DRAFT NFL Lineup Advice: Divisional Round (Sat/Sun)
It was a great start to the playoff series of DRAFT rankings last week. We listed Drew Brees over Alex Smith and Jared Goff. Brees finished as the third-best QB, behind Marcus Mariota (HUGE surprise) and Cam Newton.
For the wide receiver/tight end rankings, we suggested Cooper Kupp to people who waited to fill that roster spot. He delivered with 16.9 fantasy points, the fifth-highest amount. Robert Woods, shockingly, had a better week. As did Ted Ginn Jr. (19.5 fantasy points), who we ranked within the top nine.
The best prediction from the Wild Card Round had to be Derrick Henry. I believe the quote was, “Derrick Henry will be the steal of many contests this week.”
Ding! Ding! Ding!
Henry led all scorers with 26.1 fantasy points and hopefully helped you take home the win in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Now, on to the rankings…
This is Tom Brady versus the field. Typically, because you only need to select one, the quarterback is one of the last pieces filled during DRAFT drafts. However, I could see Brady going first overall this week.
The Patriots have the easiest matchup of the week. New England is favored by 13.5 over Tennessee. Secondly, seven quarterbacks threw at least 28 touchdowns this season.
Three of them (Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Jared Goff) faced Tennessee. All three QBs threw for four touchdowns against the Titans in their meeting (Deshaun Watson also threw for four TDs against the Titans, but ended 2017 with 19 TD passes in seven games). Tom Brady concluded the 2017 regular season with 32 touchdown passes.
Finally, don’t poke the bear. Brady and the Patriots are seething after seeing articles written about them where it casts Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Brady in a power-struggle. Look for New England, and Touchdown Tom, to take out some frustrations on Tennessee.
If you are not fortunate enough to snag Brady, I’d wait until the end and select Case Keenum. While his numbers won’t jump off the page, Keenum is consistent with his contributions.
He’s thrown at least one TD pass in nine-straight games and multiple touchdowns in six of those contests. Also, for the season, Keenum is averaging 236.5 passing yards per game.
1. Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (@ Steelers)
2. Dion Lewis, Patriots (vs. Titans)
3. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers (vs. Jaguars)
4. Latavius Murray, Vikings (vs. Saints)
5. Alvin Kamara, Saints (@ Vikings)
6. Mark Ingram, Saints (@ Vikings)
7. Devonta Freeman, Falcons (@ Eagles)
8. Derrick Henry, Titans (@ Patriots)
9. Jerick McKinnon, Vikings (vs. Saints)
Do you want to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers? Run the ball. They didn’t lose much this season, but when they did, the opposing team had a running back get the ball at least 23 times.
One of those guys was Leonard Fournette, back in Week 5. The rookie ran for 181 yards on 28 carries (two TDs). Fournette may not finish with the most points among running backs in the Divisional Round, but he certainly has the highest ceiling of the group.
It’s tough to predict which running back will get the call for New England on a week-to-week basis. However, the picture has been a little clearer.
Recently, Dion Lewis has notched at least 24 carries and a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. He’s scored a total of five TDs in the past three games. Once the Patriots get to the five-yard line, it’s Lewis’ job to finish the drive in the end zone.
Many people will be surprised to see Le’Veon Bell so low in the rankings. He’s always my No. 1 running back in the rankings and is rarely dethroned. Yet, he falls to third this week.
Same could be said for Alvin Kamara, a constant top-four option. It’s all about the matchup.
Jacksonville and Minnesota have some of the stingiest run defenses in the game. Both allowed between nine and 10n rushing TDs all season.
In that Week 5 meeting between the Jaguars and Steelers, Bell ran for 47 yards on 15 carries. On the bright side, Bell caught 10 passes for 46 yards. His ability to catch the ball keeps Bell from falling further down the RB list.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
1. Antonio Brown, Steelers (vs. Jaguars)
2. Julio Jones, Falcons (@ Eagles)
3. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (vs. Titans)
4. Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. Saints)
5. Brandin Cooks, Patriots (vs. Titans)
6. Michael Thomas, Saints (@ Vikings)
7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (vs. Jaguars)
8. Stefon Diggs, Vikings (vs. Saints)
9. Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (vs. Falcons)
There is no room for error in DRAFT contests, especially when the player pool is this shallow. DON’T GET CUTE!
Antonio Brown is, potentially, the only player I would consider over Brady at first overall this week. Brown was, and still is, in the running for MVP. No WR has ever won the Associated Press NFL MVP Award. Brown essentially missed three regular season games due to his calf injury and still led the league in receiving yards (1,533) and finished second in targets (162).
Another surprise to people who read these articles weekly will be Rob Gronkowski’s rank. I tend to list TEs low, if at all, in my DRAFT rankings and placing one in the top three should raise some eyebrows.
However, look at Travis Kelce’s stat line from last week against the Titans: four catches, 66 yards, and a TD. That was in the first half, before exiting the game with a concussion.
You could argue that Kansas City would’ve won if Kelce could’ve played the entire game. Now, think about how well Gronk will do against that same defense.