I Rank my top 8 QBs, 8 RBs, 10 WRs and 8 TEs Ks and DEFs for the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.
1) Drew Brees (NWO): Was a no brainer ranking Drew Brees as the top QB choice this week in fantasy. He just capped off a 5496 yard season with a NFL record in pass completion percentage (a record he already held). Now he gets to take on Detroit in the wild card round, the same Detroit team that just allowed Matt Flynn, a quarterback whom hadn’t started all year to throw for 480 yards and 6 TDs; good luck stopping Brees. Lions have finally made the playoffs, but wont be going any farther than this.
2) Matt Stafford (DET): If Detroit wants to have a chance at winning their wild card matchup against the Saints, they are going to need to put up a lot of points and keep pace with Drew Brees. Matt Stafford is key to the Lions success and will be throwing the ball a lot if he wants to earn a playoff win. Kevin Smith has been a nice addition at RB for the Lions but Stafford’s arm is what they need to get a win. Its likely going to be a battle of the QB’s in this one, I expect 2-4 TD’s from both.
3) Eli Manning (NYG): Manning vs. Ryan will be a good one to watch, with both QBs having tremendous ability, but also the capability of turnovers. I give the edge in this one to Manning because he has been to the Superbowl before, and has been able to perform at a high level in big games before. I predict the Giants win this one.
4) Matt Ryan (ATL): Ryan has played in 2 playoff games before, losing them both, throwing for 3 TDs to 4INTs. In neither game has he been able to top 200 yards. Ryan certainly has the ability got go for 300 with soe touchdowns, but its no guarantee.
5) Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): Big Ben is still ailing but started in week 17 and will be set to start in the teams Wild Card matchup against the Broncos. I actually think it will be close between Ben and Andy Dalton in who has the better game. Ben however has the experience of playing in many playoff games, as well as a injured running back in Rashard Mendenhall, more may be asked of Big Ben than originally planned.
6) Andy Dalton (CIN): As I mentioned it is quite possible for Dalton to have a better statistical day than Big Ben, but will have a tougher time since he is a rookie playing in his first playoff game, as well as a less experienced cast of receivers around him. Those receivers are still explosive however, with players such as AJ Green, Jerome Simpson and TE Jermaine Gresham.
7) Tim Tebow (DEN): Tebow is going to struggle from the opening kick off in his first playoff appearance, taking on the always dangerous Pittsburgh defence. Pittsburgh has key players like Polamalu in the secondary that will make throwing the ball tough for Tebow, as well a crew of talented linebackers and defensive linemen to stuff the run game that has fueled the Broncos success. I don’t see many scenarios in which the Broncos win or Tebow has a good fantasy outing.
8) T.J. Yates (HOU): Rookie QB with a seperated non-throwing arm… Yates will definitely be acting as a game manager more than anything else. Houston will be pounding the ball with Foster as much as possible.
1) Arian Foster (HOU): The Starting QB for the Houston Texans will likely be TJ Yates, and possibly Delhomme, with Matt Schaub still out with an injury. If the Texans want to beat the talented young Bengals, they are going to need to rely on their strengths and rush the ball as much as they can with Foster and Tate. Foster has been a force when running the ball this year, when he is healthy that is. I believe he is fully rested for the Wild Card matchup and will be getting the ball A LOT. The Bengals defence are going to have a tough time keeping this guy out of the endzone and with less than 100 yards if he is running the ball 20+ times.
2) Michael Turner (ATL): Turner has been key to the Falcons success for seasons now. Despite having Roddy White and Julio Jones as well as Tony Gonzales, Atlanta is most effective when Michael Turner is running the ball well. You can look up, and have likely heard if you watched a single Falcons game, stats showing how much more successful Atlanta is when Turner hits the 100 yard mark. The Giants have struggled against the run at times this season and have a rather scary pass rush, Atlanta will need to get Turner going.
3) Darren Sproles (NWO): Sproles set a new NFL record with all purpose yardage this season, passing Derrick Mason’s 2000 record by several hundred yards, ending up just short of 3000 yards. The game against the Lions has the potential to be a shoot out, with Sproles attacking in the air and on the ground as well as a very dangerous return man. Their are multiple ways for Sproles to end up in the end zone this weekend.
4) Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG): Bradshaw has had a great season considering he missed a few games here and their. In only 12 games this season Bradshaw ran for 659 yards and 9 touchdowns while adding 267 receiving yards with 3 TDs. Bradshaw has ran for 4 TDs and added one more in the air in just his last three starts. The Giants, similar to the Falcons have much more success when their run game is operating effectively.
5) Kevin Smith (DET): Smith has been exactly what the Lions needed when they put him in the line up, a solid runner who can give the offence a sort of balance to Matt Stafford’s arm. Smith is not the best runner in the world but has the ability to break out for a big game. I fear the Lions will be playing from behind a bit which will limit the opportunities for Smith, though when he does, the Saints can struggle against the run.
6) Isaac Redman (PIT): Rashard Mendenhall will be missing this years playoffs, and in his absence, the Steelers will be looking to Isaac Redman. An undrafted running back in the 2009 draft, Redman was picked up the Steelers last year and was off and on their practice squad until 2010. Redman has been fairly active already this season, getting over 100 touches and averaging about 4 and half yards per carry so he should be able to fill the role of Mendenhall with a certain effectiveness.
7) Willis McGahee (DEN): Willis has had a good season, often receiving more than 20 carries as the Broncos tried to grind out wins. In the Wild Card round however, Willis is going to have a tough time rushing against the Steelers. The Broncos have been struggling lately and I don’t think they will be able to stay close enough to Pittsburgh to be able to run the ball as much as they would like to.
8) Cedric Benson (CIN): Not exactly having a great year, averaging less than 4 yards per carry, also playing against a tough Texans defence that has turned things around this year. Bernard Scott will also likely steam some carries, Cincinnati will still want to establish a run game however if they can, and Benson is the best way to do that.
1) Marques Colston (NWO): I had Colston this season is a league I won, largely due to his week 17 effort. Colston is the top WR (not top option though, see Jimmy Graham) in New Orleans where Drew Brees is slinging around the football like no one ever has before. The Lions were just picked apart by Matt Flynn and the Packers in week 17, Brees and Colston should be able to join forces for 100 yards and a possible touchdown against the Lions. I have Colston ranked higher than Calvin because I strongly believe the Lions will not make it past the Saints, and most of the options for playing fantasy football in the post-season give bonus’s to players who last longer, therefor I think Colston will be the better option in the long run.
2) Calvin Johnson (DET): Enters the playoffs coming off a loss, even though it was a 200 yards effort with a touchdown. I can easily see Johnson having a similar stat line against the Saints in a game that will require Stafford to throw the ball a lot in order to keep up with Drew Brees and company.
3) Victor Cruz (NYG): I had considered putting Cruz above Johnson, since I think the Giants have a good chance of making it past Atlanta and into the second round of the playoffs, but since they might lose to Atlanta, I left him at number 3. Cruz has been outstanding for the Giants all year long, ending up in the leagues top 5 for receiving yards with over 1500 yards with 9 touchdown. He has scored back to back 70+ yard touchdowns in his last 2 games and will be tough to keep out of the end zone for Atlanta.
4) Julio Jones (ATL): Jones has been a beast at time this season, often capitalizing on the double coverage attracted by Roddy White. Jones is a major deep threat who can cash in big on limited number of targets. Jones also has the luxury of not being covered by the Giants top cover man, Corey Webster.
5) A.J. Green (CIN): It won’t be an easy matchup for the Bengals taking on the Steelers, but A.J. Green certainly has the talent to overcome the tough setting. A.J. Green has scored a touchdown in both match ups against the Steelers earlier this season.
6) Mike Wallace (PIT): Wallace and Brown have had very similiar seasons, each going for 1100 yards, the main difference however, Wallace has 8 touchdowns while Brown only has 2. In a playoff matchup, I think it will be Wallace who ends up with as Ben’s top target. Wallace and Ben went to the playoff together last year and had success reaching the Superbowl.
7) Roddy White (ATL): Roddy will likely see more targets than Julio Jones, but will also likely be covered by the Giants top CB, Corey Webster. Webster has been having a very good season and will give White trouble all game long.
8) Antonio Brown (PIT): Brown should be able to enjoy the fact the Wallace will be getting the top cover man the Broncos have to offer, most of the time. Brown has however, turned it on even more in recent games and will definitely have the attention of the Broncos defence; but Wallace is still #1.
9) Hakeem Nicks (NYG): Nicks has been usurped by Cruz as the number one option at WR, but he is still a very dangerous threat when he gets over his cases of dropping balls. Nicks was if you remember a top 5 ranked WR going into the season.
10) Andre Johnson (HOU): As talented as Andre Johnson is, he will not be the focal point of the Houston offence when they play the Bengals. With T.J. Yates at the helm it will be Arian Foster leading the way for the Texans as they try to grind this one out. Andre is still talented enough to make an impact though, no matter who is throwing him the ball.
1) Jimmy Graham (NWO): Jimmy Graham had a lot of hype leading int othe season and has lived up to every ounce, becoming Drew Brees’ favorite target and a matchup nightmare. The way the Lions defence played last week against Matt Flynn and company, their is no reason Brees and his receivers cant do the same thing, Graham will likely be the top TE each win provided the Saints do not get eliminated.
2) Brandon Pettigrew (DET): Pettigrew is emerging as one of the most talented TEs in the league, as well a one of the biggest (he looks like Calvin Johnson on the field). If it wasn’t for Tony Scheffler I would almost guarantee a TD for Brandon against the Saints in what should be a high scoring affair.
