Two of the biggest stories from the divisional round will be focused on quarterbacks. Will Patrick Mahomes (concussion) be ready for the AFC Championship Game? And did Drew Brees play his final game in the NFL after the Saints lost to the Buccaneers?
There's a lot to unpack, but we have you covered right here, starting with an update to the overall PPR playoff rankings. We'll also look ahead to 2021 with the teams who were eliminated (Saints, Ravens, Browns and Rams).
Looking ahead to the AFC and NFC Championship Games, we have some fantastic matchups with Bills at Chiefs and Buccaneers at Packers. I'm sticking with my Super Bowl LV prediction of Chiefs-Packers, but that's contingent on Mahomes playing against the Bills. If he's out, then I'll take the Bills to advance.
Here are the updated overall PPR playoff-challenge rankings for the rest of the postseason. At the end of the week, I'll provide rankings for the championship round, as well as DFS suggestions for FanDuel and DraftKings.
Positional rankings (PPR)
Mahomes' status will be the story all week, and hopefully he'll be fine after leaving the game against the Browns in the third quarter. After the game, Andy Reid said Mahomes is "doing great right now. So that's a positive. He passed all of the deals he had to pass." If Mahomes plays then I'll still take him as the No. 1 quarterback remaining in the playoffs. Before getting hurt against Cleveland he had 255 passing yards and a touchdown, along with 14 rushing yards and a touchdown. Chad Henne would easily be the last quarterback remaining if Mahomes is out.
Rodgers was magnificent against the Rams with 296 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with a rushing score. Now, he faces a Buccaneers team that held him to three Fantasy points in Week 6 in Tampa, which was easily his worst game of the year. The Buccaneers just held Brees to 134 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in the divisional round, but I'll still trust Rodgers at home.
Allen could easily be No. 1 on this list if Mahomes is ruled out, and he should continue to play at a high level. He didn't have a great game against the Ravens with 206 passing yards and one touchdown, but I expect the AFC Championship Game to be a shootout with the Chiefs.
Brady was excellent against the Saints with 199 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with a rushing score. He's now scored at least 25 Fantasy points in four games in a row, including the playoffs, and he should play well against the Packers. In Week 6 against Green Bay, Brady had 166 passing yards and two touchdowns for 18 Fantasy points.
Recapping the divisional round with a look towards 2021 values, a crazy CeeDee Lamb stat and breaking down the coaching hires on the Fantasy Football Today podcast. Listen below and subscribe at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts:
The Packers used all three running backs against the Rams, but Aaron Jones led the way with 14 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown, along with one catch for 14 yards. Jamaal Williams had 12 carries for 65 yards, while Dillon had six carries for 27 yards. Now, Jones broke off a 60-yard run to boost his stats, but he's still the best option in this backfield. Against Tampa Bay in Week 6, Jones had 10 carries for 15 yards and a touchdown, along with three catches for 26 yards on five targets. Williams had four carries for 34 yards and no catches, and Dillon had five carries for 31 yards and no catches.
We don't know if Edwards-Helaire (ankle) will play against the Bills, but Darrel Williams will again be the favorite Kansas City running back if Edwards-Helaire is out. And that's how I have it ranked as of now. Against the Browns, Williams was great with 13 carries for 68 yards, along with four catches for 16 yards on four targets. Bell only had two carries for six yards and no catches. If Edwards-Helaire is active I would still expect Williams to get work, and this is something to track during the week.
Even with Ronald Jones back against the Saints, Fournette was still the better Fantasy running back. He had 17 carries for 63 yards, along with five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown on six targets. In two playoff games, Fournette now has 36 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown, along with nine catches for 73 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. I'll stick with him over Jones, who had 13 carries for 62 yards against the Saints with no catches.
The Bills, as per usual, didn't run the ball much against the Ravens, and Singletary was limited to seven carries for 25 yards. He did add three catches for 12 yards on three targets, but he didn't benefit much with Zack Moss (ankle) out. It's hard to have a lot of faith in Singletary at Kansas City.
1. Davante Adams
2. Tyreek Hill
3. Stefon Diggs
4. Mike Evans
5. Chris Godwin
6. John Brown
7. Allen Lazard
8. Mecole Hardman
9. Cole Beasley
10. Antonio Brown
11. Marquez Valdes-Scantling
12. Gabriel Davis
13. Sammy Watkins
14. Demarcus Robinson
15. Scott Miller
Adams had a solid game against Jalen Ramsey and the Rams with nine catches for 66 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He'll have to deal with Carlton Davis this week, but I'm not getting away from Adams, who is the best receiver in the NFL. Lazard stepped up against the Rams with four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, while Valdes-Scantling had four catches for 33 yards on eight targets. Both should continue to see plenty of attention from Rodgers this week. In Week 6 at Tampa Bay, Adams had six catches for 61 yards on 10 targets, Valdes-Scantling had three catches for 32 yards on five targets and Lazard was out with an abdomen injury.
