Looking Ahead To Your League Playoffs: WRs & TEs

Week 12 of the regular season is not too early to start thinking about how to best position your roster for your league playoffs. For most of us, that means taking a look at the matchups for Weeks 14 thru 16, making sure we get the most from the guys currently on our roster, or looking to add the players that can help bring home the Championship.

It goes without saying that if you have Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or Jimmy Graham on your team, they will be in your lineup unless hurt, regardless of who their NFL opponent is. But, if you don't have a stud and have been playing matchups all season, now is the time to see if you've got the right players on your team.

In my final installment of "Looking Ahead To Your League Playoffs" I take a look at the top two non-stud WR/TE with the best playoff schedule (statistics thru Week 11):

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago
With Brandon Marshall drawing most of the attention from opposing pass defenses, Jeffery has put together an outstanding season thus far, with 818 yards on 54 receptions (15.1 avg) and three TDs. That is only 10 less receptions and yards than Marshall, and Jeffery has another 111 yards rushing.

The Bears host the Cowboys, whose pass defense is ranked 31st in the league, in Week 14. Opposing teams average 313 yards through the air, and have scored 20 receiving TDs (tied for 4th most in the league). In his only other game against Dallas, Jeffery caught three passes for 32 yards.

Week 15 could present a bit of a challenge for Chicago, when they travel to Cleveland to face the Browns and their 4th ranked pass defense. That said, much of that success can be attributed to Joe Haden, who will most certainly be assigned to Marshall most of the game.

In Week 16 the Bears head to the City of Brotherly Love to face the Eagles and the league's worst pass defense, which has been thrown on 484 times (the most in the NFL). Whether Jay Cutler has returned from his ankle injury or not, Chicago should have success against a Philadelphia pass defense that is allowing 300 yards per game, and has provided highlight reel material to the likes of Mike Glennon, Matt McGloin, Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien.

Jeffery may be available for a decent price, except perhaps in keeper and dynasty leagues, especially if Cutler does not return. Play up this angle, along with the "not enough balls to go around" theory with Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte all stealing touches, in an effort to grab Jeffery.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee
It is hard to recommend anyone other than Chris Johnson off the Titans roster, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick or, dare I say it, Rusty Smith or John Skelton at quarterback. Still, Walker is their best receiving option and, in light of their inferior passers, more likely to be targeted over Nate Washington and Kendall Wright.

In Week 14 the Titans go to Mile High Stadium to face the Broncos. Fantasy owners care little about who wins this game (which, by the way, will be Denver). What they do care about is that Tennessee will have to throw the ball all game to keep pace with the Broncos' offense. Because most teams have had to take this same approach, Denver is ranked 28th against the pass, allowing 279 yards per game.

In Week 15 the Cardinals come to town, bringing their 19th ranked pass defense with them. But when you look closely at the numbers you learn that Arizona has had difficulty against opposing tight ends all season, yielding 712 yards on 43 receptions with eight TDs to their opponents number one TE.

In Week 16 Tennessee faces Jacksonville, whose pass defense is ranked 24th in the league. This is somewhat misleading, since teams tend to establish the lead against the Jaguars, turning towards the ground game. In fact, only eight teams have been passed on less than Jacksonville. Earlier this season, Walker caught four passes for 62 yards and a TD against them.

The tight end position is thin (what else is new), and the timing may not be the best, with Walker coming off of two solid performances, but he may not yet have been claimed in your league. Grab him now if he is still available.


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