Whether it’s the first week of your playoffs or the last possible chance to sneak in, this is the most important week of the year for the Fantasy Football world.
Quarterback Points Allowed
|1||New York Giants||NO||19.8||17||Cincinnati Bengals||DAL||13.6|
|2||Denver Broncos||OAK||18.2||18||Buffalo Bills||STL||14.8|
|3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||PHI||18.6||19||New Orleans Saints||NYG||15.5|
|4||Cleveland Browns||KC||18.2||20||Washington Redskins||BAL||12.2|
|5||Indianapolis Colts||TEN||17.3||21||Dallas Cowboys||CIN||12.6|
|6||New York Jets||JAX||17.0||22||Detroit Lions||GB||14.4|
|7||Philadelphia Eagles||TB||17.6||23||Jacksonville Jaguars||NYJ||12.7|
|8||Tennessee Titans||IND||16.2||24||Atlanta Falcons||CAR||13.8|
|9||Chicago Bears||MIN||17.5||25||Carolina Panthers||ATL||11.8|
|10||Baltimore Ravens||WAS||18.1||26||New England Patriots||HOU||13.5|
|11||St Louis Rams||BUF||17.1||27||Oakland Raiders||DEN||13.3|
|12||Green Bay Packers||DET||16.2||28||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||11.5|
|13||Houston Texans||NE||16.4||29||San Diego Chargers||PIT||10.0|
|14||Pittsburgh Steelers||SAD||15.8||30||Miami Dolphins||SAF||11.6|
|15||Kansas City Chiefs||CLE||15.8||31||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||10.6|
|16||San Francisco 49ers||MIA||15.3||32||Minnesota Vikings||CHI||10.5|
ACES IN THE HOLE
The arm strength was back, the matchup was there, yet Eli Manning’s monster day, was not. Manning managed just one TD against the woeful Redskins secondary, mainly due to the play calling. The Giants kept sending Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks (a mistake as he’s less than 100 percent) deep time and again, and Manning only connected on two opportunities. Hopefully, the team takes note as they head back to New York to face a defense even worse than the Skins – the New Orleans Saints. No one allows more Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) to QBs, and the Saints average 300.8 passing YPG allowed. Eli is a QB1 again, despite his lack of ability to provide those numbers often enough for owners’ tastes.
Big brother has a terrific matchup of his own, and the good news is that Peyton Manning has torn apart pretty much everyone, solid defense or not. Peyton has just two games with less than two TD passes and not a single game without tossing one. The Raiders allow an average of 2.0 passing TDs per game, and if any QB will reach that level and then some, it’s big bro.
This is why they play the game. Just like last year, the Eagles were a popular pick on paper given their weapons and top-notch defense. So much for both. The latter isn’t as injury related as the former; the defense just isn’t stopping anyone. Philly allows the second most FPPG to QBs and their metrics only improve their position by one spot. That makes Josh Freeman a nice upside QB2 in Week 14. While he’s only topped 17 FP once since his midseason, three-week explosion, Freeman has a great chance to register a second one against the Eagles.
I’m assuming that by reading my articles and your using some intelligence, you are no longer trusting Christian Ponder in any league… period. Even in two-QB leagues, I would rather take a flier on Tim Tebow coming in for the Jets than playing Ponder against the Bears. Sure, he put up six FP in the last meeting (party time!), but he was fortunate to even get those. The Bears allow just 10.5 FPPG to QBs, have surrendered just 12 passing TDs and have forced a league-high 20 INTs (three more than anyone else has). Seriously, Tebow is a better option.
I’m moving past Russell Wilson because he continues to defy logic. Forget the matchups, forget his size, forget his lack of experience. While Wilson doesn’t throw for much yardage, his scrambling ability and TD count of late make him an automatic high-end QB2, even against Arizona.
Now, a rookie QB from whom you should steer away is Ryan Tannehill. First, he faces the 49ers, normally explanation enough. However, as a second point, Tannehill hasn’t topped 15 FP since Miami’s bye and has three outings with five FP or less. There are about 30 better options this week, maybe even Ponder.
Philip Rivers isn’t having the bounce-back season owners and even many experts expected to see. Instead, Rivers has just three games with over 14 FP, one less than the number of single-digit performances. Now he heads into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers who have held QBs to eight FP or less in five straight games. In fact, Pittsburgh is holding QBs to 9.0 FPPG at home and held Robert Griffin to 11 FP. Rivers is not on Griffin’s playing field; that is for sure.
Running Back Points Allowed
|1||New York Giants||NO||21.6||17||Kansas City Chiefs||CLE||15.2|
|2||Denver Broncos||OAK||21.4||18||Chicago Bears||MIN||15.1|
|3||St Louis Rams||BUF||21.3||19||Pittsburgh Steelers||SAD||14.3|
|4||New York Jets||JAX||20.2||20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||PHI||14.0|
|5||Indianapolis Colts||TEN||20.1||21||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||14.1|
|6||Tennessee Titans||IND||17.8||22||San Diego Chargers||PIT||13.8|
|7||Cleveland Browns||KC||17.1||23||Philadelphia Eagles||TB||15.1|
|8||Washington Redskins||BAL||17.1||24||Baltimore Ravens||WAS||13.3|
|9||Atlanta Falcons||CAR||18.8||25||New Orleans Saints||NYG||12.5|
|10||Carolina Panthers||ATL||18.2||26||Houston Texans||NE||13.3|
|11||Dallas Cowboys||CIN||16.1||27||San Francisco 49ers||MIA||13.6|
|12||Jacksonville Jaguars||NYJ||17.3||28||Oakland Raiders||DEN||13.3|
|13||Buffalo Bills||STL||17.0||29||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||13.3|
|14||Cincinnati Bengals||DAL||16.3||30||Miami Dolphins||SAF||10.2|
|15||Detroit Lions||GB||16.8||31||New England Patriots||HOU||10.5|
|16||Green Bay Packers||DET||14.5||32||Minnesota Vikings||CHI||11.1|
ACES IN THE HOLE
With Andre Brown done for the year, some thought David Wilson would step in and see a decent share. Not so fast. Wilson had four carries to Ahmad Bradshaw’s 24 and wasn’t even targeted in the passing game (Bradshaw twice). It’s clear that the Giants will ride Bradshaw hard from here on out, or until he injures himself again. That fact, along with a matchup against the Saints, locks Bradshaw into RB1 territory for the first time this year. The Saints allow the most FPPG (21.6), rushing YPG (133.2) and receiving YPG (55.0) to RBs.
Another RB that’s always on the precipice of getting hurt is Knowshon Moreno. Like Bradshaw, he’s seeing the majority of backfield work with Ronnie Hillman carrying it five times to Moreno’s 20 against the Bucs. While Tampa Bay is one of the best run defenses in the league, the Raiders are just the opposite. Oakland allows over 40 more rushing YPG and has given up five more rushing TDs than Tampa Bay has. With two straight weeks of 20 carries, Moreno is the RB of choice in Denver, and he should be your RB2 of choice this week.
The Bills slipped to third in FPPG allowed to RBs, but if you look at the last two opponents (Indy and Jacksonville), you can see why it had little to do with the defense’s ability. Somehow, Steven Jackson is still getting it done, even in games such as last week where he averaged 2.3 YPC. Fortunately, his receiving ability and matchup with Buffalo will help him maintain his success. The Bills have allowed more TDs to RBs than anyone else (14 rushing, two receiving), which alone, makes SJax a solid RB2.
Adrian Peterson against the Bears, please, this man is a machine. AP against an actual team of Bears? I’d probably still take AP.
The Patriots face their toughest rushing matchup of the season with the Texans on tap. Houston was the last team to allow a rushing TD and still has given up just two on the year. They also hold opponents to a low 73.4 rushing YPG. Stevan Ridley’s streak of five straight games with a rushing TD is going to be snapped, and if he posts his mid-range 60-70 yards rushing, you have yourself a plain ol’ flex RB.
This was the word of warning when owners were a bit excited by Beanie Wells’ two TDs against the Rams: his schedule after that game is downright brutal. Wells managed two FP after rushing for 22 yards on 15 carries against the Jets… and that was the easy game. Seattle, this week’s opponent, ranks as the fourth toughest matchup, Detroit is middle of the pack, Chicago is the most difficult and San Fran, the third hardest team, finishes off the schedule (if you play in Week 17). Back to Seattle, they give up just 13.3 FPPG to RBs and have held six teams to less than 10 FP via the run. Beanie and the Cards rushing attack is just not talented enough to warrant use in most leagues… from here on out.
Miami is sharing rushing duties, then they’re not, then Daniel Thomas gets the goal line chances, then Reggie Bush is in for a goal line passing play. Try to make sense of it, I dare you. I will make sense of this week though – just avoid both. The Dolphins play the 49ers, a team allowing 10.2 FPPG to RBs, while letting just two RBs reach the end zone. Bench those Phins.
Wide Receiver Points Allowed
|1||Tennessee Titans||IND||24.3||17||Chicago Bears||MIN||18.8|
|2||New York Giants||NO||24.0||18||New England Patriots||HOU||22.4|
|3||Philadelphia Eagles||TB||27.1||19||San Francisco 49ers||MIA||20.7|
|4||Baltimore Ravens||WAS||26.2||20||Washington Redskins||BAL||18.7|
|5||Houston Texans||NE||23.5||21||Detroit Lions||GB||21.4|
|6||Denver Broncos||OAK||22.3||22||Dallas Cowboys||CIN||16.2|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||PHI||22.5||23||Buffalo Bills||STL||18.0|
|8||Green Bay Packers||DET||22.9||24||Carolina Panthers||ATL||16.3|
|9||New York Jets||JAX||22.3||25||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||19.3|
|10||Indianapolis Colts||TEN||21.9||26||Atlanta Falcons||CAR||16.5|
|11||St Louis Rams||BUF||22.3||27||Jacksonville Jaguars||NYJ||16.1|
|12||Kansas City Chiefs||CLE||23.4||28||Oakland Raiders||DEN||16.9|
|13||Cleveland Browns||KC||21.4||29||Minnesota Vikings||CHI||18.3|
|14||New Orleans Saints||NYG||24.0||30||San Diego Chargers||PIT||14.7|
|15||Cincinnati Bengals||DAL||21.3||31||Miami Dolphins||SAF||15.8|
|16||Pittsburgh Steelers||SAD||21.3||32||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||15.6|
ACES IN THE HOLE
The Colts have allowed every team they’ve faced to put up at least 13 FP via their WRs and seven times have let them go for 22 or more FP (three times 30-plus). Word of warning though, this matchup is only for those looking for a home-run play. Basically, if you need to go big and understand the high risk involved in trusting Kenny Britt, Nate Washington or Kendall Wright, you can plug them in as a WR3. However, even with the matchup, it’s difficult to rank any one of them as a guaranteed WR3 given their inconsistency.
Back to New York once again – this is what happens every week for the Saints opponent really. Hakeem Nicks is obviously not 100 percent, but even at 90, a matchup with New Orleans makes him a WR2. Victor Cruz on the other hand is a WR1 most weeks and is locked in as such with the Saints allowing 11.9 receptions, 183.3 receiving yards and 1.3 WR TDs per game.
Even with the favorable matchup against Tampa Bay (no team allows more FPPG to WRs at 27.1 per) it’s tough to recommend any WR from Philly. Last week, three different receivers tied for the team WR high in targets, which was just five. Brent Celek actually led the team with eight, while Jason Avant has the most yards and Riley Cooper notched the TD. Jeremy Maclin sat in the middle with 38 yards and no TD. One of them will likely break through as the Bucs allow a league-high 216.8 receiving YPG, but recommending any is a risky proposition. Follow the advice seen with the Titans WRs.
In Baltimore, it’s much easier to recommend their WRs, as there is only two of concern: Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. Smith is a nice WR2 with upside for more and Boldin can sneak into WR3 territory, depending on the league, as Washington’s long-documented struggles against WRs continues to haunt them. They’re the only other team besides the Bucs that give up over 200 receiving YPG.
Ryan Lindley already made Larry Fitzgerald (and Andre Roberts if anyone was asking) benchable. Tack on a matchup with the Seahawks stifling secondary that allows just 15.6 FPPG to WRs and held similar teams like the Jets, Vikings, 49ers and Panthers to four, two, five and nine FP, respectively, and you can see why Fitz is bench-worthy again.
Another repeat team here, as we touch on the Dolphins and their game against the Niners. The 49ers have kept teams’ WRs out of the end zone in seven of their 12 games, and the Dolphins just don’t have the weapons to be one of the fortunate ones. Avoid Brian Hartline and Davone Bess.
