Sunday, October 7, 2012

NFC North Defensive Matchups

**NOTE: These are match-up ratings, not defensive ratings. A rating of 1st means that they are an amazing match-up while a rating of 32nd means they are the worst match-up. 

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21. Chicago Bears Defense:
32nd Against the Pass [9.69 PPG]: This Bears defense has 11 interceptions to 4 touchdowns. You don't want your quarterback playing against this defense if you can help it. I would sit all mid-level QBs against the Bears for the time being. You run the risk of a Tony Romo Monday Night.
29th Against the Run [10.98 PPG]: The Bears are allowing about 3.5 YPC this season, and while they're schedule hasn't been overwhelming in the RB category, this unit did shut down DeMarco Murray. I really don't think you want to risk playing any mediocre running back against this elite defense.
17th Against Receivers [21.63 PPG]: This number is low but not unbearable. You don't want to start many WR2s, but you can definitely get away with any standard fantasy-level player. You definitely don't want your bye week fill-in player to be going up against this defense though.
9th Against Tight Ends [9.58 PPG]: The Bears are apparently quite bad at stopping tight ends. I don't know how much of this was Jason Witten at the end of the Monday Night game, but it still seems like the Bears are a good matchup for your fantasy tight end.

23. Detroit Lions Defense:
22nd Against the Pass [14.86 PPG]: The Lions have been extremely good at pass defense over the first four weeks of the season despite not having any interceptions and allowing about 67% completions. There is something about these numbers that just isn't right, but I don't know whether it is in favor of the defense or offense at this point. It is possible that the Lions own offense is providing opportunities to score in ways that are not yardage or passing intensive, such as defensive and special teams touchdowns. On the other hand, it could just be the four mediocre or worse quarterbacks that the Lions have faced (Bradford, Smith, Locker, and Ponder). Whatever the reason, I wouldn't worry too much about avoiding this defense with fantasy-level quarterbacks. They haven't played a true top-12 QB yet this season.
28th Against the Run [11.63 PPG]: The Lions have allowed just under 4 YPC, and they are facing about 20 carried per game. The matchup here is pretty abysmal, and I would say that the four corresponding running backs (Steven Jackson, Gore, CJ2k, and A.D.) are much more impressive. Avoid this defense with running backs where possible for the time being.
27th Against Receivers [17.33 PPG]: The Lions have not been allowing fantasy points to receivers of any level. Given that none of the receivers they have faced are top-10 NFL receivers (Harvin is a borderline top-10 fantasy receiver), I'm not going to put too much stock in this yet. It does mean that low end fantasy receivers who strongly lead their team (like Stevie Johnson) would likely have trouble against this defense.
3rd Against Tight Ends [10.58 PPG]: This team seems to be very efficient at letting tight ends score fantasy points. Play your fantasy tight ends here!

24. Green Bay Packers Defense:
16th Against the Pass [16.63 PPG]: The Packers have gone from "by far the worst" to "pretty decent" in terms of preventing opponents from passing the ball. Opposing QBs are averaging fewer than 250 yards per game, but they are getting two touchdowns on average. They would be one of the best pass defenses in fantasy football without that Golden Tate reception (that reception was worth a little over 2 points per game at this point in the season). With all of this, you're better off avoiding the Packers than challenging them this season with your fantasy quarterback.
16th Against the Run [15.73 PPG]: The Packers are allowing just under 4 YPC so far this season, and their opponents are only averaging 30 yards per game receiving. You likely aren't going to have a huge running game against the Packers at this point, but stronger runners (like Marshawn Lynch) can do consistent damage if used heavily throughout the game. This isn't a matchup you are looking to target.
12th Against Receivers [23.13 PPG]: The Packers have not been especially good against opposing primary receivers this season. Marques Colston perfectly fits the mold of a guy who will beat the Packers corners: Big, quick, and shifty with great hands. These guys will take chances on interceptions, so a well-run route can turn into a huge gain. The safeties are still learning and are susceptible to play action and double moves.
21st Against Tight Ends [7.28 PPG]: The Packers are very average against tight ends. Play them as you see fit.

25. Minnesota Vikings Defense:
11th Against the Pass [17.25 PPG]: The Vikings are not on the better half of pass defense in terms of fantasy football. They fail to generate turnovers and are providing a consistent 250 yards per game. The Vikings have not played the cream of the crop in terms of quarterbacks (Gabbert, Luck, Smith, and Stafford), so focusing on the Vikings matchup with starting or strong backups isn't a bad move. You shouldn't be scared about facing them.
31st Against the Run [9.80 PPG]: The Vikings are allowing just over 3 YPC this season and are proving to be a serious matchup hazard. It helps that the Vikings have managed to keep the games close and control the clock. No matter how you cut it, under 10 total points per game is ridiculous. Play only the best RBs against them. As a small positive side note, they have allowed 20 receptions to RBs over the last 4 games.
20th Against Receivers [19.53 PPG]: The Vikings have not been very friendly to receivers this season, either. It definitely helps to play the 49ers and the Jaguars, but this defense kept Megatron and Reggie Wayne pretty well under wraps, even if Donnie Avery had a big game. This is definitely a matchup that you should avoid where reasonable.
8th Against Tight Ends [9.70 PPG]: Over 9 points per game is extremely solid. Feel confident playing tight ends against this team.

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