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Warning Signs Playoff Primer - Quarterbacks

The fantasy trade deadline has passed, all teams should be solidified ready for the playoffs. Therefore, instead of looking at players who crashed and burned, thank you Brian Hill, it is time to look towards players we will be starting in those playoff matchups.

Of course, this means looking at the opponents they face in Weeks 14 through 16 of the regular season. This way we can determine which players we can count on, and those who have scary matchups. We may need to compensate for these tougher matchups by starting higher ceiling but lower-floor players in order to chase the points.

This week, we will start with some quarterbacks who have tough schedules to finish out the season. Over the next two weeks, we will look at the running back and wide receiver position. But we start with the position that drives the engine and also the position with fewer players available on waivers. This means, of course, you might need to get one a week early instead of waiting until the last minute.

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Josh Allen faces a murderers row of defenses in the fantasy playoffs

He had a wonderful second half last season but this may not extend to the murderer’s row of games he has to end this season. In Weeks 14 through 16, Allen and the Bills will deal with three of the top defenses in the NFL. Two of these games, the Steelers and Patriots, will be on the road. The problem is that these games come after a Week 14 tilt with the Baltimore Ravens, a team that just held Deshaun Watson to less than 175 yards passing on Sunday. No offense to Josh Allen, but he is not in the same league as Deshaun Watson in terms of talent at the position.

Since acquiring Marcus Peters from the Rams, the Ravens Defense has been almost unstoppable. This now matches the offense, which, under Lamar Jackson, has become one of the best in the entire league. Who could have seen a Baltimore offense actually being good? It is almost as improbable as, I don’t know, a Tom Brady retirement mid-game.

For Allen, this represents a massive test at home just to get to the two road games against team defenses who are good and only getting better as the season goes on. Both the Steelers and the Patriots have the personnel to shut down the passing game. For Buffalo, the passing attack basically runs through John Brown. Whether it be Joe Haden or Stephon Gilmore, he will be covered up and shut down. This will lead Buffalo to rely even more heavily on the run game of Devin Singletary and Frank Gore.

Sure, Josh Allen can run the ball, but in this case, it will not be enough to make up for the lack of points you will get from him in the passing game. So be careful if you decide to play him. You may just fall into Lake Erie.


Jared Goff has proven himself untrustworthy this season

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. We already knew not to rely on Jared Goff on the road, but this season he is just as bad at home it would seem. This brings us to his playoff schedule. Week 14 starts out at home against the Seattle Seahawks, a team that is only getting better as the season goes on. Russell Wilson is a front-runner for MVP and with Chris Carson in the backfield, this game could get ugly quick. One positive is that the Rams may need to throw a lot in the second half to stay in the game, but that is no certainty.

Todd Gurley had a solid game on Sunday against the Bears. However, Robert Woods missed the game and we do not know how long he or Brandin Cooks will be out. Cooper Kupp cannot do it alone, and not all opponents are as inept on offense as the Bears, offering quite as many chances to the Rams offense.

After Seattle, the Rams have to visit the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. We have seen Goff play poorly on the road in a number of games. Too many, in fact, to be comfortable wanting to start him in the playoffs. In Week 16, Goff will play against the 49ers and their No. 1 ranked pass defense in San Francisco. This means a playoff schedule worthy of staying far away from.


Philip Rivers faces some difficult tests down the stretch

Rivers and the Chargers have been disappointing all season. Despite this, you might still be holding out hope he will take you to the promised land in the playoffs. If you can get to Week 16 and a game against the Raiders, he might, but the schedule for the playoffs heading up to that game is where it gets tricky.

In Weeks 14 and 15, the Chargers will face off against two of the better defenses in the league in Jacksonville and Minnesota. While Jacksonville no longer has Jalen Ramsey, there has seemingly been a renewed vigor in their effort without the spoiled cornerback. This has surprisingly made them a better team as they no longer have to worry about the one malcontent.

Although giving up 33 points against the Colts this week was a bit of a let down after a bye week, this game being at home should really matter for both of these clubs. Also having Nick Foles being back for a few more games as well as the Jaguars propensities to run the clock down with Leonard Fournette and this should be an ugly, low-scoring game in Duvall County.

The following week brings the Minnesota Vikings to Los Angeles. While the defense of Minnesota is not what it was even last season, they can clamp down when needed as we saw in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Broncos. While this game should be higher scoring than the Jacksonville game the week before, the Chargers will rely on Melvin Gordon, who is finally playing up to his potential. Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry are great. But the key to winning will be keeping Dalvin Cook and company off the field. And again, this means Melvin Gordon should have a huge game.

If you plan on starting Rivers in the playoffs, you might want to think of a backup plan.

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