If you’re in one of these leagues where you’re drafting players for the duration of the NFL playoffs, the first step is figuring out which teams are going to wind up in Atlanta. Teams that play in the Super Bowl will be playing more games, giving their players more time to accumulate stats.
Zach Ertz, for example, might be the best tight end in the postseason, but he looks pretty certain to be playing only one game. So I would slot him miles behind Travis Kelce. I would certainly put Ertz behind Eric Ebron and Rob Gronkowski as well, and probably even Trey Burton and Benjamin Watson.
For me, both New Orleans and Kansas City seem to have about a 50 percent chance of making it to the Super Bowl. If they play in that game, they’ll be playing in three games. So makes sense to project their players using about 2.5 games. (If there’s a 50 percent chance of those teams making it to the Super Bowl, then there’s also a 50 percent chance they’ll be playing only one or two games.)
To me, Philadelphia is the team most likely to lose this weekend. They’ll probably be playing only one game. I’m willing to give them about a 30 percent chance of pulling an upset, so I’m slotting them at 1.3 games – that’s the one game they’re playing in Sunday, plus 30 percent of the game they would play in next week (1.00 + .30 = 1.30).
My boldest stroke includes the Ravens-Chargers. Los Angeles have some redeeming qualities, but I like the way Baltimore’s unorthodox run-oriented offense is causing problems for defenses not used to defending that kind of offense. I’m pretty sure the Ravens will win that game, and I see that as a team that could cause problems at Foxborough or Arrowhead.
I’m slotting the Chargers at a modest 1.35 games. I think most (if following this similar process) would have them up at something like 1.45 at a minimum.
The Ravens are interesting in that if they start pulling off upsets and make it to Atlanta, they potentially could play four games. So Lamar Jackson, I think, is an intriguing pick if you’re in one of those contests where you need to be hundreds of other entries to win. He might play four games, running for 300-plus yards (which is like 600-plus passing yards). In those types of contests, you can’t win by picking the obvious players. You’re not sneaking up on anybody with Patrick Mahomes and Alvin Kamara. You have to hit on a couple of players that the vast majority are missing. Ravens could be the key team of an outlier package of players.
And it’s the same for Chicago. With the Bears, you get the team most certain to win this weekend, and I think there’s some chance they pick off a sputtering Rams team, putting them in line to play their third game in the NFC Championship.
Your strategy, of course, must be tailored to your contest. If this is an eight-person contest with the guys at the office, I’m picking Mahomes or Kamara if I have one of the first two picks.
The Patriots and Rams both have byes this week, but I see the Bears and Ravens as more likely to play two games. For projected games, I’ve got Chicago and Baltimore ranked higher on my board.
Here are my projected games (which play a big role in how the individual players are ranked in the ReDrafter product that went out on Monday).
The Weekly (which went out on Wednesday) is a different animal. On that one, we’re looking at just this weekend. We shove Kansas City, New England, New Orleans and the Rams aside and focus on just the four games this week. We take a deep dive on all eight of those offenses (Andy wrote up the Chargers-Ravens; I did the other six teams).