The fantasy football playoffs are quickly approaching and it's time to start planning for your championship run. If you've been reading Astronaut content this year, congratulations, you're on your way to greatness. This article will breakdown everything that you need to get the edge over your competition. As the end of the fantasy regular season approaches, individual weekly matchups become less important and it's critical to take the time to look ahead and prepare yourself for what's to come.
How do I use this information to win my league's championship?
Players will be grouped into three startable categories: "Locked and Loaded" is our top tier. You can start these players every week of the playoffs without hesitation. "Steamy Streamers" is a good designation, but these players may have one tough matchup where a bench option or streamer could be worth consideration. Finally, "Benchwarmers" are players who you shouldn't be starting every week but may have a matchup in the playoffs to target. These could be good one-week options in case of injury.
This article uses half-point PPR and 4-point passing TD scoring for any reference to rankings.
Locked and Loaded
Kyler Murray, 27 PPG (2020), 25 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Giants (4th)
15 - Eagles (7th)
16 - Buccaneers (10th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 31st
This year's Lamar Jackson, Kyler has returned on investment for everyone who drafted him. Until his matchup against the Patriots last week, he scored 20+ fantasy points every week this season. His playoff schedule may look intimidating, facing the Giants, Eagles, and Buccaneers, but the data is misleading considering the quality of QBs who have played the in the NFC East this season. There's no hesitation in holding and starting Murray through the rest of the season.
Patrick Mahomes, 27 PPG (2020), 28 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Dolphins (12th)
15 - Saints (5th)
16 - Falcons (31st)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 11th
Not much to write about Mahomes. He's second in fantasy points per game and faces an average playoff schedule. The Saints have held all QBs to under 20 fantasy points since their week 6 bye, but haven't played elite talent.
Justin Herbert, 24 PPG (2020), 23 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Falcons (2nd)
15 - Raiders (9th)
16 - Broncos (17th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 3rd
Here's where the stars align. Herbert has been consistently great scoring 22+ fantasy points in 80% of his games since taking over the starting job in week 2. He is playing 3 win-able, but competitive games for your fantasy playoffs. Herbert has already scored 23 vs. Denver and 23 vs. Las Vegas earlier this season.
Russell Wilson, 26 PPG (2020), 18 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Jets (4th)
15 - WFT (22nd)
16 - Rams (32nd)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 22nd
If you've been lucky enough to ride Chef Wilson to the playoffs, you aren't about to change course now. That being said, the week 16 matchup against the Rams is intimidating. Wilson threw for 248 scoreless yards against LA in week 10, while turning the ball over three times. If you make it to the championship, don't outthink yourself. Play your studs.
Aaron Rodgers, 24 PPG (2020), 26 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Lions (4th)
15 - Panthers (18th)
16 - Titans (5th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 6
Like Herbert, Rodgers should be started without hesitation for the duration of the fantasy football playoffs. In the past four weeks he's outperformed his season average of 24 PPG and will most likely continue that trend with 3 mouthwatering matchups. The Panthers are ranked as their toughest opponent but have given up 97 fantasy points to QBs over their last 4 games.
Lamar Jackson, 20 PPG (2020), 20 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Browns (10th)
15 - Jaguars (3rd)
16 - Giants (29th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 10th
Wishing Lamar a speedy recovery from COVID, assuming he's able to play again in 2020, he's surely going to surpass his season average 20 PPG in the fantasy playoffs. Week 16 against the Giants might look scary, but their recent QB opposition (Brandon Allen, Carson Wentz, Alex Smith) has made them appear to be a much stronger defense than they are.
Josh Allen, 24 PPG (2020), 27 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Steelers (31st)
15 - Broncos (17th)
16 - Patriots (24th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 32nd
Allen seems to be returning to early-season form. He averaged a whopping 30 PPG in the first 4 weeks of the season before slumping to 16 PPG from weeks 5-8. Unfortunately, he faces painful matchups against the Steelers and Patriots in weeks 14 and 16. It'll be hard for managers to bench Allen in a must-win playoff game. The Steelers have not given up 20+ fantasy points to a QB since Baker Mayfield in week 11, 2019. He scored 13 and 17 points in his last games against New England and Pittsburg, respectively.
