

Carolina Panthers 40-1

Cincinnati Bengals 40-1

Detroit Lions 40-1

Arizona Cardinals 66-1


These seem reasonable to me. The Seahawks and Packers/Cowboys appear poised for the NFC Championship while the AFC Championship looks like the Patriots and Denver with the Steelers and Colts as the most probable for a run.


We are looking for number of games played and if possible, good matchups. If a wildcard team could make it to the Super Bowl that is of course the diamond in the haystack we’d like to find. The teams with the best odds of doing that are the Cowboys, Colts, Panthers and Steelers.  So they are the boom or bust picks. Your safer picks are of course going to come from Seattle and New England since home field advantage and talent should give them the best chance to play in three games, while the wild card teams will be underdogs in their second game. So my plan is to, for the most part, use the Vegas odds since they jibe with my thoughts to help rank players.


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1st Tier


1. Russell Wilson


2. Tom Brady


2nd Tier


3. Aaron Rodgers


4. Peyton Manning


5. Ben Roethlisberger


6. Tony Romo  


3rd Tier


7. Andrew Luck


8. Cam Newton


4th Tier


9. Matthew Stafford


10. Joe Flacco


11. Andy Dalton


12. Ryan Lindley/Drew Stanton


5th Tier


13. Matt Flynn


14. Jimmy Garoppolo


15. Tarvaris Jackson



Russell Wilson is my #1 pick and my #1 quarterback for this year. He isn’t going to blow you away in passing yards, but most fantasy scoring gives an extra helping to quarterbacks that put up yards on the ground and Wilson has done plenty of that this season with 849 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns to vault him to the #3 fantasy quarterback in standard leagues. Couple that with his team’s overall ability and home field advantage and I am sold. For the most part I will be going with a QB with the first few picks. They of course score the most points and unlike in yearlong leagues, if you wait on one, there’s a good chance you will lose out on QB points for the playoffs. So Tom Brady will be my #2 QB and pick due to their home field advantage and their ability to not have to go to Seattle ever. Weather could be a factor in Foxboro, but he’s put up big numbers in bad weather.  After these two we start considering what QB has the best chance to knock them off. Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning feel like the safest picks next, but Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger have quite a bit of upside coming into the playoffs. I’m putting those four in the same tier and I could see going with your gut there, since both Romo and Roethlisberger could possibly have an extra game if they pulled off the upsets.



Running Backs


1st Tier


1. Marshawn Lynch


2nd Tier


2. Eddie Lacy


3. DeMarco Murray


4. C.J. Anderson


3rd Tier


5. Jeremy Hill


6. LeGarrette Blount


7. Shane Vereen


8. Le'Veon Bell


9. Justin Forsett


10. Joique Bell


11. Jonathan Stewart


4th Tier


12. Robert Turbin


13. Ronnie Hillman


14. Jonas Gray


15. James Starks


16. Christine Michael


17. Joseph Randle


18. Giovani Bernard


19. Dan Herron


5th Tier


20. Reggie Bush


21. Ben Tate


22. Trent Richardson


23. John Kuhn


24. Dri Archer


25. Josh Harris


26. Mike Tolbert


27. Theo Riddick


28. Kerwynn Williams


29. Stepfan Taylor


30. DeAngelo Williams


31. Bernard Pierce


6th Tier


32. Brandon Bolden


33. James White


34. James Develin


35. Lance Dunbar


36. DuJuan Harris


37. Fozzy Whittaker


38. Marion Grice


39. Juwan Thompson


40. Zurlon Tipton



The one exception in my take QBs early mantra is Marshawn Lynch. Eddie Lacy, DeMarco Murray and C.J. Anderson are all top picks to be sure, but Lacy or Murray will need to go through Seattle and Anderson through New England. But they are of course the top guys after Lynch and by a wide margin.  . . . After them the talent and opportunity are there, but injuries and possible one-and-dones are there as well. Le’Veon Bell would be in the second tier if not for his injury and news continues to point toward him not playing and the signing of Ben Tate points that way as well. So that puts Bell at a big disadvantage. You could draft him and then the Ravens beat the Steelers and you get nothing. Of course the last time these two met it was all Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game and Bell was bottled up, so Bell could rest, the Steelers win and then play all the way to the Super Bowl. So I haven’t dropped him to the deepest depths, but be wary.  . . . LeGarrette Blount may be the best “sleeper” coming into these playoffs. Last season he put up 166 yards and four touchdowns against the Colts in the playoffs. Jonas Gray could cut into his work, but I’d put my money on Blount getting a chance to beat down opponents.  . . .  Robert Turbin has been getting a bit of playing time and is on the Seahawks, so grabbing him as a handcuff or even as a late-round flier is a decent move.  . . . The same is true with Ronnie Hillman who saw a good amount of snaps in Week 17.  Deciphering his playing time is tough, but at least his arrow is pointed somewhat up going into the playoffs.  . . . I believe Jonathan Stewart will get two games, but those games will be against the Cardinals and Seahawks. Both are top rush defenses so you’re hoping for plenty of volume from him and there’s a chance DeAngelo Williams will be back to cut into some of his work.  . . . Deciding on who to pick as the running back for the Steelers/Ravens game is tough. Josh Harris could still be the lead back if Ben Tate can’t catch on to the game plan fast enough, but Tate has more pro game experience. I’m probably going to wait on whoever falls furthest, but if it’s a PPR league I’ll snatch up Dri Archer late. 




