Playing the Matchups…and Week 11 Rankings

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No more waiting with bated breath, I am back. Last week, similar to six NFL teams, I took my bye week (although I took mine because of midterms). But fear not, your fantasy expert has returned with one of the more important articles of the year.

The fantasy playoffs are suddenly creeping up on us. For most leagues, you’ve only got 3 weeks left to either make a run or make an exit. Now for some, you may already be looking towards the playoffs. Maybe you’re sitting at 8-2 and have already clinched a spot, or maybe you’re 7-3 just looking for one more win to punch your ticket. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in, it’s time to look at players with an eye for the playoffs. So in today’s article I want to take a look at a couple players at each position that could be the difference between making the playoffs and being a championship contender. Now you may feel it’s a little early to start looking ahead but remember the key to fantasy football success: being ahead of the curve. Beat your league rivals to the waiver wire and reap the benefits on your way to the trophy.

For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll assume your playoffs run from weeks 14 through 17…

AND DON’T FORGET: You can always email me at FantasyDecisions@gmail.com with any weekly questions, trade help or anything you need. I’m the “expert” with the answers.

 

Favorable Playoff Schedules

QB

·Robert Griffin

The Baylor project may just have the most favorable down the stretch schedule of any QB in the league. In weeks 14-16 he faces the Rams, Giants, and Eagles. Or in other words, the seventh, ninth, and third worst against the pass, respectively. It’s hard to find a more passing-friendly stretch of matchups. If he’s somehow available in your league’s waiver wire, stop reading this article and go grab him. I also think you could get him for very little in a trade if your deadline hasn’t passed. While you’re not starting him over any of the top three-six guys, he could easily slide in to the second tier of QBs.

·Tony Romo

It’s no coincidence that, like RG3, Romo plays in the NFC East. For such a consistently competitive division, the passing defense among the four teams is lacking, to put it lightly. Romo may even have a better schedule then the aforementioned Griffin. In weeks 14, 15, and 17 Romo plays three of the four worst passing defenses in the NFL! The juiciest matchup obviously being the Bears in week 14. (Did you catch what happened when Aaron Rodgers took a turn at them in week 10? Yeah, I want anyone and everyone on the offense playing Da Bears)

 

RB

·Mark Ingram

Some may be considering “selling high” on Ingram with the Saints running backs getting healthy and coming back to steal carries. If that’s the case in your league, please go send whatever it takes to get the Alabama stud on your team. It’s no fluke that Ingram has AVERAGED 27 carries the last three weeks. He has been an absolute bellcow in an offense that hasn’t had one in a long, long time.  And his schedule just gets easier and easier. He’s facing 3 of the 10 worst rush defenses in the playoff weeks. Including maybe the very best matchup of any position down the stretch, a week 16 home game against the Falcons, the league’s worst rushing defense. His numbers aren’t a fluke. Sean Payton trusts him and so too should you.

·Chris Ivory

This week may be your last chance to buy in on the Ivory market. After a bye this week, Ivory’s schedule is almost full proof (minus a tough week 12 matchup in Buffalo). In weeks 14-16, Ivory faces the 24th, 25th, and 26th ranked rushing defenses, respectively. The Jets RB is the perfect, under the radar tailback that could easily be a RB2 on a championship team. Not to mention, it shouldn’t take much to get him after two tough weeks and this week’s bye. Buy in on him now and be prepared to use him to crush your league-mates.

 

WR

· Andre Johnson

My homer-ism may be strong here but my boy Dre has a shot to be a top 10 WR come playoff time. Two matchups against Jacksonville certainly don’t hurt with that prediction. Not to mention a meeting with the Ravens who lost Jimmy Smith, their top cornerback, for the year to a foot injury. Mallett and Andre are known to have a special bond, more so than Fitz had with Dre. By the time we get to the fantasy playoffs, Mallett will have had 3 games under his belt and will be looking for the trustworthiest hands in the NFL. A hall of fame receiver will be looking like his old self as he tears up the Jags in route to a huge end to the season.

· Kelvin Benjamin

The huge red zone target has been absolutely massive for Newton this season. His acclimation to the NFL has had its bumps but there’s no questioning his talent, which has led to him being the 10th best receiver in fantasy this year. I’m loving the week 14 and 15 back to back against the Saints and Bucs, the 4th and 1st worst passing defenses in the league. With a bye in week 12, Benjamin may be gettable in your league. Make it happen and smile as the Florida State kid tears up some weak secondaries.

 

TE

·Kyle Rudolph

The young TE has finally returned to practice after going through foot surgery following week three. Teddy Bridgewater needs a reliable target in Minny and I think Rudolph provides that for the young QB down the stretch. He had 5 targets in all three games to start the season and returns to a team desperate for a better passing offense. Rudolph has a great sandwich of the Jets awful secondary in week 14 and a week 17 meeting with Da Bears. Now that’s some favorable white bread on your sandwich. Just today I actually dropped Vernon Davis for the young TE. I’m all in and I think you should be too.

 

DEF/ST

·Texans D/ST

Just remember, this defense put up 20 points in the only game of the year in which JJ Watt, Brian Cushing, and JD Clowney played together. This unit has had a bye week to get healthy and it’s time to store them away for the playoffs. If nothing more than for the week 14 and 17 matchups against the woeful Jaguars. A stiff D against the Jags in the last week of your championship? Yeah I’ll take that everyday of the week.

 

Week 11 Rankings

 

QB

1.  Aaron Rodgers

2.  Peyton Manning

3.  Andrew Luck

4.  Philip Rivers

5.  Tom Brady

6.  Drew Brees

7.  Matthew Stafford

8.  Matt Ryan

9.  Robert Griffin

10. Josh McCown

11. Colin Kaepernick

12. Mark Sanchez

13. Jay Cutler

14. Teddy Bridgewater

15. Ryan Tannehill

16. Cam Newton

17. Shaun Hill

18. Derek Carr

19. Andy Dalton

20. Ryan Mallett

 

RB

1.  Arian Foster

2.  Matt Fort

3.  Le’Veon Bell

4.  Mark Ingram

5.  Jamaal Charles

6.  Marshawn Lynch

7.  Alfred Morris

8.  LeSean McCoy

9.  Eddie Lacy

10. Jeremy Hill

11. Andre Ellington

12. Frank Gore

13. Ryan Matthews

14. Ahmad Bradshaw

15. Rashad Jennings

16. Fred Jackson

17. C.J. Anderson

18. Jonathan Stewart

19. Shane Vereen

20. Steven Jackson

21. Jerick McKinnon

22. Terrance West

23. Lamar Miller

24. Ben Tate

25. Bobby Rainey

 

WR

1.  Demaryius Thomas

2.  Jordy Nelson

3.  Calvin Johnson

4.  Antonio Brown

5.  Jeremy Maclin

6.  A.J. Green

7.  Randall Cobb

8.  Julio Jones

9.  DeSean Jackson

10. Kelvin Benjamin

11. Emmanuel Sanders

12. Brandon Marshall

13. T.Y. Hilton

14. Roddy White

15. Odell Beckham Jr.

16. Sammy Watkins

17. Andre Johnson

18. Golden Tate

19. Mike Evans

20. Alshon Jeffery

21. Vincent Jackson

22. Mike Wallace

23. DeAndre Hopkins

24. Julian Edelman

25. Brandon LaFell

 

TE

1.  Rob Gronkowski

2.  Jimmy Graham

3.  Antonio Gates

4.  Julius Thomas

5.  Greg Olsen

6.  Larry Donnell

7.  Dwayne Allen

8.  Travis Kelce

9.  Jared Cook

10. Martellus Bennett

 

DEF/ST

1.  Broncos

2.  Bills

3.  Seahawks

4.  Cardinals

5.  Dolphins

6.  Lions

7.  Steelers

8.  Redskins

9.  Chargers D

10. Vikings

 

Flex

1.  Arian Foster

2.  Demaryius Thomas

3.  Matt Forte

4.  Le’Veon Bell

5.  Jordy Nelson

6.  Calvin Johnson

7.  Antonio Brown

8.  Mark Ingram

9.  Jamaal Charles

10. Rob Gronkowski

11. Marshawn Lynch

12. Jeremy Maclin

13. Alfred Morris

14. LeSean McCoy

15. A.J. Green

16. Randall Cobb

17. Eddie Lacy

18. Jimmy Graham

19. Jeremy Hill

20. Andre Ellington

21. Julio Jones

22. DeSean Jackson

23. Kelvin Benjamin

24. Frank Gore

25. Antonio Gates

26. Ryan Matthews

27. Emmanuel Sanders

28. Brandon Marshall

29. Julius Thomas

30. T.Y. Hilton

31. Roddy White

32. Odell Beckham Jr.

33. Ahmad Bradshaw

34. Rashad Jennings

35. Fred Jackson

36. C.J. Anderson

37. Greg Olsen

38. Jonathan Stewart

39. Sammy Watkins

40. Andre Johnson

41. Shane Vereen

42. Larry Donnell

43. Steven Jackson

44. Golden Tate

45. Mike Evans

46. Alshon Jeffery

47. Jerick McKinnon

48. Terrance West

49. Vincent Jackson

50. Mike Wallace