By Jay Skurski
Welcome to the fantasy football postseason!
If you got this far, congratulations. Here are the best matchups of the weekend.
Against quarterbacks, New Orleans (19.8 points per game in standard scoring ESPN leagues), Philadelphia (18.6) and Kansas City (18.2) are giving up the most fantasy points per week. With that in mind, the Giants' Eli Manning is a No. 1 QB this week against the Saints, as is Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman against the Eagles. The Chiefs visit the Cleveland Browns. Despite the good matchup, Browns rookie Brandon Weeden shouldn't be trusted in the postseason.
The toughest defenses for QBs belong to Pittsburgh (10.0), Chicago (10.5) and Arizona (10.6). The Steelers will prolong the misery of San Diego's Philip Rivers, who has lost any fantasy usefulness. The Bears shouldn't have any trouble neutralizing the Vikings' Christian Ponder. The Cardinals visit the Seahawks, making for an interesting fantasy decision. Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been a solid fantasy sleeper the last month of the season. Starting a rookie in the fantasy postseason is a risk, but I like riding the wave of momentum Wilson has been on.
The defenses allowing the most fantasy points to running backs are New Orleans (21.6), Oakland (21.4) and Buffalo (21.3). The Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw is coming off a 100-yard game against Washington last week and is a solid play against the Saints. The Rams' Steven Jackson is a No. 1 RB against the Bills on Sunday.
The stingiest defenses against running backs are San Francisco (10.2), Houston (10.5) and Chicago (11.1). The 49ers host Reggie Bush and the Dolphins, Houston visits Stevan Ridley and the New England Patriots on Monday night and the Bears face the Vikings' Adrian Peterson. Bush can sit, while Ridley should be used a No. 2 or flex running back. Peterson starts every week.
Tampa Bay (27.1), Washington (26.2) and Indianapolis (24.3) are giving up the most points to receivers. The Eagles' Jeremy Maclin is a flex receiver in deeper leagues against the Buccaneers. The Ravens have a pair of receivers in Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin who can be used Sunday at Washington. The Titans' Kenny Britt has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. He's his team's best option against the Colts, with Kendall Wright and Nate Washington both flex players.
The toughest defenses for receivers are Pittsburgh (14.7), Seattle (15.6) and San Francisco (15.8). The Steelers should be able to shut down the Chargers' Malcom Floyd, while the Seahawks should do the same to Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald. The 49ers should eliminate any fantasy use of Miami receivers, who have little value outside of PPR leagues.
Against tight ends, Washington (10.3), Denver (10.1) and Tennessee (9.8) are giving up the most points. I like the Ravens' Dennis Pitta against Washington on Sunday. Colts rookie Coby Fleener caught a touchdown last week and is a sleeper at home against the Titans.
The toughest defenses against tight ends are those in Pittsburgh (5.1), San Francisco (5.3) and San Diego (5.8). Despite their respective tough matchups the Chargers' Antonio Gates and Steelers' Heath Miller should not be taken out of the lineup today.
Best of luck in Week 14!