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Wild Card round Playoff Challenge fantasy picks

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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 on Tuesday. As we did each week of the regular season with the Perfect Challenge game, we'll provide our picks for Playoff Challenge with a brief analysis of 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)

As was the case last year, Fabiano is high on the Patriots cruising through the AFC playoff field and into the Super Bowl. Five of Fabs' eight players are from New England, though interestingly he chose three players from three separate teams to round out his squad -- Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, and Adam Thielen. All are smart picks as they were key pieces of their respective offenses, but Fabs could have a lot of players to replace if a few (or all) of those teams lose early.

Adam Rank's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @adamrank)

Rank, who grew up a fan of the Los Angeles Rams, is all-in on his hometown squad for Playoff Challenge. With seven players from the Rams in his lineup, Rank just edges out Marcas for the most concentrated lineup of our staff. This is the type of high-risk, high-reward lineup that either hits really big if the team makes it to the Super Bowl or puts you in a deep hole as all of your multipliers reset if/when the team you're banking on gets bounced.

Matt Franciscovich's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @MattFranchise)

Last year, Franchise tried to ride a Steelers-Falcons stack to postseason glory, and this time around he's banking on a Steelers-Vikings matchup in Super Bowl LII. It's a strong pairing, as both No. 2 seeds have a good chance to make it all the way to the big game, and both offenses are stacked with fantasy superstars. Latavius Murray is a nice pivot option from the main running back options, as he's been Minnesota's favored goal-line back and has eight rushing touchdowns since Week 7. Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph are strong options to pair with the Pittsburgh studs, while the Minnesota defense could be riding home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

Matt Harmon's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @MattHarmon_BYB)

Harmon and Fabiano tied for the most teams featured in their initial lineups with four, but Harmon's is even more diverse than Fabs, as he at least two players rostered from three separate units. What's nice about Harmon's lineup is how he's differentiated himself from the pack with Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Robert Woods. Part of winning this contest also comes from creating a unique lineup, and that's certainly what Harmon has here.

Marcas Grant's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @MarcasG)

Marcas' lineup is the most Saints heavy of our analysts, which is a strong strategy. As I mentioned in my Playoff Challenge primer, there's plenty to like about a lineup constructed like this. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will anchor this roster from Wild Card weekend on, while Drew Brees and Michael Thomas offer reliable floors with the potential for high ceiling games. Speaking of high ceilings, adding Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski is a nice counterbalance, as both should play large roles in the Patriots' postseason plans. The Saints defense is an underrated play, as they get a banged up Carolina Panthers offense in the Wild Card round, and if the Rams beat the Falcons the Saints will travel to face the erratic and turnover-prone Nick Foles in the divisional round.

Alex Gelhar's Playoff Challenge lineup (on Twitter @AlexGelhar)

Not only do I think the Steelers and Rams have good shots at making it all the way to Super Bowl LII but stacking their offenses in Playoff Challenge could give me a scoring bonanza. Todd Gurley and Le'Veon Bell were the top scoring fantasy rushers, Antonio Brown finished 4.5 points behind DeAndre Hopkins among wide receivers, but missed pretty much the final three games with an injured calf. It was a close call for me between Ben Roethlisberger and Jared Goff, but I sided with the veteran who threw multiple touchdowns in seven straight games with an average of 313 yards per game to close out the season. The only wild card in my lineup is Rob Gronkowski. With so few elite fantasy tight ends in this playoff picture, I opted to go with Gronk and hope he plays at least two games in the postseason.

Those are our picks for NFL Playoff Challenge. Hit us up on Twitter with your lineup. Enjoy the games, and good luck chasing that trip to Super Bowl LIII!


Alex Gelhar is a fantasy writer/editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlexGelhar and "Like" his page on Facebook here.

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