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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
DEN at BAL CHI at CAR NOS at ARI MIN at NYJ
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KCC at IND TBB at CIN TEN at DAL  
GBP at WAS ATL at CLE SDC at OAK  
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)
 
 

Tennessee at Dallas

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Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young B

Is Young capable of a big fantasy game? Sure. Can he be consistently relied upon to deliver something other than maybe 200 yards and a touchdown? No.

RB Chris Johnson S1

Two teams have already shut down Johnson; the Steelers, that was no surprise, but the Broncos came out of nowhere. That Dallas has already allowed 106 to Arian Foster suggests there's no surprise in store this week. CJ, resume your regular 2K countdown.

WR Nate Washington
Kenny Britt
Justin Gage
B Washington scored in the first two games, Britt in the next two. Is there a Justin Gage run coming? Not this week, after Gage missed the entire week of practice and has been ruled out of this one with a hamstring injury. While dividing by two is more favorable than dividing by threethe upside of moderate yardage and maybe a touchdown is far outweighed by the probability that the Titans receiver you choose will get you fantasy bupkis.
TE Bo Scaife B Nothing in Scaife's stat line or what Dallas has surrendered to tight ends thus far this season suggest that this will be the needle in a haystack week in which Scaife does anything of fantasy note.
DT Titans S3 The Titans are getting after the quarterback, and now they've added some return-game dynamics to the mix as well. You could certainly do worse.
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S1

The Titans have given up 727 passing yards the last two games alone; Romo hasn't put up anything less than 282 thus far this season. Looks like another productive afternoon for the Dallas passing game is in store.

RB Felix Jones
Marion Barber
B

The Titans have seen some pretty productive backs this season and surrendered their share of yardage, but they've allowed only one RB rushing TD. The yardage will be split between Barber and Jones, likely to the point of rendering both relatively useless for fantasy purposes. MB3 should be the goal line guy, but it's too risky a play to make it worth plugging him into your fantasy lineup.

WR Miles Austin S1

Despite Roy WIlliams' big game prior to the break, Austin is still the go-to guy in this attack. Seeing as the Titans have allowed three 100-yard receiving games in the past two weeks, Austin should find it relatively easy to get back into the swing of things here.

WR Dez Bryant
Roy Williams
S3

As noted above, the Titans are prone to giving up big yardage games; however, they've allowed only one WR TD thus far this season. There should be enough left over after Austin takes his bite for the Cowboys' secondary targets to put up decent yardage, but if it's another TD you require there are safer options elsewhere.

TE Jason Witten S3

Witten is seeing eight targets a game and still has relevancy in PPR leagues. However, he's slipped in the Cowboys' passing game pecking order and is now sharing TE looks with Martellus Bennett; that makes him at best a fringe play in other formats.

DT Cowboys S3 The Cowboys have some explosive return men and are starting to generate some takeaways; that's always a good recipe for a fantasy defense.
 

San Diego at Oakland

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San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

Oakland has kept the passing yardage down but still allowed multiple passing scores in every game this season. Rivers has produced copious yardage—241 or better in every game, an average of 334 for the season—and still posted multiple passing scores in every game. He had the yardage down last year against the Raiders but only mustered one scoring strike in each game; with all the trends point towards more TDs, Rivers might be the best fantasy play at his position this week.

RB Ryan Mathews S2 The Raiders have allowed triple-digit combo yardage to every backfield they've faced this year, including a pair of 100-yard rushing games. Mathews is another week removed from his ankle injury and should resume getting the bulk of the carries; that means he'll get the bulk of the yardage as well, though Tolbert looms at the stripe.
RB Mike Tolbert S3 Oakland is one of those teams where you can start two backs against them and still get your fantasy money's worth. Even if the carry distribution flips, with Mathews taking two thirds of the workload and Tolbert getting change of pace and goal line duty, that still provides enough opportunity for Tolbert to be a decent bye week plug-in play.
WR Malcolm Floyd S2 Floyd continues to battle Antonio Gates to pick up the slack left by Vincent Jackson's holdout. Against Oakland, however, there should be enough for Gates to keep getting his and Floyd to put up his own set of helpful fantasy numbers.
WR Legedu Naanee B The Raiders' secondary has given up touchdowns to wideouts but not much in the way of yardage. And with Naanee well down the Chargers' TD pecking order, he feels like the odd man out this week.
TE Antonio Gates S1

Oakland somehow managed to keep Gates out of the end zone last season—something no opponent has been able to do thus far in 2010. But since Gates has replaced Vincent Jackson as Rivers' de facto No. 1 receiver, he's the one most likely to replace the 159 and two Jackson posted against Oakland last year. That Gates will face a defense which let Joel Dreessen undress them last week further enhances his chances.

