Fantasy Football Weeks 14 16: Breaking Down The Best And Worst Playoff Matchups

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  • You made it. The playoffs. They're here, and you've still got something to play for. Way to go!

    Your season now hangs in the balance with every game, which means the stakes have never been higher. You can't afford to look ahead, and you can't afford to stumble. But you don't want to be so myopic that you find yourself stuck with a bunch of bad matchups after winning in the first round of the playoffs.

    We're taking a look at every team's playoff schedule to see who has the best and worst, and where you might be able to find an edge. At this point in the season, that could be the difference between an early exit and glory.

    Best playoff schedules based on points allowed

    Team Week 14 OPP Rank Week 15 OPP Rank Week 16 OPP Rank Total Rank

    DEN

    @

    SF

    7

    CLE

    11 @

    OAK

    3 1

    ARI

    DET

    9 @

    ATL

    4

    LAR

    12 2

    CAR

    @

    CLE

    11

    NO

    18

    ATL

    4 3

    CLE

    CAR

    13 @

    DEN

    20

    CIN

    1 4

    SEA

    MIN

    23 @

    SF

    7

    KC

    5 5

    ATL

    @

    GB

    17

    ARI

    6 @

    CAR

    13 6

    BAL

    @

    KC

    5

    TB

    2 @

    LAC

    29 7

    CHI

    LAR

    12

    GB

    17 @

    SF

    7 8

    DAL

    PHI

    19 @

    IND

    15

    TB

    2 9

    NO

    @

    TB

    2 @

    CAR

    13

    PIT

    21 10

    LAC

    CIN

    1 @

    KC

    5

    BAL

    32 11

    OAK

    PIT

    21 @

    CIN

    1

    DEN

    20 12

    CIN

    @

    LAC

    29

    OAK

    3 @

    CLE

    11 13

    PIT

    @

    OAK

    3

    NE

    22 @

    NO

    18 14

    MIN

    @

    SEA

    25

    MIA

    10 @

    DET

    9 15

    BUF

    NYJ

    14

    DET

    9 @

    NE

    22 16

    DET

    @

    ARI

    6 @

    BUF

    16

    MIN

    23 17

    NE

    @

    MIA

    10 @

    PIT

    21

    BUF

    16 18

    HOU

    IND

    15 @

    NYJ

    14 @

    PHI

    19 19

    GB

    ATL

    4 @

    CHI

    31 @

    NYJ

    14 20

    LAR

    @

    CHI

    31

    PHI

    19 @

    ARI

    6 21

    TEN

    JAX

    24 @

    NYG

    8

    WSH

    26 22

    WSH

    NYG

    8 @

    JAX

    24 @

    TEN

    27 23

    NYJ

    @

    BUF

    16

    HOU

    28

    GB

    17 24

    JAX

    @

    TEN

    27

    WSH

    26 @

    MIA

    10 25

    IND

    @

    HOU

    28

    DAL

    30

    NYG

    8 26

    NYG

    @

    WSH

    26

    TEN

    27 @

    IND

    15 27

    MIA

    NE

    22 @

    MIN

    23

    JAX

    24 28

    PHI

    @

    DAL

    30 @

    LAR

    12

    HOU

    28 29

    SF

    DEN

    20

    SEA

    25

    CHI

    31 30

    TB

    NO

    18 @

    BAL

    32 @

    DAL

    30 31

    KC

    BAL

    32

    LAC

    29 @

    SEA

    25 32
    • We'll get to some specifics soon, but there are a few things worth noting here. Most notably, the schedules for the Chiefs and Buccaneers, two teams Fantasy owners have been relying on all year. Here's the thing: You're not sitting most of your studs. In Kansas City, that mostly means you're not sitting anyone. In Tampa ... well, it might mean you're only starting Mike Evans as a definite must-start option. Everyone else is negotiable.
    • Below, you'll find specifics for Fantasy scoring for passing and rushing, with specific recommendations for the upcoming playoff weeks.

    Best playoff schedules by passing points allowed

    Team Week 14 OPP Rank Week 15 OPP Rank Week 16 OPP Rank Total Rank

    ARI

    DET

    7 @

    ATL

    3

    LAR

    6 1

    CLE

    CAR

    5 @

    DEN

    13

    CIN

    2 2

    NO

    @

    TB

    1 @

    CAR

    5

    PIT

    14 3

    CHI

    LAR

    6

    GB

    17 @

    SF

    4 4

    DEN

    @

    SF

    4

    CLE

    16 @

    OAK

    8 5

    CAR

    @

    CLE

    16

    NO

    9

    ATL

    3 6

    PIT

    @

    OAK

    8

    NE

    11 @

    NO

    9 7

    OAK

    PIT

    14 @

    CIN

    2

    DEN

    13 8

    DAL

    PHI

    12 @

    IND

    21

    TB

    1 9

    BUF

    NYJ

    18

    DET

    7 @

    NE

    11 10

    BAL

    @

    KC

    10

    TB

    1 @

    LAC

    28 11

    LAC

    CIN

    2 @

    KC

    10

    BAL

    29 12

    MIN

    @

    SEA

    22

    MIA

    15 @

    DET

    7 13

    SEA

    MIN

    31 @

    SF

    4

    KC

    10 14

    ATL

    @

    GB

    17

    ARI

    25 @

    CAR

    5 15

    GB

    ATL

    3 @

    CHI

    27 @

    NYJ

    18 16

    HOU

    IND

    21 @

    NYJ

    18 @

    PHI

    12 17

    CIN

    @

    LAC

    28

    OAK

    8 @

    CLE

    16 18

    PHI

    @

    DAL

    26 @

    LAR

    6

    HOU

    20 19

    JAX

    @

    TEN

    23

    WSH

    19 @

    MIA

    15 20

    NE

    @

    MIA

    15 @

    PIT

    14

    BUF

    32 21

    SF

    DEN

    13

    SEA

    22

    CHI

    27 22

    NYG

    @

    WSH

    19

    TEN

    23 @

    IND

    21 23

    LAR

    @

    CHI

    27

    PHI

    12 @

    ARI

    25 24

    TB

    NO

    9 @

    BAL

    29 @

    DAL

    26 25

    NYJ

    @

    BUF

    32

    HOU

    20

    GB

    17 26

    IND

    @

    HOU

    20

    DAL

    26

    NYG

    24 27

    MIA

    NE

    11 @

    MIN

    31

    JAX

    30 28

    TEN

    JAX

    30 @

    NYG

    24

    WSH

    19 29

    WSH

    NYG

    24 @

    JAX

    30 @

    TEN

    23 30

    KC

    BAL

    29

    LAC

    28 @

    SEA

    22 31

    DET

    @

    ARI

    25 @

    BUF

    32

    MIN

    31 32
    • Unfortunately, the best passing game schedule belongs to a passer we aren't going to be comfortable trusting in the most important games of the season. Josh Rosen has certainly shown flashes -- two multi-TD games in his past four -- but he's not ready to be a Fantasy contributor, and the offense around him isn't good enough to carry him. He has actually managed well enough against the likes of San Francisco and Oakland, showing he can take advantage of a good matchup, but you're not leaving your championship hopes in the hands of Josh Rosen.
    • A more interesting set of matchups belongs to Baker Mayfield and Mitch Trubisky, both of whom face top-five matchups in Weeks 14 and 16. You may not want to trust Mayfield in Week 13 against a still-tough Broncos' pass rush on the road, but he might be too hard to sit even against a middling matchup. And that Week 16 matchup against the Bengals at home has to have you salivating. Trubisky's isn't quite as good, as he has to travel west to take on the 49ers in San Francisco, but if he's healthy, you're starting him there for sure.
    • If you want a streaming option for Mayfield or Trubisky in Week 15, Derek Carr gets the Bengals in Week 15. The even better option, however, is Lamar Jackson (presumably), who gets to take on the Buccaneers at home that same week. Assuming he can hold off a healthy Joe Flacco by then, Jackson could carry you to the championship, with his legs if not his arm.
    • You'll feel good continuing to ride Marcus Mariota in Week 13 against the Jets, but the ride may end there — he has to take on the Jaguars in the first game of the playoffs. And the matchups after that aren't good enough to keep him stashed.
    • Yes, Patrick Mahomes has the second-worst set of matchups in the playoffs, but … it doesn't matter. You've gotta dance with who you came to the dance with, and you came to the dance with one of the best dancers around. You're not sitting him against any matchup after the rookie season he's had.
    • You might consider sitting Jameis Winston in Weeks 15 and 16, but you've gotta keep him out there for a shootout against the Saints in Week 14. The Saints defense is much-improved in recent weeks, but it still gave up 400-plus yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier this season, and Winston had 363 yards against the Saints the last time he saw them.

