Trade Bait: Fantasy Playoff Analysis

There will be no motivational video today because I’d rather use this space to call each and every one of you out.

I’m sure there are plenty of you that have read my column over the last three years and thought, “I can do a better job than this guy.” Hell, if I were in your shoes, I’d be thinking the same damn thing.

Cassius ClayThe champ is calling you out.

So now I’m giving you the opportunity to prove it.

I talked with my friends over at FanDuel earlier this week and they have been kind enough to set up a Week 10 Salary Cap Challenge for all of us to play against each other.

It’s simple to enter and there will be cash prizes awarded to the top three players. I’ll be writing more about this on Friday and may even give you guys some insight into which players could be included in my Week 10 draft picks.

As for now, CLICK THIS LINK and head over to FanDuel to accept my challenge. The space is limited for Week 10, but if you guys help me fill this bad boy up, we’ll expand the pool for Week 11.

That being said, lets get down to business and begin our preparation for the fantasy playoffs.

Note: The numbers in parenthesis indicate the average amount of fantasy points allowed to opposing players at the position being discussed.

Note 2: We are only discussing quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers today. I'll be discussing tight ends and defenses on Twitter (in addition to answering questions), so click here to follow.

THE QUARTERBACKS

Poised for greatness

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Weeks 14-16: at Washington, vs. Detroit, vs. Seattle

Josh FreemanIconFreeman has an excellent chance to close out 2010 in style.

Analysis: Freeman’s worst playoff matchup comes in Week 16 against a Seattle defense that is surrendering an average of 19.3 fantasy points per week to opposing quarterbacks (12th worst in NFL). Both Washington and Detroit rank in the top-eight in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, so Freeman will have an excellent chance to shine at the conclusion of his sophomore season.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Weeks 14-16: at Detroit, at New England, vs. New York Giants

Analysis: Be weary of Rodgers come championship weekend when he and the Packers play host to a Giants defense that is giving up just 13.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (fourth best in NFL). The good news is that if you’re faced with that problem, it probably means Rodgers lit up the Lions and Patriots in Weeks 14 and 15, two defenses that rank in the top-eight in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

Poised for a fall

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs

Weeks 14-16: at San Diego, at St. Louis, vs. Tennessee

Analysis: Cassel and the Chiefs enter Week 14 facing a three-week stretch of games against defenses that rank in the bottom-13 in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Be advised that the games against the Chargers and Rams (who rank in the bottom-10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs) both take place on the road.

Drew BreesICONBreesus is still startable, but the schedule isn't very appealing.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Weeks 14-16: vs. St. Louis, at Baltimore, at Atlanta

Analysis: While we don’t expect you to sit Brees come playoff time, you might as well be made aware of the difficult task that lies ahead of the reigning Super Bowl MVP. That Atlanta matchup in Week 16 isn’t a backbreaker (Falcons rank 14th in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs), but the Rams and Ravens are both currently surrendering less than 16.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

Weeks 14-16: vs. NY Giants, vs. Chicago, at Philadelphia

Analysis: As if the 2010 season hasn’t already been bad enough for Favre and the Vikings, fantasy owners could crash and burn in crunch time if they decide to try and ride the Gunslinger to a championship. The Giants and Bears both rank in the bottom-four in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks and the Eagles have historically been tough for Favre to overcome. Since 2004, Favre is 0-3 at Philadelphia with one touchdown pass, six interceptions and a QB rating of 41.7.

THE RUNNING BACKS

Poised for greatness

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos

Weeks 14-16: at Arizona, at Oakland, vs. Houston

Analysis: Moreno’s been hobbled by hamstring issues this season, but if he can get himself healthy for the stretch run owners are advised to get him in the lineup. Arizona and Oakland are both surrendering 21.0 or more fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (both teams rank in the top-nine in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs), while the Texans are giving up 19.0 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs (13th most in NFL).

Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers

Weeks 14-16: at Detroit, at New England, vs. NY Giants

Analysis: As mentioned with Aaron Rodgers above, Jackson will have two great matchups before slamming into a legitimate run defense in Week 16 against the New York Giants. The good news is that most of you probably aren’t using Jackson as an every-week starter, so you more than likely have other options on your bench that can step in come championship weekend.

Maurice Jones-DrewICONUpset you drafted MJD? Let him make it up to you in the playoffs.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars

Weeks 14-16: vs. Oakland, at Indianapolis, vs. Washington

Analysis: Since he ranks just 17th in scoring among fantasy running backs, there’s a good chance all you MJD owners are a bit upset about spending a top-five pick on the Jacksonville ball-carrier. That’s understandable, but the upside here is that the former UCLA standout will have a chance to make amends when it matters most. The Redskins (Week 16) have shown signs of life against the run this year, but both Oakland and Indy rank in the top-nine fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs.

