NFL Playoff Challenge Fantasy Football Rankings, Picks: Start Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon in your pool on Wild Card Weekend

The NFL Playoff Challenge is a postseason Fantasy format that allows players to pick an eight-man team that will be used for the duration of the playoffs. You can select any players from playoff teams, but who you pick isn't quite as simple as just choosing the biggest stars because the points earned are multiplied the deeper into the 2019 NFL Playoffs you go. So do you start a player like Lamar Jackson who gets an extra week to earn points and hope the Ravens make a deep run? Or should you wait on Drew Brees with the Saints on a bye so that he can start by earning 2x points in the NFC Divisional Round? Those are the types of challenges presented when setting your NFL Playoff Challenge lineups, which is why you'll want to hear from SportsLine data engineer Mike McClure before making your NFL Playoff Challenge picks.

McClure is rolling through the NFL season thanks to some spot-on picks. His DFS lineups for the NFL have cashed with ease on both FanDuel and DraftKings multiple times this season, and anyone who has followed him is way, way up. 

One of the players in action this Wild Card Weekend that McClure is building his NFL Playoff Challenge lineup around: Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott should be extremely fresh after sitting in Week 17 with the Cowboys locked into the No. 4 seed in the NFC, and he just won his second rushing title in three years while also putting together his first season with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. With the Cowboys favored at home over the Seahawks, he's an interesting option because you know that he has a great chance to put up insane numbers for as long as Dallas is in action.

The former No. 4 overall pick has had at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his last eight games, and he's paired at least five receptions with a minimum of 75 yards rushing in each of his last seven games to establish a very high scoring floor for Fantasy purposes. 

And even though the Cowboys lost their first matchup against the Seahawks, Elliott ran for 127 yards in that game and was targeted eight times in the passing game. With Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott helping establish a more balanced offense, Elliott should face lighter boxes this time around to increase his potential to put up a huge stat line and the game being played in Dallas, where the Cowboys were 7-1 this season, increases the chances that he'll be playing in the divisional round next week.

McClure's optimal NFL Playoff Challenge strategy also includes rostering Chargers running back Melvin Gordon

Gordon was an absolute stud for Fantasy owners early in the season before suffering injuries that caused him to miss games down the stretch. He finished the season with 1,375 total yards and 14 total touchdowns in just 12 games. 

Gordon, who's making his first postseason appearance on Sunday, draws Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs. He scored Los Angeles' only touchdown against the Ravens in Week 16 and is expected to be in line for a large workload with backup running back Austin Ekeler (groin) questionable for Sunday. Gordon has added value as a pass-catcher, with 39 receptions on the season, including a 10-catch outburst against the Cardinals in Week 12.

McClure is also targeting a player who could go off for big numbers on Wild Card Weekend because of a dream matchup. This pick could be the difference between winning your NFL Playoff Challenge or going home with nothing.

So what is the optimal NFL Playoff Challenge tournament lineup for Wild Card Weekend? Visit SportsLine now to see the full optimal tournament lineups for the NFL Playoff Challenge this weekend from a professional DFS player who has almost $2 million in career winnings, and find out.

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