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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 6
John Tuvey
Updated: October 15, 2010
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MIA at GBP KCC at HOU NOS at TBB IND at WAS Start/Bench List by Position
SDC at STL DET at NYG NYJ at DEN TEN at JAC
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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)
 
 
Detroit at New York Giants Back to top
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Shaun Hill S3

Hill has been solid in averaging 282 and 2 in his four starts, but he’s had relatively friendly matchups; now he gets a Giants defense that allowed 255 and 3 to Peyton Manning but held four other teams to a total of 610 yards and two TDs in four games. If Calvin Johnson’s shoulder knocks him out of this one, Hill may get a downgrade to B.

RB Jahvid Best S2

Best hasn’t scored since suffering his toe injury and is averaging less than four yards a carry in that span. It’s unlikely he’ll get the 32 carries it took Chris Johnson to churn out 125 and two or even the 20 carries Joseph Addai needed to produce 92 yards. Best still has value in the passing game and is the only show in town, so as long as you’re not expecting the five-TD flash from the first fortnight of the season you should be fine with him this week.

WR Calvin Johnson S3

Officially, Johnson is listed as questionable and considered a game-time decision. While he was limited all week in practice he did improve as the week went on; by Friday he was using both arms while playing catch, and the team is cautiously optimistic he'll play. You know the drill: if Megatron is healthy, he belongs in your lineup.

WR Nate Burleson S3

Burleson is a decent complementary option who could step up as a WR1 for a week should Calvin Johnson sits this one out. He seemed to bond with Shaun Hill in his first action last week, and that may be critical if Megatron can’t go this week.

TE Brandon Pettigrew S3

Doesn’t matter that the Giants have largely held tight ends in check; they’re too big a part of the Detroit offense to be shut down completely. Pettigrew has put up better fantasy numbers in two straight and three of four, so he’s a slightly more reliable fantasy play than Tony Scheffler.

DT Lions S3 The Giants have turned the ball over 15 times; the Lions have created 14 of their own. Add their 14 sacks and a pair of return TDs last wee, and Jim Schwartz could have a legitimate fantasy plug-in play on his hands.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

The Lions shut out Sam Bradford last week, but now they get Eli coming off a three-TD game. He’ll be limited only by what his ground game does to the second-softest defense against running backs.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw
S2

Only Oakland has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Lions, so even if Bradshaw—who’s not even on the injury report this week for a change—loses a goal line look to Jacobs he’ll more than make up for it in yardage. Only lurking TD vulture Brandon Jacobs keeps Bradshaw from being an S1.

RB Brandon Jacobs
S3

Jacobs appears to be settling into a role, with short touchdowns in each of the last two games. There should be plenty of goal line opportunities against a soft run defense like Detroit’s, making both Big Blue backs decent fantasy bets this week.

WR Hakeem Nicks
S1

How can you not love Nicks this week? He has six touchdowns already, has posted back-to-back 100-yard games, and faces a Lions defense that ranks among the most fantasy-friendly against wide receivers?

WR Steve Smith
S2

So Smith has ceded his WR1 designation to Nicks; he’s still targeted nine times a game, a solid PPR producer, and he’s facing the same shaky secondary as Nicks.

TE Kevin Boss
B

For the most part the Lions have kept a lid on tight ends, and while Boss’ numbers are on the rise he’s still not an integral enough part of this offense to warrant fantasy attention in any but the cushiest of matchups.

DT Giants S3 Big Blue has produced 19 sacks and 11 turnovers already this season, putting them in play in just about any fantasy situation.
 
Atlanta at Philadelphia Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Here’s an odd stat for you: this year, Ryan has been more effective as a fantasy quarterback when his running game has put up big numbers. Doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. Ryan’s two multi-TD games came when Michael Turner went 30-114-1 against the Saints and when Turner and Jason Snelling combined for 33-204-2 against Arizona. While he’s had slightly better yardage in the games where Turner didn’t get 20 carries, he has but two TDs in three games. And since Turner should run all over a Philly D that’s allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs so far this season, it would stand to reason that Ryan’s numbers will be solid as well.

RB Michael Turner S1

Turner has three 100-yard efforts already this season, and was well on his way to a fourth before an injury prematurely ended his afternoon. Philly hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this year, though four of their five opponents have cobbled together at least 99 yards on the ground from their backfield committees. And with Turner the dictator in Atlanta’s backfield, he should be well on his way to a big day.

WR Roddy White S1

White has 100 yards or a touchdown in every game this year; last week he got both, and last year he got both in the Falcons’ Week 13 visit to Philly. The Eagles let Michael Crabtree get behind them for 9-105-1 last week; that feels like a starting point for White’s projections.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S2

Gonzo caught eight balls for 72 yards against Atlanta a year ago and comes into this matchup having been targeted 29 times in the last three games. He should have little difficulty getting his against a defense that’s already allowed two TE TDs and two 100-yard efforts to tight ends.

