Playoff Challenge preview
The regular season is over, but the Fantasy fun is not. Our Jamey Eisenberg provides his preview of the Playoff Challenge with rankings and Wild Card round starts and sits.
If you're like me, you hate it when the Fantasy season is over. No more lineups to set or waiver wire moves to make can leave you with an empty feeling.
It's a good thing we get to postpone that for a few more weeks.
With the CBSSports.com Playoff Challenge you get to set a lineup and compete in a Fantasy league through Super Sunday. You can sign up for the game here and compete against me, Dave Richard and other members of the CBSSports.com Staff with our buddy group.
It's a simple game that's fun for everyone. You get 300 units to set your lineup, which consists of eight players (QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K and DST). You are allowed eight moves throughout the playoffs and the scoring is standard.
The goal is to choose players who will play in as many games as possible through the four rounds of the playoffs. The key is making as few moves as possible to save transactions for the end.
My first step in setting a lineup is to map out the playoff bracket, hoping to get players who will play in at least three games, especially from a team in the Wild Card round. From there, I'll work on selecting the best players I can find at the right values.
In the AFC, I expect Pittsburgh to beat Baltimore and I like Cincinnati to upset Indianapolis. The Broncos should beat the Steelers in the Divisional Round and the Patriots will advance to the AFC Championship Game over the Bengals. With the game in New England, I expect the Patriots to beat the Broncos and move on to the Super Bowl.
In the NFC, I like the Panthers at home over the Cardinals and Dallas should beat Detroit, especially with Ndamukong Suh suspended. Carolina will lose at Seattle in the Divisional Round and Green Bay should win at home as long as Aaron Rodgers (calf) is OK. The Packers-Seahawks NFC Championship Game should be amazing to watch and I think Green Bay will pull off the upset on the road.
Of the teams in the Wild Card round, Pittsburgh -- with a healthy Le'Veon Bell (knee) -- and Dallas have the best chance to make it to their respective championship games. So with that in mind, I'm leaning on the Steelers and Cowboys to start my team.
My Wild Card lineup is as follows:
, Steelers --
RB DeMarco Murray , Cowboys -- 62 units
RB Jeremy Hill , Bengals -- 54 units
WR Dez Bryant , Cowboys -- 47 units
WR Martavis Bryant , Steelers -- 17 units
TE Greg Olsen , Panthers -- 24 units
K Shaun Suisham , Steelers -- 18 units
DST Panthers -- 18 units
The total is 294 units and I'm counting on Roethlisberger to carry the Steelers offense against a weak secondary for the Ravens, with a potential touchdown to Martavis Bryant . Suisham is cheap at kicker, so hopefully the Steelers advance or else I'm in trouble.
Murray and Hill were two of my first selections, especially with Suh out for the Lions, which only makes Murray that much better. And Hill should be able to dominate against the Colts' lackluster run defense.
I went with Dez Bryant at the other receiver spot, but I was torn between him and Antonio Brown . I didn't want to be all-in on the Steelers just in case they lose to Baltimore, and it's not like Bryant is a slouch compared to Brown.
At tight end, Olsen was another easy selection given his value and the matchup with the Cardinals, who have been awful against tight ends all season. And I'll take the Panthers DST against Ryan Lindley at home, which should lead to a few sacks and turnovers.
Now, for other players to use, here's a rank list you can follow heading into the postseason. We'll update them each week throughout the playoffs, but this is how it stands for the start of the playoffs.
We'll also list some starts and sits for the Wild Card round, which are based on the matchup and relative to the values for the entire postseason. For example, I like Dalton better for the entire Playoff Challenge than Flacco because I expect Dalton to play at least one more game. But I'd rather start Flacco at Pittsburgh over Dalton at Indianapolis this week.
, Packers -- 74
2. Tom Brady , Patriots -- 70 units
3. Peyton Manning , Broncos -- 72 units
4. Russell Wilson , Seahawks -- 67 units
5. Ben Roethlisberger , Steelers -- 54 units
6. Tony Romo , Cowboys -- 66 units
7. Cam Newton , Panthers -- 52 units
8. Andy Dalton , Bengals -- 48 units
9. Andrew Luck , Colts -- 68 units
10. Matthew Stafford , Lions -- 61 units
11. Joe Flacco , Ravens -- 44 units
12. Ryan Lindley , Cardinals -- 38 units
Wild Card round starts: Roethlisberger, Romo, Newton, Luck,
Stafford and Flacco
Wild Card round sits: Dalton and Lindley
, Packers -- 60
2. Marshawn Lynch , Seahawks -- 62 units
3. DeMarco Murray , Cowboys -- 62 units
4. C.J. Anderson , Broncos -- 59 units
5. Le'Veon Bell , Steelers -- 61 units
6. Jeremy Hill , Bengals -- 54 units
7. Jonathan Stewart , Panthers -- 43 units
8. LeGarrette Blount , Patriots -- 40 units
9. Justin Forsett , Ravens -- 52 units
10. Joique Bell , Lions -- 51 units
11. Giovani Bernard , Bengals -- 33 units
12. Dan Herron , Colts -- 42 units
13. Shane Vereen , Patriots -- 29 units
14. Kerwynn Williams , Cardinals -- 30 units
15. Josh Harris , Steelers -- 15 units
16. Dri Archer , Steelers -- 15 units
17. Jonas Gray , Patriots -- 28 units
18. Robert Turbin , Seahawks -- 27units
19. James Starks , Packers -- 21 units
20. Joseph Randle , Cowboys -- 24 units
21. Ronnie Hillman , Broncos -- 24 units
22. DeAngelo Williams , Panthers -- 18 units
23. Reggie Bush , Lions -- 26 units
24. Trent Richardson , Colts -- 28 units
25. Theo Riddick , Lions -- 18 units
Wild Card round starts: Murray,
, Hill, Stewart, Forsett and
Wild Card round sits: Bernard, Herron, Kerwynn Williams , DeAngelo Williams , Bush, Riddick and Richardson
, Packers -- 48
2. Dez Bryant , Cowboys -- 47 units
3. Antonio Brown , Steelers -- 45 units
4. Demaryius Thomas , Broncos -- 48 units
5. Randall Cobb , Packers -- 40 units
6. Emmanuel Sanders , Broncos -- 41 units
7. Julian Edelman , Patriots -- 36 units
8. A.J. Green , Bengals -- 42 units
9. Calvin Johnson , Lions -- 44 units
10. T.Y. Hilton , Colts -- 39 units
11. Kelvin Benjamin , Panthers -- 31 units
12. Torrey Smith , Ravens -- 30 units
13. Brandon LaFell , Patriots -- 27 units
14. Doug Baldwin , Seahawks -- 21 units
15. Golden Tate , Lions -- 28 units
16. Steve Smith , Ravens -- 20 units
17. Martavis Bryant , Steelers -- 17 units
18. Cole Beasley , Cowboys -- 18 units
19. Michael Floyd , Cardinals -- 17 units
20. Wes Welker , Broncos -- 15 units
21. Danny Amendola , Patriots -- 15 units
22. Terrance Williams , Cowboys -- 16 units
23. Reggie Wayne , Colts -- 17 units
24. Larry Fitzgerald , Cardinals -- 18 units
25. Mohamed Sanu , Bengals -- 14 units
Wild Card round starts:
Brown, Green, Johnson, Hilton,
Wild Card round sits: Benjamin, Steve Smith , Tate, Floyd, Williams, Wayne, Fitzgerald and Sanu
, Patriots --
2. Greg Olsen , Panthers -- 24 units
3. Jason Witten , Cowboys -- 25 units
4. Julius Thomas , Broncos -- 26 units
5. Jermaine Gresham , Bengals -- 17 units
6. Heath Miller , Steelers -- 14 units
7. Coby Fleener , Colts -- 24 units
8. Dwayne Allen , Colts -- 25 units
9. Owen Daniels , Ravens -- 6 units
10. Timothy Wright , Patriots -- 19 units
11. Luke Willson , Seahawks -- 7 units
12. Eric Ebron , Lions -- 10 units
Wild Card round starts: Olsen, Witten, Gresham, Fleener and
Wild Card round sits: Miller, Allen and Ebron
, Patriots --
2. Mason Crosby , Packers -- 27 units
3. Steven Hauschka , Seahawks -- 29 units
4. Connor Barth , Broncos -- 31 units
5. Dan Bailey , Cowboys -- 36 units
6. Shaun Suisham , Steelers -- 18 units
7. Mike Nugent , Bengals -- 25 units
8. Graham Gano , Panthers -- 20 units
9. Adam Vinatieri , Colts -- 33 units
10. Justin Tucker , Ravens -- 29 units
11. Matt Prater , Lions -- 29 units
12. Chandler Catanzaro , Cardinals -- 22 units
Wild Card round starts: Bailey, Suisham, Nugent, Tucker and
Wild Card round sits: Gano, Prater and Catanzaro
1. Seahawks -- 27 units
2. Patriots -- 23 units
3. Panthers -- 18 units
4. Steelers -- 16 units
5. Packers -- 23 units
6. Cowboys -- 20 units
7. Broncos -- 26 units
8. Bengals -- 21 units
9. Colts -- 13 units
10. Cardinals -- 22 units
11. Ravens -- 18 units
12. Lions -- 24 units
Wild Card round starts: Panthers and Steelers
Wild Card round sits: Cowboys, Bengals, Colts, Cardinals, Ravens and Lions
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