FANTASY FOOTBALL – 2014 Week 13-16 Strength of Schedule
2014 Fantasy Playoffs: Strength of Schedule
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No. I’m not talking about the holidays or Christmas. I’m talking about our being in the home stretch and my yearly present to you: the final four weeks of matchup rankings for each team. Yep. Not only do you have the Week 12 rankings by matchups this week, you get the huge benefit of knowing how each team stacks up for Weeks 13-16, so you can make any last minute trades and fleece your leaguemates. Excited?
Why did I stop at Week 16? Because unless you are ape nuts crazy or don’t have the cojones to tell your league commissioner that he’s the mook, you should never play out Week 17. Ever… Unless it’s DFS, but we’re not talking about that… for now. So get comfy because the Week 12 rankings are beefier than ever.
|Quarterback Points Allowed|
|1||Buffalo Bills||NYJ||20.2||16||Cincinnati Bengals||HOU||16.6|
|2||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CHI||20.1||17||Detroit Lions||NE||16.5|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||WSH||20.0||18||Minnesota Vikings||GB||16.0|
|4||Tennessee Titans||PHI||19.1||19||New York Giants||DAL||15.9|
|5||Baltimore Ravens||NO||18.0||20||Oakland Raiders||KC||15.8|
|6||San Diego Chargers||STL||18.0||21||Houston Texans||CIN||15.8|
|7||Chicago Bears||TB||17.9||22||Philadelphia Eagles||TEN||15.5|
|8||Miami Dolphins||DEN||17.7||23||Green Bay Packers||MIN||15.4|
|9||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||17.5||24||New York Jets||BUF||15.2|
|10||Cleveland Browns||ATL||17.4||25||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||15.1|
|11||Jacksonville Jaguars||IND||17.2||26||Atlanta Falcons||CLE||14.7|
|12||Indianapolis Colts||JAX||17.1||27||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||14.7|
|13||New Orleans Saints||BAL||17.0||28||Washington Redskins||SAF||14.6|
|14||St. Louis Rams||SAD||16.8||29||Denver Broncos||MIA||13.9|
|15||Kansas City Chiefs||OAK||16.8||30||New England Patriots||DET||13.8|
HOLD ‘EM OR FOLD ‘EM
Kyle Orton has been fairly reliable, and he has the most favorable matchup this week, but I want to talk about the one right behind him: Josh McCown. Over the past two weeks, McCown is averaging the fifth-most Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) at 20.1. McCown has two touchdowns in each game with 301 and 288 yards. The Bears have a DAFP of 20.1, have allowed at least one passing touchdown in every game and Teddy Bridgewater was the first quarterback since Week 1 (E.J. Manuel) to not surpass 248 passing yards. I’m plugging in McCown over Robert Griffin, no question. Not only has RGIII struggled – one touchdown in each of the last two games with 14 and 12 Fantasy points – he faces the stifling 49ers defense that allows just 14.6 DAFP… and it’s on the road! As a quick sleeper for you, Pat Mayo and I discussed Zach Mettenberger on the podcast this week. Every quarterback, except two, has finished in the Top 10 against the Eagles’ defense, and the two that missed were Eli Manning and Colin Kaepernick, who finished 12th. Don’t think that it’s all studs either, as Kirk Cousins, Austin Davis and Ryan Fitzpatrick finished second, third and eighth, respectively.
Other matchup-boosted QBs: Orton, Kaepernick, Mettenberger, Joe Flacco, Philip Rivers (risky for my taste with his health), Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill, Tony Romo
|Running Back Points Allowed|
|1||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||23.1||16||St. Louis Rams||SAD||18.2|
|2||Cleveland Browns||ATL||22.8||17||New York Giants||DAL||17.7|
|3||Philadelphia Eagles||TEN||22.5||18||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||17.5|
|4||Houston Texans||CIN||22.3||19||Denver Broncos||MIA||17.2|
|5||Jacksonville Jaguars||IND||21.9||20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CHI||17.0|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||OAK||21.4||21||Miami Dolphins||DEN||15.9|
|7||Indianapolis Colts||JAX||21.3||22||New England Patriots||DET||15.8|
|8||Green Bay Packers||MIN||20.3||23||Buffalo Bills||NYJ||15.7|
|9||Detroit Lions||NE||19.9||24||San Diego Chargers||STL||15.6|
|10||Baltimore Ravens||NO||19.9||25||Oakland Raiders||KC||15.5|
|11||Chicago Bears||TB||19.7||26||New York Jets||BUF||15.3|
|12||Tennessee Titans||PHI||19.3||27||San Francisco 49ers||WSH||15.0|
|13||Cincinnati Bengals||HOU||19.1||28||Washington Redskins||SAF||14.9|
|14||Atlanta Falcons||CLE||18.9||29||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||14.7|
|15||Minnesota Vikings||GB||18.6||30||New Orleans Saints||BAL||14.5|
HOLD ‘EM OR FOLD ‘EM
I had mixed reactions when the Browns announced Isaiah Crowell as the starter last week.
