Good Playoff Matchups
Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots: The Steelers defense proved that Cassell was human, holding him to less than 200 yards passing and forcing four turnovers. But the nightmare of the Steelers game should be erased by a very favorable schedule for fantasy owners heading into the playoffs. The Seahawks, Raiders and Cardinals provide a nice mix of good weather, poor pass yardage defense and high touchdowns allowed. Of the three games, the Raiders provide the toughest challenge in Week 15 while the Seahawks and Cardinals should provide huge fantasy numbers for Cassel.
Brett Favre, QB, Jets: Favre also has a good combination coming down the stretch with two West Coast games that shouldn't be affected by snow, wind and some less-than spectacular pass defenses. This week, the Jets face a 49ers pass defense that is poor both in yards and touchdowns allowed. The toughest test should be Week 15 against the Bills, who held him to 201 yards in their first meeting. Weather could be a factor, but Favre is one of the greatest bad weather quarterbacks in NFL history. Favre should be a great play in most fantasy Super Bowls in Week 16 against the 32nd-ranked Seahawks pass defense.
Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals: Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are obvious plays against any team, but Breaston also should produce enough numbers with his matchups to be a factor in the fantasy playoffs. The Cardinals face the Rams, 22nd in passing yards allowed, the Vikings, who were bad against the pass even with the now-suspended Williamses, and the Patriots, who surprising have given up the second most touchdown passes. Breaston could be a nice flex option with these matchups.
Lance Moore, WR, Saints: Moore only had two catches for 15 yards last week against Tampa, but he did catch a touchdown and has now caught at least one touchdown in five straight games. Moore is the No. 1 receiver for the Saints and has great matchups against the Falcons, ranked 23rd against the pass, Bears, 29th against the pass, and the Lions, 19th against the pass and worst in passer rating allowed. The Saints could only have one bad weather game, at the Bears in Week 15, and with Drew Brees chasing Dan Marino's yardage record, Moore is a viable play even if the Saints are eliminated from the playoffs.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Broncos: Hillis has a great matchup this week against the Chiefs and has decent matchups against the Panthers and Bills to close the season. While neither is as bad as the Chiefs, both are ranked in the middle of the league in both yards and touchdowns allowed. Hillis should be a nice flex-play option for the playoffs and amazingly might score more fantasy points this season than either of his more famous teammates from Arkansas: Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.
Bad Playoff Matchups
Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: Jim Brown, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders might have trouble in these three matchups. Barber, who is a little dinged up, has a brutal playoff stretch beginning with the top-ranked Steelers run defense, followed by the fifth-ranked Giants and third-ranked Ravens. Depending on your team's running back depth, you may have to do the unthinkable and sit Barber for at least one playoff game.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles: McNabb had a great bounce-back week against the Cardinals, but gets no such luck in the fantasy playoffs. The Eagles get the Giants this week, then the Browns who rank near the top of the league in interceptions and then the seventh-ranked Redskins pass defense. McNabb's games could also be affected by winter weather. The Browns game looks like the best matchup for McNabb, while both NFC East foes should present a great challenge.
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Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers:Big Ben has been better in the last couple of weeks but will finish nowhere near the 32 touchdowns he had last season. Expect Roethlisberger to struggle in his playoff matchups with the Cowboys, Ravens and Titans. All three of these teams rank in the top 10 in several relevant fantasy passing categories, and the Steelers will be very content to play conservatively, run the ball and let their top-ranked defense win games for them. Weather could also be a factor in several of these matchups, so Roethlisberger does not appear to be a good option for the playoffs.
Santana Moss, WR, Redskins: The Redskins passing game has several difficult matchups down the stretch and this is not good for Moss, who has struggled mightily the last four weeks. This week's matchup pits Moss against the second-ranked Ravens pass defense which has been spectacular of late. Moss' best chance should be in Week 15 against the Bengals pass defense which is ranked 20th in the league against the run. But the Bengals are also terrible against the run, and weather could play a factor in Cincinnati. Week 16 is another bad matchup against an Eagles pass defense ranked ninth in the league in yards allowed and that held Moss without a catch in Week 5.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Browns: Edwards faces the tough Titans defense this week with third-string quarterback Ken Dorsey expected to start the rest of the season. Kellen Winslow is also injured, which will allow teams to key on Edwards. The schedule doesn't get much better for Edwards as he then travels to Philadelphia to play the tough Eagles pass defense in potentially bad weather and finishes Week 16 with the Bengals in another potentially bad weather game. Edwards did score a touchdown against the Bengals in Week 4 but had just three catches for 22 yards. With all the things going against him, don't expect Braylon to break out of his season-long slump during the fantasy playoffs.