StrategyDecember 10, 2009

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Weak Defenses and Favorable Week 14 Matchups

By Jeff LaGrassa

Looking to exploit favorable fantasy matchups in Week 14? In this article, I list the worst rushing and passing defenses in the league through the first thirteen weeks of the season, their opponents, and who may benefit and produce great fantasy performances.

Worst Run Defenses

RankTeamYds. AllowedYds/gameRush TDs


Kansas City Chiefs1725143.813
28St. Louis Rams1754146.217
29Cleveland Browns1850154.214
30Oakland Raiders1904158.718
31Tampa Bay Buccaneers1921160.113
32Buffalo Bills2065172.116

Matchups in Week 14

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch*)
St. Louis Rams @ Tennessee Titans (Chris Johnson, Lendale White)
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Rashard Mendenhall)
Oakland Raiders vs. Washington Redskins (Quinton Ganther, Rock Cartwright)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Jets (Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene)
Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs (Jamaal Charles)

* watch injury reports

Worst Pass Defenses

RankTeamYds. AllowedYds/gamePass TDs
25Seattle Seahawks2922243.522
26Cleveland Browns2953246.118
27San Francisco 49ers3007250.613
28Kansas City Chiefs3010250.821
29Atlanta Falcons3056254.720
30Arizona Cardinals3094257.818
31Tennessee Titans3204267.026
32Detroit Lions3297274.828

Matchups in Week 14
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans (Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter)
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, Mike Wallace, Hines Ward*)
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals (Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet)
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrell Owens, Lee Evans)
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (Start the entire team, including the water boy)
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (Alex Smith, Vernon Davis)
Tennessee Titans vs. St. Louis Rams (Don’t even think about it)
Detroit Lions @ Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap)

Additional notes
Week 14 is typically the first week of playoffs in most fantasy football leagues, or the last week of the regular season. As such, it’s especially critical to look at favorable matchups for your fantasy players to increase your chances in getting that all-important win. At the same time, it is crucial to not bench stud players and opt for a marginal player with a favorable matchup. At this stage in the game, one bad performance can be the end of your fantasy season, and you’d rather go down with the horses which got you there.

When it comes to matchups in the run game, there are several stud players who should continue their excellent seasons. Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, and Thomas Jones are three must-start players; you probably weren’t benching them for any reason anyway. Jamaal Charles has been superb since taking over for Larry Johnson and gets the benefit of the league-worst Buffalo Bills run defense this week. On the flip side, you’d have to be a very desperate owner or have some serious injury troubles if you’re consider starting players like LenDale White and Shonn Greene, favorable matchup and all.

The Houston passing game rests on the arms and shoulders of Matt Schaub, and if he is unable to suit up this week, all bets are off with Rex GROSSman. Kurt Warner and his receivers should continue their resurgence since Warner returned from his concussion with a favorable matchup against the 49ers, and every Saint on your roster should be started against the Falcons. On the contrary, without Hines Ward and with possibly poor weather in store, I am not as enthused about the Steelers passing attack against Cleveland on Thursday night. And the Ravens offense looked positively woeful last Monday, which doesn’t instill a lot of confidence against what is statistically the weakest pass defense in the league but who held Carson Palmer and company mostly in check last week. Other than Steven Jackson, I wouldn’t start a single Ram, and Vernon Davis is the only 49er I’d want in my lineup in this crucial week. Good luck to all!

Jeff LaGrassa is a Steelers fan and a Cafe regular, and a proud new dad. In his free time (yeah right!) he enjoys disc golf, skiing, and playing the electric bass. You can catch him posting in the Cafe forums as The Lung.
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