DT Chargers S3

The Chargers' defense came alive in a big way last week against the Cardinals; it's worth another fantasy start to see if they can keep the train rolling against Bruce Gradkowski.

Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Bruce Gradkowski S3

That Gradkowski might be the best quarterback the Bolts have faced thus far this year helps explain why their numbers against the pass look so good. Gradkowski played briefly in the front end of last season's series; now he'll get a shot to improve upon the sorry stats JaMarcus Russell posted against San Diego last year. Gradkowski has topped 250 yards in both of his starts this year and should extend that streak to three against the Chargers, who served up 220 to Matt Hasselbeck and 293 to the combo platter of David Garrard and Luke McCown. Touchdowns might be harder to come by, though; while Gradkowski posted his first multiple TD game of the season last week, San Diego has allowed just three scoring strikes through four games.

RB Darren McFadden
B

In a stunning development (note the sarcasm tags), McFadden will miss this tilt with a hamstring injury. On the bright side, the injury is said to be less serious than the one that sidelined him for most of the preseason.

RB Michael Bush
S2

The Raiders ran effectively against San Diego last year, using Bush/McFadden in the opener and Bush/Fargas in the back end of the season series. However, a hamstring injury will keep McFadden on the sidelines this week—which is great news if you're a Bush owner, as the carries won't be split. Only Arizona, which avoided running the ball last week, has failed to produce quality combo numbers out of the backfield against San Diego thus far this year. With McFadden out, Bush consolidates the running game stats and provide more bang for your fantasy buck.

WR

Louis Murphy


S3

Murphy aggravated his collarbone injury last week, but it wasn't serious enough to warrant a mention on the injury report. That means he's expected to play here, and as the Raiders' go-to wideout he has a decent shot at matching the 4-87-1 he hung on the Chargers in Week 1 of last season

WR

Darrius Heywood-Bey
Johnnie Lee Higgins


B Gradkowski seemed lost without Murphy last week and only lightly used his other downfield targets, relying instead upon tight end Zach Miller. With Murphy iffy for this week and San Diego's secondary limiting opposing wide receivers to one TD in four games and only one outing with more than 60 yards, it's safe to relegate your Oakland wideouts back to the fantasy bench.
TE Zach Miller S2

Miller rolled up 148 yards in last season's series with San Diego, and both his trends and those of the Chargers' defense suggest another solid game is in store here. Miller comes in with touchdowns in each of his last two games and 186 yards in those contests; already this season the Chargers have given up two TE TDs and two games of 60-plus yards to the position.

DT Raiders B Oakland's D/ST has gone 21 games without a return touchdown; no reason to expect that to change this week.
 

Philadelphia at San Francisco

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Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kevin Kolb S2

With Michael Vick out nursing a rib injury, Kolb gets another shot at the job the Eagles gave him in the offseason—and which he lost due to a concussion in Week 1. He doesn't provide nearly the deep threat that Vick did, but Kolb's short game should get the job done against a defense that's allowed at least 250 passing yards in three straight games and multiple TD tosses in three of four.

RB LeSean McCoy
S2

McCoy missed practice Wednesday and Thursday but returned for a full session on Friday and is expected to play despite the broken rib he suffered last week. He scored in last year's meeting with San Francisco and makes a solid fantasy start this time around as well. Keep in mind that this is a Sunday night game, however, so if you're at all concerned about his injury status and availability you'll want to stash Mike Bell on your roster so you have a backup plan just in case.

RB Mike Bell
B

The Niners have allowed triple-digit combo yardage to every backfield they've faced this year, but with McCoy expected to go Bell won't see a large enough share to warrant fantasy attention. Even if McCoy is a late scratch, it's unlikely Bell walks into his level of productivity.

WR DeSean Jackson
S2 Jackson's fantasy value took a hit when Vick went down, but the way other speed receivers (Deion Branch, Deon Butler, Dexter McCluster, Harry Douglas) have found the end zone against San Francisco bodes well for Jackson to bounce back with Kolb now at the helm.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S3 While Maclin, like Jackson, loses some luster sans Vick, there should be opportunities for success against San Francisco.
TE Brent Celek
S2 It's no surprise that Celek's first touchdown of the season came with Kolb throwing the ball and not Vick. Against a 49er defense that's given up a pair of TE TDs already this season, Celek is a short-term fantasy fix—at least until Vick returns.
DT Eagles S2 A Philly D that's picked off six passes; a quarterback who's thrown seven—and who was picked thrice by this very defense last year. That's ample opportunity for something that will create fantasy points.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith has yet to throw for more than one touchdown in a game this season, and now he faces a Philly D that's been stingy with the yardage as well? There are still too many kinks in the San Francisco passing game for Smith to be trusted with a fantasy start.

