As the weeks roll by, we start to get enough data to compile a Rush Defense Chart that is fairly accurate as to how weak or strong a team is against an opposing running back. However, the data in the chart still is only for the first 3 weeks of the season and still is not a perfect guide to the strategy against the rush defense.  Some games have a huge impact on where a defense will fall on the chart as we only have a few games to create the average.

You will see that San Fran is still atop the board, but are not ranked first across the board like last week. You will also note that New York Jets are at the very bottom of the board, which is surprising to say the least, but it is an accurate depiction of what they have allowed over the last three weeks. If you’ll research these stats, you’ll see that the Jets have allowed 5 rushing TDs, roughly 136 yds per game, and 4.8 yards per carry. This can mostly be blamed on last week’s game against the Raiders where they allowed 3 rushing tds, over 225 yds rushing, and Run DMC was at 9 yards a carry. So, keep in mind that a defense’s position in the chart will definitely fluctuate over the course of the season, depending on which teams they face and what they allow in the rushing lanes.

If these patterns continue, you’ll obviously want to think twice about starting your running back against teams like San Fran, Baltimore, and Dallas. So this week you could go as far to say that McCoy may not have a huge game against the 49ers, but you can’t possibly bench him with the way he’s been performing. It will definitely be interesting to see how he performs based on how well San Fran has stuffed the run this year and see if they can keep it up.

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So here are the guys who have great looking matchups for the week:

Tim Hightower vs. STL

St Louis has been absolutely horrible this season against the run, averaging close to 25 fantasy points a game to opposing running backs in standard scoring leagues. This week, Hightower could have his best game yet as Shanahan will want to pound away at the paltry Rams. Grossman is also favored in this matchup, but they’ll want to establish the run game with Hightower first and then let loose through the air, which will also bode well for ol’ Timmy.

LeGarrette Blount vs. IND

It seems like things can’t get much worse for Indianapolis as they now have to wait for Collins to pass his concussion test before they can decide who they are going to start. Either way, the Buccaneers have a pretty stout pass defense that will be tough for either of the QBs to get it going. I expect Tampa Bay to come out running the ball down Indy’s throat, leaning heavily on Blount, especially if they get ahead in the game.

Ryan Matthews vs. MIA

Matthews has finally been producing like he was supposed to a season ago when he replaced LT on the Chargers’ depth chart. Although Miami hasn’t allowed many rushing td so far this season, Matthews should be able to find his way into the end zone, and maybe for even a couple times. After showing that he can handle the load of an every-down back last week, I expect Norv Turner to continue to rely on and believe in Matthews’ ability to get the job done.


As every week, there are some matchups that do not favor your reliable RB, and can be the cause of a loss that you desperately did not need. So take heed when you are putting in your ol’ reliable, because sometimes, they come up short and can easily turn into the player you are cursing at the end of the weekend.

Jahvid Best vs. DAL

This is certainly a questionable matchup at Best this week for the second year RB out of California. Dallas has been holding opposing RBs to minimal yards per carry, and Jahvid is only averaging a 2.9 ypc through the first three games. In standard formats, he is almost a definite benched player, with the most of his upside coming from his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and make plays. For PPR leagues, he is worth the look, but if you have better options, it might be best to pass on this matchup.

Daniel Thomas vs. SD

Although Thomas has been taking over the leading role in Miami and producing well, this looks like the kind of matchup that will put a halt on his break-out performance. Miami will likely be fighting from behind this game, and will have to try to pass against a very strong San Diego secondary. So if there is anyone on the Dolphins that has a bright side in this game, it will have to be Brandon Marshall. The Dolphins don’t produce enough on the offensive front for Thomas to be a viable start this week.

Other questionable matchups this week: Peyton Hillis vs TEN, Beanie Wells vs. NYG, Michael Turner vs. SEA


Team: The team that is being evaluated for their defensive strength.

Opp: The team with your fantasy players

Y/G: Total rushing yards given up per game

FPA: Fantasy points allowed to running backs

YPC: Yards Per Carry Ranking

TD: Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Ranking

DVOA: Defense-adjusted Value Over Average

Average: The average of each each individual ranking.

  1. Random Collmenter says:

    I am 0 – 3 and desperate for a win- I have a great team (CJ2K, McFadden, Calvin), but have by far the most points scored against me in the league.

    Thinking about offering Antonio Gates for Jimmy Graham straight up. Please talk me out of this.

  2. Random Collmenter says:

    or witten?

  3. Ryan says:

    Would rather start Jahvid Best or Felix Jones this week?


  4. Norx says:

    @Random Collmenter

    Talk you out of what? I would try to add maybe a Flex / RB3 along with Jimmy Graham. If you are 0-3, you need to win and Gates will prob be on your bench this week and maybe next. Also – Jimmy Graham is a stud. He can rack up a 30 yard TD almost anytime during the game to get you those points you need from your TE…..good luck!

  5. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee says:

    @Random Collmenter: Gates for Graham is not a bad trade, but have you looked into other options so that you can hold on to Gates until he gets better? Like his backup McMichael or maybe a Ben Watson?

    @Ryan: That is a very tough matchup for both these guys- I’d go Best, any other options though?

  6. ringo says:

    Hello… I currently have 6 WRs on my roster, I need to drop one to pick up a TE to play instead of Antonio Gates… My WRs are Miles Austin, Brandon Marshall, Deion Branch, Denarius Moore, David Nelson, Nate Washington… I was thinking of dropping Branch and picking up Pettigrew but then upon looking at Branch’s numbers after rejoining the Pats and chickened out (14 games / 63 Recs / 928 YDs / 5 TDs)… I need a TE to supplement Gates so which WR should I part with?… Thank You

  7. Ryan says:

    @Mark Lee: Only Ben Tate and Kendall Hunter…if it turns out Gore isn’t going to play on Sunday would you start Hunter over Best/Felix?

  8. Random Collmenter says:

    @ringo – drop branch and pick up pettigrew

  9. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee says:

    @Ryan: If Gore doesn’t play, I would def go with Hunter since PHI defense is horrid against the run right now

  10. Lily says:

    Hey Mark! Qb question: Cutler, freeman, sanchez, or grossman week 4?

  11. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee says:

    Cutler or Grossman for sure…. and I’d go Grossman since STL gives up 4th most fantasy pts to qbs so far this yr. But cutler will also have a good day against the panthers

  12. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee says:

    @Lily: forgot to add reply: Cutler or Grossman for sure…. and I’d go Grossman since STL gives up 4th most fantasy pts to qbs so far this yr. But cutler will also have a good day against the panthers

  13. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee says:

    @Lily: second thought, Cutler over Grossman

  14. Jhern says:

    I am struggling at RB. i have C. Johnson, Tolbert, and Marshawn Lynch. Lynch had a decent game in Wk 3, Should i bump him up to start since Mathews will get a majority of touches again? I also have a trade offer of Johnson for Felix Jones, is this a good move?

  15. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee says:

    @Jhern: I dont really trust lynch in any format. and I wouldnt make that trade, i think CJ2K will eventually warm up. But the issue with tolbert still exists, have you thought about offering a trade to get a better rb?

  16. BA says:

    Since I lost Charles, I’ve picked up Helu and Ridley for depth. I’m hoping one of them strikes gold. Who would you bet on?

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