Mahomes' injury could change the rankings for the Chiefs receivers, but I'll stick with Hill at No. 2 for now. And Hardman and Robinson's status will be determined by Watkins (calf) if he's able to play after missing the game against the Browns. Against Cleveland, Hill had eight catches for 110 yards on 10 targets, along with three carries for nine yards. Hardman had four catches for 58 yards on four targets, and Robinson had one catch for 14 yards on three targets.
Diggs stayed hot against the Ravens with eight catches for 106 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, and he's now scored at least 14 PPR points in seven games in a row. John Brown rebounded after having no catches against the Colts with eight catches for 62 yards on 11 targets, but this time Beasley was shut out with no catches on two targets. Brown's upside is the reason I'll take him over Beasley, but Allen could easily go back to Beasley as the No. 2 receiver at Kansas City this week.
We'll see if Antonio Brown (knee) will play against the Packers, but he's going for an MRI after getting hurt against the Saints. He was limited to one catch for 10 yards on two targets, and if he's out then look for Tyler Johnson and Miller to benefit. Evans was locked up by Marshon Lattimore and held to one catch for three yards on three targets, but that one reception was a touchdown. Godwin also struggled against the Saints with just four catches for 34 yards on seven targets, and we'll see how Godwin and Evans do against the Packers. In Week 6, Godwin had five catches for 48 yards on seven targets, while Evans had one catch for 10 yards on two targets. Evans could struggle again with a matchup against standout cornerback Jaire Alexander.
Like all the Chiefs, we're waiting to see what happens with Mahomes, but Henne should still lean on Kelce if he starts at quarterback. Kelce had another huge game against the Browns with eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets.
Tonyan was solid against the Rams with four catches for 60 yards on four targets, and he's scored a touchdown in six of his past eight games. Tonyan only had three catches for 25 yards on four targets against Tampa Bay in Week 6.
Brate has become the better Tampa Bay Fantasy tight end in the playoffs. He had four catches for 50 yards on five targets against the Saints and now has 11 catches for 130 yards on 11 targets in two postseason games. Gronkowski had one catch for 14 yards on five targets against New Orleans, but that was his first catch in the playoffs this year. However, against the Packers in Week 6, Gronkowski had five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, while Brate had one catch for three yards on one target.
Knox had two catches for 18 yards on two targets against the Ravens, and he's a touchdown or bust Fantasy option. He scored against the Colts and has two touchdowns in his past five games, but he also has three catches or less in every game over that span.
New Orleans Saints
Storyline: How will the Saints replace Drew Brees?
Brees is expected to retire after losing to the Buccaneers in the divisional round, and he'll head off to the Hall of Fame. And now we get to see what Sean Payton will do to replace Brees for the Saints. The two likely candidates are Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston, although Winston is a free agent.
Hill, who turns 31 in August, started four games for Brees in 2020 when he was out with a rib injury. Hill scored at least 22 Fantasy points in three of those outings, and he could be one of the top running quarterbacks if given the starting job since he averaged 52.3 yards per game on the ground over that span, along with four rushing touchdowns.
Winston never got the chance to start for the Saints, but he's one year removed from passing for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions for Tampa Bay in 2019. We'll see if Payton gives Winston a chance to win the starting job, but Hill likely has the edge. And we don't know if the Saints will bring in someone else to compete for the role.
Hill would be drafted as a low-end No. 1 Fantasy quarterback if he's the starter for the Saints. Winston would likely be as well, so this is a situation to monitor closely this offseason.
Storyline No. 2: Is Michael Thomas still a top-five Fantasy receiver?
Thomas had a forgettable 2020. He injured his ankle in Week 1 and was suspended one game for punching a teammate, and he was out until Week 9. He also missed the final three games of the regular season after being placed on injured reserve because of his ankle. And in the playoff loss to the Buccaneers, in his final game with Brees, Thomas had no catches on four targets.
Now, Thomas actually played well with Hill. He scored at least 16 PPR points in three of four starts with Hill, averaging 15.8 PPR points over that span. He had three games with at least eight targets and two games with at least 104 receiving yards.
At 15.8 PPR points per game, Thomas would have been the No. 14 PPR receiver in 2020. But is that the best he can do without Brees? Even if Hill starts? I'm more optimistic, and I have him ranked in the top five as of now. That could change, but I'll be looking to draft Thomas toward the end of Round 2 or beginning of Round 3 in most leagues.
Storyline: Is Lamar Jackson still a top-five Fantasy quarterback?
Barring a drastic change, the Ravens offense will likely look the same in 2021 as it did in 2020. There will be some wrinkles added -- and maybe a receiver or two with Willie Snead and Dez Bryant headed to free agency -- but you know what you're getting when it comes to Jackson. In 2019, he was the NFL MVP, and he averaged 32.5 Fantasy points per game. That number dropped to 25.2 points per game in 2020, but that's slightly misleading. He only had four games with at least 20 Fantasy points in his first 10 outings and averaged just 20.1 points per game over that span. Now, he closed the season on a tear, averaging 30.6 Fantasy points per game, and hopefully that's the guy you get in 2021.
