By Jay Skurski
The last week of the fantasy regular season (in most leagues) is here. If you need a win today (like me) to make the postseason dance, you'll want to take advantage of the following matchups.
The teams giving up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks are New Orleans (20.7), Oakland (18.5) and Washington (18.4). The Saints played Thursday night against Atlanta. The Raiders host the Browns, but rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is coming off a concussion and is not a good start today. The Redskins host Eli Manning and the Giants on Monday Night Football. Manning is a solid play.
The toughest defenses for quarterbacks are Chicago (9.1), Pittsburgh (10.3) and Seattle (10.8). Rookie Russell Wilson has had a nice season, but he should sit against the Bears. The Ravens' Joe Flacco faces the Steelers at home. Pittsburgh should get Troy Polamalu back in the secondary, so I'd sit Flacco. The Seahawks haven't been as good on the road as at home, so the Bears' Jay Cutler is a good start Sunday.
The worst defenses against running backs belong to Buffalo (22.6), New Orleans (21.9) and Oakland (21.7). The Jaguars will turn to Rashad Jennings today against the Bills, but he's averaging just 2.8 yards per rush this season. The Bills' run defense has been better the past couple weeks, so Jennings should sit. The Raiders will have their hands full with Browns rookie Trent Richardson, who is a sure No. 1 running back.
The toughest defenses against running backs are San Francisco (10.2), Chicago (10.8) and Houston (11.0). The 49ers should be able to contain the Rams' backfield of Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson. The Bears host the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch, whose owners can expect No. 2 RB production. The Texans' defense has struggled lately and plays the Titans' Chris Johnson. He's a good start.
Against wide receivers, Tampa Bay (27.4), Washington (27.2) and New Orleans (25.6) are allowing the most points. That's good news for the Broncos, who host the Bucs on Sunday. Demaryius Thomas is a No. 1 option, while Eric Decker is another start-worthy player as a No. 2 or flex receiver. The Giants' Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks likewise have good matchups with the Redskins.
The defenses holding fantasy receivers to the fewest points are Pittsburgh (14.5), Seattle (14.8) and Atlanta (15.7). The Ravens' Torrey Smith was held to one catch for 7 yards in his first game against the Steelers. While he should do better than that Sunday, sitting Smith is an option if you have sufficient depth. The Bears' Brandon Marshall is a starter every week, despite the tough game today against the Seahawks.
The teams giving up the most points to tight ends are Denver (10.2), New England (10.0) and Washington (9.9). Only the Giants, with Martellus Bennett, have a tight end worthy of starting though.
The toughest defenses against tight ends are Cleveland (4.7), San Francisco (5.3) and Pittsburgh (5.5). That should not impact your plans at the position, as none of their opponents have tight ends worth starting.
Best of luck in Week 13!