I love writing these storyline pieces. Now that we’ve hit the playoffs, I want to cover all the games, bringing you at least something to think about when you watch the playoffs. Even though playoffs don’t count for our fantasy teams, playoff performances can have massive effects on future dynasty value.
This piece will give you something specific to look for in each contest, which I hope helps you enjoy the games even more. We all play fantasy football to enhance our enjoyment of football, and I’m trying to add to that sense of happiness here. Fun is the most essential part of this hobby for all of us, including me.
I’ve listed the home team first for each game to keep things organized. For this week, I’ll cover the Saturday games in one article and the Sunday games in another. I won’t waste any more time, so let’s jump straight in!
Bills vs. Colts
The Bills are an exciting team for dynasty purposes. Josh Allen has become a stud quarterback, raising the fantasy value of all the receiving weapons on the Bills. Stefon Diggs had a fantastic year, finishing with 127 receptions for 1,535 yards and eight touchdowns. However, we know that Allen and Diggs are stud assets. I’m more interested in watching the Bills’ younger assets, tight end Dawson Knox and fourth-round rookie receiver Gabriel Davis.
Knox had struggled early in the 2020 season with COVID-19 and a couple of injuries, but he fully returned to the lineup in Week 10. Knox played 55% or more of snaps in every game since then, averaging a 67% share. In those seven games, Knox totaled 18 receptions on 32 targets for 195 yards and three touchdowns. I’m not saying that Knox will have a massive game against the Colts’ tough defense, but he just turned 24 years old and will be in Year 3 in 2021. Keep him on your dynasty radar, especially in TE-premium leagues.
Davis had a solid year for a fourth-round rookie, totaling 35 receptions on 62 targets for 599 yards and seven touchdowns. Davis found excellent chemistry with Josh Allen, placing him as an attractive long-term dynasty asset. If Davis can have a strong playoff performance, he will vault even further up dynasty boards.
Unlike the Bills, I only have eyes for one Colts’ player in this game. That’s Jonathan Taylor, who just went for 253 yards and two touchdowns in Week 17. I already have Taylor as my second-ranked dynasty asset in 1QB leagues, but he has the opportunity to take the ultimate step and become the dynasty 1.01.
If Taylor crushes the Bills like he crushed the Jaguars last week, dynasty owners will react and place him at the top of their rankings. Taylor is a rookie who finished third in the league in rushing yards while averaging 5.0 YPC. He also caught 36 of 39 targets for 299 yards and a touchdown, far exceeding expectations in the receiving game. Taylor needs one or two more exclamation points to take the 1.01 crown away from Christian McCaffrey.
Seahawks vs. Rams
The Seahawks are always a frustrating offense. Russell Wilson is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, but head coach Pete Carroll insists on “establishing the run.” While Chris Carson is a good running back, I think we all know that Wilson is a better quarterback than Carson is a running back.
Therefore, I want to see what the Seahawks do in this playoff game. I know that the Rams have multiple injuries, including their quarterback, potentially providing the Seahawks with a massive lead. The Seahawks may run the ball more than usual if the Rams can’t score. Either way, all eyes will be on the Seahawks’ coaching staff, as the dynasty value of Wilson, D.K. Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett are all on the line.
I still have no idea if Jared Goff or backup John Wolford will start this contest as Goff recovers from thumb surgery. If Wolford starts, I think dynasty owners should mostly toss this game for the Rams’ weapons. We have no idea if Wolford’s tendencies will apply for Goff in 2021 and beyond. Goff is the Rams’ clear starting quarterback, and Wolford won’t be a threat to his job unless he leads the Rams to the Super Bowl.
However, I do believe we can take something from Cam Akers in this game. Darrell Henderson remains on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain, leaving just Akers and Malcolm Brown in the backfield. Akers got in full practices this week with his ankle injury, so he should have a full workload. If Akers has a big game, he’ll vault up dynasty rankings, especially if he bails out a Goff-less Rams team.
Washington vs. Buccaneers
Washington’s offense has many injuries, with Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and Alex Smith all listed as questionable on the final injury report. I expect each of those players to play, although they could all have a slightly limited role. However, I’m not focusing on any of those guys as my primary storyline for Washington.
I’m most interested in Logan Thomas, who’s had a fantastic breakout season in 2020. He caught 72 of 110 targets for 670 yards and six touchdowns, more than doubling his career production coming into the season. If Thomas can perform well against a tough Buccaneers’ defense in the playoffs, he will gain dynasty owners’ full trust going into the offseason.
I’m still not entirely sure if Mike Evans will gut it out with his knee injury, but he won’t be 100% even if he does. However, Evans is the only significant receiver here that has a contract for 2021. Both Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are free agents, along with tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski is the easy one, as he’ll either return to the Buccaneers or retire.
But, I expect Godwin and even Brown to continue their NFL careers, whether it’s with the Buccaneers or another franchise. As we’ve seen, the Buccaneers and Tom Brady cannot truly support all three receivers and Gronkowski to their full potential. I’m curious to see who Brady leans on without or with a limited Evans, Godwin, or Brown. The Buccaneers will go all-in for Brady’s likely final season in 2021, and they would probably prefer to keep the cheaper Brown over the expensive Godwin if forced to choose. Either way, there’s a lot to watch in the Buccaneers’ receiving group.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.
Previous Storyline Articles: Week 6 Early Games, Week 6 Late Games, Week 7 Thursday Night, Week 7 Early Games, Week 7 Late Games, Week 8 Thursday Night, Week 8 Early Games, Week 8 Late Games, Week 9 Thursday Night, Week 9 Early Games, Week 9 Late Games, Week 10 Thursday Night, Week 10 Early Games, Week 10 Late Games, Week 11 Thursday Night, Week 11 Early Games, Week 11 Late Games, Thanksgiving Day, Week 13, Week 14, Week 15, Week 16, Week 17