Fantasy Football

Playoff Challenge Rankings

Did your fantasy football season end at the hands of Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott or Nick Chubb? Did you start DeAndre Hopkins over DeVante Parker in Week 16? Did you rest your championship hopes and dreams on Deshaun Watson? I feel for you my friends, but I'm here with a solution to ease the pain of defeat (at least somewhat) with a new challenge. The NFL Playoff Challenge! You could win a trip to Super Bowl LV!

So what is the NFL Playoff Challenge?

Unlike daily fantasy leagues, a player's stock includes the value of his team and how far you project his squad to advance in the postseason. That's because the further a player advances, the more points he can score due to the "multiplier" scoring system. For example, if Drew Brees leads the Saints to the Super Bowl and you started him in the Wild Card Round and kept him active throughout the playoffs, he would receive double points in the Divisional Round, triple points in the Conference Championship Round and quadruple points during the Super Bowl Round.

This multiplier rule alters fantasy player values in the NFL Playoff Challenge. We all know Dalvin Cook was a fantasy monster in the regular season, but his real value here depends on how far you think the Vikings will advance in the postseason. If you believe the Saints are a Super Bowl contender and will knock the Vikings out of the playoffs in the Wild Card Round, you'd get just one week of production from Cook with no chance of a multiplier.

Before we get to the player rankings, here's a few interesting notes that could affect your decision-making process this week.

»The Patriots won the Super Bowl as the No. 2 seed last season. Prior to that, a No. 1 seed had won the Super Bowl in every season since 2013. The top seed in the AFC has won three of the last six championships, while the No. 1 seed in the NFC has won twice. What's more, four of the last six Super Bowl contests have featured each conference's top seed. Last year's Super Bowl included both conferences No. 2 seed (Patriots and Rams).

»Prior to last season, when the Patriots and Rams both made it to the Super Bowl as No. 2 seeds, the previous five Super Bowls had seen a single non-No. 1 seed (2016 Falcons - No. 2 seed). The last Wild Card team to reach the Super Bowl was the 2012 Ravens (No. 4 seed). That might make fantasy owners avoid potential "sleeper teams" when setting their Playoff Challenge lineup.

»Five of the last 24 teams to play in the Conference Championship Round also played in the Wild Card Round, and not a single No. 6 seed has made it to the Conference Round in the last six seasons. Just one No. 5 seed (2013 49ers) has played in the Conference Round during that time, and just two No. 4 seeds (2016 Patriots, 2014 Colts) have reached the final round of their conference.

Rankings -- Quarterbacks

  1. Drew Brees, Saints
  1. Josh Allen, Bills
  1. Deshaun Watson, Texans
  1. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
  1. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
  1. Tom Brady, Patriots
  1. Carson Wentz, Eagles
  1. Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Running backs

  1. Alvin Kamara, Saints
  1. Derrick Henry, Titans
  1. Dalvin Cook, Vikings
  1. James White, Patriots
  1. Miles Sanders, Eagles
  1. Sony Michel, Patriots
  1. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
  1. Latavius Murray, Saints
  1. Carlos Hyde, Texans
  1. Travis Homer, Seahawks
  1. Rex Burkhead, Patriots
  1. Boston Scott, Eagles

Wide receivers

  1. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
  1. Julian Edelman, Patriots
  1. A.J. Brown, Titans
  1. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
  1. D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks
  1. Stefon Diggs, Viking
  1. John Brown, Bills
  1. Greg Ward, Eagles
  1. Cole Beasley, Bills
  1. Adam Thielen, Vikings
  1. Tre'Quon Smith, Saints (BYE)
  1. N'Keal Harry, Patriots
  1. Corey Davis, Titans

Tight ends

  1. Jared Cook, Saints
  1. Zach Ertz, Eagles
  1. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
  1. Jacob Hollister, Seahawks
  1. Jonnu Smith, Titans
  1. Darren Fells, Texans
  1. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
  1. Dawson Knox, Bills


  1. Wil Lutz, Saints
  1. Nick Folk, Patriots
  1. Jason Myers, Seahawks
  1. Greg Joseph, Titans
  1. Jake Elliott, Eagles
  1. Dan Bailey, Vikings

Defense/special teams

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL Media and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on **Twitter**, **Facebook**, **YouTube** and **Instagram** for all of the latest fantasy news, notes and analysis!

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