Ryan Tannehill, 20 PPG (2020), 17 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Jaguars (3rd)
15 - Lions (7th)
16 - Packers (26th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 7th
Tannehill misses our "Locked and Loaded" group for two reasons. First, his fantasy production over the past 4 weeks has fallen 15% below his season average. Second, he shouldn't have any issue eclipsing 20 points in weeks 14 and 15, but if you can make it to championship week, you're going to feel some pain plugging him in against the Packers who have kept 6 of 10 opposing QBs to under 18 fantasy points and only Deshaun Watson eclipsed 300 yards passing against GB in 2020.
Tom Brady, 21 PPG (2020), 19 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Vikings (15th)
15 - Falcons (2nd)
16 - Lions (7nd)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 2nd
Despite having a plus schedule, Brady is hard to trust, turning the ball over 2+ times in 42% of games (maybe there's something in the Tampa water?). He's arguably the most inconsistent QB in football this year. He could torpedo your season with a terrible game. He's got upside, so he's tough to bench, but I'd lean elsewhere if I could.
Ben Roethlisberger, 20 PPG (2020), 24 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Bills (6th)
15 - Bengals (16th)
16 - Colts (30th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 19th
Big Ben has been playing lights out football, exceeding his season average fantasy PPG by 20% over the last 4 weeks. Matchups against the Bills and Bengals are prime but I'm going to try to avoid starting him in week 16. The game against Indianapolis is the only thing keeping him from our "Locked and Loaded" list. Pairing Ben with a player like Deshaun Watson, who you'll find in our next section, would be perfect strategy and their schedules are balanced.
Deshaun Watson, 24 PPG (2020), 26 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Bears (27th)
15 - Colts (30th)
16 - Bengals (16th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 30th
Watson owners are about as disappointed as possible looking at this schedule. To add insult to injury, Watson has lost his No. 1 target in Will Fuller who has been suspended the rest of the season. Only 5% of QBs in their last 38 games have scored 20+ fantasy points against the Bears (Mahomes & Rodgers). Watson should be looked at as a firm bench in weeks 15 and 16, until you can consider streaming him against Cincinnati in the championship game.
Drew Brees, 18 PPG (2020), 15 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Eagles (25th)
15 - Chiefs (20th)
16 - Vikings (15th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 20th
This schedule is much better that the numbers seem. Unfortunately, Brees has not been good for fantasy football this year. He's a good benchwarmer in case your starter gets hurt or you are afraid of a tough matchup.
Matt Ryan, 18 PPG (2020), 15 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Chargers (8th)
15 - Buccaneers (12th)
16 - Chiefs (20th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 13th
Matty Ice hasn't been easy to own this year. He's only scored 19+ fantasy points in one of his last five games. It would be difficult to depend on him in a win-or-go-home situation. He qualifies as a Steamy Streamer because he has three matchups on deck that could easily end up being shootouts. Ryan stays on the bench unless your desperate for a one-week start or get hit by an injury.
Cam Newton, 18 PPG (2020), 17 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Rams (32nd)
15 - Dolphins (21st)
16 - Bills (6th)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 25th
Take the pledge with me: "I will not start Cam Newton in week 14"... Supercam stays on the bench this year unless you're desperate in week 15 or 16. He scored 18 and 26 points against Buffalo and Miami earlier this season. I'd rather play Kendall Hinton week 14 against Carolina than Cam Newton v. Aaron Donald.
Jared Goff, 17 PPG (2020), 14 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Patriots (24th)
15 - Jets (4th)
16 - Seahawks (1st)
Playoff Schedule Rank: 1st
None other than Jared Goff is the QB blessed with the best fantasy playoff schedule in 2020. His 14 PPG over the past 4 weeks isn't bringing confidence to anyone, but he shouldn't be dropped at this point because there's upside appeal in case you need a spot-start.
Kirk Cousins, 18 PPG (2020), 22 PPG (Last 4 Weeks)
14 - Buccaneers (12th)
15 - Bears (27th)
16 - Saints (28th)
Playoff Schedule Rank:
Mr. "YOU LIKE THAT" has actually put together a month of decent football with 220+ yards and 2+ TDs in 4 consecutive games. He also has a tasty matchup against Tampa Bay in week 14. If you've got Josh Allen (vs. Steelers) and can pickup Cousins now for a possible playoff start... do it.