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Returner Recap and Latest News: Playoff Wildcards

Playoff Wildcard news for fantasy leagues that utilize returners.

Individual returner projections for each week are included in your MyFBG projections and rankings automatically. My returner projections are included in the default projection set with David Dodds' offensive predictions. Choose David as the source, and then choose a scoring system in which you have included points for return yards.

The base return projections for a week can be seen on this page. You can also go to the content for the week and use the Returner Projections link to get there.

Wildcard Weekend Outlook

It is playoff time, and for the return game that means coaches may take the kid gloves off when it comes to using star players in the return game. Regular season concerns about injury risk or fatiguing the player before an offensive series may give way to looking for any spark possible. One of the most glaring historical examples of this was Marshall Faulk returning a kickoff for the Greatest Show on Turf Rams in the Super Bowl.

Most teams already are using their best returners, but a few fantasy relevant players have a chance of seeing more returns than they might otherwise. Former teammates DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin could be used by their current teams, Washington and Kansas City respectively, on punt returns. Randall Cobb could be in line to see more special teams action after handling only 4 punt returns for Green Bay this season. Emmanuel Sanders mostly gave way as the punt returner in Denver over the course of the season, but with Omar Bolden still troubled by injury and Jordan Norwood averaging 8.5 yards per return, Sanders could find himself back in the return job when Denver plays in the next round.

For those new to using returners in fantasy, the single most important rule of thumb is that kickoff returns are king. The average kick return netted 23.5 yards this season while the average punt return brought only 8.5 yards. Ideal is a returner who handles both types of returns, but amongst this season's playoff teams only Seattle returner Tyler Lockett fits that bill. Lockett led the league in total return yards this season. While my projections for the Seahawks returns as a team are near the bottom for this round of the playoffs, Lockett still ends up with the best individual projection by virtue of getting most of those yards. The list of top returners whose teams made the playoffs also includes Vikings kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson who was third overall, and Rashad Ross who was tenth best in 2015 for Washington. Though punt returners tend to gain fewer yards, for an already significant player like Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown they can still play a factor. About 10% of Brown's total yards for the season came from punt returns.

 

Job Changes and Injuries of Note

Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said that Cecil Shorts has a chance to play in the team's Wildcard Weekend game against the Chiefs. With Houston's regular punt returner out, B.J. Daniels handled returns last week and outperformed Keith Mumphery who had previously been filling in.

Though Knile Davis has handled most of the kickoffs for the Chiefs, receiver Chris Conley split time with Davis on returns this last week. With DeAnthony Thomas on injured reserve, Frankie Hammond has been filling in on punts. It being the playoffs, there is the possibility that Jeremy Maclin could field punts in an attempt to provide a spark if needed. Maclin did not practice Tuesday due to a bruised hip, but should be ready to go by the weekend.

Wildcard Weekend Team Return Projections

Receiving TeamKR YardsKR TDsPR YardsPR TDsTotal YardsTotal TDs
Kansas City Chiefs 62 0.02 39 0.05 101 0.07
Cincinnati Bengals 82 0.02 13 0.02 95 0.04
Minnesota Vikings 69 0.03 19 0.02 88 0.05
Pittsburgh Steelers 64 0.01 23 0.04 87 0.05
Houston Texans 65 0.01 19 0.02 84 0.03
Washington Redskins 59 0.01 22 0.02 81 0.03
Seattle Seahawks 51 0.02 23 0.06 74 0.08
Green Bay Packers 47 0.01 23 0.06 70 0.07

Wildcard Weekend Player Return Projections

PlayerTeamPositionKR YardsKR TDsPR YardsPR TDsTotal YardsTotal TDs
Tyler Lockett Seattle Seahawks WR 49 0.02 22 0.06 71 0.08
Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings WR 59 0.03 0 0 59 0.03
Adam Jones Cincinnati Bengals DB 48 0.01 7 0.01 55 0.02
Akeem Hunt Houston Texans RB 52 0.01 2 0 54 0.01
Markus Wheaton Pittsburgh Steelers WR 47 0.01 0 0 47 0.01
Rashad Ross Washington Redskins WR 47 0.01 0 0 47 0.01
Knile Davis Kansas City Chiefs RB 39 0.01 0 0 39 0.01
Brandon Tate Cincinnati Bengals WR 31 0.01 5 0.01 36 0.02
Jeff Janis Green Bay Packers WR 35 0.01 0 0 35 0.01
Frankie Hammond Kansas City Chiefs WR 0 0 32 0.04 32 0.04
Micah Hyde Green Bay Packers DB 5 0 19 0.05 24 0.05
Chris Conley Kansas City Chiefs WR 23 0.01 0 0 23 0.01
Marcus Sherels Minnesota Vikings DB 7 0 16 0.02 23 0.02
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers WR 0 0 21 0.03 21 0.03
Jamison Crowder Washington Redskins WR 0 0 19 0.02 19 0.02
Keith Mumphery Houston Texans WR 13 0 2 0 15 0
B.J. Daniels Houston Texans QB 0 0 12 0.02 12 0.02
Chris Thompson Washington Redskins RB 12 0 0 0 12 0
Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers WR 7 0 4 0.01 11 0.01
Jordan Todman Pittsburgh Steelers RB 10 0 0 0 10 0
Jacoby Jones Pittsburgh Steelers WR 7 0 2 0.01 9 0.01
Jeremy Maclin Kansas City Chiefs WR 0 0 7 0.01 7 0.01
Mario Alford Cincinnati Bengals WR 4 0 1 0 5 0
Stefon Diggs Minnesota Vikings WR 3 0 1 0 4 0
Cecil Shorts Houston Texans WR 0 0 3 0 3 0
Doug Baldwin Seattle Seahawks WR 2 0 1 0 3 0
DeSean Jackson Washington Redskins WR 0 0 3 0 3 0
Jarius Wright Minnesota Vikings WR 0 0 2 0 2 0