DT Falcons S3 The Falcons got a defensive TD last week and could have some success creating havoc against a patchwork Philly line that’s surrendered 19 sacks already this season.
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kevin Kolb S3

Kolb has been solid but not spectacular—at least, not when stacked up alongside Michael Vick. And “spectacular” is unlikely here as well against a defense that’s allowed just one multiple touchdown game and two of more than 200 yards. Mike Vick hasn’t been ruled out for this one just yet, so you’ll want to check the Friday updates to see if he’ll get to face his old team or if Kolb has the call once again.

RB LeSean McCoy
S1

That fractured rib didn’t seem to slow McCoy down at all as he rolled up his third triple-digit combo yard outing of the year. The Falcons have allowed three of those already themselves, giving McCoy an opportunity to redeem himself for the six-carry, two-yard effort he foisted on the Falcons and his fantasy owners in Week 13 of last year.

WR DeSean Jackson
S3 The knee injury that sidelined D-Jax for a series last week doesn’t appear to be serious; he's not even listed on the injury report. However, he has yet to score in a game in which Kolb has played this season. The Falcons aren’t a pushover in the secondary, as evidenced by a couple of 100-yard games allowed this year, but Kolb isn’t taking the downfield shots with Jackson that constitute the bulk of his fantasy value.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S3 It’s possible Maclin leapfrogs Jackson for the week as Philly’s top wideout. He seems a little more in tune with Kolb (6-95 on nine targets last week, compared to three for D-Jax) and could exploit the same holes Lance Moore (6-149-2) found in the Falcons’ secondary in Week 3.
TE Brent Celek
S2 Celek caught only two balls against the Falcons last season, but one was a TD. With Kolb under center Celek is back at the fore of the Philly passing game; touchdowns in two straight and a matchup with an Atlanta defense that’s surrendered TE TDs in two of the last three help make Celek a solid fantasy play once again.
DT Eagles S2 Philly scored a defensive touchdown last week and got one against the Falcons last year. While Atlanta isn’t the sort of offense that presents defenses with a plethora of opportunities for fantasy points, the Philly blitz can change that in a flash.
 

Seattle at Chicago

Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck B Hass has multiple touchdown tosses in just one of his last 15 road games dating back to Week 15 of 2007. And while the Bears have surrendered a couple of 300-yard passing games—to Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers, no shame in that—they’ve allowed a total of two passing TDs all year—again, one each to Romo and Rodgers. Tough to see Hass getting it started in Chicago this week.
RB Justin Forsett
Marshawn Lynch
B

Evidently the Seahawks were so enamored with Forsett’s 18-60 efforts they traded for Lynch and added his 15-70 outings to the mix. The guess is that Seattle didn’t give up a draft pick for Lynch to sit on the bench, but until they hit the field we won’t know for sure. And it’s unlikely to matter against a Bears defense that was gutted by Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs for 191 yards in Week 4—and held the four other teams they faced to a total of 188 rushing yards. Too many questions in Seattle to start either in what looks to be an unfavorable matchup.

WR

Deon Butler

B Again, the trade of a key component has left this situation a gray area (How gray? Charcoal). Butler would appear to be the biggest beneficiary of Deion Branch’s departure, but Mike Williams and Golden Tate could both factor into the mix as well. Not that it matters; between Hasselbeck’s road woes and a Bears’ defense that has surrendered two 100-yard games (to legitimate studs Miles Austin and Hakeem Nicks; the Seahawks roster has no one comparable) and only one WR TD this season conspire to make any and all Seahawk wideouts bench fodder.
TE John Carlson B Carlson has perhaps the most upside of any member of the Seattle pass-catching corps, but with one TD on the year and one catch last week his spot in the pecking order is hardly secure. The Bears have yet to give up a TE TD on the season, making it even more difficult to trust Carlson with a fantasy start.
DT Seahawks S3 Though they don’t get to bring their 12th man with them to Chicago, the Seahawks defense is a viable fantasy play if only because the Bears have already surrendered 21 sacks and turned the ball over a dozen times this year.
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S1

Cleared after missing last week’s game with a concussion, Cutler walks into a peach of a matchup. Not only do the Seahawks offer up one of the softest pass defenses in the league, they’re consistently worse on the road. And considering Cutler through for 247 and three against them in Seattle last year, you have to love his chances here.

RB Matt Forte S2

The Seahawks have been reasonably solid against the run; no back has topped 75 rushing yards against them, and the Broncos are the only team with an RB TD through four games. But the Bears don’t need Forte to run to be successful; instead, look for him to exploit a Seattle defense that’s already allowed three different backs to accumulate at least 45 receiving yards. Mediocre running and a strong contribution in the passing game make Forte a very nice fantasy play this week.

WR

Johnny Knox

S2 It’s not often you find a wideout who has two catches in his last two games with anything other than a “B” next to his name. But only four teams have allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Seahawks, and Knox is the most consistently targeted member of the Chicago receiving corps. Cutler’s return gives him a boost, to the point where you might be almost giddy to plug him into your lineup.
WR

Devin Hester

S3 Hester’s numbers are even worse than Knox’s: he has just one game this season with more than 17 yards and posted a goose egg on two catches last week. But the Seahawk secondary is so bad, especially on the road, that this is the week to dust off your Bear wideouts and get them into your lineup. You may not have this option ever again.
TE Greg Olsen

S3

Throw out last week’s numbers, as the Bears didn’t field legitimate quarterbacking. With Cutler back at the helm Olsen resumes his “favored target at the stripe” status, and while the Seahawks haven’t given up much to tight ends this season Olsen will cause matchup problems at the goal line. And since Chicago can’t run, expect them to throw—and throw to Olsen.

DT Bears S2 The playmaking Bears at home; the mistake-making Seahawks on the road. Gotta like Chicago’s chances.
 
New Orleans at Tampa Bay Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

The Bucs held Brees to a combined 445 yards in the two-game set last year, and they’ve been equally solid in giving up just over 200 yards per game thus far this year. Tampa Bay has been prone to the TD pass, though, and Brees did nail a hat trick against them in the front end of last season’s series. It’s not a great matchup for Brees, but with the running game still struggling he’ll need to shoulder the load.

RB Pierre Thomas B

Thomas sat out the entire week of practice and has been ruled out for a third straight game.

RB Chris Ivory
Ladell Betts
B

New Orleans had success running the ball against Tampa last season, and despite spending their first two picks on defensive linemen the Bucs are again struggling against the run, having surrendered back-to-back 140-yard efforts. Sadly, sans Thomas the Saints are ill-equipped to take advantage. Ivory is the more dynamic and more fumble-prone of the backs; Betts’ contributions as a receiver make him the better play of the tandem in a PPR league. Overall, however soft the matchup, you’re taking a significant risk plugging either into your fantasy lineup.

WR Marques Colston S2

Colston had moderate success (5-74, 8-77) against Tampa Bay last year, and he’s the most consistently reliable target of the Saints’ receiving corps. That’s good because No. 1 receivers have had plenty of success against the Bucs; in fact, all four—Mohamed Massaquoi, Steve Smith, Hines Ward, and Terrell Owens—have found the end zone.

WR Devery Henderson S3

Mike Wallace is the only secondary wideout to post helpful fantasy numbers against the Bucs. Of course, with Henderson you run the risk that this week the Saints’ No. 2 receiver might be Lance Moore or Robert Meachem, who scored three times in last season’s series and found the end zone last week.

TE Jeremy Shockey S3 Of course there’s upside to Shockey; he’s scored in two of the past three games and is just as involved in the Saints’ passing game as any of the wideouts. The Bucs allowed a TE TD just last week, so if you’re looking for help in a TE mandatory league you could certainly do worse than taking a shot with Shockey.
DT Saints S3 Josh Freeman is still young enough that Gregg Williams could rattle him. But we haven’t seen nearly the sort of playmaking from the Saints’ defense that we saw last year.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

There’s little doubt Freeman will be as bad this time around as he was in last season’s series, throwing five picks against one TD. But he’s still a work in progress, and you can find better fantasy options than suffering through his growing pains against a defense that’s allowing one passing TD and less than 200 passing yards per game thus far this year.

RB Carnell Williams


B

You can run on the Saints; Cadillac did it last year with 129 and 1 in the Bucs’ Week 16 upset of New Orleans, and already this year the Saints have allowed a pair of 100-yard rushers. However, we haven’t seen that Caddy this year; instead, we’re getting the 2.6 yards per carry version, and as a result we’re also getting Earnest Graham carries and Kareem Huggins carries and LeGarrette Blount carries. It all adds up to a bunch of fantasy dead weight.