I don't have Jackson ranked as a top-five quarterback now -- he's currently No. 6 in my first run of rankings -- but that could change. I'm still confident in Jackson, and I'd love to draft him again as a high-end starter in 2021.
Breakout player: J.K. Dobbins
Dobbins didn't have a great finish to his rookie campaign with his performance in Saturday's loss to the Bills, rushing 10 times for 42 yards, along with three catches for 51 yards on five targets. But I'm excited about Dobbins for 2021, and the Ravens could move on from Mark Ingram (cap casualty) and potentially Gus Edwards (restricted free agent). Most likely, Edwards is back to share touches with Dobbins, which is annoying but not something to fear. Dobbins is the leader of this backfield, and his role should expand with a full offseason. And the lead running back for the Ravens has been an excellent Fantasy option the past two years.
Going back to 2019, there have been 23 times where a Ravens running back had at least 13 carries. The average for those games for that running back was 14.7 PPR points. And eight times over that span that running back had more than 15 PPR points.
In 2020, 14.7 points per game would have been the No. 15 PPR running back -- and No. 16 in 2019. Over his final five outings in the regular season,
Dobbins averaged 16.2 PPR points per game, and he had three games with at least 13 carries. He also had no game under 13 PPR points over that span.
You don't have to draft Dobbins in the first two rounds in 2021, although it will be close in non- and 0.5-PPR leagues. But in Round 3, to get someone with his upside in this offense, he's well worth it. His lack of receptions is a problem, and Edwards staying will remain an issue. But Dobbins will be the man for the Ravens -- and the man for your Fantasy roster.
Los Angeles Rams
Storyline: Is Sean McVay sold on Jared Goff as his quarterback?
Following Saturday's playoff loss to the Packers, McVay was asked if Goff was still his quarterback. Said McVay, "Yeah, he's the quarterback right now." On Sunday, McVay had this to say about Goff's status: "Everything is being evaluated. It's all encompassing to our entire roster." It's almost impossible for the Rams to move on from Goff without trading him -- Pro Football Talk reports the cap consequences associated with releasing him would exceed $65 million -- so someone would have to trade for him. And it's doubtful that would happen.
So now we have to see if the Rams bring in more competition for Goff, or consider someone like John Wolford, who was out against the Packers with a neck injury, can compete for the starting job. In 2020, Goff averaged 18.1 Fantasy points per game and had just six games with more than 20 points. He's only worth drafting as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in 2021 -- if he's the starter.
Breakout player: Cam Akers
Akers was the Rams' best offensive player in the postseason, and he's put himself in position to be a Round 2 pick in most Fantasy leagues in 2021. Against Seattle in the wild-card round he had 28 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown, along with two catches for 45 yards. He followed that up against the Packers with 18 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown, as well as one catch for six yards.
Now, Darrell Henderson (ankle) was out for those two games, and he will remain a factor in the Rams backfield next season. But Akers had at least 19 total touches in five of his final six games, including the playoffs, and scored at least 16 PPR points in three of them. I thought he could be a star coming out of Florida State in 2020, and he looks the part heading into his sophomore campaign next season.
Storyline: Will Odell Beckham be a starting Fantasy receiver again?
Beckham missed the Browns' playoff run after suffering a torn ACL in Week 7. He should be healthy for the start of next season, and we'll see how Fantasy managers are going to treat him. Based on the two mock drafts we've done already, he was selected in Round 7 in both of our PPR and 0.5 PPR leagues. That's a good spot to speculate on him.
In 22 games with the Browns going back to last season, Beckham has 11 with at least 11 PPR points, including two in six outings in 2020 before getting hurt. In those six games, Beckham averaged seven targets per game, and that's a fair number to expect. But will he still be explosive? Can you still trust him?
I plan to rank Beckham as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, likely near the top 30 at his position. I'd rather be surprised by him than disappointed, but I'm still hopeful he can play at a high level once again. He likely won't return to the level he played at with the Giants, but he can still emerge as a starting Fantasy option once again in 2021.
Chubb and Hunt played 11 healthy games together in 2020 (Chubb hurt his knee in Week 4 and missed four games), and Chubb was clearly the better Fantasy option. He scored 14-plus PPR points in nine of those 11 games. Hunt, meanwhile, wasn't bad, scoring 11-plus PPR points in six of 11 games. However, he scored 18-plus PPR points in three of five games when Chubb was injured.
If things remain the same in 2021, which is likely under coach Kevin Stefanski, Chubb should remain the lead running back. He's worth drafting toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in all formats. Hunt is worth drafting as early as Round 4 as a low-end starter in all leagues.
The Browns have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which should remain the case in 2021. And Stefanski wants to lean on the run as much as possible -- Cleveland was No. 4 in rush attempts in 2020 -- which bodes well for Chubb and Hunt. This is one of the rare situations where two running backs in the same backfield can be successful for Fantasy managers.