Everyone knows that the most important, highest-scoring slots on your fantasy football team are your QB/RB/WR/TE. But when you get to the playoffs, you have to assume that virtually everyone will have elite options at almost all positions. The margin of victory in the playoffs is razor thin, so at FST we hunt for every possible change you can make that might have even a three to five point total impact on your final score – Very often those points are the difference between a win and a loss.

With that in mind, today we’re going to examine notable defense/special teams matchups, both good and bad, so you can field your best possible lineup when the games count the most!

Playoff matchups we like

Detroit TAM, MIN, @CHI

The Lions defense has been a dominant unit all season, allowing only 156 points while rolling up 28 sacks and 12 interceptions. They’ve not yet had a defensive TD or they would be even higher up the ranks. If you’ve rolled this far with them, keep rolling – Detroit might have the best overall playoff schedule. If they’re available for some idiot reason, grab them right away. The Lions D line is going to win owners championships this year.

Green Bay ATL, @BUF, @TB

If you’ve managed to grab the Packers D over the last couple of weeks, hold ‘em. Look at this schedule! Atlanta is the only legit opponent, and they’ll have to travel to the frozen tundra to visit the Pack. We know Matt Ryan and Co. don’t play well on the road. The numbers say the Falcons are a below average matchup for opposing D/ST, but I’d definitely bet on the Packers taking them behind the woodshed in Week 14. Neither the Buffalo or Tampa games should offer much of a challenge, and should offer plenty of opportunities for defensive fantasy scoring. If Detroit has the best matchups, I think Green Bay might have the highest upside of the group.

Playoff matchups we don’t like

Buffalo @DEN, GB, @OAK

The Bills have been the sixth highest scoring fantasy defense this year. It’s been a total surprise, but they’ve amassed sacks and interceptions with regularity despite the limited nature of their offense. For the fantasy playoffs though, you’re going to need to find another option. Denver and Green Bay are obvious terrible matchups, and believe it or not, Oakland (for opposing D/ST) is a neutral-at-best matchup.

Miami BAL, @NE, MIN

The Fins are another AFC East squad that’s gone from un-owned to fantasy stud D/ST. They’re actually second (!) overall in total fantasy points for the 2014 season. Look at their playoff schedule though – man that’s rough. You never want your fantasy defense in Foxboro, and the Ravens have been very stingy to opposing fantasy D/STs as well. If you’ve been relying on Miami, it might be time to at least consider other plans.

Arizona KC, @STL, SEA

Despite losing Darnell Dockett early, and some other pieces late, the Cardinals have fielded the fifth-best scoring fantasy defense in 2014. They’re just a solid defensive group, and have come up big at times…but look at this playoff slate. Yikes. About the only thing you can say is they have two games at home, where they play better defense. But those games are against KC and SEA, two of the worst matchups for opposing D/ST. The one ‘good’ matchup is against a Rams offensive group that looked rejuvenated in beating the Broncos last Sunday. I don’t like this schedule one bit.