You made it! If you’re reading this article, you very likely made the playoffs in your fantasy football league. You also should be carefully considering who to start, since so much more is on the line right now. Even if you didn’t make the playoffs, a lot could be on the line for you: whether it is a league punishment you’re trying to avoid (shout out to the guys at The 5th Quarter with the nipple piercing punishment) or if you’re trying to win some cash, this guide can only help you.
Sticking to our brand of being experts at providing mediocre fantasy football advice, we are not guaranteeing that all of these guys will boom/bust all three weeks of the playoffs. We are simply looking at probability and who to start/avoid in the coming three (because Week 17 is not fit for a fantasy championship) weeks. Let’s get started.
(Image from Sportsnaut)
Baker Mayfield – whew. This one is scary. Baker gets Cincinnati, Arizona, and Baltimore in weeks 14-16. Cincinnati is ranked 24th against the position, Arizona is ranked 32nd, and Baltimore is ranked 3rd (CBS Sports). Which QB has the second-best performance against the Ravens this season? You guessed it. Baker (if healthy) is a viable fantasy quarterback this playoff season.
Drew Lock – talk about scary. A rookie quarterback in his second, third, and fourth career starts, respectively doesn’t sound like a guy you want to hinge your season on. However, he gets the Texans (25th against opposing QBs), the Chiefs (23rd) and the Lions (26th) in the coming weeks (CBS Sports). He was mediocre at best (he should come on the show!) in his first start, but he got the win and looks to improve each week. It’s risky, but you can probably stream Drew Lock for your playoff matchups.
Gardner Minshew – not as scary! The Mustache Man gets the Chargers (8th), Raiders (29th), and Falcons (28th). While that Falcons game could very well be a trap and the first matchup isn’t ideal, we like Minshew to stream weeks 14-16.
Patrick Mahomes – listen, we know that you’re starting Mahomes. We just want you to temper your expectations. He gets the Patriots (1st), Broncos (5th), and Bears (7th) the next three weeks, and that is bar-none, the most difficult playoff schedule for any quarterback in the league (CBS Sports). If you have a second guy like Aaron Rodgers, you may consider a pivot.
Drew Brees – quarterbacks are averaging just 12.83 FPTS, 17.83 FPTS, and 18.83 FPTS (CBS Sports) against Brees’ next three opponents, and he has only succeeded against bad secondaries this season (Houston, Arizona, Tampa Bay, and Carolina). Be careful rolling him out there during the playoffs.
Jared Goff – hopefully you already faded him, but if you didn’t, now is a good time for corrective action. After his plus-matchup this Sunday against Seattle, Goff gets the Cowboys and the 49ers. It’s tough to justify starting him either of those weeks. Fade, fade, fade.
Running Back Starts
(Image from Sports Illustrated)
Sony Michel – boy, oh boy. It pains me, personally, to type this, as I am a noted Sony-hater. However, you can’t argue that the matchups aren’t favorable here. He hasn’t scored double-digits since Week 7, but since it’s the Patriots, he will likely be a top-five guy in the coming weeks. Kansas City (32nd), Cincinnati (26th), and Buffalo (20th) are all susceptible to the run, and it’s Sony’s time to shine (CBS Sports).
Phillip Lindsay – matchups against Houston (25th), Kansas City (32nd) and Detroit (29th) indicate that Lindsay will return to form this playoff season, as well (CBS Sports). Don’t be shocked if he becomes a league-winner for your champion.
Saquon Barkley – similar to Patrick Mahomes, we know you’re starting Saquon. But highlighting his extremely favorable matchups should give you a little more faith in that decision. He gets the Eagles (7th), Dolphins (29th) and Redskins (20th) during the playoffs (CBS Sports). He also gets Eli in Week 14, meaning he will be targeted a bunch. Plug him in and breathe easy.
Running Back Fades
LeSean McCoy – he kicks off the playoffs against the Patriots and proceeds to play the Broncos and Bears (who are both respectable against the run). Combine this with the fact that he’s slow and losing playing time, keep him out of your lineup.
Marlon Mack – if you held on to Mack, you’re probably going to be pretty disappointed with this one. He gets the Bucs (2nd), Saints (4th), and finally the Panthers (31st) (CBS Sports). Start him in the final week, but if he’s active this week or next, stay away.
Tevin Coleman – if you aren’t concerned about his lack of production, you should be. He’s been plagued by a case of the rough-schedules, and it doesn’t get any easier. He gets New Orleans (4th), Atlanta (13th), and the Los Angeles Rams (19th) the next three weeks (CBS Sports). Gross.
Wide Receiver Starts
(Image from Rotoballer)
Devante Parker – the receiver that hasn’t scored in the single-digits since his matchup at Dallas in Week 3? The receiver that gets the Jets (24th), Giants (31st), and Bengals (16th) (CBS Sports)? Give us all of it.
DJ Chark – his targets went down with Nick Foles as his quarterback, so we can see why you’d worry. Fret not, The Gardener is back. DJ Chark has a tough matchup in Week 14, but then gets Oakland and Atlanta. If you roll with the Minshew/Chark stack, you may be rolling in the dough.
A.J. Brown – this one is terrifying. Brown has more single-digit outings than double-, but he has probably the second-most juicy lineup of opponents ahead of him (OAK, HOU, and NO). He’s shown the ability to take over games on limited targets, and we have reason to believe he can be put in your flex to get you a W.
Wide Receiver Fades
Allen Robinson – with matchups against the Cowboys, Packers, and Chiefs in the coming weeks (and Mitchell Trubisky still as his quarterback), Allen Robinson looks like a scary-start during the playoffs. Flex if you need to.
John Brown – he gets Baltimore (13th), Pittsburgh (15th), and New England (1st) (CBS Sports). Bad matchups plus undoubtedly some bad weather indicate that Brown may be tough to start during the playoffs.
Cooper Kupp – you know the drill. We know you’re starting Kupp, but temper your expectations a bit. He gets the Seahawks (almost middle-of-the-road), but then the Cowboys and 49ers. We don’t want to lose because Cooper Kupp lays an egg, and you shouldn’t either.
Tight End Starts
(Image from Houston Chronicle)
Darren Fells – he gets Denver (16th), Tennessee (26th) and Tampa Bay (31st) during the playoffs, and he’s been productive in plus-matchups so far this season (CBS Sports). If you’re a streaming-TE type of fantasy football player, Fells might be the way to go in the playoffs.
Kyle Rudolph – I know this is a little crazy with Thielen coming back, but Rudolph has warranted this with his last four weeks of play. He gets the Lions (24th), Chargers (13th), and Packers (28th) in the playoffs, and those matchups look juicy enough.
David Njoku – ah, the forgotten Cleveland Brown. Well, no one actually forgot about him. He’s just been hurt. Which means he could be sitting on your waiver wire in the weeks leading up to the playoffs. He should play Week 14 or 15, and really the only one that matters is 15 when he gets the Arizona Cardinals. That, alone, should vault Njoku into the top-five TEs of the week.
Tight End Fades
Mark Andrews – he gets Buffalo, the Jets, and then the Browns. If you can, sit him down during the playoffs. If you can’t, thank him for getting you there, close your eyes, and open them back up after each matchup.
Mike Gesicki – how fitting that my dynasty tight ends fall 1-2 in this list. Gesicki has the Jets (3rd), Giants (3rd), and Bengals (20th) in the playoffs, and that’s not ideal (CBS Sports). Disclaimer is that Gesicki should be productive in Week 14 since Jamal Adams is unlikely to play. Still look elsewhere for a tight end streamer.
Dallas Goedert – the Eagles get the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys in the next three weeks. 3rd, 24th, and 16th isn’t ideal (it’s also not the worst you can do). Ertz should be productive, and while Goedert has surpassed his production at times throughout this season, this isn’t the streaming option that we’re looking for.
There it is. The ultimate guide to winning your championship (or avoiding your league punishment), as told by the staff at The Cut. We hope that you all win your leagues. We also hope that you all subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app, follow us on socials @TheCutFFL, and leave us a review.
Also, drop a comment below to tell us if we helped you during your playoffs!
Until next time!