Postseason Fantasy Football: Playoff Challenge rankings and DFS lineups for Wild Card Round

Who is DFS pro Mike McClure putting in his optimal NFL DFS lineup on Wild Card Weekend? Visit SportsLine now to see the full optimal tournament lineups for the NFL playoffs this weekend from a professional DFS player who has almost $2 million in career winnings, and find out.

There are several versions of NFL playoff challenges that many of you participate in, but the end goal is always the same: You want to find players who score the most points.

With that in mind, here are the CBS Sports playoff rankings heading into the start of the postseason with wild-card weekend. And these will be updated each week as the playoffs progress.

We're ranking based on a PPR scoring system, and the goal is to find teams who will be playing the most games to have their players accrue the most total points. A wild-card team that reaches the Super Bowl is ideal since that would be four playoff games, but you should be targeting players who have the chance to play in three contests.

And the best way to prepare for any playoff challenge is to map out the postseason. For example, I have the Saints and Patriots playing in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, but the path to get there matters too.

In the AFC, I have the Colts beating the Texans, with the Ravens eliminating the Chargers. The Chiefs will beat the Colts, and the Patriots will get past the Ravens. New England will then upset Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game.

In the NFC, I like the Seahawks over the Cowboys, as well as the Bears over the Eagles. The Rams will beat the Bears, and the Saints will knock off the Seahawks. The Saints will beat the Rams in the NFC Championship Game with the game in Los Angeles.

As you can see, I have the Saints and Patriots playing three games, with the Rams, Bears, Seahawks, Chiefs, Ravens and Colts each playing two games. But that's just my version of the NFL playoffs.

I obviously would not be surprised if the Chiefs reached the Super Bowl, and any of the wild-card teams are more than capable of advancing to the divisional round — if not farther. You should play it out to see what teams you expect to advance, and ultimately which players you want to target. 

Additionally, I have some DFS suggestions below to use for FanDuel and DraftKings for this weekend. I like the Colts a lot in their matchup with the Texans.

Quarterback

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Drew Brees NO • QB • 9
2018 stats
YDS3,992
TD32
INT5
RUSH YDS22
RUSH TD4
  1. Drew Brees 
  2. Patrick Mahomes 
  3. Tom Brady 
  4. Andrew Luck 
  5. Jared Goff 
  6. Russell Wilson 
  7. Lamar Jackson 
  8. Mitchell Trubisky   
  9. Deshaun Watson 
  10. Philip Rivers 
  11. Dak Prescott 
  12. Nick Foles 
  • Brees averaged 30.5 Fantasy points at home this year, and Mahomes averaged 26.1 points. That bodes well with both having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Brady averaged 22.6 Fantasy points at home, and Goff was at 29.6 points.
  • Luck averaged 34.5 Fantasy points in two games against the Texans this year, and Watson was at 27.0 points per game against the Colts in two outings.
  • Wilson scored 19 Fantasy points against Dallas in Week 3, but he played that game without Doug Baldwin, who is healthy now. And Prescott scored just 10 Fantasy points at Seattle in that matchup, but that was before he had Amari Cooper on his side.
  • Rivers' worst game of the season was against Baltimore in Week 16 when he scored just three Fantasy points, and he's been at 14 points or less in three of his past four games. 
  • Jackson scored just 17 Fantasy points at the Chargers in their first meeting, but he just had his best Fantasy game ever in Week 17 against Cleveland with 26 points.
  • Trubisky has scored more than 16 Fantasy points just once since Week 11, although he missed two games over that span with a shoulder injury.
  • Foles is expected to be fine after dealing with an injury to his chest in Week 17 at Washington, and he has 56 Fantasy points in his past two games.

Running back

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Alvin Kamara NO • RB • 41
2018 stats
ATT194
YDS883
TD14
YPC4.5
REC81
REC YDS709
REC TD4
  1. Alvin Kamara 
  2. Todd Gurley 
  3. Damien Williams 
  4. James White 
  5. Sony Michel 
  6. Marlon Mack 
  7. Chris Carson 
  8. Ezekiel Elliott 
  9. Tarik Cohen 
  10. Mark Ingram 
  11. Jordan Howard 
  12. Melvin Gordon 
  13. Gus Edwards 
  14. Lamar Miller 
  15. Darren Sproles 
  16. Josh Adams 
  17. Kenneth Dixon 
  18. Austin Ekeler 
  19. Mike Davis 
  20. Nyheim Hines 
  21. Rashaad Penny 
  22. Rex Burkhead 
  23. Alfred Blue 
  24. C.J. Anderson 
  25. Wendell Smallwood 
  26. Darrel Williams 
  27. D'Onta Foreman 
  28. Ty Montgomery 
  29. Rod Smith 
  30. Spencer Ware 
  • Kamara failed to score at least 14 PPR points just twice this season, although both games came at home (Week 5 against Washington and Week 12 against Atlanta). Ingram, however, has scored double digits in PPR just twice in his past six games, and his high was 12 points in Week 14 at Tampa Bay. 
  • Gurley (knee) is expected to play in the divisional round barring a setback after being out for the final two regular-season games. If he can't go, then you know C.J. Anderson is a solid replacement.
  • Gordon (ankle) is also expected to play this weekend at Baltimore after getting hurt in Week 17, and he scored 14 PPR points against the Ravens in Week 16. If he's out, then Ekeler would have a bigger role, after  Ekeler missed the first game with Baltimore while dealing with a neck injury.
  • Edwards scored 11 PPR points against the Ravens in Week 16, while Dixon was held to just four PPR points.
  • In the first meeting between Carson and Elliott in Week 3, Carson had the better game with 20 PPR points, compared to 14 for Elliott.
  • Mack missed the first game against Houston in Week 4, but he scored nine PPR points against the Texans in Week 14. That game started a four-game scoring streak for Mack to close the season. And Miller scored 19 combined PPR points against the Colts in two meetings, with a 15-point outing against Indianapolis in Week 14.
  • Damien Williams has scored a touchdown in four games in a row, White has scored at least 13 PPR points in consecutive games and Michel had at least 17 PPR points in four of six home games.
  • Cohen has scored at least 12 PPR points in four of his past six games, and Howard has either 100 rushing yards or a touchdown in four games in a row.

Wide receiver

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Michael Thomas NO • WR • 13
2018 stats
TAR147
REC125
YDS1,405
TD9
  1. Michael Thomas 
  2. Tyreek Hill 
  3. Julian Edelman 
  4. T.Y. Hilton 
  5. Robert Woods 
  6. Doug Baldwin 
  7. Brandin Cooks 
  8. DeAndre Hopkins 
  9. Tyler Lockett 
  10. Amari Cooper 
  11. Keenan Allen 
  12. Alshon Jeffery   
  13. Allen Robinson 
  14. Josh Reynolds 
  15. Ted Ginn 
  16. Taylor Gabriel 
  17. Sammy Watkins 
  18. Chris Hogan 
  19. Dontrelle Inman 
  20. Nelson Agholor 
  21. Mike Williams 
  22. Cole Beasley 
  23. Phillip Dorsett 
  24. Golden Tate 
  25. Anthony Miller 
  26. Keke Coutee 
  27. Chester Rogers 
  28. John Brown 
  29. Willie Snead 
  30. Michael Crabtree 
  31. Cordarrelle Patterson 
  32. Michael Gallup 
  33. Demarcus Robinson 
  34. Tyrell Williams 
  35. Tre'Quan Smith 
  36. Chris Conley 
  37. Keith Kirkwood 
  38. DeAndre Carter 
  39. David Moore 
  40. Travis Benjamin 
  41. Jaron Brown 
  42. Ryan Grant 
  43. Vyncint Smith 
  44. Josh Bellamy 
  45. Mike Wallace
  • Thomas averaged 24.4 PPR points in seven home games with Brees, and Hill has scored 89 PPR points in his past four home games. We'll see if Watkins (foot) will return for the playoffs for the Chiefs, but he won't hinder Hill's upside in the postseason. 
  • Edelman has either a touchdown or at least 90 receiving yards in six of his past seven games, and Woods has at least 13 PPR points in six of his past seven outings. Cooks broke out of a four-game mini slump where he scored 11 PPR points or less in each outing prior to Week 17 with 23 PPR points against the 49ers in the final game of the year.
  • In his past five games against the Texans, Hilton has 30 catches for 618 yards and three touchdowns. He has at least 115 receiving yards in four of those outings. Hopkins has scored in three games in a row against the Colts. 
  • Allen was held to 10 PPR points in his past meeting with the Ravens in Week 16.
  • Baldwin has scored at least 23 PPR points in two of his past three games coming into the playoffs, and Lockett has scored at least 13 PPR points in consecutive games prior to this weekend. He also had 17 PPR points against the Cowboys in Week 3. Cooper has scored eight PPR points or less in three games in a row prior to the playoffs.
  • Jeffery has 51 PPR points in the past three games with Foles, while Agholor has 43 PPR points in his past two games. The Eagles also could get Mike Wallace (ankle) back for this matchup at Chicago. The Bears will hopefully have Allen Robinson (ribs), Anthony Miller (shoulder) and Taylor Gabriel (ribs) healthy against the Eagles, although all three are expected to play.

Tight end

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Travis Kelce KC • TE • 87
2018 stats
TAR150
REC103
YDS1,336
TD10
  1. Travis Kelce 
  2. Eric Ebron 
  3. Zach Ertz 
  4. Rob Gronkowski 
  5. Trey Burton 
  6. Gerald Everett 
  7. Blake Jarwin 
  8. Mark Andrews 
  9. Benjamin Watson 
  10. Hunter Henry 
  11. Nick Vannett 
  12. Hayden Hurst 
  13. Tyler Higbee 
  14. Antonio Gates 
  15. Dallas Goedert 
  16. Ryan Griffin 
  17. Mo Alie-Cox 
  18. Jordan Thomas 
  19. Ed Dickson 
  20. Jordan Akins 
  • Kelce averaged 15.1 PPR points at home this season, and he's scored double digits in PPR in every game since Week 1.
  • Ebron averaged 15.5 PPR points in two games against the Texans this season. 
  • Ertz and Gronkowski are struggling coming into the playoffs. Ertz has scored more than eight PPR points just once in his past four outings, but it was a 35-point performance in Week 16 against Houston. And Gronkowski has scored more than five PPR points just once in his past five games, but it was a 24-point performance at Miami in Week 14. 
  • Burton also has struggled of late with just one game with more than eight PPR points in his past seven outings. And Everett hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 11.
  • Jarwin and Andrews are hot coming into wild-card weekend, as Jarwin just had 36 PPR points at the Giants in Week 17. Andrews has at least nine PPR points in consecutive games, including a 16-point outing at the Chargers in Week 16.
  • And we could get Henry back on the field after he suffered a torn ACL in May. I'm not sure if you can trust him in his first game action since 2017, but it would be a great story if he has a decent performance in the playoffs.

Kicker

  1. Wil Lutz 
  2. Stephen Gostkowski 
  3. Harrison Butker 
  4. Greg Zuerlein 
  5. Adam Vinatieri 
  6. Justin Tucker 
  7. Cody Parkey 
  8. Sebastian Janikowski 
  9. Ka'imi Fairbairn 
  10. Michael Badgley 
  11. Brett Maher 
  12. Jake Elliott 

DST

  1. Saints 
  2. Bears 
  3. Ravens 
  4. Rams 
  5. Patriots 
  6. Colts 
  7. Chiefs 
  8. Seahawks 
  9. Chargers 
  10. Texans 
  11. Cowboys 
  12. Eagles

FanDuel Lineup

  • QB: Andrew Luck $8,000
  • RB: Chris Carson $7,500 
  • RB: Kenneth Dixon $6,800 
  • WR: DeAndre Hopkins $8,800 
  • WR: T.Y. Hilton $7,700 
  • WR: Cole Beasley $5,400 
  • TE: Eric Ebron $6,600 
  • FLEX: Dontrelle Inman $5,500 
  • DEF: Ravens $4,900

Inman is one of my favorite sleepers this week, and he has nine catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets in his past two games. He missed both games against the Texans this year.

DraftKings Lineup

  • QB: Lamar Jackson $5,800
  • RB: Ezekiel Elliott $9,000
  • RB: Chris Carson $6,800
  • WR: T.Y. Hilton $7,800
  • WR: Doug Baldwin $6,200
  • WR: Dontrelle Inman $4,300
  • TE: Blake Jarwin $3,300
  • FLEX: Jordan Howard $4,600
  • DST: Eagles $2,200

I'm hoping the recent success for Jackson, Baldwin, Inman, Jarwin and Howard carry over to this week, as well as Hilton, Elliott and Carson continuing to dominate. For this lineup, I punted on defense since the Eagles are cheapest option, although the Bears have scored 24 points or less in four games in a row.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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