Complete Playoff Ranks

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Complete Playoff Ranks
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Chet Gresham rolls out the 2014 post-season fantasy rankings, dominated by Broncos and Seahawks

Welcome to the NFL Playoffs, Fantasy Rankings Division. Ranking NFL players for the playoffs is extremely difficult unless you have Biff’s Grays Sports Almanac to tell you exactly how many games each team will play, but that’s what makes it fun (or extremely frustrating). Unlike in normal leagues you can’t be sure that the team your draftee plays for will play more than one game. And if you’ve ever wagered on football you know that your chances of picking that right are fairly precarious. But that’s the added twist that makes playoff leagues more challenging. Below I’ll give you a little look into my thinking on strategy for playoff-long draft leagues and then get into the rankings. Good luck!

Picking the winners from Wildcard Weekend for NFL Playoff drafts will for sure give your players two games, but of course the odds of them having more than two games are less than a team like Seattle or Denver having more than two. So even though it would be nice to pick the bulk of your fantasy players from a wild card winner who will go to the Super Bowl, the odds are still in favor of Seattle and Denver being there in the end. So that will be my default position in the overall rankings, but it is still worth selecting a couple teams you feel are strong enough to go deep in the playoffs from each conference.  You’ll have trouble winning if you spread your picks out too much. To the bold goes the bounty.

NFL Playoff Rankings

Quarterbacks

1. Peyton Manning

2. Russell Wilson

3. Tom Brady

4. Colin Kaepernick

5. Nick Foles

6. Cam Newton

7. Aaron Rodgers

8. Andy Dalton

9. Drew Brees

10. Andrew Luck

11. Philip Rivers

12. Alex Smith

QB Notes: Peyton Manning’s consistently huge numbers easily makes him the first quarterback and first player taken in fantasy drafts because his odds of getting to the Super Bowl coupled with his upside in relation to the other quarterbacks is pretty wide. ... After Manning I’d want to go with Russell Wilson based on his team’s dominance at home and his play in last year’s playoff when he combined for 572 passing yards, 127 yards rushing and four all-purpose touchdowns in two games. ... Tom Brady has the coach and playoff experience to make the Patriots the third most likely team to win out. Brady’s numbers haven’t been elite of late, but ‘he’ll show up in a shootout and a win with middling stats’ is usually better than 'great stats with a loss’.  After these three it gets a lot muddier for me. Colin Kaepernick, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Nick Foles all have extremely high ceilings and a fairly equal shot at multiple games in my mind. If I miss out on the top three, I think I would wait on a quarterback. ... Drew Brees is a tough call, but it is very hard to look past his 3-5 road record and distinctive home/away statistical splits. At home he averages 354 yards passing per game with a total of 27 touchdowns to three interceptions and on the road he’s averaging 291 yards passing per game and a total of 12 touchdowns to nine interceptions. And outdoors the stats are even worse.

Running Backs

1. Marshawn Lynch

2. Knowshon Moreno

3. LeSean McCoy

4. Frank Gore

5. Jamaal Charles

6. Eddie Lacy

7. Shane Vereen

8. LeGarrette Blount

9. Giovani Bernard

10. Donald Brown

11. Stevan Ridley

12. Montee Ball

13. Ryan Mathews

14. DeAngelo Williams

15. Pierre Thomas

16. Mike Tolbert

17. BenJarvus Green-Ellis

18. Danny Woodhead

19. Darren Sproles

20. Trent Richardson

21. James Starks

22. Bryce Brown

23. Robert Turbin

24. Mark Ingram

25. Knile Davis

26. Kendall Hunter

27. Chris Polk

28. Jonathan Stewart

29. Ronnie Hillman

30. Christine Michael

31. Brandon Bolden

32. LaMichael James

33. John Kuhn

34. Khiry Robinson

35. Anthony Dixon

36. Jed Collins

37. James Develin

38. Ronnie Brown

39. C.J. Anderson

40. Stanley Havili

RB Notes: Marshawn Lynch would be my first non-QB pick. He will get his work and the Seahawks have the best odds to go all the way. ... Knowshon Moreno will continue to lose some work to Montee Ball, but is still the lead back on a great offense with home-field advantage throughout. ... LeSean McCoy has the ability to put up big numbers and I like the Eagles’ chance to beat the Saints at home which would take them to Carolina where I think they have a much better shot of winning than if they had to go to Seattle. ... After McCoy I’d be looking at wide receivers pretty closely. The Patriots' backfield has a good chance of moving on in the playoffs, but also are a little scary from game to game.  But each running back, including Stevan Ridley, has a bunch of potential during these playoffs. ... Giovani Bernard out-touched BenJarvus Green-Ellis 18 to 11 last Sunday and I like the Bengals’ chances to beat San Diego at home and they have the personnel to beat quite a few teams if Good Andy shows up. ... The Panthers are tough for me to gauge. They have the talent to go all the way, but I also feel like they are vulnerable if their offense doesn’t show up. So DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert could have some value if you can grab them later, but they don’t feel like strong plays. Johnathan Stewart also could play at some point and hurt their value as well.

