Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
It’s playoff time and every decision counts. That’s why we’re bringing you an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for every fantasy relevant skill position player. To get a real look at strength of schedule we looked at the schedule of every player from Weeks 14-16.
When looking at the defense, we ignored their overall rank and instead looked at how they’ve performed specifically against the position being evaluated. We totaled their three match-ups together to get their total strength of schedule (SOS). For example, Tyrod Taylor faces off against the Colts in Week 14; the Colts currently rank 20th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (meaning they’ve given up the 12th most points). If you add the 20 from the Colts with his other opponents (Miami at 25th and New England at 28th) you get a total of 73; which adds up to the easiest post-season schedule for any fantasy quarterback this season.
In this case, the higher the number, the easier the schedule. Note that the statistics being used reflect Week 1-12 of the 2017 regular season and reflect ESPN standard scoring. To help put strength of schedules into context, we also include their overall season rank, by position, for each player. This is also based on ESPN standard scoring.
To see players’ individual strength of schedules, we’ve provided the excel sheet which we use to calculate SOS Playoff SOS here
- Tyrod Taylor (SOS: 73, Rank 15)
Tyrod faces off against the Colts in Week 14. The Colts allow are 20th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, however, they are the strongest opponent Tyrod will face in the playoffs. He also gets Miami (25th) and New England (28th). His SOS, along with his dual threat ability make him a QB1 for fantasy playoffs.
- Blake Bortles (SOS: 68, Rank 18)
- Marcus Mariota (SOS: 66, Rank 22)
Mariota has struggled a lot this season, however, he has two juicy match-ups early in the playoffs: Arizona (29th in fantasy points to opposing QBs) and San Francisco who is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing QBs. If you’re need to stream a QB for the playoffs, consider Mariota in Weeks 15 and 16 only, he’s facing off against the Rams (5th) in Week 16.
- Blaine Gabbert (SOS:66, Rank 37)
- Dak Prescott (SOS: 64, Rank 10)
Keep an eye out for Dak; he had a bounce back game in Week 12 and has great match-ups vs the Giants and Raiders in Weeks 14 and 15. Despite his struggles, he’s a low end QB1 for the playoffs because of his SOS.
- Carson Wentz (SOS: 63, Rank 2)
Ride Wentz all the way to the fantasy playoffs, people. He’s got a tough Week 14 match-up vs the Rams, however, after that he’s got the Giants and Raiders and he will end up being the highest scoring fantast quarterback in the playoffs.
- Phillip Rivers (SOS: 60, Rank 11)
- Ben Roethlisberger (SOS: 60, Rank 12)
- Geno Smith (SOS: 60, Rank 52)
Don’t get excited here. Geno has a track record of mediocrity and regardless of his easy strength of schedule, he’s not a viable fantasy option. Davis Webb is also expected to get playtime following the debacle that is the Eli Manning benching.
- Drew Brees (SOS: 59, Rank 9)
- Trevor Siemian (SOS: 58, Rank 26)
- Jay Cutler (SOS 57, Rank 29)
- Alex Smith (SOS: 55, Rank 5)
Smith has fallen far from the fantasy glory he once hoped to reach earlier this season. Still, he remains a top 5 quarterback on the season and he’s got two great match-ups in the playoffs: Oakland and Miami. He’s worth starting in Weeks 14 and 16, but consider streaming another option for his tough Week 15 match-up vs. the Chargers (3rd).
- Derek Carr (SOS: 53, Rank 19)
- Mitch Trubisky (SOS: 52, Rank 34)
- Matt Ryan (SOS: 50, Rank 15)
It’s appropriate that Ryan finds himself in the middle of this list, since he’s been nothing but average this entire season. He plays New Orleans twice, which could limit him, but he should have a huge Week 15 against Tampa Bay.
- Joe Flacco (SOS: 50, Rank 30)
- Cam Newton (SOS: 49, Rank 6)
After a shaky start to the season, Cam has become a consistent start for fantasy owners. Proceed with caution, though, as Cam has two tough match-ups against the Vikings and Packers in Weeks 14 and 15. If you get to Week 16, though, he could bring home your trophy with a juicy match-up against Tampa Bay.
- Jimmy Garoppolo (SOS: 49, Rank 46)
It’s fantasy playoffs, don’t out play yourself by trying to start Jimmy G. This guy has a bright future and a good Week 14 match-up vs Houston (30th) but he’s not to be trusted with your playoff hopes.
- Kirk Cousins (SOS: 47, Rank 4)
Cousins’ SOS is weighed down by a tough Week 14 match-up against the Chargers (3rd). If you can get through that, however, he faces a weak Arizona (29th) and finishes up against an underwhelming Denver defense (15th). Cousins is match-up proof and should be played throughout your entire playoff run.
- Matthew Stafford (SOS: 47. Rank 8)
Stafford could go off against Tampa Bay in Week 14, but then he may struggle against the Bears (11th) and Bengals (12th). He’s still a QB1, but you may be able to find a better stream in Weeks 15 and 16; depending on how deep your league is.
- Brett Hundley (SOS: 45, Rank 33)
- Jameis Winston (SOS: 43, Rank 26)
- Case Keenum (SOS: 38, Rank 17)
Keenum has shocked the fantasy world the last month with his consistent success. That likely could end with the playoffs, though, as he faces a tough trio of opponents. He’s a QB2 for me, as he faces off against Carolina (10th), Cincinnati (12th), and Green Bay (16th).
- Tom Savage (SOS: 37, Rank 41)
- Tom Brady (SOS: 36, Rank 3)
Brady is still a QB1, however, you need to temper your expectations. He’s facing Pittsburgh (4th) in Week 15 and Buffalo (7th) in Week 16. The good news is: he should put up a ridiculous game against the Dolphins (25th) in Week 14.
- Andy Dalton (SOS: 24, Rank 19)
- Jared Goff (SOS: 32, Rank 7)
We’ve been big on Goff since the preseason, however, it’s clear his success is match-up dependent. With Goff facing Philadelphia and Seattle in Weeks 14 and 15 he’s a QB2 for the playoffs.
- Josh McCown (SOS: 31, Rank 13)
- Russell Wilson (SOS: 29, Rank 1)
Wilson has been incredible this season, and is currently the best quarterback this season. He’s still a must start, however, he faces Jacksonville in Week 14 and they’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. He then faces off against the Rams (5th). If you survive those match-ups, though, Wilson could be a difference maker in Week 16 when he faces off against a weak Dallas defense (23rd).
- DeShone Kizer (SOS: 29, Rank 24)
- Jacoby Brissett (SOS: 24, Rank 21)
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Categories: Fantasy Football