Whether you're way ahead and starting to look at the fantasy playoffs or if you're struggling just to make them, this article is for you! We'll show you who to target for the stretch run and who to target for the fantasy playoffs. We'll also let you know who's going to have a tough time. It's never too soon to be looking at the playoffs, unless you're not quite there and you need everything you can get to make it in.
QB's to TARGET
Peyton Manning - If you need a QB, you may want to make a play for Peyton Manning. The Colts play the Steelers this weekend and they're 2nd in the league at giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks. After Pittsburgh, the Colts have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way. They play Houston, San Diego, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. They then play Detroit and Oakland in the playoffs. When you look at fantasy points given up to quarterbacks, those teams are 26th, 30th, 15th, 21st, 31st, and 24th respectively. You can't ask for better match-ups than that.
Marc Bulger - The toughest team the Rams have left on their schedule at giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks is Chicago at 11th best. The Cardinals are 29th, the Dolphins are 23rd, the Jets are 27th, and the 49ers are 16th. The Rams then play 31st ranked Seattle and 16th ranked San Francisco in the fantasy playoffs. That's a pretty favorable schedule for a quarterback and the Rams offense has enough weapons to score points against those teams.
RB's to TARGET
Ronnie Brown - If you have a team that is going to make it to the playoffs, look at trading for Brown. Except for the Patriots, Miami has some great match-ups down the stretch. If you look at fantasy points allowed to running backs, Denver is 31st, Seattle is 18th, Oakland is 29th, New England is 8th, St. Louis is 30th, and Buffalo is 17th. They play the 26th ranked 49ers and 32nd ranked Chiefs in the fantasy playoffs. It doesn't get much better than that.
Tim Hightower - The Arizona offense has been one of the best in fantasy football this year. It looked even better last week with Hightower in the lineup. With the Arizona passing game, he'll almost never see 8 men in the box. The thing is, even when the Cardinals play a team that is good against the run, Hightower will still get some catches and all the goal line carries. That's a powerful combination. He'll do better in the stretch run than he will in the playoffs. So, if you still need to scratch to make it to the playoffs, Hightower could be valuable down the stretch. In looking at fantasy points to running backs, Arizona plays 26th ranked San Fransisco at home, 19th ranked Seattle on the road, the 2nd ranked New York Giants at home, 4th ranked Philadelphia on the road, and they end the season with 30th ranked St Louis at home. He'll have a little more trouble in the playoffs as he plays 3rd ranked Minnesota at home and 8th ranked New England on the road. He should still have 2 good games though. Both of those teams have a good run defense, but their pass defense is not as good. That means the Cardinals passing attack should be able to move the ball and back up the defense. That way Hightower will get some catches and some touchdowns, and that will open up some running lanes for some rushing yards. The whole Arizone offense could be a factor down the stretch.
WR's to Target
Larry Fitzgerald/Anquan Boldin – Kurt Warner, and the Arizona Cardinals offense, is ranked 2nd in the league in passing yards and 2nd in touchdowns. They only play 1 team that ranks in the top 10 in fantasy points to wide receivers and that's the 4th Eagles. They also play the Seahawks, who rank 31st, and the Rams, who rank 29th. The other games are the 17th ranked 49ers, and the 16th ranked Giants. They play the 13th ranked Vikings and the 22nd ranked Patriots in the fantasy playoffs. That's a schedule that can help win a championship.
Donnie Avery - Since the Rams changed coaches, Avery has averaged almost 20 fantasy points a game in PPR leagues. He's fast, he's quick, and he can get open. If Bulger has the protection, he can get the ball to the open man. The offense needs Steven Jackson to be the most effective and he should be back soon. The Rams schedule looks pertty good when you look at fantasy points given up to wide receivers. They have 2 road games against the 14th ranked Jets and the 18th ranked 49ers. Then they have 2 home games against the 32nd ranked Bears and the 26th ranked Dolphins. They finsh on the road against the 25th ranked Cardinals. The playoffs is where Avery could shine even more as the Rams have 2 home games against the 31st ranked Seahawks and the 18th ranked 49ers.
