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The 50 Best Remaining Matchups in the Fantasy Football Season

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIDecember 4, 2016

The 50 Best Remaining Matchups in the Fantasy Football Season

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    A handful of NFL defenses have established themselves as generous contributors of points to fantasy owners’ lineups.

    Whether it is via the run or the pass, some of these have proven to allow big days to the skill-position players of their opponents in the first three weeks.

    A couple have even done it for both categories.

    Those two defenses are the Cincinnati Bengals of the AFC North and the New Orleans Saints of the NFC South.

    The other common names that will be seen in these 50 best remaining matchups as favorable defenses against the run are the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts.

    Teams aside from the Bengals and Saints that will frequent this list as favorable passing defenses are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans.

    The logic behind the organization of the list includes a defense’s inability to stop an offensive dimension, the focus of the opposing offense on that dimension and the week in which the two teams will collide.

    Week 17 has been excluded.

    Weeks 15 and 16 have special priority, as they’re the weeks during which many championships will be played. The immediately upcoming weeks (Weeks 4 and 5) also get added attention. The teams will be more similar to their current iterations during those weeks than they will be in Weeks 10 and 11, for example.

    Read on to find out why each team makes the cut and to see the full list of the top 50 best remaining matchups for the 2012 NFL season.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    How they qualify: Pass/Run


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 6


    Why they qualify: The Bengals have allowed 872 passing yards to quarterbacks in the first three weeks of the season. They’ve faced two rookies (Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III).

    They have yielded five passing touchdowns without picking off a single ball.

    Even ignoring RGIII’s rushing performance against Cincinnati in Week 3, the Bengals have been getting successfully run on by their opponents.

    Ray Rice punched in two touchdowns and racked up 68 yards on just 10 carries in Week 1.

    Rookie Trent Richardson scored his first career touchdown and collected 109 yards on 19 carries in Week 2.

    Fellow rookie Alfred Morris also scored a touchdown and gained 78 yards on 17 totes in Week 3.

    (RGIII had 85 yards on 12 carries and a score.)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 of 11

    How they qualify: Pass


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 5


    Why they qualify: The Buccaneers have been reasonably stout against the run this season. Against the pass? Not so much.

    Particularly in Week 2, Tampa Bay had put together a game plan that limited the high-powered New York Giants offense to 16 points through 45 minutes of play.

    It did not finish the game.

    After picking off three Eli Manning passes in the first half, the Bucs’ defense finished having allowed 510 passing yards and three touchdowns.

    It allowed two receivers (Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz) to sniff 200 yards receiving in a single game (199 and 179, respectively).

Kansas City Chiefs

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    How they qualify: Pass


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 2


    Why they qualify: The Chiefs gave up 240 yards and three touchdowns to Drew Brees in Week 3. They also picked him off once in their first win of the year, which is respectable. Brees is a great quarterback.

    But what happened in Weeks 1 and 2?

    Matt Ryan torched Kansas City with 299 passing yards and three touchdowns (to no picks), while carrying the ball 25 times for another score as the Falcons dropped 40 on the Chiefs in Week 1.

    The Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed two more touchdowns on KC while throwing for 178 yards on just 19 attempts.

Indianapolis Colts

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    How they qualify: Run


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 7


    Why they qualify: Teams have been able to run on the Colts this season. They have faced some premier rushers in the league, but stopping the run has been a problem that has spilled over from 2011.

    Matt Forte got 80 yards on the ground with 16 rushes in Week 1. He also scored a touchdown while having two more of them vultured by Michael Bush.

    The Colts forced the Vikings to play from behind in Week 2 and surrendered 60 yards to a hobbled Adrian Peterson.

    Maurice Jones-Drew tore them up in Week 3.

    MJD had 28 carries and accumulated 177 yards on the ground. He also found the end zone.

Atlanta Falcons

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    How they qualify: Run


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 5


    Why they qualify: With the loss of Curtis Lofton at middle linebacker, Atlanta has had issues stopping the run. It will have to rely on its offense to force teams into throwing to keep up.

    Jamaal Charles got 87 yards on 16 rushes in Week 1. Willis McGahee: 113 yards and two scores on 23 carries in Week 2.

    The Chargers were behind all day in Week 3, but Jackie Battle and Ryan Mathews combined for 99 yards on 13 carries.

Carolina Panthers

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    How they qualify: Run


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 8


    Why they qualify: The Panthers have been awful in terms of stopping the ground game of opposing teams.

    Doug Martin saw 24 handoffs in Week 1, converting them to 95 yards. In Week 2, Pierre Thomas put 110 on them with just nine chances.