Even now, Ben Tate is gone, but Kyle Shanahan isn’t. That’s the rub. Shanahanigans are in full force with the “running back having the better weekly practices” getting the start. I believe in Crowell – I have touted him since February, so I’m not going to back off now – but I just don’t believe Shanahan. I’m still going to play Crowell over Terrance West and over either Jets running back this week. Crowell gets the second-best matchup (move over Falcons, the Giants are taking over!) while the Jets face a Bills team with just 15.3 DAFP. That’s good for fifth in the Week 12 rankings, and good enough for me to stay away from Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson wherever I can.
Other matchup-boosted RBs: DeMarco Murray (look out!), LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Denard Robinson, Jamaal Charles, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy
|Wide Receiver Points Allowed|
|1||Tennessee Titans||PHI||27.4||16||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CHI||22.4|
|2||Cincinnati Bengals||HOU||27.3||17||Atlanta Falcons||CLE||22.3|
|3||Chicago Bears||TB||26.1||18||St. Louis Rams||SAD||21.8|
|4||San Diego Chargers||STL||26.0||19||Philadelphia Eagles||TEN||21.6|
|5||Baltimore Ravens||NO||25.2||20||Jacksonville Jaguars||IND||21.3|
|6||Cleveland Browns||ATL||25.0||21||Miami Dolphins||DEN||21.2|
|7||New Orleans Saints||BAL||24.9||22||Kansas City Chiefs||OAK||21.0|
|8||San Francisco 49ers||WSH||23.8||23||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||20.8|
|9||Indianapolis Colts||JAX||23.6||24||Oakland Raiders||KC||20.8|
|10||Buffalo Bills||NYJ||23.6||25||Denver Broncos||MIA||19.9|
|11||Minnesota Vikings||GB||23.4||26||New England Patriots||DET||19.6|
|12||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||23.1||27||New York Giants||DAL||19.4|
|13||Washington Redskins||SAF||22.7||28||Detroit Lions||NE||19.2|
|14||Green Bay Packers||MIN||22.6||29||Houston Texans||CIN||19.0|
|15||New York Jets||BUF||22.5||30||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||18.4|
HOLD ‘EM OR FOLD ‘EM
It’s been tough to trust Kendall Wright this year. Many expected bigger and better things for Wright after 140 targets, 94 catches and 1,079 yards last year (*ahem* *cough* *glances away*).
Wright has been respectable at least, checking in as the 33rd-best receiver and showing his potential against the Steelers last week. Nevertheless, Wright is more matchup dependent these days, but the good news is that no team has a higher receiver DAFP than the Eagles at 27.4. In fact, only three teams didn’t have their top receiver eclipse 12.8 FP against them: Colts, 49ers and Giants. The matchups are why I like Wright more than Michael Floyd or John Brown this week. That, and maybe I am a tad bitter, as I watched Floyd waste so many points on my bench and/or waivers in leagues. I know you share my rage, and if that weren’t enough, the Seahawks lead the Week 12 rankings with the lowest DAFP of 18.4. They have only allowed four teams’ opposing top receiver to hit double-digits, and only the Giants had two. Go figure.
Other matchup-boosted WRs: A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd, the Baltimore Smiths, Josh Gordon (party time!), Marques Colston and Kenny Stills, Anquan Boldin
|Tight End Points Allowed|
|1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||CHI||12.2||16||Oakland Raiders||KC||8.0|
|2||Buffalo Bills||NYJ||11.1||17||Minnesota Vikings||GB||7.5|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||IND||10.7||18||Chicago Bears||TB||7.3|
|4||New York Giants||DAL||10.6||19||New England Patriots||DET||7.3|
|5||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||9.5||20||Atlanta Falcons||CLE||6.7|
|6||Detroit Lions||NE||9.5||21||Cleveland Browns||ATL||6.6|
|7||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||9.2||22||New York Jets||BUF||6.5|
|8||Miami Dolphins||DEN||9.2||23||San Diego Chargers||STL||6.5|
|9||San Francisco 49ers||WSH||9.0||24||New Orleans Saints||BAL||6.5|
|10||Houston Texans||CIN||9.0||25||Cincinnati Bengals||HOU||6.4|
|11||Indianapolis Colts||JAX||8.9||26||Denver Broncos||MIA||6.3|
|12||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||8.7||27||Green Bay Packers||MIN||6.2|
|13||Philadelphia Eagles||TEN||8.4||28||Tennessee Titans||PHI||6.2|
|14||Washington Redskins||SAF||8.1||29||Baltimore Ravens||NO||6.1|
|15||Kansas City Chiefs||OAK||8.0||30||St. Louis Rams||SAD||5.7|
HOLD ‘EM OR FOLD ‘EM
The tight end position has been maddeningly frustrating with production relying heavily on touchdowns. Just look at last week. Rhett Ellison, Tim Wright and Tony Moeaki were all TE1s with a combined 10 yards receiving. 10.stinkin.yards. So where do we look this week? The Jets have allowed the most touchdowns at 11, but I find it hard to ever trust Scott Chandler. The Seahawks check in with 10, but John Carlson… really? Tied with the Seahawks are the Bears with 10, and they also happen to have the highest DAFP of 12.2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the man here, and now we’re talking. Last week was disappointing for ASJ, but he does have four games with three or more receptions and two with a touchdown. Seferian-Jenkins won’t crack TE1 status in my rankings, but I’d much rather roll the dice on him than Jared Cook, who only shows up two or three times a year and faces the toughest tight end defense in the Chargers.
