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Divisional Round NFL Matchups Analysis (Sunday) - Start/Sit

What's up RotoBallers. Below you will find our Divisional Playoff NFL matchups & fantasy football start/sit analysis for the 2016 NFL football season. Ben Ruppert breaks down the second half of the Divisional round matchups to help you prepare your lineups to win this week. Be sure to also check out part one of this week's matchups analysis by Pierre Camus (@pfunk00).

Each week of the NFL season, we will be breaking down individual matchups and providing you with some fantasy football advice and lineup recommendations based on matchups that we love, matchups that we hate, and some high-risk/high-reward players, as well. It’s essential to analyze the weekly NFL match-ups to find lineup sleepers and gems, while also avoiding those players who may turn out to be busts.

Editor's Note: New users that sign up on FantasyAces, make a $20 deposit, and enter any game will receive BOTH our full season NFL and NBA Premium Passes for free, a $119.99 value. Just email with your new FantasyAces username - and boom, that's it! We will email you with your Premium Passes.


Steelers @ Chiefs - Sunday 1/15 @ 1:05 PM ET

Matchups We Love

Le'Veon Bell (RB, PIT)

After missing the first three games of the regular season, Bell had been an absolute monster for the Steelers this season. Things didn’t change with the start of the playoffs; he contributed heavily to the dismantling of the Dolphins last week. He rushed 29 times for 167 yards with two touchdowns, along with two receptions for seven yards. He will be leaned on heavily again when the Steelers play Kansas City on Sunday. Last time these two teams met in Week 4 (his first game back from suspension), Bell ran 18 times for 144 yards including five receptions for 34 yards. The Chiefs have had a decent run defense all season, but no one has really been able to totally shut out Bell, who is active in the rushing and receiving game. Even with Pittsburgh on the road, Bell will find a way to get his.

Antonio Brown (WR, PIT)

Even though Ben Roethlisberger has struggled on the road this season, Antonio Brown has not felt the same effects. Brown ended the year with 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns, with 693 yards and six scores coming on the road (591 yards and six scores at home). The Chiefs have had a good defense overall, but allowed some big games to opposing WR1 over the final few weeks of the season including Julio Jones and Rishard Matthews. Brown scored twice in the first half when these teams met in Week 4. Even if Big Ben doesn’t put up the stats were used to, expect Brown to get the majority of the targets/yards in the receiving game.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Kelce was a man on a mission over the final seven weeks of the season, helping many fantasy owners win their leagues. He averaged six receptions on eight targets for 94 yards over that span, including his Week 17 game when he caught one pass for eight yards as Kansas City rolled over San Diego. Kelce led the Chiefs in targets this season, and was fourth overall among all TE. Pittsburgh allowed him to score last time these two teams met, and over the final few weeks of the season Gary Barnidge, Dennis Pitta, and Charles Clay all met or exceeded their fantasy expectations against the Steelers. He will be heavily utilized with everything on the line for KC.

Matchups We Hate

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)

Hill is going to be given the ball in all types of situations, but purely from a receiving standpoint this will be a difficult game for the speedster. Over the final three weeks of the season, Hill was third on the team in targets behind Jeremy Maclin and Kelce with 15. He turned those into only five receptions for 46 yards, and was catchless in Week 15 and 16. The Steelers gave up the third fewest fantasy points to the WR position during the regular season, and over the final few weeks of the year it was mainly bigger, more physical receivers doing the most damage (Terrelle Pryor, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell). Hill will still get his rushing attempts and punt returns, where he is more than capable of taking it to the house. However, in the receiving game this one is shaping up to be a tough matchup.

Notable Players

Spencer Ware (RB, KC)

After sitting out Week 17 tending to a rib injury, Ware is set to return for the divisional round. He faded a bit down the stretch this season, so hopefully the two weeks of rest will help him get his legs back under him. He is expected to receive the majority of the touches with Charcandrick West subbing in also. The Steelers run defense looked better in the second half of the season, holding LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and last week Jay Ajayi to below average rushing performances. Ware will need to come into this game refreshed if he stands any chance at finding production. His lock for touches keeps him as an attractive fantasy option.


Packers @ Cowboys - Sunday 1/15 @ 4:40 PM ET

Matchups We Love

Dez Bryant (WR, DAL)

Though he was quiet in the final game of the regular season, expect Dez Bryant to be much more involved on Sunday. By his standards this was a down year for the Pro Bowl WR, ending the year with 796 yards and eight touchdowns. However, his 15.9 YPR was the highest of his career with Dak Prescott at the helm. The Packers allowed the most receiving yards in the league this season, and the fourth most plays of over 20 yards. A long TD or two isn’t out of the question for Dez, even if the Packers looked improved last week against the Giants (with the help of a struggling O’Dell Beckham). Look for the Week 16 version of Bryant on Sunday (four receptions, 70 yards, two touchdowns), rather than what he showed in limited playing time in Week 17.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

Elliott is another player who got much needed rest in Week 17, after leading the league in rushing by over 300 yards. He also carried the ball a league leading 322 times, so the extra week of rest will be big for the rookie. He is coming into this week feeling fresh, and expects to receive a bigger workload than the 24 carries per game he received during the regular season. If that is the case, then Elliott (if he isn’t already) would be the top RB play this week by a landslide. No team has been able to effectively corral Elliott behind the best offensive line in football, Green Bay included; in Week 6 he ran for 157 yards on 28 carries against them. Expect another huge output on Sunday from Elliott, as the Cowboys try to take some of the pressure off Prescott.

Matchups We Hate

Christine Michael (RB, GB)

The Jordy Nelson injury will likely bump Ty Montgomery into more of a WR than a RB, leaving Michael alone in the backfield. Last week against the Giants the two split carries with Michael playing like the superior RB (4.7 YPC compared to Montgomery’s 2.5 YPC). The Cowboys have a better run defense than the Giants, mainly because they have been able to get a lead and control the clock with Elliott all season long. If the Packers defense can’t hold up and they get down early, we will likely see much more of TyMont than Michael due to his receiving abilities. Game flow will be a big indicator on which back gets more work, and things could very easily get out of hand for the Packers this week. I would avoid this running game at all costs, though in a PPR format Montgomery may be a good play.

Notable Players

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

Adams led the team in receiving last week, catching 8-of-12 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. He was surprisingly one of the best receivers in fantasy this season, finishing as the ninth best WR in PPR formats. With Nelson out this week expect Adams to see an increase in targets, something last season he was unable to handle. He has looked much improved this season however, and seems ready to be able to handle the workload against Dallas. It’s anyone’s guess who will have the best game out of this WR corps, but with how often Aaron Rodgers will need to throw we know at least one, if not more of these guys will have a standout performance.

Randall Cobb (WR, GB)

Where has that been all season? After a season that left many fantasy owners frustrated, Cobb comes out in the wild card round and scores three touchdowns, nearly matching his total for the entire year. He hauled in five of seven targets for 116 yards in what was easily his best game of the year. Last season the Packers offense looked completely inept at times without Nelson, so we’ll see if Cobb can repeat his performance this week. Green Bay will surely need to throw plenty to keep up with the Dallas offense.


Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

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