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Fantasy Football Focus: Favorable NFL Matchups for Fantasy Playoffs

Expert Advice from Brian Music - 2011 Inaugural Toyota Legends of Fantasy Football Hall of Fame Inductee

Yahoo Contributor Network

As we enter Week 14 of the NFL season, many leagues are staring their playoffs. Most leagues (including Yahoo! public leagues) will have their playoffs in Weeks 15 and 16, while others may even start their league playoffs in Week 14 (particularly if they are 8-team playoff leagues). Whatever your league's playoff setup, one thing that experienced fantasy football managers will do is take a look at the actual NFL team matchups for these weeks. Favorable NFL matchups may allow you to aggressively utilize players in those games. Unfavorable NFL matchups may be a warning signal to look another direction.

Before we dive in head first, one thing that I want to stress is that some players need to be started regardless of the matchup. These are the elite fantasy studs that are started in all situations. For the most part, these include the top 5-7 players at each position in fantasy football. A great example is Adrian Peterson (RB-Minnesota Vikings) who has terrible matchups with the Chicago Bears (Week 14) and Houston Texans (Week 16 - fantasy Super Bowl week). Both opposing teams rank in the top 5 NFL teams giving up the LEAST fantasy points to running backs on the season. But, unless you are just loaded at the RB position, you are going to ride Peterson no matter what. In addition, every fantasy manager's "start no matter what" list of players will vary from fantasy team to fantasy team depending on the specific allotment of players on their teams, the availability of quality players on waivers/free agency, injuries to key players, and the number of teams in their league.

With that being said, here are the NFL teams allowing the MOST fantasy points (based on Yahoo! Sports standard fantasy football leagues) to quarterbacks on the season: New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Any NFL matchup versus these teams could be potentially favorable to your fantasy team and fantasy results. The remaining fantasy schedule (Weeks 14, 15, and 16) for each of these teams include the New Orleans Saints (NYG, TB, DAL); Washington Redskins (BAL, CLE, PHI); Oakland Raiders (DEN, KC, CAR); New England Patriots (HOU, SF, JAC); and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PHI, NO, STL).

On the other end of the spectrum are the NFL teams allowing the LEAST fantasy points to quarterbacks. They include the Pittsburgh Steelers (SD, DAL, CIN); Chicago Bears (MIN, GB, ARZ); San Francisco 49ers (MIA, NE, SEA); Seattle Seahawks (ARZ, BUF, SF); and Arizona Cardinals (SEA, DET, CHI).

The NFL teams allowing the MOST fantasy points to running backs include the New Orleans Saints (NYG, TB, DAL); Buffalo Bills (STL, SEA, MIA); Oakland Raiders (DEN, KC, CAR); Tennessee Titans (IND, NYJ, GB); and Jacksonville Jaguars (NYJ, MIA, NE).

The NFL teams allowing the LEAST fantasy points to running backs include the Houston Texans (NE, IND, MIN); San Francisco 49ers (MIA, NE, SEA); Chicago Bears (MIN, GB, ARZ); Pittsburgh Steelers (SD, DAL, CIN); and New York Giants (NO, ATL, BAL).

The NFL teams allowing the MOST fantasy points to wide receivers include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PHI, NO, STL); Washington Redskins (BAL, CLE, PHI); New Orleans Saints (NYG, TB, DAL); New York Giants (NO, ATL, BAL); and New England Patriots (HOU, SF, JAC).

The NFL teams allowing the LEAST fantasy points to wide receivers include the Pittsburgh Steelers (SD, DAL, CIN); Seattle Seahawks (ARZ, BUF, SF); San Francisco 49ers (MIA, NE, SEA); Chicago Bears (MIN, GB, ARZ); and Carolina Panthers (ATL, SD, OAK).

The NFL teams allowing the MOST fantasy points to tight ends include the New England Patriots (HOU, SF, JAC); Denver Broncos (OAK, BAL, CLE); Tennessee Titans (IND, NYJ, GB); Washington Redskins (BAL, CLE, PHI); and Detroit Lions (GB, ARZ, ATL).

The NFL teams allowing the LEAST fantasy points to tight ends include the Cleveland Browns (KC, WAS, DEN); Indianapolis Colts (TEN, HOU, KC); Arizona Cardinals (SEA, DET, CHI); San Diego Chargers (PIT, CAR, NYJ); and Pittsburgh Steelers (SD, DAL, CIN).

Lastly, the NFL teams allowing the MOST fantasy points to team defenses include the Kansas City Chiefs (CLE, OAK, IND); Philadelphia Eagles (TB, CIN, WAS); Arizona Cardinals (SEA, DET, CHI); New York Jets (JAC, TEN, SD); and San Diego Chargers (PIT, CAR, NYJ). Feel free to start your team defense against these teams.

The NFL teams allowing the LEAST fantasy points to team defenses include the New England Patriots (HOU, SF, JAC); Houston Texans (NE, IND, MIN); Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PHI, NO, STL); New York Giants (NO, ATL, BAL) and Washington Redskins (BAL, CLE, PHI).

As you are setting your fantasy lineups throughout the next few playoff weeks, make sure to check the actual NFL matchups. It could be the difference between a league championship or an early exit from the playoffs.

Brian Music is one of five inaugural inductees to the 2011 Toyota Legends of Fantasy Football Hall of Fame on Yahoo! Sports. He has participated in fantasy football for 23 years and began playing Yahoo! fantasy football in 2001, winning trophies in 17 of the 25 leagues that he has played (including 9 League Championships) and placing in the Top 3 in Fantasy Points in 23 of the 25 leagues.

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