Ten members of the Footballguys DraftKings staff compiled value-based rankings for Week 3 of the NFL Playoffs. Those results are shown below with the highest ranking at the top. Each position is ranked as follows: (A dash indicates that player was not ranked).
With four teams remaining in the conference playoffs, the rankings are reduced this week
Quarterback - Top 4
Running Back - Top 6
Wide Receiver - Top 10
Tight End - Top 4
Defense - Top 4
To determine the average ranking, any player not ranked received a value of the lowest rank for that position, plus 1 (LR+1). For example, the Top 8 quarterbacks are ranked by each staff member. If one staff member did not rank a particular quarterback, but others did, the ranking for that quarterback is 8+1 or 9. Instead of displaying a 9 in the table, a dash is used to show that player was not ranked, after average rank was obtained.
The value-based, collaborative results provide a window into which players are the best options for this week's slate of games. I'll explain why certain players are ranked as they are and also provide additional commentary volunteered by various staff members.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: QUARTERBACK
|Aaron Rodgers||GB||at ATL||8100||1||1||3||1||2||2||2||2||2||2||1.8|
|Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||at NE||5800||3||4||1||2||3||4||3||4||3||3||3.0|
The consensus is high on the NFC Championship game in particular due to it's high point total projection (60.5 points) compared to 50.5 points in the AFC Championship game. Naturally, the quarterbacks in the highest projected point total game are ranked #1 and #2 in a reduced pool of players this week. The consensus agrees that Matt Ryan ($7,700) edges Aaron Rodgers ($8,100) in terms of points per dollar value. Ryan has the lower price and the benefit of homefield advantage.
Both Rodgers and Ryan have averaged over 320 yards passing per game in the postseason with three touchdown passes per game. It's safe to say the majority of ownership will be on one of these two players. When examining opposing defenses, the Packers are averaging 293 passing yards allowed per game, whereas the Falcons are only allowing 209 yards. Both teams are allowing two touchdown passes per game in the postseason and Atlanta has 3 sacks in one game while Green Bay has 4 sacks in two games. It's possible that we'll see Green Bay roll coverage towards Julio Jones, which means they'll have one less player in the box to stop the run. As a result, the running game could thrive, especially if successful early on. This has all the makings of a game that will feature plenty of scoring. Atlanta has a more pronounced ground game, which could factor into the fantasy production of Matt Ryan. Both quarterbacks are capable of making big plays anytime in the game, anywhere on the field. The best second half performer may be the one who comes out as the top quarterback selection this week.
The contrarian plays: Tom Brady ($7,100) and Ben Roethlisberger ($5,800) are no slouches. The high scoring projection for the other game puts a damper on Roethlisberger vs. Brady, but this game is capable of reaching high totals as well. I can see New England using ball control to keep the high flying Steelers offense off the field. I'm anticipating a heavy dose of the ground game with timely short-ranged passes to keep the sticks moving. New England scored 34 points on the Texans who had the best passer rating-against in the postseason (47.7), second only to New England's 47.6. That also tells you that Roethlisberger isn't a given to produce. If the Patriots focus on containing Antonio Brown, it opens up the ground game and Le'Veon Bell. There's a reason why Roethlisberger is approximately $2,000 cheaper than the top options, but his price gives you the opportunity to spend more in other areas.
From a point total perspective only, I have the four quarterbacks ranked Rodgers, Ryan, Brady Roehlisberger.
Howe: With the best matchup and the highest Vegas total I can recall (32.75), Ryan looks like the clear and logical play here.
Alexander: Don't expect Ryan to slow down against one of the worst secondaries in the league.
Feery: MVP candidate in a home shootout equals top QB of the week.
Knotts: Highest projected team as they're projected to score 32.75 points this week. Green Bay secondary is extremely banged up and one of the worst in the NFL
Alexander: Rodgers is on a heater and figures to carve up Atlanta's defense.
Howe: He loves to shred the Steelers, and he comes cheaply. That makes him a GPP staple, if nothing else.
Alexander: Brady's ceiling and floor are significantly lower than both Rodgers' and Ryan's this week.
Alexander: Roethlisberger deserves some consideration at such a low price compared to the other QBs on the slate, but I'd still rather get my exposure to Ben via rostering Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: running back
|Le'Veon Bell||PIT||at NE||10300||6||1||1||1||1||2||5||3||3||3||2.6|
|Ty Montgomery||GB||at ATL||5600||4||3||3||4||3||5||3||5||4||4||3.8|
There's not many running backs to choose from this week and the consensus tabbed all six in their Top 6, led by Devonta Freeman. Freeman ($7,200) has scored 9 touchdowns in the last five home games and he's almost $3,000 cheaper than Le'Veon Bell. I expect the Falcons will make the ground game a high priorty this week, especially if the Packers roll coverage towards Julio Jones. An extra defender paying attention to Jones will open up the box, giving Freeman (and Tevin Coleman) room to run.
Le'Veon Bell is next on the list despite the super high $10,300 price tag. He has averaged 168 yards rushing per game this postseason and two rushing touchdowns with a surprisingly low 3 yards receiving on 4 receptions. He's capable of exploding on offense in any capacity, any given week, so don't look too far into his subpar postseason receiving stats.
