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Postseason Rankings

Complete Playoff Ranks

by Rich Hribar
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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 week to weekly ranks with more detail for each round of the postseason every Thursday.

 

Super Bowl Odds

Team Odds
Patriots +240
Vikings +375
Steelers +475
Saints +1000
Rams +1000
Eagles +1000
Jaguars +1400
Chiefs +1800
Panthers +1800
Falcons +2800
Titans +7500
Bills +15000

 

*Per OddsShark.Com

 

To nobody’s surprise, the Patriots are the favorite to reach and win the Super Bowl, so they are your primary focus for having players still active come February. 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 New England players as the rounds advance.

 

The Vikings follow up the Patriots with the highest odds despite being the No. 2 seed in the NFC. No team allowed fewer points per game (15.8) than Minnesota this season and they’ve already beaten both the Rams and Saints at home this season. The Vikings also aren’t just a tough defense that is forced to win tight games, either. Since their Week 9 bye, Minnesota has scored a touchdown on 25.3 percent of their possessions, which ranks fifth in the league over that span.

 

The Steelers are next in line, but they’ve got to get to and through New England to make it all the way, something that has been a bugaboo for them. The Steelers have lost all four of their games to Tom Brady and the Patriots over the past three seasons.  Pittsburgh also stands to draw a Jacksonville team in the second round that beat them 30-9 at home back in Week 5. While each team was performing at much different levels at that point in the season, we also still are unclear on how healthy Antonio Brown will be, leaving Pittsburgh as a risky proposition to expect getting more than two games out of, with one of those being a terrible matchup for fantasy purposes.

 

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Four-Game Potential


Having players available go the distance without forcing you to make roster changes is huge and both the Saints and Rams have identical odds of reaching and winning it all for teams playing on Wild Card weekend. But the Saints have a potentially lighter path of reaching the big game. If both teams win their games this weekend, the Saints will head to Philadelphia to play a team led by Nick Foles while the Rams head to Minnesota for a rematch of their Week 11 showdown when the Rams posted a season-low seven points. The Saints also scored 31 and 34 points in their two games against Carolina, so owners rostering those players could come out of the gates hot and keep riding that wave.

 

In the Mix


The Eagles are the No. 1 seed in the NFC and still have odds on par with New Orleans and Los Angeles, but there’s no doubt that they’ve been compromised now with Foles under center. Foles was strong in his Week 15 debut, but that may say more about his opponent that week than him. He’s posted a pedestrian 5.3 yards per pass attempt on 101 attempts. More importantly for the Eagles, Foles has been a nightmare on third downs, something that Carson Wentz excelled at. Since taking over as the starter in Week 15, Foles is 8-of-24 passing with four first down conversions. That’s not ideal if it rolls over into the playoffs.

 

The Jaguars follow up the Eagles, who are then followed up by the Chiefs and Panthers. Jacksonville is coming off back to back losses to close the season, but they are 8-point home favorites against a Buffalo team that will have a potentially hobbled LeSean McCoy.

 

The Chiefs are 8.5-point home favorites in the first round against Tennessee and have been lights out at home dating back to last season. Odds are the Chiefs will need to go back to Foxboro and get a win in the second round. Kansas City has beaten New England in two of their three meetings since they’ve acquired Alex Smith, but that one loss came in the 2016 playoffs.

 

If the Panthers can somehow get past the Saints, they could potentially do some damage, but their offense has been a disaster over the past two weeks and they have a tough task in beating a New Orleans team that has beaten them 34-13 and 31-21 on the season already while the Saints led for 73 percent of their offensive snaps in those games.

 

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The Rest


The Falcons would have to run the table on the road, which is why their odds are so low, but they are intriguing from a stance that they are the returning NFC representative from the Super Bowl a year ago and will be facing a team with little to no playoff experience up and down their roster. If they pull that game out, they'd be the team heading to Philadelphia, which makes them a team to gamble on if you believe they can get past the Rams. The downside is that the Falcons haven't been a hotbed for fantasy appeal as of late as they've scored more than two touchdowns in just one of their past five games.

 

The Titans and Bills are both large, road underdogs Wild Card Weekend. The last time the Chiefs allowed more than 21 points at Arrowhead was Week 1 of 2016 and the last time that a team scored three offensive touchdowns against them at home was Week 7 of that season, a span of 14 games. 

 

Quarterbacks

  1. Tom Brady (NE)
  2. Drew Brees (NO)
  3. Case Keenum (MIN)
  4. Jared Goff (LAR)
  5. Alex Smith (KC)
  6. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
  7. Blake Bortles (JAC)
  8. Cam Newton (CAR)
  9. Matt Ryan (ATL)
  10. Nick Foles (PHI)
  11. Marcus Mariota (TEN)
  12. Tyrod Taylor (BUF)

 

