I’ve had a good first half of the fantasy season, with all three of my teams standing at 6-2. Some of it is due to good drafting, and some due to good luck, but mostly I credit the great advice being given day after day in the Shark Tank. Thanks to my fortuitous start, it’s time to start thinking playoffs in three different leagues. I’m looking to make those final roster moves that will have my team really humming in weeks 12-17, which comprises the stretch run and playoffs for fantasy football. I wanted to know which NFL teams had the best fantasy matchups over that period of time. I would then use that as a decision tool while evaluating those “iffy” players on the waiver wire.
Here’s what I did: I looked through the defensive standings, and picked out the teams that ranked in the bottom 10 in both scoring defense (points allowed per game) and overall defense (yardage allowed per game). Those are my RED matchups – Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, New England, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and St. Louis. Then I picked out five other teams by hand that didn’t quite make the cut statistically, but I think most fantasy owners would consider them good matchups. Those are my ORANGE matchups – Arizona, Detriot, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Seattle. It’s all compiled into the handy chart you see below. (Read on to page 2 to see my team-by-team recommendations!)
|Team||Wk 12||Wk 13||Wk 14||Wk 15||Wk 16||Wk 17|
TEAMS TO TARGET
St. Louis – 4 RED. The only team on the chart with 4 red matchups. Weeks 15 and 16 look awesome. See if you can catch a Kevin Curtis owner panicking over the return of Holt and Bruce.
Arizona – 3 RED. Only other team with two red matchups in weeks 15 and 16. Get your hands on Bryant Johnson while there is still time.
San Francisco – 2 RED, 2 ORANGE. It’s tough to get excited about this M.A.S.H. ward of an offense, but the schedule is gravy, with the exception of Jacksonville in week 15. Frank Gore and Arnaz Battle are interesting possibilities here.
Jacksonville – 2 RED, 1 ORANGE. Probably the best lineup in weeks 15 and 16 with the Niners and Texans. Fragile Fred makes lots of owners nervous – take advantage. Matt Jones and Ernest Wilford are starting to show signs of life at receiver.
New York Giants – 2 RED, 1 ORANGE. The good: This offense is clicking. The bad: Two tough road games in weeks 16 and 17, and the fact that most of the offensive players are already taken.
New York Jets – 2 RED, 1 ORANGE. Not as good because the two red matchups are against divisional rival New England. But Curtis Martin might be a nice gem for the end of the season.
Tennessee – 2 RED, 1 ORANGE. Injuries have decimated this offense, but this presents a nice buy low opportunity. The problem here is trying to figure out who might contribute on any given Sunday. Brandon Jones has been picked up and dropped about 25 times in my league. Drew Bennett is supposed to be back from injury soon .. or feel free to cast your lot with Erron Kinney, Ben Troupe, Courtney Roby, or Travis Henry. Too much uncertainty here for my taste.
Seattle – 2 RED, 1 ORANGE. Not as good as some of the other 2 red/1 orange teams – weeks 15 and 16 are tough against Tennessee and Indy. Be on the lookout for Darrell Jackson or Bobby Engram floating around your waiver wire. And if you’re big into gambling on a RB injury, Maurice Morris is capable of being a stud if Alexander should go down.
Baltimore – 2 RED, 1 ORANGE. Their offense is horrid, but weeks 15 and 16 might finally pay off for Jamal Lewis/Chester Taylor owners. Too bad it’s RBBC.
Philadelphia – 1 RED, 3 ORANGE. Weeks 15 and 16 look great, but the major offensive weapons on this team are already taken. Greg Lewis? Don’t hold your breath.
Detroit – 1 RED, 2 ORANGE. I’m sort of lukewarm on this one, but the Saints are a nice draw in week 16, and there are some definite buy low and waiver possibilities here – Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, even Kevin Jones could snap out of his season-long funk. In the NFC Worst, anything’s possible.
TEAMS TO AVOID
Oakland – No good matchups. ‘Nuff said.
New Orleans – 1 ORANGE. This team is already giving fantasy owners headaches. Expect it to continue.
Carolina – 1 ORANGE. Brutal schedule with the exception of Week 15 against the Saints.
Miami – 1 RED. This offense has sputtered along all season and the only red matchup is week 17 at New England. Yikes!
Kansas City – 1 RED. Another tough stretch run.
San Diego – 1 RED. I’m not telling you to bench Tomlinson or Gates, but no one else is worth having anyway.
Denver – 1 RED. The entire AFC West makes the list. Might settle some of those arguments about the NFL’s toughest division.