While the Steelers rate out as the third toughest matchup for WRs, they’ve actually allowed the least amount of FPPG to WRs. The level of opponent in comparison knocks them down a bit, but nowhere near enough for you to feel confident in using a Chargers WR, even Danario Alexander. Now, Malcom Floyd and the rest shouldn’t be on your radar at this point, but DX has been exceptional since his return: five games, 467 yards and three TDs. The problem is that Pittsburgh gives up just 118.1 receiving YPG total to WRs, meaning DX would need everything to come his way to keep up his success. I’m fairly certain the Steelers are aware of DX’s play and will focus attention his way. You might not be able to bench DX, but if you have a comparable option, make the swap.
Tight End Points Allowed
|1||Indianapolis Colts||TEN||9.8||17||Carolina Panthers||ATL||7.1|
|2||Baltimore Ravens||WAS||10.3||18||Atlanta Falcons||CAR||7.3|
|3||Oakland Raiders||DEN||10.1||19||San Francisco 49ers||MIA||6.8|
|4||Houston Texans||NE||9.4||20||Washington Redskins||BAL||6.4|
|5||Denver Broncos||OAK||8.4||21||New England Patriots||HOU||7.1|
|6||New York Giants||NO||7.8||22||Cincinnati Bengals||DAL||6.0|
|7||Green Bay Packers||DET||8.9||23||Buffalo Bills||STL||6.3|
|8||Dallas Cowboys||CIN||7.7||24||Pittsburgh Steelers||SAD||5.8|
|9||Chicago Bears||MIN||7.4||25||Kansas City Chiefs||CLE||5.9|
|10||Tennessee Titans||IND||6.8||26||Arizona Cardinals||SEA||6.4|
|11||Cleveland Browns||KC||6.8||27||Detroit Lions||GB||6.2|
|12||Philadelphia Eagles||TB||7.2||28||New Orleans Saints||NYG||6.1|
|13||St Louis Rams||BUF||6.8||29||San Diego Chargers||PIT||5.1|
|14||Jacksonville Jaguars||NYJ||7.5||30||Minnesota Vikings||CHI||5.9|
|15||New York Jets||JAX||6.6||31||Seattle Seahawks||ARI||5.8|
|16||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||PHI||6.7||32||Miami Dolphins||SAF||5.3|
ACES IN THE HOLE
With Coby Fleener back, it’s too difficult to rely on him or Dwayne Allen given the shared looks, catches and even TD opportunities for both. So let’s jump down a spot. Baltimore is this week’s Redskins-matchup beneficiary. If you saw the first half of Monday night’s game, Martellus Bennett was having a field day. Then the Giants decided that was too easy and ignored him in the second half. Don’t expect Joe Flacco to forget about Dennis Pitta as Eli did with Bennett. Pitta has been rather inconsistent, but deep leagues can find value given the TE landscape this year.
A tight end that still isn’t receiving the respect deserved is Brandon Myers in Oakland. Many asked about him after the 130-yard with a TD outburst last week, but in truth, Myers has three big games over the last five weeks. In addition, Myers has at least five receptions in each, making him PPR gold. With Denver leading the league in TDs allowed to tight ends while also giving up 63.0 receiving YPG, it’s impossible to have Myers riding the bench in any league.
Dolphins. 49ers. Bad matchup. Covered. Stay away.
Nobody is touching Zach Miller in Seattle, so we move over to the Vikings against Chicago. We already talked about Ponder versus this defense, but some might be tempted to use Kyle Rudolph. After all, Rudy scored against the Bears just two weeks ago. However, that was without Percy Harvin, and Rudy has actually scored in all three games without Harvin since Week 9. However, in the three previous games, Rudy had one point TOTAL. If Harvin is back, bench the man! If not, well, you can play him still knowing it’s an upside/risk move.
To say Antonio Gates owners are frustrated would be an understatement. That won’t change this week. Pittsburgh hasn’t allowed more than nine FP to TEs since their bye, and if not for that one game of nine FP to Cleveland, they would have held all opponents to six or less (one or less three times). This won’t be the week where Gates shows us why we used to love him in years past.
(Reminder: You’ll notice the rankings are not in exact order of points allowed. Other metrics are calculated in along with just straight points. It allows for better analysis so one off-week doesn’t skew the opponent difficulty too greatly.)