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AFC NORTH – How Divisional Schedules May Impact Your Fantasy Team

Des Boodram

@boxscoreprophet

 

In my efforts to leave no fantasy stone unturned, it’s about that time to unpack each division’s schedule, with the hopes of identifying some fantasy gold.  This is not a new strategy, but opinions can change drastically from forum to forum, so pick your poison carefully, but also know that direct correlations can be made between game to game matchups and fantasy performances. Let’s go mining.

 

What Can The Browns Do For You 

Just because a team stinks, doesn’t mean there isn’t fantasy gold to be had, and for the Browns last season, Terrelle Pryor was the only player that consistently returned value.  The focus will be less on players here and more on teams and their matchup.  Put on record as saying that I think that the Browns were the best cellar dweller I’ve seen in 20 years. The team had a bunch of redeeming qualities starting with exceptional coaching.  They didn’t roll over in a single game last season, and were riddled with injuries on defense.  I expect a much-improved team on defense, and I’m giving you a fair warning that Vegas will take you to the woodshed if you assume Cleveland is not going to cover more often than they are going to cover.  These games are going to be close, and they pull off some shocker specials.  As for their schedule it’s less than desirable, especially come fantasy playoffs when they have Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, all outdoors.  This is enough to scare me off any Browns player especially because the Steelers and Ravens are top 12 defenses and the Bengals should be much improved.

 

Bengal Blues

This team is as mediocre as the day is long and they’ve been this way for a long time.  The thing is they have some great offensive pieces including A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert.  I expect a huge rising from the ashes of Andy Dalton as well back to top 10 prominence, but don’t expect much from this team.  Their first three games of the season against Baltimore, Houston and at Green Bay won’t be easy, and their divisional road game against Cleveland has no guarantees either.  The middle of their schedule is nice, so trading A.J. Green  after week 10 should be a strategy you consider.  I don’t think Joe Mixon moves the needle for this, and don’t let anyone trick you into knowing how he’s going to be.  Do keep your eyes on the Bengals towards the end of the season especially in the fantasy playoff as the Bengals host the Lions in week 16.  This has shoot out written all over it, so if you can grind it out you’ll be sitting pretty.  Cincy also has Chicago – yay!! And Minnesota – boo!!  At the end of the season so proceed with caution. 

 

Raven Haven

In the Daily game – I may be stacking 3-4 Ravens for super cheap prices, and rolling with multiple big dogs for some GPP success.  I love the Ravens early and late as they start with Cincinnati, Cleveland and Jacksonville, and end with Cleveland Indianapolis and Cincinnati again.  Joe Flacco is sure to return some value and all other fringe players like West, Maclin and Mike Wallace shout hit value.  The Baltimore defense should be sitting pretty as well.  The Ravens were a dark horse for me last, before fading down the stretch, but I’m convinced I was a year early.  The team will be a divisional and wild card contender all season long.

 

Steeling Hearts 

If you load up on Steelers early on you will be sitting pretty in the fantasy game of life.  It’s hard to ignore a team that has Antonio Brown, Le’veon Bell, Big Ben, and now Martavis Bryant.  Bryant if he can stay away from the cannabis will provide you excellent ROI – he just needs to pass the pee test… likely every week.  This team will be wide open, but there’s a chance this very same team that got you to the top, may also rip your heart out in the end.  The Steelers end with Baltimore and New England at home and then on the road against Houston.  This really couldn’t be any worse of a draw for an NFL team, as all three of those teams are in the top 7 in fewest yards allowed.  TOP SEVEN!!  And all three teams have improved on defense.  Take this as a stern warning.

 

For the record… my investment will be made in Raven stock this season, not in Steeler stock Good luck gamers.

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