The Game Plan Week 12: How To Prepare For Your Fantasy Football Playoffs

fantasy football championship belt

“There are no shortcuts to building a team each season. You build the foundation brick by brick.” Bill Belichick

Week 12 is here and with 3 regular-season games left for most fantasy football managers, all fantasy teams fall into one of 3 categories:

  • Locked into the playoffs and playing for the best seed and a first-round bye
  • Fighting to make the playoffs
  • Completely out of the playoffs (hey keep scrapping to be the dream crusher and soul stomper)

It’s Crunch Time!

Wherever you are, now is the time to prepare for the race to the playoffs, or at least break the hearts of those who are. Yes, after 11 weeks it starts to feel like a grind, but we have to keep building, brick by brick, stacking wins on top of wins. The fantasy championship trophy filled with cash is within sight and we want to help you get there. The trade deadline for most leagues is in about a week which gives you time to get some deals done.

Planning, Scheming, and Strategizing

The first order of business is to look at your roster and your stud players’ upcoming schedules. The NFL regular season has 3 more weeks of byes and you want to avoid them, especially if your team is struggling to make the playoffs. Try to trade away your bye weeks. We talked about bye week strategy in our week 11 Game Plan.

Another bye-week tactic not previously discussed is to use your available bench space to hoard quarterbacks and defenses. In the next 3 weeks, 10 teams have bye weeks. If your league mates have QBs and defenses on byes with no backups on their benches, they will scour the waiver wire for replacements. Wouldn’t it be great if the best available option was Baker Mayfield? (No disrespect to the man, but he’s not going to win someone a fantasy championship). And if you can’t find bench space, look long and hard at who’s taking a spot. Are you still holding out hope for John Harbaugh to have a change of heart about Ty’Son Williams or for Trey Sermon to dig his way of Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse?  The 11th hour is now and it’s time to clear the bench. Here are the teams on bye weeks 12-14:

  • Week 12: Arizona, Kansas City
  • Week 13: Carolina, Cleveland, Green Bay, Tennessee
  • Week 14: Indy, Miami, New England, Philly

You also want to check schedules to see if your players have tough matchups. If you can trade a player with a backbreaking schedule for a similarly rated player with an easier schedule, you get an edge. But why would anyone agree to this trade? Because some people didn’t read this article and they don’t take fantasy football as seriously as you and I do. I used 4for4.com’s Hot Spots report to identify the teams with the best and worst schedules the rest of the way for QB/RB/WR. I didn’t cover the tight end position because it’s a dumpster fire beyond the top 5-6 players. Use the best and worst lists to game plan for the rest of the season. I separated the lists for regular-season weeks 12-14 and playoff weeks 15-17. The results are below with each team’s opponents. (An asterisk next to a team indicates that team is an exception.).

Teams With the Best QB Schedules Weeks 12-14

  • Cowboys – Raiders, Saints, WFT
  • Seahawks – WFT, 49ers, Texans
  • Jets – Texans, Eagles, Saints
  • Steelers – Bengals, Ravens, Vikings
  • Ravens – Browns, Steelers, Browns

Teams With the Worst QB Schedules Weeks 12-14

  • Saints – Bills, Cowboys, Jets*
  • Bears – Lions, Cardinals, Packers
  • Rams – Packers, Jags, Cardinals
  • Chargers – Broncos, Bengals, Giants
  • Packers – Rams, bye, Bears
  • Chiefs – bye, Broncos, Raiders
  • Dolphins – Panthers, Giants, bye
  • Titans – Patriots, bye, Jags

Teams With the Best QB Schedules Weeks 15-17

  • Eagles – WFT, Giants, WFT
  • Dolphins – Jets, Saints, Titans
  • 49ers – Falcons, Titans, Texans
  • Packers – Ravens, Browns, Vikings
  • Titans – Steelers, 49ers, Dolphins

Teams With the Worst QB Schedules Weeks 15-17

  • Colts – Patriots, Cardinals, Raiders
  • Falcons – 49ers, Lions, Bills
  • Bills – Panthers, Patriots, Falcons*
  • Patriots – Colts, Bills, Jags
  • Panthers – Bills, Bucs, Saints*
  • Runner ups – Jags, Cardinals, Giants

Teams With the Best RB Schedules Weeks 12-14

  • Broncos – Chargers, Chiefs*, Lions
  • WFT – Seahawks, Raiders, Cowboys*
  • Giants – Eagles, Dolphins, Chargers
  • Saints – Bills, Cowboys, Jets

***Texans excluded, because are you really going to start a Texan RB?

Teams With the Worst RB Schedules Weeks 12-14

  • Patriots – Titans, @Bills, bye
  • Jags – Falcons*, @Rams, @Titans
  • Raiders – @Cowboys, WFT, @Chiefs
  • Bills – @Saints, Patriots, @Bucs
  • Falcons – @Jags, Bucs, @Panthers
  • Browns – @Ravens, bye, Ravens
  • Cardinals – bye, @Bears, Rams
  • Packers – Rams, bye, Bears
  • Rams – @Packers, Jags, @Cardinals
  • Titans – @Patriots, bye, Jags

Teams With the Best RB Schedules Weeks 15-17

  • Jags – Texans, Jets, Patriots*
  • Broncos – Bengals, Raiders, Chargers
  • Bears – Vikings, Seahawks, Giants
  • Lions – Cardinals*, Falcons, Seahawks

Teams With the Worst RB Schedules Weeks 15-17

  • Bengals – @Broncos, Ravens, Chiefs
  • Steelers – Titans, @Chiefs, Browns
  • Jets – @Dolphins, Jags, Bucs
  • Saints – @Bucs, Dolphins, Panthers
  • Patriots – @Colts, Bills, Jags
  • Vikings – @Bears, Rams, @Packers
  • Panthers – @Bills, Bucs, @Saints
  • Titans – @Steelers, 49ers, Dolphins

Teams With the Best WR Schedules Weeks 12-14

  • LIons (play at your own risk) – Bears, Vikings, Broncos
  • Steelers – Bengals, Ravens, Vikings
  • Jags – Falcons, Rams, Titans
  • Cowboys – Raiders*, Saints, WFT
  • Raiders – Cowboys, WFT, Chiefs

Teams With the Worst WR Schedules Weeks 12-14

  • Broncos – Chargers, Chiefs, Lions
  • Bears – Lions, Cardinals, Packers
  • WFT – Seahawks, Raiders, Cowboys
  • Dolphins – Panthers, Giants, bye
  • Giants – Eagles, Dolphins, Chargers

Teams With the Best WR Schedules Weeks 15-17

  • Dolphins – Jets, Saints, Titans
  • Packers – Ravens, Browns, Vikings
  • Titans – Steelers, 49ers, Dolphins
  • 49ers – Falcons, Titans, Texans
  • Runner ups – Bucs, Eagles, Rams, Jets

Teams With the Worst WR Schedules Weeks 15-17

  • Falcons – 49ers, Lions, Bills
  • Broncos – Bengals, Raiders, Chargers
  • Texans – Jags, Chargers, 49ers
  • Patriots – Colts, Bills, Jags
  • Colts – Patriots, Cardinals, Raiders
  • Runner ups – Panthers, WFT

Wow, that was a large data dump. I am tired and need a beer. Good luck to you and go win that fantasy football championship! On to Cincinnati!

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