Dallas Cowboys: @ Bills, @ Dolphins, Lions:
Cowboys stacks have a nice road in the playoffs. The Bills are a tough defense and December weather in Buffalo can be a question mark, but Dolphins and Lions are probably more average at best defenses. All three teams have shootout potential, particularly week 17 at home vs the Lions. The Cowboys could need to score 4-6 TDs to win any of these games.
New York Giants: @ Saints, @ Eagles, LA Rams
The Eagles tough defense in Philly isn’t great for the semi-finals week, but Saints and Rams are both good match-ups. Both of those teams have had to get rid of a lot of their top defenders, significantly weakening the teams. The Rams also could push back if Stafford stays healthy.
Philadelphia Eagles: @ Seahawks, Giants, Cardinals
Pretty good playoff schedule for the Eagles, one road game against the Seahawks then closing out at home vs the Giants and Cardinals. Seahawks can push the pace and their defense isn’t that strong. Giants defense is good, but Philly had zero issues with them last year with their starters. Arizona’s defense could be the worst in the league. One concern with that game is if there is no pushback, Eagles players might not play the full game if they already have their playoff seeding locked.
Washington Commanders: @ Rams, @ Jets, 49ers
Not the greatest schedule for the Commanders. Rams is a favorable match-up, but then you close with the Jets and 49ers, two of the top 5 defenses in the league. San Francisco could also play slow, limiting the upside in that game.
Chicago Bears: @ Browns, Cardinals, Falcons
Bears have an okay schedule. The Browns could be tough on the road, but the Cardinals are very favorable and the Falcons weren’t good last year (though they added a lot this offseason). Bears vs Falcons could be very run centric, meaning I wouldn’t expect a ton of plays. Fields typically had his best games in uptempo spots.
Detroit Lions: Broncos, @ Vikings, @ Cowboys
Broncos to start the playoffs is not ideal, but it is at home. Vikings defense was awful last season, so that could be a very favorable game. Dallas creates a lot of big plays on defense and they can shut down teams at times, but typically good offenses can still move the ball on them. A couple potential shootouts, and having 3 indoor games is a big plus for the Lions.
Green Bay Packers: Buccaneers, @ Panthers, @ Vikings
Buccaneers and Vikings figure to be good games to put up fantasy points. I would worry about the Panthers game being an issue, the Packers veteran defense could shut down a rookie QB and turn this into a slow game. There is still some good potential outcomes for any Green Bay pieces in your line-up.
Minnesota Vikings: @ Bengals, Lions, Packers
Bengals and Packers on paper are good defenses, and the Lions have tried to add to this unit this year. I still like the Vikings schedule overall. Bengals and Lions can be shootout games, and back-to-back home games is nice to finish the year.
Atlanta Falcons: @ Panthers, Colts, @ Bears
From a defensive perspective, this could be pretty strong as both the Colts and Bears have some serious questions. The Panthers are a tough defense, so that could be a bit more of a grind. The pace is my biggest concern as all three of these teams could be pretty slow pace and run-focused. Tough to expect a shootout in any of these match-ups. So for individual plays like Bijan Robinson or Drake London it could be fine, but I wouldn’t want a lot of exposure.
Carolina Panthers: Falcons, Packers, @ Jaguars
The good news is the weather shouldn’t be a factor with a pair of home games and a road trip to Jacksonville. The Jags could also put up a lot of points forcing the Panthers to increase their pace. The defenses weren’t great last year, but Packers and Jaguars can both be pretty good, and Atlanta spent a lot of money upgrading their unit. Overall not an ideal situation, but not terrible either.
New Orleans Saints: Giants, @ Rams, @ Buccaneers
Two road games isn’t ideal, but it’s in a dome and in Tampa so weather won’t be a factor. The Giants are a good defense, but Rams and Bucs are missing a lot of key guys. The Saints offense could have a sneaky good path the final few games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: @ Packers, Jaguars, Saints
Could have a tough weather game week 15 vs the Packers, but the final two are at home so that is a plus. Packers and Jaguars can both be tougher match-ups, especially if the Bucs young offensive line isn’t working out. I do like closing out vs the Saints, neither team appears to have a strong defense so it could be a high-scoring game.
Arizona Cardinals: 49ers, @ Bears, @ Eagles
The Cards offense runs into a buzzsaw at the end of the season, with the 49ers and Eagles on the schedule. Those are two of the best defenses in the league, and they have to face Philly on the road. The Bears game in the middle should be easier, but that is on the road as well. Weather concerns are possible for both the Bears and Eagles games.
L.A. Rams: Commanders, Saints, @ Giants
A pair of home games and a road game vs the Giants isn’t too bad as long as the weather holds out. Washington is a very stingy defense, and the Giants figure to be pretty good as well. The Saints though could be a fun high-scoring game in between.
San Francisco 49ers: @ Cardinals, Ravens, @ Commanders
The Cardinals should be one of the worst defenses, and the Ravens had a lot of issues last season and haven’t done much to fix it this year. So I think the 49ers have two really good match-ups to start. Washington though could be pretty tough. Not the best ending for the Fantasy playoffs, but still pretty solid overall.
Seattle Seahawks: Eagles, @ Titans, Steelers
A pair of home games and a road game against Tennessee is good weather-wise. The Titans’ defense also figures to be pretty weak. The Eagles on the other hand are one of the best in the league, with the Steelers as a bit of a wild card. Last year they weren’t great, but they’ve added a fair amount, and were missing their top defender for a long stretch last year.
Buffalo Bills: Cowboys, @ Chargers, Patriots
The weather definitely can be a concern against Dallas and New England, but overall the match-ups are good. Dallas and Chargers are both clear shoot-out options and with how competitive the AFC East could be a division win will be crucial week 17. Any of these defenses could be pretty good, but we haven’t seen that be a major drawback vs the Bills. You will need to get a little lucky with the weather, but outside of that this could be pretty strong.
Miami Dolphins: Jets, Cowboys, @Ravens
The Jets defense is a real concern, though this could be more of a shootout if Tua is healthy. The Cowboys is another favorable shootout spot, and last year when we saw the Dolphins vs Ravens it was one of the most electric fantasy games of the season.
New England Patriots: Chiefs, @ Broncos, @ Bills
Tough playoff fantasy schedule for Patriots players. Broncos and Bills are top-notch defenses, and the Chiefs can be pretty good as well. The one positive here is that KC and the Bills could push the score, forcing New England to pick up the pace.
New York Jets: @ Dolphins, Commanders, @ Browns
The Dolphins game should be good, but the Commanders and Browns could be slower pace and the Washington defense could be pretty good. Browns game also has some weather concerns. Overall it’s not bad, but Miami is probably the only home-run spot.
Baltimore Ravens: @ Jaguars, @ 49ers, Dolphins
The weather should be good all three weeks, and its against three contending teams so there is some back-and-forth potential. Never like having to travel to San Francisco and facing that tough defense, but if they survive that it’s a great week 17 match-up.
Cincinnati Bengals: Vikings, @ Steelers, @ Chiefs
The Vikings defense was awful last season so that is a great way to start your fantasy playoffs. Pittsburgh’s defense could be better this year, but what could really help is if their offense is more aggressive this year. If Bengals are forced to push back, their offense could rack-up the points. The Bengals-Chiefs game week 17 should be one of the highest total games of the week.
Cleveland Browns: Bears, @ Texans, Jets
The Browns start off strong against two weak defenses in the Bears and Texans. The Jets though are one of the best ones so it could be tougher to have a strong finals week. Weather also can be a factor with the pair of home games.
Pittsburgh Steelers: @ Colts, Bengals, @ Seahawks
Steelers end up with a pretty solid playoff schedule for fantasy. Colts and Seahawks should be good weather, and both are probably average defenses at best. The Bengals and Seahawks can both be strong offensively, which could force the Steelers to throw more and increase their pace of play.
Houston Texans: @ Titans, Browns, Titans
Texans aren’t a team you are stacking, but the pieces you have from them have a very strong path in the Fantasy playoffs. Weather is not going to be a factor with a road trip to the Titans and a pair of home games. Playing the Titans twice in three weeks could be very good as their defense has lost multiple pieces and they didn’t address that side of the ball at all in the draft. The Browns defense could be okay but probably isn’t an elite unit.
Indianapolis Colts: Steelers, @ Falcons, Raiders
Colts have a so-so path in the playoffs. The good news is all three games will be indoors, and both the Falcons and Raiders were weaker defenses last year. Pittsburgh could be one of the league’s best if Watt stays healthy and with their offseason additions. Just how good the Falcons and Raiders’ defenses improve will be the key here. Both added pieces this offseason and could be a lot better, or they could stay near the cellar of the league rankings. The bigger concern is these games could all play slower, especially if the Colts offense isn’t running at full steam.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Ravens, @ Buccaneers, Panthers
This is one of the stronger playoff schedules and so far doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of buzz. The weather should be great all three games, two of which are at home. Ravens and Buccaneers have very suspect secondaries, and while the Panthers defense is good, it’s still beatable. Week 17’s highest fantasy score for a QB and WR were against the Panthers, and we could maybe see that again this year with a very promising Jaguars offense.
Tennessee Titans: Texans, Seahawks, @ Texans
A lot if being made about this being an easy schedule, particularly for Derrick Henry, but I wouldn’t get overly excited. Henry does have an excellent track record vs the Texans, but this Tennessee offense is a major concern going into the season. Its not the same match-up that we’ve seen in the past few years as the Titans could struggle to score points. That being said, if Henry is still on the Titans at the end of the season this is a favorable trio of games. I just wouldn’t focus too much on it.
Denver Broncos: @ Lions, Patriots, Chargers
Pretty solid group of games for the Broncos. The Lions and Chargers are top offenses, and the Patriots should improve as well. Defensively none are elite, so that is promising as well. If this offense gets fixed under Sean Payton, this could be a solid runout in the fantasy playoffs.
Las Vegas Raiders: Chargers, @ Chiefs, @ Colts
A pair of indoor games and a road game to Kansas City isn’t too bad for Vegas. Chargers and Chiefs are both potential high total environments, with mid-tier defenses at best. The Colts could be a bit of a slower pace game, but there defense could be a problem this year.
L.A. Chargers: @ Raiders, Bills, @ Broncos
This is a mix-ed bag, as the weather situation is pretty good, and if the Broncos offense is better any one of these games can have a strong over/under. The defensive match-ups vs the Bills and Broncos are tougher than you’d like to see.
Kansas City Chiefs: @ Patriots, Raiders, Bengals
The weather in New England can be dicey, but overall this is a good outlook for Chiefs players. The Patriots defense is fine, but shouldn’t be an issue for Mahomes. The Raiders defense is very questionable in the secondary, which could allow the Chiefs to put up a major performance. The Bengals have played the Chiefs as well as anyone, but that shouldn’t dampen any excitement for this game to be a back-and-forth battle.
Overall I wouldn’t jump to too many conclusions just yet. We do need to see how some new additions this offseason fit in on both sides of the ball. Some of the defenses that were weak last season (i.e. Falcons) could be fairly decent if those players gel together. Also as we see every year, due to injury and other factors what we project on paper in the offseason, rarely can be counted on in December. One would have put the Colts among the better defenses heading into last year, but they gave up the 4th most points and were picked on late in the season. So in terms of weight I’d only put a little consideration on fantasy playoff schedules right now, but it is something to watch for.