NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football 2017: Team Rankings

After you set up your NFL Playoffs fantasy league, check out our team rankings.

NOTE – These team rankings were for the 2016-17 season. If you’re looking for our 2017-18 Team Rankings, click here



Welcome back, addict. Still want to squeeze out every last drop of fantasy football juice this season? Of course you do.  As you probably know, we’ve already covered the basics for setting up and dominating an NFL Playoffs Fantasy Football league earlier today. Also, check out our Experts Draft, to see how we drafted our teams.

At this point, you’ve found five other addicts and have settled upon your roster + scoring settings. Now, in arguably the most crucial step to dominating a Fantasy Playoff league, its time to make your Team Rankings. Recall, individual players will rack up points for as many games as they last; consequently, properly picking out the teams that will go on deep runs, and investing in the individual talents here, is the most important step to Playoff Fantasy domination.

Below, find my personal Team Rankings and the logic behind them.  While the top is unsurprising, the second tier was impossibly difficult to sort through, with numerous teams featuring multiple game upside and explosive fantasy talent.

Team Rankings (based on potential games played)

Tier One – The Highest Floor / Ceiling Combo

1. New England Patriots – With homefield locked up, no one is coming into Gillette and winning. This means three games, locked in, for some highly skilled fantasy talents.   In one of the most satisfying images of a lifetime, Tom Our Savior is going to mow down opponents en route to a fifth Lombardi Trophy… handed over from Goodell’s quaking, crooked hands. The stare down. The eventual, knowing, gorgeous, “Nice try, I’m still Tom Brady” smile that will spread upon the GOAT’s beautiful face. Perhaps a tear rolling down Goodell’s corrupt cheek?  Glory. Hallelujah. Almighty.

(Spoiler: Tom Brady will be #1 on tomorrow’s Big Board).

Tier Two – The Title Winning Boom / Busters

Teams in consideration: Cowboys, Giants, Packers, Seahawks, Steelers, Falcons

Sorting through this tier – With each of these teams carrying so much explosive fantasy talent, tying yourself to the right Tier Two horses will likely determine your 2017 Fantasy Playoff fortunes.  Unfortunately, this is as murky a playoff situation as we’ve ever seen, especially in the NFC.  As such, we’ll spend a ton of time here. Let’s dig in.

With the Cowboys and Falcons on bye, and the unstoppable Patriots guarding the AFC, only the Seahawks, Giants, and Packers offer realistic four-game upside. Unfortunately for fantasy purposes, the Giants and Packers both square off with one another and thus each comes with a one-and-done floor.  Nonetheless, I feel the ultimate NFC Champion will come from this showdown, making this game one of 2017’s most important fantasy playoff decisions. Gun-to-my-head, I feel the Giants win and go on a deep run… eventually setting up Tom Brady and New England’s Ultimate Redemption Tour. (While I’d love to see the hideous Eli / Giants Monkey removed off of the Patriots’ back, I’d also be plenty OK never seeing New York in a Super Bowl again…).

Regardless, despite the title-winning upside that both Packers and Giants players like Odell Beckham and Jordy Nelson will offer, this situation is very boom-or-bust.  With equally explosive, but safer, talent existing elsewhere, steering clear early is somewhat advisable.  The top-seeded Cowboys, with home field locked up, an elite run game churning away with Ezekiel Elliott, and a poised Dak Prescott under center, might initially seem like the safest option; however, with an upcoming date with either the Giants or Packers (sorry, Detroit ain’t happening), the Cowboys do come with a very real one game floor; both teams have the stones to enter Jerry’s World and knock off Dallas.

The same one-and-done floor exists even more strongly with the second-seeded Falcons, given Matt Ryan’s frequency of crapping his pants in the playoffs (1-4). Following an MVP-worthy regular season, in a system that clearly suits his strength, and at home, perhaps 2017 will be the year Ryan bucks the trend.  Normally, I’d consider the Seahawks shoe-ins for a Divisional Round win, even on the road, but this defense hasn’t looked nearly the same since Earl Thomas went out.  Consequently, some of the most explosive fantasy talents in Ryan, Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have very real two + game upside. For whatever reason and unlike Dallas, I cannot see this team making the Super Bowl, capping their fantasy ceiling.

The aforementioned Seahawks, meanwhile, are pretty much guaranteed to beat the Lions at home, making them the NFC’s safest bet for at least two games of points.  If Matt Ryan’s pants remain soiled in 2017, the Seahawks are set up nicely for at least a three game run.  Hell, no one would be surprised if they made the Super Bowl, and their chances at four games feels more realistic than any other; this makes Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, and Thomas Rawls all very attractive options (in addition to their D/ST if you’re rolling with special teams).  As alluded to earlier, however, this defense is far less daunting without safety Earl Thomas, and they’ve already disappeared on multiple occassions in 2016. The two game floor, four game ceiling still is dead sexy.

With the NFC no less murky, we can briefly turn our attention back to the AFC. As near shoe-ins for a home Wildcard victory against Miami, Pittsburgh projects similarly to the Seahawks for at least two games played; however, the fantasy talent is even riper with bona-fide studs Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown here.  Big Ben’s 2016 road struggles make a Divisional Round win in Arrowhead tough to project, but the Holy Triumvirate would be postseason heroes with three games if they pull it off.

My Ultimate Order:

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

3. New York Giants  

4. Seattle Seahawks 

5. Dallas Cowboys

6. Green Bay Packers – if they beat New York and go on a run, this ranking would be catastrophically low

7. Atlanta Falcons

General Tip – Ideally, you’ll be able to tie your fantasy fortunes to your personal team rankings; however, draft flow might not allow this, and any of the above squads carry the desirable combination of  explosive individual talent and multiple games ceilings. Once you’ve made your choice, stay committed. If you load up on Packers, avoid Giants. If the Falcons become part of your plan, shy away from Seahawks.

Tier 3 – Maybe you’ll get two

The dropoff in ceiling is MASSIVE after these top seven. Stock up while you can. 

8. Kansas City Chiefs –  While the Chiefs feature some intriguing talents, especially Tyreek Hill, they are a huge risk for a one-and-done.  Most likely, they’ll be facing a Pittsburgh team that, despite some 2016 road struggles, has the talent to pull of a victory away. Plus, there’s no chance the Chiefs come to New England and pull off a miracle; their absolute best case is two games.

9. Houston Texans –  Osweiler infection, yuck.  Whoever thought we’d all be rooting for Tom Savage to return to the field?!  At home and against the Matt McGloin led Raiders, Houston should be a safe bet for two games.  This could mean decent numbers for Lamar Miller, and DeAndre Hopkins had a season-high 123 yards in Week 17 … but we should all know not to trust any talent dependent on the steaming diarrhea pile named Brock.

10. Oakland Raiders – Have we mentioned how bad Osweiler is yet?  In case we weren’t clear, he’s certainly capable of folding at home against a creature named Matt McGloin. A second game would give skill position guys like Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree a boost… but then again, it’s McGloin at the helm. How many points will truly be racked up, even in 10 games?

Tier 4 – Lol, one game

11. Miami Dolphins 

12. Detroit Lions 

Despite being near-locks for Wildcard losses, the talent and potential “one game explosion” from guys like Jay Ajayi, Golden Tate, and Matthew Stafford keep these teams fantasy relevant.  Unlike those above them, however,  I truly cannot conceive any situation (barring a major injury from an opponent) that would keep these two alive in the Divisional Round.


With team rankings + potential games played now at the forefront of your mind, you can confidently begin the player ranking process.  Don’t forget to keep the individual talent in mind as well — two games of Osweiler still isn’t any better than a single game of Stafford, so even though the Lions remain in the basement here, these team rankings aren’t the end-all-be -all.  Still, with far more multi-game upside, tie a much higher value to players from the top-7 teams as you sift through.

Check out how to set up your league and come back tomorrow for our positional rankings and Big Board.

Positional Rankings


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