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2014 Fantasy Football Playoff Rankings

By Kevin English | Updated on Tue, 23 May 2023 . 1:27 PM EDT

Winning your playoff-long fantasy league is less about picking the best players and more about figuring out which teams will play the most games. A guy who turns in 3 or 4 mediocre games will out-score a guy who posts 1 big one but gets eliminated.

The Seahawks and Patriots are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl. Seattle went 7-1 at home this season, out-scoring opponents 209-123. New England was even more dominant at home. They also went 7-1, with the only loss in last week’s meaningless finale. The Patriots out-scored visitors 272-126 at Gillette Stadium.

Of course, Seahawks and Patriots players will be popular in your playoff fantasy league. Picking guys from other teams that play multiple games is a good way to differentiate yourself from your opponents. And if you can pinpoint a team other than Seattle and New England that reaches the Super Bowl, you’ll have a big edge.

We believe the Packers, Broncos, Steelers and Cowboys (in that order) have the best chances of knocking off the #1 seeds. (Pittsburgh’s fate obviously depends heavily on Le’Veon Bell’s status.) That’s factored into the rankings below. If you’re higher or lower on 1 of those teams – or any of the other 6 playoff teams – move players up or down accordingly.

Matchups play a part in these rankings, too. Here’s how the 12 playoff squads ranked in fantasy points allowed to each position during the regular season:

QBsRBsWRsTEs
SEA19119
GB18162514
DAL1920630
CAR23192112
ARI931726
DET44818
NE1515724
DEN266927
PIT27122425
IND1225328
CIN628216
BAL2513213

Here are our playoff-long rankings. We’ll also have projections for each round for your weekly leagues and DFS games.


QBs

1. Tom Brady, Patriots

New England is gonna be tough to beat at home, where Brady averaged 274 yards and 2.4 TDs per game this season. Three of the other 5 AFC playoff teams (Denver, Pittsburgh and Baltimore) rank among the bottom 8 in fantasy points allowed to QBs.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

The bye week should help Rodgers put that calf issue behind him. He’ll likely open his postseason against the burnable secondaries of the Cowboys or Panthers. But to reach the Super Bowl, he’ll need to win in Seattle. Rodgers has lost his last 2 games there, totaling just 412 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.

3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Wilson finished as a top 5 fantasy QB in most scoring systems. His first 2 playoff games could be against the Panthers (23rd against QBs) and Packers (18th). Wilson has averaged 219 passing yards and 34 rushing yards in 5 career playoff games.

4. Peyton Manning, Broncos

Manning comes limping into the playoffs, with just 3 TDs vs. 6 INTs in his last 4 games. We’ll see if he can get going after the bye week, but Denver is likely to continue going with a run-heavy attack as the weather worsens. Manning will likely be overvalued in your draft.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

We like Pittsburgh’s odds of advancing past the 1st round – with or without RB Le’Veon Bell. Baltimore finished 25th in fantasy points allowed to QBs and was torched for 340 yards and 6 TDs by Big Ben back in Week 9. The Steelers are also capable of knocking off Denver in Round 2, but they’ll need a healthy Bell to do that.

6. Tony Romo, Cowboys

2014 was the best season of Romo’s career. He led the league in completion rate (69.9%), yards per attempt (8.5) and QB Rating (113.2). Only 3 guys had more TD passes. He’ll need to be sharp in Round 1 against a Lions defense that’s capable of containing the Cowboys rushing attack. A win there would bring a trip to Lambeau Field to face the Packers’ 18th-ranked QB defense.

7. Andrew Luck, Colts

Indy’s offense hasn’t been the same since losing RB Ahmad Bradshaw in Week 11. Over his final 6 games, Luck completed just 58% of his passes and averaged just 229 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT per game. He opens the playoffs against the Bengals’ 6th-ranked QB defense. A win there would likely bring a trip to New England, where Luck has gone 0-2 with 4 TDs and 7 INTs.

8. Cam Newton, Panthers

Newton played his best football of the season down the stretch, completing 61.3% of his passes with 5 TDs vs. 1 INT over his final 3 games. Just as importantly, he ran for 197 yards and 3 TDs during that stretch. We like the Panthers to knock off the Cardinals in Round 1 but give them little chance to win in Seattle or Green Bay.

