Thought you were done? Ha! So did I. And yet, here we both are, not able to get rid of our itch for fantasy, or as I like to call it, "trying to earn my keep, so they don't make me talk about hockey." Ha! I'm just kidding, of course. I meant write about hockey.
Four great games are on the slate this weekend, and for those doing playoff pools or daily fantasy, this column is for you. It's a mini Love/Hate, if you will. Same as last week -- and we'll do one next week as well, with no intro and the analysis is mostly focused on players I like (or don't) for daily fantasy this weekend. All prices used are from DraftKings.com.
For the latest info, be sure to tune into Fantasy Football Now this weekend, airing on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET and then another show on Sunday at 8 a.m. ET. Or set your DVRs. Both shows will be on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.
A thank you as always to Jacob Nitzberg of ESPN Stats & Information, and here we go.
Quarterbacks I love in the divisional playoffs
Carson Palmer, Cardinals ($6,500): The chalkiest of chalk plays, he's better in a cash-game format than tournament, as I suspect his ownership will be high. Just sixth in pricing among QBs on DK, he's got the safest floor, as he's scored 14-plus fantasy points in all 15 games in which he's played the whole game (he played just one half in Week 17) and if you don't count the Philly game where David Johnson went nuts, he has had at least 16 points in every full game this season. Last week, I mentioned this stat about Kirk Cousins facing Green Bay:
Four of the past five quarterbacks to play at home against the Packers had multi-touchdown efforts. The exception was Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for a season-high 339 yards.
After a 329-yard, two-total-touchdown effort from Cousins, that's now five of the past six. I actually don't think Palmer goes nuts here -- the potential return of Sam Shields would help the Pack -- but I do think he's the safest cash-game option, especially at his price.
Tom Brady, Patriots ($7,400): So, from the "Really? You don't say?" department, Brady has been much better this season with Julian Edelman than without him. With Edelman on the field, Brady completed 69.0 percent of his passes, averaged 8.5 yards per attempt and threw just 2 INTs. With Edelman off the field, he completed 59.5 percent of his passes, averaged 6.7 yards per attempt, and threw 5 INTs. He's getting Edelman back this week.
Off a bye three different times since the start of last season (two regular-season byes and one playoff), he's averaging 300 yards a game and has multiple passing scores in each of those games. Speaking of the playoffs, when Brady has a first-round bye, he has thrown 19 TDs to just 4 INTs in nine games, averaging 277 yards a game. Yes, the Chiefs can generate pressure, but Brady actually has 15 touchdowns this season against pressure, most in the NFL.
So you're telling me there's a chance: No idea which Peyton Manning ($6,000) shows up, and the health of Big Ben and Antonio Brown will go a long way toward whether this game is competitive or not, but it's worth noting that Brock Osweiler threw for three scores and almost 300 yards against these same Steelers in Week 15 and Pittsburgh is 22nd against the pass the past five weeks (including playoffs). ... Russell Wilson ($6,800) probably won't have high ownership based on his price and matchup, but very quietly, Carolina is just 25th against the pass the past five weeks. Since Week 9, the Panthers have faced four different QBs who threw more than 30 touchdowns this season (Wilson threw 34). Of those four, three of them threw at least three touchdown passes against the Panthers.
Quarterbacks I hate in the divisional playoffs
Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($6,700): During the regular season, the Cardinals blitzed more often than any other team in the league (45.1 percent) and got pressure on the QB at the third-highest rate (31.9 percent). Not surprisingly, Rodgers is better when not blitzed and not under pressure. When teams bring pressure, like Arizona will, he completes just 53 percent of passes, which is 28th among qualified QBs. Rodgers had just 151 yards and one score when he faced Arizona in Week 16, he's without Davante Adams in this one and he is $200 more expensive than Palmer.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers ($7,000): Yes, he had a huge game last time he faced the Broncos, but that was at home and when he could actually throw. Who knows how hurt he is, the game is in Denver, he's probably without Antonio Brown, he's the third-most-expensive QB and the Broncos have allowed the fewest passing yards and fantasy points to opposing QBs.
