The unfortunate part of single-elimination playoff games is that plenty of people get – to be blunt – screwed.

Did you face Seattle’s defense yesterday?  Good luck making up that 35-point defense differential. How about Cam Newton? Yikes.

For those on the wrong side of a playoff matchup due to these insane occurrences, it’s a tough pill to swallow for sure. Especially when your team was not only favored by a large margin, but clearly better than the opposition. I’ve been there. Everyone’s been there. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Week 14 – the first playoff week in the majority of fantasy leagues – proved to be one of the more bizarre ones of the 2012 season. It’s inopportune timing, sure, but it reminds us that the small moves, like playing Seattle’s defense against a struggling Cardinals team, are just as important to success as the ones involving quarterbacks.

Is Matt Ryan a matchup play?

It seems as though Matt Ryan always appears in start/sit questions on Twitter, and it’s for good reason: Nobody understands him or his numbers.

After starting the season off so promising with his talented mix of veteran and young personnel, Matt Ryan has been nothing short of inconsistent over the last 8 or 9 weeks. He’s scored 26 fantasy points against the Saints, and he’s also scored 10 against them. He’s posted a 2-point, 5-interception contest against the Cardinals, yet he’s had a 23-fantasy point performance against Philly. Is there any way to tell how Matt Ryan is going to perform?

In short, yes. The reason is because Matt Ryan is not an every week starter at this point in the season, and the Falcons’ clinched playoff berth is only going to add to Ryan owners’ frustrations. He hasn’t had a 3-touchdown game since Week 10, and has shown that even against moderately good defenses, he’s simply a low-end starter.

He faces a Giants’ defense next week that is surging, and may not get all the reps in his final two games depending on the outcome. If I’m a Ryan owner, I’m looking at the waiver wire for some quarterbacks with favorable matchups here on out on teams that love to pass the ball because they’re consistently behind in games.

Dallas adds to the list of gutsy 2012 performances.

After the tragic news that Cowboys’ player Jerry Brown died in a car accident – a car driven by drunk driver and teammate Josh Brent – the Cowboys did exactly what they had to do on Sunday: They left their hearts on the field in an emotional win in Cincinnati.

Emotions aside, I was impressed by how the Cowboys closed out the game; something they’ve failed to do throughout the season. DeMarco Murray didn’t have a very good yards per carry average, but you can tell that his burst and ability is there, and he’ll be another top pick in next year’s fantasy draft. Playing the Steelers next week, however, doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys’ offense.

I don’t even care about the Bills, but feed CJ Spiller the ball!

I’m not a Spiller owner and I couldn’t care less about the outcome of Bills’ games. But for the sake of humanity, Chan, can you please feed Spiller the football some more?

Spiller received just 7 carries in the Bills loss to the Rams on Sunday, which was second on the team behind Fred Jackson. The veteran running back, Jackson, couldn’t get much going on the ground, rushing for just 14 yards, while Spiller did much more with his carries en route to a 37-yard day (remember, he had just 7 carries).

News this morning is that Fred Jackson is more than likely done for the year, meaning Spiller should be getting more touches. But given the way Chan Gailey likes to run the Bills’ team, Tashard Choice will probably end up leading the team in carries during Week 15 (kidding, of course).

Spiller will be an RB1 from here on out, but temper your expectations. The Bills’ schedule is not very favorable for running backs.

Is Cleveland the hottest AFC North team?

The Browns won again, beating the season-struggling Chiefs in Cleveland on Sunday. And they did it, surprisingly, with their defense and special teams – two areas of this team that has improved over the last few weeks.

From a fantasy perspective, though, it was the running backs who mattered in this game. Trent Richardson had a juicy matchup against the Chiefs, but was only able to get 42 yards on 18 carries. Montario Hardesty actually ended up with more yards on the ground. Richardson’s two scores, however, salvaged his fantasy day for owners needing a big performance.

