The fantasy football regular season is over, but opportunities to test your predictive acumen against others abound in the playoffs. In addition to traditional playoff fantasy football and DFS, the FFPC is offering a playoff challenge that requires only a little time and $35 or $200 upfront, but lots of entertainment and a big payoff on the tail end.
The simplicity of the rules is the beauty of the contest:
- Each team will consist of twelve (12) NFL players in the following starting roster format: 1-QB, 2-RB, 2-WR, 1-TE, 4-Flex, 1-K, 1-D (Flex can be RB, WR or TE)
- Each team will choose twelve (12) players from any of the 14 NFL playoff teams but ONLY ONE PLAYER PER TEAM
Note that FFPC scoring means that tight ends will get 1.5 points per reception and carry a premium.
Last year’s winning lineups
|Position||$200 Winning Team||Position||$35 Winning Team|
|QB||Tom Brady||QB||Tom Brady|
|RB1||Nick Chubb||RB1||Derrick Henry|
|RB2||Alvin Kamara||RB2||Alvin Kamara|
|WR1||Davante Adams||WR1||Davante Adams|
|WR2||Stefon Diggs||WR2||Stefon Diggs|
|TE||Travis Kelce||TE||Travis Kelce|
|Flex1||Marquise Brown||Flex1||Marquise Brown|
|Flex2||Chase Claypool||Flex2||Jarvis Landry|
|Flex3||A.J. Brown||Flex3||JuJu Smith-Schuster|
|Flex4||DK Metcalf||Flex4||Jonathan Taylor|
|K||Matt Gay||K||Jason Myers|
So the task here is to find a configuration of the most valuable players from each team. Ideally, we can create a lineup where there are no better options from each player's team and no better options at each position, but of course without the luxury of doubling up on players from one team. We'll also have to leave two teams completely unrepresented. I'll touch on my thought process of why this player from this team, and why this player out of his peers at his position. Let's get to it.
Aaron Rodgers, GB
The Packers have to be considered the Super Bowl favorites in the NFC and Rodgers has been playing lights-out football lately. The competition in the NFC bracket is good enough to keep the Packers from taking the air out of the ball with their running back duo.
Mahomes is out of the running because that would preclude us from taking Travis Kelce, and the gap from Mahomes to the quarterback pack is way smaller than the gap from Kelce to the tight end pack. Something in me still wonders if Mahomes is the right choice here by virtue of the likelihood of playing four games, with Adams replacing Burrow, Allen, Prescott, Brady, and Murray are all good fantasy options, and any of them could play three or four games and outproduce Rodgers, but if you pick one and they play only one, or even two games, that likely takes your entry out of the running.
Adams is very attractive and if you have a strong feeling about one of the Wild Card quarterbacks or want to fade Kelce and go with Mahomes here, he’s a compelling enough reason to do it. Jones might lead all running backs in scoring, but the emergence of A.J. Dillon still limits his upside.
Henry is a boom/bust pick because we’re unsure of his status coming off of foot surgery, but if he is healthy, then he is a slam dunk here, and it’s not like there is a ton of compelling running back/team combinations. Elliott is the pick for the second running back because he is an automatic call at the goal line and could be a top 3-4 scorer at running back with only two games and the likely #1 scorer if he plays three or more.
The running back pool isn’t deep. The Bengals should be more pass-heavy with a red-hot Joe Burrow, Jones is probably the third-best Packers pick, and Fournette is too risky coming off of a hamstring injury.
Other Tennessee Considerations: A.J. Brown, WR
A.J. Brown could outscore Henry, but the wide receiver pool is deeper than the running back pool, so the advantage might not be as important unless he is putting up truly massive fantasy games, which is tougher to do in the Titans low volume pass offense.
Prescott was discussed above, and if the Cowboys do play 3+ games, a ticket with him at quarterback is live, but there will also be at least two other quarterbacks with 3+ games and they could have Elliott, who will likely flourish if Prescott does. Schultz has flex value in the TE premium format, but the flex pool is deeper than the running back pool. Cooper and Lamb don’t offer the ceiling compared to their peers that Elliott does.
Both of these wide receivers are focal points for their pass-first offenses that are likely to play at least two games.
Other Wide Receiver Considerations: We’ll deal with these in our flex picks section.
Fournette was discussed above, Brady could be part of winning tickets again if the Bucs play four games, but Evans will likely be a big reason why they go back to the Super Bowl. Gronkowski looks like he is slowing down as the season has gone on. If he was in early season form, he could give us a tight end that makes it worth our while to plug Mahomes in at quarterback and leave Kelce off of our ticket.
If you think the Bills are going to the Super Bowl, Allen tickets will be live, and Singletary tickets will be too, assuming he remains in his lead back role. It’s tough to see them beating the Chiefs on the road in the divisional round even though they did thump Kansas City when they faced them during their slump earlier this year.
Travis Kelce, KC
This is a chalky pick, and it could end up being wrong. Patrick Mahomes II lineups won in 2020 and there are a few tight ends who could rival Kelce’s production if the Chiefs only play 2-3 games and he doesn’t come out of his fantasy doldrums. It’s still difficult to bet against the clear #1 fantasy tight end.
One of Gronkowski or Schultz could play three or four games and be on the winning ticket. If you do multiple entries, consider a Mahomes/Schultz or Mahomes/Gronkowski lineup, based on who you think would win a Tampa vs. Dallas divisional game. Kittle and Waller are in play as flexes if you think they will have a massive game in a Wild Card loss or play two games, but neither is hot entering the playoffs.
Mahomes was discussed above and Hill isn’t 100%.
Chase and Kupp should be in most lineups, and Samuel probably isn’t far behind. All three can put up 2-3 games worth of production in one game, and Chase has a chance to play 3-4 games. At this point in the lineup, the last offensive player should come from Arizona because they have the best chance of the remaining teams (NE, LV, PHI, PIT) to play multiple games. Ertz is the most attractive Cardinals position player because the wide receiver and running back production is split among multiple players and he has at least seven catches in the last three games, which is magnified in this format.
As discussed above, Kittle and Waller aren’t hitting on all cylinders in fantasy going into the playoffs. Mitchell could outscore Samuel, but most likely in a scenario where San Francisco beats Dallas, so if you prefer Mitchell, that could alter which Cowboy you decide to play. Harris and Goedert have been too inconsistent and their offenses could be shut down in embarrassing losses.
Daniel Carlson, LV
We’re down to the four teams we consider most likely to lose on Wild Card Weekend. Carlson gets the nod from this Steeler fan by virtue of getting the Steelers into the playoffs.
Other Kicker Considerations: Nick Folk, NE
Folk has been an excellent kicker for fantasy, but using him here would preclude using the Patriots D/ST
If the Patriots beat the Bills in Buffalo, it will be on the back of the defense. Josh Allen can be turnover-prone and inconsistent, so it’s very possible that the best Patriots fantasy asset in a Wild Card win will be their defense.
Other D/ST Considerations: Pittsburgh
If the Steelers have any chance in Kansas City, it will be due to a superhuman defensive performance.
No Players Chosen
These teams are likely to be drummed out of the playoffs in short order and their offenses are low wattage for fantasy.