RB Frank Gore S1

While the passing game has been a mess, Gore has been the cornerstone of the offense with triple-digit combo yardage in three straight. A date with a Philadelphia defense that's allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs suggests that Gore's hot streak of fantasy productivity will stay intact.

WR Michael Crabtree
Josh Morgan
B Morgan scored in this matchup last season, but last week it was Crabtree who put up the better numbers. Either way, against a defense that's allowed only one WR to top 57 yards and given up just three WR TDs in the past four weeks, neither Crabtree nor Morgan has done enough to be entrusted with a fantasy start.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Maybe the Davis portion of San Fran's struggling passing game is rounding into shape; he scored his first TD of the season last week, and now squares off against an Eagles D that let Chris Cooley get in the end zone last week and Brandon Pettigrew put up triple digit yardage in Week 2.

DT 49ers B Taylor Mays joins Patrick Willis as playmakers on the San Francisco D; it's still not enough.
 

Minnesota at NY Jets

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Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Is Randy Moss the elixir for what ails Minnesota's passing game? Or is it something a date with a Jets defense that's allowed multiple passing scores in three straight could fix? How about a combination of the above? It won't be a cure-all, but at minimum Favre should provide competent bye week fill-in help. And with Moss and Favre and Monday night all coming together, there's a distinct possibility of much, much more.

RB Adrian Peterson S2

Finally given enough carries, Peterson has dismantled a good Dolphins defense and a bad Lions D. Now he gets a serious test: a Jets defense that is giving up a shade over three yards per carry and has allowed only one RB TD thus far this year. The addition of Randy Moss can't hurt AP's chances, and while a third straight monster game is unlikely benching Peterson is the kind of move that more often than not you regret in retrospect.

WR Randy Moss

S2

Favre, Peterson, Moss... that's a hell of a fantasy team. How it plays out on the field remains to be seen, but Favre has longed for a downfield target of Moss's ilk all year and if he has to draw up plays in the dirt he'll find a way to get Moss the ball. At minimum you can expect Favre to take more shots at Moss than the Patriots did, Revis or no Revis. Seriously, bringing Favre and Moss together for the first time on Monday night is like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters: something big is going to happen.

WR Percy Harvin

S2

What Moss did for Wes Welker in New York he could very well do for Harvin in Minnesota: draw coverage away and let the slippery slot receiver work underneath for copious catches and big yardage—barring, of course, another migraine flare-up or hip setback.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

Big Shank left the Vikings' Week 3 win prematurely and as of Friday had yet to return to a full practice. Obviously, if he plays he too will benefit from the additional attention Moss will draw. Plus, he's Favre's most reliable target and he'll be facing a Jets' defense that has allowed TE TDs in the past two games and 70-plus yards to tight ends in the two games prior to that. But it's a Monday night game, so there's a bit of risk involved.

DT Vikings S3

We're still waiting for all those sacks and defensive touchdowns the Vikings used to generate. But with Harvin in the return game and Jared Allen itching to see just how much of his sack dance he can get away with, that wait could be over soon.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

Sanchez has multiple touchdowns in three straight; the Vikings have yet to allow more than one TD toss in a game, and coming out of the break their secondary may finally be healthy. This doesn't look like a big-upside game for Sanchez, so don't set your sights too high.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S3

This will be a battle of wills: a Jets team that loves to run the ball against a Vikings defense that purports to be one of the best at stopping the run. After watching both the Saints and Dolphins have some success on the ground, you have to believe a team as committed to the run as the Jets will be able to carve something out. It probably won't be enough for two backs to provide fantasy help, so give the edge to the guy getting the most touches—and right now, that's LT.

RB Shonn Greene B

It's tough enough justifying one starting fantasy back against the Vikings; adding the junior partner in the backfield committee doesn't make any sense.

WR Braylon Edwards
Santonio Holmes

S3

The Vikings have held some pretty good receivers—Marques Colston, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson—in check, and most of the Jets' passing game goes through the tight end anyway. However, both Edwards and Holmes threaten the back end of the secondary, and that's where Minnesota is most vulnerable. Expect Sanchez to take at least a couple deep shots; all it takes is a couple to hit to produce helpful fantasy numbers.

WR Jerricho Cotchery

B

Cotchery's possession role is being usurped by Dustin Keller and any deep shots he may have taken are now going to Edwards and Holmes. There's just nothing left for him now.

TE Dustin Keller S2

Lions tight ends produced 104 yards and a touchdown the last time the Vikings were on the field. Lions tight ends. Keller has five touchdowns in the last three games and belongs in starting fantasy lineups almost regardless of opponent; this one just happens to tilt things in his favor.

DT Jets S3 The Jets are going to keep coming after Brett Favre; certainly, there's potential for a defensive score here.

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