As you've probably heard on NFL Network or read on NFL.com this week, your fantasy season is far from over. That's right, while the taste of victory (or disappointment) may still be in your mouth from the regular fantasy season, you can get another shot at glory by participating in NFL Playoff Challenge. For more on the rules and strategy involved with this playoff-based fantasy football game, check out the beginner's guide I published earlier this week. As we did each week of the regular season with the Perfect Challenge game, we'll provide our picks for Playoff Challenge with some brief analysis on each person's strategy throughout the postseason. Haven't joined NFL Playoff Challenge yet? Don't worry, you can get started in just a few seconds RIGHT HERE.
Below are the Wild Card weekend Playoff Challenge picks from the NFL Fantasy staff.
Michael Fabiano's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @Michael_Fabiano)
Fabs is all in on the Patriots and judging by the fact that six of his eight players are from New England, he's expecting them to win big all throughout the playoffs. He does hedge a bit and provide himself some high-scoring, diverse security blankets in Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Brown. Both are among the top players at their position and have good chances of making a deep postseason run. This is a boom-or-bust lineup, though, as it's so dependent on one team. But when that one team is the Patriots the odds of a "booming" performance are definitely in Fabiano's favor.
Adam Rank's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @adamrank)
It looks like Rank is keen on a Super Bowl XLV rematch (which, as a Packer fan, I'd be OK with), as he's stacked Packers and Steelers in his roster. What I like about Rank's lineup is it features some of the highest scoring fantasy performers still alive in the playffs (Aaron Rodgers, Le'Veon Bell, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown), but has enough variety to still stand out. Ty Montgomery and Ladarius Green are both difference-making talents that haven't performed at a consistent level yet. If the playoffs are when they achieve their final fantasy form and start racking up points, then Rank's lineup will be as good as green/black and gold.
Matt Franciscovich's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @MattFranchise)
Franchise clearly has his sights set on an Atlanta-Pittsburgh faceoff in Super Bowl LI, which would both be wildly entertaining and great for his fantasy prospects in Playoff Challenge. The Falcons are the league's top offense entering the postseason, so rostering the primary parts of the rushing (Devonta Freeman) and passing (Matt Ryan, Julio Jones) attacks should net him most of the scoring potential from the Falcons. Tevin Coleman lurks as a vulture, but Franchise has himself positioned well even if Coleman has one of his trademark big games. On the flip side, he nabs arguably the three best players at their positions in the postseason in Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Travis Kelce. The Pittsburgh defense faces Matt Moore this week, and has been playing well of late, so there's plenty of potential there.
Alex Gelhar's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @AlexGelhar)
Yes, I'm a bit of a homer picking several Packers players, but after a few years of mixing and matching my Playoff Challenge lineups, I'm trying to ride with a roster comprised entirely of the two teams I expect to be still playing in February. Packers-Patriots was my preseason prediction, and I'm sticking to it. This lineup also gives me high scoring potential and a unique construction by pairing the Green Bay wide receivers with the New England running backs. Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams were first and tied-second in receiving touchdowns this year, while LeGarrette Blount paced the NFL with 18 rushing scores. Dion Lewis is my wild card, but over the final month of the season he out-rushed Blount. If he earns back more of his receiving role from James White in the postseason, he could be an absolute steal in this format. Martellus Bennett is the best tight end of these teams, Mason Crosby gives me a chance for loads of scoring if the Packers make it all the way, and the Patriots defense will face Connor Cook or Brock Osweiler in their first game. Giddy up.
Matt Harmon's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB)
Harmon and Marcas tied for the most teams featured in their lineups, but I understand the reasoning for each's decisions. Harmon is eyeing a Falcons-Chiefs Super Bowl, and has selected the best of both worlds. He gets the high-flying Atlanta offense through Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and contrarian pick Tevin Coleman, while getting the Chiefs defense (and by proxy, Tyreek Hill's return ability), the steady leg of Cairo Santos, and Travis Kelce -- the best tight end in the game (with Gronk on IR). Jordy Nelson and Le'Veon Bell offer him high-scoring Wild Card players with good odds of making deep runs, giving him both early scoring potential and the strong multipliers from other positions.
Marcas Grant's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @MarcasG)
With a diverse and unique lineup, I'm curious to see how Marcas fares in the coming weeks. His only Wild Card players are Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams, who are both heading into a tough first-round matchup with the Giants secondary. He has two of the league's highest scoring running backs, though, with Ezekiel Elliott and LeGarrette Blount, the league's top tight end in Travis Kelce, and the GOAT himself, Tom Brady. Stephen Gostkowski and the Patriots defense present reliable backend options to round out an interesting roster.