Mike Clay

Post-Season Fantasy Football Guide

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Wild Card Playoff Rankings

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Wide Receiver

1. A.J. Green - CIN (@ HOU)

No playoff-bound wide receiver scored more regular season fantasy points than Green this season. Andy Dalton has looked Green’s way on 31 percent of his throws, which has resulted in 97 receptions and 11 touchdowns. Additionally, Houston has been very generous to opposing passing attacks over the last seven weeks. Green has the benefit of a high volume of targets, especially with the Bengals expected to have to throw the ball quite a bit, and a relatively soft matchup. He’s locked in as the top fantasy wideout this week.

2. Andre Johnson - (vs. CIN)
3. Reggie Wayne - IND (@ BAL)
4. Pierre Garcon - WAS (vs. SEA)

Over the Texans last three games, 42 percent of Matt Schaub’s throws have been directed at Johnson. Despite a slow start and only four receiving touchdowns on the year, Johnson finished eighth among all wideouts in fantasy points. The Bengals have allowed only one wide receiver to eclipse 100 receiving yards this season (Danario Alexander – Week 13), but Johnson is a safe (yet unspectacular) play thanks to a heavy volume of targets…Wayne has eclipsed seven targets in all but one game this season. He’s seen 34 percent of Andrew Luck’s targets over the Colts’ last four games. Despite being one of only five wide receivers to reach the 100-reception mark this season, Wayne ranks only 14th in fantasy points. A 12.8 yards-per-reception mark and only five touchdowns are to blame. Like Johnson, he’s solid, but his ceiling leaves something to be desired…Since returning from injury in Week 11, Garcon has seen just over one-third of the Redskins’ targets. Washington is the league’s No. 2 run-heaviest team, but Garcon sees near eight targets-per-game. He’ll have his hands full with Seattle corners Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, but Seattle allowed Titus Young, Davone Bess, and Brandon Marshall to reach 100 receiving yards during a five-game span prior to Browner’s suspension.

5. Randall Cobb - GB (vs. MIN)
6. Torrey Smith - BAL (vs. IND)
7. Jordy Nelson - GB (vs. MIN)

Cobb and Nelson have each missed action due to injury over the last month, but both figure to be 100-percent healthy in time for this weekend’s bout with Minnesota. Averaging 22 and 17 percent of Aaron Rodgers’ targets, respectively, when on the field this season, the duo figures to remain heavily involved despite the presence of James Jones and Greg Jennings. The Vikings defense has been thrown on a ton over the last month and a half. That doesn’t figure to change with Green Bay in town. Minnesota has allowed 320-plus passing yards in three of its last four games. Jennings (twice), Nelson, and Jones each found paydirt against the Vikings in Week 17. They’ve allowed 12 touchdowns to wide receivers over their last seven games…Smith has seen a respectable 20 percent of Joe Flacco’s targets this season, but calling his production volatile would be an understatement. He’s reached the nine-target mark six times, but has been at or below six targets in nine games. One of the game’s top deep threats, Smith’s 18.6 average depth of target is tops in the league among wideouts with 30-plus targets for the second year in a row. The Colts have allowed 200-plus yards to wide receiver units in five of their last nine games, including three of their last four.

8. Anquan Boldin - BAL (vs. IND)
9. Sidney Rice - SEA (@ WAS)
10. Greg Jennings - GB (vs. MIN)
11. Golden Tate - SEA (@ WAS)
12. James Jones - GB (vs. MIN)
13. T.Y. Hilton - IND (@ BAL)

Boldin actually finished the regular season four targets ahead of Torrey Smith, but found the endzone only four times…Despite not seeing a target in Week 17, Rice played 54-of-65 snaps and ran 28-of-33 possible pass routes. Twenty percent of Russell Wilson’s throws have gone his direction this season. Tate, meanwhile, matched Rice’s seven touchdowns and was only five behind the veteran in receptions with 45…In five games since returning from injury, Jennings has handled 23 percent of Aaron Rodgers’ throws. Jones leads the NFL with 14 receiving scores this season. Both have scored a pair of touchdowns against the Vikings this season. Going forward, however, full-time snaps will be hard to find with Cobb and Nelson back to full health…Hilton usually doesn’t play a full complement of snaps, but Indianapolis calls pass just under three-quarters of the time when he’s on the field. He’s seen one more target than Colts’ “No. 2” wideout Donnie Avery since Week 11.

14. Santana Moss - WAS (vs. SEA)
15. Donnie Avery - IND (@ BAL)
16. Doug Baldwin - SEA (@ WAS)
17. Andrew Hawkins - CIN (@ HOU)
18. Marvin Jones - CIN (@ HOU)
19. Josh Morgan - WAS (vs. SEA)
20. Jarius Wright - MIN (@ GB)
21. Jerome Simpson - MIN (@ GB)
22. Jacoby Jones - BAL (vs. IND)
23. Michael Jenkins - MIN (@ GB)
24. DeVier Posey - HOU (vs. CIN)
25. Leonard Hankerson - WAS (vs. SEA)

Like Hilton, Moss only plays about half the snaps, but sees a high percentage of the targets when he’s on the field…Avery has seen 19 percent of Andrew Luck’s targets this season…Baldwin’s workload has been on the rise as of late…Hawkins has reached the seven-target mark in three of five games since Mohamed Sanu went on injured reserve…Jones has seen 15 total targets over his last two games…Morgan still leads Washington in targets, seeing between three and four looks in each of the team’s last five games…Wright has seen 19 percent of the Vikings’ targets since Percy Harvin went on IR after Week 10…Simpson has yet to score a touchdown this season, but, like Wright, is seeing near 20 percent of the targets…Jones, and Jenkins are third in line for targets at the wide receiver position on their respective team…Posey is pushing Walter hard for snaps opposite Andre Johnson...Hankerson has played 25 total snaps over his last two games.

Tight End

1. Dennis Pitta - BAL (vs. IND)
2. Jermaine Gresham - CIN (@ HOU)

Pitta has taken his owners on quite the rollercoaster ride this season, eclipsing six targets in six games, but failing to reach the five-target mark in six other contests. Still, he’s seen a solid 17 percent of Joe Flacco’s throws on the year. Powered by seven touchdowns, he finished the regular season seventh in fantasy points at the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski is the only tight end to reach 100 receiving yards against the Colts this season, but they’ve allowed seven touchdowns to the position…Gresham has seen 18 percent of Andy Dalton’s throws this season. He’s scored five touchdowns, which helped him to a 10th place finish in fantasy points at the position. The Texans have allowed 11 touchdowns to tight ends this year, including at least one in four consecutive games.

3. Jermichael Finley - GB (vs. MIN)
4. Kyle Rudolph - MIN (@ GB)

Finley has seen 16 percent of Green Bay’s targets on the year, and 20 percent since Week 12. Unfortunately, his fantasy season has been a disappointment as a product of him finding the endzone only twice – the same number of times as teammates Donald Driver and Tom Crabtree. For perspective, despite playing six more games, Finley finished behind Aaron Hernandez in fantasy points during the regular season. The good news is that Finley combined for 132 yards and 14 receptions on 16 targets in two games against Minnesota this year…On the other side of the field, Rudolph had a solid 6-51-1 day against the Packers in Week 13, but managed only 20 yards on a pair of receptions in Week 17. Rudolph leads Minnesota in targets this season, seeing 22 percent of Christian Ponder’s throws since Percy Harvin went down in Week 9. Exactly half of the Vikings passing touchdowns have gone to Kyle Rudolph this season. Only Brandon Marshall has bested that mark (52 percent).

5. Owen Daniels - HOU (vs. CIN)
6. Zach J. Miller - SEA (@ WAS)

The Texans say they’ll get Daniels more involved in the offense, but the aforementioned tough Bengals’ pass defense won’t make it easy on him. Cincinnati has allowed only five touchdowns to tight ends this season and all of them came prior to Week 10. Daniels figures to see five or six targets in a game where Houston figures to go with a run-heavy attack…Since the Seahawk’s Week 11 bye, Golden Tate has seen 25 targets, Sidney Rice has handled 23, and Miller is quietly just behind with 21. Washington has allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Jason Witten (twice), Dennis Pitta, and Martellus Bennett have all enjoyed productive fantasy days against them over the last five weeks.

7. Dwayne Allen - IND (@ BAL)
8. Anthony McCoy - SEA (@ WAS)
9. Coby Fleener - IND (@ BAL)
10. Logan Paulsen - WAS (vs. SEA)
11. Garrett Graham - HOU (vs. CIN)
12. Ed Dickson - BAL (vs. IND)

Allen and Fleener are basically splitting the tight end targets in Indianapolis. Since Fleener returned to action in Week 13, the duo has combined to average 5.6 targets-per-game. Neither player has eclipsed three targets over the team’s last three games…McCoy has seen an expanded role in the passing game over the past few weeks, but isn’t close to fantasy relevance. Paulsen is the starter in Washington, but has seen only nine percent of the targets since Week 9. He has four one-target games since Week 11…Graham and Dickson are capable pass-catchers, but aside of an eight-target Week 17 for Dickson with the starters resting, neither has seen more than two targets in a game since Week 12.

Kicker

1. Blair Walsh – MIN (@ GB)
2. Justin Tucker – BAL (vs. IND)
3. Josh Brown - CIN (@ HOU)
4. Shayne Graham – HOU (vs. CIN)
5. Steven Hauschka – SEA (@ WAS)
6. Adam Vinatieri – IND (@ BAL)
7. Mason Crosby – GB (vs. MIN)
8. Kai Forbath – WAS (vs. SEA)

Walsh ranked fourth in fantasy points among kickers in the regular season. Fellow rookie Tucker finished eighth, while Graham was fifth. In four games with the Bengals, Brown hit 11-of-12 field goals. He leads the position in fantasy points-per-game, albeit in a much smaller sample size.

Team Defense / Special Teams

1. Ravens (vs. IND)
2. Texans (vs. CIN)
3. Bengals (@ HOU)
4. Seahawks (@ WAS)
5. Packers (vs. MIN)
6. Vikings (@ GB)
7. Colts (@ BAL)
8. Redskins (vs. SEA)

Among the eight active teams this week, only the Bengals (sixth) finished as a top-seven team in fantasy points at the position. The Vikings, Ravens, and Seahawks rounded out the top 10, respectively. Baltimore and Houston are at home against inexperienced quarterbacks, which makes them the best plays this week.



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Mike Clay is a football writer for Rotoworld.com and the Founder/Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter @MikeClayNFL.
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