Fantasy Football 2020: Playoff Schedule Analysis for TEs and DSTs

Noah Fant has a great schedule for the fantasy playoffs

The most common position to stream for fantasy football owners is defense/special teams (DST). For the sake of this analysis, all three weeks (Weeks 14-16) were looked at to determine the best and worst DST for the fantasy playoffs. However, there are plenty of cases where a team has a great matchup one week and a bad matchup the next.

 

Be sure to look at what DSTs are available in your league on a week-to-week basis. For tight ends, the scoring is based on PPR. For DSTs, the scoring is close to Yahoo's standard scoring.

 

Best TE Matchup

 

Denver Broncos (at CAR, vs. BUF, at LAC)

Fantasy owners that have Noah Fant should be happy to hear that he has the best schedule out of all tight ends for the fantasy playoffs. The Broncos face the Panthers in Week 14, who allow the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. And this is actually Fant's worst matchup in the playoffs, at least on paper. In Week 15, Denver hosts Buffalo, who give up the fourth-most fantasy points to TEs, followed by a road game in Los Angeles against the Chargers, who fall in between the Bills and Panthers (ninth) in this distinction. Fant and Drew Lock have built some nice chemistry and that should continue into the fantasy playoffs.

 

Good TE Matchups

 

Baltimore Ravens (at CLE, vs. JAC, vs. NYG)

Hopefully Mark Andrews will be back from the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing the past two games. Assuming he returns, his matchups in the fantasy playoffs go from great to good to not great. In Week 14, the Ravens face the Browns on "Monday Night Football," and Cleveland is giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. In Week 15, it's home vs. the Jaguars, who are eighth-most generous to the position. Then it's the Giants, who are on the opposite end of the spectrum – they surrender the 10th-fewest fantasy points to TEs. The G-Men have let just two tight ends to score a touchdown, so don't count on a big game from Andrews if you make it to fantasy championship week.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (at BUF, at CIN, vs. IND)

Eric Ebron has been a TE1 at times this season and he has two great matchups to begin the fantasy playoffs. The Bills and Bengals rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in most fantasy points allowed to tight ends. But the sledding gets much tougher in Week 16 against the Colts, who are giving up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position as only one has scored a touchdown through 12 games. Ebron owners may want to consider other options if they make it to the championship game.

 

Worst TE Matchups

 

Buffalo Bills (vs. PIT, at DEN, at NE)

The good news for fantasy owners is that most fantasy owners aren't relying on Dawson Knox to lead them through the playoffs. And if you are, you may want to reconsider. The Bills face the Steelers (home), Broncos (away), and Patriots (away) in Week 14-16. All three defenses are top 10 in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to tight ends with Pittsburgh the stingiest, Denver the most generous of the trio (ninth), and New England slotting in between (fifth). Do you want to win a championship? Find a better TE option than Knox.

 

Bad TE Matchups

 

Arizona Cardinals (at NYG, vs. PHI, vs. SF)

With four receptions in the past three weeks (although three of them were for touchdowns), fantasy owners may be intrigued by Dan Arnold. Don't be. The Cardinals face the Giants in Week 14, who allow the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and end the playoffs with the 49ers, who are even stingier (second). A more appealing home date with the Eagles is not a good enough reason to pick up Arnold.

 

Carolina Panthers (vs. DEN, at GB, at WAS)

With wide receivers DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel potentially missing this week's game because they are on the reserve/COVID-19 list, fantasy owners may be tempted to pick up Ian Thomas. However, don't give in to that temptation. The Panthers face the Broncos in Week 14, a team that is giving up the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. After that, it's a trip to Green Bay to face a Packers team that's fared even better in limiting the damage done by TEs (third). In Week 16, it's Washington, an average team vs. tight ends, but that's not enough to add Thomas to the roster.

 

Best Defense/Special Teams (DST) Matchups

 

Seattle Seahawks (vs. NYJ, at WAS, vs. LAR)

While fantasy owners aren't going to be able to stream the Seahawks, those that own them should be very happy with the playoff schedule. In Week 14, the Seahawks face the Jets, a winless team that also allows the most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. In Week 15, Seattle goes to Washington, which is allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to DSTs. And in Week 16, it's the division rival Rams, who are 10th in the same category. The Seahawks have struggled to take advantage of appealing matchups before (scored roughly five points vs. Rams in Week 10), but fantasy owners are hoping that will change now that it counts even more.

 

Good Defense/Special Teams (DST) Matchups

 

Dallas Cowboys (at CIN, vs. SF, vs. PHI)

The Cowboys' defense isn't good (as evidenced by Baltimore gashing them for nearly 300 rushing yards on Tuesday night), but they certainly have an appealing schedule for the fantasy playoffs. In Week 14, Dallas heads to Cincinnati to face a Bengals offense missing its quarterback and No. 1 running back. In Week 15, it's a 49ers team that's starting a backup at QB and has inconsistent with their running game. The critical three-game stretch ends at home against the Eagles, who have been generous against DSTs, giving up the third-most fantasy points. Philadelphia also will presumably start rookie Jalen Hurts for this game in place of Carson Wentz, so the Cowboys may be able to cash in on some turnovers. There's still plenty of risk in trusting a defense that hasn't played all that well this season.

 

Worst Defense/Special Teams (DST) Matchups

 

Detroit Lions (vs. GB, at TEN, vs. TB)

While many fantasy owners may not have the Lions as their DST in the first place, if you do, it's time to drop them. Simply put, Detroit gets Green Bay, Tennessee, and Tampa Bay in Weeks 14-16. All three teams are in the top six in the NFL in scoring offense and the Titans and Packers are at the top in terms of fewest turnovers. The Lions are a bad defense to begin with, especially against the run, and things don't look to get any better for the fantasy playoffs.

 

Bad Defense/Special Teams (DST) Matchups

 

Green Bay Packers (at DET, vs. CAR, vs. TEN)

The Packers DST has done well with good matchups, but their fantasy playoff schedule isn't favorable. It starts out fine, against the Lions, but after that, it's a home game with a Carolina team that has done a decent job in protecting the football followed by a matchup with the Titans, the best team in that distinction. Additionally, Tennessee boasts the league's leading rusher in Derrick Henry, and stopping the run has been an ongoing issue for Green Bay this season. The Packers have plenty of offensive players who can help you win a fantasy championship, so we'll give the DST a pass here.

 

— 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.

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