Notes: Brady is still the top option given the format, but he has underperformed the high bar he has set for himself to finish the season. Brady averaged 238.3 passing yards per game over his final six games with six touchdowns to five interceptions over his final five games of the regular season… As highlighted above, the Saints have serious four-game potential. Brees was a disappointment for fantasy investment this season, but he’s still playing at a high level. He’s completed a career-high 72 percent of his passes with his highest yards per attempt (8.1) since 2011. The issue for Brees has been touchdown production as his 4.3 touchdown rate was his lowest in a season since 2007…You can’t use Keenum the opening weekend, but he’s attached to the NFC favorite and has been a strong fantasy asset.  Keenum was the QB5 for fantasy after the Vikings’ Week 9 bye…Goff leads the highest-scoring offense in the league and has thrown multiple touchdowns in five consecutive games… Roethlisberger is tricky because the Steelers could play deep into the postseason, but they have a first-round bye and he may get Jacksonville immediately afterwards, which isn’t inviting for fantasy production…Alex Smith gets a Tennessee team that was 27th in passing points allowed to opposing quarterbacks to start at home and then has potential to be involved in a shootout with New England… You’ll likely get two games out of Bortles, but neither project to be fruitful for fantasy output as the Bills allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns in the league and then he’d go on the road to Pittsburgh or New England…Cam Newton is the most intriguing one and done option at the position as he notched 20.4 points when he last played the Saints and has at least 50-yards rushing in nine of his past 11 games, but that game also came with Marshon Lattimore sidelined while Newton has thrown for more than 200 yards in just two of his past nine games while averaging just 6.2 yards per pass attempt over that span.

 

Running Backs


  1. Todd Gurley (LAR)
  2. Alvin Kamara (NO)
  3. Le’Veon Bell (PIT)
  4. Mark Ingram (NO)
  5. Dion Lewis (NE)
  6. Leonard Fournette (JAC)
  7. Kareem Hunt (KC)
  8. Latavius Murray (MIN)
  9. Devonta Freeman (ATL)
  10. Jerick McKinnon (MIN)
  11. Rex Burkhead (NE)
  12. Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
  13. Tevin Coleman (LAR)
  14. Jay Ajayi (PHI)
  15. LeSean McCoy (BUF)
  16. Derrick Henry (TEN)
  17. DeMarco Murray (TEN)
  18. LeGarrette Blount (PHI)
  19. James White (NE)
  20. Jonathan Stewart (CAR)
  21. Mike Tolbert (BUF)
  22. Corey Clement (PHI)
  23. Mike Gillislee (NE)
  24. Charcandrick West (KC)
  25. Marcus Murphy (BUF)
  26. T.J. Yeldon (JAC)

 

Notes: We get the option to use the league’s highest-scoring fantasy back right out of the box with Todd Gurley and get multiple games with him. Gurley posted 144.7 yards from scrimmage per game over the final 10 games of the season… No backfield has been as good as the Saints and they start off the playoffs as home favorites. Alvin Kamara has had the highest floor of the pair as he has at least 12.7 PPR points in 11 of his 12 games played since the Adrian Peterson trade with the only game under coming when he left after one drive. Mark Ingram is the touchdown threat, but his rushing output has dipped to close the season. Ingram has posted fewer than 50-yards rushing in four of the past six games and has been out-gained by Kamara 648 to 521 over that span despite Kamara basically missing an entire game…Dion Lewis closed the season on fire -with 29 and 32 touches over the final two weeks- and is unquestionably the back to own in New England, but if Rex Burkhead is back, then Lewis' touchdown upside becomes a question again. Burkhead out-touched Lewis 7-1 inside of the 5-yard line from Weeks 10-15 prior to his injury…Leonard Fournette averaged just 3.2 yards per carry over his final seven games, but still received 22.7 touches over that span. He gets a Buffalo team that has allowed a league-high 159.2 rushing yards per game over the past nine weeks while also could draw a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed 4.9 YPC to running backs since losing Ryan Shazier…Like Fournette, Kareem Hunt should get at least two games and the Chiefs have been back to giving him the ball a ton. Prior to Week 17, Hunt tallied 28, 31 and 33 touches…Over the final eight weeks of the season, Latavius Murray led the league in rushing attempts (10) and touchdowns (six) from inside of the 5-yard line… Of the one potentially done backs, Christian McCaffrey caught 14 passes for 134 yards and touchdown over his two games versus the Saints.

 

Wide Receivers


  1. Michael Thomas (NO)
  2. Brandin Cooks (NE)
  3. Tyreek Hill (KC)
  4. Adam Thielen (MIN)
  5. Antonio Brown (PIT)
  6. Stefon Diggs (MIN)
  7. Robert Woods (LAR)
  8. JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)
  9. Chris Hogan (NE)
  10. Julio Jones (ATL)
  11. Cooper Kupp (LAR)
  12. Ted Ginn (NO)
  13. Sammy Watkins (LAR)
  14. Devin Funchess (CAR)
  15. Alshon Jeffery (PHI)
  16. Martavis Bryant (PIT)
  17. Danny Amendola (NE)
  18. Nelson Agholor (PHI)
  19. Allen Hurns (JAC)
  20. Marqise Lee (JAC)
  21. Dede Westbrook (JAC)
  22. Keelan Cole (JAC)
  23. Rishard Matthews (TEN)
  24. Mohamed Sanu (ATL)
  25. Albert Wilson (KC)
  26. Eric Decker (TEN)
  27. Kelvin Benjamin (BUF)
  28. Demarcus Robinson (KC)
  29. Torrey Smith (PHI)
  30. Russell Shepard (CAR)
  31. Brandon Coleman (NO)
  32. Corey Davis (TEN)
  33. Pharoh Cooper (LAR)
  34. Malcolm Mitchell (NE)
  35. Phillip Dorsett (NE)
  36. Kenny Britt (NE)
  37. Willie Snead (NO)
  38. Kaelin Clay (CAR)
  39. Taylor Gabriel (ATL)
  40. Justin Hardy (ATL)
  41. Deonte Thompson (BUF)
  42. Zay Jones (BUF)
  43. Darrius Heyward-Bey (PIT)
  44. Tommylee Lewis (NO)
  45. Eli Rogers (PIT)
  46. Josh Reynolds (LAR)
  47. Jarius Wright (MIN)

