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2022 NFL Fantasy Playoffs: How to approach Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes

What is the fantasy football outlook for Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes as the Packers and Chiefs enter the NFL playoffs?

Fantasy playoff leagues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Many of you are gearing up for snake drafts that will determine your roster for the duration of the NFL playoffs. Others are putting together rosters using the entire player pool. Regardless of format, it’s crucial to your success to not only have the best players, but have the best players on teams likely to play multiple games. Today, we’re going to look at the two quarterbacks that oddsmakers have favored to meet in the Super Bowl and analyze whether Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes deserves a spot on your playoff fantasy football roster.

Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are elite fantasy options

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Both Mahomes and Rodgers are tremendous quarterbacks — in reality and fantasy. Each has an overall QB1 season on their résumés. This season, the two were extremely close in fantasy value. They finished as the overall QB5 and QB6, with Mahomes edging out Rodgers 21.8 to 21.0 in fantasy points per game. 

Mahomes had the bigger splash weeks, posting four games of 30+ fantasy points (Rodgers had just one). However, Rodgers had the higher floor with just three games with 15 fantasy points or fewer (Mahomes had five). We know they’re both great fantasy options, but which one is better for playoff fantasy football?

The Packers and Chiefs are the Super Bowl favorites

The debate between Rodgers and Mahomes is a fascinating one because it hinges almost entirely on how confident you are in these teams reaching the Super Bowl. As the NFC’s top seed, Green Bay will play all of their pre-Super Bowl games at home. The Chiefs, as the No. 2 seed in their conference, are also guaranteed two home games, but would potentially be on the road in the AFC Championship Game.

If you don’t think the Packers are going to the Super Bowl, then the choice is easy — it’s Mahomes. Without a Super Bowl appearance, you’d get a maximum of two games out of Rodgers, which is the minimum we’re getting from Mahomes anyway (sorry, I don’t give the Steelers any chance in this one). 

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If you do think the Packers are going to the Super Bowl, it gets way more interesting. The difficulty in this assessment is Mahomes has the potential to play four games whereas Rodgers maxes out at three.

If you’re doing a snake draft where you’re just drafting a starting lineup for the entirety of the playoffs, four games of Mahomes is objectively more valuable than three games of Rodgers. Even in formats where you have a bench and can set a lineup, being able to use Mahomes this weekend is a clear advantage over Rodgers. 

Should fantasy managers go with Rodgers or Mahomes in playoff fantasy rosters?

Ultimately, this decision needs to come down to your expectations for the Packers and Chiefs in the NFL playoffs. Kansas City is likely to host the Bills in the Divisional Round. That game could go either way. At the same time, Green Bay could certainly fall in the NFC Championship Game to the likes of the Bucs, Rams, Cardinals, or Cowboys. In either scenario, both the Packers and Chiefs are playing just two games.

I believe the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl again. Given that position, I would go with Mahomes because he will have the advantage of playing an extra game. As long as you like Kansas City to at least reach the AFC Championship, Mahomes is the superior choice. However, if you think the Chiefs are only playing two games, you can go with Rodgers if you are on board with a Packers Super Bowl run.

For those of you playing daily fantasy this weekend, you obviously can’t use Rodgers. As for Mahomes, at $7,400 on DraftKings, I would actually be fading him this weekend.

Mahomes threw for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Steelers in Week 16. With the Chiefs installed as double-digit favorites, I’m expecting them to just run over Pittsburgh. Positive game script could easily lead to more of a floor game for Mahomes. He’s the second-most expensive quarterback on the slate, so DFS players will likely be able to create contrarian lineups with higher upside by leaving out Mahomes this week.

Jason Katz is a Fantasy Analyst at Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here. Don’t forget to listen to the PFN Fantasy Football podcast and check out our free fantasy newsletter.

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