Fantasy Football Playoff Rankings: Top 5 Players at Every Position for WC Round
The 2011 National Football League regular season has concluded, and it brings with it the culmination of the fantasy football season in leagues across the land.
However, fantasy football junkies can still get their fix for a few more weeks, as a number of fantasy playoff leagues exist that will allow them to continue setting lineups and obsessing over stats into the month of February.
There are any number of rule and scoring formats in these leagues, so for the purpose of this article we're going to use the format for the NFL.com Fantasy Playoff Challenge, which is a non-PPR format that allows owners to set a new lineup each week but gives bonuses for using players in consecutive weeks, giving added incentive to select players early that you feel will advance deep into the playoffs.
With that in mind let's get rolling, with a look at the top handful of players at each position headed into the wildcard playoff round.
1. Drew Brees and the Top 5 Quarterbacks
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees set a slew of NFL records in 2011, including single-season marks for passing yardage, completions, and completion percentage, and with both the possibilities of a shootout with the Detroit Lions and a deep playoff run looming the 11th-year veteran is easily the top fantasy signal-caller for this week.
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at NO)
2. Arian Foster and the Top 5 Running Backs
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Houston Texans are slinking into their first ever playoff appearance on the heels of three straight losses, but with running back Arian Foster fresh off his second straight season of over 1,200 rushing yards the third year pro is the top fantasy ballcarrier for the wildcard round of the playoffs.
1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (vs. CIN)
2. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (at NYG)
3. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (vs. ATL)
4. Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions (at NO)
5. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)
3. Calvin Johnson and the Top 5 Wide Receivers
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was held in check by the Detroit Lions when the two teams met a few weeks ago, but the fifth-year pro has topped 200 receiving yards in two of his past three games and could be in for another huge showing in a matchup that should feature a ton of offense.
1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (at NO)
2. Victor Cruz, New York Giants (vs. ATL)
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (at NYG)
4. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
5. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers (at DEN)
4. Jimmy Graham and the Top 5 Tight Ends
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Tight end Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints enjoyed a monster second season in the National Football League, reeling in 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 scores, and given the bonus points that a deep playoff run from Graham and the Saints could garner he's a no-brainer pick as the top fantasy option at his position this week.
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
2. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (at NYG)
3. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions (at NO)
4. Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)
5. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans (vs. CIN)
5. John Kasay and the Top 5 Kickers
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Given how volatile the kicker position can be in fantasy football and the scoring in this particular format the key to selecting a wildcard round player at the position is to combine a potent offense and a team you are confident will advance, making the venerable John Kasay of the New Orleans Saints the easy winner for top fantasy foot.
1. John Kasay, New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)
2. Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers (at DEN)
3. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons (at NYG)
4. Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions (at NO)
5. Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers and the Top 5 Defenses
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Although the Denver Broncos defense advanced to the postseason their offense looked absolutely pathetic in a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, and given the exotic blitzes that defensive guru Dick LeBeau of the Pittsburgh Steelers is bound to throw at quarterback Tim Tebow the Steel Curtain should drop on the Broncos this week...hard.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (at DEN)
2. Cincinnati Bengals (at HOU)
3. New York Giants (vs. ATL)
4. Houston Texans (vs. CIN)
5. New Orleans Saints (vs. DET)