Tom Brady hoping to get the last laugh and to add another Super Bowl ring to his collection

Boston Globe

Many didn't think that we'd even get to this point, but we're just hours away from the start off the NFL postseason!

This year, an extra team in each conference qualifies for postseason play which results in only the top seed in the AFC and NFC receiving a first round bye. The Chiefs earned top spot in the AFC, and the Packers won the crown in the NFC. Both of those organizations will be sitting in front of the TV this weekend, and just like us will be glued to the action and outcomes.


For Kansas City, they'll likely be hoping for an upset in either the first game of the weekend or the last. Buffalo (2) and Indianapolis (7) kick off the playoff slate on Saturday in the 1:05 spot, and Cleveland (6) plays Pittsburgh (3) in the final game of the opening weekend at 8:15 on Sunday night. Being that the first seed gets the lowest seeded remaining opponent, the Colts and Browns would be a better matchup for the reigning champs in the Divisional Round.

The Packers face a considerably tougher opponent when they get back on the field as the seventh and sixth seeds, the Bears and Rams, face uphill battles to win their Wild Card games. The Rams may be without their starting quarterback again and we could see John Wolford under center for their matchup against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

The Bears, who are playing much better of late behind the improved play of Mitch Trubisky, and the solid performances of David Montgomery, earned an unfortunate draw as they face the Saints who may be getting both Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara returning to the lineup. That would mean Tom Brady's Buccaneers are the most likely to enter the Divisional Round as the lowest seeded remaining opponent for Green Bay as they're the five seed and will play the Washington Football Team (4) on Saturday night. If the Bucs handle the Football Team we could be in line for what many considered a likely NFC Championship matchup in the second round.

Let's break down the Saturday matchups and give you all the info you need before the Bills and Colts kick off Saturday afternoon.

Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills Josh Allen hopes to lead the Bills to their first playoff win since 1995Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Colts (7) at Bills (2)

1:05 pm EST (CBS)

Spread: Bills -6.5

Buffalo endured a 17 year playoff drought not long ago. Fast forward to today, and the Bills are entering the playoffs as one of the serious contenders to unseat the Chiefs as world champs. Josh Allen has been spectacular this season as he finished in the top five in passing yards, passing touchdowns, QBR, and completion percentage. Allen to Stefon Diggs has become one of the most feared connections in all of football, and the Colts will have their hands full trying to slow down an offense that has outscored opponents 229-110 since Week 12. Still, while Buffalo has made the playoffs in three out of the last four years, they haven't managed to win a playoff game since 1995.

The Colts have shown an ability to put points up themselves this season, and if they can establish the run with rookie sensation Jonathan Taylor, it would go a long way in dictating the pace of play, extending drives for Indianapolis, and most importantly keeping the high octane Bills offense off the field. If Indy can limit offensive opportunities for Josh Allen, that's their key to victory.

Prediction: Bills 34 - Colts 23


Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson and the Seahawks play the LA Rams during Wild Card WeekendRobert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports

Rams (6) at Seahawks (3)

4:40 pm EST (FOX)

Spread: Seahawks -3.5

This game hinges on one very important unknown heading into it, and that's the status of Rams' starting quarterback Jared Goff. If Goff is unable to go Sean McVay will be putting John Wolford under center which would be a significant hit to Los Angeles' chances of coming out of Saturday with a win. The Rams have been very streaky throughout the season even with their starting QB, and their defense hasn't been as dominant as one would hope for with the talent on the roster. If Goff is unable to play Saturday it will allow an improving Seattle defense to key in on the run which could result in a long day for the Rams.

Russell Wilson started the season as an MVP favorite, but finished the regular season on a bit of a dull note. We know how special Wilson can be, but with all of the talented receivers he has to work with, the struggles down the stretch may be cause for concern. Now that the Seahawks have a healthy Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde to complement the passing game it may be the boost Wilson needs to get back to the form we saw him hit early in the regular season.

Prediction: Seahawks 30 - Rams 13

Buccaneers (5) at Washington (4)

8:15 pm EST (NBC)

Spread: Buccaneers -8.5

This game is an anomaly in the sense that Tampa Bay is widely viewed as the better team on paper, on the field, by way of regular season record, and are the clear favorite to win this playoff game against the higher seeded Washington Football Team. Washington ofcourse is the four seed in the NFC as they were the NFC East Division Champions, and the four division champs earn the top four playoff seeds.

Washington boasts one of the best defensive lines in all of football with four first round selections manning the trenches for the Washington D. Chase Young and Montez Sweat will provide plenty of pressure off the edges, and the Football Team will need to disrupt the Tampa passing attack to have any chance to pull off the upset?

Tom Brady low-key had a fantastic season and it seems like he is starting to get on the same page as Antonio Brown after he posted 11 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs final regular season game. We don't expect Washington to win this game, but with a bunch of young talent on their roster it will be closer than you might think.

Prediction: Buccaneers 34 - Football Team 27

DMX on the Madison Square Garden marquee

Madison Square Garden

For many managers, their playoff prospects are dark and hot as hell heading into the final week of the fantasy basketball regular season.

But before you can compete to be grand champ, you need to stop, drop, shut your duds down and open up the waiver wire for your last gasp this regular season. Here are some names you should be looking for to give you that push you need.

Rest in peace, DMX.

Booms

Kyle Anderson Forward Memphis Grizzlies

The former UCLA star might have taken the tale of the tortoise and the hare a little too seriously, but the "slow and steady" mantra has given him a successful NBA career and impressive fantasy numbers. For the past week, Slow Mo has averaged 16.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting, seven rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 made threes, two steals and one turnover a game.

Anderson has been a consistent contributor throughout the season and it's tough to see his numbers take a hit even when Jaren Jackson Jr. returns at the end of the month. If you haven't rostered him yet, it would be a huge mistake.

Jalen McDaniels Forward/Center Charlotte Hornets

Staying on the court has been a problem for McDaniels this season, but the absence of Gordon Hayward has forced the Hornets to look for other options on the court and the second-year player has been one of the beneficiaries. In the last three games, the San Diego State product averaged 16.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting, two made threes, five rebounds and 3.3 assists. He even threw in 1.3 steals and one block per game.

Hayward is expected to be out for at least three more weeks. Until he's back, expect McDaniels to continue his more proactive approach on this team.

Miles Bridges Forward Charlotte Hornets

McDaniels isn't the only one who has taken advantage of Hayward's injury. Bridges has cranked his game up a notch, averaging 21.7 points on 60.5 percent shooting, three made threes, six rebounds and one steal in the last three games. He may have even had the dunk of the year, posterizing Clint Capela on Sunday.

Until Hayward is back, Bridges will get a lot more freedom to operate and that means more fantasy contribution in the coming weeks.

Reggie Jackson Guard Los Angeles Clippers

Depth has not been a problem for the Clippers the last few seasons, but it has been trouble for fantasy managers looking for consistent contributors on that team. Rest and injuries haven't slowed the Clippers' winning ways this week because Reggie Jackson stepped up for them and gives fantasy participants a short-term high performer to lean on for the week.

In a week where Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Paul George missed time, Jackson thrived, averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting, three made threes, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in four games.

With Beverley out with a fractured hand and Rondo/George/Kawhi undoubtedly taking games off to save themselves for the playoffs, Jackson may not be a bad desperation option in standard fantasy and worth tracking in daily fantasy formats.

Busts

Tim Hardwaway Jr Guard/Forward Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks' recent success has not translated into numbers for all players. Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of them.

The Michigan product averaged 12 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games last week. He did make two three-pointers per game in that span, but that is like threading a silver lining on a used rag.

Hardaway is still the third scoring option on the team, so he will get more chances to increase his production, but this week was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fantasy managers.

Derrick Rose Guard New York Knicks

Rose has found a home with the New York Knicks, but his role has not been kind to fantasy managers. We all know the former MVP can still score, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't asked him to do much else.

In the last four games, Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 0.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. That kind of one-dimensional play is a killer of many fantasy teams looking for a more diverse portfolio of contributions.

If you need a boost in scoring, Rose isn't a terrible option to consider, but if you need anything else, you should leave him on the waiver.

Lou Williams Guard Atlanta Hawks

Like Rose, Williams isn't asked to do anything other than score at this point in his career. But even in the past week, he can't even do that at an elite fantasy level. Only averaging 11.8 points per game, 1.8 made threes, 2.8 assists and basically non-existent in every other category in fantasy sports.

It's safe to say that Lemon Pepper Lou's effectiveness as a fantasy star is gone.

Jusuf Nurkic Center Portland Trail Blazers

Okay, I know Trail Blazers have been trying to ease Nurkic back into the lineup and giving him restricted minutes. However, with the fantasy managers looking for that final push to the postseason, there might have to be an executive decision on whether Nurkic needs to be played or pitched.

Teams firmly in playoff position can hold out for him to be used properly again, but other managers won't be able to stomach another week of missed games and low-end production.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

USA Today

For college basketball, the madness is over. For the NBA fantasy managers, the madness is just beginning.

We are two weeks away from playoffs, and people are scrambling for solutions to their team's problems. Take a look at these waiver wire picks and see who will give you that final push you need to get into the postseason and avoid the humiliation of whatever fantasy punishment you may face.

Keep reading... Show less

Shane Bieber faced off against the Dodgers in Spring Training. He bested Trevor Bauer, allowing only two runs, and striking out nine

Getty Images

Welcome to the Mock Draft lab.

This is where we are running experiments, crunching the numbers, and proving hypotheses, so you can reap the rewards of our hard work. The rules for this exercise were simple: Take the best pitcher in each round without reaching more than 10 spots away in either direction. (This kept us honest and realistic as to who would be available and prevented any major overpays for talent.)

Keep reading... Show less