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Fantasy Football 2017: Playoff Schedule Analysis for RB, WR, TE

Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen

While certain players may be a set-it-and-forget-it when it comes to a starting lineup, looking at the schedule for the fantasy playoffs is important. For teams that may have a bye in Week 14, start looking ahead to Week 15.

DeMarco Murray: Start 'em, Sit 'em Week 12

The waiver wire is still important, especially for those that need players to fill in for those that are suspended (JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rob Gronkowski). Look at the playoff schedule; this may make start/sit or waiver wire decisions easier. Below is a breakdown of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Quarterbacks and defense/special teams (DSTs) can be found here. Quarterbacks and DSTs are in a different post; RB, WR, and TE are below.

Running Backs

The Good

Tennessee Titans

Remaining schedule: at ARI, at SF, vs. LAR, vs. JAX

Over the past five weeks, the Arizona Cardinals have had two opposing running backs finish with single-digit fantasy points and one post more than 30. And that's the toughest matchup of the Titans’ fantasy playoffs slate (not including Week 17). The 49ers and Rams are second and third in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs in all formats. The problem for fantasy owners is that Derrick Henry is cutting into DeMarco Murray's (above, right) workload (and vice versa). However, both players have fantasy value through the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts

Remaining schedule: at BUF, vs. DEN, at BAL, vs. HOU

Similar to the Titans, the Colts’ running backs eat into each other's value. Both Frank Gore and Marlon Mack have a great playoff schedule. The Buffalo Bills allow the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. In addition, over the past five weeks, Denver has allowed two running backs to score more than 30 fantasy points.

New York Jets

Remaining schedule: at DEN, at NO, vs. LAC, at NE

With Matt Forte injured, Bilal Powell (right) is the running back to take advantage of the nice playoff schedule. The Broncos have struggled against running backs over recent weeks. The Los Angeles Chargers allow the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. While Elijah is in the mix, Powell is the running back to own from the Jets.

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Washington Redskins

Remaining schedule: at LAC, vs. ARI, vs. DEN, at NYG

The matchup against Arizona isn't a great one, but Weeks 14 and 16 are more appealing for Samaje Perine. The Redskins don't have any other running back that they are using on their roster, so Perine owners are in luck. Start him with confidence in the playoffs.

The Bad

Los Angeles Rams

Remaining schedule: vs. PHI, at SEA, at TEN, vs. SF

Unfortunately for Todd Gurley owners, the playoff schedule is a tough one. The Eagles and Seahawks allow the second- and third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Titans actually allow the fifth-fewest. Fantasy owners aren't going to bench Gurley, but temper expectations.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Remaining schedule: vs. SEA, vs. HOU, at SF, at TEN

Leonard Fournette has been playing injured and his playoff schedule is less than favorable. The Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans allow the third- and fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Fantasy owners that picked up Chris Ivory or T.J. Yeldon may consider dropping them for better options.

Green Bay Packers

Remaining schedule: at CLE, at CAR, vs. MIN, at DET

The matchup against the Cleveland Browns isn't a great one (they allow the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs). However, things then just get worse for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. The Panthers allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and the Minnesota Vikings allow the fewest.

New Orleans Saints

Remaining schedule: at ATL, vs. NYJ, vs. ATL, at TB

In two of the past five weeks, both the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Jets have allowed single-digit fantasy points to opposing running backs. Alvin Kamara has been arguably the best waiver wire pickup of the season. Mark Ingram has been a solid RB1 this season as well, although he is a little dinged up now. Do not sit either of them, but know that the matchups are tough.

Wide Receivers

The Good

Oakland Raiders

Remaining schedule: at KC, vs. DAL, at PHI, at LAC

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Amari Cooper (right) and Michael Crabtree have two great matchups to start the fantasy playoffs. The Chiefs and Cowboys allow the second- and fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Cooper is still dealing with a sprained ankle, but he has cleared the concussion protocol.

Amari Cooper

Carolina Panthers

Remaining schedule: vs. MIN, vs. GB, vs. TB, at ATL

The Panthers’ wide receivers have struggled, but the playoff schedule is nice for Devin Funchess. The Vikings gave up a big game to Marvin Jones Jr. in Week 12, but overall are a tough defense against wide receivers. However, the Packers and Buccaneers are both in the top five in fantasy points allowed to the position

Miami Dolphins

Remaining schedule: vs. NE, at BUF, at KC, vs. BUF

While the quarterback play is in issue, the wide receivers on the Dolphins have two great matchu0ps in the fantasy playoffs. The Patriots are 10th in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers with the Chiefs second in this distinction. Trust DeVante Parker, especially in Week 14.

The Bad

Indianapolis Colts

Remaining schedule: at BUF, vs. DEN, at BAL, vs. HOU

In Weeks 15 and 16, the Colts’ wide receivers (read: T.Y. Hilton) have tough matchups. Hilton has been impossible to trust all season, and if fantasy owners were searching for a reason to sit him when it’s championship week, this is it. The Ravens allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Houston Texans

Remaining schedule: vs. SF, at JAC, vs. PIT, at IND

The Jacksonville Jaguars allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are 10th in that category. No fantasy owner is going to bench DeAndre Hopkins (right), but just know that he may not have great point totals, especially in Week 15 (semifinals for most leagues).

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Washington Redskins

Remaining schedule: at LAC, vs. ARI, vs. DEN, at NYG

The matchups that the Redskins’ wide receivers will face aren't the toughest, but they aren't great either. The Chargers shut down Corey Coleman last week, but did allow Josh Gordon to have a 4/85/0 stat line in his season debut. The Denver Broncos allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Receivers facing Patrick Peterson (of Arizona) have struggled all season as well.

Tight Ends

The Good

Arizona Cardinals

Remaining schedule: vs. TEN, at WAS, vs. NYG, at SEA

Over the past three weeks, Ricky Seals-Jones has nine receptions for 170 yards and three touchdowns. His playoff schedule is favorable. The Titans and the Giants have both given up multiple big games to opposing tight ends over the past five weeks. Given how involved Seals-Jones has been, he's worth adding and using in the playoffs, even if he wasn't on anyone's draft day radar.

Philadelphia Eagles

Remaining schedule: at LAR, at NYG, vs. OAK, vs. DAL

While the Eagles have a solid playoff schedule, fantasy owners are going to have to wait and see Zach Ertz's (right) status, although Trey Burton has been a reliable backup when Ertz has missed time (2/41/1 in Week 9). The Giants and the Raiders are good matchups and hopefully Ertz will be back by Week 15.

Zach Ertz

The Bad

Carolina Panthers

Remaining schedule: vs. MIN, vs. GB, vs. TB, at ATL

Sorry, Greg Olsen fantasy owners: his playoff schedule is one of the worst. He starts with a tough Week 14 matchup against the Vikings, who haven't allowed a touchdown to an opposing tight end since Week 5. He follows that up with the Packers, who allow the fewest fantasy points to the position. In Week 16, he faces the Buccaneers, who are right behind Green Bay as the second-stingiest defense against tight ends.

Minnesota Vikings

Remaining schedule: at CAR, vs. CIN, at GB, vs. CHI

For those that have used Kyle Rudolph this year, his playoff schedule is tough. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The game against the Bengals isn't terrible, but then it’s the Packers, who have surrendered the fewest fantasy points to the position. It's not clear who Minnesota’s quarterback will be by that point, so now is a good time to at least look for another tight end should you find yourself in the championship game.

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.