Week 11: Prepping for the Playoffs

Updated: November 14th 2019

We are at the stage in the fantasy football season where most teams know if they are contenders.  If you are a contender, the time is here where playoff matchup considerations need to be examined.  The trade deadline is coming up for many leagues.  Below the reader finds a look at some NFL defenses worth targeting for your fantasy players and teams with good fantasy playoff schedules.  Now go win your league!

Target the pass and run defenses

Cincinnati

Things obviously did not go as planned when your team boasts a 0-9 record.  This is a team that failed in virtually every area of the field in 2019.  The Bengals give up the most total and rushing yards per game while giving up the fourth-most points per game.   The pass defense is not giving up as many yards but not because it is good.  Cincinnati ranks dead-last in Football Outsider’s DVOA against the pass.  Feel confident starting your fantasy players against Cincinnati weekly.

Miami

Miami mirrors Cincinnati in many ways.  Their efficiency metrics place them in the bottom-3 in the NFL for rushing and passing both for offense and defense.   They rank second to last in scoring.  Like the Bengals, game script may limit the total passing volume in some games because of how bad Miami is.  Do not worry.  The Dolphins play like a team which traded many top assets and clearly in rebuilding mode.

Others: Arizona gives up the second-most yardage and sixth-most points thanks to a sieve defense and a speedy high-volume offense.  Detroit has no real strength to their defense ranking bottom half of the league in yardage, scoring, and efficiency.

Target the pass defenses

Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers might exhibit the most polarized defense in the league.  They allow practically nothing on the ground as FO’s number one rushing defense.  Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, the passing defense has not held out up well.  FO’s 27th ranked passing defense lets quarterbacks go wild, leading to the most points allowed for any team.  The Tampa Bay offense also typically does enough to keep pressure on opposing offenses.  Fire up your quarterbacks against the Bucs.

New York Giants

The 28th ranked passing efficiency defense giving up the third-most points makes for an enticing opponent.   Rookie, Dexter Lawrence, helped solidify the Giants run defense.  The defensive backs in New York have struggled all season on the other hand, particular rookie DeAndre Baker, and that is unlikely to change this season.  This passing defense is one to target.

Others: The Raiders have not solved their pass rush issues.  Happily start your passing game fantasy assets against a team giving up the third-most passing yards in the NFL.  The league gouged Atlanta, another team with problems putting pressure on the quarterback, for 8.2 yards per passing attempt so far.  We will see if the play-calling change after the bye helps moving forward.

Target the run defenses

Kansas City

The Chiefs made big acquisitions helping the pass defense including Frank Clark.  The defensive scheme invites runs over more efficient pass plays.  As a result, Kansas City allows over five yards per carry and the second most rushing yards while also giving up the second most rushing touchdowns.  The only questions for opposing offenses is whether they will be able to stick with the run long enough with Kansas City putting up their typical high-output points.

Carolina

Copy and paste the information from Kansas City.  The Panthers allow lots of rushing yards and lots of rushing scores while shutting down the passing game.  Most teams should stay competitive against Carolina to be able to utilize the run game significantly.

A few teams with good fantasy playoff schedules (Weeks 14-16)

Philadelphia (The Giants, Washington, Dallas)

The Eagles play all NFC East teams in the fantasy playoffs.   They even get Miami in week 13 as a bonus. None of these represent teams you should be afraid of starting your fantasy assets against in either the pass or run games.  Wentz, Ertz, Howard, and other Eagles have the chance for big performances during the fantasy stretch.

Cleveland (Cincinnati, Arizona, Baltimore)

The passing game for the Browns has not exactly worked according to plan.  With that being said, there is no better week 14/15 combo than Cleveland facing the Bengals and Cardinals defenses.  Nick Chubb is set up for a monster fantasy finish to the season and the Mayfield/Beckham/Landry combo possesses immense upside to take you into the championship week.

Miami (The Jets, Giants, Cincinnati )

No really feels comfortable starting any Miami player this year.  Quarterback Ryan “Fitzmagic” can turn into Ryan “Fitztragic” any game and the possibility of benching always exists.  The run game and offensive line are possibly the worst in the league.  Still, Miami faces maybe the easiest fantasy playoff schedule of any team against the pass.  Fitzpatrick and receiver DeVante Parker make for very cheap gambles in deeper leagues with great matchups every week of the playoffs.

Others:  New York Giants (Philadelphia, Miami, Washington); Jacksonville(Chargers, Oakland, Atlanta)


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller