Fantasy Playoff Schedule Best Buys

by Mike Randle ·

Now is not the time to put your fantasy team on cruise control.

Whether you are fighting for a playoff spot or just fine-tuning your roster, it is important to closely examine the fantasy football playoff schedule. Fantasy championships are won by acquiring targets with favorable playoff schedule matchups. Last season, it was obvious that having New Orleans fantasy players at home against Jacksonville in Week 16 was key to securing a championship. Whether available on the waiver wire or via trade, here are the players you should be targeting for the fantasy playoffs weeks 12 through 16.


Player:  Philip Rivers (San Diego)
Fantasy Points Per Game:  18.3 (No. 16)
Upcoming Schedule: 1.17 (No. 4)
Playoff Schedule:  Tampa Bay, @Carolina, Oakland, @Cleveland
Available Via:  Trade

Rationale:  The best thing that happened on Sunday was Philip Rivers throwing four interceptions against Miami. This may actually make him acquirable via trade in your fantasy league. Rivers end of season schedule is pure fantasy euphoria.  He faces the No. 29, No. 24, No. 25, and  No. 28 friendliest defenses to opposing quarterbacks. Rivers statistics this year are amazing:  first among quarterbacks in Red Zone Attempts (77), third in passing yards (2890), and fifth in air yards (1,528). He has produced a remarkable season even with Melvin Gordon producing a top three fantasy RB season. The Chargers offense with coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has been wonderful, and Rivers promises to be a championship winner.  If he is somehow available, target aggressively.

Player:  Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo
Fantasy Points Per Game:  18.5 (No. 15)
Upcoming Schedule: +1.08 (No. 5)
Playoff Schedule:  @Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Miami
Available Via:  Waiver Wire/Trade

[Tyrod Taylor]-Wide Receiver-Buffalo Bills]

Tyrod Taylor Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rationale:  There is no better playoff schedule buy at quarterback than Tyrod Taylor. Three consecutive games in the freezing cold of Buffalo.  During the fantasy championship run he faces a winless Cleveland Browns team and the cold weather adverse Miami Dolphins.  Taylor is “Workout Metrics Lotto” with a 98th percentile SPARQ-x Score, and 97th percentile or higher Burst Score, Agility Score, and 40 Yard Dash time. He is fifth in Deep Ball Attempts, second in Red Zone Carries, and first among all quarterbacks with 362 rushing yards. Taylor is doing all of this with Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin as his wide receivers. Imagine if Sammy Watkins returns? If you need a playoff quarterback, go get Tyrod Taylor.

Running Backs

Player:  Jonathan Stewart, Carolina
Fantasy Points Per Game:  11.7 (No. 27)
Upcoming Schedule:  +2.87 (No. 1)
Playoff Schedule:  @Seattle, San Diego, @Washington, Atlanta
Available Via:  Trade

[Jonathan Stewart]-Running Back-Carolina Panthers]

Jonathan Stewart Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rationale:  While Stewart has become a “just a dude guy” at the age of almost 30, he can definitely help you win a fantasy football championships. His upcoming schedule is the best in the league for fantasy running backs. Stewart runs behind the an offensive line with a 118.9 run blocking efficiency rating (10th best), and boasts a 32.9-percent (No. 10) Juke Rate while weighing in at 235-pounds. The Panthers are battling for a playoff spot, and get New Orleans at home this week. Coming off a subpar game against the red hot Chiefs at home, he should be targeted via trade immediately. With solid workout metrics and a great schedule, Stewart will dramatically raise his 11.7 fantasy points per game over the remainder of the fantasy season.

Player:  Frank Gore, Indianapolis
Fantasy Points Per Game:  15.4 (No. 15)
Upcoming Schedule:  -0.01 (No. 19)
Playoff Schedule:  @Jets, Houston, @Minnesota, @Oakland
Available Via:  Trade

Rationale:  If Stewart is a “just a dude guy,” then Gore is a “just an old dude guy.”  But look past the age, and look closer at the metrics on  His offensive line run blocking efficiency rating?  140.1 (second in the league). Total touchdowns?  Seven (Seventh among running backs). Opportunity Share? 71.8 percent (11th among running backs). Coming off his bye week, he is home for back to back games against Tennessee and Pittsburgh.  While his playoff schedule includes three road games, Gore posted 21.1 fantasy points at Green Bay which was the brutally tough for opposing fantasy running backs. The most attractive thing about Gore?  He is easily attainable. The Frank Gore owner will not be married to a 33 year old running back who is coming off a bye week. The competition in the Colts backfield is Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson, and Jordan Todman. Seriously?  Gore’s 11.02 Agility Score (84th percentile) and incomparable work ethic will guarantee an RB2 rest of the season in PPR or standard leagues.

Player:  Damien Williams, Miami
Fantasy Points Per Game:  8.3 (No. 40)
Upcoming Schedule: 0.19 (No. 17)
Playoff Schedule:  @Baltimore, Arizona, @Jets, @Buffalo
Available Via:  Waiver Wire

[Damien Williams]-Running Back-Miami Dolphins]

Damien Williams Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rationale:  In case you haven’t noticed, Damien Williams has three rushing touchdowns in his last four games. He is one overly aggressive Jay Ajayi run away from being this year’s Tim Hightower. Running behind a massive offensive line that has finally gotten healthy, Williams is our favorite waiver wire lottery tickets. With a 4.45 (89th percentile) 40-yard dash, and a 113.2 (93th percentile) Speed Score, Williams has a much more explosive workout profile than Ajayi. The Dolphins tried everything they could in the off season to not give Ajayi the starting running back spot. First they tried to sign C.J. Anderson, then gave the carries to Arian Foster, and now they are simply riding his hot hand. Ajayi’s volatile running style makes him susceptible to injury, and Williams would be ready to step right in and reap the benefits. Are the Dolphins a great team?  No. Do they have an explosive offense? No. However, if given the chance, Damien Williams has the metrics to produce multiple winning fantasy RB weeks.

Player:  Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore
Fantasy Points Per Game:  2.0 (No. 90)
Upcoming Schedule:  0.58 (No. 11)
Playoff Schedule:  Miami, @New England, Philadelphia, @Pittsburgh
Available Via:  Waiver Wire

Rationale:  Believe what your eyes tell you. If you watched last Thursday Night’s game against Cleveland, you witnessed the changing of the guard. In an absolute plum of a running back matchup, starter Terrance West rushed for 65 yards on 21 carries (3.09 yards per carry) against the second worst defense for opposing fantasy running backs.  Meanwhile, rookie Kenneth Dixon rushed for 38 yards on six carries (6.33 yards per carry), and added five receptions for 42 yards. Dixons’s Opportunity Share has risen each of the last three weeks:  10.3-percent, 13.3-percent, 36.7-percent. Expect Dixon to take a lead role in Baltimore starting this week at Dallas.  He follows that game with two consecutive home games against Cincinnati and Miami. Dixon boasts a 90th percentile College Dominator Rating and 70th percentile College Target Share while at Louisiana Tech.  Now is the time to pickup Kenneth Dixon, before he supplants Terrance West in the Ravens backfield.

Wide Receivers

Player:  Tyrell Williams, San Diego
Fantasy Points Per Game:  12.8 (No. 30)
Upcoming Schedule: 1.36 (No. 4)
Playoff Schedule:  Tampa Bay, @Carolina, Oakland, @Cleveland
Available Via:  Trade

[Tyrell Williams]-Wide Receiver-San Diego Chargers]

Tyrell Williams Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rationale:  You should be buying all San Diego wide receivers, but none more than Tyrell Williams. With a Workout Metrics Profile bonanza, Williams possesses the ideal fantasy trade characteristics:  athletic ability tethered to an All-Pro quarterback.  The last four weeks of the fantasy season the Chargers face the No. 32, No. 29, No. 25, and No. 27 ranked defenses against fantasy wide receivers. In addition, current wide receiver Travis Benjamin is suffering from a knee injury that has lingered since Week Eight. Williams has an 84.9 percent Snap Share this season, and recorded a 91.7 percent Snap Share last week against Tennessee with Benjamin limited. On Sunday against Miami, he led the team with 11 targets and produced a 5 receptions, 125 yards, 1 touchdown stat line. Tyrell Williams is the absolute top fantasy playoff best buy at the wide receiver position.

Player:  Jamison Crowder, Washington
Fantasy Points Per Game:  14.4 (No. 24)
Upcoming Schedule: +0.38 (No. 17)
Playoff Schedule:  @Carolina, @Philadelphia, Carolina, @Chicago
Available Via:  Trade

Rationale:  I am not quite sure what Jamison Crowder needs to do in order to be properly lauded. He is currently 23rd among all wide receivers in fantasy points, and in the two games before the bye week, Crowder received a total of 22 targets. He is eighth among all wide receivers with an average of 41.6 pass plays per game, 10th in yards after catch (4.3 p/tgt), and 12th in Red Zone receptions (six). However, the most convincing argument for acquiring Crowder is that the Redskins rest of year schedule is the worst among all fantasy running backs. Washington will need to throw to stay competitive, and a slot receiver on a must-pass offense is fantasy gold. Both DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed have missed time with injuries, which makes Crowder’s appeal even greater. In a tough matchup with Minnesota last week, Crowder still managed a touchdown catch. Actively look to add Jamison Crowder for the fantasy playoff drive.