9. Matt Stafford, Lions

For the 2nd straight season, Stafford struggled mightily down the stretch. He completed just 54.6% of his passes for 613 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs over his last 3 games. Stafford opens the playoffs against a beatable Cowboys pass defense, but note that he’s 0-16 for his career in road games against teams with winning records.

10. Andy Dalton, Bengals

Cincinnati is capable of leaving Indianapolis with a win if Dalton plays well. That’s not something we’re betting on, though. He’s 0-3 with 1 TD and 6 INTs in his playoff career.

11. Joe Flacco, Ravens

Flacco finished 14th among QBs in fantasy points this season, but he didn’t top 2 TDs in any of his final 10 games. He did toss for 303 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT in Pittsburgh earlier this year, but we think it’ll be 1-and-done for Flacco and the Ravens.

12. Ryan Lindley, Cardinals

Lindley looked a whole lot better in his 2nd start than his 1st. But that 2nd start still included 3 INTs and a loss. We don’t like Lindley’s chances of getting a win in Carolina against a hot Panthers defense that’s allowed just 10 TDs with 7 INTs in its last 9 games.


RBs

1. Eddie Lacy, Packers

Lacy’s eclipsed 100 total yards in 9 straight games. That stretch has produced 9 TDs, too. The Packers will likely match up with the most favorable run D in Dallas in the Divisional Round. Green Bay’s potential to reach the Super Bowl helps Lacy secure the #1 spot.

2. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks

Lynch enters the playoffs with just 27 touches over the past 2 weeks. Still, he’s compiled 209 total yards and 3 scores over that stretch. The 1st-round bye will help him get ready for a monster workload in the Divisional Round. He’s neck-and-neck with Lacy when it comes to the likelihood of reaching the Super Bowl.

3. C.J. Anderson, Broncos

It’s a bit unsettling to see that Ronnie Hillman handled 16 touches last week in his first game back from injury. Anderson still saw 15, though, as Denver’s run-first ways continued. Anderson also recorded 3 scores while dominating red zone work. He’s guaranteed a plus rushing matchup in the Divisional Round (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati or Indianapolis).

4. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

Murray gets the worst possible matchup for the Wild Card Round, as the Lions have allowed just 3.16 YPC on the season. Beyond that, they’ve allowed just 1 RB to surpass 90 rushing yards all year (Eddie Lacy in Week 17). Volume should prevent Murray from posting a complete dud. Besides, we like the odds of the Cowboys – winners of 6 of their last 7 – advancing to the Divisional Round.

5. LeGarrette Blount, Patriots

Bill Belichick’s RB rotations are always tough to peg. But Blount’s assumed the lead role for most of the year, and he’s proven to be the most consistent option. A weak AFC gives the Pats a great shot at reaching the Super Bowl, so volume could carry Blount to 2-3+ TDs.

6. Jeremy Hill, Bengals

We’re not banking on the Bengals advancing past the Colts. Hill can still post the equivalent of 2 stat lines in 1 game, though. The LSU product has posted 100+ yards in 3 straight, a stretch that’s seen him score 3 times while handling 73 touches.

7. Joique Bell, Lions

Bell played just 45.7% of the snaps in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay and failed to catch pass for the first time since Week 3. Sure, the Lions played from behind. But a healthy Reggie Bush – and Theo Riddick – could see another bump in usage against a Dallas team that’s scored 38+ points in 4 straight. The Cowboys’ leaky run D is certainly a plus, although we ultimately like them to advance in this matchup.

8. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said that Bell’s knee injury isn’t “major.” There’s still a real chance that the 22-year-old misses Saturday’s game with what seems like a severe hyperextension. If he does play, the workhorse back will move up these rankings 3-4 spots.

9. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers

Stewart’s turned back the clock over the past 5 weeks, as he’s averaged a cool 5.3 YPC across those 91 rushes. Even if DeAngleo Williams returns from his hand injury, Stewart should continue seeing 15+ touches per outing. Unfortunately, he gets an elite Arizona unit in Round 1 before a likely matchup with Seattle in the Divisional Round.

10. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos

If Hillman handles 15+ touches per game in the playoffs – as he did last week vs. Oakland – the change-of-pace back will be golden. Even if C.J. Anderson continues to see the bulk of goal line work, Peyton Manning’s recent check-down tendencies should add to Hillman’s upside. And with home field in Round 2, Denver’s in a great spot to play at least 2 games.

11. Dan Herron, Colts

You can’t expect huge rushing numbers from Herron. Locked in a timeshare, he’s cracked 65 rushing yards once all year. He’s posted sneaky PPR numbers, however, aided by 3+ catches in 4 of his last 6 games. He’s a relatively safe option as a great bet for 12+ touches. An opening round matchup with the Bengals’ lousy run D certainly helps.

12. Justin Forsett, Ravens

Baltimore’s lack luster performances over the past 3 weeks – against Jacksonville, Houston and Cleveland, no less – have us concerned about their Super Bowl potential. Forsett’s also seen his production fluctuate in recent weeks. Before last week’s 119-yard outburst vs. the Browns, he tallied just 138 in his 3 prior matchups.

13. Shane Vereen, Patriots

You can never feel safe about Vereen’s workload. After all, he hasn’t exceeded 7 touches since Week 12. But Vereen still carries PPR upside – especially with the clear potential that New England has to reach the Super Bowl.

14. Gio Bernard, Bengals

Bernard’s carries have sharply declined from 15 to just 3 over the past 3 weeks. He’s fresh off a season-high 7-catch outing vs. Pittsburgh, though, as he’s notched 18 grabs since Week 14. Andy Dalton’s downfield struggles should continue to lead to more check-down opportunities. We’re just not confident in the Bengals getting by the Colts in Indy.

15. Reggie Bush, Lions

We don’t expect the hot-and-cold Lions to advance to the Divisional Round. But facing the high-scoring Cowboys, it’s possible that Bush assembles a strong PPR line before getting bounced. He’s snagged at least 3 balls in 3 of his 4 games back from an ankle injury.

16. Jonas Gray, Patriots

Gray missed the finale with an ankle injury. The bye week will help, but his status for the Divisional Round remains uncertain. If available, Gray figures to serve as New England’s #2 ball-carrier behind LeGarrette Blount.

17. Trent Richardson, Colts

An opening round matchup with the Bengals provides T-Rich with a glimmer of hope. Still, he’s a low-ceiling option as a member of the pass-happy Colts. Not only has Richardson handled fewer than 10 rushes in 7 of his last 8, but he’s averaging a putrid 3.3 YPC for the year.

18. James Starks, Packers

With Lacy hogging Green Bay’s backfield snaps, it’s tough to project Starks too high. But as the clear-cut #2 RB on a team with obvious Super Bowl upside, he might be the steal of drafts if the ultra-physical Lacy succumbs to an injury.

19. Robert Turbin, Seahawks

Turbin’s tallied games of 10 and 11 rushes over the past 2 weeks. The Seahawks were just resting a banged-up Marshawn Lynch, though. A 1st-round bye should help Lynch get closer to 100%. And even if Seattle reaches another Super Bowl, Turbin’s upside will remain capped.

20. Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals

Williams emerged late in the year for Arizona, handling 53 carries for 246 yards (4.64 YPC). He could easily see 15+ touches against Carolina, but a lack of stability at QB figures to haunt this team in the playoffs. The Cards are an obvious one-and-done candidate.

21. Stepfan Taylor, Cardinals

22. Josh Harris, Steelers

23. Joseph Randle, Cowboys

24. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers

25. Lance Dunbar, Cowboys

26. Dri Archer, Steelers

27. Bernard Pierce, Ravens

28. Theo Riddick, Lions


WRs

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers

Brown’s 129 catches this season were the 2nd most in NFL history. His role will only grow with RB Le’Veon Bell’s knee injury. Brown opens against a Ravens defense he torched for 234 yards and a score in 2 regular-season meetings. A win there would bring a tougher matchup with Denver’s 9th-ranked WR defense.

2. Jordy Nelson, Packers

Nelson finished among the top 10 WRs in targets, catches, yards and TDs. He’d feast in a 1st-round matchup against the Cowboys or Cardinals. And he posted a solid 9-83 line against the Seahawks back in Week 1.

3. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos

Even with QB Peyton Manning struggling down the stretch, Thomas still posted 115+ yards in each of his last 3 games. A Round 2 matchup with the Steelers would be ideal. Pittsburgh ranks 24th against WRs and allowed 73 yards per game to opposing #1s. A victory there would bring a showdown with Patriots, who gave up 127 yards to DT back in Week 9.

