Looking to exploit favorable fantasy matchups in Week 4? In this article, I list the worst rushing and passing defenses in the league through the first three weeks of the 2010 season, their opponents, and who may benefit and produce great fantasy performances.
Worst Run Defenses
|Rank||Team||Yds. Allowed||Yds/game||Rush TDs|
|28||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||424||141.3||2|
|30||New Orleans Saints||435||145.0||3|
Matchups in Week 4
27 Buffalo Bills vs. N.Y. Jets (LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene)
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers BYE WEEK
29 Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings)
30 New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart)
31 Arizona Cardinals @ San Diego Chargers (Mike Tolbert, Ryan Mathews)
32 Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn)
Worst Pass Defenses
|Rank||Team||Yds. Allowed||Yds/game||Pass TDs|
Matchups in Week 4
28 Chicago Bears @ N.Y. Giants (Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Steve Smith)
29 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts (Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon)
30 Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams (Sam Bradford, Mark Clayton)
31 Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles (Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek)
32 Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders (Bruce Gradkowski, Zach Miller, Louis Murphy)
With specific regard to Week 4, I am not too enthusiastic about some of the favorable run defense matchups. While teams like Jacksonville and Carolina have statistically favorable matchups on paper, their respective team performance has been brutal so far this year, and I’m not expecting things to turn around this week for Jones-Drew and DeAngelo Williams. Still, it’s nearly impossible to bench these players, as they were high picks in most leagues; I would just temper your expectations.
Things look a little brighter for those teams with favorable pass defense matchups. Michael Vick should continue his phoenix-like rise against a Washington defense which has been torched so far this season. While I normally avoid rookie signal callers, if you have bye week issues with your starting QB then Sam Bradford makes for a strong start at home against the Seachickens, who just gave up 455 passing yards at home last week. And if you own any elements of the Colts passing attack, you’re starting them all this week. Heck, against the Jags I’d be starting the Colts water boy if my league rules allowed it.
While these favorable matchups pan out more often than they fail, I want to stress that this analysis is best suited for borderline roster decisions in larger (12 and 14-team) leagues which also start a third WR, a fourth WR, or a flex spot. In a smaller (10-team) league which only starts 2 RB and 2 WR positions, for example, I’m not likely to ever bench my studs solely to opt for a player with a favorable matchup.
Don’t get cute! You drafted your studs for a reason, and if you’re gonna go down with them at least go down swinging. Nothing feels worse in fantasy football than seeing a marquee player go off while on your bench because you thought a bit player with a favorable matchup was a sneaky play. Bottom line is: don’t treat this data as gospel; however, if you have a borderline roster sit/start decision, you may wish to opt with one of the favorable matchups shown.
Jeff LaGrassa is a Steelers fan and a Cafe regular, and the proud dad of an 18-month old boy. 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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