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Fantasy Fix: Match-Ups Made In Heaven

The three fantasy football performances people are talking about the most after Week 7:

* Tim Tebow, QB, Denver: 161 yards passing, 65 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 1 2-pt, 0 INTs

* DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas: 253 yards rushing, 1 TD

* Plaxico Burress, WR, San Diego: 25 yards receiving, 3 TDs

What these performances have in common - in addition to the fact that none of these guys had been among weekly fantasy leaders before Week 7 - is that match-ups, and how coaches reacted to them, played a significant role.

Tebow went up against one of the worst teams in the NFL - winless Miami - in a match-up made in heaven. And he looked beaten by Miami's middling defense for three quarters.

But winless teams find a way to lose, and Miami did, by playing poorly - and indecisively, if you believe Miami players' criticism of their own defensive coordinator - late in the fourth quarter.

Tebow should have excelled with this match-up. He didn't, but because of the finish, he came out a hero.

I have been bullish on Tebow recently, but Week 7's performance has me a little more concerned now than I had been before about a Week 8 match-up against Detroit, which has a psycho defense, and other upcoming match-ups against Oakland and Kansas City.


DeMarco Murray reeled off his monster game against the worst rushing defense in the NFL - St. Louis. It was the best possible match-up he could have had, and it got better when RB mate Tashard Choice was injured during the game. Dallas coaches decided to play the match-up for all it was worth, and kept Murray heavily involved until late in the game when he appeared to run out of gas.

Murray will have another decent match-up against Philadelphia this week, but Dallas probably will have to throw more, unless they can keep Philadelphia's offense on ice.

And after Week 8, things could get murky for Murray because Felix Jones will be returning from injury and he'll have to share.


Plaxico Burress' big game was an example of a coach playing against a match-up.

Not surprisingly, it was Jets coach Rex Ryan, who responded to Burress' plea for more attention by having him factor into end-zone pass plays against San Diego, which has one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. The Chargers appeared caught off guard.

All of this is not to say these guys won't continue to come up big, but it's a reminder of how week-to-week match-ups can play a big role in what otherwise seem like surprise performances.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report highlights the importance of match-ups in leagues using team defenses.

* Yahoo! Pickups of the Week likes another young gun, Vikings QB Christian Ponder. Ponder started with a TD bomb in Week 7, though his best decision revolved around handing off to Adrian Peterson.

* USA Today weighs in on Chargers QB Philip Rivers, a once-consistent star who has hit the skids.

* finds the experts in almost universal agreement about the best, worst and most surprising fantasy performers of the season's first half.

* Fantasy Knuckleheads says Rams receiver Brandon Lloyd didn't let a trade to a mediocre team ruin his Week 7.


Dashing Dan O'Shea is one of the nation's finest fantasy sports specialists. He also writes the Beachwood's Swings Both Ways blog. He welcomes your comments.

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