Running backs I love in the divisional playoffs
David Johnson, Cardinals ($6,000): Of the remaining teams, the Packers are statistically the worst run defense. So, uh ... yay team? Look, during the regular season they allowed RBs to average 4.15 yards per carry (next worst among remaining teams is 3.93) and allowed 12 rushing touchdowns to RBs (next most among remaining teams is nine). In the eight games the Packers have played against playoff teams this season, they've coughed up nine RB rushing scores. So they can be exploited. You probably don't need a stat for me to tell you how studly DJ Pointsy Points -- as only I call him -- is, but you're getting one anyway. During the final four weeks of the regular season, Johnson had the most yards from scrimmage in the NFL, including 127 versus the Packers in Week 16, when he played only through the first series of the second half. He'll be a lineup staple for most, but he needs to be played. Worth every penny.
Spencer Ware, Chiefs ($4,500): I brought this up last week on Fantasy Football Now, but with Jeremy Maclin on the field this season, KC ran the ball 35 percent of the time. With him off the field, they ran it 57 percent of the time. Now, it's a small sample size and certainly there were times when the Chiefs were up big and expected to run more, but still. With no Maclin (or limited) on the road at New England, you think they wanna get into a shootout with Tom Brady? Exactly. Ware has 16 rushes and a score in back-to-back games, had nearly double the touches Charcandrick West did last week and in the four games Ware has gotten at least 10 carries, he's averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has five touchdowns. Need more? Since the Chiefs' Week 9 bye, he's scored six of the team's seven rushing TDs from inside the red zone. The Patriots gave up just two rushing touchdowns from outside the red zone this season. It's important to note that Ware showed up on the injury report Wednesday, so heads up there. I don't know the severity of the injury, but if Ware were to miss the game, obviously I'd really like West, who is also pretty affordable at $5,500.
So you're telling me there's a chance: It's not a great matchup, but it's not an impossible one, either, and at just $3,700 (and with back-to-back games of double-digit touches and a score) C.J. Anderson is pretty interesting. ... I wouldn't want to use him in a cash game, but I'll bet Steven Jackson ($3,300) gets into the end zone this weekend and won't have to do much to earn back his salary. The Chiefs are 17th against the run the past five weeks.
Running backs I hate in the divisional playoffs
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers ($5,800): I have no idea if he's 100 percent healthy and the same reasons Adrian Peterson was on the hate list last week (25 touches for 58 yards versus Seattle) is why J-Stew makes it this week. The Seahawks allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season and were the only team not to allow a 100-yard rusher this season or to allow a receiving touchdown to a RB. I'd much rather spend the extra $200 on David Johnson.
James White, Patriots ($5,200): With Edelman and Amendola expected back, a lot of those dump-offs to White won't be as necessary. While DraftKings PPR scoring helps White, he's too risky a play for me in a cash game. Keep in mind, no defense allowed fewer receiving yards to running backs this regular season than the Kansas City Chiefs (30.8 per game).
Wide receivers I love in the divisional playoffs
Demaryius Thomas ($7,000) and Emmanuel Sanders ($5,800), Broncos: During the regular season, the Steelers allowed the most receiving yards to opposing WRs, the third-highest completion percentage on throws to WRs. During the final six weeks of the regular season, the Steelers allowed the most fantasy points to opposing WRs, including 10 receiving touchdowns.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks ($6,800): Baldwin spends most of his time in the slot (83 percent of routes), which should keep him away from Josh Norman for the most part (2 percent of coverages in the slot this season). Since the Seahawks' Week 9 bye (including playoffs), Baldwin has had five or more receptions in every game but one (when he had four) and has a touchdown catch in seven of the nine games. I mentioned the recent struggles of the Panthers' secondary in the Wilson note. Baldwin is the guy most likely to benefit.
So you're telling me there's a chance: I don't know how Arizona will play the Packers. When they met in Week 16, per Pro Football Focus, Patrick Peterson played both sides of the field and handled Randall Cobb in the slot six times. So maybe he moves around, maybe he shadows James Jones, maybe he spends time on Cobb. What I do feel pretty good about is he won't spend a lot of time on Jared Abbrederis ($3,000), who fills in for Davante Adams and is the bare minimum. After four targets against Washington last week, Abbrederis' role will increase this week. Hey, you get on the field with Aaron Rodgers, good things can happen. ... The Cardinals spread it around, so there's certainly risk in picking any one player, but Michael Floyd ($5,100) had 111 yards against the Pack in Week 16 and finished the season seventh in deep target percentage. They'll take some shots to him.
Wide receivers I hate in the divisional playoffs
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals ($6,500): You know how Redskins slot receiver Jamison Crowder was held to just three catches for 15 yards against the Packers last week? Well, Larry Fitzgerald runs 58 percent of his routes from the slot, which means he is likely to face Casey Hayward on those, ranked the 16th-best coverage corner, according to PFF. Forty-three, count 'em, 43 receivers had more yards during the final six weeks of the regular season than Fitz and he's the fifth-highest-priced WR (and $1,300 more than any other Arizona wideout). I'm looking elsewhere in cash games.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks ($4,400): Insert wideout facing Josh Norman here.
Tight ends I love in the divisional playoffs
Greg Olsen, Panthers ($6,900): Seven catches (on 11 targets) for 131 yards and a touchdown in their Week 6 matchup, and he almost had a second score, getting tackled on the 1-yard line. I expect Ted Ginn Jr. to get shut down by Richard Sherman (or his own hands), and you know how I feel about Jonathan Stewart, so I expect Cam Newton to feed Olsen against a team that allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (among current playoff teams).
So you're telling me there's a chance: Owen Daniels is just $2,500, had twice as many red zone targets as the other tight ends on the team combined and gets a Steelers team that, among the remaining playoff teams, allows the most (or is tied for most) receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns to opposing tight ends both overall and in the red zone during the regular season. ... With no (or a limited) Jeremy Maclin, I expect a ton of looks to Travis Kelce ($5,100). And if I expect, so does Bill Belichick. Volume, however, may offset that, and it's worth noting that the Patriots have allowed four tight end touchdowns in their past five games.
Tight ends I hate in the divisional playoffs
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots ($7,500): Look, he's Gronk. He can go off for three scores and 150 yards at any time. But, considering he's this expensive, there's reason to think he may not return the value of his cost. The Chiefs allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. The most fantasy points scored in a game by a TE versus KC this season is seven. He was held to just 104 yards and no scores in his final two regular-season games, and there have been only three tight ends to eclipse 50 receiving yards in a game against the Chiefs, and they've allowed just three scores to tight ends this season. Now, he's not your normal tight end, but this week I'm not convinced he's a lock for a 23-point game or so (which is about what he needs to justify that price).
Defenses I love in the divisional playoffs
Arizona Cardinals ($3,800): Remember what they did to the Packers last time? I sure do. The Cardinals forced the second-most turnovers during the regular season and turned six into touchdowns (including two against Green Bay, ahem), tied for the most in the league. Just fourth in price, they'll be a popular pick.
New England Patriots ($3,500): At home, two weeks to prepare, probably no Jeremy Maclin to face, and the last time Alex Smith threw for more than 200 yards was Nov. 29. ... The Chiefs don't turn the ball over a ton, limiting the upside here, but whom do you count on? Alex Smith on the road or Bill Belichick at home with two weeks to prepare?
So you're telling me there's a chance: There's always a chance Ben can go off, and the Broncos aren't cheap ($3,900. But they are at home with two weeks to prepare and may very well get a Steelers team without Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams and either a banged-up Roethlisberger or Landry Jones.
Defenses I hate in the divisional playoffs
Kansas City Chiefs ($4,000): The second-highest-priced option this week versus the team that allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses. On the road, too? With the exception of the Eagles' defense (that crazy Week 13 game with three touchdowns on defense/special teams), all other defenses against the Patriots have combined for just 27 fantasy points in 15 games with no team scoring more than eight.
Green Bay Packers ($3,400): The lowest-priced option -- but just $100 less than New England -- I don't love them on the road facing the Cards. No team allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing defenses than the Cardinals this season.
Matthew Berry -- the Talented Mr. Roto - sends much love to the official kicker of the 06010, Blair Walsh. Berry is a paid spokesman for DraftKings.com and the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price.