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Start/Bench List - Week 4
John Tuvey
Updated: October 1, 2010
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NYJ at BUF BAL at PIT HOU at OAK CHI at NYG Start/Bench List by Position
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Start/Bench Codes (SBC)
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)

Washington at Philadelphia

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S3

There's the obvious revenge factor, countered by the fact that Philly knows pretty much everything about McNabb. More importantly, there's a Philly secondary that allowed multiple TD tosses in its first two games (shutting out David Garrard on the road is nothing to be proud of). Wouldn't you take a chance on an angry QB with a favorable match-up?

RB Clinton Portis
Ryan Torain
Keiland Williams
B This should be a sneaky good play, as only one team has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than Philly. But Mike Shanahan has fractured this backfield to the point that you can't trust any of them with a fantasy start.
WR Santana Moss
S3 Every wideout who has faced the Eagles and seen double-digit targets has scored; care to guess how many targets Moss is averaging? He's the only thing Washington has going downfield, he scored in the last matchup with Philly, and he's the best tool McNabb has at his disposal to extract any measure of revenge against his former team.
TE Chris Cooley S3

Washington tight ends have scored in three of the last four meetings with Philly. In 2008 it was Cooley going off for 8-109-1; last year Cooley broke his leg in the first Eagles game, opening the door for Fred Davis to post 8-78-1 and 4-43-1. Philly has already allowed a 100-yard game to a tight end this season, and with Cooley essentially option 1A in the passing game he makes a solid play again this week.

DT Redskins B Aside from that gaffe in the Cowboys game, the Redskins haven't really done enough to warrant consideration as a fantasy D/ST.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S2

Yet another soft matchup for Vick; only one team has allowed more passing yards than the Redskins. And while Washington has held two of the three quarterbacks they've faced to just one passing score, if you add in what Vick will do with his feet this should be yet another big fantasy outing.

RB LeSean McCoy

On the surface it appears as if the Redskins haven't allowed much to running backs, but that's only because the opposing backfields' touches have been fractured. Dallas backs combined for 128 yards from scrimmage in the opener, Texans running backs (paced by Arian Foster's 138) totaled 172 combo yards, and the Rams RBs had success even after Steven Jackson went down in amassing 148 combo yards with two RB TDs. McCoy himself reached triple-digit yardage from scrimmage last season, so if Vick doesn't steal too many looks he makes a solid fantasy play.

WR DeSean Jackson
Jeremy Maclin
S2 Only one team has allowed more yards to wide receivers than the Redskins, and no team has given up more completions to wideouts. With Vick focusing on throwing downfield, both Jackson—who has back-to-back efforts with at least 130 yards and a TD—and Maclin—who has scored in each game this season, a total of four scores on the year—make very good fantasy starts.
TE Brent Celek
B With Vick focusing his throws downfield, Celek is no longer the PPR stud he was projected to be under Kevin Kolb. The Redskins, who haven't allowed a tight end to top 28 yards against them this season, offer little reason to expect things to change.
DT Eagles S2 Who knows McNabb's tendencies better than his former team? And who better to expose McNabb's flaws than the aggressive Philly D? Those are rhetorical, by the way.

Arizona at San Diego

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson B

Don't expect Anderson's 52% completion percentage to play well against a San Diego secondary that's held each of its first three opponents to just one passing TD.

RB Chris "Beanie" Wells
S3 Wells looked pretty good in his first game back from knee surgery, but the Chargers have been tough on opposing backs; aside from Jamaal Charles' 52-yard TD run in the opener they haven't allowed much of anything. Wells' workload should continue to climb, to the point of being an every-week fantasy contributor, but there's nothing overly compelling about this particular match-up.
RB Tim Hightower B With Wells back, Hightower's touches will begin to trend in the wrong direction. San Diego has given up some receiving yards to backs so if you're in a larger PPR league he could still be a viable fantasy play, but that's the extent of his value this week.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

Mike Sims-Walker has the only WR TD against the Chargers this year, and that took a bunch of throws in garbage time. Thankfully, Anderson throws a bunch at Fitzgerald—some of them even close enough for Larry to catch. You can't bench him, but there's little question Fitz's QB is putting a damper on his fantasy production.

