by Russ Bliss (11/9/11)


We've gotten thru 9 weeks of the season and every team has played at least 8 games. While anything is possible, you pretty much get a fairly good gauge on each team's defense by this point and how they'll do the rest of the season. Are they a good matchup for your RB's? Are they a bad matchup for your RB's?

Knowing this information now can help you make the right decisions when it comes to evaluating trades and potential free agent pickups for those fantasy playoff weeks. Especially if you think you are going to make your fantasy playoffs.

It doesn't matter if you get in as the top seed, or the bottom seed, in head to head style leagues, each week is elimination and the team that is best prepared with players who have the best matchups, is usually going to win.

Weeks 14-16 are usually the 3 playoff weeks in standard head to head leagues and I use that as the basis. You'll also see included the weeks 13 and 17 matchups off the side, and I include those for those who have playoffs that start earlier, or leagues that go all the way thru to week 17. But for the purposes of the rankings below, I use weeks 14-16, and total up the amount of fantasy points allowed per game for each of the 3 opponents those weeks. I have also included the defensive rankings for each opponent, but I think the total amount of points allowed is a little more important than the rankings, since there can be less than a single point that separates many teams in their ranked position. For example, currently there are 6 teams who give up between 13.00-13.99 rushing fantasy points per game. They represent rushing defenses ranked 4-9. A difference of 5 ranking spots due to a difference of less than a single rushing point. So points are more desirable in my opinion.  

Looking at the graph below, you'll notice that the Houston Texans have the most favorable rushing matchup's weeks 14-16 based on total rushing fantasy points allowed by their opponents. This bodes well for the owner of Arian Foster, and makes it even more important for that fantasy owner to have Ben Tate as the handcuff going into his playoffs in case of a Foster injury. If you own Arian Foster and you don't have Ben Tate, make a trade for Tate! If you don't have Arian Foster, maybe you try to pry him away from the owner who does. Be careful when evaluating certain RB's though as you'll notice both Chicago's Matt Forte and Buffalo's Fred Jackson have very poor rushing matchups in weeks 14-16. But both of those RB's are extremely accomplished receivers as well. When you look at the fantasy points allowed thru the air to opponents in weeks 14-16, you'll see the Bears and Bills both have great matchups those 3 weeks. That increases the likelihood of Forte and Jackson still providing excellent fantasy points those weeks. So don't sell short on proven pass catching RB's based just on their rushing matchups; consider their receiving matchups as well.

By examining this list, you'll be able to figure out who you should be trading for, and who you should be avoiding. And remember, this list uses the simple generic formula of 1 point per every 10 rushing yards allowed and 6 points for every rushing TD allowed divided by the number of games each defense has played.
 

Overall

Rushing matchups

14

15

16

Totals


13

17










1

Houston Texans









opponent

CIN

CAR

IND



ATL

TEN


FP/PG

12.95

21.58

21.94

56.47


14.15

15.68


Rank

3

31

32

66


10

17










2

Dallas Cowboys









opponent

NYG

TB

PHI



ARI

NYG


FP/PG

19.46

19.24

17.65

56.35


20.03

19.46


Rank

26

25

21

72


29

26










3

Baltimore Ravens









opponent

IND

SD

CLE



CLE

CIN


FP/PG

21.94

15

18.9

55.84


18.9

12.95


Rank

32

13

23

68


23

3










4

New York Jets









opponent

KC

PHI

NYG



WAS

MIA


FP/PG

18.03

17.65

19.46

55.14


16.76

13.31


Rank

22

21

26

69


20

7










5

Green Bay Packers









opponent

OAK

KC

CHI



NYG

DET


FP/PG

20.71

18.03

15.5

54.24


19.46

16.01


Rank

30

22

15

67


26

18










6

Tennessee Titans









opponent

NO

IND

JAX



BUF

HOU


FP/PG

16.63

21.94

15.5

54.07


19.58

13.14


Rank

19

32

15

66


27

5










7

Atlanta Falcons









opponent

CAR

JAX

NO



HOU

TB


FP/PG

21.58

15.5

16.63

53.71


13.14

19.24


Rank

31

15

19

65


5

25










8

Cincinnati Bengals









opponent

HOU

STL

ARI



PIT

BAL


FP/PG

13.14

19.86

20.03

53.03


13.56

10.93


Rank

5

28

29

62


8

2










9

Kansas City Chiefs









opponent

NYJ

GB

OAK



CHI

DEN


FP/PG

19.05

13

20.71

52.76


15.5

15.3


Rank

24

4

30

58


15

14










10

Miami Dolphins









opponent

PHI

BUF

NE



OAK

NYJ


FP/PG

17.65

19.58

14.73

51.96


20.71

19.05


Rank

21

27

11

59


30

24










11

Tampa Bay Buccaneers









opponent

JAX

DAL

CAR



CAR

ATL


FP/PG

15.5

13.99

21.58

51.07


21.58

14.15


Rank

15

9

31

55


31

10










12

Denver Broncos









opponent

CHI

NE

BUF



MIN

KC


FP/PG

15.5

14.73

19.58

49.81


13.19

18.03


Rank

15

11

27

53


6

22










13

New York Giants









opponent

DAL

WAS

NYJ



GB

DAL


FP/PG

13.99

16.76

19.05

49.8


13

13.99


Rank

9

20

24

53


4

9










14

Minnesota Vikings









opponent

DET

NO

WAS



DEN

CHI


FP/PG

16.01

16.63

16.76

49.4


15.3

15.5


Rank

18

19

20

57


14

15










15

Jacksonville Jaguars









opponent

TB

ATL

TEN



SD

IND


FP/PG

19.24

14.15

15.68

49.07


15

21.94


Rank

25

10

17

52


13

32










16

Detroit Lions









opponent

MIN

OAK

SD



NO

GB


FP/PG

13.19

20.71

15

48.9


16.63

13


Rank

6

30

13

49


19

4










17

San Francisco 49ers









opponent

ARI

PIT

SEA



STL

STL


FP/PG

20.03

13.56

14.79

48.38


19.86

19.86


Rank

29

8

12

49


28

28










18

Washington Redskins









opponent

NE

NYG

MIN



NYJ

PHI


FP/PG

14.73

19.46

13.19

47.38


19.05

17.65


Rank

11

26

6

43


24

21










19

Oakland Raiders









opponent

GB

DET

KC



MIA

SD


FP/PG

13

16.01

18.03

47.04


13.31

15


Rank

4

18

22

44


7

13










20

Carolina Panthers









opponent

ATL

HOU

TB



TB

NO


FP/PG

14.15

13.14

19.24

46.53


19.24

16.63


Rank

10

5

25

40


25

19










21

San Diego Chargers









opponent

BUF

BAL

DET



JAX

OAK


FP/PG

19.58

10.93

16.01

46.52


15.5

20.71


Rank

27

2

18

47


15

30










22

Philadelphia Eagles









opponent

MIA

NYJ

DAL



SEA

WAS


FP/PG

13.31

19.05

13.99

46.35


14.79

16.76


Rank

7

24

9

40


12

20










23

Pittsburgh Steelers









opponent

CLE

SF

STL



CIN

CLE


FP/PG

18.9

7.08

19.86

45.84


12.95

18.9


Rank

23

1

28

52


3

23










24

New England Patriots









opponent

WAS

DEN

MIA



IND

BUF


FP/PG

16.76

15.3

13.31

45.37


21.94

19.58


Rank

20

14

7

41


32

27










25

Cleveland Browns









opponent

PIT

ARI

BAL



BAL

PIT


FP/PG

13.56

20.03

10.93

44.52


10.93

13.56


Rank

8

29

2

39


2

8










26

Buffalo Bills









opponent

SD

MIA

DEN



TEN

NE


FP/PG

15

13.31

15.3

43.61


15.68

14.73


Rank

13

7

14

34


17

11










27

Chicago Bears









opponent

DEN

SEA

GB



KC

MIN


FP/PG

15.3

14.79

13

43.09


18.03

13.19


Rank

14

12

4

30


22

6










28

New Orleans Saints









opponent

TEN

MIN

ATL



DET

CAR


FP/PG

15.68

13.19

14.15

43.02


16.01

21.58


Rank

17

6

10

33


18

31










29

Seattle Seahawks









opponent

STL

CHI

SF



PHI

ARI


FP/PG

19.86

15.5

7.08

42.44


17.65

20.03


Rank

28

15

1

44


21

29










30

St. Louis Rams









opponent

SEA

CIN

PIT



SF

SF


FP/PG

14.79

12.95

13.56

41.3


7.08

7.08


Rank

12

3

8

23


1

1










31

Indianapolis Colts









opponent

BAL

TEN

HOU



NE

JAX


FP/PG

10.93

15.68

13.14

39.75


14.73

15.5


Rank

2

17

5

24


11

15










32

Arizona Cardinals









opponent

SF

CLE

CIN



DAL

SEA


FP/PG

7.08

18.9

12.95

38.93


13.99

14.79


Rank

1

23

3

27


9

12