In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections . The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.
Matt Forte (AT DAL) - PROJECTION: 40 rush, 70 Rcv + 1 TD SBL RATING: S3
TUVEY: Forte owners had their opportunity; it came last week against the Lions. Now he'll face a legitimate defense—specifically one that has had tremendous success against pass-catching backs—in a pass-first offense behind a horrible offensive line while sharing touches with Chester Taylor. Nothing in that last sentence gets me excited about plugging Forte into my fantasy lineup. I can't believe DMD has so little faith in the coverage ability of his beloved Cowboys linebackers. Why, even if Forte does break free he's going to slip on the spittle spewing from Keith Brooking's yap as he gives one of those fire 'em up speeches. You can count the number of backs who have put up 40 rush/70 receiving/1 TD on the Cowboys since 2004 on one hand, and aside from Rock Cartwright's fluke last year the list—Tiki Barber in 04, Reggie Bush in 06, Brian Westbrook in 07—is a step up in class from Forte.
DOREY: I may back off slightly on my projection. Of course that would ensure that it happens but here was my reasoning on the "big" game for Forte. Both of us have no expectation of good rushing here - Cowboys at home rank very highly against the run and the Bears already have not rushed well. The Bears threw seven completions to Forte last week and he had 150 yards and two scores. I watched that game and what I saw was an offense that is not hitting on all cylinders yet and that relied on the good old dump off to Forte which was really the only big success. Applying that to this week, my expectations is that the Cowboys are going to really want to get a win after last week and they will run up the score if it is possible. I think Dallas gets a lead early and that forces the Bears to throw so much that even Martz is happy. But Dallas has a secondary that is at least decent and at home likely very good. The Bears shift into four wideouts and the linebackers are high-fiving the incoming defensive backs when they run past each other. And once again, the Bears end up dumping off to someone and that would more likely be Forte. In assigning a score, I have to tip it where it seems the most likely and with so very little to work with on the new offense, I fell back to Forte as one of the primary receivers and who has already gotten the confidence of Jay Cutler.
CONSENSUS: 70 yards is a lot for a running back. Of course 150 yards is even more and that was what happened last week for Forte. The question is how well the Cowboys will cover the Bears wideouts? My guess is better than the visiting Lions. Which means Forte is last man not covered. In assessing him for a fantasy start, you can throw out the score as that could go anywhere in this new and developing offense. And we both think rushing yards will be low. So it all depends how many times Forte is thrown the ball and can do something with it. That is a risk in a new offense with only one game to measure so far. Forte has at least as much downside as upside here and could end up with just low yardage all around. He's not a safe play but he has some upside depending on how the Bears respond to being behind.
JOHNNY KNOX / Devin Aromashodu (at DAL) - PROJECTION: 70 + 1 TD / 40 , SBL RATING: S3 / S2
TUVEY: There's no question the Bears' receiving corps is a crap shoot. But after watching Aromashodu make key drops and mental errors and Jay Cutler STILL go back to him—a team high 10 targets in Week 1—I'd rather take my chances with his stat line on Sunday as opposed to Knox's. I mean, we're splitting hairs here: I have Aromashodu as an S2 and Knox as an S3, so either is startable. But working with what we know about Chicago, the smart money is on Aromashodu.
DOREY: I guess the problem is that I am higher on Knox than Aromashodu and it isn't so much that I have any crush on Knox, I am just less convinced that the Bears are going merely repeat last week by throwing the most to Aromashodu. In most Dallas matchups, the weaker side is the left where Johnny Knox should play (depending on Mike Martz's whim) and that is why I gave him the better numbers. Slot receivers generally do not fare well in Dallas. If we are digging up the history books, no visiting wideout in Dallas had more than 45 yards if he wasn't the starting flanker or split end last year. I could go back further but what's the point?
CONSENSUS: It is a crap shoot to rely on a Bear's wideout in any game, much less on the road in the second showing ever of the new Mike Martz offense. Both Knox and Aromashodu have upside to them in a game where the Bears are certain to throw a lot. Hester seems to be less in the picture considering last week and the Cowboys best against flankers. So think of it this way - I projected 110 yards and a score between the pair. 50 yards would be a lot for a slot guy but it could happen. And Knox could fall back to 50 on the basis of just one pass. Touchdowns right now do not have a lot of confidence in them so really think of both as being "S3" with upside.
Vernon Davis (vs NO) - PROJECTION: 90 YDS + 1 TD, SBL RATING: S3
TUVEY: The Saints allowed one TE TD all of last year, so clearly they know how to defend the position. And after they figured out Vishante Shiancoe was the best Vikings receiver they blanketed him with Roman Harper and took him out of the game. The Saints' coaches appear to be smart fellows; you have to believe they look at the Niners passing game and figure if they take Davis out of the mix they're in tremendous shape. So I expect Davis to have an evening similar to Shiancoe's second half in the opener. He's still startable, but the Saints aren't going to let him run up big numbers.
DOREY: The Saints allowed three tight ends to gain over 75 yards (since you have me open my stats book up) and the success that Favre had with Shiancoe last week stemmed mostly from not being able to hit timing routes to the outside. And it was in New Orleans as well in a game where the Saints were pretty pumped up and most the fans were drunk (and had been since last January I believe). Now on the road to San Francisco, They face Davis but he's not any sort of Shiancoe clone. He's really not even a tight end since he can outrun maybe all the wide receivers in this game from both sides. And he lines up as such on some occasions. I see the 49ers needing to throw and the Saints have good corners and that means Davis is going to a factor. Last year each defense already knew about him and he still had six games with 90+ yards. He is easily the receiver most likely to have a decent game here. And at home. For what it is worth, in 2007, Davis had 6-71 and a score on the visiting Saints.
CONSENSUS: The Saints will scheme against Davis but most all teams do. He's faster and better than arguably all but maybe Gates. If you own Davis in a tight end required league, you are certainly starting him anyway. The real question then is if you are in league where tight ends are just receivers along with wide receivers. Starting him then becomes a comparison against whatever else you have to use but consider him really as the #1 WR/TE in San Francisco going against the visiting Saints. He's probably more of an "S2" by that definition.
|Start Bench List Ratings:
|S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup)
||U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
|S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup)
||X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
|S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely)
||B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
||Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.