By Adam Harris-
(CBS) It’s Week 10, and for those teams securely in the playoffs, you have much work to do to ensure you do not go one and done.
Below are a list of players by position that are great options, and poor options for the fantasy playoffs and should be targeted or dumped by playoff bound teams, in position to make trades on teams trying to just get into the playoffs.
The key to acquiring these players is having leverage. If you are atop the league, and securely in the playoffs, target some of these players on teams struggling to get into the playoffs, and who NEED a win this week. Preferably some of these players are on bye the next couple weeks and you are trading a player that has already gone on bye.
You are able to sacrifice a week to improve your playoff roster, and the desperate team just needs wins and points at this point.
*I wrote this with the consideration that the fantasy playoffs are week 14 through week 16*
FAVORABLE MATCHUPS: Philip Rivers (SD) – Philip Rivers has the best fantasy schedule of any fantasy quarterback, as the Chargers face the Giants (25th most points to QB), Broncos (21st most points to QB) and Raiders (32nd most points to QB) in the fantasy playoffs. The Raiders will come in Week 16, championship week, and the Chargers will most likely be fighting for a playoff spot. Rivers will not let up once Weeks 14, 15 and 16 come around and he has fantastic matchups to carry you through to a championship.
Matthew Stafford (DET) – The Lions face the Eagles (24th), the Ravens (18th) and the Giants (25th) in the fantasy playoffs. These are three great matchups and much like Rivers, Stafford and the Lions will be playing for a playoff spot. Stafford is already a great option at quarterback, and if you can get to the playoffs with him, you will be rewarded.
Alex Smith (KC) – This is a tough one to put on this list, because I can’t imagine you starting Smith in the playoffs, but for deeper leagues, he is a guy to look at. Smith and the Chiefs will have great passing success against the Redskins (26th), Raiders (32nd) and Colts (15th) in the fantasy playoffs and should be owned as a stash in case of an injury.
Notable STARTS: Jake Locker (TEN) – DEN (21st), AZ (16th), JAX (31st), Tony Romo (DAL) – CHI (9th), GB (21st), WAS (26th), Jay Cutler (CHI) – DAL (30th), CLE (14th), PHI (24th).
TOUGH MATCHUPS: Cam Newton (CAR) – Believe it or not, Newton has a tough playoff schedule. I would consider sitting him for the correct matchup and backup once the playoffs begin. He faces the Saints TWICE who rank third against fantasy QBs, and the Jets who rank 19th.
Drew Brees (NO) – You are not going to sit Drew Brees in the fantasy playoffs, BUT if you are safely in bye territory with your fantasy team and you own Brees, you could trade him for Stafford and a WR. You would be trading a bad playoff schedule away for a good one. The Saints see the Panthers TWICE who are the best defense against fantasy QBs, and the Rams who rank 11th.
Notable SITS: Andrew Luck (IND) – CIN (10th), HOU (11th), KC (6th), Carson Palmer (AZ) – STL (11th), TEN (4th), SEA (2nd).
FAVORABLE MATCHUPS: DeMarco Murray (DAL) – While DeMarcco is not the biggest part of the Cowboys offense, he is a viable option as a RB 2 or FLEX if in the playoffs. The Cowboys face the Bears (28th vs fantasy RBs), the Packers (18th vs fantasy RBs) and the Redskins (32nd vs fantasy RBs). These great matchups should provide an edge in the FLEX position, giving you an automatic advantage over your opponent.
LeSean McCoy (PHI) – McCoy can be targeted RIGHT NOW because of the recent struggles he has had, two of the last three weeks. The Eagles see the Lions (15th), the Vikings (27th) and the Bears (28th) who will give up a ton on the ground. McCoy is a great option right now, and is even better when the playoffs arrive.
Notable STARTS: Steven Jackson (ATL) – SF (22nd), WAS (32nd), GB (18th), Fred Jackson (BUF) – TB (12th), JAX (30th), MIA (29th), Chris Jonson (TEN) – DEN (24th), AZ (5th), JAX (30th).
TOUGH MATCHUPS: Marshawn Lynch (SEA) – Even though the Seahawks see the 49ers in Week 13 who rank 22nd against fantasy RBs, Lynch will see two tough run defenses after that in the Giants (11th) and the Cardinals (5th). You cannot sit Lynch, but plan accordingly if you are looking to add a running back to solidify your playoff roster. Lynch might not be the top priority.
Frank Gore (SF) – Frank Gore has yet to run out of gas, thus proving all critics wrong the previous two seasons, so I am hesitant to write this. However, his schedule is not the best in the fantasy playoffs. The 49ers see the Seahawks (10th), Buccaneers (12th), and the Falcons (15th). This is not horrible, but is something to be aware of if you have an opportunity to choose between Gore and another RB in a trade, do it.
Notable SITS: Jamaal Charles (KC) – WAS (32nd, obviously great) BUT, OAK (14th), IND (2nd), Trent Richardson (IND) – CIN (4th), HOU (15h), KC (6th)
WIDE RECEIVERS – Generally SEE ABOVE AT QB for the good or bad schedules for WR’s. How the QB goes, the WRs go. I will give you a few notables though.
Notable STARTS: Dez Bryant / Terrance Williams (DAL) – CHI (13th), GB (19th), WAS (28th)
DeSean Jackson (PHI) – DET (29th), MIN (22nd), CHi (19th)
Calvin Johnson (DET) – PHI (32nd), BALT (20th), NYG (13th)
Notable SIT: SEATTLE WR’s (including Percy Harvin) – SF (8th), NYG (13th), CAR (2nd)
Notable STARTS – Jason Witten (DAL) – CHI (19th), GB (24th), WAS (20th)
Tony Gonzalez (ATL) – GB (24th), WAS (20th), SF (4th)*
Rob Gronkowski (NE) – CLE (18th), MIA (30), BAL (20th)
Heath Miller (PIT) – MIA (30th), CIN (5th), GB (24th)
The major notable SIT I found was Jimmy Graham (NO), BUT no one in their right mind would sit him so I won’t even give you his schedule.
I hope this helps you target a few guys and a few offenses to play during the fantasy playoffs. Good luck as it approaches, and remember how important it is to get a bye. If you get the bye you are ONE win away from the SHIP game.
Follow Adam Harris on Twitter @AHarris670 and ask him Fantasy Football questions. Also, listen to the Friday Fantasy Nerd Herd Hour on Friday nights/Saturday mornings with Joe Ostrowski.