FANTASY PLAYOFFS

Week 14 fantasy football rankings: Win or go home

For most leagues, the fantasy playoffs have arrived. Composite photo by Jack Brame

These are my very early ranks, so keep in mind I post these on Thursday. Make sure you check the injury report on Sunday for players that have missed practice. If it doesn't look like a player will play this week, I typically won't rank him. Keep in mind, these are PPR rankings, and don't forget to set your lineup for Thursday Night Football.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5 FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

@JoshJordan975

@Moneyline975

@JerryBoKnowz

QB

Aaron Rodgers should have a big game this week against Washington. Photo by Getty Images

1 Lamar Jackson

2 Deshaun Watson

3 Aaron Rodgers

4 Russell Wilson

5 Patrick Mahomes

6 Carson Wentz

7 Kirk Cousins

8 Baker Mayfield

9 Dak Prescott

10 Drew Brees

11 Tom Brady

12 Jameis Winston

13 Ryan Tannehill

14 Matt Ryan

15 Jared Goff

RB

Derrick Henry should continue to dominate in the month of December. Photo via: TennesseeTitans.com

1 Christian McCaffrey

2 Derrick Henry

3 Ezekiel Elliott

4 Leonard Fournette

5 Alvin Kamara

6 Melvin Gordon

7 Josh Jacobs

8 Saquon Barkley

9 Nick Chubb

10 Mark Ingram

11 Le'Veon Bell

12 Joe Mixon

13 Dalvin Cook

14 Aaron Jones

15 Devonta Freeman

16 James White

17 Todd Gurley

18 Chris Carson

19 Austin Ekeler

20 Miles Sanders

21 Devin Singletary

22 Kareem Hunt

23 David Montgomery

24 Phillip Lindsay

25 Carlos Hyde

26 Rashaad Penny

27 Marlon Mack

28 Kenyan Drake

29 Derrius Guice

30 Sony Michel

WR

Michael Thomas has been unbelievable this year. Photo by New Orleans Saints/Facebook

1 Michael Thomas

2 Davante Adams

3 DeAndre Hopkins

4 D.J. Moore

5 Julian Edelman

6 Tyreek Hill

7 Chris Godwin

8 Mike Evans

9 Devante Parker

10 Julio Jones

11 Robert Woods

12 Jarvis Landry

13 Stefon Diggs

14 Keenan Allen

15 Allen Robinson

16 Courtland Sutton

17 Cooper Kupp

18 Amari Cooper

19 Odell Beckham Jr

20 Alshon Jeffery

21 Tyler Boyd

22 Calvin Ridley

23 Kenny Golladay

24 Will Fuller

25 Michael Gallup

26 Robby Anderson

27 Jamison Crowder

28 Tyler Lockett

29 D.J. Chark

30 Marvin Jones

31 John Brown

32 D.K. Metcalf

33 Anthony Miller

34 Dede Westbrook

35 James Washington

36 Sterling Shepard

TE

Hunter Henry's matchup is tough this week, but he still makes the Top 5. Photo via:Chargers/Facebook

1 George Kittle

2 Travis Kelce

3 Zach Ertz

4 Darren Waller

5 Hunter Henry

6 Jared Cook

7 Jack Doyle

8 Mark Andrews

9 Evan Engram

10 Kyle Rudolph

11 Ryan Griffin

12 Austin Hooper

DEF

1 Vikings

2 Packers

3 Steelers

4 Ravens

5 Texans

6 Eagles

7 Bears

8 Titans

9 Browns

10 Chargers

11 Cowboys

12 Patriots

Kicker

1 Wil Lutz

2 Greg Zuerlein

3 Jake Elliott

4 Justin Tucker

5 Robbie Gould

6 Ka'imi Fairbairn

7 Matt Gay

8 Harrison Butker

9 Younghoe Koo

10 Jason Myers

11 Austin Seibert

12 Michael Badgley


Good luck this week and when in doubt, start your studs.

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Game One Is Pivotal For Both Teams

ALWC Game 1 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

It might not have been pretty, and may not have met pre-season expectations, especially with all the injuries and headwinds along the way. Yet, the Astros' regular-season was enough to get them into the playoffs, and as we are likely to find out with this aptly-named Wild Card Round, all it takes is a ticket to the dance.

A losing record at the end of the first 60 is now a thing of the past. Everyone starts 0-0, needing to take two of three against their opponent to move forward into the Divisional Series. Here's a quick breakdown and some facts about Houston's first game against the Minnesota Twins:

Game Facts

When: Tuesday, 1:00 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ABC

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Zack Greinke vs. Kenta Maeda

Series: Tied 0-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Tue 9/29, 1:00 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:00 PM Target Field, Minneapolis TBD vs. Berrios+
Game 3* Thu 10/1, TBD Target Field, Minneapolis TBD vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Did Houston pack their postseason bats?

Over the last three years, the Astros have started the playoffs with wins in their first game, and it may be in part due to one key component: scoring first via home runs. In 2017, it was an Alex Bregman solo homer off of Chris Sale in the first inning to start the scoring against the Red Sox. In 2018, it was Bregman again, this time a solo shot in the fourth off of Corey Kluber of the Indians. In 2019, it was Jose Altuve with a two-run bomb against Tyler Glasnow as they'd go on to take game one against the Rays.

Can they make it four straight years? If so, they'll have to do it against another formidable pitcher in Kenta Maeda, who allowed just nine home runs in his eleven regular-season starts, only two of which were at Target Field. Also, those three games mentioned earlier were at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros had the support of their home crowd, along with the comfort of their own stadium. This year, they'll start on the road, and in the now-normal audience of cardboard cutouts. Having said that, if they can get their signature score-starting home run in the top of the first by one of their key bats, that could very well set the momentum in their favor to upset the Twins.

Which Greinke will we see?

On September 3rd, Zack Greinke went six innings while allowing three runs to the Rangers, still coming away with a win to improve him to 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA. That was his eighth start of the season, two of which he went six or more innings without allowing a single run, including an eight-inning gem at home against the Rockies.

In his final four starts after that, Greinke went 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA over that span, allowing four, five, three, and three earned runs, respectively, and unable to go more than six innings in any of them. That finished his year at 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA, not exactly riding a high into the postseason. So, can he hit the reset button and deal as he did in the early parts of the season? Or, will the Twins, who own the sixth-most homers as a team in 2020, find a wrinkle against him early that they can exploit? The answer to that, along with what run support his offense provides him, will be one of the game's deciding factors.

I don't need to tell anyone the obvious here; in a best-of-three series, taking the first game will be pivotal for both sides. Winning the first game and only needing one more is a tremendously more advantageous position to be in, instead of needing to win two straight to advance. It sets up for an entertaining series and set of matchups across the league. Get your popcorn ready.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

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