The NFL playoffs are beginning, and these fantasy football Picks to Click will help you start them with a bang!
Top Pick: Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), $14,800 vs (BAL)
Andrew Luck has a tough matchup, and to be quite frank, Roethlisberger was the better quarterback this year. Big Ben finished the regular season ranked fourth in Pro Football Focus (PFF) QB Rating, led the league in passing yards, and finished seventh in touchdown passes with 32. Le’Veon Bell is likely to be a shell of himself if he’s able to tolerate the pain and is medically cleared to play after suffering a hyperextended knee last week. That leaves Roethlisberger in a position to carry a larger work load against a Ravens defense that PFF ranked 19th in pass coverage and Football Outsiders (FO) ranked 15th in pass defense.
Value Pick: Tony Romo (DAL), $13,900 vs (DET)
Romo has been brilliant this season, and he finished the regular season ranked second in PFF QB Rating, fourth in touchdown passes, and first in Yds/Att. Vegas Insider has the Cowboys currently serving as the biggest betting favorites in the first round of the NFL Playoffs, and they’re favored by seven points in a game with a 48 point betting total. The Lions defense has been great this year ranking third overall at both PFF and FO, but they’ve been better against the run than the pass, and that should leave Romo in a position to siphon some of the work away from stud runner DeMarco Murray.
Top Pick: Jeremy Hill (CIN), $10,800 @ (IND)
Hill closed his rookie regular season in style by rushing for 100 yards or more in his last three games. He cracked the top-10 in rushing yards ranking eighth with 1,124, tied for sixth among backs that played 25% or more of their team’s snaps in yards-per-carry (5.7 YPC), tied for fifth with 2.8 YCo/Att, and tied for third in rushing touchdowns with nine. He’s the bell cow to Giovani Bernard the change-of-pace back, and he shouldn’t have much difficulty gashing a Colts run defense ranked 19th by PFF and FO.
Value Pick: Justin Forsett (BAL), $9,750 @ (PIT)
It was a shockingly excellent year for the well-traveled Forsett. His 1,270 yards rushing finished the year as the fifth most, and while his 5.4 YPC ranked tied for third, it was the highest mark among backs who reached triple digits in carries. He was familiar with the end zone, scoring eight touchdowns rushing (tied for eighth most), and he added value in reality and to fantasy teams as a receiver. Forsett’s 44 receptions cracked the top-10 among running backs. His receiving skills could come in handy against a middle of the pack run defense of the Steelers that has, however, been giving to backs in the passing game ranking just 22nd stopping running backs as receivers per FO.
Top Pick: Antonio Brown (PIT), $15,650 vs (BAL)
Brown went for the trifecta at the wide receiver position finishing atop the heap in targets, receptions and receiving yards, and his 13 touchdowns were tied for the second most to boot. He’s priced accordingly, as the most expensive receiver. He’s worth it, though. The electric pass catcher topped 70 yards receiving and had five or more grabs in every single game this year, and a Ravens defense that is without Jimmy Smith ranked 19th defending number one wide receivers. Brown should have a field day.
Value Pick: John Brown (ARI), $5,500 @ (CAR)
The pickings are slim for bargain wide outs, but Brown stands out in that crowd (even with Ryan Lindley throwing him passes). The rookie wide receiver was largely overshadowed by what has been an insanely talented group of pass catching colleagues, but his 48 receptions for 696 yards receiving with five touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at. He ranks second on the Cardinals in targets, receptions, and receiving touchdowns. The Panthers defense looked sharp down the stretch, and with the Cardinals as a six point underdog in a game with a betting total of 38, it doesn’t look promising for much offensive output. That said, Brown is under priced, even if he’s only able to total between 50-60 yards receiving as he has in both of Lindley’s starts this year.
Top Pick: Heath Miller (PIT), $8,050 vs (BAL)
Greg Olsen is the most talented tight end playing in this round of the playoffs, but a low betting total in his game and a sizable gap in price between he and Miller tips the scales in the Steelers’ tight end’s favor. Miller ranked tied for ninth in targets and receiving yards, and seventh in receptions at the tight end position. He’ll look to play well against the division rival Ravens who ranked 20th defending tight ends per FO.
Value Pick: Owen Daniels (BAL), $6,700 @ (PIT)
Checking in just a little cheaper than Miller is the tight end opposing him, Daniels. The former Texan moved to the top of the depth chart when Dennis Pitta’s season ended in late September, and while he’s not peak years good, he has gotten a useful number of looks from Joe Flacco in the passing attack. Daniels’ single game season high in receiving yards was 70, and he twice (in back-to-back weeks no less) matched his season high in receptions of six, and those totals are an indicator of just how low the ceiling is. The reason for using Daniels is simple, though, and that’s in order to save money to spend on other big ticket items while not completely punting at tight end. In fact, with the Steelers ranking 28th defending tight ends, and one of Daniels’ season high six reception games coming against the guys in yellow and black, his low ceiling might very much be in reach.