|Matt Forte may be maddening, but it looks like he’s starting
to even out. —Photo Icon SMI
The Patriots are league darlings, so it’s not the sort of thing spoken about openly in polite society, but their defense is laughably awful. That’s bad for their playoff outlook, but a potential bonanza for Fantasy owners looking to lock up a playoff slot.
Thanks to the Titans tanking, the Texans have finally crawled up out of the gutter of their long-running place as dead last against the pass. Belichick’s Pee-Wee squad is now the holder of that dubious title. The Patriots are giving up 288.5 passing yards per game and allowed 21 receiving TDs. While those numbers are terrible, what’s most striking is that opposing quarterbacks have an obscene 68.3 completion percentage. So basically, if a QB drops back to pass against New England, he’s going to hit somebody. There’s nothing like statistical certainty to brighten up a Fantasy GM’s day.
Obviously, that makes the Pats a giant mark. Through Week 16, they draw NYJ, CHI, GB, and BUF. Go all in on those teams. Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jay Cutler are must-starts at QB in those games, and you should strongly consider starting even marginal pass catchers like Dustin Keller, Johnny Knox, Braylon Edwards, James Jones and Jordy Nelson. Heck, even Lee Evans might deserve a play if he finds his hands. Just kidding. Those things are in the Land of Lost Luggage.
Sometimes it’s best to sneak in the back door.
Matt Forte @ DET – Forte’s production is about as stable as Gary Busey on a Four Loko bender, but the stars are aligned for him to annihilate DET. The Lions have allowed the third-most rushing TDs and are giving up 21.2 FPPG to RBs (also third-worst).
Jason Avant vs. HOU – Thanks to TEN’s Rusty Smith, the Texans have dropped the title of World’s Worst Pass defense. Avant, who is becoming a Vick favorite, helps to send them back to the bottom.
Joel Dreessen @ PHI – Eagles still can’t cover a TE to save their lives, and Dreessen is becoming the player that Owen Daniels used to be.
Matt Cassel vs. DEN – The Broncos are the second most generous team when it comes to giving up Fantasy points to QBs. The Matt Cassel-Dwayne Bowe Cavalcade of Touchdowns continues, starring Brian Dawkins as Toast, The Clown Who Couldn’t Cover.
Davone Bess vs. CLE – Chad Henne is back in the saddle, and he’s the guy that made Bess. Brandon Marshall should be back this week, and that means single coverage for Bess, which he’ll beat easily.
Miami DEF/ST vs. CLE – Colt McCoy is still banged up, so it looks like another start for Jake Delhomme. I’ll take the over on sacks and interceptions for Miami no matter how ridiculously high Vegas sets it.
Visanthe Shiancoe vs. BUF – Sidney Rice just isn’t back yet, and Brett Favre is looking for Shiancoe again. The matchup is tasty, with the Bills giving up the second-most FPPG to TEs (9.9).
Mike Tolbert vs. OAK – The Lazarus Corps of Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown rose from the dead to rush for 180 yards and a TD against OAK last week. The Raiders are giving up 20.9 FPPG to RBs. We’ll start with 100 rushing yards and two TDs for Tolbert, and work from there.
Mike Goodson @ SEA – Jonathan Stewart is healthy again, as evidenced by his 8.2 YPC. That might matter more if Goodson hadn’t caught 15 passes for 112 yards in the last two games. Sometimes having an awful rookie QB who does nothing but check down to RBs is a Fantasy goldmine.
Sam Bradford @ ARI – The Cardinals were routed by the 49ers minus Frank Gore. That’s like getting smoked by the Orlando Magic with no Dwight Howard. Bradford is playing well lately, lighting up the Broncos for 308 passing yards and three TDs last week.
Derrick Mason vs. PIT – Something has got the old fella riled up, because he’s playing good football lately, to the detriment of Anquan Boldin’s numbers. Mason was targeted 13 times against TB, to Boldin’s four.
They’ve got the name, but they don’t have the game.
The T.Ocho Show vs. NO – The Jets might have better cover men, but no one is shutting down receivers like the Saints. They’re allowing 11.5 FPPG to WRs and have given up a league-low seven TD receptions. At this rate, tigers might be extinct before these Bengals turns things around.
Nate Burleson vs. CHI – Shaun Hill is out, which means the QB situation is shakier than Andre Smith on a trampoline. Additionally, the Bears embody the bend-don’t-break philosophy, ranking 17th in passing yards allowed, but only giving up eight receiving TDs.
Brian Westbrook @ GB – Not for lack of touches, but because the Packers are handing out swirlies to RBs. They’re allowing just 12.1 FPPG to the position (fourth-best). Anthony Dixon might be a better bet for a cheap TD.
NY Jets DEF/ST @ NE – Face off: Hotter – Patriots offense or Mrs. Tom Brady? New England leads the league in points scored and is death to Fantasy defenses, with a ridonkulous -0.4 FPPG allowed. Negative Fantasy points!
