Before we look ahead to the AFC and NFC Championship games, let's appreciate the action we just witnessed during the divisional round. The Bills-Chiefs game was an all-time great in overtime, and Bengals-Titans, 49ers-Packers and Rams-Buccaneers were all decided by walk-off field goals. It was amazing.
Can it get better? Let's hope. We have some exciting matchups next Sunday with Cincinnati at Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game and San Francisco at the Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
We should get some quality Fantasy performances in these games, so let's update the PPR rankings for those of you still alive in your playoff challenge leagues. As a reminder, these rankings take into account cumulative points for the postseason, which means we're leaning on players who will advance to Super Bowl LVI.
I expect the Chiefs to beat the Bengals, and I like the 49ers to defeat the Rams. But these matchups can go either way, which impacts how I rank the players moving forward. So let's get started, and hopefully the games in championship weekend match what just happened in the divisional round.
1. Patrick Mahomes
2. Joe Burrow
3. Matthew Stafford
4. Jimmy Garoppolo
Mahomes went bonkers in the divisional round against the Bills with 378 passing yards and three touchdowns, along with seven carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. He now has 782 passing yards, eight touchdowns and one interception in the playoffs, along with 10 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Mahomes just played at Cincinnati in Week 17, and he had 259 passing yards and two touchdowns, as well as 25 rushing yards. He's scored at least 24 Fantasy points in seven games in a row, and I expect him to reach the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year with a win this week.
Burrow was awesome against the Chiefs in Week 17 with 446 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with 10 rushing yards. He had a strong game after that against the Raiders in the wild-card round with 244 passing yards and two touchdowns before getting beat up against the Titans with 348 passing yards, one interception and nine sacks.
Burrow was sacked four times against Kansas City in the first meeting. But he has the second-most upside of the quarterbacks remaining, which is why I have him ranked ahead of Stafford.
This is the third meeting between the Rams and 49ers, and Stafford had mixed results in the first two outings. In Week 10 at San Francisco, Stafford passed for 243 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, but he had 238 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against the 49ers in Week 18.
Stafford has had a solid postseason so far with 568 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, as well as 10 carries for 28 yards and two touchdowns, against Arizona and Tampa Bay. San Francisco's defense has been tough in the playoffs against Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers, and Stafford could struggle in the rubber match with San Francisco.
Garoppolo is clearly the worst Fantasy quarterback left in the playoffs. In the two previous meetings with the Rams, Garoppolo combined for 498 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He's also scored over 19 Fantasy points just once since Week 9, including the playoffs against Dallas and Green Bay.
In those two games against the Cowboys and Packers, Garoppolo combined for 303 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. It's hard to expect Garoppolo to have a good Fantasy performance against the Rams.
1. Elijah Mitchell
2. Joe Mixon
3. Cam Akers
4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
5. Jerick McKinnon
6. Sony Michel
If the 49ers beat the Rams, Mitchell should be heavily involved. He had at least 21 carries in each meeting with Los Angeles and ran for at least 85 yards in each outing. Now, he didn't score or have any receptions in those meetings, but he should once again be headed for plenty of work.
In two playoff games against Dallas and Green Bay, Mitchell combined for 44 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown, along with four catches for 7 yards. Mitchell feels like the safest running back left in the playoffs.
Mixon had a solid game against the Chiefs in Week 17 with 12 carries for 46 yards, as well as seven catches for 40 yards on eight targets. He was exceptional against the Titans in the divisional round with 14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown, along with six catches for 51 yards on seven targets. He now has at least six catches in three of his past four games.
Akers took over the Rams backfield in the divisional round against Tampa Bay with 24 carries for 48 yards, along with three catches for 20 yards on three targets. He lost two fumbles, which is a huge concern, but Michel was limited to one carry for 4 yards, along with two catches for minus-4 yards on two targets.
Michel had 21 carries for 43 yards against the 49ers in Week 18, with one catch for 6 yards on four targets, but it's hard to trust him now that Akers is back to form from his ruptured Achilles in July.
Edwards-Helaire returned from a three-game absence from a shoulder injury in the divisional round against the Bills and looked good with seven carries for 60 yards, along with one catch for 9 yards. He was out-touched by McKinnon, who had 10 carries for 24 yards, as well as five catches for 54 yards on seven targets.
Both will probably split touches again against the Bengals, but Edwards-Helaire should see a bigger role. As such, I would play him over McKinnon, even in PPR.
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1. Tyreek Hill
2. Cooper Kupp
3. Deebo Samuel
4. Ja'Marr Chase
5. Tee Higgins
6. Odell Beckham
7. Tyler Boyd
8. Byron Pringle
9. Brandon Aiyuk
10. Mecole Hardman
11. Van Jefferson
12. Jauan Jennings
Hill had a huge game against the Bills with 11 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. He now has 16 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 18 targets in the playoffs, but he only had six catches for 40 yards on 10 targets against the Bengals in Week 17. I expect him to do better in the rematch and help the Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl.
Pringle scored against the Bills with five catches for 29 yards on seven targets, and he now has three touchdowns in the playoffs after scoring twice against the Steelers in the wild-card round. Against the Bengals in Week 17, Pringle had three catches for 35 yards on four targets.
Kupp lost a fumble against the Buccaneers in the divisional round, but he was otherwise dominant as usual with nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. In two playoff games, Kupp has 14 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns on 18 targets. He also had two huge games against the 49ers with 18 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets, and his breakout season should continue in the NFC Championship Game -- even if the Rams lose.
Beckham also played well against Tampa Bay with six catches for 69 yards on eight targets, and he's having a quality postseason so far. In the wild-card round against Arizona, Beckham had four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown on four targets, and he also had a 40-yard pass. However, in two games against the 49ers, Beckham combined for four catches for 36 yards on eight targets.
Samuel (ankle) is banged up heading into the NFC Championship Game, so check on his status during the week. But he was awesome against the Rams in two games this year with a combined nine catches for 192 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, along with 13 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns. If healthy, he's a must play, so hopefully he's 100 percent for Sunday.
Hopefully, Samuel gets some help from Aiyuk, who had six catches for 107 yards on seven targets against the Rams in Week 18. But Aiyuk was a non-factor against Green Bay with no catches on one target, although he had five catches for 66 yards on six targets against the Cowboys in the wild-card round.
Chase and Higgins both played well against the Titans in the divisional round. Chase had five catches for 109 yards on six targets at Tennessee, and he now has at least five catches and 100 receiving yards in four of his past five games. He also went off against the Chiefs in Week 17 with 11 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns on 12 targets, so hopefully he dominates them again in the rematch.
Higgins wasn't as good against the Chiefs, but he did manage three catches for 62 yards on five targets. And against the Titans, Higgins had seven catches for 96 yards on nine targets.
As for Boyd, he had four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown on six targets against the Chiefs in Week 17. And in two playoff games he has six catches for 43 yards and a touchdown on eight targets.
1. Travis Kelce
2. George Kittle
3. Tyler Higbee
4. C.J. Uzomah
Kelce caught the winning touchdown in overtime against the Bills and finished the game with eight catches for 96 yards on nine targets. He's now scored a touchdown five games in a row, with six scores over that span, including against the Bengals in Week 17 when he had five catches for 25 yards on seven targets.
Kittle had mixed results against the Rams this year. In Week 10 at home, he had five catches for 50 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. But in Week 18 at Los Angeles, Kittle had five catches for 10 yards on seven targets. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 14, but he did have four catches for 63 yards on six targets against the Packers in the divisional round.
Higbee went off against the 49ers in Week 18 with six catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets, and he also had three catches for 20 yards and a touchdown on five targets against San Francisco in Week 10. In two playoff games, Higbee has seven catches for 97 yards and no touchdowns on 11 targets.
Uzomah is on fire in the playoffs with 13 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. He struggled against the Chiefs in Week 17 with four catches for 32 yards on six targets, but hopefully his success in the postseason so far continues for at least one more game.
1. Harrison Butker
2. Robbie Gould
3. Matt Gay
4. Evan McPherson