Reminder: Fantasy Points Adjusted for Defense (FPAD) is a calculation that can be the difference between celebrating a win or cursing a high-scoring option on your bench. I developed it years ago, and it accounts for defensive quality of play by position, adjusts for game situations and strength of offenses and spits out an adjusted Fantasy Points allowed. Using Fantasy Football Points allowed is valuable in itself to help make lineup decisions, but it’s imperfect, as a team facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should give up more points and passing yards than one facing Case Keenum and the Rams. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Odell Beckham for Mike Wallace, but it provides Fantasy Football Matchup Rankings to help you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type week.
Make sure you check out the tail end of this week’s piece. Each position shows the strength of schedule for the Fantasy Football playoffs by position.
Week 12 Quarterback Matchups[table “1605” not found /]
Eli Manning vs. Matt Ryan
Manning is starting to regress… in the good way. Throwing for 700-plus yards in two games normally doesn’t return just one touchdown, and that’s where the positive regression comes into play. Over the last three games, Manning has 724 yards and nine touchdowns. Quite the difference, huh? Now Manning gets the Browns, a team that had allowed every quarterback to throw for a touchdown before Ben Roethlisberger’s stinker last week. In fact, that was only the second time a quarterback hadn’t thrown for at least two. That’s the main reason behind the Browns 23.4 FPAD, and why you need to start Manning this week.
As for Ryan, he’s been a revelation this year and a Top 5 quarterback. However, he exits the bye with one of the toughest matchups in the league. The Cardinals have the third lowest quarterback FPAD at 9.9 and have allowed two passing touchdowns just once this year. In fact, the Cardinals have kept four teams from throwing a touchdown at all. In addition, the highest yardage thrown is just 266. It doesn’t get much tougher than this. Ryan does have three one-touchdown games, mainly against stronger pass defenses. This is shaping up to be another one of those games.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Cam Newton
Week 12 Running Back Matchups[table “1606” not found /]
Jonathan Stewart vs. Tevin Coleman
Not only does Stewart have a great Week 12 matchup, as you’ll see soon, he has a terrific playoff schedule as well. For this week, the Raiders have given up double-digit running back points in all but one game (Jaguars) with four over 20. They’ve also given up 10 combined touchdowns (seven rushing, three receiving) and are one of six teams with over 1,000 rushing yards allowed. Stewart is a risk every week, especially with Cam Newton rushing the red zone touches in himself, but this is a matchup where Stewart can score and provide a Top 25 running back day.
Sorry to harp on the Falcons so far, but along with Ryan, Coleman is in a bad situation. He’s returning from injury to bring back the duo of dominance with Devonta Freeman, but he’s doing so while facing the toughest FPAD matchup of the week. The Cardinals have allowed a rushing touchdown in just half of their games with those games being the only ones where teams hit double-digit RB points. On top of that, the Bills were the only team to top 100 rushing yards, and only one other team even topped 81. With Freeman leading the way and Coleman being in his first game back from injury, it’s better to risk a running back such as Stewart with a full workload and terrific matchup.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: Jay Ajayi, Rashad Jennings, David Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Spencer Ware, Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley
Week 12 Wide Receiver Matchups[table “1607” not found /]
Jordan Matthews vs. Jeremy Maclin (or Tyreek Hill)
Matthews has 34 targets in the last three games, which hasn’t turned into top-end production, but it’s allowed him to have doubled-digit PPR points in all three games. Matthews actually had 11 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first of that three game stretch, and the matchup this week presents an opportunity for him to near or repeat that production. The Packers have the highest receiver FPAD at 32.6 and have been absolutely torched of late. The Packers have jumped to the top spot in FPAD for receivers thanks to 771 receiving yards and nine touchdowns allowed in the last four games. Just so you are aware, 14 teams have given up nine or less receiving touchdowns this year! Start Matthews.
If Maclin is back from his injury, you will want to wait a week before using him. If he’s out, you likely want to hold off on using Hill again this week. The Broncos are the toughest matchup you can find with a league low 11.3 FPAD with just 1,105 receiving yards and five touchdowns allowed. And that’s with Drew Brees getting his receivers 204 yards and three touchdowns last week. Alex Smith is no Brees, and Maclin and Hill are no Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas. Every team before the Saints had failed to top 18 total receiver points and 142 receiving yards. The Chiefs will be another one added to the list.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Larry Fitzgerald, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Antonio Brown, Doug Baldwin, Rishard Matthews, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree
Week 12 Tight End Matchups[table “1608” not found /]
Gary Barnidge vs. Jared Cook
The good news started for Barnidge with Josh McCown being back at quarterback. The second piece of good news is that Barnidge is facing the Giants. Any decent tight end has done well against the Giants this year with lines of Jason Witten 9/66/0, Kyle Rudolph 5/55/1, Zach Ertz 8/97/0, Tyler Eifert 3/96/0 and Zach Miller 3/61/1. Barnidge found the end zone when McCown took over at quarterback last week, and the Giants set him up for another TE1 week this Sunday.
Not only is Jared Cook a trap play each year, this is a bad week to risk using him, even after coming off last week’s showing. Cook has always been a player with the talent to succeed, but he shows up for 3-4 good games a year. The worst part of that is trying to predict which games those will be, and it’s near impossible. This week is one of the times where the matchup points to Cook not having one of those games. The Eagles have the fourth lowest 3.8 FPAD for tight ends with only three touchdowns allowed, and those were to Jason Witten, Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham. Cook has never shown the consistency of those three (or consistency at all) and using him this week is a huge risk.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Kyle Rudolph, Dennis Pitta, Jason Witten, Zach Ertz, Greg Olsen, Julius Thomas
Quarterback Playoff Strength of Schedule
As you can see, the Broncos have the best playoff schedule, while the Packers have the worst. Does that mean you’re starting Trevor Siemian over Aaron Rodgers? Of course not. However, you should take note that Marcus Mariota has a tough go of it, while Philip Rivers has it great. Cam Newton has a nice run, as does Derek Carr and Eli Manning. Tyrod Taylor is a worrisome one with only one trustworthy matchup.
Running Back Playoff Strength of Schedule
Jonathan Stewart is risky given his inconsistent use in the red zone, but no one has a better schedule. Jeremy Hill has sole control of the backfield and a nice schedule, as does Spencer Ware. Robert Kelley has been a pleasant surprise but no running back has a worse strength of schedule. Thomas Rawls has the worst final two weeks, so be forewarned.
Wide Receiver Playoff Strength of Schedule
Tyrell Williams is helping teams make the playoffs, and he’ll be able to help teams take home a title with his schedule. Don’t forget about stashing Travis Benjamin if he can get healthy. Stefon Diggs (if also healthy) is the only receiver with a “five” matchup in Weeks 15 and 16. The Colts have the worst Week 14 and 15 schedule but get a reprieve in the championship week. The Ravens are the only team without at least one mid-level matchup or better.
Tight End Playoff Strength of Schedule
That stinks seeing the Bears with three straight gorgeous matchups with Jay Cutler and Zach Miller done, but Antonio Gates has it nearly as good. Kyle Randolph is the only tight end with two top matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 (outside of the Bears tight end). C.J. Fiedorowicz has taken advantage of the good matchups, and he has two great ones if you can find an option in Week 15. You’re not sitting Rob Gronkowski and Delanie Walker, but Martellus Bennett and Coby Fleener are poor options for the playoffs.
Main Image Photo Credit: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire