New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw is among the top 15 fantasy running backs this season, and that means he's one of the few backs guaranteed to deliver for owners during the fantasy playoffs.
Sure, Bradshaw may have flown under the radar in New York's blowout win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 (11 rushes for 33 yards) after injuring his knee, but the injury doesn't appear to be all that serious considering he returned to the field. In addition, Bradshaw is still just one week removed from a 100-plus-yard rushing performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.
But more important than Bradshaw's past output is his future opponents.
The Giants' last three games are against the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles. None of those teams ranks better than 17th defending the run, which bodes extremely well for Bradshaw owners.
Atlanta ranks just 23rd defending the run this season and is giving up 127 yards on the ground per game heading into this Week 15 showdown with New York. Another statistic sure to excite Bradshaw owners is this: The Falcons have given up over 100 rushing yards and at least one rushing touchdown in four of their last five games, and eight times in 13 games this season.
In Week 14, the Falcons were thrashed by the Carolina Panthers on the ground to the tune of 195 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Only six teams in the NFL are giving up more fantasy points to running backs on average than Atlanta.
New York's Week 16 opponent, Baltimore, ranks 25th against the run, surrendering more than 129 rushing yards per game.
The Ravens have been better than Atlanta in terms of defending the run over their last few games. But Baltimore is coming off a game against Washington in which its defense surrendered 172 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Will Ahmad Bradshaw rush for more or less than 1,000 yards (currently has 869) in 2012?
Look for yards to come in bunches for Bradshaw on the road at the Ravens in Week 16. After all, Baltimore is giving up the 11th-most fantasy points per week to opposing running backs.
Bradshaw's worst matchup will come in the Giants' season finale, however, when they play host to the division-rival Eagles. Philadelphia is 17th against the run this season, but has only given up seven touchdowns on the ground through its first 13 games.
Plus, Bradshaw only had 39 yards on 13 carries against the Eagles back in Week 4.
If there is good news about Bradshaw's matchup with Philly though it's that the Eagles have given up more than 100 yards rushing in seven of their last nine games this season. Clearly the Eagles are headed on vacation early, which means that Bradshaw could find himself running up against an uninspired defense in Week 17.
Either way, the veteran running back is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and a tremendous 9.3 yards per reception this season, making him one of the safer bets during these fantasy playoffs.
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