Holy moly did we have some moments this weekend! The Divisional Round is often seen as the best weekend of football – all the chaff has been separated from the regular season and Wild Card round, and you’re looking at eight quality teams in must-win games playing their best football.
This year did not disappoint, with upsets, comebacks, squeaky bums and, well, ok, the Vikings and 49ers game. It also brought more opportunities to win fantasy competitions, so here were the studs and duds who ruled and riled this Divisional Round weekend.
Stud: Patrick Mahomes – QB – Kansas City Chiefs
What can you say about one of the weirdest, greatest games in recent playoff history? The Chiefs came back from 24 points down to win by 20 clear points in one of the most memorable games you’ll ever see. The result marked the highest points scored by a Chiefs team in postseason history, and their reward is hosting a Conference Championship game next week against the Titans.
Leading the charge was last year’s league MVP Patrick Mahomes. The superstar QB began the comeback with four touchdown drives in the second quarter alone, for the second time this season! He completed 23 passes for 321 yards and five passing TDs in a stellar showing, outshining an excellent Deshaun Watson. He even finished the day as his team’s leading rusher, as he carried the ball seven times for a further 53 yards on the ground. This was a performance for the ages, and shame on any fantasy fan who doubted Mahomes going into this week.
Stud: Davante Adams – WR – Green Bay Packers
The Packers have had the quietest 13-3 season an NFL team could hope for. After pipping the New Orleans Saints for the number two seed in the NFC and a one-week bye in the postseason, Green Bay had been able to keep their powder dry and their players rested in anticipation of the Seahawks visit last Sunday night. Which was just as well, since their stud WR Davante Adams was preparing to run all over the field and rout a beleaguered and confused Seahawks secondary.
The Packers number one receiver caught eight balls for a whopping 160 yards and two touchdowns. Every pass he caught seemed to be vital; when he wasn’t scoring in the end zone he was coming up with crucial third down catches, including the final reception of a glorious Aaron Rodgers outside ball that sealed the game for Green Bay. Cheeseheads and fantasy owners alike could celebrate as Adams proved he belongs among the elite receivers in the game, racking up points for his own team and, hopefully, yours as well!
Dud: Dalvin Cook – RB – Minnesota Vikings
Speaking of belonging to the elite, Dalvin Cook turned it on this season and finished as both a real-life stud running back and a fantasy darling. The Mike Zimmer fever dream offence took root in Minnesota and Cook spent the entire regular season running all over defences and racking up points for fantasy owners. He continued his form into Wild Card Weekend as the Vikings upset a Saints team who had no answers for Cook’s dynamic running style. The 49ers D, however, were not so accommodating.
Oh, this was grim. Cook stumbled and bumbled his way to 18 yards on the ground. We did not miss a figure out there: he had 18 yards on 9 carries. Cook’s reliable hands allowed him to salvage some fantasy points with six receptions, but even these only combined for a paltry 8 yards. That’s right, 26 total yards. For one of the most dynamic offensive players in the game, you had a right to expect a bit more from the Minnesota man this week. You now have the right to moan about him letting you down too.
Dud: Carlos Hyde – RB – Houston Texans
The Texans stormed into the Divisional Round off the back of a home comeback against the Buffalo Bills last week. They had no fear going into Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, and why would they? In Week 6 of the regular season they had suffocated the Chiefs in their own backyard with a 31-24 win. The template to beat the Chiefs was already clear: run the ball, take your scores and control the clock with a rushing game. The clear beneficiary in their previous matchup had been Carlos Hyde, the former Chief traded to the Texans at the end of August who has now enjoyed his first career 1,000-yard rushing season. He had 26 carries for 116 yards and a TD on the ground in Week 6. Logically, the same would happen again, right?
Not. Even. Close. Despite going up by 24 points by the second quarter, the Texans couldn’t control the game on the ground like they had in these two teams’ last matchup. Hyde ended his day with a disappointing 44 rushing yards, only adding three catches for 18 yards through the air and failing to find the end zone. It seems like he left everything he had on the KC field in their last encounter, which only goes to prove that fantasy points are a fickle mistress. Chasing last time’s points is a path to misery.