Knowing your fantasy player's defensive opponent is half of the picture when setting your lineups and those who have come to know how good defenses like the Steelers, Ravens and Bears have been over the years may be surprised to learn that those teams have some odd company this season. The Bengals and Browns are both top five defenses against the pass while the Seahawks are allowing the fewest yards per carry in the league. Make sure you know whom the good defenses are and not just which ones are getting the hype.
GOOD MATCH UPS
Matthew Stafford vs. Falcons defense: The math is pretty simple here. Stafford ranks as the fifth best quarterback in fantasy points per game in standard leagues this season. The Falcons defense is giving up 283 passing yards per game this season, ranking them 27th in the NFL. Math says Stafford should have himself a pretty solid game this week against Atlanta.
Earnest Graham vs. Bears defense: In his first start of the season, Graham rushed for 109 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards against the Saints. With LeGarrette Blount expected to miss this week's game Graham will get another start and will get himself a juicy matchup against the Bears. Yes, the Chicago Bears are allowing a league-worst 5.4 yards per carry this season and with Graham's pass-catching ability, he makes for one of the better running back starts this week in PPR leagues.
NOT SO GOOD MATCH UPS
Kevin Kolb vs. Steelers defense: Kolb turned in a rough performance in his last game but, in fairness, being down 28-0 in the first quarter wasn't helping matters. Still, Kolb owners shouldn't expect things to get much better this week as Kolb faces the NFL's best pass defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have allowed just 158 passing yards per game this season.
Peyton Hillis vs. Seahawks defense: The Seahawks aren't very good; I'll give you that. But they've quietly started this season as one of the league's best-run defenses, allowing a measly 3.1 yards per carry to opponents best in the NFL. Hillis has struggled himself this season, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry while topping 57 yards rushing just once and failing to reach 100 yards in a game. He's not a very good bet to have a breakout game this week, especially with a less-than healthy hamstring.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Devin Hester, WR, Bears: Hester has become known as an inconsistent fantasy option at wide receiver over the past few seasons. However, if you're desperate enough, it's worth noting that he's caught five passes in each of his last two games and he's been targeted more than guys like Jordy Nelson, Robert Meachem and Brandon Lloyd this season.
Teams on bye this week: Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, New York Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco
Kyle Mulligan is a contributing sports writer for the Observer. He welcomes your feedback and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.