Picks for NFL.com Fantasy Playoff Challenge

1/2/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Demaryius Thomas (DEN): Thomas has become Peyton Manning's unquestioned top man in Denver, and he finished the season incredibly strong. He's topped 80 yards in five of his past six games, topping 100 in the past two (with a touchdown in each). He won't play in this round, but I think the Broncos are almost a lock to make it to the AFC Championship, when Thomas will have a nice 3x bonus. With home-field advantage, Thomas also has a pretty decent chance of getting that coveted 4x bonus in the Super Bowl.

Tight End
Nov 18, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) reacts after his touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Gronkowski (NE): 
He's another guy with a first round bye, but he is far and away the best fantasy tight end when he's on the field. Gronk scored the fourth most fantasy points among tight ends this season despite missing five games (about a third of the season). He'll be a beast, and with the Patriots likely to make a deep playoff run, he'll be worth the week of no points once he's racking up touchdowns multiplied by two, three, or maybe even four.

Kicker

You should probably just pick the kicker you think is most likely to make it to the Super Bowl. Kickers are always kind of a crapshoot, so if you go with a guy who will be around in the later rounds, those three point field goals will turn into nine or twelve point scores. It's also good to consider kickers who play in domes, like Matt Bryant (ATL). A guy like Mason Crosby, who will be kicking into the elements up in Lambeau, may not get many attempts if the weather is harsh.

Defense

Seattle Seahawks: 
The Seahawks defense is the best of all the playoff teams, and they'll have starting cornerback Brandon Browner returning from suspension for the Wild Card Round. Ranked 1st in points allowed with the potential to play four games, I like the Seahawks as my fantasy playoff defense.
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