 

Notes: We are flying in the dark on Antonio Brown, so I tried to represent that in the rankings as much as possible. We don’t need to be scared of a potential matchup with the Jaguars as he hung a 10-157 line on 19 targets against Jacksonville in Week 5, but after missing a month of action, we won’t know how healthy he’ll be if he’s active… Marqise Lee and Chris Hogan also find themselves in similar positions potentially returning from injury, with Hogan holding the most scoring upside as he was third in the league in targets inside of the 10-yard line prior to his Week 8 injury…Speaking of the Jaguars’ wideouts, if Lee returns, that potentially leaves Keelan Cole left out with Lee reoccupying his X position, Allen Hurns in the slot and Dede Westbrook playing at flanker. Cole and Westbrook could split each other’s reps or if Lee isn’t fully healthy, Cole works in with him as he’s filled in at both Hurns’ and Lee’s positions over the end of the season, but it’s messy hashing out who to like more between Cole and Westbrook…Michael Thomas has at least five catches in 10 of his past 11 games and starts off with a Panthers team that he posted 5-56-1 and 7-87-1 lines against on the season… Tyreek Hill started the year off with wonky home/road splits, but has 75, 88 and 109 yards receiving over his past three games at Arrowhead…Adam Thielen had seven or fewer targets in four of the final five games of the regular season after having fewer than seven in just one of his first 11 games… Stefon Diggs has shown some life over that same span, catching at least five passes in each of his past four games with a touchdown in three straight, but he’s hit 70-yards receiving just once over his past 10 games… Julio Jones is the most tantalizing “one and done” options, but he has been more of a floor play for fantasy all season with just three touchdowns, so it’s hard to vault him up too greatly if we’re only expecting one game from him… if Antonio Brown remains injured, JuJu Smith-Schuster notched 15 catches for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the two games he was absent…Of the Rams’ wide receivers, Cooper Kupp has the best individual draw in the opening round, but is a completely touchdown dependent option. Kupp reached double-digit PPR points just twice all season long in a game without a touchdown while Robert Woods was active while Woods reached that mark five times…You also can’t completely forget about Sammy Watkins as he’s scored in six of his past eight games despite having more than three receptions in just one of his past 12 games.

 

Tight Ends


  1. Rob Gronkowski (NE)
  2. Travis Kelce (KC)
  3. Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
  4. Zach Ertz (PHI)
  5. Delanie Walker (TEN)
  6. Greg Olsen (CAR)
  7. Charles Clay (BUF)
  8. Jesse James (PIT)
  9. Marcedes Lewis (JAC)
  10. Vance McDonald (PIT)
  11. Tyler Higbee (LAR)
  12. Josh Hill (NO)
  13. Austin Hooper (ATL)
  14. Trey Burton (PHI)

 

Notes: Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce are the clear top options here and you can use Kelce right away to bridge you to Gronk in formats that follow the salary structure… After the top tier, Kyle Rudolph is the best functional option to play multiple games…The following tier has comparable to better players than Rudolph, but all have potential to give you just one game. Zach Ertz has 26.5 percent of the targets from Nick Foles, but if you’re going that route, you must sit on him for a week.

 

Kickers


  1. Stephen Gostkowski (NE)
  2. Wil Lutz (NO)
  3. Kai Forbath (MIN)
  4. Chris Boswell (PIT)
  5. Harrison Butker (KC)
  6. Sam Ficken (LAR)
  7. Josh Lambo (JAC)
  8. Graham Gano (CAR)
  9. Jake Elliott (PHI)
  10. Matt Bryant (ATL)
  11. Ryan Succop (TEN)
  12. Steven Hauschka (BUF)

 

DST


  1. Minnesota
  2. New Orleans
  3. New England
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. Jacksonville
  7. Kansas City
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Atlanta
  10. Buffalo
  11. Tennessee
  12. Carolina

 

Notes:  Both the kicker and D/ST ranks follow the similar theme of the ranks to this point of trying to maximize the games at the positions. In transactions leagues, you may end taking a zero at one of these spots along the line if you’re forced to go a cheaper route, so you want to stick with the teams with longer odds to play more games over chasing an early round matchup if you can. 

Rich Hribar
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.