Before we begin the rankings, the most important strategy tip is to take strong positions on a group of 1-2 teams on each side of the bracket. Spreading your top 10 picks out on 6-7 teams is a losing strategy. At the end of your playoff fantasy draft, you want to see two or three potential matchups in the Super Bowl that should equal a high chance of winning for you. You might not be able to pick the exact teams that you want, but it is important to roll with the flow of the draft. If you wanted Mahomes, but had to settle for Brees, then you are going to favor Saints over Chiefs for the rest of your draft. Much more than a typical fantasy draft, your early picks should dictate the mid and late parts of your draft.
A Note on Playoff Picks
Take a stand on the outcome of the playoff brackets with your picks. Some of these calls are 52/48 and the way they break can greatly affect projecting the next round in the bracket, but relying on small margins to make selections is the essence of what we do in fantasy football.
Wild Card picks in order of confidence
Baltimore over Los Angeles Chargers - The Ravens so thoroughly frustrated Philip Rivers in the first matchup and the monotone but effective Ravens running game has been so stubbornly effective that it’s difficult to picture this matchup being that different. If the Chargers can make the adjustments to pull off the road win, they can run the table, but this is a brutal opening draw.
Chicago over Philadelphia - The Nick Foles story is compelling and the Eagles have beaten two playoff teams (Rams and Houston) with Foles at quarterback, including one on the “road” in Los Angeles, but there’s a reason this team’s back was against the wall and they needed help from the Bears to get to the playoffs. If the Eagles do pull off the road upset, they will revisit the site of the site of a 48-7 beatdown that looked like the effective end of their season in New Orleans, so they are probably capped at two games.
Seattle over Dallas - These teams have similar blueprints and are likely to steer this into a close-knit low-scoring battle. In a game with that kind of script, give me the quarterback who has been there, done that in high pressure situations. The difference between Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott is the decisive edge here, with the overall team/organization recent playoff experience edge baked into that.
Indianapolis over Houston - This has the look of a high-scoring quarterback duel. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins can put the Texans on their backs, but the Colts somewhat comfortably won in Houston just a month ago, and even though a Frank Reich miscalculation led to the Colts losing the first matchup in overtime, Reich is the more likely head coach to enhance his team’s chances to win instead of being an obstacle to victory.
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