Staff Playbook: Which Players’ Schedules Help or Hurt the Most?
Welcome to the QB List Staff Playbook Series. Every week throughout both the season, we will conduct a staff survey, asking multiple fantasy analysts to share their insights on some of fantasy football’s most pressing questions. Essentially, we’re sharing our “playbook” with you, revealing the hard choices and strategic moves we would make to stay ahead of the competition.
This week, the QB List Staff was asked which players’ schedules help or hurt them the most:
Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs): Amari Cooper, WR (DAL)
Reasoning: Amari Cooper has been outstanding in Dallas this year. He has 56 receptions for 886 yards, seven touchdowns, and a 15.8 average yards per reception total, showcasing why he’s a complete receiver in the NFL. Very few receivers are capable of going over the middle and doing this with three defenders around him:
Despite those elite skills, however, Cooper’s upcoming schedule looks foreboding. This week, he gets Stephon Gillmore in New England. In Week 13, it will be Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White, followed by Chicago’s Prince Amukamara and then Jalen Ramsey and the Los Angeles Rams in Week 15. Three of those teams rank inside the top-9 in passing defense DVOA, while the Rams rank a respectable 16th. Cooper played only 55% of the snaps in Week 11 against the Detroit Lions as the Cowboys try to manage the ailing knee and ankle injuries that have plagued him for weeks. Banged up, and facing a gauntlet of quality cornerbacks, Cooper may struggle to post the WR1 stats he has to this point in the season.
Nate Watt (@NateWattQBL): Julian Edelman, WR (NE)
Reasoning: Julian Edelman has been excellent for his fantasy owners in 2019, though his schedule going forward leaves quite a bit to be desired, especially for playoff hopefuls. In Week 12, it’s the Cowboys, who’ve allowed just a single 100-yard receiver, and only three receivers to go over 75 yards. Even amassing points via high catch totals, as Edelman is apt to do, has been difficult for the Cowboys opponents this year, with only four receivers reaching 6 or more catches. Week 13 against Houston provides some respite, as the Texans have allowed six 80-yard receivers over their last six games. The Pats’ Week 14 opponent, Kansas City, has allowed a wide receiver to go over 70 yards just thrice in their last seven games, and when they’ve been beaten it often comes via long plays, as Mike Williams (2 for 78), Kalif Raymond (1 for 52), and Laquon Treadwell (3 for 58) have illustrated. In fact, some of Edelman’s biggest downfield plays usually occur when he’s throwing the ball, not catching it:
Given Edelman’s Average Depth of Target (ADOT) barely breaches seven, odds are he won’t be exploding for a particularly long reception, though you never know. The paltry Bengals’ secondary poses zero threat Week 15, but Week 16 (Championship Week for most leagues) draws the Bills, who have allowed the third-fewest receiving yards on the year, though are coming off a pair of poor performances against Jarvis Landry (9-97-1) and DeVante Parker (7-135-0). Additionally, Edelman’s last matchup with the Bills, back in Week 4, resulted in a 4-30-0 line, good for 3-7 points, depending on your settings, which really won’t cut it in the championship. That’s three rather poor draws for Edelman, though with a pair of soft matchups to tide his owners over.
Brandon Miller (@BrandonMillerFB): Phillip Lindsay, RB (DEN)
Reasoning: As a former undrafted free agent turned Pro Bowler, Phillip Lindsay has made a habit of proving naysayers wrong throughout the first two seasons of his blossoming career. Nervous about his workload as part of a split backfield? His 134 rush attempts are 17th-most. Think his 5.4 yards per carry from last season is unsustainable? Well, you’re not wrong, but his 4.9 yards per carry this year still ranks him 9th. Too small? He’s tied for 10th in the NFL with four rush TDs inside the five-yard line this season alongside bruisers like Chris Carson, Todd Gurley, and Sony Michel.
Phillip Lindsay wasn’t going to be denied 😤#TENvsDEN
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 13, 2019
Sick of me answering my own questions? Me, too. My point is, Lindsay doesn’t require a ton of carries or soft matchups to produce fantasy goodness. Nicknamed “The Tasmanian Devil” for the way he ferociously spins, accelerates, and cuts through defenses, Lindsay will get the opportunity to shred some very exploitable opponents down the stretch. None of his remaining matchups are daunting, but the Broncos’ Week 15 rivalry game at the Chiefs (2nd-worst vs RBs) and Week 16 contest vs the Lions (dead last vs RBs) are particularly juicy and could win some teams a championship this season.
Rich Holman (@nextdoorFFguru): David Montgomery, RB (CHI)
Reasoning: Down the stretch we come, and the Bears have what should be an incredible schedule for the rest of the season for David Montgomery. The issue is, will they give him the ball enough for it to matter? The Bears face the Giants, Lions, Cowboys, Packers, and Chiefs from Weeks 12-16, who rank 12th, 1st, 15th, 5th, and 2nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. However, according to Football Outsiders, the Bears’ offensive line ranks 28th in adjusted line yards. So I supposed that means this schedule boost is only good if they give Montgomery the ball and they actually block for him. It helps that Chicago is keeping him involved as a pass-catcher, though.
Nice dump off and run to David Montgomery pic.twitter.com/ZOI3AGBSjy
— Ryan Heckman (@RyanHeckmanFS) November 18, 2019
Regardless, the schedule has him set up for a fantasy boom.
Have a question? Want to know more? Click the Twitter handle of any QBList.com writer above to reach out directly. We’re always happy to help out and talk football!
(Photo by Kyle Emery/Icon Sportswire)