Sunday Divisional Storylines

Intro

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. I covered the two Saturday games in a previous article, and now it’s time to cover the Sunday games. I won’t waste any more time, so let’s jump straight in!

Chiefs vs. Browns

Chiefs

For the Chiefs, I hope that Clyde Edwards-Helaire can suit up for this game. He’s listed as questionable on the final injury report, but he needs to make a statement to recover his dynasty value. I believe that the Chiefs will need to run the ball at least somewhat effectively to make a Super Bowl run, and Edwards-Helaire is by far their most talented running back.

Outside of Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs have little to watch. We know that Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are absolute studs. As usual, Sammy Watkins will miss this game, which could open the door for Mecole Hardman to make a small impact. However, Hardman hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunities when Hill or Watkins have missed time in the past.

Browns

The Browns’ storyline likely centers around Baker Mayfield. Mayfield played well in limited work last week, completing 21/34 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The Browns’ defense carried them to a 48-37 victory over the Steelers, but Mayfield managed the game well.

However, Mayfield will need to throw the ball far more this week to keep up with the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. Mayfield has proven that he’s a good real-life NFL quarterback this season, although I’m still not confident in his long-term fantasy prospects. His performance this week will help dynasty owners decide where they fall on Mayfield.

Saints vs. Buccaneers

Saints

The Saints had a comfortable victory in the Wild Card round over the Bears, 21-9. The Bears’ offense managed nearly nothing against the Saints’ defense, allowing the Saints to sit back and control the clock. Both Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas had strong performances, though. Each player scored a touchdown, and Kamara took 23 carries for 99 yards.

This week, I expect the Saints’ two studs to have a monster week. Latavius Murray and Taysom Hill are both questionable on the final injury report, which will give Kamara a chance at a massive workload. Murray vultured a touchdown last week, and Hill provides an extra rushing option. If Murray and Hill miss the game or are limited, the Saints and Drew Brees will lean on Thomas to help move their offense down the field.

In dynasty leagues, I might use a massive performance to sell Kamara and Thomas, though. Brees seems set to retire after this season, and I don’t have confidence in the Saints’ future quarterback situation. Head coach Sean Payton wants to use Taysom Hill as his 2021 starter, which would significantly hurt Kamara and Thomas’ fantasy value. Now is an excellent time to get out from under these high-valued, star players.

Buccaneers

The Buccaneers are a bit different from the Saints. I see the Buccaneers as entering a dynasty holding pattern in 2021. Tom Brady remains on a fully-guaranteed, 25 million dollar contract for 2021, so the Buccaneers will be in complete win-now mode. Normally, I wouldn’t expect them to re-sign higher-priced players like Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, or Rob Gronkowski with alternatives on the roster, but they might try to squeeze one more year out of this squad.

Therefore, when watching the Buccaneers this week, I’m most interested in their running back situation. Ronald Jones is questionable on the final injury report after sitting out all of last week with a quad injury. Whether Jones plays or not, I expect him to see limited work, leaving Leonard Fournette as the starter.

However, the Buccaneers have demonstrated that they prefer Jones to Fournette when both are healthy. Fournette had a solid game last week, with 19 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 39 yards. I think that Fournette has value for either the Buccaneers or another team in 2021, and if he has another strong game, he could sign a nice contract in free agency.

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, Saturday Wild Card, Sunday Wild Card

jkarp

Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate.

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