Ranks reaction: Are Colts, Giants risky? 

December, 12, 2012
A pair of 11-2 teams stand atop the NFL standings heading into the final weeks, and those Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in terms of fewest (real-life) points allowed. These factors, of course, give the impression fantasy football owners should be extra wary of using their players against the Falcons and Texans. Well, did you see what Cam Newton and Tom Brady did to these defenses in Week 14? It wasn't pretty, unless you owned those guys. This week the Falcons and Texans face huge tests against Eli Manning and Andrew Luck, respectively, and I have to admit I'm not concerned about using those quarterbacks or their weapons.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck
David Butler II/US PresswireAndrew Luck currently sits at ninth among quarterbacks in (standard) fantasy scoring for 2012.
As a result, with the Week 15 rankings posted, you'll see nobody was higher on Manning or Luck than I was, and the same went for Colts options Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. It wasn't a planned strategy; my colleagues and I don't discuss our rankings ahead of time. I also like Ahmad Bradshaw as a safe RB2 (No. 16) and Hakeem Nicks as a WR2. Points will be scored! Frankly, looking at a team's overall record is a poor way to glean relevant fantasy information in the first place. Pittsburgh's defense has value, and look at what the Cleveland Browns have done of late. Those teams aren't winning much. The Texans have lost only twice, but in each of those losses, they allowed 42 points, with much of it early and the opposing teams being methodically dominant in precision. The Falcons forced New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees into a five-interception embarrassment recently, but Atlanta has just one pick in the other six games since its Week 7 bye week. These are defenses to fear?

Ultimately, if I owned Manning (either of them, frankly) or Luck I'm not veering off here in the fantasy playoffs because they're facing potential No. 1 seeds, each of which is coming off a loss. The Giants tore through a miserable Saints defense recently, but any issues Manning was having with a sore arm were assuaged immediately after the bye week when he lit up the Green Bay Packers. Manning is averaging 286 passing yards per game against the Falcons over his past four games, going 4-0 in that span, including the clean playoff performance in January. Victor Cruz, Nicks and tight end Martellus Bennett, the latter being one of the few at his position actually playing consistently well of late, will put up numbers.