Fantasy Frenzy – Playoff Edition

January 8, 2021

And here we go! The NFL Playoffs are upon us, with Wildcard Weekend kicking off in just a couple of days! Just because the playoffs have begun does not mean that the fantasy season is completely over. There is still Playoff Fantasy Football. Create a line up each week of players who will score the most points, and in some leagues, win money. Sounds easy, right? Well, there’s a catch. Players can only be used one time. Once they are used in a lineup, that player can no longer be used for your future line ups. It is super easy to get into a situation where you are in Super Bowl week and have used more than half of both teams’ players. Playoff Fantasy Football is about picking players who will smash this week while thinking ahead about what players will remain to use for the following weeks. Not feeling confident? Here is a list of good candidates to help you build your Week 1 playoff lineups.

QB

Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens

This is the grudge match from a season ago when Derrick Henry made Earl Thomas his personal run-blocker and ran all over the Ravens. Lamar is coming into this game with a chip on his shoulder, and it does not look good for the Titans. This is the best matchup for Lamar, going up against the #28 defense in the league. Allowing 277.4 yards through the air and 120.8 yards on the ground per game is less than ideal. For a dual-threat QB, this is easy.

RB

Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans

I don’t foresee Derrick Henry getting the same stats as he did this time last year against the Ravens when he ran the ball 30 times for 195 yards. The Ravens will be keying in on King Henry, but that doesn’t mean the 2020 rushing champ will be a non-factor. He will still get the ball and will most likely find the end zone. After all, the Ravens defense has allowed 108.8 yards per game on the ground. If it were almost any other running back, I would probably steer clear; then again, Henry isn’t like any other running back.

Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts

Nobody but the Chiefs are going to stop the Bills in their postseason run. However, the Bills allow 119.6 yards rushing per game. Jonathan Taylor has been red hot, finding the end zone seven times in his last four weeks. Rushing for 560 yards in that time frame and 1,169 yards for the 2020 season, this creates a very favorable matchup for Taylor.

WR

Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills

This might be the best matchup for Diggs to receive a lot of volume. The Colts allow 241.6 yards per game through the air, and Diggs could receive a lot of attention, especially with Cole Beasley out. Looking ahead, the Bills will most likely go on to play the Ravens (unless the Steelers manage to beat the Browns with Mason Rudolph at the helm). Either way, this is a much more favorable matchup for Diggs.

Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns

The big question is if the Browns will “brown-out” or get the job done and beat the Steelers. Regardless, the future does not look too bright as they will likely go on to play the Chiefs, who will be fresh off their first-round bye. As the number one receiver for the Browns, Jarvis has the potential to do well this week. The Browns have been finding more ways to get Landry involved, and this is sure to be his biggest chance to make a splash. Start him.

TE

Rob Gronkowski – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers will play the Washington Football Team this weekend and with Mike Evans possibly missing the game due to injury only means more targets for the rest of the Tampa receiving corps. Gronk has seen low to moderate volume in recent weeks, but the attention has come while the Bucs are in the red zone. When Godwin went down with an injury earlier this season, Gronk’s volume went up, seeing up to 8 targets per game. I expect to see him heavily involved in the game against a subpar Washington team.

FLEX

Cam Akers – Los Angeles Rams

Normally, I would not advise using a running back against a Seattle team allowing only 95.6 yards rushing per game. This is clearly not their weak spot. However, with Goff unlikely to play this game, the Rams offensive strategy will most likely involve the running game. With Darrell Henderson on the shelf, Malcolm Brown and, mainly, Cam Akers will get a lot of use. Akers is a bit of a dual-threat getting used in the passing game, which only increases his upside for this week. The Rams probably do not make it out of the Wildcard Round, though.