It’s that time. The weather is getting cooler, the Holidays are quickly approaching, and the NFL playoff picture is becoming more clear by the week. At this point in the season, your fantasy football league’s playoff picture is probably crystalizing as well. Sorry for those of you who are 2-8 with no hope, and congratulations to those eight win teams who know they’ll be getting in. If you are one of the ones who are fortunate enough to be in, then it’s absolutely time to start looking at the playoff schedule. Whether you can still sneak a trade in, or there are worthy players out there on waivers, it’s best to be prepared so you aren’t scrambling to make the most of your FAAB come week 14.
If you are a team right in the middle then you may not be fortunate enough to plan ahead and use the end of that bench for players with a better schedule down the road. However, at this point in the season those bench spots should be somewhat solidified. We know who the main handcuffs are and what players will be returning from injury soon enough to help us out. But it’s time to drop that second TE, that fill in QB, or the 5th WR that you will most likely never use. You will be thanking yourself come week 14 if you planned ahead and you’ve got the Seahawks D/ST (Huh?!?) ready to plug and play against a pathetic Jet’s team that has given up and traveled all the way across the country to play. So let’s take a look at those players that have a juicy playoff schedule.
Goff has certainly had an up and down season and can be frustrating to own. You never know if you’re going to get 13 points from him or 35. However, his playoff schedule is just too appetizing to pass up. It starts in week 14 with the Patriots. Now, this is not an easy matchup by any means, but it is doable, and who knows maybe Stephon Gilmore is shut down by then. After that however, you get the Jets and the Seahawks in weeks 15-16. This is one of the best two week stretches you can ask for with a QB. Both rank in the bottom third against QB’s for fantasy PPG, with the Seahawks ranking second to last. If you have a better option in week 14 more power to you and then you can reap the rewards in the semi-finals and hopefully the championship.
There’s a small chance that after the week 9 nightmare for Brady their owner gave up and cut bait. If not and you can still make a trade, go get him. Brady has one of the best schedules a fantasy owner could dream of. His week 14-16 schedule includes the Vikings, the Falcons and the Lions. The Vikings and the Falcons are the fourth worst, and the worst defenses against QB’s in terms of fantasy PPG. Keep in mind, the Vikings are 4th worst even after the benefit of playing Nick Foles and the pathetic Chicago Bears offense. While the Lions are better, they currently rank in the bottom half, and the game is in Detroit so you get the benefit of playing in a dome. Also, there’s no need to worry about the possibility of Brady sitting because the NFC is wide open for the top seed, and the Bucs should be in the middle of a tight race for the division with the Saints. If you’re a playoff team with Brady, you’ll be salivating over these matchups come playoff time.
Other QB’s with great schedules:
Justin Herbert: ATL, LVS, DEN
Aaron Rodgers: DET, CAR, TEN
Look you’re not getting Derrick Henry on waivers, and it’s going to take a haul to trade for him. If you’re the Derrick Henry owner, and looking like a playoff team then congratulations. With the playoff schedule in front of him, he may be putting your team on his back similar to how he put the Titans on his back come NFL playoff time last year. He will be going against the Jaguars, Lions, and Packers. These three teams rank 27th, 32nd and 30th against Running Backs in fantasy PPG. With the actual playoffs on the line for the Titans, it's conceivable that they ride him for 30 touches a game which could turn into 30+ fantasy points each week. He’s been a little more inconsistent this year, but should be fantasy gold come playoffs.
Call me crazy, but I’m actually going to recommend the Running Back on the Bears. Yes, Montgomery just missed his Week 10 matchup against the Vikings with a concussion, but this should be long behind him in a month. Also, Montgomery is going to get pretty much every touch for the Bears since the depth chart behind him is less than appealing as evidenced in the Vikings game on Monday night. In weeks 14-16 he will be facing off against the Texans, Vikings, and Jaguars.These teams rank 31st, 18th and 27th against Running Backs fantasy PPG. I get it. You’re not exactly excited about rostering a Bears offensive player (outside of Allen Robinson), but in this case you could be starting a sure Bell Cow back with one of the softer schedules you could imagine.
Other RB’s with great schedules:
Aaron Jones: DET, CAR, TEN
D’Andre Swift: GB, TEN, TB
Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp
First off, anybody who has Seattle on their schedule during the playoffs needs to be on this list. The Seahawks are giving up a record number of fantasy points per game to Wide Receivers. Luckily for those Woods and Kupp owners, they face off against them in week 16 when 95% of fantasy leagues will be in their championship. The teams they get in weeks 14-15? The Patriots and the Jets. Both teams rank in the bottom half of the league in giving up points to Receivers. If you’ve got either of these guys, then you’ve got a few soft matchups in rounds one and two, ending with the Holy Grail of Wide Receiver matchups in the championship.
Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor
Fulgham has been a fantasy darling, and could be a league winner for a lot of people out there. The guy came out of nowhere and is averaging a cool 16.7 PPR points per game. Raegor has really come on and become a favorite of Carson Wentz’s since his return from injury. During the playoff stretch they will get to face off against the Saints, Cardinals and Cowboys. All three of these teams rank in the bottom third in fantasy PPG given up to Wide Receiver’s. The Eagles should (sadly) be fighting for a division title and letting Wentz air it out to these guys. Reagor may even be out there on some league’s waivers, so take a look. If you own either, then you’ve got a nice playoff stretch to benefit from.
Other WR’s with great schedules:
Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown: MIN, ATL, DET
Allen Robinson: HOU, MIN, JAX
Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins: DAL, PIT, HOU
This is a scary proposition for opposing fantasy players. Not only is Kelce by far the most dominant TE out there, but he has a great schedule come playoff time. In weeks 14-16 he will be going against the Dolphins, Saints and Falcons. Now, the Dolphins actually have a very respectable defense against Tight Ends, ranking sixth overall. With Kelce, it typically doesn't matter and if you get past that week then you get the 28th and 32nd ranked defenses against Tight Ends. Kelce should absolutely feast in these matchups. Worried about him resting for the playoffs? Don’t forget that only one team in each Conference will be getting a bye, and thanks to the Steelers remaining undefeated, the Chiefs should be chasing all the way through the end of the season. If you paid up for Kelce on draft day, then you will be handsomely rewarded on the way to a championship.
Fant continues to get targets even if his production has been a bit up and down. He hasn’t scored a Touchdown since week 2, and I would expect that to change. Stick with him and you will be rewarded in the playoffs. In weeks 14-16 he will be facing the Panthers, Bills and Chargers. Those teams rank 19th, 27th and 30th against Tight Ends. Fant should be able to take advantage and dominate these teams.
Below are some teams with great playoff schedules. When it comes to playoffs you can absolutely roster two defenses since byes are over and you know who your starters are going to be. Some teams below you may want to avoid for one week but will pay off for the other two weeks. An example of that is the Cleveland Browns. They start in week 14 with the Ravens. While they haven't exactly been the same offensive juggernaut as last year, you still probably don’t want to start a Defense against them with your playoff hopes on the line.
Browns: BAL, NYG, NYJ
Rams: NE, NYJ, SEA (Avoid)
Ravens: CLE, JAX, NYG
49ers: WSH, DAL, ARI (Avoid)
Bears: HOU, MIN, JAX
Since we are already on to week 11, I don’t see any of this changing. If you have any of the above players, congratulations! If you can still trade or grab one off of Waivers then go get them! Either way, hopefully your team will still be alive when this matters and good luck!