DRAFT NFL Lineup Advice: Divisional Round (Sat/Sun)

Jan 12, 2018

Rob Gronkowski should feast against a Titans’ defense that can’t defend against tight ends

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…

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Quarterback

1. Tom Brady, Patriots (vs. Titans)
2. Case Keenum, Vikings (vs. Saints)
3. Matt Ryan, Falcons (@ Eagles)
4. Nick Foles, Eagles (vs. Falcons)
5. Drew Brees, Saints (@ Vikings)

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.

Running Back

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.

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Adam Meyer is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Adam, check out his archive and follow him @CharlieSideHstl.

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1Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
2Dion Lewis (NE)RB
3Jay Ajayi (PHI)RB
4Latavius Murray (MIN)RB
5Jerick McKinnon (MIN)RB
6Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
7Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
8Rex Burkhead (NE)RB
9James White (NE)RB
10T.J. Yeldon (JAC)RB
 View all Flex Rankings 
11Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
12LeGarrette Blount (PHI)RB
13Corey Clement (PHI)RB
14Brandin Cooks (NE)WR
15Alshon Jeffery (PHI)WR
16Nelson Agholor (PHI)WR
17Marqise Lee (JAC)WR
18Chris Hogan (NE)WR
19Danny Amendola (NE)WR
20Dede Westbrook (JAC)WR
21Allen Hurns (JAC)WR
22Jarius Wright (MIN)WR
23Torrey Smith (PHI)WR
24Keelan Cole (JAC)WR
25Zach Ertz (PHI)TE
26Laquon Treadwell (MIN)WR
27Kyle Rudolph (MIN)TE
28Mack Hollins (PHI)WR
29Michael Floyd (MIN)WR
30Phillip Dorsett (NE)WR
1Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
2Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
5Mookie Betts (BOS)RF
6Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
7Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
8Joey Votto (CIN)1B
9Kris Bryant (CHC)1B,3B
10Chris Sale (BOS)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Manny Machado (BAL)3B,SS
12Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
13Corey Seager (LAD)SS
14Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)RF
15Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
16Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
17Daniel Murphy (WSH)1B,2B
18Nelson Cruz (SEA)RF,DH
19George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
20Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
21Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
22Edwin Encarnacion (CLE)1B,DH
23Josh Donaldson (TOR)3B,DH
24Yu Darvish (FA)SP
25Robinson Cano (SEA)2B
26Bryce Harper (WSH)RF
27Miguel Cabrera (DET)1B,DH
28J.D. Martinez (FA)RF
29Madison Bumgarner (SF)SP
30Jose Abreu (CWS)1B,DH
1Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
2Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
3James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
4Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
5Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
6Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
7Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
8Kawhi Leonard (SAS)SG,SF
9LeBron James (CLE)SF,PF
10Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11John Wall (WAS)PG
12DeMarcus Cousins (NOR)PF,C
13Chris Paul (HOU)PG
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
16Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
17Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
18Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
19Myles Turner (IND)PF,C
20Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
21Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
22Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
23Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
24Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
25CJ McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26Mike Conley (MEM)PG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Marc Gasol (MEM)C
30Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C