Matchup Meter: Panthers' Williams might cast aside past nightmares
Sometimes fantasy owners need to be gutsy -- borderline crazy, even. It's Week 13 -- a week when crazy things are supposed to happen -- so why not bet on a long shot? Why not bet on ... DeAngelo Williams? (Cue: screams of horror).
The Panthers' running back is expected to get the start this week in place of Jonathan Stewart, who is nursing a high ankle sprain. Williams has failed to deliver this season, perhaps because he has never carried the ball more than 15 times in a game. Now, though, the Panthers have no choice but to feed him, as quarterback (and leading rusher) Cam Newton is also on the injury report (wrist).
Williams faces a Chiefs defense ranked 24th against the run, giving up 4.5 yards per carry. It's the same unit that made Knowshon Moreno look good last week and made BenJarvus Green-Ellis look like a Pro Bowler the week before.
No fantasy back should fear the Jets. Opponents have racked up 359 carries against New York's "other team" this year. With that, they've averaged 4.4 yards per carry and scored 12 rushing touchdowns. Last week, New York allowed a combined 139 yards to New England's duo of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen.
The Bills' pass defense is not awful; it's just not very good. Opposing passers have a 90.5 QB Rating and average 7.3 yards per passing attempt. And let's not forget this is the same unit that helped Mark Sanchez and Alex Smith looked pretty darn impressive earlier in the year.
The Redskins are rarely mentioned as one of the best run defenses, but they rank near the top of the league in several categories. They've allowed just seven rushing touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry. The opposing team's leading rusher has averaged 52.0 yards per game over the past five weeks.
Maybe Pittsburgh's offense is falling apart, but not the defense. It has ranked No. 1 against the pass for much of the year (165.7 yards a game), and is the only unit giving up fewer than 6.0 yards per passing attempt. Opposing passers are completing 56.0 percent of their attempts for a QB Rating of 77.7.
The Broncos' front seven is not without flaws (or the occasional poor performance) but most weeks it has been one of the league's best. It is one of nine units allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards a game, and Denver has allowed just four carries of 20 or more yards and no carries of 40-plus yards.