Santana Moss @ NYG – Have you seen Donovan McNabb play lately? He’s got a center of pure awfulness, surrounding by a coating of rich, creamy atrocity. Seeing has how the Giants rank No. 1 against the pass, Moss might as well just stay home.
LeGarrette Blount vs. ATL – Blount picked a bad time to start slipping. The Falcons are ferocious against the run, allowing 10.5 FPPG to RBs and only four rushing TDs.
Darren McFadden @ SD – Run DMC is checking his sofa cushions for whatever he had early in the season, because he most certainly lost it. Not that he’d get a chance against the Chargers, as the Raiders will probably be in catch-up mode early. The matchup is so bad that I almost didn’t bother mentioning that SD allows 81.1 rushing YPG.
Wes Welker vs. NYJ – Draws Darrelle Revis in coverage. ‘Nuff said.
|1.||Michael Vick vs. HOU||1.||Steven Jackson @ ARI||1.||Dwayne Bowe vs. DEN|
|2.||Philip Rivers vs. OAK||2.||Jamaal Charles vs. DEN||2.||Andre Johnson @ PHI|
|3.||Drew Brees @ CIN||3.||Peyton Hillis @ MIA||3.||Brandon Lloyd @ KC|
|4.||Aaron Rodgers vs. SF||4.||Mike Tolbert vs. OAK||4.||Steve Johnson @ MIN|
|5.||Peyton Manning vs. DAL||5.||Arian Foster @ PHI||5.||Roddy White @ TB|
|6.||Kyle Orton @ KC||6.||Fred Jackson @ MIN||6.||DeSean Jackson vs. HOU|
|7.||Mark Sanchez @ NE||7.||LeSean McCoy vs. HOU||7.||Reggie Wayne vs. DAL|
|8.||Matt Cassel vs. DEN||8.||Matt Forte @ DET||8.||Santonio Holmes @ NE|
|9.||Jay Cutler @ DET||9.||Maurice Jones-Drew @ TEN||9.||Marques Colston @ CIN|
|10.||Tom Brady vs. NYJ||10.||Michael Turner @ TB||10.||Greg Jennings vs. SF|
|11.||Ryan Fitzpatrick @ MIN||11.||Chris Johnson vs. JAX||11.||Mario Manningham vs. WAS|
|12.||Eli Manning vs. WAS||12.||Thomas Jones vs. DEN||12.||Calvin Johnson vs. CHI|
|13.||Sam Bradford @ ARI||13.||Mike Goodson @ SEA||13.||Jeremy Maclin vs. HOU|
|14.||Joe Flacco vs. PIT||14.||Adrian Peterson vs. BUF||14.||Derrick Mason vs. PIT|
|15.||Matt Ryan @ TB||15.||Brian Westbrook @ GB||15.||Hines Ward @ BAL|
|16.||Ben Roethlisberger @ BAL||16.||Ahmad Bradshaw vs. WAS||16.||Larry Fitzgerald vs. STL|
|17.||Kerry Collins vs. JAX||17.||LaDainian Tomlinson @ NE||17.||Ben Obomanu vs. CAR|
|18.||Jon Kitna @ IND||18.||Knowshon Moreno @ KC||18.||Braylon Edwards @ NE|
|19.||Matt Hasselbeck vs. CAR||19.||Ray Rice vs. PIT||19.||Wes Welker vs. NYJ|
|20.||David Garrard @ TEN||20.||Chris Ivory @ CIN||20.||Dez Bryant @ IND|
|1.||Jacob Tamme vs. DAL||1.||Bears @ DET||1.||Nick Folk @ NE|
|2.||Chris Cooley @ NYG||2.||Packers vs. SF||2.||Matt Bryant @ TB|
|3.||Kevin Boss vs. WAS||3.||Chargers vs. OAK||3.||Nate Kaeding vs. OAK|
|4.||Tony Gonzalez @ TB||4.||Giants vs. WAS||4.||Lawrence Tynes vs. WAS|
|5.||Joel Dreessen @ PHI||5.||Dolphins vs. CLE||5.||Billy Cundiff vs. PIT|
|6.||Marcedes Lewis @ TEN||6.||Rams @ ARI||6.||Josh Brown @ ARI|
|7.||Jason Witten @ IND||7.||Steelers @ BAL||7.||David Akers vs. HOU|
|8.||Greg Olsen @ DET||8.||Saints @ CIN||8.||Shaun Suisham|
|9.||Brandon Pettigrew vs. CHI||9.||Eagles vs. HOU||9.||Dan Carpenter vs. CLE|
|10.||Dustin Keller @ NE||10.||Titans vs. JAX||10.||Olindo Mare vs. CAR|
To go even deeper down the Fantasy rankings rabbit hole, be sure to check out Scott Engel with RotoExperts’ Xclusive Edge rankings.
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