The Wild Card Round of the 2021 NFL postseason is behind us. With five of the six betting favorites moving on, it was not as wild as maybe some expected. Even for playoff fantasy football purposes, there is a lot to be expected as you scan each box score. Aside from a handful of some surprising point totals, the players you usually count on week to week did their job. The Divisional Round of the NFL postseason now awaits.
This upcoming weekend’s slate of games are some of the best Divisional Round matchups I’ve seen in recent memory. Just the quarterback position alone is enough to get you excited. Future Hall of Famers, like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, continue their fight for another title while rising stars, like Josh Allen and Joe Burrow, seek one of their own. It’s a star-studded weekend across the board which is fantastic, especially for those partaking in NFL playoff fantasy football.
With so many top players to choose from, it’s important to establish rankings to guide you to success. Whether you need rankings for a “one-and-done” league where you choose players once and then never again throughout the NFL postseason, setting a Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) lineup, or any other type of playoff fantasy football format, look no further than the positional rankings below. Of course, all rankings are subject to change throughout the week as injury, Covid-19, or other breaking news becomes available. Good luck!
NFL Divisional Round Positional Rankings
|1||Josh Allen||BUF||at KC|
|4||Joe Burrow||CIN||at TEN|
|6||Matthew Stafford||LAR||at TB|
|8||Jimmy Garoppolo||SF||at GB|
Josh Allen enters the Divisional Round of NFL playoff fantasy football as the undisputed QB1. As he heads into Kansas City, I don’t expect a perfect game of seven touchdowns on seven drives. However, the rushing floor he brings to the table every week, in addition to his passing ceiling, makes him the cream of the crop. Patrick Mahomes at home going toe-to-toe with Allen is the not-so-distant QB2.
Aaron Rodgers off of the NFC top seed Green Bay Packers’ playoff bye week will be ready to rock at Lambeau. The Pack is expecting to have stud left tackle David Bakhtiari back in action. Rodgers hasn’t scored less than 19.98 fantasy points since Week 10. He’s averaged 24.05 points in his last four home games.
It may come as a surprise to some that Joe Burrow ranks ahead of Tom Brady for the Divisional Round. Remember, though, that we’re talking fantasy football here. Burrow heads to Tennessee against their top-rated rushing defense. That same Titans defense allows the seventh-most passing yards to quarterbacks this season. With Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd as Burrow’s supporting cast, I think he has a monster day through the air, win or lose. Brady is already without Chris Godwin and may not have Leonard Fournette or starting right tackle, Tristan Wirfs, this weekend against the Rams.
I think Matthew Stafford will be fine against the Buccaneers. He just doesn’t have the ceiling those ahead of him have, especially with the way Sean McVay runs the ball. The west to east coast travel scares me a bit, as well. I expect the Titans and 49ers to lean as much as possible on the run, forcing both Ryan Tannehill and Jimmy Garoppolo to the bottom of these NFL Divisional Round fantasy football rankings.
|2||Elijah Mitchell||SF||at GB|
|3||Devin Singletary||BUF||at KC|
|5||Joe Mixon||CIN||at TEN|
|10||Cam Akers||LAR||at TB|
|11||Sony Michel||LAR||at TB|
|14||Samaje Perine||CIN||at TEN|
|15||Zack Moss||BUF||at KC|
|17||Kyle Juszczyk||SF||at GB|
|20||Chris Evans||CIN||at TEN|
Derrick Henry is the best running back still “available” in the NFL postseason. After an extra week of rest during the Titans earned playoff bye, King Henry is likely to return to the field following a Week 8 foot fracture. The Titans, even then, continued to run the ball, finishing the regular season as the league leader in rushing attempts. With Henry back, it will continue to be business as usual.
On the other side of that matchup, Joe Mixon falls to the bottom of the top-five backs this week. The Titans’ defense allows the least fantasy points to opposing running backs per game this season. Unless Cincy can get in close and Mixon punches it in, I am more nervous than usual plugging him into any lineup.
Last week, I moved Darrel Williams to my RB3 with the news that Clyde Edwards-Helaire was ruled out. Though I take pride in being fairly accurate with my Wild Card Round rankings, having Williams that high was undoubtedly my biggest miss. Instead, Jerrick McKinnon totaled 142 yards on 18 touches with a receiving touchdown. An, at the time, costly 2nd quarter fumble kept Williams on the bench. After playing 51 snaps against the Steelers, and his involvement on both the ground and through the air, McKinnon has to be the top-ranked Chiefs back for the Divisional Round of NFL playoff fantasy football.
