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Fantasy football: Players with best, worst matchups in playoffs

Trade deadlines are approaching, so it’s time to set your roster for a playoff run. A good way to do that is to look ahead to the matchups during the playoffs, Weeks 14-16 in many leagues. Here’s a look at some of the players with the best and worst matchups.

BEST MATCHUPS

QB Drew Brees, Saints: After totaling 75 points in Weeks 8-9, Brees came back to earth with 12 on Sunday. Expect to see the more prolific Brees in the playoffs, when the Saints host the Lions in Week 15 and the Jaguars in Week 16. They rank third and seventh, respectively, in most standard-scoring points allowed to quarterbacks per game. They’ve combined to give up 33 touchdown passes with only nine interceptions.

RB Frank Gore, Colts: Without Andrew Luck, the Colts might have to lean on Gore, who has three favorable matchups in the Jaguars, Texans and Dolphins. They rank in the top 12 in most points allowed to running backs per game. The Jags are tied for the league high in total touchdowns allowed to running backs (11), and the Dolphins and Texans are in the bottom eight in rushing yards allowed.

WR Calvin Johnson, Lions: He has had at least five catches and more than 80 yards in four consecutive games. In Weeks 15 and 16, Johnson will face the Saints and 49ers, who have allowed the ninth- and sixth-most points to wide receivers per game, respectively.

RB Charcandrick West, Chiefs: He has had three consecutive games with double-digit scoring. Expect similar production against the Chargers in Week 14 and the Browns in Week 16. The Chargers have allowed the most points to running backs per game and the Browns the ninth-most.

Dolphins: They’ll face the Giants, Chargers and Colts, who rank in the bottom nine in total defense.

WORST MATCHUPS

WR Julio Jones, Falcons: He’s second in scoring among wide receivers, but he might not produce like it in the playoffs. The Falcons will face the Panthers twice, sandwiched around a Week 15 game against the Jaguars. The Panthers have allowed the fifth-fewest points to wide receivers per game, thanks in large part to cornerback Josh Norman, who figures to follow Jones wherever he goes. Plus, in his last four games against the Panthers, Jones has averaged four catches and 53.3 yards with one touchdown.

QB Eli Manning, Giants: He’s seventh in scoring among quarterbacks, throwing multiple touchdown passes in seven of 10 games. But Manning will be hard-pressed to accomplish that against the Panthers in Week 15 and the Vikings in Week 16. The Panthers have allowed the fifth-fewest points to quarterbacks per game and the Vikings the eighth-fewest.

Eagles running backs: DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews will face two stingy run defenses in the Bills in Week 14 and the Cardinals in Week 15. The Bills rank ninth in run defense and the Cardinals fourth. However, if your team can survive those matchups, the Eagles will face the Redskins, who rank 30th in run defense, in Week 16.

STOCK MARKET

RISING

WR Kamar Aiken, Ravens

In the Ravens’ first game without Steve Smith, he was targeted a team-high 14 times. Aiken is available in more than half of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. He’s a must-own.

WR Brandon LaFell, Patriots

With Julian Edelman injured, LaFell figures to see more action, along with Danny Amendola. Last season, LaFell led Patriots wide receivers with seven touchdowns.

FALLING

WR A.J. Green, Bengals

He has single-digit scoring in five of his last six games, and he has some tough matchups ahead, including Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson this week.

WR James Jones, Packers

He has scored zero points in two of the last three games. Jones scored six touchdowns in the first six games and nothing since. He’s too touchdown-dependent to trust.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com