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Fantasy Saturday: Best and worst matchups of Week 12

By Jay Skurski

Happy Disco day. Before dancing the night away, make sure you've got your lineup set. Here's a look at this week's best and worst matchups by position:

Against quarterbacks, the Saints (20.9), Vikings (18.7) and Raiders (18.3) are giving up the most fantasy points per week in standard scoring ESPN leagues. New Orleans hosts San Francisco, which is likely to have a new starting quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. If there's ever a time to trust a second-year player making just his second-ever start, it's against the Saints. The Vikings visit Chicago, who should have Jay Cutler back in the lineup from a concussion. He's a good start. The Raiders visit Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Dalton is another good play Sunday.

The toughest defenses for quarterbacks are found in Chicago (9.4), Seattle (10.4) and Pittsburgh (10.5). That means if you own Minnesota's Christian Ponder, the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill or the Browns' Brandon Weeden, you should be finding a different option.

The defenses allowing the most fantasy points to running backs are Buffalo (24.1), New Orleans (22.1) and Oakland (21.5). Vick Ballard of the Colts should be in your lineup against the Bills, while the Saints will have to deal with Frank Gore of the 49ers, a must start each week. The Bengals' BenJarvus Green-Ellis has touchdowns in two of his last three games and is a good start.

The toughest defenses against opposing running backs belong to the 49ers (9.5), Texans (10.0) and Bears (10.8). New Orleans running backs are tough to predict, so they should sit today against the Niners. Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has a tough matchup, but of course you're not sitting him.

The Saints (27.6), Tampa Bay (27.5) and Washington (26.2) are giving up the most points to opposing receivers. The Niners' Michael Crabtree is a good play in New Orleans, while the Bucs have to deal with the nightmare matchup against Atlanta's must-start duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones.

The defenses allowing the fewest points to receivers are Seattle (15.0), Pittsburgh (15.1) and Atlanta (15.4). Brian Hartline is having a nice fantasy season for Miami, but I expect the Seahawks to shut him down Sunday. I'd consider sitting Hartline. In Cleveland, rookie Josh Gordon has become the Browns' top pass catcher. I like him Sunday as a No. 2 WR despite the tough matchup. The Falcons also have a tough matchup against Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams (Riverside). Williams should sit Sunday.

Against tight ends, Denver (10.8), Tennessee (10.3) and Washington (10.2) are giving up the most fantasy points. The Broncos have a layup today against the Chiefs, who do not have a viable fantasy tight end. The Titans face the Jaguars, who likewise don't have a fantasy threat at tight end.

The toughest defenses against tight ends are Cleveland (4.6), San Francisco (4.7) and Pittsburgh (5.1). The Steelers' Heath Miller and the Saints' Jimmy Graham are must starts each week despite their matchups, while Cleveland's Benjamin Watson should sit against Pittsburgh.

Best of luck in Week 12!

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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 |