WR Mike Williams
B

No team has allowed fewer yards or touchdowns to wide receivers than the Saints. So while Williams has looked outstanding while scoring in three of his first four NFL games, it’s tough to see him succeeding where Steve Smith (2-11) and Larry Fitzgerald (7-93) have failed. Because he’s so heavily targeted he could help you in PPR and performance leagues, but he has limited upside at best this week—upside even further limited by a foot injury that cost Williams a day of practice and limited him in two others this week. He's a game-time decision; with the matchup he's facing, your safest bet would be to bench him for now and revisit if he's cleared to play.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

K2 had nine catches for 105 yards in last season’s series, and he’s targeted consistently enough (6, 4, 6, and 9 thus far this year) that, like Williams, he could be a low-end helper in PPR and performance leagues. And if Williams is ruled out, Freeman may lean even more heavily on Winslow.

DT Buccaneers S3 Tampa Bay has multiple INTs in every game this season, had a pick six against Carson Palmer last week, and gets a Saints team that served up two defensive scores to Arizona last week. So we’re sayin’ there’s a chance.
 
New York Jets at Denver Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

Sanchez has been all over the map this season, sandwiching three multiple-TD efforts with a combined 265 yards and two shutouts against the Ravens and Vikings. Those two clubs rank in the top three in fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs, however; the Broncos are significantly more friendly and will also be without several key defensive personnel due to injuries. The Jets still prefer to run, but they’ll mix in enough Sanchez that he can be viewed as a viable plug-in play this week.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S2

Only six teams have given up more RB rushing yards than the Broncos, and you know that’s the Jets’ preferred method of travel (ironic, don’t you think?). LT scored in the back end of San Diego’s season series with the Broncos; now he’s running behind a better offensive line and averaging 18-99-1 over the last three games. All that’s keeping him from S1 status is the dozen or so carries Greene will steal.

RB Shonn Greene S3

RB2s are tough fantasy starts, but the yardage Denver allows and the 14 carries Greene is averaging over the last four games make him a viable play, especially with the position gutted by injuries and the bye weeks.

WR Braylon Edwards

B

The Jets have Revis Island; the Broncos have the Champ... as in Bailey, who has held opposing No. 1 receivers to an average of three catches for 29 yards. That includes Reggie Wayne’s high-water mark of 4-65, a one-catch outing for Anquan Boldin, and a shutout of Mike Sims-Walker. Sanchez has done a nice job of not forcing the issue this season, so expect him to spend the afternoon looking elsewhere.

WR Jerricho Cotchery
Santonio Holmes

S3

Eight percent of the wide receiver yardage Denver has allowed—and all six of opponents’ WR TDs—have gone to secondary targets. So with Edwards wearing Bailey, Cotchery and Holmes should find some room in Denver’s injury-depleted secondary—enough to be trusted with fantasy starts this week.

TE Dustin Keller S3

The Broncos gave up two TDs to Marcedes Lewis in the opener and at least 50 yards to tight ends in each of the past three games. Down a pair of safeties for this tilt, and with Edwards tied up by Bailey, expect Keller to return to Sanchez’s radar.

DT Jets S3 Even if they’re without Revis there are few holes in this defense, and they can bring the pressure like nobody’s business. That’s a pretty good recipe for fantasy success.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2

All Orton did last week was march into Baltimore, home of the top pass defense in the league, and throw for 314 and 2. The Jets have a good defense, but they’ve still given up multiple TD tosses in four straight. If you were scared off by Orton’s matchup last week, consider it lesson learned—and get him back in there.

RB

Knowshon Moreno


B The good news is, after missing Wednesday's practice Owshon practiced on a limited basis both Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable for this week's tilt. Sadly, ther's way more bad news: no team has demonstrated more futility running the football (Denver backs are averaging 2.2 yards per carry and 45 yards per game), the Broncos are on their sixth different offensive line unit in as many weeks, and no team is giving up fewer fantasy points to running backs than the Jets. So while Moreno may play, odds are he won't play particularly well this week.
WR Brandon Lloyd

S2

Double-digit targets, triple-digit yardage, and a touchdown in three straight games; so much for Josh McDaniels’ assertion that the Broncos didn’t have a No. 1 receiver. With Darrelle Revis hobbled, expect Lloyd to draw Antonio Cromartie—no slouch himself, despite the 4-81-1 he made Randy Moss work for on Monday night. Maybe you dial back your expectations a little bit given the Jets’ secondary, but not too much—and certainly not enough to have you thinking about taking Lloyd out of your lineup.

WR Eddie Royal

S3

While Jabar Gaffney might seem the more likely target, if Royal is lined up in the slot he’ll be working the same area that led to big games for Davonne Bess (11-115) and Percy Harvin (5-135-2). That gives him a leg up in the Broncos receiver quagmire.

DT Broncos B Denver keeps losing outside linebackers, and they’ll be down two safeties in this game as well. Tough to generate the big plays that lead to defensive fantasy points without a pass rush or picks, and a Jets offense that’s surrendered just seven sacks in five games and turned the ball over once all year doesn’t help matters.

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