The fantasy playoffs are fast approaching and these next few weeks will surely make or break leagues. Hundreds of hours have been spent tirelessly working the waivers, making trades and editing lineups. Now, it all comes down to this final stretch as fantasy players everywhere look to make all the countless hours with it. Now is no time to take a foot off the gas pedal, but here at The Sports Wave, we’ll make winning your league as effortless as possible.
A major part of fantasy analytics is player matchups. Defensive matchups for fantasy players can be the difference between boom or bust and catapult fringe players into fantasy relevancy while restricting fantasy superstars to subpar weeks. Going into the fantasy playoffs, these are are some of the players with the most and least favorable fantasy playoff matchups:
- Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Mostert has found himself as one of the most slept on players in all of fantasy this season going forward. Mostert has struggled with injuries all season long as he’s only played in five of his team’s eleven games this season. However, Mostert is now back after putting up 10.8 points in PPR leagues against the league’s sixth-ranked run defense (in terms of yards per carry) last week. Before his five week absence before that, Mostert was averaging over seventeen points per game in PPR leagues and a bonafide RB1. Now, Mostert kicks off the fantasy playoffs by playing The Washington Football Team’s middling sixteenth ranked run defense. Next, he plays the Cowboy’s league-wide second-worst yard-per-carry defense (allowing a lucrative 4.9 yards per carry), and then Arizona’s tenth worst yard-per-carry defense (allowing 4.5 yards per carry). In week 17, Mostert plays Seattle’s third-best run defense, however, that isn’t enough to overshadow a string of extremely favorable matchups for Mostert. Lock him in your starting lineup for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs.
- Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
The epitome of consistency in PPR and half-PPR leagues truly has been Robinson, as he’s managed 10+ fantasy points in every game this season except one and has six or more catches in eight of his twelve games. He has upside as well with four games of 20+ fantasy points this season. In the fantasy playoffs, he faces the Houston defense first who is 22nd in fantasy against wideouts, then goes on to play the 30th ranked Minnesota defense versus wideouts (third-worst league-wide), the 25th ranked Jaguars’ defense, and the 11th ranked Green Bay defense. With such an incredible fantasy playoffs schedule, Robinson is a WR1 in all formats.
- Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
The NFL’s league leader in rushing could not have a more favorable fantasy playoffs schedule. Henry starts off the fantasy playoffs against the Jaguars’ 28th ranked run defense before facing off against Detroit’s 32nd ranked and league-worst run defense, the second-worst run defense league-wide via Green Bay’s 31st ranked run defense and finishes off the fantasy playoffs versus Houston’s 30th ranked run defense. Essentially, Henry plays four of the league’s five worst run defenses in the fantasy playoffs. Henry has been very boom-or-bust this season with the propensity for astronomical fantasy performances but a low floor due to lack of involvement in the passing game. However, Henry has a serious opportunity to post consecutive 30+ point performances when the fantasy playoffs roll around. Consider him the top running back in fantasy come the fantasy playoffs.
- Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews ranks third among all active tight ends in fantasy points per game this season averaging a solid 11.9 points per game in PPR leagues. However, he’s been largely boom-or-bust with 20+ PPR points in three of his ten games but under ten in five of them. Nonetheless, he looks primed to remind everyone of his elite tight end value in the fantasy playoffs with matchups against Cleveland, Jacksonville, and the Giants. Although the Giants present a tough matchup and rank tenth league-wide versus opposing tight ends, Cleveland is dead last in the league and rank 32nd against opposing tight ends in fantasy while Jacksonville ranks a mediocre 24th. Andrews possesses a tough fantasy championship matchup, however, can propel your team to it well with extremely favorable week one and week two playoff matchups.
- Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady possesses the best fantasy playoff schedule for any quarterback by a mile. In fact, it would be highly wise to swing a trade for him as soon as possible as he will likely single-handedly win fantasy playoff games for fantasy owners everywhere. Brady will matchup versus Minnesota’s 20th ranked pass defense first, followed by Atlanta’s 31st ranked pass defense (ensuring owners a spot in the fantasy championship), and then face-off versus Detroit’s 26th ranked fantasy pass defense for the fantasy championship. Lock Brady in for the fantasy playoffs en route to a championship.
- The Seahawks’ receiver duo
Steer clear of both Metcalf and Lockett in the fantasy playoffs if you have the option. Owners should trade them for another star receiver of value if they have them and if they have any trade offers up for them, they should cancel it. Both receivers have a very favorable matchup for week one of the fantasy playoffs when they square off against the Jets defense, who ranks 27th league-wide in fantasy against opposing wideouts. However, after that, they face The Washington Football Team who ranks third in fantasy against opposing receivers, and then against the Rams for the fantasy championship, who are number one league-wide in fantasy against opposing wideouts. Steer far and clear of the Seahawks receivers in the fantasy playoffs.
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Cook has dominated in fantasy this season and solidified himself as the number one active running back in fantasy in terms of fantasy points per game. However, he does hold tough matchups come the fantasy playoffs as he’ll face Tampa Bay’s number five, Chicago’s number nine, and the Saints’ number one defense against running backs in fantasy. Aside from the very tough matchups, Cook is about as matchup-proof as it gets in fantasy.
- Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Carson has returned well from his four-week absence following his injury with a 13.9 point and a 20 point fantasy game the last two weeks. However, he brings bust potential in the fantasy playoffs with two of his three matchups coming against Washington (ranks third against opposing running backs in fantasy this season) and the Rams (ranks sixth). To make matters worse, those matchups come after the first week of the fantasy playoffs, impeding owners’ chances of making it to the championship with a semi-finals win and diminishing their chances in the championship itself.
- Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
Waller kicks off the fantasy playoffs against the Colts, who rank fifth against opposing tight-ends in fantasy. Meanwhile, in the fantasy championship week sixteen, Waller will face Miami’s third-ranked defense against opposing tight-ends. Expect some bust potential for Waller in the fantasy playoffs.
- Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Allen has his work cut out for him in the fantasy playoffs out the gate, as he plays Pittsburgh’s number one ranked defense against opposing quarterbacks in the first week. He then plays Denver’s average pass defense who ranks fifteenth against opposing quarterbacks in fantasy, but faces off against New England who ranks seventh in such category in week sixteen for owners’ fantasy championships. Allen has been lucrative in fantasy this season and ranked sixth among active quarterbacks in fantasy points per game. However, now may be the time to sell high and look elsewhere at the quarterback position for the fantasy playoffs.
These are just some of the most notable expected victims or beneficiaries of poor or positive fantasy playoff schedules going forward. While great players can often find themselves being matchup-proof regardless, fantasy playoff schedules should be kept in mind for final trades before the playoffs. They just may make or break leagues. Thank you for joining us today at The Sports Wave!