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Post-Season Fantasy Football Guide

Complete Playoff Ranks

by Jeff Brubach
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Whether your fantasy football season ended in a Gatorade shower or tears of disappointment, the NFL playoffs allow the excitement of fantasy football action to extend for an extra month. NFL playoff pools come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter the format or scoring system, the aim is to select players who will score the most points in the most amount of games. The maximum amount of games an NFL team can play in one postseason is four, if a team mashes its way through the Wildcard round all the way to the Super Bowl. Finding a lower-seeded team capable of making a Super Bowl run is tricky, but not impossible, and the current playoff bracket definitely offers some interesting options. Below, we will take a broad look at the NFL playoff field and then break down positional rankings in order to maximize fantasy point potential this postseason.

 

NFL Playoff Field

 

Since fantasy playoff games require a combination of high-scoring players on successful teams, a large portion of fantasy postseason success lies in picking the correct teams to advance to the Super Bowl. If I personally had the answer to this equation, I would be partying in a suite at the Wynn in Las Vegas with Johnny Manziel, but picking games is a difficult task. Alas, we must use the forecasting skills of the wise oddsmakers from Sin City to make the best educated guess as to how many games each NFL team will play this postseason.

The four teams that hold first-round byes (Carolina, Arizona, Denver, and New England) have the best odds to win Super Bowl 50, followed closely by Seattle, who would play an additional game if they advance to Levi’s Stadium on Super Sunday.  Of course, winning three road games is difficult, but the fantasy options from Seattle could produce huge fantasy numbers if the Seahawks advance to a third-straight Super Bowl.

With Vegas favoring Seattle out of the teams playing on Wildcard weekend, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Green Bay are the three remaining favorites to advance to the Divisional round, making them solid bets to play at least two games.

From the Divisional round through the Super Bowl, I personally like Denver, Arizona, and Seattle as the top teams this postseason, so those players received an extra bump in the rankings below. Below each section of positional rankings, you will find a brief rundown of notable players and some values that stick out among the bunch. Good luck this postseason!

 

Editor's Note: A RotoGrinders member (and a casual daily fantasy NFL player at that) took down the $100,000 grand prize in a large-field DFS tournament by using the site's free Lineup Builder and Optimizer tool. Learn how he did it, plus pick up some Lineup Builder tips you can use in this weekend's Wild Card games.

 

 

Quarterbacks

 

1. Russell Wilson (SEA)

2. Carson Palmer (ARZ)

3. Tom Brady (NE)

4. Cam Newton (CAR)

5. Peyton Manning (DEN)

- - -

6. Kirk Cousins (WAS)

7. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)

8. Alex Smith (KC)

9. Aaron Rodgers (GB)

10. Brian Hoyer (HOU)

- - -

11. A.J. McCarron (CIN)

12. Teddy Bridgewater (MIN)

13. Andy Dalton (CIN)

14. Brock Osweiler (DEN)

 

Cam Newton has a tough slate of opponents with Seattle and Arizona likely in his path to the Super Bowl in the best case scenario. … Kirk Cousins has been on a roll and will provide decent value in draft formats. Cousins could see two games as the WAS/GB spread is very close. … A.J. McCarron appears in-line to get one start, but it will be against Pittsburgh’s 30th-ranked pass defense. Andy Dalton (thumb) will likely miss the Wildcard round but hasn’t been ruled out quite yet. I wouldn’t roll the dice on Dalton and risk taking a goose egg if Cincinnati gets bounced by Pittsburgh. … Seattle is the largest favorite among opening weekend teams, so Russell Wilson is a strong bet to play at least two games with top-tier production. … Peyton Manning may not light up the scoreboard these days but he should start and has a reasonable chance to play three games while leaning on his Denver’s stellar defense and running game. A Divisional round game against the Steelers would be a nice matchup for Manning as well. … Carson Palmer will not see Seattle in the Divisional round, which is a nice bonus.