Dion Lewis ($5,300) has become a popular player in DK scoring due to his triple threat as a rusher, receiver and returner. He has three total touchdowns and 64 yards in the Patriots only postseason game this season. He's a player capable of making an impact, especially with the PPR format of DK scoring. Lewis is a borderline cash game play and he's definitely an option to consider for GPPs.
Tevin Coleman ($4,800) is another GPP option to consider and potential cash game flex option. Coleman quietly added 79 total yards with a touchdown in last week's game. He's a consistent threat who has the potential to score multiple times, despite not being the main focal point of the Falcons high scoring offense. The tandem of Freeman and Coleman could wind up being a nice one-two punch in a high scoring matchup. The flex option gives you the freedom to target Coleman and still have the ability to target other primary backs.
Ty Montgomery ($5,600) had a big game last week benefiting from plays inside the five yard line that called his number resulting in two touchdowns. He's definitely capable of making big plays, but this game may turn into a shootout with Green Bay needing to pass more often in the second half. Such a game script would decrease Montgomery's chances of a strong rushing output. His ability to produce as a receiver elevates his place among the running backs as the #4 value ranking among the consensus.
Howe: The Falcons should threaten 30 points Sunday, if not 40, and the dual-threat stud will be a big part of both aspects of the offense.
Alexander: Nine touchdowns in his last five home games.
Feery: Dual-threat speedster on a fast track will get his share of points in an expected shootout.
Howe: Coleman should see enough volume (12-20 touches) to bludgeon the Packers with efficiency and dynamism. He won't draw the ownership of the top guys, either.
Alexander: Big play threats like Coleman deman exposure on short slates.
Alexander: Lewis was due some course correction in the touchdown department, and it came in a big way last week. He'll be more popular at the same price point than Ty Montgomery despite having similar upside and a worse matchup. Still, every dollar counts this week and Lewis is the cheapest RB option you can safely project for 15+ touches.
Alexander: Might not be the best point per dollar value, but still the top RB play on the board by a wide margin despite the tough matchup.
Knotts: Clear cut number one option on this slate at the running back position
Alexander: He'll be low-owned, so worth some consideration on the chance he falls into the end zone in a #RevengeGame.
Hindery: It feels like a "Blount week," as the Steelers have at times proven vulnerable against bigger backs. Ezekeil Elliott, Jay Ajayi, Isaiah Crowell and Blount himself (127 rushing yards and 2 TDs in Week 7) all had big games against Pittsburgh.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: wide receiver
|Randall Cobb||GB||at ATL||5900||1||6||3||2||5||6||1||2||1||2||2.9|
|Antonio Brown||PIT||at NE||8800||6||3||1||1||2||3||10||6||2||3||3.7|
|Davante Adams||GB||at ATL||6600||5||-||5||3||8||1||4||7||3||1||5.0|
|Geronimo Allison||GB||at ATL||3800||4||8||9||10||4||10||2||3||7||10||6.7|
|Eli Rogers||PIT||at NE||3400||9||7||7||4||10||4||3||9||9||9||7.1|
Randall Cobb ($5,900) leads the way as the top value wide receiver ranking this week. Green Bay is dealing with injuries to Jordy Nelson (ribs) who likely will not play and Davante Adams (ankle) who is expected to play and Geronimo Allison (hamstring) who is also expected to play. Those impefections make Cobb a player to target on the high-flying Packers offense. His relatively low price of $5,900 does not appear to mirror his expected involvement in the game. The high point projection of 60.5 points and in some books, 61.5 points, is another reason for the high interest in Cobb who has 12 receptions for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns this postseason (all three scores occured in the wildcard game vs. the Giants).
Antonio Brown ($8,800) and Julio Jones ($8,200) are next on the consensus list. Both are big contributors on offense and are expected to play a large role in their championship games. New England will try to limit Brown and they have the secondary to do so, or at least minimize his production. If I had to pick one over the other it would be Jones, but how effective will he be with his lingering toe injury keeping him in check in practice this week. Are the Falcons merely resting him or is there some concern there? Green Bay's secondary is their weak spot on defense, that a fully healthy Jones would surely exploit. He may wind up doing so regardless, but there is some doubt.
Some other options to consider include Julian Edelman ($7,300), Davante Adams ($6,600) and Geronimo Allison (3,800). All three, especially Edelman and Adams could play significant roles with the potential to reach upwards of 7 or 8 receptions with a decent chance at a touchdown.
Don't rule out: Eli Rogers ($3,400), Taylor Gabriel ($4,900) and Mohamed Sanu ($4,500). All three enter the equation of players to consider for tournament games. Gabriel and Sanu may have more of an edge being in the highest projected point game. If Gabriel (foot) who has been limited in practice this week, has troubles, Sanu's value increases. Both of Atlanta's second options in the down field passing game are players who can win a GPP, especially if one scores multiple touchdowns. Both players scored against Green Bay in Week 8, which also was the game that Julio Jones injured his knee/ankle.
