By Bobby McMann
With the regular season winding down, let’s take a look at NFL teams with the most favorable and unfavorable schedules for the Fantasy Football Playoffs, from Weeks 14 through 16.
Most favorable fantasy schedules
Eagles @ Rams, @ Giants, vs. Raiders – While the Rams pose a tough matchup for the passing attack, it gets much easier in Weeks 15 and 16 for the Eagles. The Giants give up the most points to opposing QBs and TEs according to NFL.com, and the Raiders are not much better. Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz should be starting regardless of matchup. Alshon Jeffery should be able to feast and Nelson Agholor is a FLEX play. Jay Ajayi’s owners should be happy, as all three opponents are inside the Top 10 of points allowed to RBs.
Chiefs @ Raiders, vs. Chargers, vs. Dolphins – The Chiefs take on a lackluster Raiders defense before two home games in the Fantasy playoffs against similar opponents. Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce are in excellent spots for success. Alex Smith should be able to put up close to QB1 type numbers in these matchups. Tyreek Hill is locked in as a high upside WR2.
Steelers vs. Ravens, vs. Patriots, @ Texans – While the Ravens’ stout defense could slow down the Steelers offense, the rest of this playoff schedule is mouth-watering. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster are all must start options. Bell does have a tough matchup against the Texans, who are giving up the second least points to RBs. As a bonus, if you play in a league with a Week 17 finale, the Steelers host the Browns.
Panthers vs. Vikings, vs. Packers, vs. Bucs – The Vikings are a tough matchup for Cam Newton and company, but then things open up. Green Bay and Tampa Bay have allowed the 10th and 11th most points to RBs, which is great news for Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. The Bucs have allowed the fourth most points to WRs and the Packers have given up the sixth most, which means you can start Devin Funchess with even more confidence. The only Panther that might not produce optimum points based on matchup is Greg Olsen. The Packers have been the stingiest defense versus the TE position and Tampa Bay is not far behind.
Chargers vs. Redskins, @ Chiefs, @ Jets – Philip Rivers is a nice fill-in option in all three weeks, Keenan Allen gets elevated in all except the Redskins matchup because he should see Josh Norman. Melvin Gordon is a must-start RB, but matchups for him are a bit tougher. You’ll want to look elsewhere if you are starting Hunter Henry.
Falcons vs. Saints, vs. Bucs, @ Saints – While the Saints defense has been playing very well this season, the aforementioned porous Bucs defense is a plus matchup. Consider Tevin Coleman a potential FLEX play. With two games in three weeks versus New Orleans, Fantasy owners are hoping for a couple of track meets. Matt Ryan will be a borderline QB1 play, but Julio Jones is a lineup lock and Mohamed Sanu deserves consideration.
Ravens @ Steelers, @ Browns, vs. Colts – While you should avoid using Ravens against the Steelers, the Browns and Colts present attractive matchups. Cleveland has given up the eighth fewest points to the RB position, but Indy has allowed the fourth most. Danny Woodhead and Alex Collins should find themselves having at least FLEX value. Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace deserve consideration, especially against the Colts.
Least Favorable Fantasy Playoff Matchups
Texans vs. 49ers, @ Jags, vs. Steelers – Let’s face it, you are only using DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller here. Both are great plays in Week 14, but then they should be downgraded for the next two.
Packers @ Browns, @ Panthers, vs. Vikings – The Aaron Rodgers injury already put a damper on this entire offense and this playoff schedule is not easy, especially for the running game. You can still roll with Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson is viable if Rodgers returns in Week 15. But only Adams is useful if Rodgers cannot make it back.
Seahawks @ Jaguars, vs. Rams, @ Cowboys – Russell Wilson is playing at the highest level, but his playoff road in is rocky. You are still going to start him, Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin despite the matchups, but players like Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett become riskier. Who knows what will be going on in Seattle’s backfield by Week 15, but the Rams give up more than 20 points per game to the position.
49ers @ Texans, vs. Titans, vs. Jags – Blah. There simply isn’t much fantasy relevance here outside of Carlos Hyde. Hyde’s matchups aren’t particularly favorable either, so he’s a low-end RB2.
Colts @ Bills, vs. Broncos, @ Ravens – This is a great time to start Jack Doyle and I’d have a hard time benching T.Y. Hilton in any matchup, but that’s about it here. The Bills and Ravens are decent matchups for Marlon Mack, should he find himself in a more featured role.
Redskins @ Chargers, vs. Cardinals, vs. Broncos – Kirk Cousins’ playoff schedule is less than ideal but not insurmountable. Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder ae WR3 types. The Broncos have allowed the second most points to TEs, making Jordan Reed (or more likely Vernon Davis) an attractive play. The Cardinals and Broncos have been limiting opposing RBs all season and that makes Samaje Perine more of a FLEX option, but the rookie is an RB2 against San Diego.
Lions @ Bucs, vs. Bears, @ Bengals – Matthew Stafford is a must-start against the Bucs, but the Bears and Bengals will be tougher foes. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones drop to WR2 and WR3 options, respectively. There is no insurmountable matchup for Ameer Abdullah here, making him a decent RB2. Theo Riddick deserves FLEX consideration in PPR formats, as all three teams have allowed more than 50 receptions to RBs.