I started the Ravens' defense in the divisional round, so I'm keeping them in my lineup this week despite a bad matchup on paper against Tom Brady and the powerful Patriots offense (for the double points). If I had to pick a defense from scratch, though, I'd likely go with the best unit still available, the Niners. San Francisco fielded the top-scoring defense in fantasy football during the regular season, and playing at home in front of their own fans will be a huge advantage. The Giants are hot right now, but the Niners aren't exactly cool after coming back late to beat the Saints in the divisional round. So unless you started a defense last week that's still alive, I'd look for fantasy gold with the Niners.
Since I'm getting double points from Raven, there's no reason for me to make a change. But even if I was going to choose a new defense, why wouldn't I go with the Giants who have treated me so well during the Playoff Challenge? Sure, the Patriots might make it through, but there's no guarantee that I'll get a lot of points from them. No, thanks I'll stick with Baltimore and collect a double-point windfall.
- Jason Smith NFL.com
Pats have the best chance of making it through
I don't think it's a question of should you take the Patriots, it's why aren't you taking the Patriots? Yes, out of the four teams left, their defense is the fourth best. I'm not arguing that. But you don't get any points if your team isn't playing in Indianapolis. Who has the best chance of making it? New England does, so you go with the Pats' D or you stick with them like you have.
In the playoff challenge, you have to look at defenses like you would in the regular season -- as an added spice, a unit you hope will just tack on to your score, and not win it for you. Even if New England has a bad day defensively against Baltimore but they win? That's better than a huge game and a loss, because of the potential of quadruple points.
I have a carry-over in Baltimore for the multiplier effect, but if you need to pick one straight up, I would lean on the NFC. The Giants' pressure can mount up sacks, which can lead to interceptions, even though Alex Smith has been the best QB at taking care of the ball. Meanwhile you saw what the 49ers' defense is capable of last week.
The short answer is: no. The longer answer is: no, because we're banking on the Ravens for double points. And if it wasn't them, we'd take the 49ers' defense to get the job done against the Giants and move on to the Super Bowl. All season long, they've been arguably the best defense in the league and finished the regular season tied for the most turnovers forced. San Francisco picked off Eli Manning twice back in Week 10 and there's no reason to believe they can't get one or two more on Sunday.