On the opposite side of the field, Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles was able to get a 80-yard touchdown scamper en route to a 165 yard performance. He’s clearly one of the most talented backs in the league, and when given opportunity, he can be a top fantasy play as well.

Andrew Luck wins again.

Just a day after writing my piece on who should win the Offensive Rookie of the Year, Andrew Luck leads his team to yet another big victory. His stat line wasn’t jaw-dropping, though, and that’s what we care about regarding fantasy football.

I’ve been a Luck fan all year from a fantasy standpoint. He’s clearly a late-round quarterback, and I’ve hyped him up since he began his cakewalk schedule in Week 5. The reason he’s such a good play is because of quantity, but when the Colts play more of a balanced offensive style, Luck’s numbers falter.

There’s a direct relationship between passing attempts and fantasy points in most cases in the NFL. Clearly you need the right personnel and talent level, but someone like Matthew Stafford makes a living in the fantasy world by throwing the ball a lot. Quantity, at times, is better than quality. Andrew Luck’s best fantasy games this season (Detroit, Green Bay, Miami) were also three of his top four games in terms of pass attempts.

It’s very difficult to determine the number of passes a quarterback will take before entering a game. There are a couple things you can do, however. The first is to ask if your quarterback is facing an elite one. If the answer is “yes”, then that’s a good sign. The second is to ask if that team defends the run much better than the pass. Again, if this answer is “yes”, you’re golden.

If you look at Luck’s top pass attempt games, he faced Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The final game, against Miami, he faced a defense that ranks 25th against the pass and 9th against the run. It makes sense.

Is Nick Foles turning it around, or is Tampa Bay that bad at defending the pass?

Everyone wrote off the Eagles against Tampa Bay for obvious reasons, but Nick Foles looked decent yesterday. Or was it just that the Bucs pass defense is that bad?

We always like to pick on opponents. We base our defensive plays off of matchups against the worst offenses in the NFL (again, did you see what Seattle did yesterday?). I think it’s time to do the same with quarterbacks playing Tampa Bay.

The Bucs have surrendered no less than 13 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks since Week 7. And in that time frame, they’ve faced Christian Ponder, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Nick Foles. It’s not as though they’ve gone up against the big guns of the sport.

Drew Brees gets them next week. I guess it won’t matter, though, because no Brees owner is advancing in the fantasy playoffs after this week (zing!).

Joe Flacco does his best Joe Flacco impression.

It’s no secret that I believe Joe Flacco is bad. And yesterday, after starting the game off so promising, Joe Flacco became Joe Flacco again.

I wrote it in my book, told people on Twitter and blogged about it many times on this site: Joe Flacco is nothing more – and will never be anything more – than a matchup play. And even then, it’s hard to trust a player who has all the arm strength in the world but struggles completing passes down field. It’s hard to believe in a guy who stands like a statue in the pocket, and shows such little edge.

With three touchdown passes, you’d expect something more than 15 fantasy points versus one of the weaker pass defenses in the league. But when it comes to Joe Flacco, mediocrity is what you have to always expect.

Hey, Mr. Wilson!

Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury came at the wrong time for owners relying on him in the playoffs. But in deeper leagues, David Wilson came through.

Is this a sign of what’s to come in New York? Tom Coughlin clearly doesn’t like feeding young players, but there’s no denying that David Wilson looked good against a bad New Orleans’ defense. If Bradshaw misses time, Wilson should be a top waiver wire priority this week.

Seattle’s defense advance fantasy teams near and far.

What happens when you create 8 turnovers, get 3 sacks, score 2 touchdowns and post a shutout? Well, you become the biggest fantasy football asset of Week 14, apparently.

While Seattle’s defense has been very good this year, I think this goes to show just how broken the Arizona offense is. And, over the final weeks of this fantasy season, you should continue to try to stream defenses against them.

Remember when Arizona was 4-0? Yeah, neither do I.