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Playoff Fantasy Football: Wildcard Weekend

By Doug Orth | 1/11/24 |

As I enter my 15th year of writing this postseason column, I hope I have helped some of you along the way supplement your regular-season fantasy prize winnings.

Since decided to end its Playoff Challenge, my focus will be mostly on small-slate DraftKings Classic tournaments. I will also share the lineup I would use in the FFPC Playoff Challenge.

The first part of this week's column will be devoted to those owners who participate in any format in which it is best or required to keep the players you draft for the duration of the postseason. The second half of the column is for owners who play in leagues in which you reset your lineup each week, such as a salary cap setup like DFS. Regardless of which format(s) you choose to play in, my goal over the next four articles will be to help each of you through your decision-making process as you attempt to boost your bottom line.

Multi-Week Leagues

Below you will find 14 playoff teams ranked in order of the (percentage) odds I believe they have of making the Super Bowl. I will spend a bit of time after that attempting to nail the bracket before talking a little DFS.

1. San Francisco (60%)
2. Baltimore (55%)
3. Cleveland (18%)
4. Buffalo (18%)
5. Dallas (15%)
6. LA Rams (10%)
7. Detroit (8%)
8. Philadelphia (5%)
9. Kansas City (5%)
10. Houston (2%)
11. Miami (1%)
12. Green Bay (1%)
13. Tampa Bay (1%)
14. Pittsburgh (1%)

With that out of the way, let us next focus on my week-to-week playoff projections and then the players I feel are realistic alternatives for this four-week sprint to the finish:

AFC - Wildcard: Bills over Steelers, Chiefs over Dolphins, Browns over Texans
NFC - Wildcard: Cowboys over Packers, Rams over Lions, Eagles over Buccaneers

AFC - Divisional: Ravens over Browns, Bills over Chiefs
NFC - Divisional: 49ers over Rams, Cowboys over Eagles

AFC - Conference Championship: Ravens over Bills
NFC - Conference Championship: 49ers over Cowboys

Super Bowl: Ravens vs. 49ers

The rankings below are for those readers in leagues that require you to draft players this week and keep them for the duration of the postseason. The number inside the parentheses refers to how many games I expect that player/unit to play.


Tier 1
1. Lamar Jackson (3)
2. Josh Allen (3)
3. Brock Purdy (3)
4. Dak Prescott (3)
5. Jalen Hurts* (2)

Tier 2
6. Joe Flacco (2)
7. Matthew Stafford (2)
8. Patrick Mahomes (2)

Tier 3
9. Jordan Love (1)
10. Jared Goff (1)
11. Tua Tagovailoa (1)
12. C.J. Stroud (1)
13. Baker Mayfield* (1)
14. Mason Rudolph (1)

* - Injury concern

Unsurprisingly, Tier 1 is filled with either elite fantasy options and/or attached to Super Bowl favorites. Jackson may not consistently deliver huge fantasy totals, but his ceiling is high enough for a team that is perhaps the best bet of the field to make the Super Bowl. Allen is so key to what Buffalo does offensively that ranking him any lower than second above would be borderline insane. With what should be a comfortable win against the Steelers and a very likely matchup against a beatable Kansas City team, it feels safe to project Allen for three games even though the Bills are not clicking on all cylinders offensively. Purdy slots ahead of Prescott only because I feel certain that San Francisco will make it to the NFC Championship Game and believe the 49ers have a good chance to win it all. I am not as confident Dallas will make it past this weekend. Philadelphia's offense was struggling long before Hurts injured the middle finger on his throwing hand, A.J. Brown hurt his hand and DeVonta Smith missed the regular-season finale due to an ankle issue. The Eagles could easily lose to the Bucs and would seem to have little shot of beating the Cowboys in Dallas given their issues defending the pass.

Outside of those fantasy playoff leagues where there are more than eight teams, I can't imagine too many scenarios in which I would consider any of the quarterbacks in Tier 3. Each quarterback in Tier 2 has at least an outside chance of making a Super Bowl run and/or enough weapons to be worth an investment - even if his team only sticks around for two postseason games. Of this group, Flacco sits atop the tier because I believe Cleveland has a decent shot to make it to the big game. In fact, I believe the Browns may be the only team that could beat the version of the Ravens we saw at the end of the season. Flacco's volume should make him a solid pick even if he only plays two games.

Stafford's spot above has more to do with the difficulty of his first-round game (and overall path) than anything. While I am willing to predict a win in Detroit, it is far from a given. I also do not think the Rams are quite ready to topple a full-strength San Francisco squad quite yet. It seems almost unthinkable that Mahomes could be ranked eighth on any quarterback list, but Kansas City's offense has performed at such a level for so long that a home win against an injury-riddled Miami defense in likely frigid conditions cannot be taken for granted. Even if the Chiefs somehow win in Buffalo the following week, I have trouble believing Mahomes will get much going against Baltimore (or Cleveland). In short, his reputation is about the only thing keeping him out of Tier 3.

Running Backs

Tier 1
1. Christian McCaffrey (3)

Tier 2
2. James Cook (3)
3. Gus Edwards (3)
4. Tony Pollard (3)
5. Isiah Pacheco (2)
6. Kyren Williams (2)
7. Jerome Ford (2)

Tier 3
8. Aaron Jones (1)
9. D'Andre Swift (2)
10. Devon Achane* (1)
11. Rachaad White (1)
12. Jahmyr Gibbs (1)
13. David Montgomery (1)
14. Raheem Mostert* (1)

Tier 4
15. Dalvin Cook (3)
16. Kareem Hunt (2)
17. Rico Dowdle (3)
18. Najee Harris (1)
19. Jaylen Warren (1)
20. Devin Singletary (1)

Tier 5
21. Leonard Fournette (3)
22. Kenneth Gainwell (2)
23. Pierre Strong Jr. (2)
24. Ty Johnson (3)
25. Justice Hill (3)
26. Jeff Wilson (1)

Tier 6
27. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (2)
28. Ronnie Rivers (2)
29. AJ Dillon* (1)
30. Dameon Pierce (1)
31. Chase Edmonds (1)

* - Injury concern

McCaffrey checks virtually every box for a player who should be considered as the 1.01 in playoff fantasy leagues. He plays in every situation, excels as a runner and a receiver, is the primary option at the goal line and stands a great chance to play in the Super Bowl.

Outside of players such as McCaffrey who appear to have everything working in their favor, we want volume - as in games AND touches - as opposed to just the touches we seek during the regular season. Tier 2 is six players deep, although none of them possesses anything close to the ceiling CMC does. Cook's second-half volume has been exactly what fantasy managers hope for from running backs, but his overall effectiveness has dropped dramatically over the last three games. He is not the preferred option at the goal line either, which makes him big-play dependent. Considering those big plays have disappeared over the last three games, it seems unlikely he will separate himself from his peers in Tier 2. Edwards is essentially the opposite of Cook. He has the goal-line role in Baltimore, but he does not get much work in the passing game and his volume from week to week is inconsistent despite the fact the Ravens are often winning by 10 or more points.

Pollard and Pacheco each offer enticing Wild Card upside. However, the former has a similar profile to Cook and has been inefficient for long stretches this season, while the latter could be done after this week considering how poorly Kansas City has played. Williams would be the easy pick for No. 2 overall on this list were it not for his difficult upcoming matchup (no team silenced running backs this season more than Detroit) and the likelihood the Rams will get bounced by the 49ers next week. I would also have no problem putting Ford at the top of this tier if I knew HC Kevin Stefanski would commit to him and cut Hunt's playing time. Alas, there has been no indication that will happen. Even then, a game against the Texans' run defense and a likely matchup against Baltimore does not bode well for a big fantasy effort.

Barring injury, Tier 3 is the last hope for meaningful fantasy production from the running backs. Jones came on in a big way late in the season, but I am not betting on Green Bay having much success against Dallas and San Francisco in consecutive weeks. Jones may be the best running back option this weekend, but one potentially good game is not enough for me to take him over two (or more) potentially average games from the previous tier. It seems almost unthinkable that Swift managed to stay healthy all season, enjoyed his first 1,000-yard rushing season and somehow still disappointed. Much of his "failure" was the product of him getting tackled at the 1-yard line as often as he did. Still, the Tampa Bay defense is not one that typically gives up a ton of rushing production. One look at Swift's results from Week 12 until the end of the season also suggests there is not a lot of reason for excitement. His most likely path to beating this ranking is carrying a heavy load this week with all of the injuries to his fellow offensive brethren in Philadelphia.

The rest of Tier 3 is filled with running backs who have reason to believe they will play at least two games but probably will not. Mostert's status is still up in the air, which obviously makes Achane a highly volatile fantasy option. Miami's defense is so beat up that predicting the Dolphins to make it through this week seems reckless. The Sam LaPorta injury casts further doubt on what was already a bad matchup for Detroit. If either one of the Lions' runners is going to have success this weekend, Gibbs would seem to be the one given his usage in the passing game. For all the good that White did this year behind a limited offensive line, he still fell short of 1,000 yards despite handling 272 rushing attempts. Volume in the passing game made him a viable fantasy RB1, which will have to be the way he gets it done this week. While the Eagles' run defense has fallen off in recent weeks, this is still a unit that gave up only 3.7 YPC to running back groups not led by McCaffrey or James Conner this season.

Wide Receivers

Tier 1
1. CeeDee Lamb (3)
2. Deebo Samuel (3)
3. Brandon Aiyuk (3)

Tier 2
4. Zay Flowers (3)
5. Stefon Diggs (3)
6. Puka Nacua (2)
7. Amari Cooper* (2)
8. Rashee Rice (2)
9. Cooper Kupp (2)

Tier 3
10. Tyreek Hill (1)
11. Amon-Ra St. Brown (1)
12. A.J. Brown* (2)

Tier 4
13. DeVonta Smith* (2)
14. Brandin Cooks (3)
15. Demarcus Robinson (2)
16. Khalil Shakir (3)
17. Jayden Reed (1)
18. Mike Evans (1)
19. Nico Collins (1)
20. Jaylen Waddle* (1)
21. Odell Beckham Jr. (3)

Tier 5
22. Elijah Moore* (2)
23. Chris Godwin (1)
24. Diontae Johnson (1)
25. Dontayvion Wicks (1)
26. Rashod Bateman (3)
27. Gabriel Davis* (3)
28. George Pickens (1)
29. Jameson Williams* (1)

Tier 6
30. Jalen Tolbert (3)
31. Michael Gallup (3)
32. Christian Watson* (1)
33. Trey Palmer (1)
34. Justin Watson (2)
35. Richie James (2)
36. Bo Melton (1)
37. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2)
38. KaVontae Turpin (3)
39. Cedric Tillman* (2)
40. Josh Reynolds (1)
41. Kalif Raymond* (1)
42. Robert Woods* (1)
43. Romeo Doubs* (1)

* - Injury concern

Sometime between their humbling defeat in Week 5 at San Francisco and their first post-bye game in Week 8, the Cowboys realized that giving their best player the ball more often might be good for their immediate success. What followed may be one of the best 11-game stretches by a receiver in NFL history: 101 catches on 139 targets for 1,274 yards and 11 touchdowns. Yes, Lamb sits atop the receiver board. His one potential bugaboo is the likelihood Dallas will make it as far as the NFC Championship. Let's just say I have fewer doubts about Dallas' ability to beat the Eagles and Bucs than the Packers, Lions and Rams. Samuel and Aiyuk alternate big performances often enough that they often can't touch Lamb's ceiling, but the likelihood they will play at least one more game than Lamb is strong enough to put them in the same tier.

There is a significant drop-off after the first three wideouts. While Flowers does not belong in the same company as Diggs, Nacua and Kupp, the rookie's last two games were a reminder that he can perform at the same level as a Tier 1 receiver. He arguably has the best chance of the bunch to reach the Super Bowl, which enhances his value dramatically. Diggs' reputation alone should be enough to get him into Tier 1, but fantasy managers have dealt with two months of sub-standard production from him - a stretch that started about the same time interim OC Joe Brady took over for Ken Dorsey. At least one - if not two - Rams receivers should have big days against Detroit. I am betting one of them will be Nacua, who enjoyed enough success in the toughest matchups he faced all season to make me believe he will have at least two solid fantasy efforts this postseason.

Cooper will reportedly play this weekend, but consecutive DNPs to start the practice week do not bode well for him to make a huge impact this week. Rice has already done enough to prove he can produce regardless of the matchup, but the combination of Miami's front-seven injuries and the Chiefs' inability to sustain drives makes me believe Kansas City will lean more on its running game this weekend. Kupp figures to see just enough of rookie Brian Branch in the slot to make me think Matthew Stafford will target Nacua and Robinson more heavily. He might make up for it against San Francisco next week, but I do not see a path to a huge postseason run for the 30-year-old.

Tier 3 does not require much of an explanation. Each is a stud and his team's alpha. A guarantee of two games from Hill and St. Brown would push them into the top six of the position rankings. Meanwhile, Brown needs to heal up fast and Philadelphia's offense to rediscover its 2022 form. Making matters worse is that Jalen Hurts (right middle finger) could find it difficult to throw the ball accurately for the foreseeable future.

The top of Tier 4 presents fantasy managers with the last realistic options at the position. Despite a mostly strong finish to the season, Smith ranks this low because there is no guarantee he will play against the Bucs due to an ankle injury. Considering how poorly Philadelphia has played lately, there is also no guarantee of a game next week either. Cooks gets the nod here primarily because he has a decent shot to play three games, including a pair at home (where he has been much better). Robinson has played so well down the stretch that it would be surprising at this point if the Rams did not bring the impending free agent back for at least another season. Looking at just this postseason, he has been far too involved in the offense to believe he will fall flat in a favorable matchup against the Lions. He could also be the player San Francisco chooses to pay less attention to if the NFC West rivals meet for a third time this season next week.

Shakir has played at least 40 offensive snaps eight times since Week 7. He logged at least 28 slot snaps in each of those games. Over that span, he has produced at least 92 yards three times and caught at least six passes twice. It is not the stuff of legend, but it suggests he is on near equal footing with Gabe Davis at the very least. With what appears to be an increasing role in the offense, Davis potentially out for this week (knee) and almost zero chance he will line up across from Joey Porter Jr. this week or L'Jarius Sneed next week, Shakir could be on the verge of solidifying a role as the top complimentary receiver in this offense. Not only does he catch virtually everything (39 catches on 45 targets), but he does a lot with the limited work he gets (15.7 YPC). The next four players (Reed, Evans, Collins and Waddle) would move up at least three spots if they were more likely to get past this weekend.

Tight Ends

Tier 1
1. George Kittle (3)
2. Isaiah Likely (3)

Tier 2
3. David Njoku (2)
4. Travis Kelce (2)
5. Jake Ferguson (3)
6. Dalton Kincaid (3)
7. Dallas Goedert (2)

Tier 3
8. Dawson Knox (3)
9. Tyler Higbee (2)
10. Brock Wright (1)
11. Dalton Schultz (1)
12. Tucker Kraft (1)
13. Cade Otton (1)
14. Durham Smythe (1)
15. Pat Freiermuth (1)
16. Luke Musgrave (1)

* - Injury concern

***** I do not expect Sam LaPorta (knee) to play this week. Even if he does, I expect him to be extremely limited.

While Kittle may never be as consistently productive as he has shown in spurts because of the talent he has surrounding him, perhaps no tight end in the game today boasts the same kind of upside. He may put up two duds this postseason, but his resume with Brock Purdy as his quarterback suggests he will shine at least once between now and the Super Bowl. Likely has not scored fewer than eight PPR points since taking over as the starter for Mark Andrews in Week 12. In three of the four games that have mattered to Baltimore since the Week 13 bye, he has topped 18 fantasy points. The only reason he does not take the top spot here is the possibility of Andrews returning before the Super Bowl - however unlikely that possibility might be.

For those readers who agree that Cleveland is a legitimate Super Bowl contender, Njoku has a strong case to be in Tier 1. Playing one less game than Kittle and Likely is the only thing keeping him out. Kelce may have just finished off his worst season since Patrick Mahomes took over in Kansas City, but let's not pretend he is done just yet. Even during an uncharacteristic end to the regular season (29-338-1 in seven games since the Week 10 bye), Kelce was the overall TE4 in that stretch. Fresh off giving up nine catches for 106 yards and a touchdown to Buffalo's tight end group, a beat-up Miami defense could be a nice rebound spot for Kelce this week. Ferguson has not found the end zone since Week 13, while Kincaid has not done so since Week 10. While their volume keeps them relevant at a weak position, it will be hard for either one to make noise over the next month if they do not see more looks in the end zone. The primary reason Goedert is not any higher is that the Eagles are more likely to get knocked out this weekend than the Cowboys or Bills.


1. Justin Tucker (3)
2. Jake Moody (3)
3. Brandon Aubrey (3)
4. Tyler Bass (3)
5. Dustin Hopkins/Riley Patterson (2)
6. Brett Maher (2)
7. Jake Elliott (2)
8. Harrison Butker (2)
9. Jason Sanders (1)
10. Ka'imi Fairbairn (1)
11. Mike Badgley (1)
12. Chase McLaughlin (1)
13. Chris Boswell (1)
14. Anders Carlson (1)

Defense/Special Teams

1. Ravens (3)
2. 49ers (3)
3. Browns (2)
4. Bills (3)
5. Cowboys (2)
6. Chiefs (2)
7. Eagles (2)
8. Rams (2)
9. Dolphins (1)
10. Texans (1)
11. Lions (1)
12. Buccaneers (1)
13. Packers (1)
14. Steelers (1)


Below you will find my position-by-position projections. Please note I have included DraftKings' dollar value for each player, followed by his projected point total. Because I went into some detail above, I will not spend a great deal of time explaining each projection here - only some of the more notable ones. Each position is sorted by my DraftKings' projected point total.

Key for quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and tight ends:
P Yds - Passing Yards
P TD - Passing Touchdowns
INT - Interceptions
Ru Yds - Rushing Yards
Ru TD - Rushing Touchdowns
Rec Yds - Receiving Yards
Rec TD - Receiving Touchdowns
Rec - Receptions

Player Tm DK$ P Yds P TDs INT RuAtt RuYds Ru TDs DK
Jalen Hurts PHI $7,700 280 2 1 6 35 1 27.7
Josh Allen BUF $8,000 245 1 0 11 42 1 24.0
Dak Prescott DAL $7,600 301 2 0 2 8 0 23.8
Matthew Stafford LAR $6,500 285 3 0 1 4 0 23.8
Joe Flacco CLE $6,100 300 2 1 3 1 0 22.1
Patrick Mahomes KC $7,100 247 2 1 11 46 0 21.5
Jordan Love GB $6,300 281 2 1 3 15 0 19.7
C.J. Stroud HOU $6,800 274 2 2 6 23 0 19.3
Jared Goff DET $6,200 246 2 1 1 2 0 17.0
Baker Mayfield TB $5,800 264 1 1 4 9 0 14.5
Mason Rudolph PIT $5,300 176 1 2 3 2 0 9.2
Tua Tagovailoa MIA $7,000 227 0 1 1 6 0 8.7

With the lack of separation between my first-ranked (Hurts) and eight-ranked (Stroud) quarterbacks, this appears to be a good week to pay down at the position. Hurts and Allen were the best fantasy quarterbacks yet again this season, but each player fell short of their lofty numbers from last year. Of more concern to this week's DFS players, neither signal-caller has delivered a slate-altering performance in over a month. When we consider the current state of Philadelphia's offense and the more balanced approach the Bills are using under interim OC Joe Brady, it seems unlikely either player will be worth spending paying up for this week.

The unfortunate part is that the discount on rolling with someone like Prescott is not enough. The Dallas quarterback does not run very much anymore, and I would be hesitant about projecting him to throw for four touchdowns against a Green Bay defense that allowed only one quarterback all season (Mayfield) to pass for more than two. This brings us to the two quarterbacks I will most likely lean on the most this weekend: Stafford and Flacco.

Detroit has struggled mightily to contain average or better passing attacks, surrendering at least two TD throws nine times. Although he also threw six interceptions in two games against the Lions, Nick Mullens nearly passed for 400 yards in both late-season games versus Detroit. Stafford may be the best bet of any non-Allen or non-Hurts quarterback to top 20 fantasy points this week. I see little reason why Cleveland will change its late-season approach with Flacco under center. The Browns' Week 16 meeting with Houston produced 368 passing yards and three TDs. While the Texans will likely do a much better job of containing Amari Cooper this time around, Stroud's presence could force this game to shoot out. Even if it doesn't, Flacco is still a great bet to throw 40-plus times.

Of the remaining options, I will have limited exposure to Goff and Mayfield - but only as contrarian plays. If Houston still had Tank Dell, I might be able to talk myself into inserting Stroud in a few lineups. However, I have too much respect for Cleveland's defense and his price point is considerably higher than two other players (Stafford and Flacco) with much better matchups.

Isiah Pacheco

 Running Backs
Player Tm DK $ Ru Att Ru Yds Ru TDs Tgt Rec Rec Yds Rec TDs DK
Isiah Pacheco KC $6,400 17 78 1 4 3 28 1 25.6
Rachaad White TB $6,900 14 49 1 6 5 43 0 20.2
Jaylen Warren PIT $5,100 8 44 0 6 5 41 1 19.5
Tony Pollard DAL $6,100 16 76 1 4 2 21 0 17.7
Kyren Williams LAR $7,300 17 66 1 3 3 21 0 17.7
Aaron Jones GB $6,300 18 83 0 6 4 26 0 14.9
Raheem Mostert MIA $6,700 12 52 1 1 1 5 0 12.7
Devon Achane MIA $6,800 11 70 0 3 3 23 0 12.3
James Cook BUF $6,600 14 54 0 4 3 26 0 11.0
Najee Harris PIT $5,400 18 66 0 2 2 18 0 10.4
Kareem Hunt CLE $4,700 4 10 1 2 2 12 0 10.2
Devin Singletary HOU $5,700 11 36 0 4 3 28 0 9.4
Jahmyr Gibbs DET $6,500 10 38 0 4 3 26 0 9.4
AJ Dillon GB $4,400 5 17 1 1 1 7 0 9.4
Jerome Ford CLE $5,500 12 38 0 3 2 23 0 8.1
David Montgomery DET $6,200 12 43 0 2 2 16 0 7.9
D'Andre Swift PHI $6,000 12 58 0 2 1 10 0 7.8
Chase Edmonds TB $4,800 3 11 0 3 3 22 0 6.3
Rico Dowdle DAL $4,600 7 34 0 1 1 4 0 4.8
Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC $4,800 4 19 0 1 1 12 0 4.1
Dameon Pierce HOU $4,500 6 14 0 1 1 8 0 3.2
Ty Johnson BUF $4,200 3 11 0 1 1 6 0 2.7
Jeff Wilson MIA $4,200 5 23 0 0 0 0 0 2.3
Leonard Fournette BUF $4,400 6 22 0 1 0 0 0 2.2
Pierre Strong Jr. CLE $4,400 2 15 0 0 0 0 0 1.5
Hunter Luepke DAL $4,000 0 0 0 1 1 5 0 1.5
Ronnie Rivers LAR $4,500 3 8 0 1 0 0 0 0.8

While I am not sure Pacheco is quite as obvious of a play as it appears above, I am fairly convinced he will be the centerpiece of Kansas City's offense against the skeleton crew of a defense the Dolphins will have available in what is expected to be a bitter cold game. Perhaps Edwards-Helaire plays the Jerick McKinnon role and steals a short receiving score, but that should not change much about how fantasy managers look at this game: make Miami's weakened defense take body blows all game long in conditions that do not suit its personnel. White's fantasy viability this week will likely come down to whether he finds the end zone. He will do his usual damage in the passing game, but Philadelphia's run defense is not quite as bad as some have let on recently. Warren probably will not finish as the RB3 this week, but there are enough questions at the position that one big play might be all it takes for a running back to crash the top five. Few possess more big-play ability than Warren.

Pollard probably has the best combination of likely workload and favorable matchup, but we have seen him disappoint in these spots multiple times this year. Although Williams will probably find his way into more of my DFS lineups than he should due to expected volume, this is not a ceiling game for him. Jones also has a great combination of likely workload and favorable matchup working for him, but I have my doubts Green Bay can go toe-to-toe offensively with the Cowboys in Dallas all game long. I will also downgrade Jones' matchup a bit if Cowboys DT Johnathan Hankins (ankle) is cleared to play his usual allotment of snaps for the first time in over a month. He is as good of a run defender as Dallas has. The health of Miami's running game is a huge question mark. Raheem Mostert (knee, ankle) appears to be on track to play, but will he return from a two-week absence to handle 15-20 carries? Has Achane (toe, ribs) done enough in his absence to forge more of a split backfield? How much will the frigid temperature affect their speed?

 Wide Receivers
Player Tm DK$ Ru Att Ru Yds Ru TDs Tgt Rec Rec Yds Rec TDs DK
CeeDee Lamb DAL $9,000 1 13 0 14 11 135 1 34.8
Amon-Ra St. Brown DET $8,000 11 9 108 1 28.8
Puka Nacua LAR $7,200 1 7 0 8 6 83 1 21.0
Cooper Kupp LAR $7,500 8 6 78 1 19.8
Jayden Reed GB $5,700 2 20 0 6 4 77 1 19.7
Mike Evans TB $6,900 8 5 79 1 18.9
Demarcus Robinson LAR $3,600 7 5 70 1 18.0
Stefon Diggs BUF $7,400 7 5 48 1 15.8
DeVonta Smith PHI $6,700 6 4 58 1 15.8
Tyreek Hill MIA $8,700 8 6 86 0 14.6
Amari Cooper CLE $6,800 8 6 85 0 14.5
Brandin Cooks DAL $4,900 6 4 43 1 14.3
Rashee Rice KC $6,600 7 5 72 0 12.2
Robert Woods HOU $3,600 5 3 25 1 11.5
A.J. Brown PHI $8,100 7 5 63 0 11.3
Nico Collins HOU $7,000 8 5 58 0 10.8
Chris Godwin TB $6,200 6 5 58 0 10.8
Jaylen Waddle MIA $6,500 5 5 47 0 9.7
Elijah Moore CLE $4,000 7 5 46 0 9.6
Khalil Shakir BUF $3,400 6 4 54 0 9.4
Noah Brown HOU $5,100 5 4 48 0 8.8
Diontae Johnson PIT $5,000 6 4 39 0 7.9
David Bell CLE $3,500 2 1 8 1 7.8
Dontayvion Wicks GB $4,800 5 3 46 0 7.6
Jameson Williams DET $3,500 4 3 41 0 7.1
Trey Palmer TB $3,400 5 3 34 0 6.4
Bo Melton GB $3,300 3 3 31 0 6.1
Christian Watson GB $4,500 4 2 38 0 5.8
George Pickens PIT $5,200 3 2 36 0 5.6
Josh Reynolds DET $3,800 3 2 29 0 4.9
Cedric Tillman CLE $3,700 3 2 27 0 4.7
Romeo Doubs GB $5,400 3 2 24 0 4.4
Richie James KC $3,300 2 2 23 0 4.3
Julio Jones PHI $3,900 3 2 21 0 4.1
Kalif Raymond DET $3,200 2 2 18 0 3.8
Cedrick Wilson MIA $3,800 3 2 17 0 3.7
Quez Watkins PHI $3,500 2 1 24 0 3.4
Mecole Hardman KC $3,100 1 13 0 1 1 5 0 2.8
Gabriel Davis BUF $5,300 3 1 17 0 2.7
KaVontae Turpin DAL $3,000 1 5 0 1 1 11 0 2.6
Marquez Valdes-Scantling KC $3,000 2 1 14 0 2.4
Michael Gallup DAL $3,100 3 1 14 0 2.4
Justin Watson KC $3,400 3 1 13 0 2.3
Xavier Hutchinson HOU $3,000 1 5 0 1 1 8 0 2.3
Trent Sherfield BUF $3,300 2 1 11 0 2.1
Jalen Tolbert DAL $3,000 2 1 11 0 2.1
Braxton Berrios MIA $3,100 2 1 10 0 2.0
Malik Heath GB $3,000 1 1 10 0 2.0
John Metchie HOU $3,200 1 1 9 0 1.9
Calvin Austin PIT $3,000 1 4 0 1 1 5 0 1.9
Kadarius Toney KC $3,200 2 1 6 0 1.6
David Moore TB $3,000 2 1 5 0 1.5
Marquise Goodwin CLE $3,000 1 1 0 0 1.0
Deonte Harty BUF $3,000 1 6 0 1 0 0 0 0.6

Even if Lamb's projected ownership is in the 80-90 percent range, he needs to be a lineup staple. He has earned at least 10 targets in six straight and is coming off consecutive 13-catch efforts. Lamb spent more than half of his time in the slot during the regular season. If that is indicative of what will happen against Green Bay, he should avoid Jaire Alexander for most of the game. Expect Lamb to line up across from Corey Ballentine and Keisean Nixon as a result. If that happens, the sky could be the limit. The Rams have overachieved on many levels this season, but pass defense is one of those areas that has not been the case. Prior to their meaningless Week 18 tilt against the 49ers, Los Angeles had allowed two wideouts to score at least 18 fantasy points in four straight. In other words, either Amon-Ra St. Brown is in for a huge game or I need to bump up Jameson Williams and/or Josh Reynolds and/or Kalif Raymond.

The Lions have been hemorrhaging fantasy points to receivers of late, although facing Justin Jefferson twice and Lamb once over the last three weeks has not helped. Still, the only semi-good news is that Brian Branch has played well in the slot for a rookie. The problem is Cameron Sutton and Kindle Vildor cannot be expected to deal with Nacua or Robinson's physicality and size or Kupp's quickness for very long. Do not be surprised if the Rams' trio of wideouts combine for 60-plus fantasy points. Reed's DK salary does not appear to have caught up with his play quite yet. His primary defender figures to be slot CB Jourdan Lewis, which is probably the easiest matchup any Green Bay receiver will have this weekend. While I will probably find some room to plug Cooper into my lineups hoping that lightning will strike twice (11-265-2 in Week 16), I feel David Njoku will play a much bigger role this time around.

Since Robinson ($3,600) and Reed ($5,700) are so reasonably priced this week, it is unlikely I will drop much lower than the top 11 names on this list (Cooper is 11th) very often to fill my receiver spots.

