Rich Hribar

Postseason Rankings

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Complete Playoff Ranks

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


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

TeamOdds
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.

 


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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.
Email :Rich Hribar



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