Howe: With Rob Gronkowski out, Edelman could feast if Tom Brady throws 35+ passes. Fewer than 10-12 targets would be a major upset, and for dumpoff artist Edelman, that's a likely road to 7+ catches. He's the safest (and one of the healthiest) wideouts on the board.
Alexander: Expect Edelman to hog targets again for the Pats. Pittsburgh had some issues defending the slot this season.
Howe: With limited healthy and fully prepared options, Allison has a clear path to 6-8 targets. And he's spun that workload into gold a few times already.
Alexander: Same as Cobb without the touchdown upside.
Howe: Brown will see plenty of Malcolm Butler, but he tends to laugh at our silly human WRvCB charts.
Alexander: Pats will game plan to shut him down, but will also have their hand full with Bell. WR1 potential in any given week.
Alexander: Still too cheap relative to target volume in white hot offense.
Alexander: Pats weakness on defense is defending the slot.
Alexander: Probably the highest touchdown probability of any wide receiver on the slate.
Feery: Adams and Cobb will both see a ton of targets, but I'll lean towards Adams having the larger impact.
Alexander: Did you see what Dez Bryant did to this secondary last week? There are better strict point per dollar plays at wide receiver, but Julio will score the most raw points.
Knotts: This Packers secondary is atrocious against the pass and we saw them struggle immensley at covering Dez Bryant last week
Hindery: Green Bay is likely to double Julio Jones and force the Falcons secondary receivers to make plays. This is exactly the type of game that Sanu was signed for $32.5M for in the offseason. Expect him to see a bunch of targets and have a big game.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: tight end
|Jared Cook||GB||at ATL||5100||3||2||3||2||1||1||2||1||3||1||1.9|
|Jesse James||PIT||at NE||2700||2||3||2||4||3||-||3||2||2||2||3.2|
|Richard Rodgers||GB||at ATL||2500||4||-||-||-||-||4||-||-||4||-||7.5|
The tight end pool is not a flashy bunch this week outside of the red hot Jared Cook. I can envision a strategy by Atlanta that includes bracket coverage or at least a lot of attention on Cook this week. If that happens, it opens the door for Richard Rodgers ($2,500) to emerge as a threat. One big play could make Rodgers a winner in tournament games. Green Bay has several options at receiver, which makes it hard for defenses to cover everyone. Cook has been a big part of the Packers offensive success, which is why he's among the top choices this week despite his price. His price tag is $1,800 more than the next closest tight end option, but Cook has 11 receptions for 151 yards - the most by far for any postseason tight end. The postseason has seen four touchdowns to tight ends and two are from Green Bay (Cook 1, Rodgers 1).
Other options include Martellus Bennett ($3,300), Jesse James ($2,700) and Austin Hooper ($2,500). It's difficult to predict who and what areas the Patriots will exploit, but the potential is high for Bennett to rise to the occasion. There's some degree of uncertainty seeing as how Bennett has one catch for 4 yards in his lone postseason game against Houston. His cheaper price and the potential for an increase in involvement is why the consensus has him as the top option this week with six #1 rankings. Jesse James enters the equation as an option to consider. Ladarius Green is still dealing with concussion complications, which puts James front and center as the main tight end threat on the Steelers. If Antonio Brown is bracketed in coverage, James becomes a bigger target. He has 6 receptions for 89 yards (14.8 YPC) including two gains of 20 yards or more (tied for most among playoff tight ends).
Howe: Cook is the only option with a floor above 0 points, so he's virtually all you need to consider in a cash lineup.
Alexander: The mega-chalk at tight end.
Feery: Cook will remain heavily involved in this potential airshow, and he should do enough damage to pay off hefty price tag.
Alexander: The Steelers gave up a fair amount of tight end production to close out the season. As long as Bennett is healthy, his ceiling is right there with Jared Cook's.
Alexander: Not a bad flier given Green Bay's struggles in the back-end of their secondary, the Falcons 33 point implied team total, and the ownership that will be concentrated on Cook.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: defense
|Green Bay||GB||at ATL||2000||2||2||3||3||4||4||3||3||3||3||3.0|
New England is the overwhelming favorite among the consensus with six #1 rankings. Atlanta interestingly enough has six #2 rankings. Pittsburgh and Green Bay fill out the Top 4.
Defensive Turnovers by team
New England: 3 turnovers, 3 sacks (1 game), Also 1 kick return for a touchdown. The only team remaining with a defense/ST touchdown
Atlanta: 2 turnovers, 3 sacks (1 game) plus a safety
Pittsburgh: 5 turnovers, 6 sacks (2 games)
Green Bay: 3 turnovers, 4 sacks (2 games)
Feery: The Patriots had a tougher than expected time against the Texans - despite winning handily - and the Steelers can deliver the pressure needed to force a turnover or two.
Hindery: While the Patriots Defense ks the best bet to have a solid fantasy week, it's hard to justify the huge price difference on DraftKings between NE and the other three defenses. Give me the Steelers as the top defense this week on points per dollard given the pricing. They've been amongst the league leaders in sacks since the middle of the season and should be able to get after Brady for a few sacks.
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