It’s always fun to watch the NFL playoffs without any fantasy ramifications, but most hardcore fantasy players probably still pay attention to who has good “fantasy” days.
The NFL playoffs are an extension of the fantasy season because it allows us to see how star players perform in difficult matchups, and for sure drives their 2023 fantasy draft stock up or down, depending on how they play.
For those who didn’t pay close attention or maybe already forgot, here is a recap on every game played this weekend, and how the fantasy-relevant players performed.
San Francisco vs Seattle (41-23)
Seattle put up a valiant fight in the first half of this game, but were just overwhelmed by the surprising rise of Brock Purdy and star Running Back Christian McCaffery .
Purdy finished with 332 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and added a rushing touchdown. McCaffery rushed 15 times for 119 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards and a touchdown. Deebo Samuel had a nice game as well, catching six-of-nine targets for 133 yards and one touchdown. He rushed three times for an additional 32 yards. Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle were relatively quiet, with Aiyuk finishing with three catches for 73 yards and Kittle finishing with two catches for 37 yards.
For Seattle, Geno Smith had a decent game, throwing for 253 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. D.K. Metcalf led the team with 10 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Other than that, no other offensive player for the Seahawks really did much. Kenneth Walker rushed 15 times for 63 yards and a touchdown and this season really showed he should be a star in the coming years. Tyler Lockett did catch six passes, but only for 39 yards.
San Francisco will now face the Cowboys in what should be an interesting defensive matchup.
Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville (30-31)
Arguably the best game of the weekend, Jacksonville overcame a 27-point deficit and kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to shock the Chargers (no pun intended).
Trevor Lawrence started horribly, tossing four interceptions in the first half, but somehow turned it around and finished with 288 yards and four touchdowns. Pretty much every fantasy-relevant player on the Jaguars had a big day, with Tight End Evan Engram leading the team with seven catches for 93 yards and one touchdown. Christian Kirk went for 78 yards and one touchdown on eight catches, and Zay Jones went for 74 yards and one touchdown on eight catches. Travis Etienne also had himself a day, rushing for 109 yards on twenty carries. Jacksonville should be full of draftable fantasy players next year.
The Chargers, on the other hand, obviously fell apart in the second half. Now they were without Mike Williams , who was declared out due to a back injury. That left Keenan Allen and Tight End Gerald Everett to pick up the slack. Allen finished with six receptions on 13 targets for 61 yards and Everett finished with six receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown. Austin Ekeler was bottled up for 43 total yards (and only 2 catches). Justin Herbert threw for 273 yards and one touchdown, which is pretty good seeing as how he had a lot of short fields in the first half.
Buffalo vs Miami (34-31)
Miami put up a fight in what was almost a surprising upset, but Buffalo held on to stay alive for another week.
Josh Allen didn’t have the best game, tossing two interceptions and losing a fumble, which allowed Miami to stay close. He did throw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, but only rushed four times for 20 yards. The Buffalo ground-game was pretty awful, with neither Devin Singletary nor James Cook really providing a spark (although Cook did score). Stefon Diggs led the team with 114 yards on seven catches, and Gabe Davis was close behind with 113 yards on six catches. Davis did score as well.
For Miami, Tua Tagovailoa and Raheem Mostert sat with injuries. The entire Miami rushing offense finished with 42 yards. Tyreek Hill led the team with seven catches for 69 yards, and Jaylen Waddle finished with three catches for 44 yards. That was to be expected with Skylar Thompson under center, but to be fair he did somehow keep Miami in this one.
Buffalo faces the Bengals next week.
New York Giants vs Minnesota (31-24)
Nothing against the Minnesota Vikings or their fans, but to expect a team with one of the worst defenses in the NFL to win a Super Bowl was a little over the top. Now I did think they’d beat the Giants, but the Vikings decided to end their playoffs immediately.
Daniel Jones threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, and added 78 yards on 17 carries. Saquon Barkley rushed only nine times for 53 yards, but he did score twice and added 56 yards on five catches. Barkley had a heck of a comeback year and should be another high draft pick next season. As for the Giant’s Receivers, Isaiah Hodgins continued his breakout with an eight catch, 105 yard and one touchdown performance. Darius Slayton caught four passes for 88 yards. If Jones and company continue to play like this, they will be solid fantasy players next season.
On the other side of the ball, Kirk Cousins actually had himself a good day. He was 31/39 for 273 yards and two touchdowns, but when it came down to the end, he couldn’t get the job done. Dalvin Cook was held to 60 yards on the ground and 10 yards through the air, although he did catch six passes. Justin Jefferson was held in check and finished with 47 yards on seven receptions. T.J. Hockenson led the team with 10 catches for 129 yards and should be a top five Tight End draft pick next season . Adam Thielen , who really has little fantasy relevance left (sorry Adam), finished with three catches for 50 yards.
The Giants now get division rival Philadelphia Eagles for their third matchup of the season. The Eagles won both previous contests this season.
Cincinnati vs Baltimore (24-17)
This one was another surprisingly close game that really came down to a 98-yard fumble recovery by the Bengals. With the game tied at 17 apiece, Tyler Huntley tried to sneak one in from the two-yard line but fumbled it away. And that would end up being the deciding score.
The Bengals really didn’t do much offensively. Joe Burrow finished with 209 yards and one touchdown for what would normally be a bad fantasy day. Joe Mixon finished with 11 carries for 39 yards and three catches for 17 yards. The Bengals were led by Ja’Marr Chase , who finished with nine catches for 84 yards and one touchdown. Tee Higgins was relatively irrelevant, catching four passes for 37 yards.
The Ravens were without star Quarterback Lamar Jackson , who has now missed the last month with a shoulder injury. That left Tyler Huntley, who besides the fumble had a very solid game. He threw for 226 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception and added 54 yards on nine carries. J.K. Dobbins rushed 13 times for 62 yards and caught four passes for 43 yards and one touchdown. Gus Edwards , who returned from a concussion, carried the ball 12 times for only 39 yards. Tight End Mark Andrews led the team with five catches for 73 yards and should continue being a top five Tight End.
The Ravens fought admirably, but the fumble cost them the game in this one.
Dallas vs Tampa Bay (31-14)
I have a friend who said “it depends on what Cowboys’ team shows up” when I asked him if he would think they’d win. Well I guess the good Cowboys’ team showed up, because they walloped Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
This game was never really close, even though Brett Maher apparently had the under for total points and missed four extra points . Dak Prescott went 25/33 for 305 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed seven times for 24 yards and an additional score. Tony Pollard led the team in rushing with 77 yards on 15 carries. Zeke struggled in this one, rushing 13 times for 27 yards. It’ll be interesting to see how this backfield shapes up, or if Pollard decides to test free agency. Dalton Schultz led the team in receiving with seven catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup also scored, but only had 68 and 46 yards receiving, respectively.
Tom Brady really struggled in the first half, but finally started to break through in the second half. He finished with a whopping 66 pass attempts and completed 35 of them for 351 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White did nothing on the ground, probably because the Buccaneers were chasing points early on. Chris Godwin led the team with 10 catches for 85 yards. Julio Jones and Mike Evans both finished with 74 yards, but Jones did score a touchdown. Tight End Cade Otton , who had a stellar rookie season, caught four passes for 58 yards.
The Cowboys take on the 49ers next week.
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