FILLING OUT YOUR ROSTER: KEEP JAY CUTLER
As the bye weeks are coming to an end, it’s time for owners to look ahead to the Fantasy playoffs. One of the keys to the playoffs is making sure that you have the best possible team. Whether you are looking to try to make the playoffs or you already have the little asterisks next to your team name, it’s a good idea to take stock of your team. Take a look at who might be on the waiver wire and who might help your team for the final stretch. You don’t need bye week replacements, so if there is a player, perhaps injured and dropped by a frustrated owner, now is the time to pick them up. One key to the future is looking at the schedule. Do you know which teams allow the most points per position? Do you know who is allowing the most touchdowns or yardage on the ground? Read on.
[caption id="attachment_28577" align="alignright" width="300" caption="If Jay Cutler misses significant time, there are some options on the waiver wire. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/43912439@N07/">chicagobears6</a>"][/caption]
Your top tier starting quarterbacks are starting no matter what. But if you drafted Michael Vick, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, or another currently injured QB, you may be looking at a replacement for at least this week, maybe longer. If you are looking at the matchups, try to find a quarterback who is facing the New Orleans Saints, the Washington Redskins, the Buffalo Bills or the Minnesota Vikings, as these four teams allow the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
For your information:
New Orleans’ schedule through Week 16: at Oakland, San Francisco, at Atlanta, at NY Giants, Tampa Bay and at Dallas.
Washington’s schedule through Week 16: Philadelphia, at Dallas, NY Giants, Baltimore, at Cleveland, at Philadelphia.
Buffalo’s schedule through Week 16: Miami, at Indianapolis, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Seattle, at Miami
Minnesota’s schedule through Week 16: bye, at Chicago, at Green Bay, Chicago, at St. Louis, at Houston
Looking at the schedules, it appears Eli Manning may have a chance to rebound with two good matchups looming ahead. If Jay Cutler ends up missing any time beyond this week, Jason Campbell makes for a good addition. If Cutler returns, keep him in your lineup for two games against the Vikings. Another interesting matchup is Ryan Tannehill facing Buffalo twice, including the final week of most Fantasy championships. That’s not to say that Tannehill is going to win you a Fantasy championship, but if he can help get you there, why not play the matchups while you can? Another matchup to exploit is Philadelphia vs. Washington twice. With Michael Vick potentially out for the rest of the season, Nick Foles becomes an addition for those that are really desperate. Washington has allowed the most passing touchdowns (20) and the third-most passing yards in the league.
When a defense is bad, a defense is bad. Case in point: the four teams that allow the most Fantasy points to opposing running backs: the Buffalo Bills, the New Orleans Saints, the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The schedules for Tennessee and Jacksonville:
Tennessee: bye, at Jacksonville, Houston, at Indianapolis, NY Jets, at Green Bay
Jacksonville: at Houston, Tennessee, at Buffalo, NY Jets, at Miami, New England
If there is a time for Shonn Greene to shine, it’s Week 14 and 15 in the Fantasy playoffs against two teams that are awful against the run. Also, don’t give up on Reggie Bush just yet. Sure, he’s had fumbling issues that caused him to be benched last week, but with three extremely favorable matchups out of the next six, he can still help your team. Also, if Maurice Jones-Drew doesn’t return, keep Rashad Jennings on the roster, as matchups with Tennessee and Buffalo loom. Also keep an eye on Donald Brown of Indianapolis. He did miss some time with a knee injury, but he played in Week 10 (albeit in a limited role, sharing carries with Vick Ballard). Brown also faces Buffalo and Tennessee in the coming weeks. He may be available in your league because of the injury or because of a rough schedule at the beginning of the season. He’s worth stashing on your bench and is potential matchups play, assuming he continues to be healthy.
The top three teams that you want to start your wide receivers against are: the New Orleans Saints, the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (with the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns all tied for a very close fourth).
Tampa Bay plays at Carolina, Atlanta, at Denver, Philadelphia, at New Orleans and St. Louis over the next six weeks.
Duplicate teams there include Atlanta, Philadelphia and the NY Giants. While you’re not going to find any sleepers in Atlanta, look at the Philly receivers. With good matchups in three of the next six weeks, if someone is looking to trade Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson with quarterback concerns, go for it. It may be a gamble, because we don’t know how Foles will fare, but it may pay off. He can’t check down to LeSean McCoy all day, can he?
In addition to the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Redskins, the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos allow the most Fantasy points to tight ends.
New England’s schedule through Week 16: Indianapolis, at NY Jets, at Miami, Houston, San Francisco, at Jacksonville.
Denver’s schedule through Week 16: San Diego, at Kansas City, Tampa Bay, at Oakland, at Baltimore, Cleveland.
This schedule makes Dwayne Allen an interesting addition if you are dealing with injuries at the tight end position (Aaron Hernandez, Owen Daniels, Brandon Myers owners). With matchups against New England and Tennessee, and Coby Fleener likely still out, Allen could be a decent fill-in. Another interesting play is Brent Celek. While he was only targeted twice by Foles, after a week (or more) of practicing with the first-team offense, Foles may look to check down to Celek as a safety option (see, he may not just check down or hand off to McCoy). Other duplicate favorable matchups include the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens. Dustin Keller may still be available in your league and is a decent option for the remainder of the season. Sure, he didn’t look good in Week 10, but in the two games prior, he had seven receptions for 93 and 67 yards respectively and a touchdown. If he’s out there, pick him up. For Baltimore, a frustrated owner may have dropped Dennis Pitta when he was slumping. He has been inconsistent, but he did find the end zone last week. Look for Keller first, and then see if Pitta, then Celek or Allen is still available.
If you’re trying to play the matchups with your kicker, well, just continue to do so. It’s hard to say for sure that the teams that allow the most Fantasy points to kickers are really the best way to go. (But, if you were interested, the top three teams that allow the most points to kickers are the Oakland Raiders, the Tennessee Titans and the Carolina Panthers). Do with that as you wish.
As far as defenses go, look around for the teams that have the most turnovers. It shouldn’t surprise you that the Kansas City Chiefs top the list of teams that allow the most points to opposing Fantasy defenses. The Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets round out the top four. All of these teams have turnover-prone quarterbacks and are typically a good bet to start your defense against. As always, you need to be aware of the scoring for the defense in your league. Some leagues deduct points for total yards, others just for total points. The Kansas City Chiefs have only scored more than 24 points once (in the overtime win against New Orleans). If you are looking for a team that most likely won’t put a lot of points on the board, grab the defense playing the Chiefs (upcoming schedule: Cincinnati, Denver, Carolina, at Cleveland, at Oakland, Indianapolis). In five of the last nine games, the New York Jets have scored 10 points or less (including one donut). They have also put up high-scoring efforts, so they are a risk. Jacksonville needed overtime (twice) to put up 23 points (their high). Aside from those two games, they only scored more than 20 points one other time all season. They are another good bet for leagues that have strict point limits for defensive scoring.
Whether you are going to plug and play at a position or you just want to stack your roster, it’s a good time to look at the schedules for your studs. Look at the available players and put together the best possible roster for the playoff push and beyond.
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