Now that the regular season has officially come to a close, fantasy footballers who are still itching for action can look to NFL postseason playoff contests to provide an extra month of sweet fantasy competition.
NFL postseason fantasy contests come in all shapes and sizes from actual snake drafts or auctions, to salary cap challenges and contests with weekly lineup submissions. No matter how you and your pals decide to attack the NFL postseason, the fantasy goodness will continue through Super Bowl LI. The primary objective in any postseason pool is to select players that will score the most points in the most games. Sounds easy, right? While selecting the highest-scoring fantasy stars sounds relatively simple following 17 weeks of fantasy football action, determining which teams will advance through the postseason bracket and clash in Houston in early February is quite a challenge. I wouldn’t be staring at a mountain of student loan debt if I could correctly pick the winner of each NFL game, so we will lean toward the wise old oddsmakers to help sift through both the AFC and NFC playoff fields. Below, you will find a brief recap of the playoff field followed by positional rankings and recaps to help you craft the best possible postseason lineup. Good luck!
New England and Dallas
The Patriots and Cowboys have the best shot at reaching the Super Bowl according to oddsmakers, which means each team would play three games if that were to come to fruition. Both teams rolled through the regular season and are showing little signs of weakness, so you will see New England and Dallas players very highly touted throughout the rankings below.
Green Bay and Pittsburgh
The best scenario for fantasy postseason contests is snagging players from teams that could play four games, the maximum amount of action in the NFL playoffs. Two teams fit that bill this season as both the Steelers and Packers will play on Wild Card weekend and both teams have solid odds of reaching the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh is a huge favorite over Miami this weekend and would take on Kansas City in the divisional round, leaving just New England (most likely) in their path on the way to the Super Bowl and a fourth game.
The Packers were on fire to end the regular season, winning six-straight games while averaging 30.8 points per outing along the way. Green Bay opens up their postseason push at home against the Giants as 4.5 point favorites, and then would travel to Dallas in the divisional round as long as Seattle tops Detroit. No matter where Green Bay ends up playing after the Wild Card Round, they will be a dangerous team and a threat to advance to Houston while collecting four games for fantasy folks.
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Atlanta and Kansas City
The Chiefs and Falcons were both awarded first-round byes and will wait until the smoke clears this weekend before finding out their Divisional Round opponents. Based on Wild Card point spreads, the Falcons are most likely to see Seattle, while the Chiefs will likely host Pittsburgh. Both teams are capable of winning those games, but tricky matchups plus difficult looming opponents in conference title games drop these two teams to a lower tier.
Wild Card Favorites
Seattle and Houston
Seattle is more than a touchdown favorite this weekend against Detroit, and will be looking at two games this postseason at a minimum. The Seahawks have been quite unpredictable this season, so a deep postseason run is certainly possible, as is an early exit. Houston is the favorite in the riveting “Connor Cook vs. Brock Osweiler” matchup the world has been clamoring for, and the winner of that game will likely head to New England to get beat by 30. Both Houston and Oakland fantasy options are dicey bets, but could see two games.
Miami, NY Giants, Oakland, Detroit
These four teams are underdogs on Wild Card weekend, so the fantasy options from these squads have been discounted in the rankings below. When taking a stab on players from long-shot teams, be sure to look for upside that could swing a playoff contest if the team advances. Odell Beckham may only play one game this postseason, but has the ability to rack up a huge point total in just a single outing and could be a huge key to victory if the Giants advance.
1. Tom Brady (NE)
2. Dak Prescott (DAL)
3. Aaron Rodgers (GB)
4. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
5. Matt Ryan (ATL)
6. Russell Wilson (SEA)
7. Eli Manning (NYG)
8. Alex Smith (KC)
9. Matthew Stafford (DET)
10. Brock Osweiler (HOU)
11. Matt Moore (MIA)
12. Connor Cook (OAK)
13. Tom Savage (HOU)
14. Matt McGloin (OAK)
Notes: The AFC has little to offer in terms of quarterbacks, but Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger are very strong options. … With so much attention on the Green Bay hot streak and the success of Dallas, Matt Ryan may be a decent bargain in postseason pools, depending on the format. Ryan, who could see Seattle in the Divisional Round, threw multiple touchdown passes in 12 of 16 games this season and roasted the Seattle secondary in Week 6. … No matter who escapes the Houston/Oakland contest, it will be tough to bet on a quarterback in that matchup with Tom Savage and Matt McGloin potentially ready to step-in if their team advances. … Russell Wilson could see matchups with the Detroit and Atlanta defenses, which will be worth betting on if you believe in Seattle’s postseason potential. Wilson has never lost a home playoff game. … Manning and Stafford are underdogs this weekend while Smith could be in a tough spot against Pittsburgh in the Divisional Round. None of the three are very exciting options.