 

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Running Backs

 

1. David Johnson (ARZ)

2. Marshawn Lynch (SEA)

3. C.J. Anderson (DEN)

4. Ronnie Hillman (DEN)

- - -

5. Jeremy Hill (CIN)

6. James White (NE)

7. Adrian Peterson (MIN)

8. Jonathan Stewart (CAR)

9. Alfred Blue (HOU)

10. Alfred Morris (WAS)

11. Eddie Lacy (GB)

- - -

12. Fitzgerald Toussaint (PIT)

13. Charcandrick West (KC)

14. Steven Jackson (NE)

15. Giovani Bernard (CIN)

16. Brandon Bolden (NE)

- - -

17. DeAngelo Williams (PIT)*

18. Fred Jackson (SEA)

19. Christine Michael (SEA)

20. Matt Jones (WAS)

21. Spencer Ware (KC)

22. James Starks (GB)

- - -

23. Jerick McKinnon (MIN)

24. Mike Tolbert (CAR)

25. Pierre Thomas (WAS)

26. Jonathan Grimes (HOU)

27. Jordan Todman (PIT)

28. Matt Asiata (MIN)

- - -

29. Cameron Artis-Payne (CAR)

30. Chris Polk (HOU)

31. Andre Ellington (ARZ)

32. Fozzy Whittaker (CAR)

33. Chris Thompson (WAS)

34. John Kuhn (GB)

35. Kerwynn Williams (ARZ)

36. Juwan Thompson (DEN)

 

My personal favorite to emerge from the AFC is Denver, so C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are both solid options. Both backs have 24 carries over the last two weeks as the backfield split has been even. Denver has run for 134.9 yards per game over the last seven weeks. … Marshawn Lynch should be trustworthy, but his potential matchups aren’t too exciting. … Julian Edelman’s return shouldn’t drop James White’s stock much. Dion Lewis averaged 5.1 catches per game when Edelman was healthy. … With DeAngelo Williams (foot) likely out, Pittsburgh will use Fitzgerald Toussaint this week. Toussaint tallied just 24 yards on 12 carries last week after Williams’ injury, and Cincinnati has a top-10 run defense so keep expectations tempered. Williams is still ranked above for fantasy footballers looking to gamble on future round production if Williams makes his way back. … Returns to watch for include Matt Jones (hip), and Jonathan Stewart (foot). If Jones is not ready, give Pierre Thomas a healthy bump. … Washington has the lowest-ranked run defense of all 12 playoff teams, but Eddie Lacy has been anything but impressive in recent weeks and the Packers are no lock to advance. … With Lynch’s return, Fred Jackson will be a better option than Christine Michael this postseason for those trying to squeeze some value from the Seattle backfield. … Spencer Ware is a decent lower-tier play. He will have a couple rough matchups most likely but could find himself in the end zone this weekend. … Brandon Bolden still feels like a dicey early-down bet in New England with Steven Jackson in the mix, but the Patriots will face Cincinnati, Houston, or Kansas City, likely followed by Denver so their offense could lean pass-heavy in those situations.

 

 

Wide Receivers

 

1. Doug Baldwin (SEA)

2. Demaryius Thomas (DEN)

3. Antonio Brown (PIT)

4. Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)

5. Michael Floyd (ARZ)

6. Julian Edelman (NE)

- - -

7. John Brown (ARZ)

8. DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)

9. Jeremy Maclin (KC)

10. Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ)