3) Tony Gonzalez (ATL): Gonzo is one of the best players to ever grace the TE position and should one again be a factor in the Falcons wild card matchup against the Giants. There is nothing the veteran hasn’t seen before and isn’t capable of doing, age may be slowing him a bit, but his talent and consistency will make him common target for Ryan on the weekend.
4) Jermaine Gresham (CIN): Gresham has 10 catches over his last 2 games and will likely be an integral part of the Bengals offence that could quite possibly be playing from behind quite a bit.
5) Heath Miller (PIT): Hasn’t done much in recent weeks, but he is still a capable member of the Steelers offence who has the potential for 10 or so targets if the team wants.
6) Owen Daniels (HOU): The Texans will be pounding the ball as much as possible, as I have stated a few times already, but their will be times when Yates needs to throw the ball.
7) Tony Scheffler (DET): Scheffler is the number two option at TE behind Pettigrew, but always has the potential to snag a TE. He hauled in a great one-handed catch last week down inside the 10-yard line that helped Detroit regain the lead over Green Bay.
8) Jake Ballard (NYG): Their is no word yet wether or not Ballard will be able to start, he has missed the last two games with a knee injury. Ballard has been a decent receiving option for the Giants, but with the injury, even if he does play he is very hard to trust.
Kasay (NWO): New Orleans is moving the ball and scoring the points like very few teams in NFL history have been able to. If you start Kasay you are guaranteed some value, my only worry is that New Orleans scores to many touchdowns and not enough field goals.
Hanson (DET): Detroit vs. New Orleans will have points to go around, so starting either kicker is a good bet. Hanson though I believe, like his team, will not be going past the wild card round.
Tynes (NYG): Much like when ranking their defences, I found it rather difficult to rank their kickers, I believe both teams have rather potent offences that can score in bursts. The biggest reason for me to rank Tynes above Bryant is that I think the Giants will win the game, giving Tynes a bonus next week in many formats.
Bryant (ATL): See Tynes above ^^
Rackers (HOU): Houston is without Matt Schaub for the playoffs, which I believe could result in them settling for more field goals than usual, giving more value to Niel Rackers.
Suisham (PIT): Pittsburgh is my lock of the week and should be able to escape the Broncos with a win, giving Suisham the best chance at a x2 bonus next week. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without Rashard Mendenhall and Big Ben might be slowed by injuries still, which could result in the team settling for more field goals as well.
Nugent (CIN): Nugent could cash in on a few field goals this week, taking on a stiff Texans defence in the wild card round. Though I expect the Texans to be able to grind out a win however, giving Nugent no future value.
Prater (DEN): I don’t see Denver being able to put up many points against the Steelers with Tebow at the helm. The best thing going for Prater will be if Denver can reach scoring range only to come up short and be left with field goals.
Pittsburgh: Denver is coming off 3 straight losses going into the playoffs, including a 7-3 loss to Kansas City. Tim Tebow and the Broncos are not going to have an easy time scoring points against a top defence and overall quality team like Pittsburgh.
Houston: The Texans defence has done a 180 this year going from one of the worst defences in the league to one of the best in the league under coordinator Wade Phillips. Without Matt Schaub they will be trying to control the clock as mich as possible, running the ball with Arian Foster, limiting the chances for Andy Dalton to strike.
Denver: If Denver wants to win against Pittsburgh they are going to need to keep the game close, their defence has been the most consistent part of their team and will be needed to play well. Denver has a strong pass rush that should be able to get good pressure on Big Ben, who has been sacked quite a few times this year.
Cincinnati: Cincinnati’s defence has been consistent all year long and will be in what looks to be a grinder of a game against the Houston Texans. The Texans high powered offence has taken a step back with the loss of Matt Schaub, with the run game being their bread and butter. I don’t expect much of a high scoring game here
New York: Now we come to the NFC offences, which are much higher powered than the AFC offenses for the wild card round. Much like the Detroit, New Orleans matchup, Atlanta, New York should be pretty high scoring as well. I think the Giants defence has a better chance of putting up fantasy numbers however, mainly due to their impressive pass rush. I also give the Giants the advantage in the game.
Atlanta: The Falcons and Giants game has the potential to be high scoring, so I don’t really trust either defence this week, but Eli (with the help of his receivers) has been susceptible to throwing interceptions that could lead to points for the Falcons defence.
New Orleans: New Orleans is not known for their defence as they usually give up quite a few yards per game. Detroit will be able to move the ball and score points against New Orleans, avoid both these team defences in the wild card round.
Detroit: Do I really need to explain this? The Saints have set all kinds of offensive records and are scoring points at will. I don’t see how the Detroit defence that allowed Matt Flynn to throw 480 yards and 6 TDs can hope to stop him.
Thanks for reading my Wild Card Round Fantasy Rankings! I will be back each weekend with my playoff rankings.
–———>Read / Rate / Comment <——– feedback always welcome
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read this!!