With 10 weeks of the season in the rearview mirror, now is the time to further improve your fantasy team for the stretch run. That means it's imperative to know all the intangibles when it comes to player values. Part of that is checking out the matchups during Weeks 14-16, which marks the traditional time period for the fantasy postseason.
In an effort to help owners make smart waiver-wire claims and last-minute trades before the deadline, here's a look at the players that have the best matchups at the top four fantasy positions when your games mean the most.
- Jason Campbell, Raiders (@JAC, DEN, IND): The Titans have the best schedule for quarterbacks in Weeks 14-16, but no one is trusting their fantasy team to Rusty Smith. Chances are you have a far better option than Campbell as well, but he could be useful in deeper fantasy leagues or those formats that start two quarterbacks on a weekly basis.
- Kyle Orton, Broncos (@ARI, @OAK, HOU): Orton, one of the top draft values in fantasy football, is going to help lead a lot of owners to a league championship. No team has allowed more points to quarterbacks than the Texans, and the Cardinals have struggled to stop the pass for much of the season. Start Orton with confidence down the stretch.
- Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (@WAS, DET, SEA): Freeman might be the most underrated quarterback in fantasy football. He's consistent, productive and ranks in the top half of the league in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. The Kansas State product will continue to roll in the postseason with games against the Redskins, Lions and Seahawks.
- Jon Kitna, Cowboys (PHI, WAS, @ARI): Unless Tony Romo can return for the fantasy postseason, Kitna is looking at one heck of a favorable schedule. The Redskins have been brutal against the pass this season, and the Cardinals are allowing an average of 15 fantasy points to sign-callers. Kitna is still available in most NFL.com leagues.
- Donovan McNabb, Redskins (TB, @DAL, @JAC): McNabb has not had a great season from a fantasy perspective, throwing for multiple touchdowns just once. But based on a schedule that includes games against the Cowboys and Jaguars in the last two weeks of the fantasy postseason, and McNabb could actually be a hero for owners in the end.
- Knowshon Moreno, Broncos (@ARI, @OAK, HOU): If you read my preseason schedule column, it should be no shock that three of the five best schedules for running backs come out of the western divisions. Moreno, who has been a fantasy hero lately, should continue to find success against the Cardinals, Raiders and Texans. I'd trade for him now.
- LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (@WAS, DET, SEA): Blount was waiver-wire fodder most of the season, but he could turn into a fantasy superstar down the stretch with games against the Redskins, Lions and Seahawks. No team has given up more fantasy points to running backs than the Lions, and the Seahawks haven't stopped the run all season long.
- Felix Jones, Cowboys (PHI, WAS, @ARI): Jones, who is still a free agent in about 20 percent of NFL.com leagues, has some major value for owners in the fantasy postseason. The Arkansas product faces a Cardinals defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to runners, not to mention another favorable game against the Eagles.
- Darren McFadden, Raiders (@JAC, DEN, IND): McFadden is a bit of a risk due to his proneness to injuries, but I would still be targeting him in a potential trade right now based on his favorable schedule. The Jaguars, Broncos and Colts have all surrendered an average of 18 or more fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2010.
- Beanie Wells, Cardinals (DEN, @CAR, DAL): If Wells can actually stay healthy (and that's a big if), he is going to make some hay in the fantasy postseason. The Ohio State product faces the Broncos, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs, and the Panthers. Their defense is giving up an average of 18.7 points to runners.
- Santana Moss, Redskins (TB, @DAL, @JAC): Moss is on pace to post a career best in receptions this season, and his schedule down the stretch is conducive for him to reach that goal. The Jaguars and Cowboys have given up a combined 28 touchdowns and are in the top three in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers.
- Mike Williams, Buccaneers (WAS, DET, SEA): One of the best rookie wideouts in the league, Williams has been one of the true waiver-wire gems of the 2010 campaign. His success should continue in the fantasy postseason, as he'll face the Redskins, Lions and Seahawks. The Skins and Hawks haven't been able to stop opposing wideouts all season.
- Louis Murphy, Raiders: (@JAC, DEN, IND): Murphy has been injured in recent weeks and is still a free agent in most NFL.com leagues. While I'm not telling you to rush to the waiver wire to get him, it is worth noting that Murphy has one of the most favorable fantasy postseason schedules at the wide receiver position. Keep an eye on him.
- Steve Smith, Panthers (ATL, ARI, @PIT): Smith has two very nice matchups in the fantasy postseason, facing off against the Falcons and Cardinals. Unfortunately, it will be hard for him to exploit them with the likes of Jimmy Clausen, Brian St. Pierre and Tony Pike at the quarterback position. It's been a lost season for the Panthers.
- Steve Johnson, Bills (CLE, @MIA, NE): Did you know that Johnson has more fantasy points on NFL.com than Reggie Wayne, Miles Austin and Larry Fitzgerald? His breakout season should continue during the stretch run, as he'll face great matchups against the Browns, Dolphins and Patriots. None of the three have been stout against wideouts.
- Todd Heap, Ravens (@HOU, NO, @CLE): Broncos TE Daniel Graham actually has the best schedule based on fantasy points among tight ends in Weeks 14-16, but clearly he's not going to make an impact for owners. On the other hand, Heap could be a pretty nice sleeper in all leagues down the stretch. He faces the Texans, Saints and Browns.
- Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (@PIT, CLE, SD): Fantasy leaguers in larger leagues should keep tabs on Gresham down the stretch. The rookie out of Oklahoma has some attractive matchups against the Steelers, Browns and Chargers -- those three teams have allowed no fewer than 7.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season.
- Aaron Hernandez, Patriots (@CHI, GB, @BUF): Cardinals TE Stephen Spach has the third-best schedule based on the matchups. But like Graham, he has no value in fantasy leagues. Enter Hernandez, who has put up some good numbers during his rookie season. Both he and fellow rookie Rob Gronkowski go up against the Bears, Packers and Bills.
- Jacob Tamme, Colts (MIA, @PIT, @OAK): With Dallas Clark out for the season, Tamme has come in and played well -- both for the Colts and fantasy owners. In his first three starts, he posted 24 catches for 245 yards and two scores. Tamme should continue to be a star down the stretch, facing the Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders in the postseason.
- Jason Witten, Cowboys (PHI, WAS, @ARI): Much like his teammates Kitna, Jones and Austin, Witten also has a nice schedule during the fantasy postseason with games against the Eagles, Redskins and Cardinals. The Eagles and Cardinals have allowed at least 7.6 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so Witten should post nice stat lines.