WR Steven Williams B

With Steve Breaston out for at least a couple weeks with a knee injury and Early Doucet still banged up as well, Williams will be the guy running patterns opposite Fitzgerald. You know, the guy Derek Anderson ignores while throwing everything Larry's way.

DT Cardinals S3 On their own the Arizona D doesn't warrant a fantasy start, but if you include special teams it's pretty obvious after giving up three kick return TDs in as many games the Bolts have issues—and LaRod Stevens-Howling is just the guy to make them pay.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

The Cards haven't seen much in the way of quarterback talent, but that hasn't stopped them from giving up at least 225 yards and a TD in every game. Those could be halftime numbers for Rivers, who has taken this offense on his back and rolls in with three straight multiple touchdown efforts and at least 298 yards in every game.

RB Ryan Mathews S2 Mathews practiced fully all week and should be healthy enough to do some damage to the team that's allowed more RB rushing yards than any other. Doesn't even matter if he loses some goal line looks to Tolbert; Mathews' yardage should more than make up the difference.
RB Mike Tolbert S3 Only one team has allowed more RB TDs than the Cardinals, so expect Tolbert to get in on the fun of running up the score at home against Arizona.
WR Malcolm Floyd
Legedu Naanee
S2 Two of the three WR1s to face Arizona put up 119 yards; the one who didn't scored a touchdown. Secondary targets have also scored twice, making both Floyd and Naanee solid fantasy plays this week.
TE Antonio Gates S1

Gates is essentially the Chargers No. 1 receiver and brings a three-game scoring streak into this tilt against a defense that just let Zach Miller go for 64 yards and a TD.

DT Chargers S3

San Diego's defense has been nothing special, but with Derek Anderson missing the mark half the time there's at least a chance a Bolt could take one the other way.


Chicago at NY Giants

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

The Giants have seen only one legit QB thus far this season, and Peyton Manning had his way with them to the tune of 255 and three. This may be the last time this comparison is ever made, but Cutler is much closer to Manning than either Matt Moore or Vince Young, so after an off week against the Pack expect him to bounce back with another set of the video game numbers a Mike Martz offense is known for.

RB Matt Forte S3

Ignore Forte's rushing numbers; he contributes nothing there. This week he'll also find it tough to help in the passing game as the Giants have allowed only one RB to top 50 receiving yards in the last 21 games. He remains a must-start in PPR leagues, but in other formats he's on the fringe—his starting status salvaged only by the thinned talent pool of the first bye week.


Johnny Knox
Devin Hester

S3 There's going to be a WR TD or two against a defense that's allowed four already despite the aforementioned dearth of quarterback talent they've faced. Knox and Hester remain the safest fantasy plays among Chicago's wideouts, but it's becoming a real headache trying to identify just which one will be Cutler's flavor of the week.

Earl Bennett

B Bennett is the worst fit for the Martz offense of all the Bears' receivers, but he's willing to play the slot (unlike Devin Aromashodu) so he continues to get targets. He's not doing much with them, however, and doesn't warrant fantasy attention.
TE Greg Olsen


Olsen won't put up the kind of yardage he did last year, but he's a red zone favorite of Cutler's and causes the same kinds of match-up problems that allowed Dallas Clark to score against the Giants earlier this season.

DT Bears S3 They're nowhere near where they were two or three years ago, but Hester's punt return last week suggests that there's still a little fantasy life in Chicago's D/ST.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

The Bears have allowed two straight quarterbacks to top 300 yards, but held both to a single touchdown; Manning is fresh off a 386-yard effort in which he failed to find the end zone. He's a tough start in a TD-heavy league, but all those 300s suggest he'll be a big-time helper in yardage-heavy leagues.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

No team has given up fewer RB rushing yards than the Bears, but that may be because no team has had fewer rushing attempts against them than the Bears. Bradshaw has been plenty productive with subdued carry totals (20, 17, 15) and brings a little something to the table as a receiver as well. It's not a great match-up, but nothing the Bears are doing defensively demands that you take Bradshaw out of your fantasy mix.

WR Steve Smith
Hakeem Nicks
Mario Manningham

In each of the past two games the Bears have allowed three opposing receivers to either top 50 yards or score. With so little separating the Giants' receivers—Smith is the most targeted and has the most catches, Manningham has the most yards and has been the most consistent, and Nicks has four of Big Blue's five WR TDs—none are great plays, but all are at least good fantasy starts this week.

DT Giants S3 Jay Cutler has taken a little bit better care of the football this season... but that could change in a hurry.

New England at Miami

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New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S1

Last year Brady blasted Miami for 332 and 352 yards; his yardage totals have been down a bit thus far this season, but he does have multiple TD tosses in each of his three games—all against top 10 pass defenses from 2009. And while Miami currently ranks among the tougher defenses against the pass, the only quarterback the Dolphins have held under 225 yards this season just got cut. No reason to sit Brady this week, unless you're really not a fan of the hair or the Comcast commercials.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Miami has allowed RB TDs in back-to-back games, and the Pats have a history of cobbling together ground-game success against the Dolphins; last year Laurence Maroney posted 20-82-1 in the front end of the season series, while three backs combined for 25-96-1 in the rematch. BJGE has been the Patriots' feature back of late, but that could change on a whim; last week Danny Woodhead saw some work and scored a TD, as did Green-Ellis. You're taking a risk any time you put a Patriots back in your fantasy lineup, but this week the reward suggests it's probably worth it.

WR Randy Moss S1 After seeing Braylon Edwards go long on Jason Allen last week, you have to believe Moss is ready to repeat the 6-147-1 he laid on Miami in the first meeting last year, or at least the 2-66-1 he put up in the second game.
WR Wes Welker S1 Welker is not to be ignored; while he may not pose the deep threat of a Moss or Edwards, he carved out 9-84 and 10-167 in last season's series and is getting a little bit healthier every week.
TE Aaron Hernandez S3 Visanthe Shiancoe and Dustin Keller have put up big yardage games against the Dolphins the past two weeks; those tight ends are more like Hernandez than New England's other rookie, Rob Gronkowski. If you can live with the possibility that Gronk might steal a TD from Hernandez, Aaron is worthy of a start—especially in yardage-based scoring systems.
DT Patriots S3 There's no compelling reason to start the Pats D/ST against Miami, other than Bill Belichick is a defensive genius.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne S2

Henne is coming off a 363 and 2 showing against a very good Jets defense, so a young New England secondary that's already given up multiple TD games to Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, and Ryan Fitzpatrick should feel like a breath of fresh air. Henne lit up the Pats for 335 and two in the back end of last season's series and should at minimum put up solid bye-week plug-in numbers here.


Ronnie Brown


Remember when the Dolphins unleashed the Wildcat on an unsuspecting Patriots defense and Brown rolled up 113 yards and four TDs? Since then he's had just 85 total rushing yards in two games. Brown is still ceding just enough carries to Ricky Williams that his yardage even in softer match-ups isn't much fantasy help, so he's at best a fringe starter here.


Ricky Williams


Like Brown, Williams has been bottled up since contributing his own 16-98 to the Wildcat game, with 129 rushing yards and a score in three meetings with the Patriots. If Brown's share of the load isn't enough to make him a fantasy play, Ricky's lesser share won't be much help, either.


Brandon Marshall


Marshall put up 8-64-2 on the Patriots last season as a member of the Broncos, so he knows his way around the New England secondary. And considering the Pats have allowed the third-most WR receptions this season and already given up 159 and 1 to Chad Ochocinco and TDs to Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotcher, and Steve Johnson—all bigger, more physical receivers, much like Edwards—there's little reason to expect Marshall to settle for much less than a redux of those Denver numbers.


Brian Hartline
Davonne Bess

B The wideouts that have had success against New England this season are the bigger, more physical guys—guys like Marshall. And since Marshall accounts for more than half of the Dolphins WR targets and yardage, no reason to look beyond him for fantasy help.
TE Anthony Fasano

Fasano scored last week and the Patriots have given up two TE TDs already this year, so if you're really in a bind you could stretch for fantasy help here. But Fasano is used so infrequently that you're bound to find a better opportunity elsewhere.

DT Dolphins S3 Not a great play, obviously, against a very good New England offense. But at home on a Monday night, stranger things have happened than a defensive TD.

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