The Most Valuable Non-QBs For Every NFL Playoff Team
Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Donald, Stefon Diggs
Quarterbacks are the most valuable players to the point spread, so it was a no-brainer for my colleagues and I to rank every playoff quarterback by exactly how many points they’re worth. But what about non-quarterbacks?
For some teams, the most impactful players when it comes to betting are other skill position players like wide receivers. For others, they’re defensive studs or even the anchors of their offensive lines. It all depends on the makeup of a team’s strengths and weaknesses.
With that in mind, I’ve outlined the five most valuable non-quarterbacks for each of the eight remaining teams heading into the Divisional Round, complete with their projected worth to the spread based on my player ratings. (By the way, these player ratings inform my team ratings, which help power our NFL PRO Projections — a feature that grades betting edges by comparing our projected spreads and totals to real-time odds.)
Now let’s run through every team, starting in the AFC and in order of seeding.
Note: Asterisks denote players on their team’s injury report or who are already sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Tyreek Hill (+0.9) and Travis Kelce (+0.7) are two of the most valuable players at their positions. The loss of either one would result in the other stepping up and the Chiefs’ team rating to drop a full point.
If both were to miss time, it would be difficult to replace them. I would lower the Chiefs’ team rating by about 2.5-3 points in that scenario.
The addition of Stefon Diggs (+1.03) has played a considerable role in Josh Allen’s (+4.64) breakout season. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s innovative play-calling has also contributed to Allen’s success.
Micah Hyde (+0.35) and Jordan Poyer (+0.29) remain among the best safety duos in the league.
While Marcus Peters (+0.28) is listed as questionable for the Divisional Round, the secondary’s health with Marlon Humphrey (+0.43) and Jimmy Smith (+0.17) is critical for the Ravens.
The Ravens lost Marshal Yanda (+0.37) to retirement and Ronnie Stanley (+0.29) and Nick Boyle (+0.1) to season-ending injuries. Considering they run the ball at the highest rate in the NFL, it’s fair to wonder if these key losses to their run-blocking will be their downfall in the playoffs.
The Browns have a very balanced roster with nine starters with a +0.3 rating or higher, and three of those players are offensive linemen, only amplifying the lethal running back duo of Nick Chubb (+0.52) and Kareem Hunt (+0.24).
Myles Garrett (+0.76) is one of the few defensive players who could move the spread by a full point if he ever were to miss a game. The Browns did suffer a notable loss elsewhere on the defensive line when DE Olivier Vernon (+0.47) tore his Achilles, ending his season.
Davante Adams (+1.12) is one of the most valuable wide receivers in the NFL, including one of only three still in the playoffs worth more than one point to the spread.
The Saints welcomed the returns of Michael Thomas (+1.11) from injury and Alvin Kamara (+0.50) from the reserve/COVID-19 list just in time for the playoffs.
Chris Godwin (+0.66), Mike Evans (+0.59) and Antonio Brown (+0.54) make up arguably the most valuable WR trio in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Ali Marpet (+0.31) is the glue that holds the offensive line together. When he missed Weeks 11-13, the Bucs went 1-2 against the spread — including an embarrassing 38-3 primetime loss to the Saints.
Aaron Donald (+0.98) is worth 1-1.5 points against the spread. He’s the only defensive player who could be worth two full points depending on the matchup and what numbers it would cross.
Thankfully for the Rams, Donald was not on their injury report after suffering a rib injury on Wild Card Weekend, indicating he’s on track to play against the Packers this Saturday.
Meanwhile, Cooper Kupp (+0.58) is on the injury report, listed as questionable with a knee injury he also sustained last week.