With one week of postseason action in the books, there's a lot to unpack as we continue to build/adjust our NFL Playoff Challenge rosters. Haven't joined NFL Playoff Challenge yet? Don't worry, you can get started in just a few seconds **RIGHT HERE**. And for a quick breakdown of the rules and strategy involved, check out my beginner's guide. As we turn the page to the divisional round, below I'll recap both the highest scoring and most popular Playoff Challenge lineups and offer insights on how we should approach the upcoming Divisional Round games.
Wild Card weekend's perfect Playoff Challenge lineup
The top of the list here isn't too surprising. Even though Aaron Rodgers faced arguably the league's best defense, he paced the quarterbacks with an impressive 13 fantasy-point gap to second place. Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell held up their ends of the fantasy bargain by breaking Steelers playoff records. Those who read the tea leaves and started Thomas Rawls (a meager 5 percent of players) as he seemed more likely to dominate the backfield touches in Seattle were richly rewarded by his historic performance. The Steelers defense also did its job against backup quarterback Matt Moore, notching 20 points in relatively impressive fashion.
Things get a bit murkier from there. Randall Cobb sat out the previous two games with an ankle injury and was a game-time decision for the Packers. The team originally seemed inclined to limit Cobb, as he was used on just seven plays prior to Jordy Nelson's injury. After Nelson left (and was later ruled out), Cobb saw 48 more plays and put together a record-tying performance of his own with three touchdown receptions. The uncertainty around his status likely contributed to his 0 percent ownership, and it's also worth noting that Cobb's big performance was aided by the injury to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had a tremendous season covering the slot. As was the case all regular season, tight end was a relative disaster. Will Tye led the way with six points, though owners who started Jared Cook (four points) or Jimmy Graham (three points) saw some returns and will now be eyeing that x2 multiplier in the divisional round.
Wild Card weekend's most popular Playoff Challenge lineup
Looking ahead to this weekend, there's a chance nearly half of the Playoff Challenge participants will need to replace Jordy Nelson in their lineups. Nelson was carted to the locker room after suffering a brutal hit to his rib area early in Green Bay's game against the Giants. If he sits out the Divisional Round (looking like a strong possibility), all of those lineups that faded Nelson could be in for a huge boost. An obvious replacement would be Randall Cobb -- especially since the Cowboys allowed over 1,000 yards and the second-highest catch rate to slot wide receivers in 2016 (72.2 percent), but Julio Jones (13 percent) is criminally under-owned at this point. If Atlanta can make a bit of a run, he'd be an excellent target to have in your lineup early. Other options could include Julian Edelman (21 percent), Dez Bryant (11 percent) or Davante Adams (5 percent).
For those late to the Playoff Challenge party, this is where you can separate yourself from the pack by building a more contrarian linenup. Travis Kelce, the league's best tight end with Rob Gronkowski on IR, is rostered in just 13 percent of leagues. He gets a home matchup with the Steelers this week. LeGarrette Blount, who led the league in rushing touchdowns, is sitting at 24 percent owned. As for quarterbacks, Matt Ryan is the likely league MVP, piloting the league's most explosive offense, and sitting at just 4 percent owned. So whether you're creating a lineup starting this weekend, or looking to replace players who were bounced out of the postseason, it's important to use this information to pivot to smarter plays that could give you a better chance at the top prize ... or simply beating your friends/coworkers in fantasy one last time.
Sorry about your luck ...
» 4 percent of Playoff Challenge lineups featured Ladarius Green ... even though he was inactive, ouch.