Nine weeks into the season, we know where we stand in the playoff hunt, we know which run defenses, pass defenses, running games, and passing games are good and bad, so we can set our focus on players to acquire (and maybe trade away) for the fantasy playoffs. The first step in this exercise is figuring which matchups are true exploits and avoids at this point in the season.
Quarterback - Exploit
Dallas: The Cowboys defense has fared ok against NFC East foes and Jared Goff, but the rest of the league has done well against them.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars have given up big games to opposing quarterbacks every week this year, except when opposing running backs have accounted for three scores.
Seattle: A combination of a suspect secondary and high scoring offense makes them a pass defense to target.
Quarterback - Avoid
Running Backs - Exploit
Detroit: Five different running backs have scored twice in a game against the Lions
Green Bay: Four different running backs have scored twice in a game against the Packers, and Dalvin Cook has done it twice.
Houston: Only once this year has a team failed to notch a running back touchdown against the Texans and they’ve allowed five games of at least 99 yards rushing.
New England: Watch this one as the Bills and 49ers running games have come alive against the Patriots over the last three weeks.
Tennessee: The Titans have given up a running back touchdown in every game this year
Running Backs - Avoid
Indianapolis: The Colts have held the Ravens, Browns and Vikings running games in check this year.
New Orleans: The Saints run defense is surging and hasn’t allowed anything like a ceiling game this year.
Seattle: Outside of the Vikings game, no running back has gone for over 58 yards against them and no opposing running game has had more than 19 running back attempts.
Tampa Bay: The next running back to go over 60 yards rushing against the Bucs this year will be the first.
Wide Receivers - Exploit
Atlanta: We will start wideouts against the Falcons until it repeatedly backfires. Twelve receivers have at least 75 yards against them
Cincinnati: Only the Tyrod Taylor led Chargers failed to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver against them.
Cleveland: Only Philip Rivers failed to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver against them, and four opponents posted multiple wide receiver scores.
Dallas: Opposing wideouts have posted multiple scores against them in 6 of 9 games.
Denver: The Broncos have given up multiple wide receiver scores in four games this year. Three of the four where they didn’t were against the Patriots, Jets, and Chiefs when they didn’t have to try too hard to win.
Houston: The Texans have allowed nine touchdowns to receivers over the last four games.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars have allowed at least 199 receiving yards to opposing wideouts in four of the last five games.
Minnesota: The Vikings have surrendered multiple scores to wideouts in four of the last five games.
San Francisco: The 49ers have allowed multiple receiver scores four of the last five weeks.
Seattle: Seventeen receivers have gone for at least 70 yards against the Seahawks this year.
Wide Receivers - Avoid
Baltimore: They’ve only allowed four wide receiver scores all year.
Chicago: They’ve only allowed three wide receiver scores all year.
Los Angeles Rams: They’ve only allowed four wide receiver scores all season.
Washington: The Football Team has only allowed three wide receiver scores and no 100-yard games this year.
Tight End - Exploit
Buffalo: Six touchdowns allowed to tight ends, and six catches to Chris Herndon.
Chicago: Six touchdowns allowed to tight ends.
Jacksonville: Seven tight end scores allowed this year
Tight End - Avoid
Green Bay: Only one tight end touchdown allowed this year
Indianapolis: No tight end touchdowns allowed this year
Miami: No one over 44 receiving yards, only two scores allowed to tight ends
New England: Only one tight end touchdown allowed, 3-70 to Kelce, 5-55 to Kittle, 2-9 to Waller
Pittsburgh: One tight end score allowed
Playoff Schedules (Weeks 14-16)
Arizona - @NYG PHI SF
Only slight bumps for the passing game
Atlanta - @LAC TB @KC
**Action Item**: Sell Todd Gurley as he draws Tampa Bay and two games where the Falcons could easily be playing from behind
Baltimore - @CLE JAX NYG
**Action Item**: Buy low on Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, and Lamar Jackson against some soft pass defenses.
Buffalo - PIT @DEN @NE
**Action Item**: This schedule will be a test for Josh Allen. If you’re not comfortable playing him against the Steelers and Patriots in the fantasy playoffs, set up a deal now coming off two strong fantasy performances.
Carolina - DEN @GB @WAS
A mixed bag of plus and minus matchups with no real clarity
Chicago - HOU @MIN @JAX
**Action Item**: Ask for a price check on Robinson
Cincinnati - DAL PIT @HOU
**Action Item**: Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd line up as great plays in Weeks 14 and 16, but Week 15 could be rough for Burrow. All are undervalued right now.
Cleveland - BAL @NYG @NYJ
Baltimore is an avoid in Week 14, but the game scripts should be good for the running game in Weeks 15-16.
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