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 six or seven 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 Allen, then you are going to favor Bills 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
New Orleans over Chicago: The Saints had an early exit last season and the Bears took them to overtime this season, but it’s impossible to pick a Mitchell Trubisky-led team that backed into the playoffs.
Tampa Bay over Washington: Washington’s defense would need a truly heroic effort to contain the Bucs offense (even possibly without Mike Evans) enough for their meager offense to outscore them.
Buffalo over Indianapolis: The Bills are a buzzsaw right now. The Colts have some playmakers on defense, but every bounce would have to go right for them. Indianapolis collapsed in the second half against a Steelers team in Week 16 that the Bills easily handled in Week 14.
Pittsburgh over Cleveland: The Browns remain the little brother until they prove otherwise. The Steelers sent them packing the last two times the Browns made the playoffs, and they barely beat a Steelers team resting key starters in Week 17.
Seattle over Los Angeles Rams: It’s easy to pick the Seahawks with John Wolford likely in at quarterback for the Rams, but games between these teams have a way of turning into street fights and the Rams always play the Seahawks tough.
Tennessee over Baltimore: The Ravens led the Titans for most of the game in their Week 11 overtime loss and had chances to win at the end of regulation and beginning of overtime and lost anyway. They’ll be better prepared mentally and strategically than they were in last year’s divisional-round upset, but the Titans are more battle-tested at this point and they’ll get the benefit of the doubt from me in the toughest matchup to pick this weekend.
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