2019 Season: AFC Playoff Preview (Handicapping, Fantasy)
Let’s look at the AFC from a betting standpoint which leads directly into the fantasy aspect. Some of you play ‘Playoff Fantasy’ (and you should, to enhance the playoff watch more -- it’s easy and mostly free on major sites, but with prizes, but there are money leagues to compete in on like FFPC or MyFantasyLeague).
Some play in the FF-playoff leagues that the point values rise with each round your player chosen makes it to, some you get a one-time use only player every round and you need new guys every week (so you want to pick good performers from teams that lose), while others have a real fantasy draft of just the playoff players. It’s crazy…and great that we have all these new postseason FF options.
I’m going to go through each game, and share some thoughts notes on each and some players I’m looking at…and perhaps it will aid in your studies/choices. AFC first…
BUF at HOU (-2.5)
I like Buffalo in this game. I don’t believe it is a given, but my lean is that Buffalo is one of the 4-5 best teams in the NFL and the single toughest unit in the playoffs. I wish this game was played outdoors in the cold to only further enhance my love for the Bills here. On turf, at Houston…I’m cautiously optimistic for an outright Bills upset.
The Texans defense is weak, especially against the pass. When the Bills can throw…they utilize John Brown. He could have a 100+ yard game with a TD here…4 TDs his last 6 games played in 2019.
Brown had 5 or more catches in nine of 15 games in 2019 and 68 or more yards in nine of 15 games in 2019. His biggest game came against the Jets and Miami and was nice against Cincy, NYG, CLE along the way. And Houston ended the season #29 in pass yards allowed and pass TDs allowed. Brown for at least 5-70-1 looks solid.
Josh Allen usually prospers in these types of games, but not so much as a passer but as a runner. Allen rushed for 9 TDs this season. He ran for 8 TDs last season. He’s a statistical 50% guy to run for a TD in any given game.
If you’re going to beat Buffalo, you gotta run not pass…the Bills ended #4 in least pass yards allowed and #2 in least pass TDs allowed. It’s not a good outlook for Deshaun Watson for big FF-upside…and Tre’Davious White is capable of holding DeAndre Hopkins down.
The Houston fantasy play is probably more chasing Carlos Hyde (non-PPR) and Duke Johnson (PPR).
I think Duke Johnson and Devin Singletary are the sleepers plays here…Duke to get 5+ catches out of the backfield, and Singletary to just be great and catch 2-4 passes.
TEN at NE (-5.0)
I think we all have the same feeling here…the Patriots look like crap to the finish line and Tennessee went strong to the finish – and you’re giving me +5.0 to take the Titans. BUT, as soon as we get excited about that…we then think…but this is where the Patriots rise up and become the Patriots. Last season, the Titans stomped the Patriots in the regular season. I’m not sure there is a full fear of New England by Tennessee going into this game.
The Patriots went 4-4 in their final 8 games. One real convincing win in the 8 games…over Cincy, where they played like crap in the 1st-half and the Bengals gifted them back into the game. The Pats went 12-4 this season. Take out wins over teams drafting in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Pats were 7-3 this season against everyone else. Against playoff teams, the Pats were 3-3. It’s not a great New England team, but still dangerous.
However, Tennessee faced five playoff teams and went 2-3 against them…but the two wins were shaky – beating Houston with A.J. McCarron starting Week 17 and a total luck win vs. KC on a blocked FG return TD late midseason. Still, they’ve played all teams tough under Tannehill, and when they needed to win they usually dropped the hammer. I’d take Tennessee plus the points but I'm not sure I think they’ll actually win.
I think New England could really stymie the Titans…they’ll stack Derrick Henry and have Stephon Gillmore take out A.J. Brown – and make Ryan Tannehill beat them. Brady v. Tannehill almost certainly means ‘go with Brady’.
I like the Pats defense in this game…to handle the Titans, but not with 100% confidence. I think the Patriots will run on Tennessee and thus we’ll see Sony Michel with a normal game and Burkhead-White mixed into the action often as well. A steady rain in this game will help the Pats D and run game to a degree...but mute the passing game of both teams.
I like the sleepers of (1) N’Keal Harry having to be a go-to in this game…maybe a mini-breakout. (2) I also like Tennessee to try to use the weapon the Pats won’t try to take out right away…Jonnu Smith.
2020 Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball Subscriptions Coming Soon
It’s almost time for season #2 of our last season’s debut subscription…Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball.
I created Dynasty offseason as a way to communicate rankings/valuations on (500+) existing players (and also 400+ IDPs) for Dynasty and Keeper planning purposes (trades, etc.) as well as getting the jump on Best Ball/MFL drafts that begin in February and run all the rest of the year.
The fastest growing success percentage/money earning with FFM scouting/rankings/etc. is in those Best Ball/MFLs – draft a deep roster and forget it until the season begins, and then just watch the results…no lineup settings, no trading. Just pay to compete, out-draft everyone else, and try and cash in on our early/better read on things.
Dynasty Offseason subscriptions will be available when College Football Metrics begins (1/3/20), and you can purchase as a combo or just individually the one you want/need. However, the Dynasty Offseason rankings, etc., will not kickoff until right after the Super Bowl (articles and reports will post in January but player rankings/mock drafts not until past the Super Bowl)…and then we pile in material daily/weekly until opening day of the new NFL season.
If you were not a part of the Dynasty Offseason program last year, I will have more details on it on my playoff game recaps in 2020 and some additional explanation on Best Ball/MFL leagues, how to get started in them, how they work, etc. – if you’re not doing Best Ball/MFLs…you are missing out. I’ll explain more In January.
If I go Buffalo and New England to win their games outright, then it would make the next round…
BUF (or HOU) at BAL (-7.5 as a guess) and NE at KC (-5.0 as a guess)
I’m thinking Baltimore is the one unstoppable team in this playoff, but if one team stops them it would be Patrick Mahomes single-handedly blasting past them and making the Ravens play from behind and the Chiefs pulling off the upset.
I think the Chiefs will go all-in throwing the ball…going with their best to win. I love Mahomes-Tyreek for the post season and as possible shocks to go all the way.
Marquise Brown is a great sleeper in all this because he’s been quasi-hurt and the Ravens haven’t had to throw as much to him – but Lamar may deal him some big games, especially in a shootout vs. KC and into the Super Bowl. He’s Lamar’s #1 WR, but that’s been hidden for several weeks.
Devin Singletary vs. Baltimore, if it happens – I love that potential. You beat the Ravens running the ball.
I don’t know if I love any DST here in the AFC, but I could see the Bills or the Chiefs as a bit of a deep sleeper. The Bills if they find a way to halt Baltimore, and they gave them fits a few weeks ago. Weather and wins favors (for FF) KC and Baltimore, and New England.
In the end, I think Baltimore has a showdown with the Chiefs and I have to go with the Ravens because they’ve been the league’s most dominant team. I think the Bills could scare the Ravens and that the Chiefs could shockingly whoop them…but I don’t trust Andy Reid. The smart money is on the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl (and win it). The sleeper money is on KC. The deep sleeper money is the Bills out-discipline teams on their way to the AFC finals. I don’t think they could win three major games in a row to get to the Super Bowl, not this year…they may not get past Houston.
*Tomorrow we look at the NFC Playoffs.
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