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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 13

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Matt Cassell vs. DEN

Cassell is certainly one of the hotter quarterbacks in the league, throwing for 12 touchdowns in his last four weeks. For the season, Cassell has an excellent 22:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and those strong numbers should continue this week. The Broncos rank 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and are on a three- game streak where they have allowed 11 touchdowns with just one interception. Furthermore, Cassell threw for 469 yards and four touchdowns in his best performance of the season in Week 10 against Denver. Look for Cassell to continue his hot streak and be one of the better quarterback plays this week.

Matt Forte vs. DET

Forte has become a bigger part of the offense the last two weeks as he has rushed for 214 yards on 39 carries. Forte should continue to be a big part of the offense this week as the Bears travel to Detroit. The Lions rank 30th in fantasy points allowed to the running back position, and allowed Forte to have his best fantasy day of the season in Week 1 with 201 total yards and two touchdowns. Look for Forte to have a strong showing this week as the Bears continue to march toward the playoffs.

Steven Jackson vs. ARI

After three straight 100-yard rushing games earlier in the season, Jackson hasn't cracked the century mark in the last four weeks. This should change this week as Jackson faces a Cardinals run defense ranked last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Cardinals were shredded for 242 yards on Monday night and have given up nine rushing touchdowns in the last five weeks. Look for Jackson to potentially have his highest rushing output of the season in what should be a strong day for the running game.

Jeremy Maclin vs. HOU

Maclin continues to have a solid fantasy season having either scored a touchdown or broken the 100-yard plateau in each of the last three weeks. Maclin goes into the Thursday night's game with his best matchup of the season against the Texans. While the Texans have improved in recent weeks, they still rank 29th in the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Until last week, against a third-string rookie quarterback, the Texans had allowed touchdown passes to wide receivers in six straight games. They are one of only seven teams that have allowed 2,000 yards to wide receivers this season. Look for the Eagles to move the ball through the air and for Maclin to continue his strong fantasy season.

Seattle Def vs. CAR

The Seahawks are not one of fantasy's elite defenses but have put up very solid numbers in their best matchups of the season. In two meetings against the Cardinals, the Seahawks had seven sacks, two interceptions and five fumble recoveries while allowing just 28 points. This week the Seahawks face a Panthers team that, like the Cardinals, is ranked in the bottom four in the league in scoring offense, fumbles lost and sacks allowed per game. The Panthers also rank 31st in pass intercepted percentage. Look for the Seahawks to have a productive game and be one of the better defensive plays of the week.


Ben Roethlisberger vs. BAL

Roethlisberger has been solid in his return from a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season, throwing for 12 touchdowns in seven starts. However, Roethlisberger has feasted upon weak pass defenses, and in his three toughest matchups of the season (Bengals, Saints, Bills), Roethlisberger has thrown just one touchdown and had his only two games of the season in which he threw for less than 200 yards. This week Roethlisberger faces a Ravens pass defense that has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Look for Big Ben to follow his pattern and have one of his lower fantasy outputs this week.

Ray Rice vs. PIT

Rice has not been the big fantasy stud most people expected in part because the Ravens have more weapons in the passing game, and Rice's yards per carry have dropped from 5.3 last season to just 4.0 in 2010. Rice also has scored just four times this season and figures to struggle this week against the Steelers. The Steelers have allowed the second fewest fantasy points to running backs all season and held Rice to just 29 total yards in Week 4. If you have depth at running back, this may be a week where Rice needs to be benched.

LeGarrette Blount vs. ATL

Blount is clearly the No. 1 option in the Buccaneers running attack but faces perhaps his toughest test of the season this week against the Falcons. The Falcons have surrendered the third fewest fantasy points to running backs this season and have not given up a rushing touchdown since Week 2. Furthermore, the Falcons have held running backs to less than 57 yards a game on the ground in the last five weeks. Look for the Falcons defense to one against rule the ground and make it tough for Blount this week.

Chad Ochocinco vs. NO

Ochocinco has been overshadowed by Terrell Owens on the field this season, but his numbers still project to nearly 80 catches. However, Ochocinco is averaging just 11.6 yards per catch and has been shut down to the tune of just 204 yards in the past five weeks. These pedestrian numbers should continue this week against a Saints pass defense that gives up the fewest fantasy points to receivers in the NFL. The Saints have allowed just one touchdown catch to receivers in the last five games and just three all season. Look for a tough weekend on the field for No. 85 this week.

New England Def vs. NYJ

The Patriots have allowed 28 points a game in their last four games but have seven sacks and six interceptions in the past three weeks. This week looks to be a tough one in one of the biggest games of the season against the Jets. The Jets have lost the sixth fewest fumbles in the NFL, Mark Sanchez has thrown interceptions on just 2.19 percent of his passes and the Jets have allowed the seventh fewest sacks in the league. Moreover, the Jets offense averages more than eight more points a game on the road this season. Look for a tough night for the Patriots defense in what could be a preview of a third meeting in January.