 Tight Ends
Player Tm DK$ Tgt Rec Rec Yds Rec TDs DK
David Njoku CLE $5,600 11 7 78 1 20.8
Dallas Goedert PHI $4,800 8 6 77 1 19.7
Dalton Schultz HOU $4,400 7 6 64 1 18.4
Travis Kelce KC $6,100 7 6 58 1 17.8
Brock Wright DET $3,000 4 3 36 1 12.6
Tucker Kraft GB $3,300 3 3 35 1 12.5
Dalton Kincaid BUF $4,600 6 5 66 0 11.6
Jake Ferguson DAL $4,700 6 4 52 0 9.2
Tyler Higbee LAR $3,400 4 4 33 0 7.3
Durham Smythe MIA $3,000 4 3 33 0 6.3
Cade Otton TB $3,100 4 2 23 0 4.3
Luke Musgrave GB $3,200 2 2 22 0 4.2
Brevin Jordan HOU $2,500 2 2 20 0 4.0
Pat Freiermuth PIT $3,600 2 2 18 0 3.8
Dawson Knox BUF $2,900 3 2 17 0 3.7
Noah Gray KC $2,600 2 2 16 0 3.6
Connor Heyward PIT $2,500 2 2 14 0 3.4
Jordan Akins CLE $2,500 2 1 11 0 2.1
Harrison Bryant CLE $2,500 2 1 10 0 2.0
Sam LaPorta DET $6,000 1 1 8 0 1.8
Darnell Washington PIT $2,500 1 1 5 0 1.5
Peyton Hendershot DAL $2,500 1 1 5 0 1.5

While I expect Kelce to have his best game in over a month against the Dolphins, I am not expecting to see a vintage performance from him. I do not expect LaPorta to play, but I also could not leave him completely off the board in good conscience either. Only two other mid-priced tight ends have the projected volume and favorable matchup combination I want to see: Njoku and Goedert. The Texans did not exactly face a murderers' row of tight ends this season and still surrendered a league-high-tying 107 catches to the position. If Houston devotes more resources to keep Amari Cooper under control this time around as I expect it will, Njoku could have a banner day.

Goedert undoubtedly benefits from having two stud receivers on his team, but their presence also robs him of the opportunity to show he can be a dominant player more often. With A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith ailing, he might get that opportunity versus a Bucs' defense that was somehow worse at slowing down tight ends than Houston was during the regular season. Before running into Carolina's inept offense in the season finale, Tampa Bay had yielded at least 14.7 fantasy points to a tight end in four straight. The biggest obstacle facing the Eagles' offense this week might be getting out of their own way. Philadelphia now has enough injury questions on offense to create doubt that it can outslug what has been a disappointing Bucs' offense recently.

My favorite play of the week will be Wright, who might find his way into more than half of my lineups. With LaPorta likely out, the Rams showing a weakness at keeping tight ends in check and the importance Detroit's offense places on the position, either Wright or James Mitchell could be in line for a huge day. For anyone who doubts the possibility of this happening, look back to late last season when Wright, Mitchell and Shane Zylstra combined for six touchdowns during the fantasy playoffs.

Key for defense/special teams units:
PA - Points allowed
TD - Defensive/return touchdowns
TO - Total turnovers
PA Bonus - Points allowed bonus for DraftKings

 Defense / Special Teams
Team DK $ PA Sacks TD TO PA Bonus DK
Bills $3,500 14 3 2 1 1 14.0
Browns $3,300 17 3 2 0 1 8.0
Chiefs $2,900 16 2 2 0 1 7.0
Cowboys $3,600 24 3 1 0 0 5.0
Eagles $3,400 14 2 1 0 1 5.0
Buccaneers $3,200 27 3 1 0 0 5.0
Texans $3,000 27 2 1 0 0 4.0
Dolphins $2,800 24 2 1 0 0 4.0
Rams $2,700 20 1 1 0 1 4.0
Steelers $2,600 17 1 0 0 1 2.0
Lions $3,100 34 2 0 0 -1 1.0
Packers $2,300 30 2 0 0 -1 1.0

FFPC Playoff Challenge

Due to popular demand, I am adding another section to this edition of the Road to the Super Bowl. The FFPC offers a yearly playoff challenge in which managers must put together a 12-man fantasy squad, selecting no more than one player from each NFL team. Similar to the Playoff Challenge in years past, players accumulate points throughout their time in the playoffs - be it for one game or four. Unlike the NFL Playoff Challenge, there is no ability to change players once rosters are set and locked for the first round of the postseason. Additionally, the only time the multiplier kicks in is for the Super Bowl (2x).

Because I have expressed my thoughts on many players in the previous sections, I will just share the lineup I would use in this competition. Kicker and defense/special teams are essentially throwaway positions from the perspective that it makes no sense to use those spots on players/units from the top Super Bowl contenders because they are the lowest-scoring positions.

Here are the rules and scoring for this competition:

QB: Lamar Jackson
RB: Christian McCaffrey
RB: James Cook
WR: CeeDee Lamb
WR: Puka Nacua
TE: David Njoku
FLEX1: Amon-Ra St. Brown
FLEX2: Mike Evans
FLEX3: Tyreek Hill
FLEX4: Isiah Pacheco
K: Ka'imi Fairbairn
DST: Eagles

Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.