11. A.J. Green (CIN)

12. Tyler Lockett (SEA)

13. Jermaine Kearse (SEA)

- - -

14. Martavis Bryant (PIT)

15. DeSean Jackson (WAS)

16. Ted Ginn (CAR)

17. James Jones (GB)

18. Pierre Garcon (WAS)

- - -

19. Brandon LaFell (NE)

20. Randall Cobb (GB)

21. Marvin Jones (CIN)

22. Stefon Diggs (MIN)

23. Corey Brown (CAR)

24. Devin Funchess (CAR)

- - -

25. Markus Wheaton (PIT)

26. Danny Amendola (NE)

27. Davante Adams (GB)

28. Jordan Norwood (DEN)

29. Albert Wilson (KC)

30. Cecil Shorts (HOU)

31. Mohamed Sanu (CIN)

32. Jamison Crowder (WAS)

- - -

33. J.J. Nelson (ARZ)

34. Keshawn Martin (NE)

35. Mike Wallace (MIN)

36. Nate Washington (HOU)

37. Jaelen Strong (HOU)

38. Jerricho Cotchery (CAR)

39. Darrius Heyward-Bey (PIT)

- - -

40. Jaron Brown (ARZ)

41. Ryan Grant (WAS)

42. Kevin Smith (SEA)

43. Jared Abbrederis (GB)

44. Jason Avant (KC)

45. Jarius Wright (MIN)

46. Bennie Fowler (DEN)

47. Rashad Ross (WAS)

48. Andre Caldwell (DEN)

49. Chris Conley (KC)

50. Cody Latimer (DEN)

 

Many options at the wide receiver position come down to whether you feel the player’s team will advance to the Divisional round or not. Players like Jeremy Maclin, A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins are all top producers capable of seriously tilting an entire playoff pool but their chances of playing multiple games are up in the air. Brown and Hopkins have the type of ceiling to gamble on. … The entire Arizona passing game feels safe and Michael Floyd, John Brown, and Larry Fitzgerald are good bets in that order. … Your preference between New England and Denver may determine your thoughts on Julian Edelman vs. Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders, but I lean toward the Broncos duo. … An over/under of 45 in the Washington/Green Bay games means receivers like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and James Jones could be solid options that may be undervalued in drafts. … If Ted Ginn (knee) returns, Devin Funchess will be a less appealing option. He has been most valuable this season when starting. ... Tyler Lockett is a high ceiling play that could boost playoff rosters. … Denver’s Jordan Norwood has played decent snaps and caught multiple passes in three-straight games for those looking for a deep wide receiver option. … Minnesota’s receiving options are not great but if you go that route, opt for Mike Wallace, who has been targeted more than Stefon Diggs over the last three weeks and will likely come cheaper.

 

 

Tight Ends

 

1. Rob Gronkowski (NE)

2. Jordan Reed (WAS)

- - -

3. Tyler Eifert (CIN)

4. Greg Olsen (CAR)

5. Travis Kelce (KC)

6. Owen Daniels (DEN)

7. Heath Miller (PIT)

- - -

8. Richard Rodgers (GB)

9. Luke Willson (SEA)

10. Cooper Helfet (SEA)

11. Kyle Rudolph (MIN)

12. Jermaine Gresham (ARZ)

- - -

13. Ryan Griffin (HOU)

14. Scott Chandler (NE)

15. Virgil Green (DEN)

16. Ed Dickson (CAR)

17. Vernon Davis (DEN)

18. Chase Coffman (SEA)

19. Tyler Kroft (CIN)

20. Darren Fells (ARZ)

 

Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed are great options at the top of the position. The second tier begins to tilt the production vs. game total scale. … If Seattle tight end Luke Willson (concussion) can’t suit up, Cooper Helfet and Chase Coffman will be cheap options. Both had five targets and four catches in Week 17. … Vernon Davis is third among Denver tight ends in snaps over the last three weeks so scratch that name off the tight end sleeper list. … Tight end gets thin quickly, so aiming for Owen Daniels or one of the Seattle tight ends is a good bet in draft formats.

 

 

Kickers

 

1. Steven Hauschka (SEA)

2. Brandon McManus (DEN)

3. Chandler Catanzaro (ARZ)

4. Stephen Gostkowski (NE)

- - -

5. Graham Gano (CAR)

6. Chris Boswell (PIT)

7. Cairo Santos (KC)

8. Dustin Hopkins (WAS)

9. Mason Crosby (GB)

- - -

10. Blair Walsh (MIN)

11. Mike Nugent (CIN)

12. Nick Novak (HOU)



Defense/Special Teams

 

1. Seattle

2. Denver

3. Arizona

4. New England

- - -

5. Carolina

6. Kansas City

7. Houston

8. Cincinnati

- - -

9. Pittsburgh

10. Washington

11. Minnesota

12. Green Bay