2019 Fantasy Football Playoffs: Best and Worst Schedules

2019 Fantasy Football Playoffs: Best and Worst Schedules article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes

  • Matthew Freedman identifies the best and worst schedules for 2019 fantasy football playoffs.

It’s Week 14: Welcome to the fantasy football playoffs! Just three more weeks stand between you and eternal glory.

Will you win the championship this year? That might depend on the upcoming schedule for the players on your team.

So who has the easiest fantasy playoffs schedules? Who has the hardest?

Using data from Pro Football Reference, I’ve broken out the remaining fantasy schedule by position based on how many points per game future opponents have allowed.

Here are some thoughts I have on how the rest of the fantasy schedule breaks down.

Quarterbacks

Favorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Tennessee Titans: Ryan Tannehill has multiple total touchdowns (passing and rushing) in all six of his games as a starter this season, and he’s completed a career-high 72.7% of his pass attempts. With games against the Raiders and Texans in Weeks 14-15, he could help fantasy investors get to the Championship Round before a tougher matchup with the Saints in Week 16. If you’ve been starting him so far, there’s no reason to stop doing so now.
  • Denver Broncos: Rookie Drew Lock got his first career start in Week 13, and he had a palatable performance with two passing touchdowns and 15 yards rushing. He had only 134 yards passing and an interception, but if you’re starting him, you’re probably desperate enough anyway to live with the production he just gave you. Up next he has three top-12 matchups against the Texans, Chiefs and Lions.

Unfavorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Kansas City Chiefs: I love Patrick Mahomes, but he has a rough stretch of games to end the year. He had a great matchup against the Raiders in Week 13, but he did almost nothing with it because the Chiefs got out to a big lead. And now for the fantasy playoffs he has three bottom-eight matchups against the Patriots, Broncos and Bears.
  • Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen had a strong performance against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and he’s had a solid second season for the upstart 9-3 Bills. But he comically has the worst playoffs schedule of any quarterback with three bottom-six matchups against the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots.

Running Backs

Favorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Denver Broncos: Second-year backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman haven’t scored a touchdown since the team’s Week 10 bye, but they might get back on track in the playoffs. They have the friendliest fantasy schedule of any backfield. This week, they have an above-average matchup with the Texans, and then in Weeks 15-16, they get top-three matchups against the Chiefs and Lions.
  • Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Cook is having himself a breakout campaign as the No. 2 fantasy back, and the good times should continue into the playoffs with top-eight matchups against the Lions, Chargers and Packers. Backup Alexander Mattison also might get in on the action and is worth a speculative add if he’s available on waivers.
broncos-vs-vikings-odds-picks-predictions-week-11-2019
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dalvin Cook

Unfavorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Detroit Lions: Practice squad player-turned-starter Bo Scarbrough has been serviceable over the past three weeks with 236 yards and 4.5 yards per carry, but he offers nothing as a receiver and is yet to play more than 50% of the snaps in any game. If you get to the Championship Round, he has an average-ish matchup against the Broncos, but it will be tough to get there with bottom-six matchups against the Vikings and Buccaneers in Weeks 14-15.
  • Buffalo Bills: The veteran Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary have done yeoman’s work this season, but they have a hard toil over the next three weeks with bottom-10 matchups against the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots.

Wide Receivers

Favorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Indianapolis Colts: T.Y. Hilton (calf), Parris Campbell (hand) and Chester Rogers (knee) are dealing with injuries, but Zach Pascal has emerged as an upside option with 109 yards on 10 targets last week. Tough matchups await with No. 1 cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and James Bradberry in Weeks 15-16, but the Saints and Panthers still represent above-average matchups across the board. And in Week 14, the Buccaneers offer the league’s most wide receiver-friendly pass defense.
  • New York Giants: Golden Tate (concussion) and tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) missed Week 13, and if they miss future games, that could result in extra targets for Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. In the Championship Round, they have a nondescript matchup against the Redskins. But over the next two weeks, they have top-four matchups against the Eagles and Dolphins.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sterling Shepard, Danile Jones

Unfavorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Buffalo Bills: Broken record. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Bills have a tough schedule over the next few weeks with matchups against the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots. John Brown and Cole Beasley have exceeded expectations in their first year with the team, but they’ll be challenged in the playoffs.
  • Kansas City Chiefs: What’s bad for Mahomes is bad for his wide receivers, who have the league’s worst closing fantasy schedule. Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Co. always have the chance to go off, but they have three bottom-eight matchups coming up against the Patriots, Broncos and Bears.

Tight Ends

Favorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Seattle Seahawks: Jacob Hollister has averaged a usable 31.8 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game since taking over for the injured Will Dissly. He actually has below-average matchups against the Rams and Panthers over the next two weeks, but in the Championship Round, he has a league-winning “flow chart” matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed an NFL-high 953 yards and 13 touchdowns to tight ends.
  • Cleveland Browns: David Njoku (wrist) might be activated from injured reserve in time for Week 14, but if he isn’t, then Demetrius Harris and maybe even Ricky Seals-Jones could be viable options for fantasy players in need at the position. They have a tough matchup against the Ravens in the Championship Round, but in Week 14 they have a workable matchup against the Bengals before getting the godfather matchup against the tight end-loving Cardinals in Week 15.
Mark Andrews-Nick Boyle
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle

Unfavorable Fantasy Playoff Schedules

  • Baltimore Ravens: Mark Andrews has been great this season, and Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle see lots of playing time because the Ravens use multiple-tight end sets. But they have a tough schedule for the playoffs. In Week 16, they have an above-average matchup against the Browns, but over the next two weeks they have bottom-four matchups against the Bills and Jets. If you have Andrews, you will probably still want to use him, but you should adjust down your expectations.
  • Atlanta Falcons: Austin Hooper (knee) is the No. 1 fantasy tight end, but he hasn’t played since Week 10 and might not return this year. Undrafted second-year backup Jaeden Graham has been a serviceable fill-in, but the Falcons have the position’s roughest playoff schedule. They have an average-ish matchup against the Jaguars in the Championship Round, but in Weeks 14-15, but they have bottom-eight matchups against the Panthers and 49ers.