QB's to Avoid
David Garrard - Gerrard hasn't been having the best of years. His line has been banged-up all year and the running game has not been getting it done. This week they get to play Detoit, though, so all the Jaguars should have a pretty good game against the worst defense in the league. From then on out, though, the schedule gets tougher and they end the year with some really bad match-ups. Looking at fantasy points to quarterbacks, they play the 2nd ranked Titans next week. Then they play the 14th ranked Vikings, the 26th ranked Texans, and the 11th ranked Bears to end the fantasy regular season. They get the 8th ranked Packers and the #1 ranked Colts in the playoffs. I just don't see anyone winning a championship with Gerrard.
Tony Romo - The Cowboys have a bye this week. Romo should be back from a broken finger the following week. The Dallas offense has been non-existent without Tony the last few weeks. When he gets back they hope to put it all back together. I think the offense will still be out of synce when he 1st gets back. If you look at fantasy point given up to quarterbacks, the Cowboys play the 13th ranked Redskins and the 15th ranked 49ers in the 1st 2 games he's back. He should get it together in time to play the 31st ranked Seahawks after that and the whole team will have a great day. They play the 3rd ranked Steelers in the final game of the fantasy regular season. In the playoffs, they get the 4th ranked Giants and the 14th ranked Ravens. Don't get me wrong, Romo is going to score some points. I just don't see him finishing the season nearly as good as he started it.
RB's to Avoid
Michael Turner - What you want to do with Turner depends on your standings. If you're way out in front, you want to trade him. If you're struggling to make it, you want to keep him. Let me explain. The Atlanta offense has been good against bad teams and bad against good teams. The schedule down the stretch looks pretty good. They play 16th ranked New Orleans, 31st ranked Denver, 9th ranked Carolina, 21st ranked SD, and 16th ranked New Orleans again to end the fantasy regular season. The problem comes in the playoffs. The Falcons play 6th ranked Tampa Bay and 3rd ranked Minnesota in the fantasy playoffs. You may want to look at someone with better match-ups in the playoffs if you want to win a championship.
Marion Barber - Barber has been a beast this year. He started the year great, but he's been limited the last few games since Romo got hurt. He's currently the number 2 ranked running back in a standard league. Only Portis has more points. The Cowboys have a bye this week and Tony Romo should be back in week 11. The problem is the schedule. If you look at fantasy points to running backs and the up-coming schedule, it doesn't look that bad. They have a couple of good match-ups and a couple are not as good. They play the 7th ranked Redskins, the 27th ranked 49ers, the 19th ranked Seahawks, and the 5th ranked Steelers. In the fantasy playoffs, though, the Cowboys play the 2 teams that give up the least fantasy points to running backs in the league. The New York Giants are 2nd in fantasy points to running backs and Baltimore is 1st. Neither of those games are very attractive.
WR's to Avoid
Andre Johnson - Johnson has been lights-out the last few weeks. He started slow and then caught fire. That may change, starting this week. Houston has a brutal schedule the rest of the fantasy year. Including the playoffs, the Texans play 5 of 7 games against top 10 teams in fantasy points given up to wide receivers. That includes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 9th. He has 2 good match-ups with 30th ranked Cleveland and 20th ranked Jacksonville, but the other 5 are brutal.. In the next 2 weeks, they play 3rd ranked Baltimore and the #1 Colts. After the 2 decent weeks, Houston plays 5th ranked Green Bay the last week of the regular fantasy season. They play 5th ranked Tennessee and the 9th ranked Raiders in the playoffs. He should struggle against a few of those good teams and not give you the points you need for a championship.
Terrell Owens - The Cowboys season and Owens' season are a mirror of each other. They both started strong and have struggled since. The thinking is that TO and the Cowboy offense will get going again when Romo gets back. The problem is that they were struggling before Tony got hurt. Not as bad as after, but struggling just the same. Owens is currently the 15th ranked wide receiver in a standard scoring league. He'll fall a little more this week because he's on a bye. He only has 35 catches on the year and a 13.3 yard per catch average. In looking at fantasy point given up to wide receivers, they play the 11th ranked Redskins, the 17th ranked 49ers, the 31st ranked Seahawks, and the 6th ranked Steelers. He'll be up and down in those games. Then they play the 17th ranked Giants, who always play the Cowboys tough, and the 3rd ranked Ravens in the playoffs. I just don't see him playing as well to end the season as he played to start it.
With the right moves now, you may be putting that fantasy championship trophy on your mantle!