There’s a short slate this week, so these matchups will be brief. I’m going to highlight two plus matchups and two minus matchups per position.
I have high confidence in these matchups and look at statistical data for the season, the last five weeks, the last three weeks and adjusted data, like Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which attempts to eliminate schedule bias and give us a true picture of how good or bad a defense is.
That said you can study every statistic on the planet and fail to predict that Ben Roethlisberger is going to throw back-to-back 6-TD games. Or predict a massive game from Isaiah Crowell in the opening round of the fantasy playoffs only to see him get 17 yards on 7 carries against the worst-rated run defense in the NFL.
Those are the breaks. All we can do is give ourselves the best chance to make the right call and matchup data is one of the tools that can help.
Top team defense matchups
Bengals vs. Indianapolis — The Colts allowed 7.8 fantasy points per game to D/STs in the last five weeks, the third-most in the NFL. The Bengals are also the cheapest option at Draft Kings at $1,900. I’ll have them in just about every lineup this week.
Colts vs. Cincinnati — The Bengals allow 6.6 points to D/STs over the same span, the sixth-most in the NFL.
Worst team defense matchups
Steelers vs. Baltimore — The Ravens have held opposing D/ST’s to just 1.8 fantasy points in the last five weeks and 2.3 points in the last three, meanwhile the Steelers defense has scored the second-most fantasy points over the last three weeks and they get Troy Polamalu back this week.
Ravens vs. Pittsburgh — The Steelers have allowed opposing D/STs just 1.6 fantasy points over the same span — the best total in the NFL. They’ve also only allowed 1.7 points per game over the last three, the second-best total in the NFL.
UPDATE – JAN. 3
Be sure to check out this post at Rotogrinders which has me considering starting the Panthers defense in a lot of lineups this weekend.