Now that we're at the quarter pole of the fantasy season, we can actually gauge some of the stats from this season and project which games are good and bad matchups. Let's take a look at which teams are getting a reputation:
|Rank||Team||Rushing Yards Allowed||TDs Allowed|
The Saints are bad. Like really bad. They're on pace to give up 3,000 rushing yards and destroy the yards from scrimmage allowed record held by the 1981 Colts. They can't get off the field and teams are moving the ball at will on them. They've already allowed three runs of 40 yards or more. Only seven teams allowed more than three 40-yard runs on the entire 2011 season. I'd expect Ryan Mathews to get it going this week. Get him right meow.
So much for that vaunted Jets defense, right? They have been gashed all season and it's going to get worse before it gets better. They do have two of the better run-stopping safeties in Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, but their linebackers have looked lead-footed.
Houston hanging 216 rushing yards on Jacksonville explains a lot, but the Jaguars have missed arguably their best tackler in Daryl Smith for most of the season so far. They ranked ninth last year and should improve in due time. However, they are always going to be considered as a good matchup because their offense puts their defense in a bad spot.
The Falcons are new to the party and it can largely be blamed on missing Curtis Lofton. Lofton is one of the best sideline-to-sideline tacklers in the NFL, and while Stephen Nicholas has been useful in helping Sean Weatherspoon at the second level, they're missing something. This rank is a little fluky, though, because ATL's offense is legit and teams will have to throw to stay in games.
The Bills spent tons of money in the offseason and it hasn't really worked out for them so far. You might have seen the Patriots hang a 50 burger on them on Sunday. The Bills made improvements in their pass defense with better edge rushers in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, but neither will get any attention for their run-stopping skills. Buffalo should remain in the bottom tier, and with the way Ryan Fitzpatrick turns the ball over, its defense will be facing a lot of short fields.
|Rank||Team||Rushing Yards||TDs Allowed|
Miami is killing it in stopping the run. It is only giving up 2.4 YPC so far. No team has even been below 3.0 since the Ravens gave up 2.8 in 2007. It has changed to a 4-3 and its defensive tackles have done a fantastic job getting push up front. On the ends, Jared Odrick hasn't been a Pee-Wee and gets upfield very well for a guy his size. While it's doubtful that it can keep its average below 3.0, it should be a tough matchup for opponents.
Seattle's defense is arguably one of the best defenses, on paper. Its front four on non-passing downs of Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Clinton McDonald and Brandon Mebane are dominating up front. Its young linebackers have been improving and K.J. Wright has really come into his own this year. Rookie Bobby Wagner hasn't quite lived up to the billing, but the talent is there.
Chicago has been one of the better defenses for quite some time and there's nothing new here.
Tampa Bay has invested heavily in its front seven. Gerald McCoy at defensive tackle has been a huge force this year and is definitely one of the best defensive tackles nobody talks about. Rookie Lavonte David is one of the most athletic Will linebackers in the league, and Mason Foster has made leaps and bounds. Tampa Bay was ranked dead last in 2011 for rushing yards, so it's unlikely it can maintain this impressive pace. The loss of Adrian Clayborn is going to hurt, as well. It will likely finish in the middle of the road.
San Francisco absolutely has the best group of linebackers in the NFL. It's not even close. Everyone knows about Patrick Willis, but NaVorro Bowman is a top-five linebacker in the league, as well. Aldon Smith is starting to develop into a complete outside linebacker, and Ahmad Brooks is no slouch, either. Not to mention its safeties, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson, know how to make a hit or two. Fantasy owners know that when their back takes on San Francisco, they better set their expectations low.
If your league has bonuses for kick returns or 100-yard games, you can ask me on Twitter (@MikeSGallagher) on your lineup decision. Here are our Week 5 running back rankings for standard and PPR leagues.
|Standard League||PPR League|
|1||Arian Foster||Arian Foster|
|2||Ray Rice||Ray Rice|
|3||Adrian Peterson||Adrian Peterson|
|4||Marshawn Lynch||LeSean McCoy|
|5||LeSean McCoy||Ryan Mathews|
|6||Jamaal Charles||Jamaal Charles|
|7||Ryan Mathews||Marshawn Lynch|
|8||Maurice Jones-Drew||Reggie Bush|
|9||Reggie Bush||Maurice Jones-Drew|
|10||Stevan Ridley||Matt Forte|
|11||Matt Forte||Darren Sproles|
|12||Frank Gore||Trent Richardson|
|13||Trent Richardson||Stevan Ridley|
|14||Alfred Morris||Steven Jackson|
|15||Steven Jackson||Alfred Morris|
|16||Cedric Benson||Cedric Benson|
|17||Darren Sproles||Frank Gore|
|18||Chris Johnson||Chris Johnson|
|19||Fred Jackson||Fred Jackson|
|20||Ryan Williams||Willis McGahee|
|21||Willis McGahee||Ryan Williams|
|22||Michael Turner||Ahmad Bradshaw|
|23||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||Donald Brown|
|24||Ahmad Bradshaw||Pierre Thomas|
|25||Pierre Thomas||C.J. Spiller|
|26||Donald Brown||Jacquizz Rodgers|
|27||Rashard Mendenhall||BenJarvus Green-Ellis|
|28||Jacquizz Rodgers||Michael Turner|
|29||Jonathan Stewart||Pierre Thomas|
|30||Michael Bush||Kendall Hunter|
|31||Ben Tate||Rashard Mendenhall|
|32||C.J. Spiller||Jonathan Stewart|
|33||Jackie Battle||Michael Bush|
|34||Kendall Hunter||Vick Ballard|
|35||DeAngelo Williams||Ronnie Hillman|
|36||Bilal Powell||Jackie Battle|
|37||Vick Ballard||Bilal Powell|
|38||Shonn Greene||DeAngelo Williams|
|39||Mark Ingram||Evan Royster|
|40||Andre Brown||Shonn Greene|
|41||Shaun Draughn||Brandon Bolden|
|42||Evan Royster||Javon Ringer|
|43||Brandon Bolden||Shaun Draughn|
|44||Ronnie Hillman||Dexter McCluster|
|45||Javon Ringer||Danny Woodhead|
|46||Lamar Miller||Lamar Miller|
|47||Lance Ball||Mewelde Moore|
|48||Dexter McCluster||William Powell|
|49||Bernard Pierce||Bernard Pierce|
|50||William Powell||Lance Ball|