So one of the questions I kept getting this past week was who do I like for the fantasy playoffs? We will definitely get into the playoff buys for weeks 15 and 16.
However, before we discuss playoff buys, I need to state that I am only focusing on weeks 15 and 16. Week 17 is always a strange week in the NFL, with plenty of teams sitting their starters. It undermines a savvy owner’s efforts who has ridden the Patrick Mahomes of the fantasy season all the way only to see his stud quarterback take a seat due to his own and his team’s success. So if you’re a league that has a week 17 fantasy playoff, stop.
When looking at the playoff buys and sells, one of the first thing I do is look at the schedule, which might be the only time I focus on the schedule all year. Looking at the schedule during the preseason is nearly always a waste of time. Looking at it the week beforehand? Much more value and definitely tells you whom the playoffs buys should be.
But perhaps just as important as the playoff buys is whom we should veer away from.
Kenny Stills, Miami Dlophins
Mike Evans is the obvious WR sell for these playoffs (Baltimore and Tampa), but everyone knows about his matchups. If you have Evans, you pretty much have to start him and just pray. On the other hand, Stills is rising up the rankings. He now has touchdowns in back to back weeks and is coming off an eight catches of nine targets for 135 yards day. But its not the first time he has carved up Bill Belichick’s team. And moving forward, he takes on two top 5 passing defenses this week and next in Minnesota and Jacksonville respectively.
With six touchdowns on the year, you likely have got more out of him than you ever expected. Take those profits and invest elsewhere.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
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It might come as a surprise, but no team gives up less points to fantasy quarterbacks than Buffalo. And after that lovely matchup for Stafford this week, he gets to take on the Vikings who had it not been for a blip against Jared Goff and Sean McVay’s Rams in week 4, would be atop of Buffalo in tough QB matchups. Full disclosure: I have Stafford in my primary seasonal league and I’m playing him. However, that’s because I have no choice (okay, I could have grabbed Joshua Johnson, but that’s not really a choice, is it?). If you do have a choice, stay away.
All Tampa Bay and Washington Running Backs
Things are getting real ugly for both of these teams and it was not exactly a beauty pageant to start. But you might think Adrian Peterson is the exception. But Jacksonville, despite its issues, is still the 8th toughest against fantasy running backs. And in week 16, is Tennessee who is the second toughest. Of course the Buccaneer backs have it even worse, facing #1 Baltimore D, followed by the Cowboys, who are currently the 7th most challenging team to have fantasy RB success against.
So, who should you look to be buying?
Cam Newton, Panthers
Is there any stud quarterback whose stock is lower than Newton’s right now? His stock is so low it is probably scaring away every investor west of the Smoky Mountains. But if you’re willing to risk it, Carolina takes on fourth most generous New Orleans this week followed by the feast that is Atlanta and its league high 387 fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
Houston is the only team that plays two teams in the top three most porous defenses when it comes to gives up fantasy points to wide receivers. Sure, Hopkins will cost a great deal, but no single player has a better playoff schedule than Hopkins. Of course since we all can’t afford such luxury, so if you’re looking for a penny stock, try….
Daesean Hamilton, Broncos
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Hamilton comes with an incredible amount of risk. But Cleveland and Oakland are not exactly playoff bound teams, amiright? And with seven catches and a touchdown last week with only Cortland Sutton (who bellyflopped in debut as a a #1 WR last week) in front of him, I like his chances to make a profit these fantasy playoffs.
Ezekial Elliot, Cowboys
Elliot does not have the schedule like Hopkins does, but its one of the reasons why many had Elliot as a top-5 pick coming into the season. He faces the not-even-middle-of -the -road Indy rush defense this week followed by Tampa Bay who improve more ailing backs than a chiropractor.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings
Cook is not exactly a blue chipper but he’s obviously not a penny stock either. However, he has a great matchup against Miami’s seventh most generous defense vs. opposing fantasy running backs, followed by Detroit who is the ninth most generous. With DeFillippo now gone, I would expect to see new OC Kevan Stefanski try and establish the run more.
Man do I wish the Saints had a worth tight end starting as they play carolina and pittsburgh, two of the juiciest four matchups when it comes to fantasy tight ends. So, we will go a little deeper and suggest….
Antonio Gates, Chargers
I know. He has done squat. But we know KC defense has been suspect all year and they are the WORST team when it comes to preventing big days by opposing tight ends. Of course you might look at their week 16 opponent and balk as the Ravens land in Charger country. But Baltimore is a far weaker road team than it is at home. Furthermore, the biggest weakness Baltimore’s defense has is covering tall, pass-catching tight ends. And the rankings back that up as Baltimore is seventh from the bottom in preventing TE fantasy points.
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