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Fantasy Football Trade Targets for Week 11: Buy Players with Favorable Schedules for Playoffs

Nov 17, 2018 9:00 PM EST
  • Fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner, but it's not too late to bolster your roster.
  • Below are the top fantasy football trade targets with favorable matchups over the season's most important stretch.
  • Ian Hartitz also highlights which players you should consider selling before playoffs get underway.

Only one month until fantasy football playoffs begin. Hopefully you’ve made some trades over the past 10 weeks to position your team for a playoff fun. But perhaps injuries, bad luck and/or poor decision-making has your squad facing the brutal reality of simply trying to avoid your league’s last-place punishment.

Either way: It’s time to re-evaluate the landscape and figure out which players have the easiest matchups for the most-critical stretch of the fantasy football season.

Let’s take a look at the easiest and hardest schedules for each position group to identify potential trade targets and waiver wire adds who could blow up in the playoffs, as well as players you might want to consider selling while you can.

The following charts feature each team’s respective remaining opponents’ rank in fantasy points (PPR) allowed to that position per game.

Quarterbacks to Buy or Sell Before Fantasy Playoffs

  • Six quarterbacks stand out as having easy schedules between Weeks 11 and 16: Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco/Lamar Jackson, Case Keenum, Cam Newton and Baker Mayfield.
  • Prescott has completed 47-of-67 passes (70%) for 513 yards (7.7 Y/A) with three touchdowns and an interception since teaming up with Amari Cooper, and only Newton has scored more rushing touchdowns among all quarterbacks.
  • Brees is averaging career-high marks in completion rate (77%), adjusted yards per attempt (9.8) and ESPN’s Total QBR (88.1) while throwing for 21 touchdowns against only one interception.
  • Flacco (hip) is questionable for Week 11. Be sure to monitor our Injury Report for his daily practice participation and final game status.
  • Jackson has completed 7-of-12 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown with 139 yards and another score on the ground in sub-packages this season. He also scored three rushing touchdowns in about two games worth of preseason action.
  • An investment in Keenum is an investment in the fantasy playoffs. He faces the 49ers, Browns and Raiders in Weeks 14-16.
  • Newton is the league’s QB5 in fantasy points per game and provides the position’s highest-weekly floor thanks to his unparalleled ability as a runner. Weeks 15-16 offer salivating home matchups against the Saints and Falcons.
  • Mayfield was featured as a trade target in past weeks and has thrived with new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens calling plays.

  • If you’re looking strictly ahead to the playoffs, consider targeting the top-five quarterbacks in easiest schedules for Weeks 14 to 16: Brees, Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Prescott and Mayfield.
  • The worst quarterbacks in terms of their opponent’s average rank in Weeks 11 to 16 includes: Andrew Luck, Sam Darnold/Josh McCown, Alex Smith, Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.
  • Brady in particular is noteworthy considering his historical trend of regressing in fantasy as the season progresses. Per our Trends tool, Brady has averaged 4.5 fewer DraftKings points per game with a -2.4 Plus/Minus in November and December compared to September and October since 2014.

Running Backs to Buy or Sell Before Fantasy Playoffs

  • Five running back units stand out as having beautiful matchups between Weeks 11 and 16. Alex Collins/Javorius Allen, David Johnson, Christian McCaffrey, Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman and Nick Chubb/Duke Johnson are all set up for consistent success.
  • Collins has double-digit touches in all but one game this season and could be relied on more than ever if the Ravens ultimately embrace Jackson as their starting quarterback.
  • Allen has remained involved as a receiver, but has fewer than five carries in four straight games and will likely lose work to Ty Montgomery.
  • David Johnson was featured as a trade target in recent weeks thanks to his cozy second-half schedule, and his recent receiving usage with new play-caller Byron Leftwich has only increased optimism for a fantasy-friendly finish.

  • McCaffrey has played an absurd 96% of the offense’s snaps and is locked in as the featured back ahead of winnable matchups against the Buccaneers, Browns, Saints and Falcons in Weeks 13-16.
  • Freeman (ankle) is tentatively expected to return against the Chargers on Sunday. The annoying presence of Devontae Booker hurts the ceiling and floor or both Freeman and Lindsay, but there should be plenty of room to eat in matchups against the 49ers, Browns and Raiders in Weeks 14-16.
  • Chubb has out-snapped and out-touched Duke Johnson 79 to 52 and 46 to 17, respectively, in two week with Kitchens calling plays.
  • Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook/Latavius Murray join David Johnson, Allen/Collins and Lindsay/Freeman as the best-positioned running backs between Weeks 14 and 16, specifically.
  • The worst running backs in terms of their opponent’s average rank from Weeks 11 to 16 include: Adrian Peterson/Chris Thompson, Peyton Barber, Tevin Coleman/Ito Smith, Saquon Barkley as well as the Jets and Eagles’ respective committee backfields.

Wide Receivers to Buy or Sell Before Fantasy Playoffs

  • Note the above rankings refer to fantasy points allowed to entire wide receiver units, so some of the receivers with plus-matchups might still have difficult one-on-one battles on the horizon.
  • Nevertheless, six wide receivers rooms are particularly set up for success between Weeks 11 and 16: The Panthers, Cowboys, Texans, Giants, 49ers and Saints.
  • Devin Funchess leads the Panthers with 32 targets since Greg Olsen returned in Week 6, but McCaffrey (31) and Olsen (28) have been just as involved.
  • Cooper averaged just 6.4 targets per game during his final 20 games with the Raiders between 2017 and 2018, but he’s seen a career-high nine targets per game in his first two outings with Prescott. Cooper will face the Eagles, Colts and Buccaneers’ flammable secondaries in Weeks 14-16.
  • The Texans have largely eased off Deshaun Watson’s workload in recent weeks.

  • The Texans’ newfound run-first offense hasn’t helped DeAndre Hopkins, who has averaged 3.2 fewer targets per game in Weeks 6-10 compared to Weeks 1-5. It’s tough to see either Demaryius Thomas or Keke Coutee (hamstring) having too large of a role.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.’s current 16-game pace has him on track to set career-highs in targets (181), receptions (115) and yards (1,525) despite having to play with a lesser version of Eli Manning under center. Sterling Shepard has at least seven targets in all but two games this season.
  • George Kittle is the only 49ers player with double-digit targets after two games with Nick Mullens under center.
  • Michael Thomas is the PPR WR3 and gets to feast on the Bucs, Panthers and Steelers in Weeks 14 through 16. Tre’Quan Smith somehow didn’t see a target on 50 snaps, but he’s still locked in as the offense’s No. 1 field-stretcher after injuries to Cameron Meredith (knee, IR) and Dez Bryant (Achilles, IR).
  • The worst wide receivers in terms of their opponent’s average rank from Weeks 11 to 16 include players from the Dolphins, Colts, Titans, Chiefs and Redskins.

Tight Ends to Buy or Sell Before Fantasy Playoffs

  • The following teams are set up exceptionally well between Weeks 11 and 16 at the tight end: Browns, Ravens, Broncos, Bengals, Saints, Chargers, Raiders and Dolphins.
  • The Ravens and Dolphins have consistently utilized committees at tight end, but it wouldn’t be shocking if early-round picks Hayden Hurst and Mike Gesicki start to see more snaps in the season’s later stages.
  • David Njoku is set up for success with three remaining matchups against the porous tight end defenses from the Bengals (twice) and Panthers. Still, Njoku has just six combined targets over his past three weeks of action.
  • Jeff Heuerman is locked in as the Broncos’ No. 1 tight end and had a team-high 11 targets in their first game of the post-DT era. Heuerman’s red-zone role and cozy second-half slate could make him a fantasy game-changer down the stretch.

  • C.J. Uzomah has been the Bengals’ No. 1 tight end with Tyler Eifert (ankle, IR) and Tyler Kroft (foot) sidelined, but the Bengals’ offense has scored 30-plus points in only one of its past five games after passing that threshold in three of the first four weeks. Uzomah has surpassed 50 yards only once this season.
  • Ben Watson has remained solid at 37 years old, but backup Josh Hill has been increasingly involved in recent weeks. Watson has just six combined targets since Week 8.
  • There’s reportedly a chance that the Chargers could welcome back Hunter Henry (knee, IR) in December. Matchups against the Bengals and Chiefs in Weeks 14 and 15 would certainly be exploitable.
  • Jared Cook (6.6 targets per game) joins Zach Ertz (11.1), Travis Kelce (8.6), George Kittle (7.1) and Jordan Reed (6.6) as the league’s only tight ends who lead their team in targets per game.
  • Tight ends with the worst stretches of matchups between Weeks 11 and 16 includes players on the Packers, Texans, Rams, Jets, Bears and Vikings.
Credit:

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield, David Johnson and Amari Cooper

Follow Ian Hartitz on Twitter
@IHartitz

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