Fantasy football: Pick your defense based on weekly matchups

Buffalo bulldozer Fred Jackson may not hit a lot of home runs, but he’s a consistent point-producing performer.
tom szczerbowski/getty images
Buffalo bulldozer Fred Jackson may not hit a lot of home runs, but he’s a consistent point-producing performer.

The Bengals were universally considered a top-five fantasy defense prior to the season. Through two games, Cincinnati has amassed 11 fantasy points.

Two games is a small sample size, but in fantasy football it doesn’t take much more than two underperforming games to convince an owner they have a problem. In the real world the Bengals certainly have a solid defense, but this isn’t the real world. If Cincinnati isn’t going to ring up sacks and take interceptions to the house, what good is it?

One solution: play the matchups from week-to-week, and the best matchup this season is inserting a defense that is facing the offensively inept Jaguars (opponents have combined for 30 fantasy points against Jacksonville).


The Jaguars are facing Seattle this weekend, a defense surely owned in your league, but in Week 4 the Jaguars take on the Colts and in Week 5 the Jaguars face the Rams. Both defenses should be available, so stash the Colts now.

Three up:

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Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo: Starter C.J. Spiller has 20 fantasy points, but 15 came against Carolina. Spiller is the Bills’ home run hitter, but Jackson, with 10 fantasy points in Week 1 and 11 in Week 2, is becoming the ideal flex player.

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona: A rookie from Clemson, Ellington sits behind Rashard Mendenhall on the depth chart, but with Mendenhall’s inconsistent history, that’s bound to change.

Charles Clay, TE, Miami: Starting for Dustin Keller, who is out for the season, Clay has accumulated 10 catches and 163 yards in an offense that is committed to throwing.

Three down:

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland: McFadden had a big day against Jacksonville and has remained healthy. But next up for the Raiders is Denver, which leads the NFL in rushing defense mostly because it has scored 90 points in two games. Its opponents are forced to abandon the run.


Fred Davis, TE, Washington: Davis is falling out of favor in Washington because of poor execution and poor production. Rookie Jordan Reed, Davis’s backup, already has eight catches.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta: White is playing through an ankle sprain and his production and playing time are suffering. His fantasy owners are in a bind because White has only five catches (no touchdowns) and he’s been on the field for just over half of the Falcons’ possessions.

Ed Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan.