By Jay Skurski
The New Orleans Saints’ fantasy struggles were covered in Friday’s print column, but a quick reminder: They rank No. 1 in points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 2 in points to running backs, and No. 1 to points in receivers.
That makes for a good week to start any Oakland Raiders you may own.
Ranking behind the Saints against quarterbacks are the Bills (19.2) and Redskins (19.0). Washington, though, faces Philadelphia, who will be starting rookie Nick Foles for the first time in his career, so fantasy owners don’t catch a break there.
The toughest defenses against quarterbacks belong to Chicago (8.4), Seattle (10.4) and Pittsburgh (11.0). The Bears face Alex Smith and the 49ers, the Seahawks are on their bye, and the Steelers draw Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Neither Smith nor Flacco should be starters for your team this week.
Against running backs, the Bills are giving up the most points, but shut down Reggie Bush and the Dolphins’ running game Thursday night. After the Bills it’s the Saints and Jaguars (21.7). Jacksonville has the unenviable task of trying to defend Houston’s Arian Foster. Good luck with that.
The toughest defenses against running backs are San Francisco (9.8), Houston (10.2) and Chicago (10.3). The Bears’ Matt Forte and 49ers’ Frank Gore both have very difficult matchups. They are must starts every week, but I’d expect them to put up No. 2 running back numbers. With Maurice Jones-Drew still out, any running back you may own doesn’t have much value.
Against receivers, the friendliest defenses are New Orleans (28.8), Washington (28.2) and Tampa Bay (28.1). Philadelphia receiver Jeremy Maclin should get more work than teammate DeSean Jackson today against the Redskins. The Buccaneers go against Carolina’s Steve Smith, who should still start even though he’s having a down year.
The defenses giving up the most points to tight ends are Denver (11.7), Washington (10.9) and Tennessee (10.3). The Broncos face Antonio Gates and the Chargers, while the Redskins draw the Eagles’ Brent Celek. Both are good plays today. The Titans are on their bye.
The Colts (3.7), Jaguars (3.8) and Browns (4.6) are the best defenses against tight ends. Indianapolis, though, has to deal with Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots today. Jacksonville also has a tough matchup against Owen Daniels and the Texans, while Cleveland faces Jason Witten and the Cowboys. All three of those tight ends should play every week.
Best of luck in Week 11!