Fantasy owners are looking to the playoffs. At this point, your team is good enough to get you here, but are there better options out there? Should the guys that you've played this far continue to be in your starting lineup when it counts the most?
One factor to consider is the schedule. Certain players have a really good schedule in the fantasy playoffs; others have a less-than-ideal schedule. While you are likely not able to stream running backs and wide receivers as you can defense/special teams (DSTs) or quarterbacks, for example, it may help in setting a lineup or looking at options on the waiver wire. Note: the matchups are based on PPR scoring.
Best RB Matchup
Tennessee Titans (at JAC, vs. DET, at GB)
Not that fantasy owners needed another reason to start Derrick Henry, but it will be reassuring to know that the Titans face teams in the top five in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs ALL three weeks of the fantasy playoffs. The Titans face the Jaguars (fifth-most fantasy points allowed), Detroit (most), and Green Bay (third). Henry will be a great start that may just win fantasy owners their championship. Note: be sure to add Jeremy McNichols as Henry's direct handcuff, just in case.
Good RB Matchups
Chicago Bears (vs. HOU, at MIN, at JAC)
David Montgomery has been an RB2 for most of the season, but he has been disappointing on an offense that seemed to just rely on their defense to win games. However, Montgomery's playoff schedule may help fantasy owners (if they managed to get to the playoffs with him). The Bears face the Texans in Week 14 and the Jaguars in Week 16. These two AFC South teams are second and fifth, respectively, in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Minnesota in Week 15 isn't a monumental task on paper either.
Green Bay Packers (at DET, vs. CAR, vs. TEN)
When Aaron Jones faced Detroit in Week 2, he had 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns, his best game of the year. Guess who he gets to face in the first week of the fantasy playoffs? The Lions allow the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, something Jones is well aware of. The rest of his playoff schedule is good as well, with games against the Panthers and Titans, who allow the sixth- and seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, respectively. Owners should make sure they handcuff Jones with Jamaal Williams, just in case.
Worst RB Matchup
Minnesota Vikings (at TB, vs. CHI, at NO)
Dalvin Cook has been a bit banged up and now he faces the worst playoff schedule out of all running backs. The Vikings play in Tampa Bay in Week 14. Tom Brady and the offense may get all of the attention, but the Buccaneers boast a strong defense that's been stingy (fifth-fewest fantasy points allowed) against running backs. Cook's best playoff matchup is Week 15 against the Bears, who are still a top-10 unit vs. RBs. Back in Week 10, Cook managed 96 rushing yards, along with four catches for 16 more yards, and he lost a fumble vs. Chicago. If that's not bad enough, in Week 16, otherwise known as fantasy championship week for many leagues, Cook gets the Saints, the toughest defense against his position. Proceed with caution.
Bad RB Matchups
Dallas Cowboys (at CIN, vs. SF, vs. PHI)
Ezekiel Elliott was drafted as an RB1, but he hasn't performed that way as of late. He's had an issue with fumbling and hasn't had a rushing touchdown since Week 5. In the fantasy playoffs, Elliott faces the Bengals in Week 14, which is a decent matchup. However, it gets tougher after that with home games against the 49ers and Eagles. These two teams allow the eighth- and seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, respectively. When Elliott faced the Eagles in Week 8, he had 63 rushing yards and one reception for 10 yards. Lower your expectations for Elliott in the fantasy playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs (at MIA, at NO, vs. ATL)
If Clyde Edwards-Helaire didn't ruin your playoff chances in Week 13 (active on an emergency basis only? That information would have been helpful to have…) he's not set up for success in the fantasy playoffs either. The Chiefs face the Dolphins in Week 14, which isn't terrible, but after that it’s the Saints (fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs) and the Falcons (fourth-fewest). CEH started the season promising, but it doesn't look like it will end on such a high note.
Best WR Matchup
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. MIN, at ATL, at DET)
For fantasy owners that own a Bucs wide receiver, you should feel confident in starting them each week of the fantasy playoffs. Coming off a bye, the Bucs face the Vikings in Week 14 and then head to Atlanta to play the Falcons. Those two teams allow the third- and second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Detroit also falls into the top 10 in this category, checking in at ninth. So if you own Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and even Antonio Brown, it should be smooth sailing in the fantasy playoffs.
Good WR Matchups
Chicago Bears (vs. HOU, at MIN, at JAC)
If there was another reason to pick up Cordarrelle Patterson, it would be the Bears' schedule for Weeks 15 and 16. In Week 15, the Bears face the Vikings, who allow the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. In Week 16, the Jaguars are on tap and they are eighth in the same distinction. While Patterson isn't always used as a wide receiver, this is also good news for fantasy owners of Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney (12 percent owned). Even though the Bears have had plenty of quarterback struggles, the matchups in the fantasy playoffs will make these wide receivers usable.
Los Angeles Rams (vs. NE, vs. NYJ, at SEA)
The matchups through the fantasy playoffs get easier and easier for the Rams' wide receivers. They face the Patriots in Week 14, but then things get better with the Jets (sixth-most fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers), followed by the Seahawks (most). When the Rams played Seattle in Week 10, Cooper had five receptions for 50 yards. Robert Woods had five receptions for 33 yards, and the big game went to Josh Reynolds with eight receptions for 94 yards. These three should fare better in Week 16.
Worst WR Matchup
Seattle Seahawks (vs. NYG, at WAS, vs. LAR)
DK Metcalf has been amazing this year and Tyler Lockett has had games where he has likely won fantasy owners the week, but the playoff schedule for them is the worst in the league. They get the Jets in Week 14, which is a good matchup. However, then it's Washington and the Rams. Los Angles is surrendering the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and Washington is not too far behind in third. When Metcalf played the Rams in Week 10, he had two receptions for 28 yards. Lockett had five receptions for 66 yards. Not ideal for a potential fantasy championship matchup in Week 16.
Bad WR Matchups
Atlanta Falcons (at LAC, vs. TB, at KC)
The Falcons face Tampa Bay in Week 15, which is a good matchup for Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and the other wide receivers (the Bucs allow the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers). However, that one good matchup is sandwiched between two awful ones. In Week 14, the Falcons face the Chargers and then the Chiefs in Week 16. These two AFC West teams are among the top five in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs. Jones and Ridley are good enough receivers that they should be fine for fantasy owners as they have succeeded in tough matchups this season.
Houston Texans (at CHI, at IND, vs. CIN)
Fantasy owners of Will Fuller already know that they don't have him for the rest of the season. However, many owners were able to snag Keke Coutee. Others have Brandin Cooks. Unfortunately for them, the Texans face the Bears in the first week of the fantasy playoffs, a defense that is giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. After that game, it's the Colts (sixth-fewest fantasy points) in Week 15, followed by the Bengals, which is a better matchup. If you have a bye for the first week of the playoffs, this schedule isn't awful, but beware of Chicago in Week 14.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.