Wide Receivers

1. Demaryius Thomas

2. Eric Decker

3. Julian Edelman

4. Wes Welker

5. A.J. Green

6. Anquan Boldin

7. DeSean Jackson

8. Jordy Nelson

9. Michael Crabtree

10. Golden Tate

11. T.Y. Hilton

12. Doug Baldwin

13. Riley Cooper

14. Keenan Allen

15. Randall Cobb

16. Marques Colston

17. Steve Smith

18. Danny Amendola

19. Marvin Jones

20. Brandon LaFell

21. James Jones

22. Ted Ginn

23. Dwayne Bowe

24. Jarrett Boykin

25. Lance Moore

26. Percy Harvin

27. Andre Caldwell

28. Kenbrell Thompkins

29. Mohamed Sanu

30. Andrew Hawkins

31. Jason Avant

32. Da'Rick Rogers

33. Aaron Dobson

34. Jermaine Kearse

35. Kenny Stills

36. Quinton Patton

37. Griff Whalen

38. Robert Meachem

39. Dexter McCluster

40. Donnie Avery

41. Eddie Royal

42. Ricardo Lockette

43. Vincent Brown

44. Junior Hemingway

45. Josh Boyce

46. Brad Smith

47. Domenik Hixon

48. Darrius Heyward-Bey

49. Jonathan Baldwin

50. A.J. Jenkins

WR Notes: You really can’t go wrong with Denver receivers. Besides having a good shot for multiple games they have upside that can get you a chunk of points that could equal other receivers’ multiple game stats. Demaryius Thomas will be a top 10 pick for me if he’s there, but I would feel good with Eric Decker or Wes Welker as my #1. ... Julian Edelman has been so consistent of late and there is just no Seattle receiver I feel good about from week-to-week.  I’d much rather spend my Seattle picks on QB, RB, Defense and/or Kicker and then grab some of the lesser-known receivers for depth. ... Anquan Boldin plays up to the situation more often than not and I’m taking my usual analytical self and just going with the Boldin playoff mystique in this one. ... I want to grab my top receivers from the same team of my top quarterback if possible.  After those you can be a little more adventurous and grab the wild card receivers to make sure you can fill out your roster in Week 1 of the playoffs. ... Steve Smith will have had three weeks to heal up and I just don’t see him not playing and playing with the fire of a thousand suns. ... Marvin Jones has been coming on of late and could be in for a good playoff run if everything comes together for the Bengals, plus he should be available later in drafts.

Tight Ends

1. Julius Thomas

2. Vernon Davis

3. Jimmy Graham

4. Greg Olsen

5. Zach Miller

6. Zach Ertz

7. Brent Celek

8. Luke Willson

9. Coby Fleener

10. Andrew Quarless

11. Tyler Eifert

12. Jacob Tamme

13. Jermaine Gresham

14. Antonio Gates

15. Michael Hoomanawanui

16. Ladarius Green

17. Joel Dreessen

18. Anthony Fasano

19. Sean McGrath

20. Virgil Green

TE Notes: Julius Thomas is the clear-cut #1 tight end for me for reasons that I’ve already jabbered on about. ... Vernon Davis has been a playoff stud and has a decent shot at playing two games, but his upside is what I like. ... Jimmy Graham would be the no doubt #1 tight end if the Saints could win on the road. He is pretty much interchangeable with Davis because he has the highest scoring potential and if the Saints get their act together on the road their offense can matchup with anyone. ... Zach Miller and Luke Willson have good upside in an offense that doesn’t focus on one receiver. Of course their downside is pretty low as well, but Seattle has that whole home-field advantage thing.

Defense

1. Seattle

2. Denver

3. Carolina

4. San Francisco

5. New England

6. Cincinnati

7. Kansas City

8. Indianapolis

9. Philadelphia

10. New Orleans

11. Green Bay

12. San Diego

Defense Notes: I’d feel fine reaching for Seattle in a playoff league. They are just that dominant and have a good shot of going to the big dance. Their value over the other defenses is worth its weight in fantasy points. ... After Seattle it gets much trickier.  I’ve gone with teams I think will win and bumped up the better defenses a notch.

Kickers

1. Steven Hauschka

2. Matt Prater

3. Stephen Gostkowski

4. Phil Dawson

5. Graham Gano

6. Adam Vinatieri

7. Mike Nugent

8. Alex Henery

9. Shayne Graham

10. Mason Crosby

11. Ryan Succop

12. Nick Novak

Kicker Notes: The odds are the weather will be a bit better in Seattle than in Denver. Hauschka and Prater are the best bets of course, but if you feel strongly about one team making it to the Super Bowl it’s worth grabbing that kicker a little early. If you can get points instead of a certain zero you are ahead of the game.

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