Going Deep  

 

Going Deep: Can Cam Newton win you a title?

  • By Marcas Grant
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Well folks, we're closing in on that time of year. It's time to start thinking about the playoffs.

And because I know some of you out there are already thinking it ... this.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the postseason. If you've already clinched a spot, congratulations. If you're still battling for a spot, best of luck to you.

Then for those of you who don't have a prayer of playing for the big prize, well ... maybe this will help your state of mind.

However, for those in the first two categories, it's time to start looking at the players who play some of their best football when it matters most for fantasy owners. Chances are you didn't necessarily draft players with an eye on Weeks 14-16, but this is the time of year when it starts to become a factor in trade decisions and waiver wire pickups.

That's why over the next few weeks, Going Deep will take a look not only at which players have the best playoff schedules, but which players have performed the best during the fantasy postseason. Of course, we'll start with quarterbacks.

Most favorable QB playoff schedules
Player
Team
Opp. FPA
18.99
18.95
18.60
18.46
QB Packers
18.41
18.31
18.08
17.92
17.76
17.57

Philip Rivers has the "easiest" schedule through the final weeks of the fantasy season, so he would seem to be the best choice if you're looking to acquire a quarterback, right? Maybe not. When it comes to those late weeks, Rivers hasn't been pretty mediocre, averaging just 15.50 fantasy points per game.

Let me add to your consternation, of the QBs with the three most-favorable slates, Rivers has performed the best. Jay Cutler has put up 14.50 points per game in the fantasy postseason while Alex Smith boasts a woeful 9.20-point average. Not exactly the stuff fantasy championships are made of.

All right, then ... who are the guys who have traditionally gotten things done when fantasy bragging rights are on the line?

1. Cam Newton - 24.20 ppg
2. Russell Wilson - 24.10 ppg
3. Colin Kaepernick - 19.70 ppg
4. Aaron Rodgers - 19.20 ppg
5. Matthew Stafford - 18.70 ppg
6. Peyton Manning - 18.40 ppg
7. Drew Brees - 18.10 ppg
8. Matt Ryan - 18.10 ppg
9. Nick Foles - 18.10 ppg
10. Tom Brady - 17.80 ppg

Before all of you Newton, Wilson and Kaepernick owners get too excited, let me play Buzz Killington and welcome you to another edition of Small Sample Size Theater.

Newton has played six games in the fantasy playoffs, while Wilson and Kaepernick have played six games COMBINED. It's not as though they have a long track record. There's a lot more reason to be confident in Aaron Rodgers if it weren't for, well, you know. By the way, Seneca Wallace is averaging 7.2 fantasy points over nine games. Just in case you were curious.

Least favorable QB playoff schedules
Player
Team
Opp. FPA
12.10
13.05
14.17
14.74
15.44
15.54
15.65
15.76
15.80
15.83

Maybe you're not rushing out to grab Alex Smith because his schedule looks good down the stretch. Similarly, you're not looking to dump Drew Brees because he faces a tough road in the postseason. But what do you do with Cam Newton?

To begin with, Newton's Week 10 matchup against a quality San Francisco defense could give you a clue. Cam's been good at exploiting bad teams, but he's been average (at best) against the good ones. If he fails to post a solid fantasy total against the Niners, he might not be as matchup-proof as you'd hope.

Oh, and those rookie quarterbacks who have tantalized fantasy owners on occasion this season? Based on the schedules, there's no justifiable reason to trust your championship aspirations to the likes of Geno Smith, Mike Glennon or EJ Manuel.

Case Keenum on the other hand? Well, talk to me after Week 10 is over.

There you have it. The trade deadline is coming. The playoffs won't be far behind. Choose your quarterbacks wisely. A fantasy title is riding on it. Next week, we'll talk running backs.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who thinks this is the "Who's On First?" of sports rants.

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