Wide Receivers


1st Tier


1. Dez Bryant


2. Antonio Brown


3. Jordy Nelson


4. Demaryius Thomas


5. Julian Edelman


6. Randall Cobb


2nd Tier


7. Brandon LaFell


8. Calvin Johnson


9. Emmanuel Sanders


10. TY Hilton


11. A.J. Green 


3rd Tier


12. Doug Baldwin


13. Torrey Smith


14. Martavis Bryant


15. Kelvin Benjamin


16. Steve Smith Sr.


17. Jermaine Kearse


18. Golden Tate


19. Michael Floyd


20. Paul Richardson


4th Tier


21. Markus Wheaton


22. Terrance Williams


23. Danny Amendola


24. Davante Adams


25. Wes Welker


26. Reggie Wayne


27. Cole Beasley


28. Donte Moncrief


29. Jerricho Cotchery


30. Philly Brown


31. Ricardo Lockette


32. Larry Fitzgerald


33. Mohamed Sanu


5th Tier


34. Kevin Norwood


35. Hakeem Nicks


36. Brian Tyms


37. John Brown


38. Andre Caldwell


39. Josh Boyce


40. Jarrett Boykin


41. Kamar Aiken


42. Marlon Brown


43. Ted Ginn


44. Jaron Brown


45. Cody Latimer


46. Brandon Tate


47. Jacoby Jones


48. Corey Fuller


49. Michael Campanaro


50. Jeremy Ross



Your chances of getting a late wide receiver who comes up with a touchdown or two throughout the playoffs are much better than some scrub backup running back, so I’ll be loading my bench with receivers from teams I think can make some noise.  . . I feel like going in on the Cowboys and Dez Bryant is that kind of pick that can really win it all for you. We know what he can do even in just one game, so an early round grab should be worth at least a good chunk of points with a good amount of upside.  . . . We really can’t deny the Broncos leaning on the run late in the season, be it because of Peyton Manning’s arm strength and possible cold weather games or just because it’s how they think they can perform at their best on defense and offense as a whole, but I did drop Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas a little further than I would have liked to. Getting past the Patriots in Foxboro is going to be tough.  . . . With Le’Veon Bell looking extremely iffy on Saturday, I’m happy to grab Antonio Brown early. He’s as consistent as you can get and the Steelers will have to throw the ball to win against a poor Ravens secondary.  . . . Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the Seahawks don’t have one wide receiver you can count on for fantasy points, but that does mean you could horde them if they slip in the draft.  



Tight Ends


1. Rob Gronkowski


2. Julius Thomas


3. Greg Olsen


4. Jason Witten


5. Heath Miller


6. Luke Willson


7. Coby Fleener


8. Andrew Quarless


9. Richard Rodgers


10. Jermaine Gresham


11. Owen Daniels


12. Tim Wright


13. Tony Moeaki


14. Dwayne Allen


15. Gavin Escobar


16. Cooper Helfet


17. Michael Hoomanawanui


18. Eric Ebron


19. Darren Fells


20. Crockett Gillmore


21. John Carlson


22. Ed Dickson


23. Matt Spaeth


24. Jack Doyle



Rob Gronkowski is of course the #1 tight end and also a top pick in your drafts. If I can get a Gronk/Brady start to my draft somehow that’s only second to a Wilson/Lynch start for me.  . . . After Gronk you might as well wait. Julius Thomas is ranked second because he gets a bye to rest and we know what his upside is. But I could also see taking Greg Olsen, Jason Witten or even Heath Miller ahead of him, especially if you can get them a little later. But if people are scared off of Orange Julius I would grab him up later with his #2 tight end upside.  . . . But like I said, I will mostly be waiting on a tight end like Luke Willson. It depends on the other players’ strategy, but he should last until the sixth tight end and I’d be glad to get him at that point.






1. Stephen Gostkowski


2. Steven Hauschka


3. Connor Barth


4. Mason Crosby


5. Dan Bailey


6. Shaun Suisham


7. Adam Vinatieri


8. Graham Gano


9. Mike Nugent


10. Justin Tucker


11. Matt Prater


12. Chandler Catanzaro



Defense/Special Teams


1. Seattle


2. New England


3. Denver


4. Green Bay


5. Carolina


6. Dallas


7. Indianapolis


8. Pittsburgh


9. Cincinnati


10. Arizona


11. Detroit


12. Baltimore