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McFarland: Divisonal-Round Fantasy Football Rankings & Tiers

Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It's time to set our divisional-round fantasy football lineups and identify our favorite DFS plays and fades for the next round of the NFL playoffs.

Below, you'll find tiers and rankings for every position, including analysis, implied point totals, betting spreads and more.

For adjustments after the timestamp below, check out PFF's weekly rankings and projections.

Last updated: 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20

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KEY:

  • SOS: PFF's Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.
  • OL Pass-Block Advantage (OL PBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (pass blocking advantage — the higher the number, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • OL Run-Block Advantage (OL RBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (run-blocking advantage — the higher the number, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • WR/CB Matchup Advantage (WR/CB MU): wide receiver versus cornerback matchup; derived from the WR/CB Matchup tool (matchup advantage grade — the higher the grade, the better the matchup for the receiver, and vice versa).
  • TE Matchup Advantage (TE MU): tight end versus linebackers and safeties; derived from the TE Matchup tool (matchup advantage — the higher the number, the better the matchup for the tight end, and vice versa.
  • Projections: from PFF projections tool.
  • Injuries: Q = Questionable; D = Doubtful (typically removed from ranks on Saturday); GTD = game-time decision

JUMP TO A POSITION RANKING:

QB | RB | WR | TE

QUARTERBACKS

Tier Rank Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR Injury Status
1 QB1 Josh Allen @KC 54.5 1.5 26.50 3.5 -4 22.0
2 QB2 Patrick Mahomes BUF 54.5 -1.5 28.00 4.3 25 20.6
2 QB3 Joe Burrow @TEN 47.0 3.5 21.75 8.3 -3 21.1
2 QB4 Aaron Rodgers SF 47.0 -6.0 26.50 3.1 -31 19.2
2 QB5 Tom Brady LA 48.5 -3.0 25.75 0.0 -25 21.1
2 QB6 Matthew Stafford @TB 48.5 3.0 22.75 1.8 38 18.0
3 QB7 Ryan Tannehill CIN 47.0 -3.5 25.25 10.0 -5 18.8
3 QB8 Jimmy Garoppolo @GB 47.0 6.0 20.50 1.3 -11 14.4

Removed from ranks: N/A

Tier 1 – Josh Allen handled the third-most designed rushing attempts (17%) of any quarterback this season, and with us down to eight teams, he is the last of his kind. Ryan Tannehill is the next closest at 6%, providing Allen with a larger-than-usual advantage over the field.

Allen also draws the No. 1 game environment for the divisional round against the Chiefs with a 54.5-point game total and 26.5 implied points. The Chiefs' defense runs the sixth-most man coverage in the NFL, but they may make some tweaks after Allen ripped the Patriots' man-heavy approach last weekend. If Kansas City's defenders turn their backs in coverage, expect Allen to take advantage.

Allen's past three rushing performances against the Chiefs:
Season Week Attempts Yards Touchdowns
2021 5 12 69 1
2020 Conference Championship 7 88 0
2020 6 9 42 0

Tier 2 – Joe Burrow draws the No. 2 QB SOS (8.3) on the slate against the Titans, and the Bengals are throwing the ball more across all game scripts over their past four games.

Pass rates vs. the NFL average by game script
Game Script Pass Rate in First 15 Games Pass Rate in Past Four Games
Trailing by four or more points -5% +0%
Within three points +2% +8%
Leading by four or more points -2% +14%

The Bengals' implied point total is the lowest on the slate, but this new commitment to the passing game and the surrounding weapons provide Burrow with blowup potential.

Tier 2 – Tom Brady has gone to the quick game more over the past two contests (2.31 and 2.20 average time to throw) without his full complement of weaponry. Expect that to continue this week — especially if tackle Tristan Wirfs (questionable) or center Ryan Jensen (questionable) can't play. 

Despite the challenges, Brady has 597 yards and five touchdowns over his past two games. However, the Rams provide the toughest QB SOS on the slate, bringing the No. 1 PFF pass-rush grade to town. Los Angeles applies the league's eighth-highest pressure rate (35%).

RUNNING BACKS

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