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  • Writer's pictureElijah Southwick

Fantasy Football Closing Bell: Stock Up/Down after NFL Playoffs

The 2023 fantasy football season already feels like a lifetime ago. After this weekend, we’re over two weeks removed from the Kansas City Chiefs epic 25-22 overtime victory in Super Bowl LVIII. But It’s important to remember that the NFL playoffs are a goldmine of fantasy football information when it comes to projecting the upcoming season. You’d be wise to carefully consider playoff performances as we head into an offseason of evaluating fantasy football profiles.

There’s a common psychological phenomenon when it comes to fantasy football managers and the NFL playoffs. The playoffs can be a breath of fresh air after a long, grinding season of setting lineups and chasing fantasy championships. As fans, we get to watch one game at a time of high stakes football featuring two of the league’s best teams. Better yet, we don’t have any lineup decisions to sweat or injuries to monitor.

For some reason, fantasy football managers frequently don’t consider the past season’s playoff performances when it comes time to draft their teams in August. Or even worse, managers flat out ignore playoff games when making decisions with their dynasty rosters. I’d argue those performances matter just as much or more as regular season performances.

All that being said, here’s a recap of some of the NFL playoffs’ biggest risers and fallers.

Stock Up: Isiah Pacheco - RB, Kansas City

It became clear during the Chiefs’ six-game winning streak to win the Super Bowl that Pacheco is an NFL star right now. Running backs can come and go quickly. But with Pacheco under contract for two more seasons with a cap hit at right around $1 million a year, he’ll likely be holding the job down and producing at a high level in that timeframe. Pacheco scored 15.8, 18.1, 18.2 and 13.2 PPR points in his four playoff games. He recorded a career-high 28 touches in the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens.

Pacheco ranks as the dynasty RB13 on KeepTradeCut after his impressive playoff run, just behind James Cook and Rachaad White. He’s priced at a late 2024 first round pick in superflex leagues. I currently rank 11 players as premium rookies in 2024 superflex drafts. If I can get Pacheco for the 1.12 straight up or something as late as the 2.04 with something tacked on, I’d prefer Pacheco to fishing in the unknown rookie waters past my current top 11. Pacheco could be in line for a difference-making year once again in 2024.

Stock Down: Tua Tagovailoa - QB, Miami

The fantasy football community has soured on Tua after a poor finish to the season. He posted just two QB1 weeks in 6 point passing TD leagues following the team’s Week 10 bye. With two games remaining in the year and with a chance to win the division, the Dolphins lost back-to-back games against the Ravens and Bills to fall to the #6 seed in the AFC playoffs. In an ice cold road game in Kansas City, the Dolphins’ season ended with a 26-7 loss to the eventual champions.

Tua threw for 203 passing yards per game with four touchdowns and five interceptions in those three games. In hindsight, they were tough, late in the year losses against three of the best teams in the NFL. Tua was completely thrown under the bus at the time, and his fantasy value took a big hit because of it.

Tua and the Dolphins should likely still be a high-scoring offense at the beginning of the 2024 season. Tua ranks as the dynasty QB17 on KeepTradeCut with Brock Purdy, Dak Prescott, and incoming rookies Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels all ranked ahead. Tua is still an intriguing buy because of his potential to outproduce his market value. But demand for him has dropped rapidly. More worrisome yet is the possibility he drops off a cliff if the Dolphins intend to upgrade at the position in 2025.

Stock Up: Brock Purdy - QB, San Francisco

Brock Purdy did a great job of silencing his doubters in the playoffs. He gave the 49ers a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl. The Chiefs simply took over the game in the second half and overtime.

After the fluky muffed punt late in the third quarter that gave the Chiefs an instant redzone opportunity, the Chiefs went one play for a touchdown, 12 plays for a game-tying field goal, 11 plays for another game-tying field goal, and 13 plays for a game-winning touchdown. It was a Mahomes masterclass on the Chiefs’ final four offensive drives, and his performance will forever change the course of how we view Purdy’s career.

To Purdy’s credit, he posted a QB6 finish in his first full season as a starter in 6 point passing TD leagues. In the playoffs, he threw for 258 passing yards a game with three touchdowns and one interception. He led two phenomenal comeback playoff victories against the Packers and Lions and walked off the field twice with a three point lead late in the Super Bowl only for the Chiefs to tie the game at the end of regulation and win in overtime with a touchdown.

It may never be possible for Purdy to win over all his critics. But there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the locked-in starter for the 49ers in 2024. He’ll remain in an extremely positive offensive environment and he has a chance to continue to develop as a quarterback. He’s a massive buy for me as the dynasty QB15 on KeepTradeCut.

Elijah Southwick is the lead sports content writer for Degen Magazine. His work has appeared in several news and sports publications

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