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Running backs with the easiest, most difficult strength of schedule for fantasy football playoffs

What RBs have the best and worst schedules for the 2020 fantasy playoffs? We give you some players to deal for in fantasy football.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry throws Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman to the side from a stiff arm during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Hello fantasy footballers! Today we will look at running back strength of schedule for the fantasy playoffs. Hopefully these numbers will help us make some trades or pickups that might help us navigate our playoffs.

For this endeavor, we’ll look at Weeks 14, 15, 16. Those are the most prominent weeks for most leagues, but your mileage may vary. We’ll be using Football Outsider’s defensive DVOA and Adjusted Fantasy Points allowed by position to gauge which running backs should have the easiest and toughest matchups in your quest for a championship.

Below, we have a chart with matchups for Week 14-16 based on adjusted half-point PPR points allowed per game to running backs on the left and pass defense DVOA from Football Outsiders on the right. Both stats have merit in evaluating matchups, but I will highlight a few where the two stats mesh and meet the eye test.

Easy RB playoff schedules

Derrick Henry, Titans

Playoff schedule: @JAX, DET, @GB

Well, this isn’t fair. Henry leads the league in rushing by a country mile while he prepares for a cake-walk schedule to end the season. There’s a good chance you are in the fantasy playoffs if you have Henry, but I know that’s not always going to be the case. I unfortunately have Henry on a team that isn’t doing well and I’ve thought about gouging fantasy teams for future first rounders and young players, as Henry in the playoffs this season is almost a free pass for already stacked teams.

David Montgomery, Bears

Playoff schedule: HOU, @MIN, @JAX

You can’t trust Montgomery to punch your team out of a paper bag, but beggars can’t be choosers. Monty had his best game last week, scoring a garbage time touchdown and topping 140 total yards, but we can’t expect those numbers since it was just his third touchdown on the season. But, his usage has been good enough to keep him in double-digit fantasy points in PPR leagues, as his receptions have gone up with Tarik Cohen out. Add that usage to a advantageous playoff schedule, and you could solidify your flex spot.

Myles Gaskin, Dolphins

Playoff schedule: KC, NE, @LV

Like Montgomery, we can’t expect big numbers from Gaskin, but before his injury he was receiving bell cow workloads that helped him to an even higher floor than the Bears starter. The problem with Gaskin is that he’s returning from injury. He apparently was close to playing last week, so he should be ready to go this week. The good news is that none of the healthy Dolphins backs have stepped up in his place, which means he should return to a big role and positive fantasy matchups.

Tough RB playoff schedules

Dalvin Cook, Vikings

Playoff schedule: @TB, CHI, @NO

The two top fantasy running backs now that Alvin Kamara has been grounded are Cook and Henry. When you look at their playoff schedules, there is a stark difference. We’ve already seen Cook face the Bears, and even though he totaled 112 yards, it took him 34 touches and he didn’t find the end zone. And the Buccaneers and Saints have been better against the run than the Bears. You of course play him as usual and hope for the best, but if I could do a direct swap of Cook for Henry, I’d do it in a heartbeat if I were close to winning my league championship.

James Robinson, Jaguars

Playoff schedule: TEN, @BAL, CHI

Other than Cook, there aren’t any running backs with three Top 5 run defense units, but there are a few with two, like Robinson here. The Titans aren’t a group to be worried about, but the Ravens and Bears are and he’ll face them in Week’s 15 and 16. His workload is good enough to get him through these matchups okay, but I wouldn’t want him as the star of my fake team if I could help it.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

Playoff schedule: @CIN, SF, PHI

Elliott bounced back two weeks ago for his first 100-yard game, but was thwarted by Washington on Thanksgiving. He needs good matchups to be productive and he’s not flush with those to end the season. This week he’ll face the Ravens, then get a reprieve against the Bengals before finishing the fantasy season against the 49ers and Eagles, both teams with top run defenses.

RB Fantasy Playoff SOS

TEAM 14 15 16 AdjFPA (avg) TEAM 14 15 16 DVOA (avg)
TEAM 14 15 16 AdjFPA (avg) TEAM 14 15 16 DVOA (avg)
TEN 25 32 30 29.0 MIA 30 28 32 30.0
GB 32 22 29 27.7 DEN 22 26 27 25.0
CHI 31 16 25 24.0 CHI 31 19 21 23.7
DEN 22 19 26 22.3 IND 32 31 6 23.0
MIA 21 18 28 22.3 NE 12 29 26 22.3
IND 28 31 7 22.0 TEN 21 24 20 21.7
CLE 12 27 24 21.0 GB 24 22 18 21.3
DET 30 29 4 21.0 CIN 25 6 31 20.7
BAL 10 25 27 20.7 LV 5 27 29 20.3
LAR 18 24 20 20.7 NO 11 30 19 20.0
CAR 17 30 14 20.3 LAC 10 32 16 19.3
LV 8 26 23 19.0 ATL 27 1 30 19.3
CIN 13 7 31 17.0 PIT 26 23 5 18.0
ATL 26 4 21 17.0 TB 19 10 24 17.7
TB 16 2 32 16.7 BAL 15 21 17 17.7
NE 6 23 19 16.0 SF 13 25 14 17.3
NO 11 21 16 16.0 BUF 6 16 28 16.7
WSH 5 20 22 15.7 CAR 16 20 13 16.3
LAC 2 28 17 15.7 LAR 28 9 8 15.0
JAX 29 12 3 14.7 KC 29 2 10 13.7
SEA 24 14 6 14.7 PHI 2 14 25 13.7
ARI 27 11 5 14.3 DAL 23 7 11 13.7
PIT 19 15 8 14.0 DET 20 18 1 13.0
BUF 7 17 18 14.0 WSH 7 8 22 12.3
SF 14 13 9 12.0 NYJ 8 12 15 11.7
NYJ 20 6 10 12.0 ARI 17 11 7 11.7
NYG 9 10 12 10.3 SEA 9 13 12 11.3
DAL 15 5 11 10.3 NYG 14 15 4 11.0
KC 23 1 2 8.7 HOU 3 5 23 10.3
HOU 3 8 15 8.7 CLE 4 17 9 10.0
PHI 1 9 13 7.7 JAX 18 4 3 8.3
MIN 4 3 1 2.7 MIN 1 3 2 2.0