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2017 Fantasy Football: Week 14 and Playoff Strength of Schedule

Jake Ciely Senior Writer December 7, 2017 12:01AM EST
Reminder: Before we get into the Week 14 and playoff strength of schedule, Fantasy Points Adjusted for Defense (FPAD) is a calculation that can be the difference between celebrating a win or cursing a high-scoring option on your bench. I developed it years ago, and it accounts for defensive quality of play by position, adjusts for game situations and strength of offenses and spits out an adjusted Fantasy Points allowed. Using Fantasy Football Points allowed is valuable in itself to help make lineup decisions, but it’s imperfect, as a team facing Tom Brady should give up more points and passing yards than one facing Jay Cutler every week. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Mike Evans for Kenny Stills, but it helps you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type Week 14-16.

Fantasy Football Week 14-16 Matchup Rankings

QB Matchup Rankings

Don’t look know, but if you find another solution for this week (Jimmy Garoppolo?), Blake Bortles might lead some QB-needy teams to a championship. Dak Prescott has two nice matchups before Ezekiel Elliott returns to help offset the Seahawks. Drew Brees has the best three-game slate, but he just doesn’t need to pass as much as we’d like for Fantasy reliability. Carson Wentz has a tough go this week, but he has the second best final two weeks.

Russell Wilson is unbenchable despite the next two weeks looking rough. It’s going to tough to trust Jared Goff down the stretch. Josh McCown went off last week and the Broncos aren’t as fearsome as you might think, but he has a tough go in Weeks 15-16. Ben Roethlisberger faces the tough Ravens defense, but it’s at home and it’s without Jimmy Smith… which aspect will win out?

Other Week 14 Matchup Boosted QBs: Alex Smith, Jameis Winston, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Marcus Mariota

RB Matchup Rankings

Kenyan Drake’s toughest game is this week, and even then, it’s just middle of the road. The Patriots running back duo of Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead are the poor man’s Saints duo but still highly valuable. The Steelers game sandwiched in the middle creates some concern. Kareem Hunt has a nice run the final three weeks, and maybe Andy Reid can get his head out of… you know the rest. Jordan Howard has three mostly-favorable matchups, but as seen, that doesn’t matter as much as the game script. If the Bears are losing and passing, Howard sees too much of the bench. The Eagles have a nice three-game set as well, but you can’t trust any of the options. If you are daring enough, Jay Ajayi has the highest ceiling.

Todd Gurley has the worst schedule, but just as with Russell Wilson, he’s unbenchable. Jamaal Williams has been great of late (yay! Finally!) but Aaron Jones could get more involved and he has the second worst championship week matchup. Alex Collins is a risky start this week but has a decent two-game finish. Giovani Bernard is a solid play if Joe Mixon is out, but no matter if it’s Bernard on his own or Mixon is back next week, it’s a tough week to trust either.

Other Week 14 Matchup Boosted RBs: Frank Gore, Theo Riddick (if Ameer Abdullah is out again), Samaje Perine, Matt Forte, Melvin Gordon, Alfred Morris, Peyton Barber

WR Matchup Rankings

Devin Funchess draws one of the toughest matchups this week in Xavier Rhodes but has an amazing two-game finish. Dez Bryant has a terrific two-game start for the playoffs but finishes a bit tougher. Larry Fitzgerald has a tougher matchup in the middle of two great ones, and the same goes for the Vikings receivers. Marqise Lee has a decent run and is still underrated. The Lions receivers have a golden matchup this week, but that hand of Matthew Stafford’s is concerning. Marquise Goodwin is going to win some people playoff games… until Week 16.

No one has a worse run of matchups than Josh Doctson does. At least Jamison Crowder can exploit the slot against the Chargers and Cardinals, but not as much against the Broncos. T.Y. Hilton might have put up his final good game of the year. The Jets have the fourth-toughest finish, and Robby Anderson’s touchdown rate is begging for regression.

Other Week 14 Matchup Boosted WRs: Brandin Cooks, Michael Crabtree, Tyreek Hill, Jarvis Landry, Mike Wallace, A.J. Green, Sterling Shepard

TE Matchup Rankings

Blaine Gabbert’s love of Ricky Seals-Jones couldn’t come at a better time with the remaining games. Jason Witten can finish strong, especially with his ability to show up against the Giants. You can’t bench Zach Ertz (if playing) against the Rams, but here’s hoping he’s back for those final two great games. Austin Seferian-Jenkins went missing of late but could bounce back for at least this week, while Jack Doyle also has one remaining strong game on the schedule.

Greg Olsen is untrustworthy with that injury and it’s made worse by the schedule. People are fawning over David Njoku, but the schedule is among the toughest. Jared Cook shows up when you don’t want him and disappears when you try to use him… so expect two big games and a quiet one against the Cowboys… because, Cook. Stephen Anderson is an intriguing fill-in this week, but it might be his only startable game.

Other Week 14 Matchup Boosted TEs: Evan Engram, Hunter Henry, Cameron Brate

Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

 

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