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Start/Bench List - Week 5
John Tuvey
Updated: October 8, 2010
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JAC at BUF STL at DET NYG at HOU PHI at SFO 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)
Jacksonville at Buffalo Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard B

You know the drill on Garrard: he’s virtually unstartable on the road, where he’s posted multiple TD games in two of his last 17 away from Jacksonville. When he went on the road earlier this season he threw four picks and was benched for Luke McCown. Buffalo’s pass defense is a shell of last year’s dominant self, but you’d have to be pretty desperate to plug Garrard into your fantasy lineup on a week where he’s wearing road whites.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S1

Given the road woes of the Jacksonville passing game and the favorability of this match-up, the Jags may just leave Garrard at home. His primary job on Sunday will be handing the ball to MoJo, coming off a two-TD outing and facing a Buffalo defense that has allowed every feature back they’ve faced to score on them. They also allowed not one but two 100-yard rushing games last week alone. Sure hope you didn’t hit the panic button on Jones-Drew; if you were kicking yourself last week, you’ll be going Beckham on yourself here.


Mike Sims-Walker

B MSW has been shut out twice already this season, and his only productive game came in large part because Luke McCown locked in on him in a garbage-time drive in Week 2. Buffalo has allowed five WR TDs already this season, but those came at the hands of better wideouts (Randy Moss, Donald Driver, Braylon Edwards) in more competent passing games. The match-up suggests upside, but Sims-Walker’s track record suggests you look elsewhere for help this week.

Mike Thomas

B Thomas has been a little more consistent than Sims-Walker—hey, at least he’s had a couple catches in every game—but he just doesn’t offer enough upside to offset the twin risks of a Jacksonville offense focused on the run and Garrard’s abysmal road record.

Marcedes Lewis

B It’s easy to look at the numbers Buffalo has surrendered to tight ends this year and think this is a favorable matchup for Lewis. But all three of his TDs this year have come at home; he still hasn’t scored on the road since Week 8 of 2008. And once again, the TEs Buffalo has failed to contain—Jermichael Finley, Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller—are a step up in class from Lewis.
DT Jaguars S3

The Jags are getting sacks, so if your league uses that stat they could be a sneaky play against a Bills’ line that’s surrendered 11 already this season. Buffalo has also turned the ball over twice each of the last three games, making the Jaguars a viable option on a bye week.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S2

Shhhh! Don’t look now, but Fitzpatrick has put up back-to-back multiple-TD games on the Jets and Patriots. After that showing, a home date with a secondary that’s allowed at least 291 passing yards in every game this season looks quite inviting. Doesn’t hurt that no team has allowed more QB TDs than the Jaguars.

RB Fred Jackson S3

The Jags have allowed at least 60 yards and a touchdown to every back who’s carried at least 15 times against them, so the question becomes: will Jackson’s split of the slimmed-down Buffalo backfield provide enough opportunities for him to do the same? Consider that during Marshawn Lynch’s two-game showcase he averaged 15 carries and there’s reason for optimism.

RB C.J. Spiller B

As of now the Bills are saying Jackson is the starter, and Spiller hasn’t done enough with his limited touches to doubt that. Jacksonville is the kind of matchup that might allow for two backs to have fantasy value, but there’s simply too much risk regarding Spiller’s workload to trust him with a start.

WR Steve Johnson S2

No team has given up more yardage or touchdowns to wide receivers than the Jaguars; at least one receiver has topped 90 yards in every game against Jacksonville, the Jags have given up at least one WR TD in each game, and three wideouts have already topped the century mark against them. Johnson has become Fitzpatrick’s go-to guy, with TD grabs in each of the last two games. This might be his coming-out party.

WR Lee Evans S3

If you can stomach the thought of starting a guy with four, zero, five, and one-catch games thus far this year—never topping 54 yards—then Evans is your play. He has speed similar to other receivers who have burned the Jags (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Austin Collie) so a decent day isn’t out of the question. Put another way: if you’re not starting Evans at home with this matchup, he shouldn’t even be on your roster.

DT Bills S3 Not that the Bills have done anything remarkable in this area, save for Spiller’s TD return. But hosting David Garrard has proved to be a boon for other defenses; why not Buffalo?
Denver at Baltimore Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S3

The Ravens haven’t exactly seen an A-list of quarterbacks, but they’ve held each to 167 or fewer yards and one passing TD total in four games. Orton rolled into a Week 7 meeting with Baltimore last year coming off some good numbers and was held to 152 yards and no scores, so this is no lock. But with no support from the ground game Orton should have plenty of chances to throw (107 attempts the last two games alone), and through that quantity put up enough yardage to help in performance-based fantasy leagues.


Knowshon Moreno

B Moreno tested his fragile hammy Wednesday, then took Thursday and Friday off to recover. Obviously, he's not ready to go and the Broncos say he won't play this week.

Laurence Maroney

B You couldn’t be much more underwhelming than Maroney, who has 28 yards on 23 carries as a Bronco. Despite recent ground-game successes against the Ravens (Rashard Mendenhall’s two TDs last week, Peyton Hillis’ 144 and 1 the week before), there’s no reason to expect anything similar from LoMo.

Correll Buckhalter

B The General will help you in PPR leagues; he has 11-71-1 as a pass catcher in two games without Moreno. But with 49 yards on 27 carries he brings nothing to the table on the ground, making him bench fodder in all but the largest of performance-based/PPR leagues.
WR Brandon Lloyd
Eddie Royal
Jabar Gaffney


The Ravens haven’t allowed a WR score thus far this year, and no WR has topped 60 yards against them. Combine the difficulty of the matchup with the task of figuring out which receiver Orton will favor this week and the limited upside just isn’t worth the risk that this week might not be your guy’s turn to shine.

DT Broncos B Haven’t seen much from the Broncos D/ST (four turnovers, three sacks) to warrant fantasy consideration, especially on the road against a conservative offense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S3

Flacco can’t be banked on for big numbers; the Ravens’ proclivity to run often prevents him from getting enough attempts to post such digits. But he’s clearly capable, and the Broncos are a team that can be had. Nothing jumps off the page demanding you start Flacco, but it’s not like you’re sticking a black hole in your lineup to suck life out of your team.

RB Ray Rice S2

The Broncos have been surprisingly solid against the run, keeping the likes of Maurice Jones-Drew, Joseph Addai, and Chris Johnson out of the end zone and holding all but MoJo under 60 rushing yards. Rice was limited by a bruised knee last week, but he practiced fully all week. It's about time he start putting up the kind of numbers you anticipated when you made Rice a top-five pick.

RB Willis McGahee B

A goal-line guy against a team that hasn’t allowed a rushing score. Something’s gotta give; odds are it’s McGahee.

WR Anquan Boldin

Anquan has been the money man in this passing game: leading the WR corps in catches every game, topping them in yardage three of the four outings, hoarding nearly half of the wide receiver targets in Baltimore. He’s a solid bet to continue the production, though a touchdown might be a trickier proposition.

WR Derrick Mason

Mason has seen an uptick in production the past couple of weeks, and this matchup should continue that trend as all six of the WR TDs the Broncos have allowed have gone to secondary targets.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Last week’s game-winning TD was nice, but it surprised everyone—including the Steelers—in part because Housh is the forgotten man in Baltimore’s passing game. As noted above, secondary targets have been doing the scoring against Denver, but Housh’s share of the looks is so small he can’t be trusted with a fantasy start.


Todd Heap

B Heap doesn’t have a large enough role in the Baltimore passing game; offset that with a Denver defense that has shut out three straight tight ends—including Dallas Clark and John Carlson—and there’s no reason to get Heap off your bench.
DT Ravens S3 LBatch got away with some mistakes against Tampa Bay last week; he won’t be as fortunate against the Ravens, who have been point towards this game for a long time.

Kansas City at Indianapolis

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Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel B

Cassel hasn’t had a notable fantasy road game since Week 9 of last year; since then he’s thrown one or zero TDs in six straight in road whites, failing to top 220 yards in any of those contests. Indy has held three of four under 170 passing yards, but two of the last three QBs to face them have thrown two TDs. Still, it feels like the ceiling here is 200 yards and a score; surely you can do better.

RB Jamaal Charles

Every team that threw a legitimate back at the Colts (excludes Denver, which gave a dozen misguided carries to Laurence Maroney) received at least 89 rushing yards. While the Chiefs split touches between Charles and Jones (talk about misguided), the expectation is that playing from behind on the road will lead to more passing situations—which in turn will lead to Charles being on the field more than Jones. He’s the more dynamic play and the better fantasy option this week.

RB Thomas Jones

Jones continues to handle slightly more than half of the Chiefs’ backfield touches. Against Indy, that could turn into decent production against a defense that’s allowed two 100-yard rushers already. However, if KC finds itself playing from behind then Jones’ workload could take a hit while Charles plays in passing situations. Moderate risk, moderate upside... in a bye week, Jones’ workload should be enough to get him included in most fantasy lineups.


