After allowing Beanie Wells into the end zone twice this past weekend, The Rams are officially one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Interestingly enough, they face one of the best run defenses in the league this week, The San Francisco 49ers. Even more interesting is how that game turned out the first time these two teams met. You may remember their 24-24 tie game from just a few weeks back. Although another overtime game is unlikely, these division rivals know each other well and both teams will be playing like it’s a playoff game. Steven Jackson actually broke the century mark against the 49ers earlier this year with a TD on top of it and Frank Gore had almost identical results on the opposite side of the ball. On paper, this is a much better matchup for Gore, but both RBs are worth a start this week.
One matchup I definitely do not like, however, is Doug Martin against Denver. Oh sure, Martin’s going to get plenty of carries and plenty of yards, but fantasy owners have come to rely on Martin for a TD (or 4) and in the last week before the playoffs for many teams, Martin puts owners in a tough position. I would expect somewhere between 90-110 all-purpose yards without a TD for the Buccaneer.
The same can be said for Alfred Morris. Morris finally ended his TD drought in Dallas on Thanksgiving, but the Giants are coming off of a big win against The Packers and with their potent offense, Washington may have to turn to the air relatively quickly. Morris will still see plenty of touches, especially early on, but fantasy owners shouldn’t be surprised if he fails to make it into the endzone.
One of the defensive games of the week is The Bears/Seahawks game and with Matt Forte nursing a re-sprained ankle, it’s hard to picture him having a great game against The Seahawks. Granted, the Seahawks let Reggie Bush run for 80+ yards and a score last week, but The Bears have their own Bush in, Michael Bush and they won’t be afraid to use him whenever needed. Most sources are saying Forte will be playing this weekend, but I expect Bush to have the only start-worthy day.
The true defensive game of the week is The Steelers/Ravens game. When these teams first met this year, the only two touchdowns scored were a break-away QB run for 31 yards and a punt return. Ray Rice had 93 all-purpose yards, but only 40 on the ground while Jonathan Dwyer and Rashad Mendenhall combined for 88 total yards on the ground. In short, this game is not good for fantasy teams. You can’t bench Ray Rice, but everyone else in this equation needs to find a comfy spot on your bench.
Whether you’ve already established a first round bye or you’re in a must win situation, watching matchups now will help you down the stretch and one of the key players to watch is Jamaal Charles who faces a Carolina Panthers team that just let Bryce Brown run all over them. Charles has had a string of tough matchups recently, but has still managed to produce solid fantasy numbers. He should have no problem scoring between 16 and 20 fantasy points this week and every week from here on out. If you can still trade in your league, he’d be worth taking a gamble on.