Player:  Cameron Meredith, Chicago
Fantasy Points Per Game:  11.0 (No. 45)
Upcoming Schedule: +0.07 (No. 21)
Playoff Schedule:  San Francisco, @Detroit, Green Bay, Washington
Available Via:  Waivers

[Cameron Meredith]-Wide Receiver-Chicago Bears]

Cameron Meredith Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rationale:  Friends of this site are certainly well versed in the Cameron Meredith love. While he has struggled to maintain his Weeks 5 and 6 production, the market correction on Meredith has made him a potential waiver wire steal. While the Bears upcoming schedule is only 21st among wide receivers, it is noteworthy that Chicago is one of the few teams with three home games during the fantasy playoff season. San Francisco, Green Bay, and Washington are all very fantasy wide receiver friendly. With the news that Alshon Jeffery will be suspended for the next four games, Meredith will be a hot waiver claim on Wednesday. With upper quartile Burst Score, Agility Score, and Catch Radius, the former quarterback turned wide receiver is very capable of recapturing the early season magic. Metrics like those also make Hail Mary catches very possible.  Take a very close look at your bench and find a spot for the undrafted second year player from Illinois State.

Player:  Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh
Fantasy Points Per Game:  9.8 (No. 58)
Upcoming Schedule: +0.59 (No. 12)
Playoff Schedule:  New York Giants, @Buffalo, @Cincinnati, Baltimore
Available Via:  Waiver Wire

Rationale: William Shakespeare coined the phrase, “Better three hours too early than a minute late.”  If you failed to pick up Eli Rogers after last week’s six receptions/103 yard performance than you almost missed out on a fantasy playoff gold mine. While Rogers grabbed a touchdown this week against Dallas, he still will be under the radar with only 42 receiving yards. Now is the time to pounce, as Rogers will continue to thrive with Ben Roethlisberger back under center.  Rogers has that nuanced feel for the game, as evidenced by his 95th percentile college Breakout Age on  His 90th percentile Agility Score is a huge advantage as well for a slot receiver on a high-powered offense.  A fantastic end of season schedule combined with man to man coverage opposite Antonio Brown, makes Rogers a top waiver wire acquisition for any fantasy team regardless of record.

Tight Ends

Player:  Zach Ertz, Philadelphia
Fantasy Points Per Game: 8.0 (No. 24)
Upcoming Schedule: +0.48 (No. 11)
Playoff Schedule:  @Cincinnati, Washington, @Baltimore, New York Giants
Available Via:  Waiver Wire/Trade

Rationale:  The second best thing that happened on Sunday was Zach Ertz having a subpar game (6 rec, 55 yards). Ertz broke his ribs earlier in the season, and he isnow completely healed.  In Week Nine he totaled eight receptions (on eight targets) for 97 yards.  In 2015, Ertz finished the season with the most tight end targets in the second half of the season.  He has the fourth best Catch Rate (82.1-percent) among all tight ends, including a 33.3-percent Red Zone Catch Rate. In the year of tight end mediocrity, a healthy Ertz also brings a great fantasy playoff schedule.

Player:  Austin Hooper, Atlanta
Fantasy Points Per Game: 7.2 (No. 28)
Upcoming Schedule: -1.40 (No. 30)
Playoff Schedule:  Kansas City, @Los Angeles, San Francisco, @Carolina
Available Via:  Waiver Wire

[Austin Hooper]-Tight End-Atlanta Falcons]

Austin Hooper Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Rationale:  While Fantasy Football sharps noticed that Hooper broke out in Week Nine for 46 receiving yards and a touchdown, we recommend “buy high” on Austin Hooper. He has 80th-percentile Agility Score is a huge asset for a 6’4″ tight end. Coming into Week 10, Hooper was 22nd in Air Yards and 28th in Yards After Catch at the position despite only starting once. Hooper’s competition for targets is only Julio Jones, and his one catch for eight yard performance against Philadelphia will make him even more available.  During the fantasy playoffs, Hooper gets the 22nd and 30th worst defenses against opposing fantasy tight ends. An athletic tight end, in a pass first offense, on the field with Julio Jones is exactly who you should be targeting for the fantasy playoffs.