More Projections and Optimals for FFPC Playoff Contests: The Wrong Read, Divisional Round
Image Credit: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Christian McCaffrey.

Week 2 of the Playoffs also brings Part 2 of the FFPC Playoff Challenge. The rules are a little different, and the prizes are a little smaller, but the games are more important and arguably less predictable.

The Divisional Round Playoff Challenge differs from the original version in that it only includes eight roster spots. There are only eight teams remaining in the playoffs, so every team will be a part of every roster. There are no kicker slots, no D/ST slots, and no teams to fade.

Using the same methodology we used for the previous contest, we can also come up with some projections and optimal lineups for the Divisional Round. The projections below are based on a RotoViz Screener model that weights recent weeks slightly more heavily, and an adjusted version of Neil Paine’s playoff probabilities. (As before, we’re counting the Super Bowl as two games to account for the double-scoring bonus.)

Projections

PLAYERTEAMPointsAdj. GamesTotal
Lamar JacksonBAL23.142.9067.1
Christian McCaffreySF21.802.7560.0
Brock PurdySF19.532.7553.7
Josh AllenBUF19.582.0940.9
George KittleSF14.742.7540.5
Brandon AiyukSF14.332.7539.4
Deebo SamuelSF13.362.7536.7
Zay FlowersBAL12.512.9036.3
Patrick MahomesKC21.441.6936.3
Jared GoffDET19.681.7534.5
Amon-Ra St. BrownDET18.531.7532.5
Stefon DiggsBUF14.252.0929.8
C.J. StroudHOU20.181.4629.4
Isaiah LikelyBAL9.952.9028.9
Baker MayfieldTB18.951.5128.6
Jordan LoveGB19.221.4628.1
Gus EdwardsBAL9.462.9027.4
Isiah PachecoKC15.501.6926.2
James CookBUF12.522.0926.2
Jahmyr GibbsDET13.761.7524.1
Rashee RiceKC14.081.6923.8
David MontgomeryDET13.421.7523.5
Mike EvansTB15.471.5123.3
Odell Beckham Jr.BAL8.022.9023.3
Nico CollinsHOU15.411.4622.5
Travis KelceKC13.251.6922.4
Rachaad WhiteTB14.531.5121.9
Dalton KincaidBUF10.302.0921.5
Gabe DavisBUF10.102.0921.1
Justice HillBAL7.222.9020.9
Mark AndrewsBAL6.992.9020.3
Chris GodwinTB12.541.5118.9
Rashod BatemanBAL6.462.9018.7
Jordan MasonSF6.372.7517.5
Jayden ReedGB11.591.4617.0
Nelson AgholorBAL5.612.9016.3
Aaron JonesGB10.941.4616.0
Romeo DoubsGB10.761.4615.8
Bo MeltonGB10.541.4615.4
Jauan JenningsSF5.612.7515.4
Dalton SchultzHOU10.331.4615.1
Christian WatsonGB10.151.4614.9
Devin SingletaryHOU10.031.4614.6
Tucker KraftGB9.791.4614.3
Khalil ShakirBUF6.842.0914.3
Josh ReynoldsDET7.931.7513.9
Latavius MurrayBUF6.632.0913.9
Justin WatsonKC7.211.6912.2
Jerick McKinnonKC7.021.6911.9
Cade OttonTB7.801.5111.8
Dameon PierceHOU8.051.4611.7
Dawson KnoxBUF5.562.0911.6
Jameson WilliamsDET6.291.7511.0

This data recommends a fairly unsurprising way to play the contest. Your high-value positions — QB and RB — should be occupied by teams most likely to make the Super Bowl. The lower value positions — the WR and TE slots — are best for teams you don’t expect to win in the Divisional Round.

SLOT PLAYER TEAM TOTAL POINTS
QB Lamar Jackson BAL 67.1
RB Christian McCaffrey SF 60.0
RB Isiah Pacheco KC 26.2
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown DET 32.5
WR Stefon Diggs BUF 29.8
TE Tucker Kraft GB 14.3
FLEX Mike Evans TB 23.3
FLEX Nico Collins HOU 22.5

Yet, as before, the way you expect the playoff games to play out has a drastic effect on how you should construct lineups. We’ll explore some of those scenarios below.

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are favored by 9.5, but that likely overstates their true likelihood of winning this game. While Baltimore has one of the toughest pass defenses, they have already ruled out cornerback Marlon Humphrey. That said, the Ravens’ defense hasn’t missed a beat when he’s been off the field this season — by some measures they’ve actually been better.

Ravens Defense With and Without Marlon Humphrey

Yet no team is coming in hotter than the Texans. C.J. Stroud passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns against what we thought was one of the toughest pass defenses in the league. Additionally, Baltimore has one of the least effective rushing defenses in the league, ranking 31st in both evasion rate and yards after contact allowed. Houston meanwhile is No. 1 in rushing success rate allowed. If the Texans can control the ball and score when they have chances, this could be a much closer game than Vegas expects.

If we assume Houston upsets Baltimore, that changes the optimal lineup in a dramatic way.

SLOT PLAYER TEAM TOTAL POINTS
QB C.J. Stroud HOU 51.9
RB Christian McCaffrey SF 60.0
RB Isiah Pacheco KC 26.2
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown DET 32.5
WR Stefon Diggs BUF 29.8
TE Isaiah Likely BAL 10.0
FLEX Mike Evans TB 23.3
FLEX Jayden Reed GB 17.0

Of course, this lineup doesn’t make any other assumptions about the other games on the slate. Let’s take a closer look at those matchups and then explore some other scenarios.

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

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Blair Andrews

Managing Editor, Author of The Wrong Read, Occasional Fantasy Football League Winner. All opinions are someone else's.

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