Trading Into Good Matchups

October 27, 2015 1:00 am Published by

With six weeks left in the fantasy football regular season, your fantasy team likely fits into one of three categories:

1. Coasting toward the playoffs

2. Battling for a playoff spot

3. Staring down elimination

Regardless of where you fall, this is a great time to make some trades to help retool your roster.

The key to any successful midseason trade is to get rid of players on your roster that could slump over the second half of the season and replace them with undervalued players that could get hot in the final weeks.

Since positive matchups statistically lead to a rise in a player’s fantasy production, the goal is to sell players with difficult remaining matchups and replace them with players with good ones.

The trick to determining a player’s remaining matchup strength is to use find the right matchup evaluation system. Nearly all matchup evaluation methods determine the perceived remaining strength of schedule based a mathematically flawed “Fantasy Points Against” (FPA) system.

The fantasyomatic algorithm ( measures the strength of matchups in a way that is 46% more accurate than simply using (FPA). This method takes into account several other data points that all add up to a Defense Rating. A positive Defense Rating indicates an easy matchup and a negative Defense Rating means a tough one.

The ratings also break into progressive tiers to help users understand the relationship between the different defenses in each category.


“Great” is the best matchup you can get, while “Worst”…well, you get it.

If you then compound a player’s remaining matchup ratings you can then determine their “Rest of Season Rating” to evaluate remaining matchup strength.

Check out the entire Rest of Season Strength of Schedule Matrix here

You can then use this Rest of Season Rating to figure out which players you should dump and which you should pick up to make sure you have as many good matchups left on your schedule as you can get.

It is no secret that players with easier schedules have a much easier path to production than those with tough ones.

So, who are the players with the EASIEST remaining schedules?


The ideal candidates to “Buy Before They Rise” are players who might have had plenty of bad matchups already in the first half of the season. This scenario generally leads to fantasy production that is below what the player is capable of.

Too many bad matchups early in the season will cause fantasy owners to think their players are forming a potentially negative permanent trend. If you find the players that match this criteria yet who also have plenty of easy matchups ahead, then you have the formula for the perfect “buy low”.


1 Alex Smith
2 Blake Bortles
3 Phillip Rivers
4 Peyton Manning
5 Ryan Fitzpatrick

If you are still struggling with streaming quarterbacks, it might be time to pick one and settle down.



Blake Bortles has steadily become a low-end QB1 after a strong October.

Depending on the number of teams in your league, he may be available on your waiver wire. If available, grab him and lock him in as your starter after his Week 8 BYE. He is a top 12 fantasy quarterback right now with an excellent second half schedule.

After Week 10, Bortles has only one remaining negative matchup and three “great” rated matchups. He has already faced four negative matchups this season yet still average a healthy 20 fantasy points against them.

If someone already owns him in your league, then his BYE week could make it easy to acquire him in a trade. If you are making a trade offer, then wait until after he plays the Jets next week and make your move once his price lowers afterwhat should be a low producing week.


Buy Peyton Manning? This may sound crazy but his trade price may never get lower. Things may not be as bad as they look in Denver. Manning’s horrid first month of the season featured four negative matchups out of his first six games.

If an owner in your league wants to offload Peyton so they do not have to cut him, then make them a low ball offer. Your chances of seeing a rebound are pretty good considering Peyton has six straight positive matchups in a row after the Week 8 Green Bay game.

That includes a Kansas City’s defense that has seen their rating against quarterbacks plummet since Manning hung 20 fantasy points on them back in Week 2.

Peyton is worth the gamble if the price is right. Just make sure you only pay for the schedule and not overpay for the name.


1 Jonathan Stewart
2 Doug Martin
3 Devonta Freeman
4 Alfred Morris
5 Matt Forte

Teams in the same division play the same opponents in a given season, so

desirable schedules tend to cluster within divisions. Over the second half of this season, running backs from the NFC South will share the best remaining running back schedules.

There is very little chance that you will convince anyone in your league to part with Devonta Freeman or Mark Ingram. Instead,  target less expensive NFC South running backs  like Jonathan Stewart or Doug Martin.


Stewart has only two negative matchups out of his final nine games, which add up to the best remaining schedule of any fantasy running back. Stewart has four desirable “great” rated matchups between Week 8 and 16.

Right now, the Falcons are the easiest matchup a running back can face and Stewart gets them twice int he fantasy playoffs.

Stewart’s prime “buy low” timing would have been two weeks ago before his recent surge in production, but the window may still be open if his owner feels this has just been a temporary trend.


Due to facing similar opponents as Stewart, Doug Martin also has one of the easiest remaining schedules of any running back.

Martin does an excellent job of taking advantage of his easy matchups. He averages twelve more fantasy points when he plays positive matchups than he does when he plays negative ones.

Martin has six positive matchups out of his final nine games, including four “great” rated matchups and two games against the Falcons.


Tevin Coleman is a great lottery ticket with six positive match ups remaining. If he gets an opportunity to start, he has a great schedule and is capable of taking advantage. Buy and stash, you never know when your number may come up.


Matt Jones is slowly carving out a weekly role in the Redskins run game. He may fall off the radar during his Week 8 BYE, but he returns to face five remaining positive matchups including four in a row starting in Week 10.

If Jones emerges, he could be a late season contributor. Do not overpay, but if you need to pick a player to throw in on a trade package, pick Jones.


1 Julio Jones
2 Rams WRs
3 Saints WRs
4 Keenan Allen
5 Calvin Johnson


Keenan Allen has been hot lately but last week he was kept under ten fantasy points so his trade cost may have gone down a bit in the minds of his owner.

This week will be your last chance to acquire Allen before his best matchup of the year this weekend against the Ravens.

Allen does have an undesirable late BYE week in Week 10, but that could also drive his trade price down.

Once he returns from his BYE, he gets Chicago, Jacksonville and the Chiefs…twice. Denver in Week 13 is a little scary if you are in a must-win scenario, otherwise his remaining matchups are ripe with upside.

If you are in a PPR league you may even consider a waiver add for his less expensive teammate, Stevie Johnson. Johnson also enjoys these same matchups and has seen an uptick in targets in recent weeks.


If you are trading for name players, you are going to have to give some up in return. The best candidates to “Dump Before They Slump” are players who might have already seen all their good matchups and who have mostly difficult matchups the rest of the way.

In these cases, other owners will think they are buying value when they are really just buying at the top of the market price.


1 Matt Ryan
2 Andrew Luck
3 Jay Cutler
4 Carson Palmer
5 Eli Manning

Matt Ryan is an excellent example of a player you can trade away. He has great name value and currently carries QB1 trade value.

What many other owners may not know is that Ryan has already faced all of his great matchups. In fact, six of his first seven opponents were either “good” or “great” rated matchups when he faced them

It is about to get much tougher for Ryan. This week he faces Tampa Bay, a top five tough matchup for fantasy quarterbacks.

The most concerning part of Ryans second half are two games against Carolina during the fantasy playoffs. Josh Norman is the Carolina version of Revis Island, you can call call him “Hiltonhead Island”- and he should be avoided.

You do not want your stud quarterback or wide receiver having to face this season’s elite shutdown corner in your fantasy playoffs, let alone twice.

Also, Ryan’s Week 10 BYE is an off week you likely can’t afford if you are making a run late in the season.




1 Adrian Peterson
2 Ameer Abdullah
3 Todd Gurley
4 Latavius Murray
5 Duke Johnson

Latavius Murray is another perfect example of a player that has already seen the majority of his good matchups.  Murray has six positive matchups in 2015 and he has already played against five of them.

Moving forward, things get tougher quickly. Murray gets a matchup with the Jets this week that could drive down his trade value. Trading him coming off his second best fantasy performance of the season should provide ideal trade timing.

Sell him now before the matchups with the Jets hurts his stock value.




Very few players have a higher “name” value than Adrian Peterson. If your team is in a  tough spot and you feel you need to do something drastic, then you should strongly consider trading Peterson.

Peterson has the number one toughest remaining schedule of any fantasy running back. He is still a top ten fantasy back, but his remaining schedule should make you feel better about losing him if you want to trade him away.

Peterson has only two positive matchups left between now and Week 16. One of those is in Week 16. Your chances of getting that far into the playoffs with Peterson as your main back are slim considering his Week 13 matchup against Seattle followed by his Week 14 matchup against Arizona.

Make sure you are getting back at least two weekly starters in return. He is still a valuable player that cost you your first round pick and you should be able to fix up multiple spots in your starting roster in exchange.


1 Amari Cooper
2 Mike Wallace / Stefon Diggs
3 Brandon Marshall / Eric Decker
4 Jeremy Maclin
5 Packers WRs



Jeremy Maclin  somehow pieced together some value in the wide receiver graveyard known as Kansas City.

He has an injury situation right now so you are going to want to sit on Maclin through his Week 9 matchup with Detroit. Give him one more game back from injury against a positive matchup with the Lions to drive up his trade value back up.

Then feel safe trading him during his Week 9 BYE. He returns from his week off with five consecutive negative matchups including three “worst” rated” matchups starting in Week 10.


Jets wide receivers have one of the top five most difficult remaining schedules with seven out of nine of their remaining games rated as negative matchups.

Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are both top 25 fantasy receivers and combine to make up over 45% of the Jets’ targets. Decker has a much lower Player Rating which means he is more likely of the two to be effected by negative matchups.

Decker’s value is still pretty high despite his four game touchdown streak coming to an end last week. He led the Jets in targets and receiving yards in Week 7, giving him some decent trade value. Decker averages five more fantasy points a game against positive matchups than negative ones. Decker has already faced more positive matchups this season than he will see for the rest of the year.


Amari Cooper  has been just as good as expected this season. His rapport with Derrek Carr has made him a solid top 20 fantasy receiver after seven weeks.

Coming off his best game of the season, his trade value may not get any higher.  You may even be able to get low-end WR1 in return after his Week 7 performance.

What you are trading out of is a schedule with only two positive matchups left including three “worst” rated remaining matchups including a date at Denver in week one of your fantasy playoffs.

If you plan to trade him, make sure is is this week since he faces Revis this weekend and that will only drive his trade value down.


1 Charles Clay
2 Jordan Cameron
3 Jason Witten
4 Jimmy Graham
5 Zach Ertz



Charles Clay has the perfect example of a player with a schedule you would want to trade out of.

Clay’s seven positive matchups to start the season would inflate any fantasy player’s numbers. So what may appear to be a hot start is likely just the product of a lack of stiff competition.

Clay failed to take advantage of two “good”rated matchups in both Week 5 and Week 7, which does mot bode well for is chances of overcoming seven straight negative match ups to end his season.

FantasyoMaticLogo2014Using a  “next gen”  way to measure remaining schedule strength while your league-mates are still using outdated metrics is like using your smartphone while they all use a soup can and a string.

Get into this century and utilize this huge advantage over the same owners that are trying to take YOUR playoff spot and championship trophy.

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This post was written by Fantasy oMatic