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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)
Chicago at Carolina Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Todd Collins B

The Mike Martz express was derailed last week when Jay Cutler was unceremoniously bounced from the game thanks to nine sacks and the resulting concussion. That’s more than twice as many as the Pepper-less Panthers have on the season, so maybe Collins will have a little time to throw. Not that we'd advise sticking him in your fantasy lineup, though.

RB Matt Forte S3

The Panthers have given up triple-digit rushing yardage to three of four opponents, but the Bears are unlikely to take that approach—not at Forte’s 2.6 yards per carry. But Carolina has allowed two RB receiving scores, and that’s where Forte excels. That puts him in play in PPR leagues, on the fringe at best in other scoring formats.


Johnny Knox

B Knox is the most consistent option in Chicago’s passing game carousel... but we just can't do it. Can't recommend a Bears receiver when Todd Collins is at the helm. Too much risk, not enough reward.

Devin Hester
Earl Bennett

B You simply can’t trust receivers who have three games with 17 yards or less (Hester) or three games with 29 yards or less (Bennett) despite a dozen catches.
TE Greg Olsen


Olsen may be the busiest tight end in a Mike Martz offense ever, primarily because he’s playing out of the slot position Devin Aromashodu doesn’t want and Earl Bennett fills poorly. You'd like to think that Todd Collins has to throw to somebody, but 4-for-11 in relief against the Giants and a career 56 percent completion percentage would support an argument to the contrary. Best keep all members of the Bears passing game on your fantasy bench until Cutler's cobwebs clear.

DT Bears S3 Julius Peppers against his old team? Gotta like them odds.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jimmy Clausen B The Bears have given up a couple of big yardage games but no multi-touchdown efforts; from what we’ve seen of Clausen thus far, it’s unlikely he’s up for either.

DeAngelo Williams

S2 Da Bears entered last weekend as the league’s top-rated run defense primarily because no one had tried to run against them. The Giants changed that, gouging Chicago for 191 rushing yards and two RB rushing scores. No reason to think the Panthers will adopt an approach different than the one that helped Williams bust out a little bit against the Saints with 86 yards (at better than six yards a pop) and a touchdown.

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Stew has yet to see a game with double-digit carries this season, but after seeing what Brandon Jacobs rolled up on six carries last week—not to mention Stewart’s long touchdown reception—he’s a viable bye week plug-in play here.
WR Brandon LaFell
David Gettis

No Steve Smith? No Panther passing game.

DT Panthers S3 After last week, any defense against the Bears looks like a good fantasy matchup.
Tampa Bay at Cincinnati Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

Freeman has a couple of multiple-TD games, but he has yet to reach the 200-yard mark this season and struggled mightily against Pittsburgh prior to the Bucs’ bye. Statistically the Bengals’ secondary is right there with the Steelers, so you’ll want to look elsewhere for your fantasy help this week.

RB Carnell Williams


Peyton Hillis rushed for 102 yards on 27 carries against Cincy last week; Cadillac got that many totes in Week 2 and produced exactly half that yardage. With talk that he could lose carries to LeGarrette Blount and/or Kareem Huggins, best leave the Bucs’ backfield on the bench until there’s more clarity regarding their respective roles.

WR Mike Williams
Arreleous Benn

Williams has been the Bucs’ best receiver, and coming out of the bye fellow rook Benn joins him in the starting lineup. Poor timing; no wideout has topped 64 yards against them since Week 15 of last year.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

Winslow may have the best shot of any Buc at fantasy relevancy this week. He’s still as heavily targeted as any receiver outside of Williams, and after watching Cleveland tight ends go for 84 yards and a touchdown last week that may be where the Bucs opt to attack the Bengals.

DT Buccaneers B Nothing compelling in this matchup to suggest using the Bucs on the road.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S3

Palmer’s bigger games this season have come in losing (read: come-from-behind) efforts; meanwhile, the Bucs haven’t really given up any big games—Charlie Batch’s three-TD aberration notwithstanding.

RB Cedric Benson S2

Ced’s been more sled dog than greyhound thus far this season, but a date with a sneaky-soft Bucs run D—Rashard Mendenhall’s 143 and 1 stands out, but they allowed 117 yards to Carolina’s backs and 93 and a touch to the Browns as well—should produce some of his better numbers of the season.

WR Chad Ochocinco
Terrell Owens

Last year No. 1 receivers struggled against Aqib Talib; this season, it seems as if any competent receiver can find the end zone against the Tampa Bay secondary. Maybe the Bucs commit Talib to Ochocinco; then TO blows up. Maybe they switch at halftime; you have to believe Carson Palmer won’t mind shifting allegiances to the other diva receiver. Either way, Talib can’t cover everybody and the Bucs are struggling to cover anybody so both Bengals should be in line for solid fantasy digits.

TE Jermaine Gresham B Gresham’s been targeted and could be considered as a bye-week plug-in in PPR and performance leagues. But he’s well down on Palmer’s passing game priority list, so he’s not a must-play.
DT Bengals B Defensive points generally come from pressure on the quarterback, and right now the Bengals aren’t getting any as evidenced by their three sacks on the season. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.

Atlanta at Cleveland

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Ryan has been solid, with at least 225 yards in every game and multiple scores in two of his last three. Factor in the Browns multiplier as Ryan faces a secondary that’s allowed multiple TD tosses in three of four and 633 yards in the past two games and you’re looking at a very nice outing.

RB Michael Turner S2

This isn’t the creampuff matchup you’re used to expecting when you saw a date with the Browns on your running back’s schedule. The Chiefs and Ravens had limited success, but for the season the Browns are holding foes under four yards per carry. However, the Falcons haven’t been shy about loading up Turner with carries so even if he slugs along at less than four a pop he’ll get enough totes to pile up helpful yardage.

RB Jason Snelling B

Used to be if you had a back worthy of a fantasy roster spot and his team squared off with the Browns you wanted them in the lineup—starter or backup. This season, however, the Browns aren’t rolling over against the run. That means Snelling’s 10 carries won’t be enough to help your fantasy squad this week.

WR Roddy White S1

The most targeted wideout in the league has scored or topped 100 yards in every game this season. You have to like his chances against a Cleveland secondary that’s allowed 222 and 1 to TO and 142 and 3 to Anquan Boldin in consecutive weeks.

WR Michael Jenkins
Brian Finneran
Harry Douglas

Secondary targets have done little against the Bengals, and after White and Gonzo take their shares there isn’t much left over anyway. Jenkins was limited all week and is listed as questionable; the other two simply aren't involved enough to warrant consideration.


Tony Gonzalez


The Browns haven’t allowed a TE TD yet this year, but they’ve given up at least four catches to every tight end they’ve faced. For Gonzo, targeted 21 times over the past two games alone, four catches is a baseline.

DT Falcons S3 Whether the Brown trot out Seneca Wallace or Jake Delhomme, there’s potential for turnovers and defensive scores.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B

Delhomme was limited in practice all week, but indications are he'll supplant Seneca Wallace as the Browns' starter as he returns from the ankle injury suffered in Week 1. Atlanta gave up 385 and three to Drew Brees, but the rest of the QBs they’ve faced combined for 588 yards and one touchdown in three games. Delhomme is much closer to Dennis Dixon, Derek Anderson, and Alex Smith than he is to Brees, so he goes in the discard pile.

RB Peyton Hillis


Hillis' streak of two straight 100-yard efforts and a touchdown in every game this season might be in jeopardy, as he's trending the wrong way on the injury report. He tweaked a thigh on Thursday and did not practice Friday; while he's listed as questionable and expected to play, the risk involved bumps his status downward. It doesn't help that center Alex Mack also missed two days of practice and was limited on Friday as well. If Hillis does get the green light, this is a favorable matchup against an Atlanta defense that has served up two 100-yard rushing games already and surrendered at least 91 combo yards to every feature back they’ve faced; don’t forget, Hillis is a capable receiver as well.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi
Joshua Cribbs

The Falcons have shut out receivers in three of four games; the Browns haven’t scored a WR TD since Week 2. No reason to go out on a limb for either of these guys this week.

TE Ben Watson S3

Evan Moore has swiped a couple TDs (on significantly fewer targets) but Watson is the more consistent play; he’s averaging almost five catches per game and been targeted at least six times in every game. Atlanta has given up TE TDs in back-to-back contests, so maybe this is the week Watson scores to go along with his catches and yards.

DT Browns B Even Josh Cribbs isn’t enough to make the Browns D/ST relevant.
NY Giants at Houston Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Eli has been shut out in back-to-back games, but a date with a Texans’ secondary that has given up a passing score in every game, multiple TD tosses in two straight and three of four, and at least 278 yards in every outing should provide a soft enough matchup for him to get back in his fantasy owners’ good graces.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

Bradshaw tweaked his ankle during his 23-129-2 performance last week; he did not practice Wednesday and Thursday, but took most of the first team reps during a limited session on Friday and is expected to start and play this week. It’s a favorable matchup, too; the Texans have allowed RB rushing scores in three straight and 94 or more rushing yards in each of the last two.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Sure, Jacobs picked up a late TD last week. But he’s had a total of 16 touches in the last three games and isn’t exactly at the top of Tom Coughlin’s Christmas list. You could use Jacobs under the speculation that Bradshaw's ankle might not be up for a full workload; more likely is the prospect that he'll see too few touches to matter.

WR Hakeem Nicks

There’s no real rhyme or reason to the success of WRs against Houston; everybody has had some luck. Nicks is the most consistently productive of the Giants’ receivers thus far this year and thus makes the safest fantasy play.

WR Steve Smith

A team-high 37 targets suggests Smith is still a solid PPR contributor. But a touchdown some time this season would be nice.

WR Mario Manningham

Mario disappeared from last week’s game, removing what little faith we still had in him being a trustworthy fantasy entity.

TE Kevin Boss

Tight ends are feasting on the Texans; no team has allowed more yards (it’s not even close) or more TDs to the position. While Boss has been lightly involved in the Giants’ game plan, his 3-88 in Week 3 indicate he can step up when there’s an opening. And this week, there’s an opening.

DT Giants S3 After watching them dismantle the Bears, how can you not like them at least a little against an offensive line still missing its regular left tackle.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Danger, Will Robinson! The Giants have allowed one meaningful fantasy effort to quarterbacks, and that was to Peyton Manning. And with the emergence of a running game Schaub doesn’t have to throw 40-plus passes all that often. Benching him feels like overkill, but definitely reduce your expectations.
RB Arian Foster
S1 Which stat do you like better: Foster’s 126 or more yards from scrimmage in every game this season, or the triple-digit combo yardage the Giants have surrendered to every legitimate backfield (excludes the Bears)? Assuming he makes it to all the meetings, eats his vegetables, and doesn’t in some other fashion get on Gary Kubiak's bad side, he's an outstanding fantasy play this week.
RB Derrick Ward
B There’s talk the Texans want to get Ward more carries. And while anything is possible with Gary Kubiak, you’d have to be extremely desperate to toss Ward into your fantasy lineup this week. Unless you’ve got Foster locked in the trunk of your car and you know it’s meeting time for the Texans.
WR Andre Johnson S3 Johnson didn't practice Wednesday and was limited both Thursday and Friday, but all indications are he's on track to start and play Sunday. And obviously, if he's on the field you want him in your fantasy lineup.
WR Kevin Walter S3

The Giants haven’t given up a WR TD the past two weeks or a 100-yard receiving game all year, so this isn’t exactly a must-start matchup for secondary targets like Walter. He’s a fringe option if Johnson goes, maybe slightly better if Andre’s out.

WR Jacoby Jones B

Jacoby’s big opportunity with Andre Johnson out last week lasted all of one catch before he tweaked his calf. He did not practice all week and is listed as doubful; besides, this isn’t a soft enough matchup to dig this deep into the Texans’ receiving corps.

TE Owen Daniels B

Daniels ceded looks—and a touchdown—to Joel Dreessen last week, suggesting Owen isn’t 100 percent healthy yet. Supporting that theory is a full week of limited practice for Daniels, despite a listing of "probable". Expect the split stats to continue, with both Texans TEs grabbing fantasy bench until there’s more clarity to this situation.

DT Texans S3 The Giants have turned the ball over 13 times, given up nine sacks, and allowed two safeties and a defensive TD. A Houston defense that gets Brian Cushing back isn’t a bad bye week plug-in play.
New Orleans at Arizona Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Not much has changed since Brees dropped 247 and three on the Cardinals in the NFC playoffs last year. Sure, the venue has moved and the Saints don’t have Reggie Bush, but the Cards are down some key defenders and most of their offensive firepower. If anything holds Brees back this week it will be an emphasis on the running game as the Saints build a big lead and look to run clock.

RB Pierre Thomas B

Thomas did not practice all week and has been ruled out for the second straight game because of his ankle injury.

RB Christopher Ivory S2

Thomas' loss is Ivory's gain against an Arizona defense that's given up back-to-back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. While Ivory may still share the workload with Ladell Betts, he’s significantly more talented and the far better fantasy play. Be advised, however, that another fumble might be enough for the Saints to put "dynamic" on the sidelines in favor of "safe".

WR Marques Colston S2

In the aforementioned playoff game Colston paced New Orleans’ receivers with 6-83-1. While he’s disappointing those who tabbed him as a fantasy No. 1, he’s still the most reliable member of an explosive passing game that should go off this week.

WR Devery Henderson
Lance Moore

Neither secondary target is quite as reliable as Colston, but both factor into the mix—especially when there looks to be plenty of production up for grabs.

TE Jeremy Shockey S2 Shockey scored in the playoff game against Arizona and is currently leading the Saints in receptions. The Cardinals have given up three TE TDs in the last two games and rank fourth in the league in fantasy friendliness at the position. If you’re dealing with a bye-week issue, Shockey might be your savior this week.
DT Saints S1 Gregg Williams against an undrafted rookie quarterback making his first NFL start? Yeah, there’s gonna be a blitz or two.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Max Hall B

The Saints have allowed one multi-TD game and no 300 yard passers; heck, they held possible Hall of Famer Kurt Warner to 205 and zero in the postseason. Hall isn’t going to walk into his first NFL start and do anything of note.

RB Chris "Beanie" Wells
Tim Hightower
B The Saints have given up RB TDs in three straight, with two 100-yard rushers in the last three games. Both Wells and Hightower scored the last time these teams met. So why the benching? Because even Ken Whisenhunt doesn’t know how he’s going to split up the carries this week; plus, odds are the Cardinals will be playing from behind, in which case the running game will get put on the back burner anyway.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

You’ll be completely forgiven if you bench Fitz this week; the Cardinals lack of a competent quarterback has torpedoed his fantasy value, and Max Hall isn’t the guy who can bring it back—not this week, anyway. He gets an S3 because Arizona is going to be behind and Hall will need to throw the ball somewhere in garbage time; Fitz is the most likely option.

DT Cardinals B On the bright side, LaRod Stephens-Howling should amass a ton of kickoff return yards with all the opportunities he’s going to get.

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