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Some football fans and experts label the Divisional Playoff round the best weekend of NFL football of the year, and it might be the best weekend for playoff fantasy football as well.

Many of fantasy football’s top performers in 2017 will be on the field this weekend. But while Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Zach Ertz and Adam Thielen should be fantasy forces in their playoff games, fantasy players in postseason leagues and DFS contests will be counting on secondary players from playoff teams’ supporting casts to come up huge to help them win this week.

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the second week of NFL playoff action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Divisional Playoff Round Under-the-Radar Booms

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL) at PHI

The defending NFC champions and Super Bowl blowers are favored this week against the conference’s No. 1 seed, yet Ryan’s price tag in DFS contests in many formats is lower this week than all playoff QBs except for Nick Foles and Blake Bortles. While Philadelphia’s front seven has helped make its run defense tops in the league, the Eagles pass defense is only 17th and can be exploited. The experienced Ryan will not be rattled by Philadelphia’s hostile home crowd and should be able to connect on some big plays with Julio Jones. Ryan throwing for 275-300 yards and two-to-three touchdowns would not be a shock.

Jerick McKinnon (RB, MIN) vs. NO

McKinnon’s fantasy value has slid downhill quicker than Lindsey Vonn does. Latavius Murray now gets the bulk of the carries and the red-zone duty, which has neutralized McKinnon’s stats and rendered him average fantasy-wise. This could be the weekend he bounces back, though, as he is the niftier of Minnesota’s two main backs and is the better pass catcher, and the Saints had tons of trouble containing Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey last weekend (117 total yards and a TD). McKinnon has the potential to break a couple big plays, especially in the passing game, and be the perfect low-priced buy for DFS players.

Delanie Walker (TE, TEN) at NE

New England’s defense rebounded after a horrendous start to the season to hold 10 of their last 12 opponents to under 20 points. The Patriots pass defense was the Achilles heel all year long, however. While most offenses were forced to throw boatloads of passes in second halves against the Pats because they were trailing, the bottom line is that New England was ranked 30th in pass defense and not just because they had to defend against more passes than most teams did. Walker racked up the most yardage (74 yards) last week in Tennessee’s wild card win than he had in any game since the middle of November. Look for Marcus Mariota to look for his favorite and most experienced target a lot this Saturday evening, especially when the Titans are playing catch-up late in the game and passing on every down.


Divisional Playoff Round Under-the-Radar Busts

James White (RB, NE) vs. TEN

Fantasy owners were treated to the Dion Lewis Show the last couple games of the regular season while White and Rex Burkhead recovered from injuries. White will return this weekend, but the problem is that Burkhead will be back as well, and that Lewis has played so well in their absences that he will probably remain New England’s top tailback and get the most touches out of the lot. The Patriots could plan to throw on every down against Tennessee’s 25th-ranked pass defense, which would benefit White if that was indeed the case, but more likely Tom Brady and company will balance out the offense and the playing time for its running backs, limiting White’s worth.

Ted Ginn (WR, NO) at MIN

Ginn put a hurting on his old Carolina Panthers team last week when he caught four passes for 115 yards including an 80-yard touchdown in New Orleans’ wild card victory. The going will be 1,000 times tougher this weekend against Minnesota’s second-ranked pass defense, though. The Vikings secondary allows receivers to get 100 yards about as easily as my wife allows me anywhere near the remote when The Property Brothers are on TV. Only Detroit’s Marvin Jones Jr. had a 100-yard game against them. Ginn has also not been one to string great games together this season. He has not scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and in the four games he played in after he had 70-yard games this year he only had 199 receiving yards combined and failed to reach the end zone.

Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI) vs. ATL

Poor Agholor. The kid was having a breakout season after a couple years of being a fantasy flop and looking like one of the worth first-round picks in Philadelphia Eagles history until Carson Wentz’s torn ACL has put a dagger in Agholor’s fantasy value. Agholor has gone from deep threat to underneath outlet as he has averaged less than 10 yards per catch in each of his past four games. Nick Foles cannot throw downfield anywhere near as well as Wentz did, so it is hard to visualize Agholor doing more than five receptions for 50 yards against Atlanta’s underrated pass defense. His playmaking ability can only take him so far when Wentz is not the one throwing to him.


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