The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as Mr. Steinbeck would say, but we still do our best to foresee the future, especially in fantasy football. One way to plan for a championship season is to look at matchups during the fantasy playoffs, which we’ll call Week’s 14, 15 and 16, Will our players still be healthy? Will the world still be around? Who knows, but we’re in the fantasy football business and when drafting a player, we want to consider as many factors as possible.
Good playoff matchups
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
We saw Jackson’s upside last season, but the question is can he repeat in 2020? His 9 percent touchdown passing rate will be nearly impossible to repeat, but his schedule for the fantasy playoffs is set up to help those who reach to grab him in fantasy drafts this season. In Week 14, the Ravens take on the Browns in Cleveland and then have two home games against the Jaguars and Giants. That trio was in the bottom half of all pass defense statistics last season. The Giants likely improved but they were also the worst of this group, while the Jaguars continued to lose veteran talent this offseason. Two home games for the fantasy king to end the fantasy season against poor pass defenses is pretty darn good.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson always finds a way to put up respectable fantasy points, but this season he’s set up well in the fantasy postseason to boot. In Week 14, the Seahawks face the Jets at home, then in Washington for Week 15, and then back home to take on the Rams. The Jets ranked 18th in pass defense efficiency while Washington ranked 24th. The Rams were much better, ranking ninth, but at the same time, Wilson has continued to dust the Rams in recent matchups. Over the last four games, Wilson has thrown 10 touchdowns to one interception against L.A. and always gets up for NFC West games.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s hard to know what to expect from Roethlisberger this season but we know it will be quite a bit better than what the Steelers had last season. The team should continue to throw a bunch, as they have been with Roethlisberger of late and Week’s 15 and 16 this season look good, as they play on the road in Cincinnati and then at home against the Colts. Both team were in the bottom half of pass defense efficiency and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, while the better defense, the Colts, will need to travel to Pittsburgh for that fantasy championship matchup.
Poor playoff matchups
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen has a good strength of schedule to start the year and should be a useful fantasy quarterback this season, but he might not be as useful in the fantasy playoffs. Thankfully Allen’s rushing stats help boost up his numbers, but facing the 49ers in Week 13, Steelers in Week 14, Broncos in Week 15 and Patriots in Week 16 is tough. Add to that schedule the fact that only the Steelers are a home game, and there should be real concern about his ability to get you to the top of the heap this season.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott should be able to put up big numbers, much like he did last season, but it likely will get more difficult in the second half of the year. Prescott and the Cowboys have one strong game in the playoffs, which comes Week 14 against the Bengals, but then they face the 49ers and Eagles. Thankfully those games are at home, but both teams have the personnel to slow pass defenses down. The Eagles upgraded their pass defense this offseason, but were already able to stifle Prescott last year, as he only threw for one touchdown and one interception in two games against them. The addition of CeeDee Lamb will help, but overall, I’d rather him face the Bengals in each game.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The good news about the Saints fantasy playoff schedule is that they play at home in Week’a 15 and 16. Playing in the dome, especially late in the year, is a big plus for Drew Brees and his old, and by that time, worn down arm. The bad news is that they’ll face the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 14, then back home to take on the Chiefs and Vikings, two teams who were near the top in pass defense efficiency last season. We also saw the Vikings go into New Orleans last season in the playoffs and completely shut Brees down for 208 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception.