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Shuffle Up and Schedule: Can the matchups elevate Rex Grossman?

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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The money weeks in Fantasy Football are Weeks 14-16, and with that in mind, it's time to crunch the matchups again. The rankings below are how each team's Strength of Schedule looks for the next three games (based on FF points allowed over two months, with some special sauce thrown in).

Please make sure you grasp the concept before you dig into the rankings. We're just ordering the schedules here — these are not player ranks. We're not saying that Rex Grossman is someone you have to start over Ben Roethlisberger, we're simply noting that the Redskins face some tasty passing matchups down the stretch, while the Steelers have some tricky passing matchups on the way. Obviously it's common for a star player to overcome a bad matchup, and very often a mediocre player will disappoint even up against a dream opponent. Keep it in perspective.

How you apply the information below is completely up to you; if you want a direct answer on how we rank different players in a given week, please consult our Staff Fantasy Rankings, which debut every Wednesday night and are updated on Saturdays. Schedule strength is (to some) a part of the player-ranking process; it is not the destination.

The rankings below were generated by a spreadsheet and a formula, nothing past that. There are countless caveats that you have to consider and be wary of. The matchup data and ranks do not consider so many things, such as (but not limited to): injuries, home and away biases, coaching and scheme changes, weather and stadium conditions, team motivations at the end of the season, etc. A yummy Week 15 or Week 16 matchup can't help you if you don't get that far, and by the time we do make it to the final week, the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing defenses will have shifted to some degree. Also note that the spreadsheet merely considered production allowed on a gross-collection basis; it's not broken down to play-by-play efficiency.

Some roto players are down with SOS, some see it as a good tie breaker, and some throw it in the garbage. In the eternal (and slightly edited) words of Digital Underground, do what you like. The quarterback, running back and tight end boards are yours after the jump. {ysp:more}

Fantasy QB schedules, ranked easiest to hardest
1. Redskins: (NE, @NYG, MIN)
2. Lions: (MIN, @OAK, SD)
3. Cowboys: (NYG, @TB, PHI)
4. Jets: (KC, @PHI, NYG)
5. Saints: (@TEN, @MIN, ATL)
6. Bills: (@SD, MIA, DEN)
7. Chargers: (BUF, BAL, @DET)
8. Chiefs: (@NYJ, GB, OAK)
9. Bears: (@DEN, SEA, @GB)
10. Texans: (@CIN, CAR, @IND)
11. Dolphins: (PHI, @BUF, @NE)
12. Raiders: (@GB, DET, @KC)
13. Jaguars: (TB, @ATL, @TEN)
14. Vikings: (@DET, NO, @WAS)
15. Patriots: (@WAS, @DEN, MIA)
16. Falcons: (@CAR, JAC, @NO)
17. Broncos: (CHI, NE, @BUF)
18. Titans: (NO, @IND, JAC)
19. Ravens: (IND, @SD, CLE)
20. Giants: (@DAL, WAS, @NYJ)
21. Buccaneers: (@JAC, DAL, @CAR)
22. Eagles: (@MIA, NYJ, @DAL)
23. Packers: (OAK, @KC, CHI)
24. Panthers: (ATL, @HOU, TB)
25. Niners: (@ARI, PIT, @SEA)
26. Rams: (@SEA, CIN, @PIT)
27. Seahawks: (STL, @CHI, SF)
28. Bengals: (HOU, @STL, ARI)
29. Browns: (@PIT, @ARI, @BAL)
30. Colts: (@BAL, TEN, HOU)
31. Cardinals: (SF, CLE, @CIN)
32. Steelers: (CLE, @SF, STL)

The Falcons might be better off than it looks, since the Week 16 game at New Orleans figures to be a shootout. The New Orleans passing game is considerably better at home, which forces opponents to pile on the passing attempts as they try to keep up. … The Browns passing defense has been one of the sneaky fantasy angles of the year. As for the Rams raw pass defense stats, they're no doubt aided by the fact that everyone runs all over them. … Matchups and Tim Tebow seldom mean much (for better or for worse), given that his skill set and approach are vastly different than everyone else. He did take advantage of Minnesota's secondary last week (and a lot of single-high safety looks), but the Broncos are still unlikely to go pass-heavy against anyone down the stretch, unless the Patriots force the issue in Week 15. … The Texans have been using star cornerback Johnathan Joseph in a shutdown role of late, dedicating him to one specific receiver. It won't keep me from starting A.J. Green in Week 13 or Steve Smith in Week 14, but I might move them down a few spots. Maybe you steer away from Green or Smith in a challenge contest during their Houston week, but you need to keep them deployed in standard fantasy formats. Roddy White was able to score against the Texans in Week 13, courtesy of a blown assignment (I'm not sure if Joseph was the man at fault on that particular play). Otherwise, it was a messy afternoon for White (4-51, 15 targets). Houston easily locked down No. 1 receivers the previous five weeks, though a cushy schedule fueled that surge (JAC, TB, CLE, JAC, TEN). … For a more detailed look into the pros and cons of Rex Grossman, I present to you Bradley Evans, who has some thoughts on the subject.

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Fantasy RB schedules, ranked easiest to hardest
1. Ravens: (IND, @SD, CLE)
2. Texans: (@CIN, CAR, @IND)
3. Titans: (NO, @IND, JAC)
4. Cowboys: (NYG, @TB, PHI)
5. Falcons: (@CAR, JAC, @NO)
6. Jaguars: (TB, @ATL, @TEN)
7. Vikings: (@DET, NO, @WAS)
8. Buccaneers: (@JAC, DAL, @CAR)
9. Chargers: (BUF, BAL, @DET)
10. Raiders: (@GB, DET, @KC)
11. Lions: (MIN, @OAK, SD)
12. Jets: (KC, @PHI, NYG)
13. Steelers: (CLE, @SF, STL)
14. Dolphins: (PHI, @BUF, @NE)
15. Panthers: (ATL, @HOU, TB)
16. Bears: (@DEN, SEA, @GB)
17. Broncos: (CHI, NE, @BUF)
18. Redskins: (NE, @NYG, MIN)
19. Cardinals: (SF, CLE, @CIN)
20. Packers: (OAK, @KC, CHI)
21. Saints: (@TEN, @MIN, ATL)
22. Chiefs: (@NYJ, GB, OAK)
23. Giants: (@DAL, WAS, @NYJ)
24. Patriots: (@WAS, @DEN, MIA)
25. Bills: (@SD, MIA, DEN)
26. Rams: (@SEA, CIN, @PIT)
27. Colts: (@BAL, TEN, HOU)
28. Bengals: (HOU, @STL, ARI)
29. Niners: (@ARI, PIT, @SEA)
30. Seahawks: (STL, @CHI, SF)
31. Browns: (@PIT, @ARI, @BAL)
32. Eagles: (@MIA, NYJ, @DAL)

The top five teams on the RB board are looking at meaningful games in December, a beautiful thing. The top four seeds in the AFC are all 9-3, so seeding and home field should be in the balance into Week 16. The NFL also switched to a division-only slate for Week 17, and while that won't directly affect most fantasy leagues and schedules, the presence of those games might help division races stay open a little longer than usual. The league obviously made this change because it wanted to keep Week 17 as legitimate as possible. … Here's hoping you're not up against Ray Rice down the stretch. You never know when Cam Cameron might mess things up, of course, but that cushy schedule is nectar of the gods. … Enjoy the Rams while you can, Marshawn Lynch, because the Bears and Niners will be a headache in Weeks 15-16. The Seahawks also have mounting injuries on their offensive line, most notably OT Russell Okung. … Cowboys FB Tony Fiammetta is dealing with an inner ear problem and he hasn't played over the last three weeks. It's been a road block for Demarco Murray, who has just 198 yards on 59 carries (3.4 a pop) over that span. The Pokes are hoping to get the path-clearing Fiammetta back for Sunday night's critical showdown against the Giants.

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Fantasy TE schedules, ranked easiest to hardest
1. Redskins: (NE, @NYG, MIN)
2. Jets: (KC, @PHI, NYG)
3. Bears: (@DEN, SEA, @GB)
4. Chiefs: (@NYJ, GB, OAK)
5. Broncos: (CHI, NE, @BUF)
6. Saints: (@TEN, @MIN, ATL)
7. Cowboys: (NYG, @TB, PHI)
8. Dolphins: (PHI, @BUF, @NE)
9. Raiders: (@GB, DET, @KC)
10. Giants: (@DAL, WAS, @NYJ)
11. Packers: (OAK, @KC, CHI)
12. Jaguars: (TB, @ATL, @TEN)
13. Buccaneers: (@JAC, DAL, @CAR)
14. Niners: (@ARI, PIT, @SEA)
15. Eagles: (@MIA, NYJ, @DAL)
16. Titans: (NO, @IND, JAC)
17. Texans: (@CIN, CAR, @IND)
18. Falcons: (@CAR, JAC, @NO)
19. Patriots: (@WAS, @DEN, MIA)
20. Ravens: (IND, @SD, CLE)
21. Rams: (@SEA, CIN, @PIT)
22. Lions: (MIN, @OAK, SD)
23. Colts: (@BAL, TEN, HOU)
24. Chargers: (BUF, BAL, @DET)
25. Panthers: (ATL, @HOU, TB)
26. Bills: (@SD, MIA, DEN)
27. Vikings: (@DET, NO, @WAS)
28. Browns: (@PIT, @ARI, @BAL)
29. Cardinals: (SF, CLE, @CIN)
30. Seahawks: (STL, @CHI, SF)
31. Bengals: (HOU, @STL, ARI)
32. Steelers: (CLE, @SF, STL)

Anthony Fasano grades out as the No. 6 tight end over the last five games, a sneaky rally in Miami that's been shielded by the Matt Moore and Reggie Bush narratives. The Eagles tight-end coverage has been middle of the pack over our eight-week marking period (traditionally it's a very weak area for them), and then Fasano gets favorable draws against Buffalo and New England. … The Giants have been the ultimate tight-end coverage sieve in recent weeks. Jason Witten picks on the New York safeties and linebackers in Week 14. … It's a shame Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller aren't locked in, because the Jets have exploitable matchups on the way. Keller loses some snaps every week because of his so-so blocking, and he struggled with focus and technique in Week 13 (en route to three penalties). … Fred Davis had a fantastic schedule waiting but his four-game suspension wipes that all away. Second-year tight end Logan Paulsen is mostly an unknown, though he did grab five passes from Weeks 10-12. Perhaps Paulsen is a name to consider if you're in a gigantic league, but those in standard formats can sit back and wait for production first.

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