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Fantasy Saturday: Best and worst matchups of Week Three

By Jay Skurski

When New Orleans meets Kansas City tomorrow, it will be a matchup of the two friendliest defenses for opposing fantasy quarterbacks.

Both the Saints and Chiefs have given up an average of 24.5 points per game to quarterbacks. New Orleans' Drew Brees is an obvious start, while Kansas City's Matt Cassel is a sleeper option.

The toughest defenses against fantasy quarterbacks so far have been Houston (3.0 points per game), Philadelphia (3.5) and Jacksonville.

Fantasy owners have a tough call on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who struggled last week and has to face the Texans. I'd sit him if you have a quality backup. The Eagles face former teammate Kevin Kolb with the Cardinals (you're not starting him) and the Jaguars get Andrew Luck and the Colts (another one you shouldn't start).

Part of the reason the Jaguars have been tough against the pass is because there hasn't been any reason for the opposing offense to throw. Jacksonville is giving up 32.5 points per game to opposing fantasy running backs. That makes Donald Brown a good sleeper play this week. The Saints are second-worst against the run, giving up 28 points on average. You can use the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles this week with a little more confidence.

The toughest defenses against running backs are New England (6.0), San Francisco (6.5) and Seattle (7.5). Baltimore's Ray Rice has the Patriots, but he's a must start every week. The Vikings' Adrian Peterson has the 49ers. I wouldn't expect anything more than No. 2 running back stats from him, and would endorse sitting him if you are deep at running back. The Packers' Cedric Benson should sit on the road at Seattle.

Against wide receivers, Tampa Bay (39.5), the New York Giants (37) and Buffalo (35) have been the friendliest defenses. The Bucs play Dallas, which makes Miles Austin and Dez Bryant good plays. The Bills face the Browns. Mohamed Massaquoi has been their best weapon -- he's a good No. 2 or flex option this week.

Houston (7.0), Carolina (9.0) and Tennessee (9.0_ have been the toughest defenses against receivers. That means Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker of the Broncos can sit this week. The Titans will be tested against the Lions' Calvin Johnson.

On the other hand, Tennessee has been terrible against opposing tight ends, giving up an average of 25 points per game. That's good news for Brandon Pettigrew.

Houston (notice a trend) is giving up just 0.5 points per game to opposing tight ends, which means Denver's Jacob Tamme should sit. The Bills, who were terrible against tight ends last season, are giving up just 2.5 points per game this year. That means the Browns' Benjamin Watson should sit this week.

Best of luck in Week Three!

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |