Matchup Meter: Freeman, Bucs aim to extend Panthers' tough season
Few quarterbacks have been as hot as Josh Freeman lately (10 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last four games), yet he continues to get snubbed when fantasy owners shape their lineups. Don't make that mistake this week.
The Buccaneers face a Panthers defense ranked 20th in opposing QB Rating (91.2) and 24th in completions allowed. In the five games played at Bank of America Stadium this season, Carolina has surrendered at least one passing score to each opponent, and has allowed an average of 273.2 passing yards.
New York ranks 30th in run defense and allows 4.4 yards per carry. The Jets have allowed three backs to gain 120 or more yards rushing. Those numbers should excite a Rams team trying to find some consistency in the backfield.
All things considered, the Saints may have the worst pass defense in the league. They allow the second-most passing yards (307.3), allow opposing passers a league-worst QB Rating of 104.4 and rank dead last in yards allowed per passing attempt (8.6).
The 49ers may no longer be the invincible unit they were a year ago, but they're still one of the league's best run defenses. They have allowed few long runs (and no runs of 40-plus) and only three rushing touchdowns. In a game that could help decide NFC playoff positioning, San Francisco will be at its best.
For weeks, fantasy owners have been crying for Michael Vick to go; after Sunday they may be pleading for his return. Nick Foles lacks experience and is prone to making first-year mistakes (he had an interception and fumble returned for touchdowns last week and had another interception that was negated by a penalty). Even though Foles faces a suspect Redskins secondary (ranked 30th against the pass), fantasy owners should not automatically believe this matchup will equate to fantasy success.
During its recent four-game winning streak, Denver has allowed just one rushing touchdown; no opposing back gained more than 75 yards. This season, Denver has allowed 3.6 yards per carry and just four runs of 20 or more yards.