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Fantasy Playoff Preview – AFC

Fantasy Playoff Preview

While the fantasy football season may be over, the playoff season is just beginning. Check out the full team-by-team AFC analysis as you get ready for your fantasy playoff drafts.

AFC Team Previews

New England Patriots

The only downfall with this team is that they will only be able to play three games maximum due to their first-round bye. However, it is going to be very difficult to knock out the Patriots on their home field, so you should get three games out of them.

Tom Brady is obviously your best choice on the New England roster while Wes Welker and Deion Branch are the top two receiving options and they will be well-rested in a few weeks. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is your best running back option and Danny Woodhead is worth a look in points-per-reception leagues. Rob Gronkowski gets the edge over Aaron Hernandez at the tight end position. He has evolved into a touchdown machine.

Pittsburgh Steelers

With Troy Polamalu in the lineup, Pittsburgh has what it takes to be a Super Bowl team. I also would like their potential matchup with Indianapolis at home in their first game. However, if they end up facing Baltimore (should the New York Jets defeat Indianapolis), an unfortunate slugfest could ensue, which would be a fantasy nightmare. There are plenty of weapons in Pittsburgh and don’t get me wrong, I could see them beating New England on the road, but there is too much risk in my opinion to take many Steelers this year, especially since they have one less game with their bye.

Indianapolis Colts

There are just not enough weapons left in Indianapolis for Peyton Manning this season and even if they get by a New York Jets team that will remember last year’s AFC Championship game (30-17 Colts win), I do not like their chances in Pittsburgh the following week

If you are a Colts believer, the only positions you can trust are at quarterback, tight end and wide receiver. You do not know what will come out of the backfield and only Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are viable wide receiver options.

Kansas City Chiefs

Sorry Chiefs fans, but you got a tough draw in the playoffs this year. It was a very successful season in Kansas City, but Baltimore will not be an easy opponent, even in Arrowhead. Even if they pull out a win this weekend, their chances would look bleak in Foxboro or at Heinz field. Therefore, with the threat of being one-and-done or playing a maximum of two games, Chiefs players should be avoided this postseason.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are a team that can play with anyone in the AFC and they have a winnable first-round road game at Kansas City. While the Chiefs have been very good at home this season, it is nothing like a trip to one of the other AFC destinations. Baltimore will deal with a game in New England or Pittsburgh when the time comes.

If you are planning on taking Ravens this playoff season, then you should be rooting for the New York Jets as well to force a Pittsburgh-Baltimore matchup. While this could be a low-scoring affair, the Ravens would have a better chance to knock off division rival Pittsburgh than New England. A player to keep an eye on that continues to be overlooked is Derrick Mason. There is a player in the NFC that fits that category that plays the same position. He will be in tomorrow’s NFC preview.

New York Jets

Do the Jets have the postseason magic of a year ago? They have a rematch with Indianapolis to pick up where they left off last year. A win and they will face their divisional rival in Foxboro. Therefore, the road ahead looks very difficult for New York this season compared to last. If you want to take a chance on a Wild Card team this season, go with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC. However, the real Wild Card chances should be taken in the NFC, where you can read all about that playoff preview tomorrow.

AFC Team Rankings

1. Patriots

2. Ravens

3. Steelers

4. Colts

5. Chiefs

6. Jets

That is my order for the players to take this postseason. The Steelers and Ravens have very similar chances in the playoffs and I would rather go with the team that has the opportunity to play more games. I also think Baltimore has a great shot to get to the AFC Championship if Wild Card weekend pans out the way I have picked.

First-Round Predictions:

Jets 24, Colts 20
Ravens 31, Chiefs 17

Setting up divisional weekend to be just that – divisional rival weekend in the AFC, with New England hosting New York and Baltimore traveling to Pittsburgh.

NFC Preview tomorrow …

Nick Pagliuca

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