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Using The Schedule To Your Advantage


Fantasy Delights



No. 1: Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson has become ‘Every Fantasy Owner’s Dream.’ After compiling more than 2,500 total yards of offense, Johnson will face only two difficult rushing matchups (
Pittsburgh,

Dallas
) in the first five weeks. During the fantasy playoffs, Johnson will get
Indianapolis and
Houston at home followed by a trip to

Kansas City
for many Week 16 fantasy championships. Last season, Johnson ripped the Texans for 435 total yards, including a 284-yard, two-touchdown performance in

Houston
. If that isn’t enough, the Chiefs were the 30th-ranked defense last season. Talk about a cherry on top of Mr. 4.24’s fantasy playoff sundae.

In comparison, Adrian Peterson’s slate of home games against
New York and
Chicago before heading to

Philadelphia
does not look as inviting as Johnson’s billing. The Giants brought in Perry Fewell to fix their defense and the Bears bolstered defensive line depth by adding Julius Peppers. In addition, Peterson’s Week 16 matchup in

Philadelphia
figures to be a cold, dreary game. In six outdoor games last year, Peterson averaged only 82 rushing yards. Peterson’s second matchup against the Swiss cheese Detroit Lions does not happen until Week 17, when many leagues are already over. Give me Johnson in 2010!

No 2. and 3.: Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne

Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. The duo has hooked up for 63 career scores while

Wayne
has posted a 1,000-yard season every year since 2004. During the playoffs this year, the duo will have the opportunity to expose some friendly, familiar pass defenses.
Indianapolis will travel to
Tennessee, host
Jacksonville, and head to the Black Hole in

Oakland
to conclude the playoffs. Manning threw for roughly 600 yards against the Titans while

Wayne
had a touchdown reception in each contest. In two games against the Jaguars, Manning threw for 609 yards. During these games,

Wayne
caught roughly 50 percent of Manning’s passing yards (294) while hauling in two scores. Owners will need to keep tabs on the Colts playoff picture heading into Week 16, as the Colts played their starters for only a half in Week 16 against the Jets.

Given the friendly nature of

Wayne
’s playoff schedule and the unfavorable schedule for Brandon Marshall (see below), he gets the nod.

No. 4: Frank Gore

Could the offseason been any better for Frank Gore? The 49ers drafted two stud offensive linemen, further ensuring Mike Singletary’s commitment to the run. Also, Gore was happy when he looked over the 2010 schedule. During the money weeks, Gore will face
Seattle at home and then travel to
San Diego and

St. Louis
. All three teams ranked in bottom half of rushing defense in 2009. Gore rushed for more than 200 yards and two scores in his first meeting with

Seattle
last year. Gore also punished the Rams by rushing for 107 yards and two scores in Week 17. The San Diego Chargers lost Jamal Williams and Antonio Cromartie in the offseason, so expect their unit to take a step back in 2010.

In comparison, Steven Jackson has a crisp Week 15 matchup at home against
Kansas City, but faces tough challenges against
New Orleans and

San Francisco
in Week 14 and 16 respectively. I’ll take the man from the Bay Area who has some new blocking buddies and a philosophy committed to the run.


Proceed With Caution


No. 1: Any Receiver Facing Darrelle Revis

Count me in as a fantasy owner who dreads facing the Darrelle Revis-led Jet defense. ‘The Human Eraser’ single-handily took Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Chad Ochocinco, and many others completely out of the games last season.


Miami

(Week 14),
Pittsburgh (15) and
Chicago (16) will take a trip to

Revis
Island
during the 2010 playoffs. Don’t expect Brandon Marshall or Hines Ward to come back, either. Instead, take the plunge with Roddy White over Marshall or Ochocinco over Ward. For anyone who is high on the Bears passing attack, just watch out for Week 16. A trip to

Revis
Island
can make even the most stalwart fantasy owner a little woozy.

No. 2: Any

Philadelphia
Eagle

The Eagles have the most daunting playoff schedule. The Eagles will hit the road to face
Dallas and
New York in Week 14 and 15, respectively, before coming home to tangle with

Minnesota
in Week 16. The Cowboys and Vikings were Top 5 rush defenses last year, so don’t expect much on the ground. The Vikings were vulnerable through the air, but an icy December matchup may limit opportunities. I don’t trust Kevin Kolb and think DeSean Jackson is over-valued, so the schedule confirms my initial fears.

No. 3: The Giants’ Backfield

The once-vaunted

New York
rushing game fell flat last season. Brandon Jacobs, who had knee surgery in the offseason, ran for only 835 yards and five scores last season. Ahmad Bradshaw also went under the knife, needing surgery on both feet and his ankle.

Like the Eagles, the Giants have one of the toughest playoff schedules. The Giants will make trips to
Minnesota and

Green Bay
in Weeks 14 and 16. A home game against

Philadelphia
is sandwiched in between, but with their backs on the mend and matchups against two of the stouter run defenses, is enough for me to look to Joseph Addai over Jacobs or Tim Hightower over Bradshaw instead.

Once again, don’t swear by this guide. It’s a good resource to consult when you need a tiebreaker between two comparable talents. Good luck this season.

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