Dwayne Bowe
Chris Chambers
Dexter McCluster


This group is splitting fewer than six catches a week, making all of them difficult plays. And if KC employs the time-honored blueprint of running the ball heavily against the Colts, that takes a further bite. You could play the “they’ll have to throw to catch up” card, but then you’re stuck guessing which member—none of whom has so much as five catches or 70 yards in a game this season—is worth the risk. The opinion here is: none.


Tony Moeaki


Indy gave up its first tight end fantasy points of note last week when Marcedes Lewis found the end zone, but don’t let the tough-looking matchup scare you off of Moeaki. He’s accounting for a third of the Chiefs’ downfield looks (19 targets, compared to 38 for the entire WR corps) and yardage (123 to a combined 250 for KC WRs) and has caught half of Cassel’s touchdown tosses

DT Chiefs S3 Indy doesn’t give up much in the way of fantasy points to opposing defenses (four sacks, four turnovers, and zero return TDs through four games this season), but with Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas in the return game they’re at least worth a shot.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

The Chiefs and Mother Nature held Philip Rivers to 298 and 2 in the opener; KC hasn’t seen a legit QB since. They’ll be in for a shock facing Manning, who is averaging better than 340 yards and almost three TD passes per game.

RB Joseph Addai S3 You know what you’re going to get with Addai: 15-20 touches, maybe a shot at a TD, and decent combo yardage. The Chiefs aren’t a shutdown D, as Ryan Mathews, Peyton Hillis, and Frank Gore all had quality showings against them. No reason to get thrilled about Addai, but no reason to bench him, either.
WR Reggie Wayne S1

Tough to gauge what the Chiefs might do with Wayne; they have yet to see a legit No. 1 receiver, though they’ve allowed WR TDs in three straight games. Looks like another big week is in store for Manning-to-Wayne.

WR Austin Collie S3

You want Collie in your lineup; he's scored in every game, and the Chiefs have allowed WR TDs in every game. However, Collie didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday by a foot injury. He's listed as "questionable", which for the Colts could mean anything from rarin' to go to legally comatose. He'll be a game-time decision, with differing sources speculating that he'll suit up (Indy beat writers) to he won't play (the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports). This may be a week to trust a safer option; the alternative is to track Collie's availability all the way up to kickoff.

WR Pierre Garçon S3

Garçon practiced all week after missing the past couple of games with a hamstring injury. He may walk right into significant looks if Collie can't go, so Garçon owners may want to track his mate's injury as well.

WR Blair White B

Peyton Manning isn’t averse to spreading the ball around, but at present the Blair White Project is fifth in the pecking order.

TE Dallas Clark S1

There are only a handful of teams more TE-friendly than the Chiefs; there are even fewer tight ends more productive than Clark, who has TDs in three of four outings and at least five catches in every game this season.

DT Colts B Indy couldn’t muster so much as a sack or turnover last week and is averaging less than 2 sacks per game. Not that the Chiefs are imposing, but there’s nothing compelling on this side of the ball for the Colts.

Green Bay at Washington

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Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

The Skins have given up plenty of yardage—316 per game—but not much in the way of touchdowns. Rodgers, somewhat surprisingly, has been the opposite: multiple TDs in every game but less than 190 yards in half of his outings. This being a road outing, temper your expectations from phenomenal to merely great.


Brandon Jackson


We haven’t seen a single thing from Jackson that would suggest he’ll be more than a fringe fantasy contributor. A Redskins defense that hasn’t allowed a back to top 70 yards against them doesn’t project to help him, either.


John Kuhn


The Pack’s goal line guy may not get a shot this week against a Washington D that’s kept RBs out of the end zone in three of four games this year.

WR Greg Jennings


Jennings may be the slightly better play against a defense that struggles with teams unafraid to go deep. He’s also scored in both of Green Bay’s road games this season and despite smaller catch and yardage totals has been targeted just as frequently as Driver.

WR Donald Driver


Driver isn’t ceding all the downfield looks to Jennings, though he’s averaging just over 10 yards per catch. The Redskins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to wideouts, so there should be plenty to go around this week.

WR James Jones


Green Bay’s third wideout (and fourth target) isn’t seeing enough looks on a regular basis to warrant a fantasy start, even against a team as seemingly soft against the pass as Washington. Of all the yards the Skins have surrendered to wideouts, less than 40 yards per game are going to tertiary wideouts; that's not enough to make Jones fantasy relevant.

