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Fantasy Football: Divisional Round Rankings

Matt McEwan

by Matt McEwan in NFL Football

Jan 11, 2017 · 5:55 AM PST

Good day, fellow fantasy football junkie. We at SBD haven’t provided you with much from the world of fantasy sports yet, but after Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. destroyed the fantasy weeks of many during Wild Card Weekend, we figured now was the perfect time to swoop in and supply you with a shoulder to cry on.

Huh? That doesn’t help? You’d prefer some fantasy football advice for the Divisional Round instead? Alright, if you say so.

Here are the rankings at each position for the upcoming Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

NB: These rankings are based upon standard scoring.


Tier One

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs. DAL)
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. ATL)

Tier Two

3. Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs. SEA)
4. Tom Brady, Patriots (vs. HOU)
5. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. GB)
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. KC)

Tier Three

7. Alex Smith, Chiefs (vs. PIT)
8. Brock Osweiler, Texans (vs. NE)

After watching what Aaron Rodgers did to one of the best pass defenses in the league last week, it’s clear the Cowboys secondary will have its hands full. Dallas only allowed 16.53 PPG to QBs during the regular season (16th-most), but Rodgers is too hot right now. It’s actually Russell Wilson who has the most favorable matchup. The Falcons allowed 19.08 PPG to QBs this year (second-most), and Wilson is going to be forced to take to the air.

In spite of having the toughest matchup of the week, Tom Brady is still your fourth-best play against a Texans defense that only surrendered 13.97 PPG to QBs. Don’t you dare think Osweiler will turn the game into a shootout.

Running Backs

Tier One

1. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers (vs. KC)
2. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. GB)

Tier Two

3. Devonta Freeman, Falcons (vs. SEA)
4. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks (vs. ATL)
5. LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (vs. HOU)
6. Spencer Ware, Chiefs (vs. PIT)

Tier Three

7. Dion Lewis, Patriots (vs. HOU)
8. Ty Montgomery, Packers (vs. DAL)
9. Lamar Miller, Texans (vs. NE)
10. Tevin Coleman, Falcons (vs. SEA)

Not only has Le’Veon Bell been on a tear, averaging over 25 PPG in his last eight, but the explosive back gets the Chiefs defense, which allowed 18.26 PPG to RBs in the regular season (13th-most). He and Zeke come in as your two best options for the week.

While Thomas Rawls had a huge game against the Lions, it’s too hard to trust Seattle’s run game on the road, even with a plus-matchup. Atlanta has surrendered 20.54 PPG to RBs (eighth-most), but the Seahawks rushing numbers drop dramatically on the road. When playing at C-Link this season, Seattle averages 118.1 rushing yards per game. That number drops to 88.1 when on the road. I’m not saying Rawls is a bad option, just don’t chase points. My RB sleeper of the week is Dion Lewis, who I see being featured in New England’s short passing game.

Wide Receivers

Tier One

1. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (vs. GB)
2. Antonio Brown, Steelers (vs. KC)
3. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (vs. ATL)
4. Julio Jones, Falcons (vs. SEA)

Tier Two

5. Davante Adams, Packers (vs. DAL)
6. Randall Cobb, Packers (vs. DAL)
7. Julian Edelman, Patriots (vs. HOU)
8. Taylor Gabriel, Falcons (vs. SEA)
9. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (vs. PIT)

Tier Three

10. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (vs. NE)
11. Cole Beasley, Cowboys (vs. GB)
12. Paul Richardson, Seahawks (vs. ATL)
13. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs (vs. PIT)
14. Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots (vs. HOU)
15. Eli Rogers, Steelers (vs. KC)

Although the Cowboys don’t want to get into a shootout with Aaron Rodgers, they may not have a choice. For that reason, Dez takes the top spot against a Packers defense that allowed 28.94 PPG to WRs in the regular season (most). Doug Baldwin joins the big-dogs this week, facing a Falcons defense that allows 23.94 PPG to WRs (13th-most). As Russell Wilson’s clear favorite, Baldwin should see a ton of targets in a game against the league’s highest-scoring offense.

With Jordy Nelson’s status up in the air, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb will serve as 1a and 1b in what has become the hottest offense in the league. In spite of a tough matchup with a Texans secondary that only gives up 19.06 PPG to WRs (fifth-fewest), Julian Edelman will find space working out of the slot. My WR sleeper of the week is Taylor Gabriel, as I expect Seattle to divert all its attention to Julio Jones in the secondary.

Tight Ends

Tier One

1. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks (vs. ATL)
2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. PIT)

Tier Two

3. Jared Cook, Packers (vs. DAL)
4. Martellus Bennett, Patriots (vs. HOU)
5. Jason Witten, Cowboys (vs. GB)
6. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans (vs. NE)

Tier Three

7. Jesse James, Steelers (vs. KC)
8. Austin Hooper, Falcons (vs. SEA)

The Falcons are allowing 9.34 PPG to TEs this season (sixth-most), and that is why Jimmy Graham comes in as my top tight end for the Divisional Round. He and Travis Kelce, who has averaged just under nine targets per week since Week 8 (excluding Week 17), will be neck-and-neck, though.

Not only will Jared Cook see some extra work if Jordy Nelson doesn’t play, but the Cowboys are allowing 10.49 PPG to TEs (second-most). I expect Cook to find the endzone for the first time since Week 11.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].

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