Now that each team in the NFL has played 10 games we have a good set of data to analyze. This is great news for the Fantasy Forecast and other predictive analytics. While I feel confident in the data, I do want to make one cautionary comment on the remaining NFL games. Over the next 6 weeks, the NFL schedule contains 48 divisional games. The league likes to do this to manufacture drama at the end of the season. What this means is that 50% of the divisional games of the season are being played in the final 37.5% of the schedule. Teams are going to be very familiar with their opponents, which can lead to some zany results.
Nothing to freak out about, just something to keep in mind. Let’s get on with the Forecast.
Clear Skies (Favorable Schedule)
Next 4 Opponents: @IND, HOU, @AZ, @SF
The Titans have had a rough schedule recently and fantasy owners have felt the strain. However, the sun will shine in Tennesse over the next month. [Even though 3 of their next 4 games are on the road]. With matchups against the Texans and the Niners who are the most and 4th most generous defenses to QBs in the league, mixed in with dates with the Colts and Cardinals, Mariota should thrive.
Next 4 Opponents: BUF, @NYJ, OAK, LAC
Andy Reid isn’t happy with Alex Smith’s play recently. The solution could be a heavy dose of Hunt in Arrowhead. The Chiefs play 3 of their next 4 games against bottom 5 run defenses in the Bills, Raiders, and Chargers, and all 3 of those games are at home. The toughest matchup for Hunt of the next month is the Jets, which won’t exactly make Hunt owners quake in their boots. Roll with Hunt with 100% confidence.
High Heat (Favorable, Risky)
Next 4 Opponents: SEA, @CHI, @HOU, TEN
I opted for the high heat designation because I know one thing for absolutely certain: someone is going to get burned over the next 4 games. It will either be opposing DBs as they get toasted by Goodwin’s Olympian level wheels or fantasy owners who start Goodwin when he can’t connect on deep shots. With Garcon out of the picture and Kittle dealing with injuries of his own, Goodwin is the last, best hope for the Niners offense and could be a hail mary play for owners looking for a boost to carry them into the playoffs.
Cold Front (Poor Schedule)
Next 4 Opponents: GB, @CIN, BAL, NE
JuJu has been the golden boy of the NFL this season. The charismatic rookie has won over fantasy players with his production, social media posts and TD celebrations. Unfortunately, I think the fun has come to an end or at least a pause for J2S2. The Steelers shouldn’t need to throw the ball much to handle the Packers, while division opponents Cincinnati and Baltimore rank in the top 3 in defending against WRs. With the Patriots on the horizon, better days are ahead, but Smith-Schuster should be on your bench until then.
Next 4 Opponents: @LAR, CAR, @ATL, NYJ
Obviously, Drew Brees is a stud. But fantasy football is best approached as a business and Brees’ stock is trending down. Setting aside the Week 11 offensive explosion which included an overtime period, Brees’ attempts and yards had gone down each week since Week 7. In these 4 consecutive weeks, the Saints discovered a new identity running the ball. Now, the Saints will face two of the stingiest defenses in the league over the next two weeks. Brees can be an ok start, but at the QB position that is very streamable, I think you can do better.
Evacuation Warning (Dropable)
Next 4 Opponents: TB, MIN, NO, @TB
Hooper has been a roller coaster of decent games separated by awful performances. I think owners are best served by cutting ties with this headache going forward. Over the next 4 weeks, the easiest matchup for Mr. Hooper is the Vikings who rank as the 14th toughest against opposing TEs. The Saints are 12th and the Buccaneers are 4th. Not what you want for a TE you need to help secure a playoff spot and start a championship run. Hopefully, you have a better option on your roster or on waivers.