Other matchup-boosted TEs: Larry Donnell, Jason Witten, Charles Clay, Garrett Graham, Coby Fleener
Here are your all-important Weeks 13-16 matchups by color code. Everything is better when it’s all pretty and in color. It’s quite simple too. A good/bad split is way too broad for breaking down matchups. So, I broke in down into four “tiers” with 1 being terrible, 2 tough, 3 easy and 4 terrific depending on the matchup.
– Tony Romo will win owners championships. His toughest opponent is in Week 16, and that’s still a favorable matchup with the Colts.
– Robert Griffin is worth stashing in case he works through the struggles. He is the only other quarterback with four favorable games.
– It’s tough to trust Eli Manning, but he is the only quarterback with excellent matchups in both Week 15 and 16.
– Not that you were using Michael Vick anyway, but he has the worst four-game stretch.
– Russell Wilson arguably has it just as bad. While Vick has two semi-tough matchups in Weeks 15-16, all of Wilson’s are in the toughest group except Week 14.
– Jay Cutler has a great playoff matchup for Week 15, but in the championship week, no one has it tougher (Lions).
Three great matchups: Romo, Matthew Stafford
Two great matchups: Griffin, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Tedd Bridgewater, Cam Newton
Three terrible matchups: Wilson
Two terrible matchups: Vick, Cutler, Derek Carr, Colin Kaepernick, Bridgewater, Newton
– Why is there so much potential for Crowell? Once he gets past the Bills in Week 13 it’s clear sailing.
– Arian Foster will win championships, and he is nearly immune to matchups. Nevertheless, having the toughest championship week matchup takes a bit of the shine off those three prior weeks.
– DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have good matchups all four weeks. Now good luck trying to use either.
– People may think there is upside with Latavius Murray, but even if he gets every carry, no other running back has four terrible matchups!
– Marshawn Lynch has a nice Week 14, but that’s it, as every other matchup rates poorly.
– Not only is Andre Ellington averaging just 3.4 YPC, but after Week 13, he doesn’t face any easy defenses.
Three great matchups: Crowell, Foster
Two great matchups: Charles Sims, Mark Ingram, Bishop Sankey, Denard Robinson, Alfred Morris, Tre Mason, Rashad Jennings
Three terrible matchups: Latavius Murray (actually four), Lynch
Two terrible matchups: Ryan Mathews, Ellington, Lamar Miller, C.J. Anderson (if it’s even him), Jennings, Mason
– How does Doug Baldwin have the best receiver schedule when Wilson had one of the worst for quarterbacks? The Cardinals give up the fifth most receptions and 10th most receiving yards but have the second most interceptions (15).
– Even with a semi-tough championship game against the Browns, Kelvin Benjamin still has a great stretch run.
– As if you weren’t enjoying Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb enough, after Week 13, no duo has it better.
– Anquan Boldin has been the one reliable option in the 49ers passing game, but his four game finish is the worst for any receiver.
– Championship week is appealing for Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews, but the three games leading in are as rough as they come.
– Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are must-starts, but outside of the Saints game, it’s going to be tough.
Three great matchups: none
Two great matchups: Benjamin, Nelson, Cobb, Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Cecil Shorts, Allen Hurns, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Cardinals
Three terrible matchups: Maclin, Matthews, Marshall, Jeffery
Two terrible matchups: Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Broncos, Percy Harvin, Eric Decker, Cordarrelle Patterson, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Cardinals, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant
– Zach Ertz was a popular breakout candidate, and he just might fulfill those desires with matchups against DAL, SEA, DAL and WSH.
– The same goes for Travis Kelce and his plus schedule… if Andy Reid decides to ever use Kelce more.
– Once Delanie Walker gets past the Texans in Week 13, it’s clear skies and plenty of Fantasy points ahead.
– Owen Daniels was a decent find for Dennis Pitta owners and the like, but outside of Week 15, his finishing schedule is awful.
– Greg Olsen has been one of the best tight ends this year, but if your trade deadline hasn’t passed, consider selling him given the four-game slate.
– If Julius Thomas is healthy, he could have a tough few weeks heading into the championship game, especially since 62.8 percent of his Fantasy points have come off touchdowns.
Three great matchups: Ertz
Two great matchups: Walker, Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis (if he weren’t too busy being on milk cartons), Eric Ebron, Jason Witten, Charles Clay, Jordan Reed
Three terrible matchups: Daniels
Two terrible matchups: Olsen, Rob Gronkowski (like that matters), Marcedes Lewis, Jace Amaro, Clay, Reed, Witten
Notes: DAFP include various defense adjusted metrics in addition to FPPG.