Poised for a fall

Thomas Jones & Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Weeks 14-16: at San Diego, at St. Louis, vs. Tennessee

Analysis: Kansas City’s three-game playoff stretch comes against defenses that rank in the bottom-13 in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. The only matchup here that looks even remotely appealing would be the Week 16 Tennessee game against a Titans defense that is giving up only 17.2 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs. Believe it or not, the Rams have been quite good against the run this season.

Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals

Weeks 14-16: at Pittsburgh, vs. Cleveland, vs. San Diego

Analysis: The Steelers, Browns and Chargers all rank in the bottom-ten in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs this season, making it hard to find another ball-carrier that’s facing as tough a schedule as Benson. The fact that the Bengals are currently 2-6 and pretty much out of playoff contention won’t help matters either, as we could see more of backup running back Bernard Scott late in the year.

Reggie BushICONBush will be back in the starting lineup soon, but will he be able to overcome a tough end-of-season schedule?

Unknown, New Orleans Saints

Weeks 14-16: vs. St. Louis, at Baltimore, at Atlanta

Analysis: The backfield situation in New Orleans has been a mess this year, with both Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush missing significant time due to injury. Owners are advised to keep in mind that whoever is carrying the rock for the WhoDats come December is probably better off left on the bench. The defending champs will play three straight games starting in Week 14 against defenses that rank in the bottom-nine in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. It doesn’t get much tougher than that.

THE WIDE RECEIVERS

Poised for greatness

Mike WilliamsICONWilliams and Freeman could be a very potent 1-2 punch during the playoffs.

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Weeks 14-16: at Washington, vs. Detroit, vs. Seattle

Analysis: Williams has a great opportunity to put an exclamation point on his bid for the Rookie of the Year award when he takes on two defenses (Washington, Seattle) that rank in the top-seven in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. The Buccaneers passing game has picked up the pace over the last few weeks, which is a trend that should continue as Tampa makes their push to earn a spot in this year’s playoffs.

Santana Moss, Washington Redskins

Weeks 14-16: vs. Tampa Bay, at Dallas, at Jacksonville

Analysis: If quarterback Donovan McNabb and head coach Mike Shanahan can put their differences aside and get on the same page, look for Moss to be the big beneficiary come fantasy playoff time. Weeks 14-16 feature three games against defenses that rank in the top-nine in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. As an added bonus, the Dallas game will be played indoors and the Jacksonville game will be played in sunny Florida.

Mike Williams, Seattle Seahawks

Weeks 14-16: at San Francisco, vs. Atlanta, at Tampa Bay

Analysis: Williams has been fairly inconsistent this season, so he is only advised as a WR3 for owners in deeper leagues. Atlanta and Tampa Bay are both surrendering 22.7 or more fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (both rank in the top-nine in fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs) and San Francisco has been shaky at best and currently ranks 20th in the NFL in pass defense. The opportunities will be there, but will Williams be able to take advantage?

Poised for a fall

Percy HarvinICONHarvin should struggle to produce against the Giants, Bears and Eagles.

Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings

Weeks 14-16: vs. NY Giants, vs. Chicago, at Philadelphia

Analysis: All three of Harvin’s fantasy playoff games come against defenses that rank in the bottom-ten in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. The Bears have given up just five passing touchdowns this season (first in NFL) and the Giants and Eagles are both surrendering less than 215.0 passing yards per game in 2010. In addition, don’t be surprised if the wheels come off of head coach Brad Childress’ bus as we approach December.

Wes Welker, New England Patriots

Weeks 14-16: at Chicago, vs. Green Bay, at Buffalo

Analysis: In the four games since wide receiver Randy Moss was released, Welker has caught just 18 passes for 138 yards with zero touchdowns. The Pro Bowl wideout’s stock is plummeting and keep in mind that the Bears and Bills both rank in the bottom-seven in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts this season. In case you were curious, Green Bay ranks in the bottom-13 in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers, so it’s not like that matchup is too appealing, either.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

Weeks 14-16: at San Diego, at St. Louis, vs. Tennessee

Analysis: You had to figure that if Matt Cassel, Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles were already on this list, it was just a matter of time before we mentioned Bowe. We aren’t intentionally trying to dog the Chiefs, but the problem is that they face a very unappealing schedule during the fantasy playoffs. The Titans and Chargers both rank in the bottom-11 in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers, while the Rams rank in the bottom-14.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Win cash today playing fantasy football with the NFP and FanDuel.

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Oct 29th, 8:20 PM

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Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

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Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

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Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

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Cincinnati +4 -110

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Nov 1st, 1:00 PM

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Buffalo -2.5 -110

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Nov 1st, 4:25 PM

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Nov 1st, 4:25 PM

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Nov 1st, 8:20 PM

Dallas +3.5 -110

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