TE Jermichael Finley
S2 No TE has topped 30 yards against the Skins—but no TE has more than three catches against the Skins. Finley has at least four catches in every game and is more targeted than either Driver or Jennings. He’s also a solid bet to score against a Washington D that’s allowed TE TDs in each of the past two games.
DT Packers S2 Any time you’ve got Charles Woodson on your side, you’ve got a shot at a pick six.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S3

Shaun Hill put up 331 and two on the Pack last week, but it took him 54 throws to get there. McNabb hasn’t even made it to 40 in burgundy, though sans Clinton Portis he just might. McNabb also has yet to throw for multiple TDs as a Redskin, and it’s questionable whether this defense will afford him that opportunity.

RB Clinton Portis B Portis’ groin injury will sideline him for at least the next month and maybe for the rest of the season; the words “groin” and “torn from the bone” don’t add up to a quick return.
RB Ryan Torain S3 Torain’s showing in relief of the injured Portis against one of the league’s softer run defenses earned him more than a few waiver wire claims. Those who landed Torain will need to lower their expectations, as no back has topped 64 yards against the Pack and it’s a 50/50 proposition at best that he’ll find the end zone. In a bye week with more than a handful of RBs on the injury shelf as well, it’s enough to make Torain a fringe fantasy play.
WR Santana Moss
S3 Moss was money until last week, when he was targeted just once and failed to record a catch. This isn’t a great opportunity to get back in the saddle—last week Calvin Johnson was the first opposing wideout to crack double-digit fantasy points against Green Bay—but with no one else to really throw to and no Portis to hand off to you have to think sheer volume will push Moss to the positive side of fantasy relevance.
TE Chris Cooley S2

In the last two weeks alone three different tight ends have topped 60 yards against the Packers. Cooley has topped 50 yards or scored in every game thus far, and as the second option in Washington’s passing game he should be in line for a solid fantasy showing.

DT Redskins B No compelling reason to expect much fantasy help from the Skins, and the prolific potential of the Packers’ offense is enough to push them off the fringe and onto the bench.

St. Louis at Detroit

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S2

Bradford is averaging 40 throws a game, which will provide ample opportunity for him to slap another multiple TD game on the Lions—something three of the last four opposing QBs have done.

RB Steven Jackson S2

Jackson played through a groin injury last week, so he deserves a little something for the effort. How about a date with a Detroit defense that’s allowed three 100-yard games to RBs (one receiving), each with multiple TDs tacked on to boot? The Lions’ defense is, in theory, better than the one Jackson posted 22-149-1 on last year; however, with triple-digit combo yardage in two of his last three, Jackson would seem poised to test that theory severely.

WR Mark Clayton

Clayton is too targeted to fail against a defense that ranks in the top 10 in fantasy friendliness towards wideouts, averaging 10 targets per game with three TDs in the last three outings.

WR Danny Amendola

Danny is seeing only slightly fewer balls than Clayton, and while he’s not a consistent touchdown threat he does enough to warrant consideration in PPR and performance leagues.

DT Rams S3 Against a Lions team that’s turned the ball over 11 times this year, including a pick six last week? Sounds like a solid bye week plug-in play.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Shaun Hill S3

Like his Rams counterpart, Hill should have ample opportunity to throw; he’s averaging nearly 48 attempts per game since stepping in for Matthew Stafford, and he’ll get the nod here again as Stafford’s shoulder injury continues to heal. The Rams, however, aren’t as forgiving as the Lions; though three of four opposing quarterbacks have thrown for at least 236 yards, none have mustered more than one TD toss. Again, volume helps Hill’s bottom line.

RB Jahvid Best S3

The Rams have allowed triple-digit yards from scrimmage to every backfield they’ve faced, and with Best handling the bulk of the Lions’ touches he should be able to chip in some helpful fantasy digits—sore toe and all. Best was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable, however, so if you intend to use him you'll want to monitor his status Sunday morning just in case.

WR Calvin Johnson S2

Megatron will be targeted 10-plus times here; against a defense that has already allowed big games to Steve Breaston, Louis Murphy and Santana Moss you have to like Johnson’s chances.

TE Brandon Pettigrew S3

The Rams haven’t allowed a TE TD yet this season, but with Pettigrew and Scheffler it’s more about the looks: Pettigrew has seen 22 balls thrown his way, Scheffler 20—numbers that place both among the top-seven targeted TEs. Looks turn into catches, and at present both could be considered as plug in plays given the right situation. If Scheffler's concussion limits him from playing this weekend, bump Pettigrew up to an S2.

TE Tony Scheffler B

Scheffler missed two days of practice with a concussion but returned for a limited session on Friday and is listed as questionable. Given that he's only sharing the job, that's too much risk to warrant the fantasy play here.

DT Lions B With Bradford hardly playing like a rookie, the Lions lose their luster as a fantasy D.

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