    Week 3 saw Andre Brown step into the starting lineup and record 113 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts.

    That Thursday night game more than doubled Brown’s career stats.

Washington Redskins

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    How they qualify: Pass


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 7


    Why they qualify: Washington opened its season facing Drew Brees at the Superdome and held its own…sort of. Brees had 339 passing yards to go with three touchdowns and two picks.

    Going to St. Louis in Week 2, the Redskins allowed Sam Bradford to throw for 310 yards and three touchdowns with just one pick.

    In Week 3, after losing Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker to injuries, the ‘Skins gave Andy Dalton 328 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu completed one ball to A.J. Green for another 73 yards and a fourth score.

New Orleans Saints

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    How they qualify: Pass/Run


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 8


    Why they qualify: The Saints’ offense is accomplished. The defense, therefore, has to face offenses that are trying to either keep Drew Brees off of the field or keep up with Brees and the Saints’ offense.

    New Orleans has allowed more than 450 yards of total offense to each team it has faced this season.

    In Week 3, Jamaal Charles ran roughshod over those guys to the tune of 288 total yards (233 rushing) and a touchdown on a massive 39 touches.

Tennessee Titans

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    How they qualify: Pass


    Number of Top 50 matchups: 3


    Why they qualify: The Titans have faced some high-powered passing offenses this season. They’ve seen Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford.

    But Tennessee has also shown an Achilles’ heel: an inability to contain tight ends.

    Between Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Dante Rosario and Brandon Pettigrew, the Titans have allowed 24 catches, 228 yards and five touchdowns in three weeks.

The List

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    50. Chris Johnson vs. Colts (Weeks 8 and 14)

    49. Peyton Manning vs. Buccaneers (Week 13)

    48. Matt Ryan at Buccaneers (Week 12)

    47. Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller at Colts (Week 12)

    46. Frank Gore at Saints (Week 12)

    45. Eli Manning at Redskins (Week 13)

    44. Joe Flacco at Redskins (Week 14)

    43. Jay Cutler at Titans (Week 9)

    42. Doug Martin vs. Falcons (Week 12)

    41. Stevan Ridley vs. Colts (Week 11)

    40. Jamaal Charles vs. Bengals (Week 11)

    39. Michael Vick at Redskins (Week 11)

    38. Jamaal Charles vs. Panthers (Week 13)

    37. DeMarco Murray at Falcons (Week 9)

    36. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Redskins (Week 8)

    35. LeSean McCoy vs. Falcons (Week 8)

    34. LeSean McCoy vs. Panthers (Week 12)

    33. Doug Martin at Panthers (Week 11)

    32. Matt Forte/Michael Bush vs. Panthers (Week 8)

    31. Doug Martin vs. Saints (Week 7)

    30. Drew Brees at Buccaneers (Week 7)

    29. Eli Manning vs. Redskins (Week 7)

    28. Trent Richardson at Colts (Week 7)

    27. DeMarco Murray at Panthers (Week 7)

    26. Trent Richardson vs. Bengals (Week 6)

    25. Ben Roethlisberger at Titans (Week 6)

    24. Joe Flacco at Chiefs (Week 5)

    23. Ryan Mathews at Saints (Week 5)

    22. Matt Ryan at Redskins (Week 5)

    21. Marshawn Lynch at Panthers (Week 5)

    20. Ryan Mathews vs. Panthers (Week 15)

    19. Arian Foster/Ben Tate vs. Colts (Week 15)

    18. Doug Martin at Saints (Week 15)

    17. Ahmad Bradshaw/Andre Brown at Falcons (Week 15)

    16. Drew Brees vs. Buccaneers (Week 15)

    15. Aaron Rodgers vs. Saints (Week 4)

    14. Robert Griffin III at Buccaneers (Week 4)

    13. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Bengals (Week 4)

    12. Andrew Luck at Chiefs (Week 16)

    11. Mikel Leshoure vs. Falcons (Week 16)

    10. Aaron Rodgers vs. Titans (Week 16)

    9. Jamaal Charles vs. Colts (Week 16)

    8. Michael Vick vs. Redskins (Week 16)

    7. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals (Week 16)

    6. Darren McFadden at Panthers (Week 16)

    5. Philadelphia Eagles at Saints (Week 9)

    4. New York Giants vs. Saints (Week 14)

    3. Dallas Cowboys vs. Bengals (Week 14)

    2. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Bengals (Week 15)

    1. Dallas Cowboys vs. Saints (Week 16)

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