Cue the Jim Mora clip because it’s playoff time! If you are still in the hunt for a fantasy football championship, congratulations! But the work is not done just yet. We still have three weeks (assuming your league does not count Week 18) to account for. With this in mind, I am releasing my fantasy football playoff rankings at each position that consider only the next three weeks.
Much like the Flex rankings I have posted throughout the year, these are based on half-PPR scoring. Adjust as needed based on your league specs. I am including my rankings at each position, so hopefully, that will help you with any roster moves you need to make going forward. Keep in mind that these are cumulative rankings. Just because I rank a player in the top 10 at his position does not mean he is a top-10 option this week, and vice versa.
The good news for fantasy managers is that if you are in a three-week playoff format, you should hopefully avoid any late-season shenanigans. Teams will often bench players in the final week if their team’s fate has already been sealed one way or another. Both conferences have very tight playoff races with four weeks left to play. If that stays the case, most teams will at least go all out through Week 17. That means that fantasy managers should be getting as close to a full squad as possible during these next three weeks. The biggest potential threat to that is the Philadelphia Eagles. They currently have a two-game lead in the NFC. The Eagles face Dallas in Week 16. If they win that matchup, there is a chance they could ease off the throttle a bit in Week 17.
2022 Fantasy Football Playoff Rankings
More Week 15 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Flex Rankings
Quarterback Notes and Playoff Rankings
My first inclination was to only rank 20 or so quarterbacks. In most cases, if you are in the playoffs, it is because you have an obvious starter. Then I realized that my playoff team has Kyler Murray (torn ACL), Geno Smith (short week against the 49ers), and Mike White (possible broken ribs). It would feel a bit hypocritical of me to only list 20 QBs when I just put in claims for some rather unsavory names myself. So I listed 32 of them just in case.
While the injury to Kyler Murray is a blow to fantasy managers, at least we know he is done for the year. The picture is less clear for others such as Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson. I ranked Jackson as a mid-range QB2 in 12-team leagues because he is unlikely to play this week. If and when he comes back, you are playing him as an elite option. On the flip side, Tyler Huntley is my QB32 for the fantasy football playoffs. I think he only plays one game at the most, and he is probably a low-end QB2 in that game. As for Wilson, he finally got cooking last week, only to suffer a concussion late in the game. I have him ranked outside my top 20 for the duration of the fantasy football playoffs even if he suits up this week, which is in doubt at the moment.
Running Back Notes and Playoff Rankings
We know that the Kansas City Chiefs are a pass-first offense. But Isiah Pacheco has now had at least 15 touches and 80 scrimmage yards in five straight weeks. He is the overall RB16 in that stretch, and that is precisely where I rank him here. However, he has the makings of a potential RB1 in each of the next two weeks. The Chiefs face the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks in that span. They rank one and two respectively in most fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs this season. Pacheco is not involved much in the passing game, but he has huge upside in those matchups. The Texans have allowed the most rushing yards and rushing scores to opposing backs on the year. And since their Week 10 bye, Seattle has allowed 677 rushing yards in three games.
Speaking of Houston, Dameon Pierce has been one of the feel-good stories of the 2022 fantasy football season. Unfortunately, that story may have come to an end on Sunday. Pierce suffered a high-ankle sprain and has already been ruled out for Week 15. With the Texans having won just one game on the year, they may hold Pierce out the rest of the way. We have already seen their strange quarterback hijinks at play last week, as they went back and forth between Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel. Keep in mind this was after two weeks of starting Kyle Allen, who is arguably the worst quarterback to step on an NFL field this season. I want to remain positive, so I ranked Pierce as if he will play in Week 16. However, that is far from a certainty given Houston’s lack of incentive to win ballgames.
|18||Kenneth Walker III||SEA|
|37||Jeffery Wilson Jr.||MIA|
|84||Pierre Strong Jr.||NE|
|86||Melvin Gordon III||KC|
|90||Mark Ingram II||NO|
|98||Tony Jones Jr.||SEA|
Wide Receiver Notes and Playoff Rankings
One of the byproducts of Trevor Lawrence’s stellar play during the second half of the season is that the Jacksonville Jaguars have been able to support two relevant fantasy wide receivers. Since Week 9, Christian Kirk is the overall WR12 and Zay Jones is the WR19 in half-PPR formats. Lawrence and Company face some tough matchups during the fantasy football playoffs. All of their three opponents rank in the bottom half of the league in receiving yards allowed to enemy wideouts this year. Because of that, I ranked Kirk and Jones a bit lower than their recent form would suggest. Still, Kirk has earned every-week starter status. Jones is probably more matchup-dependent, but he should be a WR3/Flex play more often than not.
As is the case with seemingly every aspect of their offense, the Houston Texans have some question marks when it comes to their receiving corps. It is too bad because they have high-quality matchups in each of the next two weeks. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans are both pass funnels on defense. They are fourth and first respectively in pass attempts faced and in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts. Top wideout Brandin Cooks is still iffy with a calf injury, and Nico Collins missed last week’s game with a foot injury. Between their injury issues and the team playing musical chairs at quarterback, it is difficult to imagine any of the Texans wideouts providing value throughout the fantasy football playoffs. One of them could emerge in a given week, however, as Chris Moore (WR9) and Amari Rodgers (WR19) did a week ago.
|8||Amon-Ra St. Brown||DET|
|60||Terrace Marshall Jr.||CAR|
|85||Laviska Shenault Jr.||CAR|
|94||Equanimeous St. Brown||CHI|
|115||Steven Sims Jr.||PIT|
|128||Velus Jones Jr.||CHI|
Tight End Notes and Playoff Rankings
If there was ever a referendum on how terrible the tight end position is, just look at Evan Engram. Coming into last week’s action, Engram was the overall TE15 on the year. He then proceeded to go nuclear, putting up 33.7 points last week. That vaulted him to the overall TE4. For reference, for a running wide or wide receiver to go from the 15th spot to number four in a given week, he would have to exceed 80 fantasy points. It is pretty safe to say that we have seen Engram’s best game. But the upside he displayed is not often found among tight ends. Because of that, I am willing to rank him as a low-end TE1 for the fantasy football playoffs.
One of the up-and-comers at the tight end position is Chigoziem Okonkwo of the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee used Okonkwo sparingly over the first half of the year. Recently, however, the rookie has been more involved, and the results have followed. He has had over 30 yards in six straight games and has now been targeted five times or more in three straight. He is the overall TE9 in half-PPR scoring since Week 9. Okonkwo still splits time with Austin Hooper, and Tennessee’s offense still revolves around Derrick Henry. Because of that, I am not quite ready to label him a must-start in leagues that start a single tight end. However, Okonkwo’s speed and big-play ability make him an intriguing weekly play at a position that largely lacks both.
|25||Robert Tonyan Jr.||GB|
|72||Donald Parham Jr.||LAC|
Defense/Special Teams Notes and Playoff Rankings
I generally try to stream Defense/Special Teams units based on the weekly schedule. For example, the Indianapolis Colts have allowed more fantasy points to D/ST than any team’s D/ST has scored this year. There have been 56 starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season. That should give fantasy managers plenty of opportunities to exploit these matchups. Even though I have the Buffalo Bills as the top fantasy defense for the playoff run, I doubt I would have them in the top spot in any of the next three weeks. So use your discretion when it comes to which offenses you want to attack from a D/ST standpoint. Weather can also come into play in certain matchups. Though it is early in the week, there are currently four matchups that could be played in freezing temperatures with double-digit mile-per-hour winds.
|2||San Francisco 49ers|
|3||Kansas City Chiefs|
|5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|8||New England Patriots|
|9||New York Jets|
|10||New Orleans Saints|
|13||Green Bay Packers|
|19||Los Angeles Chargers|
|22||Los Angeles Rams|
|24||Las Vegas Raiders|
|27||New York Giants|
Kicker Notes and Playoff Rankings
Weather can be a major factor when it comes to the kicking game as well. Keep that in mind when selecting your kicker each week. Without knowing what the weather will look like beyond this week, it is hard to keep guys like Justin Tucker and Tyler Bass out of the top five. Their offenses are generally kicker-friendly. One situation to monitor is in Los Angeles, where Cameron Dicker has taken over following the injury to Dustin Hopkins. I would have ranked Dicker higher if I knew for sure that the team would stick with him for the remainder of the season. To his credit, Dicker has acquitted himself very well. He has hit 29 of 30 kicks in addition to 30 touchbacks on kickoffs. As a team, the Chargers have made 25 field goals. Only four individual kickers have more this year.