Sunday, October 7, 2012

NFC South 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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1. New Orleans Saints Defense:
5th Against the Pass [20.60 PPG]: The Saints defense is currently 5th worst against the pass despite having one of the lowest attempts against them. This is a terrible set of statistics, especially given the 2 total interceptions against three relatively weak quarterbacks (RG3, Matt Cassel, and Cam Newton) who have thrown their fair share of interceptions this season. On the other hand, the Saints have given up the most rushing yards to quarterbacks of any team in the league (having already players Rodgers, Newton, and RG3), so that number will probably come down going forward. Either way, you should feel confident playing any QB against the Saints defense (with the possible exception of Josh Freeman).
1st Against the Run [27.85 PPG]: The reason for the low number of passing attempts is the terrible state of their run defense. These numbers are slightly skewed by the game Jamaal Charles had against them (nearly 300 total yards), but every other running back who has faced them (Alfred Morris, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Cedric Benson) has scored at least 10 points. That is an unbelievable statistic, and you should start any starting running back against this team.
4th Against Receivers [29.43 PPG]: The Saints have been similarly terrible against wide receivers. Both starting WRs and strong WR2s have played well against this team and should be started liberally.
32nd Against Tight Ends [3.88 PPG]: Surprisingly, the Saints are best in the league against tight ends. This is probably a product of their extreme deficiencies in the other two categories (RBs and WRs) and should be taken into consideration when starting TEs against them. Try to avoid it when possible.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense:
15th Against the Pass [16.64 PPG]: It's time to think differently about the Tampa Bay pass defense. This team has played four of the best early-season quarterbacks (Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and RG3) and allowed only a modest number of fantasy points. The passing touchdowns allowed (just 4 this season) are amongst the lowest in the league. If you can avoid playing a moderate quarterback against this defense, that would be best for your fantasy team.
22nd Against the Run [13.73 PPG]: The Bucs defense is even better against the run than the pass. While they haven't exactly faced any powerhouse running teams, the 13.73 total points for running backs against them each week is extremely weak. They are best avoided if you can swing it.
2nd Against Receivers [33.03 PPG]: Surprisingly, the Bucs have a terrible track record against opposing wide receivers. Their extremely poor passing yards ranking doesn't resonate strongly with quarterbacks, where fumbles, interceptions and low touchdowns reduce their overall value, but does make wide receivers extremely valuable. You will be looking at more yards than touchdowns, but feel confident playing receivers against this team.
23rd Against Tight Ends [6.65 PPG]: The Bucs are good against tight ends, but their opposition thusfar has been pretty weak. Don't seek out this defense, though, when selecting a tight end option.

9. Carolina Panthers Defense:
10th Against the Pass [17.69 PPG]: Offenses have been throwing with significant success against the Panthers defense. Thus far they have been assisted by the fact that they run defense has been so bad, but with only three interceptions on the season, there is no reason for opposing offenses to stop throwing against them. You should be cautious of starting terrible QBs against them. They aren't the worst pass defense in the NFL.
2nd Against the Run [27.28 PPG]: Opponents are getting over 5 yards per carry against the Panthers (5.21 to be exact). Play any starting running back you can against them. The Panthers have already allowed over 850 total scrimmage yards to running backs in 4 games.
26th Against Receivers [18.03 PPG]: The Panthers have been moderately successful against opposing wide receivers considering the offenses they've played (Saints, Giants, and Falcons), so they aren't a defense you want to seek out. At the same time, don't avoid playing a starting receiver against them. There are far worse matchups than the Panthers. They seem to be worse against slot-receiver types.
12th Against Tight Ends [8.70 PPG]: The Panthers have been unable to stop opposing tight ends from scoring against them. It goes right along with the rest of their defense, but if you don't have a good tight end option, playing a decent one against the Panthers could be a successful strategy.

17. Atlanta Falcons Defense:
23rd Against the Pass [14.55 PPG]: The Falcons have been absolutely excellent against opposing QBs this season. I don't know where this defense came from, exactly, but with 7 INTs to 4 TDs this season, you don't want to start a questionable passer against this defense. Do what you can to make other arrangements.
11th Against the Run [19.50 PPG]: Despite being amazing against the pass, this defense is terrible against the run. The running backs going up against the Falcons have racked up well over 4.5 YPC. Real running games (blocking FBs and TEs) seem to work better than shifty running games against this defense. They may have difficulty disengaging from downfield blocking while being perfectly capable of shifting side to side.
28th Against Receivers [16.68 PPG]: Going right along with the QB ranking, the Falcons are excellent against all wide receivers. Only play even the best receivers against this team if you have to. Some players will do well, but most won't.
15th Against Tight Ends [7.95 PPG]: Nothing to see here, folks. Move along to point totals that matter. It is notably higher (relative to average) than the other pass-dependent categories.

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