Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jeremy’s Spoken: Playoff Matchup Madness, Part 2

Last time we took a look at playoff matchups for running backs. We saw that Ryan Grant is most likely to be this year’s playoff hero with matchups again Oakland, St. Louis, and Chicago during the playoffs (weeks 14-16).

This week, we’ll look at the matchups for quarterbacks and receivers. Again, we’ll use Football Outsider’s DVOA against the pass to evaluate playoff matchups.

The table below lists the week 14-16 opponents for every team, the defensive receiving DVOA (through week 13), and the total for the 3 weeks. Those at the top have the easiest rushing schedule while those at the bottom have the hardest.

Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmanzadeh, Braylon Edwards, and Joey Galloway lead this list for wideouts. As do their QBs Carson Palmer, Derek Anderson, and Jeff Garcia (if healthy). None of these names should surprise you and all should be starts every week anyway (except perhaps Garcia).

For low-cost options, try Kurt Warner. He’s coming off a near 500 yard effort last week and has tasty matchups against Seattle, New Orleans, and Atlanta during the playoffs. If you need a low-cost receiving option, try Roddy White. He’s been the only bright spot on a dreadful Atlanta team this year, managed to somehow have a good game against the top-ranked pass defense of the Colts in week 13, and has games against the Saints, Bucs, and Cardinals coming up.

It would also be wise to scale back expectations for the Jon Kitna-lead passing attack of the Lions as they face Dallas, San Diego, and Kansas City during the playoffs. The same can be said for Andre Johnson. Of course, any of these players can have big games, but DVOA tells us that it is less likely to happen. If you play the percentages, you’ll put yourself in good position to take that elusive championship crown.

Jeremy Mittler, M.B.A., is a Strategy and Statistical Expert at His column, Jeremy's Spoken, appears on Thursdays at SportsJudge Blog.

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