December 13, 2012 @ 15:06:46 PDT
Week 16 is the championship contest for most fantasy football leagues. You know the old adage about taking the postseason one week at a time, but in our game, you can look ahead with some relative comfort. Foresight pays off if you plan your roster right.
With that in mind, don't ignore these less-heralded defensive teams with highly favorable clashes for title week.
Miami hasn't generated many takeaways, but Buffalo is a top-10 fantasy matchup on the year in interceptions thrown (1.1) and fumbles lost (0.9) per game. Cameron Wake has been a one-man pass rush that should torture a patchwork offensive line. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown a pick in four of his last five games heading into Week 15. As long as Miami contains C.J. Spiller and puts Sean Smith on Stevie Johnson, they'll be worth a fringe start with upside for more.
This'll be a useful game for Indy if they can deploy the same eight-man-box frequency that helped them bottle up Chris Johnson a few weeks ago, they might have surprising success against Jamaal Charles. No Dwayne Bowe means others will have to step up, and the chances of a dull offnse - they've been conservative besides Charles most of the year - makes Indy more attractive. Vontae Davis being active helps, too.
A cross-country trip and Oakland's tendency to throw frequently should play in the favor of this underrated defensive backfield. Carson Palmer is usually good for being the recipient of some defensive vengeance, especially with the inconsistency of his receiving targets and this run game. Greg Hardy has been a beast, too, and should dominate the line of scrimmage.
If you can get past the fact that this DB-challenged squad will allow plenty of yardage and points, you can embrace the chances at sacks and takeaways Philly's Nick Foles-directed offense will provide. He's been careful the past few games, but conservative play often breeds solid fantasy days for the opposition.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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