Fantasy football: Start your playoff scheduling now

Tamba Hali
Tamba Hali and the Chiefs defense is still a good play going forward.
Credit: Getty Images

The easiest way to tilt a tight playoff matchup in your favor is by winning in the defensive game. The time to stash is now.

We’re not going to sit guys like Victor Cruz just because he’s playing the Seahawks in Week 15. But what we can do is think about which defenses to add now with both eyes on the playoffs. It’s worth carving out a bench spot.

Streaming options

The Titans are available in far too many leagues. Even if you don’t want to use them in Oakland this week, they face turnover-prone Carson Palmer in Week 15 and are at Jacksonville (aka the dream) in Week 16. Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty are quietly two of the best corners in the NFL. A riskier option that still has a ton of upside is the Bills. They don’t have a ton of talent, but are at Tampa in Week 14, at Jacksonville in Week 15 and vs. Miami in Week 16.

Avoid at all costs

The Giants defense has been rapidly improving during this four-game win streak, but they are at San Diego in Week 14, vs. Seattle Week 15 and at Detroit in Week 16. Those are three excellent, high-scoring offenses to avoid. Also, if you’ve been riding the Ravens then you need to start thinking ahead right now. Baltimore’s defense will be hands off against the Lions and Patriots during Weeks 15 and 16.

Best of the best

One of the waiver adds of the year has been the Kansas City defense. Owners will be rewarded with matchups against Oakland and Indianapolis in Weeks 15 and 16. The 49ers matchups are even better. They get Tampa Bay and Atlanta in those two weeks. Without wide receiver Julio Jones and with one of the worst offensive lines in football, the Falcons offense has become one of the worst in the league.

Week 12 matchups

Make sure to get these borderline wideouts in your lineups this week:

1. James Jones, Packers — This is the spot Scott Tolzien has been waiting for. Home against the Vikings’ woeful secondary.

2. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars — Shorts complained about his lack of targets in Week 11, which means he’ll see a ton in Week 12.

3. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs — Andy Reid is starting to move Bowe into the slot more, which will pay rewards against the Chargers.

NFL pickups

1. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys — With his hamstrings at 100 percent for now, Austin is expected to re-take starting duties from Terrance Williams.

2. Nate Burleson, WR, Lions — The arm is finally healed and Burleson will be a candidate for six catches per game going forward.

3. Bobby Rainey, RB, Bucs — Rainey surprisingly left Brian Leonard in the dust last week, seizing control of this backfield.


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