This week’s focus will be all about gearing up for the fantasy playoffs. Generally, this will run from Week 14-17. While the first 13 weeks are important to get you a top spot in the playoffs, once that time rolls around, everyone starts back at 0-0. So getting ready for this event is a must.
The following post is going to tell you everything that you need to know about starting quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers in the fantasy playoffs. We have an in-depth breakdown of the strength of schedule for each one of these positions from Week 14 to Week 17. When making a trade offer or thinking of accepting one, always come back to this post.
Some of you are likely great with your teams, and I believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Any team that is on the bubble or really struggling to make a top spot will need to make some splashes in the coming weeks to get into the playoffs. For the next week or two, study these charts, take a look at the other teams in your league and ask any question you have on GHL. By the end of Week 11, it will be high time to start making the moves that you need to solidify your playoff performance.
While injuries will lead to some decent Waiver Wire pickups from here on out, your best bet to improve your team is through trades. There are a lot of factors to look at here, but the one that we will be focusing on today is fantasy football playoff strength of schedule.
There is a fine line that you shouldn’t cross when considering this statistic. While the defense teams are facing has a good amount to do with the success that they will see, you need to keep the players talent level in perspective. For example, the Chicago Bears’ receivers will have the easiest schedule from Week 14-17, but starting Knox, Bennett or Hester over a top performing receiver is absurd. So use the following statistics wisely.
These tables are meant to be used in evaluating your trades. The first thing you should look at is the past. The history of the particular player says a lot more about them than the future. But if you are in line to give up a running back who has very similar statistics compared to the running back you will receive, these rankings will certainly help make your decision easier.
Let’s being by looking at how the defenses rank up. In the following chart you will see each team, and how their defense ranks in terms of fantasy points given up at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions. Defenses are ranked from 1-32, with 1 being the least points against and 32 being the most points against.
(All research done in the following charts was conducted on ESPN.com)
|Green Bay Packers||30||11||30|
|Kansas City Chiefs||21||27||20|
|New England Patriots||31||25||31|
|New Orleans Saints||18||12||15|
|New York Giants||11||29||25|
|New York Jets||1||28||4|
|San Diego Chargers||14||4||10|
|San Francisco 49ers||20||2||23|
|St. Louis Rams||23||26||25|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24||31||19|
Knowing the strength of the defense is pivotal in predicting which players will be able to turn on the burners during the fantasy football playoff season.
Fantasy Football Playoffs: Quarterback Strength of Schedule
Next, we break down the quarterback position. This chart shows you the strength of the defense that each quarterback will face from Week 14 to Week 17. They are ordered based on the overall total of the four week span.
|Quarterback||Week 14||Week 15||Week 16||Week 17||Total|
Again, make sure you note the players past performances when deciding who is worth getting rid of and who is worth acquiring. While Ryan Fitzpatrick has the easiest four week schedule, trading Aaron Rodgers (11th best schedule) for him is not a great move to make.
However if you have been starting Matt Ryan (a player with very similar stats to Ryan Fitzpatrick) all year long, then based on the strength of schedule, this would be a good trade to make to put you in the position to get the most out of your playoff roster.
Also, if you have a quarterback who has been disappointing this year, you might find that someone like Jay Cutler, who has a great schedule for Week 14-17, is sitting in free agency just waiting to be owned.
Fantasy Football Playoffs: Running Back Strength of Schedule
The effect of a player’s strength of schedule is most easily seen when you are looking at the running back position. There is a massive difference between the yards, touchdowns and fantasy points given up by a top five team like the Baltimore Ravens in comparison to a low ranked team like the Carolina Panthers or even a mid-ranked team like the Cleveland Browns.
The following chart breaks down which running backs will have the easiest road ahead once the fantasy playoffs roll around. The top performing 40 running backs are listed in strength of schedule order.
|Running Back||Week 14||Week 15||Week 16||Week 17||Total|
These numbers you just saw will tell a great deal in the future of running backs when we get to the end of the season. Mostly the big names that we see at the bottom of the list.
If you have a running back who is near the top of the rankings now like Darren McFadden, Ryan Mathews, Steven Jackson or Beanie Wells, the next few weeks would be fantastic time to think about selling them. All have name value right now and are seated in the top 15 in running back scoring. By making a move on a back with similar stats (or packaging your RB with a low receiver) you can easily move up the rankings with your running back and find one with a more favorable schedule.
Even looking at RB2s and bench running backs, we can see that mid-ranked RBs like DeMarco Murray, Shonn Greene, Daniel Thomas, Roy Helu and Willis McGahee all have very favorable schedules. You will be able to spend much less for them, getting rid of one of you RB2 or a couple good bench players to boost your starting running back position.
Fantasy Football Playoffs: Wide Receiver Strength of Schedule
Receiver is generally the most up-and-down position. Outside of a handful of consistent guys, the stats of the remaining players changes greatly from one week to another. Some players will have great performances against good defenses, some will have awful performances against bad teams. Receiver has a lot more to do with luck than quarterback or running back do.
That being said, we can still use this chart as a prediction tool to find the most beatable matchups. The top 48 receivers are listed here in strength of schedule order.
|Wide Receiver||Week 14||Week 15||Week 16||Week 17||Total|
It is very important to keep individual talent in mind here. Chicago receivers have far-and-away the easiest schedule of any team, but they are an inconsistent bunch right now. Unless we see major strides in one individual’s performance, they might be worth leaving alone. Same can be said for Seattle receivers.
A good way to increase the value of your team is by packaging a receiver with a running back to increase the talent where you need it. Remember to keep in mind the Trade Math that I posted a month ago.
For example, if you are in need of receiver help, but have two solid starting running backs and a great running back on your bench, you should find a team that needs running back help. Use this chart (and keep talent in mind) and offer them your WR2 or WR3 plus your great bench running back. In return ask for their two high receivers. It is likely that the math will add up, you will only be sacrificing one starter and gaining two better ones!
If you have been having great performances from Victor Cruz or Pierre Thomas this year, their fantasy value is likely as high as it will get, meaning that you can sell them and get the most in return. You can see that their fantasy playoff schedule leaves them weak, so you can easily go out and find a receiver much higher on the list with a similar point total.
In closing, always remember:
- Consider the past before looking at Strength of Schedule.
- For one-man trades, try to find a player with similar fantasy points but a better strength of schedule.
- Now is the time to start shopping around that great performer that is just wasting on your bench for someone that will upgrade your starting lineup.
- Packaging two players together is a great way to get the most out of your trade.
- Always, always, always do the math.
GodHatesLosers is always here to weigh in on your trade and hand out advice. If you want to contact us about any trade ideas that you have or any proposals that you receive, feel free to do so on this post or any Advice Time post that you see.
Now get out there and start scouting. With a little research and patience, you will be able to create the best playoff team in your league and walk away with the title.