4. Dez Bryant, Cowboys

Bryant enters the playoffs with a ridiculous 286 yards and 6 TDs over his last 3 games. Round 1 opponent, Detroit, ranks 8th against WRs. But the Lions allow 73 yards per game to opposing #1s (12th most league-wide). Bryant would get Green Bay’s 25th-ranked WR defense in the 2nd round.

5. Randall Cobb, Packers

Cobb’s 91-1,287-12 line set career highs across the board. He’s a good bet for at least 2 games. The 2nd would likely come against the Seahawks, but Cobb went for 58 yards and a score in Seattle back in Week 1.

6. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

Sanders has been hurt by Denver’s shift to a run-heavy attack. After averaging 9.7 targets in his first 12 games, he averaged just 6.3 over the last 4. Sanders still racked up a decent 19 catches, 252 yards and 2 TDs during that stretch. And there’s a chance he gets 3 playoff games.

7. T.Y. Hilton, Colts

Hilton went catch-less on 3 targets in the finale but played 27 snaps without issue with that hamstring. He should be at 100% for the postseason opener against the Bengals. Cincy ranks 2nd in fantasy points allowed to WRs but yielded four 100-yard games over the last 4 weeks. Hilton posted a 7-107 line on the Bengals in Week 7. The 2nd round could bring a matchup against a Patriots defense that held Hilton to just 23 yards in Week 11.

8. Calvin Johnson, Lions

Johnson could go bananas against a burnable Cowboys secondary in Round 1. But he’ll need a struggling Matt Stafford to play better than he has recently if he wants to get a 2nd game.

9. Brandon LaFell, Patriots

LaFell broke out in his 1st season in New England, posting career highs with 74 catches, 953 yards and 7 TDs. And he heads into the postseason with 4+ catches in 6 straight. Three games could make him a nice value pick in your playoff draft.

10. A.J. Green, Bengals

Green is in a race to pass through the concussion protocol before Sunday’s game against the Colts. That’d bring a matchup with CB Vontae Davis, who finished 2nd in Pro Football Focus’ coverage rankings. Davis helped Indy limit opposing #1 WRs to just 56 yards per game.

11. Julian Edelman, Patriots

He should be cleared from his concussion by the team New England comes out of its 1st-round bye. Edelman was hot before suffering that head injury, averaging 10.8 targets, 7.8 catches, 84 yards and .5 TDs over his last 6 games. Bump him 3 or 4 spots up these rankings in full PPR leagues.

12. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers

The rookie faded a bit down the stretch, finishing with less than 60 yards in 4 of his last 5. He gets a talented Cardinals secondary in the playoff opener. A win there would likely bring a matchup with an even more talented Seahawks secondary.

13. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks

Baldwin posted a solid 66-825-3 line, finishing 43rd among WRs in PPR fantasy points. There’s not a ton of upside here, but 3 games could make him a fine value. Baldwin’s first 2 could come against the Panthers (21st against WRs) and Packers (25th).

14. Golden Tate, Lions

Tate was dominant with Calvin Johnson gimpy but more of a WR3 when Megatron was a full-go. In those 11 games, Tate averaged 7.6 targets, 5.5 catches and 67 yards per game with just 1 total TD. Tate will have upside in Round 1 against a burnable Cowboys secondary, but we don’t like his chances of getting a 2nd game.

15. Torrey Smith, Ravens

Smith popped in a career-high 11 TDs this season, including 1 in his last game against the Steelers. He’ll carry intriguing upside in the Wild Card Round, but we think it’ll be 1-and-done for Smith and the Ravens.

16. Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks

He missed the season finale with a hamstring injury, but we’re expecting him to be ready when Seattle comes out of its bye. Kearse finished 2nd on the Seahawks in targets (67), catches (38) and receiving yards (537). He could be a late-round value if the ‘Hawks get 3 games.

17. Martavis Bryant, Steelers

Bryant scored 8 times on just 26 catches this season. He closed with 1 catch in 3 of his last 5 games, though. This rookie will be a weekly boom-or-bust option. He didn’t play in the 1st game against Baltimore but posted a 3-44-2 line in the 2nd.

18. Steve Smith, Ravens

Smith slowed way down after a red-hot start, but he still caught 4+ balls in 5 of his last 6. Two games against the Steelers produced lines of 6-71 and 5-36.

19. Donte Moncrief, Colts

The rookie disappointed fantasy owners down the stretch, with just 5 catches for 21 scoreless yards over his last 3 games. That makes him just a flier in your playoff league. But Moncrief played 76% of the snaps the past 2 weeks. And his volume would grow if WR Reggie Wayne (groin) is out this weekend.

20. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals

Bump Sanu up these rankings a few spots if A.J. Green (concussion) is out this weekend, down a few spots if Green plays. In the 4 games Green missed all or most of, Sanu racked up 21 catches, 383 yards and 2 TDs. He totaled 35 catches, 407 yards and 3 TDs in the other 12.

21. Hakeem Nicks, Colts

22. Markus Wheaton, Steelers

23. Michael Floyd, Cardinals

24. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

25. Cole Beasley, Cowboys

26. Davante Adams, Packers

27. Paul Richardson, Seahawks

28. Wes Welker, Broncos

29. Reggie Wayne, Colts

(Questionable, groin)

30. Terrance Williams, Cowboys

31. John Brown, Cardinals

32. Philly Brown, Panthers

33. Jerricho Cotchery, Panthers


TEs

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

Gronk scored 266 PPR fantasy points this season. The next best TE in the playoffs, Greg Olsen, scored 221. The massive gap between Gronk and the rest of this position makes him worth snagging with the 1st overall pick of playoff drafts.

2. Greg Olsen, Panthers

Outside of Gronk, Olsen might have been the most reliable weekly TE play in fantasy football. He caught 5+ balls in 11 of 16 games and finished with fewer than 59 yards in just 5 outings. We like Olsen to get 2 playoffs games, starting with a plus matchup against Arizona’s 26th-ranked TE defense.

3. Jason Witten, Cowboys

The 32-year-old finished strong, with 18 catches, 208 yards and 1 TD over his last 3 games. Only 2 TEs scored more PPR points during that stretch. Witten opens against the Lions’ 18th-ranked TE. Round 2 would bring the Packers, who sit 14th vs. TEs.

4. Heath Miller, Steelers

Miller quietly finished as a top-12 fantasy TE across scoring systems. He totaled just 5 catches for 49 yards in 2 games against Baltimore this year. But a win there would bring a plus Round 2 matchup against Denver’s 27th-ranked TE defense.

5. Julius Thomas, Broncos

Perhaps the bye week will get Thomas back to 100% -- and back to a significant role in the offense. But that’s a leap you’ll need to take if you draft him. Thomas has totaled just 3 catches for 63 scoreless yards in 3 games since returning from that ankle injury

6. Coby Fleener, Colts

Fleener was a top-5 fantasy TE over the 2nd half of the season, posting 4+ grabs in 6 of his last 8 games. He’ll remain Indy’s top pass-catching TE in the playoffs, regardless of Dwayne Allen’s (knee) status. Fleener opens against Cincinnati’s 16th-ranked TE defense. Round 2 would bring the Patriots (24th) or Broncos (27th).

7. Dwayne Allen, Colts

Allen missed the regular-season finale with a knee injury and remains iffy for the 1st round of the playoffs. He’s caught multiple passes in just 3 of his last 6 games, but he’s scored in 4 of those.

8. Tim Wright, Patriots

Wright finished 8 of 12 games with 1 or fewer catch. He scored in 5 different games, though. That makes him an intriguing late-round flier, especially if he can get 3 games.

9. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals

10. Eric Ebron, Lions

11. Luke Willson, Seahawks

12. Richard Rodgers, Packers

13. Owen Daniels, Ravens

14. Andrew Quarless, Packers

15. John Carlson, Cardinals


Ks

1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

2. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks

3. Mason Crosby, Packers

4. Connor Barth, Broncos

5. Shaun Suisham, Steelers

6. Dan Bailey, Cowboys

7. Adam Vinatieri, Colts

8. Graham Gano, Panthers

9. Mike Nugent, Bengals

10. Justin Tucker, Ravens

11. Matt Prater, Lions

12. Chandler Catanzaro, Cardinals


DEFs

1. Seahawks

2. Packers

3. Patriots

4. Broncos

5. Steelers

6. Panthers

7. Cowboys

8. Colts

9. Cardinals

10. Ravens

11. Bengals

12. Lions

Kevin English Author Image
Kevin English, Senior Analyst
Kevin brings 15 years of experience as a fantasy analyst and mid-stakes competitor across various formats (redraft, best ball, dynasty, DFS). His work has been featured on The Mercury News, Rotoworld, and FantasyPros.
Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

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