With most leagues heading into the playoffs in two weeks, now is not the time to make a mistake when setting your fantasy football lineup.
Do you roll the dice with that fancy new waiver-wire pickup? Or do you stick with a struggling star like Colin Kaepernick and hope this is the week that he finally rewards you for acquiring him long ago?
The answers to those tough lineup questions often revolve around the kind of matchup that the player will see this week. Here’s a look at the fringe starters with the best and worst matchups at the important positions.
All statistics via ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.
Start: Colin Kaepernick
If you’re a Kaepernick owner and you’ve thrown the electronic device you’re reading this on across the room, I understand. The 49ers signal-caller has fallen far from the expectations most had for him at the beginning of the season. He ranks just 17th in scoring among all quarterbacks.
He may just get back in your good graces this week against the Washington Redskins, though. The ‘Skins defense has been an unmitigated disaster, and fantasy football quarterbacks have reaped the rewards.
Washington has given up 18.5 points per game to quarterbacks including 21 to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
Sit: Matt McGloin
If you’re desperate at quarterback and resorted to picking up Matt McGloin after his 19-point performance against the Houston Texans, you probably aren’t in for the break you were hoping for.
Although McGloin did an admirable job of stepping up for Terrelle Pryor in his absence, he’ll face a much stiffer test against the Titans on Sunday. No secondary has been more adept at keeping quarterbacks out of the end zone than Tennessee. It has given up just seven passing touchdowns on the season.
That’s a stark contrast from the Texans secondary that McGloin saw last week. It’s given up 18 touchdowns to four interceptions on the season. Don’t expect an inexperienced quarterback like McGloin to be the first to crack the Titans’ code this season.
Start: Rashad Jennings
Rashad Jennings is the Oakland Raider to have this week. As previously mentioned, the Titans are extremely good against the pass. Unfortunately, this is partially due to the fact that teams have been able to gouge them on the ground.
Fortunately for Jennings owners, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com (via ProFootballTalk) reports that the Raiders don’t expect to have Darren McFadden back in the lineup once again:
Raiders expected to be without both Denarius Moore and Darren McFadden this week http://t.co/WGNUjCBCcA
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 22, 2013
That paves the way for Jennings to once again carry the load for a Raiders team that should have plenty of running in the game plan. Add in the fact that the Titans have given up two touchdowns to running backs in each of their last five games and he’s all but guaranteed to punch at least one in.
Sit: Ryan Mathews
Mathews has always been a frustrating player to own in fantasy football, and he’s set up to fail his owners once again on Sunday. After going over 100 yards in two straight contests, he gets a tough matchup against the Chiefs at Arrowhead.
The Chiefs will be the sixth-best defense against running backs in action this week, and Matthews has not surpassed the 10-point threshold three weeks in a row all season.
Start: Anquan Boldin
As previously mentioned, Colin Kaepernick is in for big things against the porous Washington Redskins secondary. That means big things for Boldin, too.
Boldin has been the most consistent wide receiver for the Niners’ struggling passing game this season, and he finally broke a six-week touchdown drought last week. Expect Kaepernick to continue to target him and once again find him in the end zone this week.
Sit: Keenan Allen
Allen burst onto the scene in Week 5 with three games of 16 points or more in a four-game span, but now he’s looking like he may have been a flash in the pan from a fantasy perspective this season. He’s scored just four points in each of his last two matchups and faces the vaunted Kansas City defense this week.
Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas may have led the way for 26 fantasy points for WRs against the Chiefs, but Allen hasn’t proven that he can consistently produce against elite defenses quite yet. You’re better off with a wait-and-see approach for him this week.