    Best playoff schedules by rushing points allowed

    Team Week 14 OPP Rank Week 15 OPP Rank Week 16 OPP Rank Total Rank

    DEN

    @

    SF

    22

    CLE

    3 @

    OAK

    4 1

    CIN

    @

    LAC

    24

    OAK

    4 @

    CLE

    3 2

    LAC

    CIN

    2 @

    KC

    7

    BAL

    26 3

    CAR

    @

    CLE

    3

    NO

    29

    ATL

    5 4

    ATL

    @

    GB

    11

    ARI

    1 @

    CAR

    25 5

    BAL

    @

    KC

    7

    TB

    6 @

    LAC

    24 6

    ARI

    DET

    17 @

    ATL

    5

    LAR

    16 7

    MIN

    @

    SEA

    13

    MIA

    8 @

    DET

    17 8

    OAK

    PIT

    23 @

    CIN

    2

    DEN

    15 9

    WSH

    NYG

    9 @

    JAX

    14 @

    TEN

    18 10

    CLE

    CAR

    25 @

    DEN

    15

    CIN

    2 11

    DET

    @

    ARI

    1 @

    BUF

    12

    MIN

    30 12

    NE

    @

    MIA

    8 @

    PIT

    23

    BUF

    12 13

    TEN

    JAX

    14 @

    NYG

    9

    WSH

    21 14

    DAL

    PHI

    19 @

    IND

    20

    TB

    6 15

    GB

    ATL

    5 @

    CHI

    32 @

    NYJ

    10 16

    JAX

    @

    TEN

    18

    WSH

    21 @

    MIA

    8 17

    CHI

    LAR

    16

    GB

    11 @

    SF

    22 18

    HOU

    IND

    20 @

    NYJ

    10 @

    PHI

    19 19

    LAR

    @

    CHI

    32

    PHI

    19 @

    ARI

    1 20

    NO

    @

    TB

    6 @

    CAR

    25

    PIT

    23 21

    BUF

    NYJ

    10

    DET

    17 @

    NE

    27 22

    NYJ

    @

    BUF

    12

    HOU

    31

    GB

    11 23

    SEA

    MIN

    30 @

    SF

    22

    KC

    7 24

    NYG

    @

    WSH

    21

    TEN

    18 @

    IND

    20 25

    PIT

    @

    OAK

    4

    NE

    27 @

    NO

    29 26

    SF

    DEN

    15

    SEA

    13

    CHI

    32 27

    KC

    BAL

    26

    LAC

    24 @

    SEA

    13 28

    IND

    @

    HOU

    31

    DAL

    28

    NYG

    9 29

    MIA

    NE

    27 @

    MIN

    30

    JAX

    14 30

    PHI

    @

    DAL

    28 @

    LAR

    16

    HOU

    31 31

    TB

    NO

    29 @

    BAL

    26 @

    DAL

    28 32
    • A Broncos' rookie running back could be a league winner, which wouldn't have been much of a surprise during draft season. Of course, we would have put our money on Royce Freeman, not Phillip Lindsay, to be the one to carry you to a title. However, Lindsay continues to be the hot hand in Denver's backfield, and now he's got the best schedule for the playoffs in the league. Freeman should benefit from the soft schedule, too, but Lindsay looks like a must-start option from this point on.
    • Joe Mixon will hopefully continue to be the main cog of the Bengals' offense, and he'll benefit from the same matchups as Lindsay, in a different order. He's a must-start, top-15 type back every week.
    • Whether it's Austin Ekeler or Melvin Gordon, someone is going to get great matchups for the Chargers. Ekeler seems likely to be the main option at least until Week 15, with Gordon expected to miss multiple games with his knee injury. Even if Gordon is back by Week 16, Ekeler figures to be a must-start option in that championship game matchup against the Falcons. Not a bad outcome for those of you who took a late-round or early-season waiver flier on him.
    • Gus Edwards is in a similar spot to Ekeler and Lindsay, as an out-of-nowhere player with the chance to help you win a title. He's got two great matchups to open the playoff schedule, with the Chiefs and Buccaneers on the schedule. Figure out Week 16 if you get there — Edwards should play a big part until then.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, Peyton Barber isn't someone you're crazy about starting most weeks anyway, but you're going to want to steer clear if he's on your roster come playoff time. In fact, I wouldn't be opposed to dropping him to speculate on a good DST matchup or one of my top handcuffs, because it seems unlikely the schedule is going to offer him a chance to make a positive impact for you.
    • Josh Adams isn't your typical undrafted free agent — injuries pushed him down draft boards, but he ran well at his pro day out of Notre Dame, and has shown out in limited opportunities with the Eagles. We've seen how valuable being the lead back in this offense can be, and if the Eagles are rolling, you won't worry much about matchups. Still, it could be tough to trust him given these matchups.

    Best playoff schedules by DST points allowed