The 2023 NFL Playoffs are upon us. The first round opens on Saturday with the second annual “Super” Wild Card weekend. 12 teams will compete to take the first step toward hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. It also brings with it playoff fantasy football and DFS contests. We’re here with rankings to help you prepare if you partake.
For ground-game enthusiasts, perhaps no contest will move the needle more than the one opening the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks and Kenneth Walker III will do battle against a San Francisco 49ers team that features a number of players in the running game. The headliner, of course, is Christian McCaffrey, the do-everything back the 49ers acquired prior to the trade deadline.
But the other matchups also feature some star rushers. Austin Ekeler, who led the league in total touchdowns for the second consecutive season, returns to the playoffs after several years. His Los Angeles Chargers travel to the other coast to face the Jacksonville Jaguars and breakout second-year tailback Travis Etienne Jr.
The round concludes with a chance for Tony Pollard to see his first playoff action as a heavily featured weapon. His Dallas Cowboys head to Florida for a matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have a crowded backfield through which to sort.
Injuries to monitor
McCaffrey continues to find himself on the injury report dealing with a knee issue. Walker didn’t practice in the early portion of the week, and his absence could be costly for Seattle. The issues don't end there for the Seahawks, as backup DeeJay Dallas has both an ankle and quad injury. The Miami Dolphins have a pair of injured running backs. Raheem Mostert is dealing with a broken thumb, while Jeff Wilson Jr. has missed practice with an illness. Gus Edwards has a head injury for the Baltimore Ravens and could miss the game.
DFS value plays
James Cook saw his role expand down the stretch of the regular season for the Buffalo Bills. Devin Singletary hasn’t been able to capitalize on his role in the offense like the rookie Cook has. He should be the most valuable backup running back in the DFS slate.
If Wilson can shake his illness and Mostert is sidelined with his broken thumb, he would be very valuable to your lineup. We have seen Wilson be involved on the ground and in the passing game for Miami, giving him more of an upside if he can be the main running back for Miami.