Top fantasy takeaways from the Wild Card weekend action
When it comes to fantasy in the playoffs, chalk is a good thing. That’s essentially what we got in the Wild Card round, with all four home teams winning by wide margins. As we look forward to the Divisional contests with just seven games remaining in the 2016 NFL slate, here are few things to note from this past weekend’s action:
Oakland @ Houston
Huge workload, but lackluster performance from Lamar Miller.
The Texans made it a point to get Miller the ball early and often on Saturday. He finished the contest with a career-high 31 carries. While Miller did find the end zone for the third consecutive game, he did very little else, with just 73 rushing yards. Miller got what was blocked for him, but failed to create yards after contact. His 1.35 yards after contact per attempt was second-lowest for the weekend.
Of course, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Miller ranked last out of 53 qualifiers with just 1.99 yards after contact per attempt. It was somewhat of a dramatic about-face for Miller after averaging 2.76 in 2015. Miller’s lack of efficiency doesn’t bode positively for his fantasy prospects against the Patriots in the Divisional round. However, he did manage 107 scrimmage yards on 25 touches when these teams last faced back in Week 3.
Detroit @ Seattle
Thomas Rawls is back.
Over the last two weeks of the regular season, Alex Collins out-touched Rawls 19-16, and it appeared like the Seahawks were content in using a committee in their backfield. Well, they weren’t. Seattle fed Rawls a season-high 27 carries, and he racked up 161 yards and a score. It was by far Rawls’ best outing of the season, and was reminiscent of his Week 11 performance last season when he topped 200 yards against the 49ers.
Rawls struggled to generate yards after contact in the regular season, averaging just 2.17 per carry. But that wasn’t a problem against the Lions, as he topped 3.0 yards after contact per attempt. He also notched two runs of 15-plus yards, which is just one fewer than he managed in the regular season. Expect the Seahawks to continue to ride Rawls in the Divisional round.
Miami @ Pittsburgh
Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell storm out of the gate.
The Steelers got out to a lightning-quick lead against the Dolphins with two first-quarter scores from Brown of 50 and 62 yards. Pittsburgh took their foot off the gas, but Brown still managed an impressive 124 yards on five catches. His 5.64 yards per route run led all receivers for Wild Card weekend. In his last three playoff games, Brown averages 120 receiving yards.
With a big lead early, the Steelers leaned heavily on Bell, who racked up 174 scrimmage yards and two scores on 31 touches. He now has at least 25 touches in eight of his last 10 games. Bell forced three missed tackles and averaged a position high 3.79 yards after contact per attempt on Sunday. He also had four runs of 15-plus yards after only having eight in 12 regular season games.
NY Giants @ Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers’ dominance continues.
No quarterback was hotter down the stretch, and that streak carried over into the playoffs. Rodgers tossed four touchdowns for the third consecutive game in Sunday’s win over the Giants. The performance is even more impressive considering he was without Jordy Nelson for most of the day. Rodgers helped reignite Randall Cobb, who scored three times after catching just four touchdown passes in the regular season.
Of course, it wasn’t a perfect day for Rodgers. He took five sacks, despite his offensive line playing quite well. He was by far the slowest to throw among the quarterbacks in play this past weekend, with an average of 3.54 seconds. Looking forward to the Divisional round, the Cowboys’ defensive front doesn’t generate a lot of pressure. However, Rodgers could struggle to get rid of the ball quickly if Nelson doesn’t suit up. That could pose similar problems to what he experienced in the Wild Card round.