Cam Akers return from a July Achilles tear injury still amazes me. He was a key piece in the Rams win over the Cardinals. Akers led all Rams running backs in carries (17), touches (18) and total yardage (95). Sony Michel still played a role with 13 carries of his own. Unfortunately, the two have a date with a top-ranked Buccaneers run defense. That pushes them to the bottom of the top-10 with less volume than usual and a likely split in workload.
|3||Cooper Kupp||LAR||at TB|
|3||Ja'Marr Chase||CIN||at TEN|
|4||Deebo Samuel||SF||at GB|
|5||Stefon Diggs||BUF||at KC|
|9||Tee Higgins||CIN||at TEN|
|10||Odell Beckham Jr.||LAR||at TB|
|11||Brandon Aiyuk||SF||at GB|
|12||Gabriel Davis||BUF||at KC|
|13||Tyler Boyd||CIN||at TEN|
|16||Van Jefferson||LAR||at TB|
|17||Isaiah McKenzie||BUF||at KC|
|20||Jauan Jennings||SF||at GB|
|25||Cole Beasley||BUF||at KC|
I’m splitting hairs between Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp for the Divisional Round WR1 of NFL playoff fantasy football. As clear favorites at home, and with the probable 2021 league MVP in Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, I fully expect Adams to have a monster day to help send the Packers to the NFC Championship game. Kupp will still rack up his receptions and is a good bet to get into the end zone for the Rams, of course.
I’m perhaps previewing the 2022 fantasy football season ranking Ja’Marr Chase in the top-three here. Get used to it. With expectations of the Titans stopping the Bengals’ run game, Chase should shine against a defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Deebo Samuel should be the focal point of the 49ers offense this week. His play-making ability as a both a pass catcher and runner land him confidently in the top-tier of wide receivers here.
Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are very much in play for the Divisional Round of NFL playoff fantasy football. To hammer it home, the Titans have allowed the second-most receptions, receiving yards, and fourth-most touchdown to wide receivers this season. Fire them up. I also really like Odell Beckham, Jr. this weekend. He’s scored six touchdowns in nine games with the Rams. Matt Stafford will be busy throwing and if Kupp demands most of the attention, OBJ will have to be at his best.
I’ve given almost every Chiefs and Bills wide receiver a boost in these rankings. In last year’s AFC Championship, these two teams totaled 62 points. Of the seven total touchdowns in that game, five of them were passing touchdowns. The Over/Under for this year’s Divisional Round matchup between the two currently sits at 55 points. This game should produce fireworks from two of the league’s youngest star quarterbacks.
|2||George Kittle||SF||at GB|
|3||Dawson Knox||BUF||at KC|
|5||Tyler Higbee||LAR||at TB|
|6||C.J. Uzomah||CIN||at TEN|
The wide range of talent at the tight end position is drastically different after the Wild Card Round. Some of the best fantasy football tight ends of the 2021 season are no longer with us for the Divisional Round. As the playoffs progress, it will only become bleaker.
With all that said, Travis Kelce enters this weekend as the top-ranked tight end. While the matchup against the Buffalo Bills defense isn’t ideal for opposing tight ends, Kelce’s value to the Chiefs’ offense, opportunity to play at home, and quarterback make him a no-brainer here.
George Kittle is the TE2 with a good matchup against the Green Bay Packers’ defense. Kittle continues to run plenty of routes in the 49ers offense, though his recent production suggests otherwise. I like him as a key contributor in a win-or-go-home game where the 49ers open as underdogs.
Outside of the top-five, it’s hard to put any significant level of trust in the remaining tight ends. Similar to NFL regular-season fantasy football, you are more often than not trying to figure out which of the lower-ranked players can find the end zone here in NFL playoff fantasy football. I’m not interested in that gamble, but if I had to choose one, I’d pick Anthony Firkser. The Bengals allowed the fourth-most receptions, fifth-most yardage, and eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. He, or even Geoff Swaim, could find the end zone for the Titans this weekend.
|2||Tyler Bass||BUF||at KC|
|5||Evan McPherson||CIN||at TEN|
|6||Robbie Gould||SF||at GB|
|1||Los Angeles Rams||at TB|
|2||Green Bay Packers||SF|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||LAR|
|5||Cincinnati Bengals||at TEN|
|6||Buffalo Bills||at KC|
|7||Kansas City Chiefs||BUF|
|8||San Francisco 49ers||at GB|
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