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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
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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)

Oakland at San Francisco

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

It looks like Bruce Gradkowski won't be available for this tilt—he didn't practice all week—leaving the Raiders in the quasi-capable hands of Captain Checkdown. Even against a fantasy-friendly 49ers defense you can't expect much from Campbell: maybe 200 yards, probably a touchdown (almost certainly to Zach Miller)... and that's about it. Enjoy.

RB Darren McFadden

McFadden was limited all week in practice and said he's still feeling the effects of the injury, to the point he hasn't gone all out yet. Raiders coach Tom Cable indicated that he wouldn't put McFadden back on the field until he was 100 percent, so odds are he'll sit this game out or at best participate in a limited number of snaps. He's listed as questionable, but a final decision likely won't be made until game time; you can beat the rush and bench him now, as even if he goes it's tough to see him leapfrogging Michael Bush for a full workload.

RB Michael Bush

While it would be preferable for the Raiders to consolidate their running back stats under one helmet, against San Francisco there should be enough to make Bush a quality fantasy play even if McFadden steals some touches. Only one team has allowed more receiving yards to backs, so maybe that share goes to Run DMc—leaving the goal line work and grind out clock duties to Bush. As it stands right now, McFadden is questionable after being limited in practice all week. If McFadden is cleared to play, Bush remains a good start because he'll still get the bulk of the touches; if McFadden is ruled out, go ahead and treat Bush like an S1.


Louis Murphy
Darrius Heywood-Bey


Sorry, wideouts; Jason Campbell is back at the helm, and you know what that means: few if any vertical shots to the wideouts and a whole bunch of work for the backs and Zach Miller.

TE Zach Miller S1

Miller has scored in three straight games, faces a 49ers defense that's allowed TE TDs in three of four, and gets Captain Checkdown back under center. Life is good if you're Zach Miller.

DT Raiders S3 We saw a pulse from the Oakland special teams last week; maybe it will carry over to the defense.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith S2

Who knew? All you had to do, Niner fans, was boo Smith mercilessly and chant for his backup to get him to play like the first overall draft pick he is. A date with an Oakland secondary that's allowed multiple passing scores in every game this season can only help restore Smith's confidence—and passer rating.

RB Frank Gore S1

No team has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Raiders, and while last week's 22 touches was his lightest workload of the season that may reflect the Niners' new offensive coordinator alleviating some of his burden... it's still 22 touches.

WR Michael Crabtree S2 The key question for Crabtree is, will he be wearing Nnamdi Asomugha all afternoon? That's quite likely, though the Raiders' elite cover corner isn't quite the fantasy road block he used to be; either that or he's moving around quite a bit, as four WR1s have already found the end zone against Oakland. With Crabtree more heavily involved in the 49ers offense, Asomugha or no Asomugha he's worth a fantasy play this week.
WR Josh Morgan B Because it's been WR1s having the most success against Oakland, and because both Frank Gore and Vernon Davis are expected to take significant bites out of the San Francisco offensive pie, there doesn't project to be much left over for Morgan.
TE Vernon Davis S1

Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Raiders, and two of them are on bye this week. That means this is about as favorable a matchup as Davis can get. Fresh off a 100-yard effort and sporting a two-game scoring streak, VD may be the best fantasy play at his position this week.

DT 49ers S3 At home, desperate for a win, against their rivals from across the Bay, facing a backup quarterback... yeah, we can cobble a fringe fantasy start out of that.

Dallas at Minnesota

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

Romo didn't fare so well on his last visit to Metrodome, but this time he'll face a Minnesota secondary that is going through cornerbacks like Spinal Tap goes through drummers. Will the lack of Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook cause the Vikings to surrender their first multiple-passing TD outing of the year? Maybe. But it should create enough holes in the secondary for Romo to exceed the top total of 237 yards allowed by the Vikings thus far this year.

RB Felix Jones B

What Jerry Jones wants, Jerry Jones gets and now Felix is the Cowboys' primary ball carrier—at least until his next injury. He picked a lousy time to take on the bulk of the carries, as the Vikings have largely kept opposing backs in check—especially at home. He could bust off a long run, as speed consistently gives the Vikings fits, but you're pinning your hopes on one play. Odds are you can find a better option elsewhere.

RB Marion Barber B

With the workloads flipped and MB3 looking at single-digit touches, what little fantasy value he was clinging to is gone. Even if he handles goal line work, there doesn't project to be much against a team that hasn't allowed a visiting running back in their end zone this year.

WR Miles Austin S1

Even if all the Vikings' corners were healthy and they brought back Carl Lee and Bobby Bryant they wouldn't be able to contain the red-hot Austin. Austin has three100-yard efforts in four games; he'll put that hot streak against a Minnesota defense that hasn't allowed more than 71 to any one wideout. Something's gotta give; expect it to be the Vikings' secondary.

WR Roy Williams

While both of the WR TDs the Vikings have allowed have gone to secondary targets, Austin is such a singular focus that he'll get his and the rest of the Cowboys wideouts could be left wanting. On the bright side, if Dez Bryant's ankle injury keeps him out of the lineup that's one less mouth to feed in the Dallas passing game—at which point you might actually entertain using Williams if you're in a large enough league.

WR Dez Bryant

Bryant didn't practice all week, still bothered by the ankle injury he suffered during the preseason. At best he'll be limited, by both his ankle and his place in the Cowboys' passing game pecking order. At worst, he'll be in street clothes. Neither suggest fantasy success.

TE Jason Witten S3

Witten was the lone bright spot in the Cowboys' playoff loss to Minnesota last January, and while the Vikings are doing a better job of covering the tight end this season—witness the two-catch, 14-yard performance by Dustin Keller on Monday night—he's still the most likely guy aside from Austin to punch holes in Minnesota's Cover-2 scheme.

DT Cowboys S3 The turnover machine known as Brett Favre is eminently capable of serving one up for the Cowboys.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Favre didn't practice on Wednesday and was limited both Thursday and Friday, the primary ailment on his 41-year-old body being a sore throwing elbow. There's talk he may be limited this week, but it feels like more drama than concern; Brett is still perfectly capable of hitting Percy Harvin coming out of the slot, Visanthe Shiancoe down the seam, or Randy Moss on the fly. He may not do as much of that as he did last year, opting instead to hand off to Adrian Peterson, but with Moss picking up more of the offense each week you have to like Favre's chances of throwing down a consistent 250 and 2 around whatever AP rushes for.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

The only men who can stop AP are Vikings head coach Brad Childress and play-caller Darrell Bevell, and so far while they've held Peterson under 20 carries in each of Minnesota's road games they've caved to the will of the home crowd and loaded up Peterson with 28 and 23 carries at home. Not surprisingly, those efforts have resulted in 145 and 160 yards, respectively, as well as three touchdowns. It's extremely unlikely a defense that its last two games surrendered 106 yards to Arian Foster and 131 and 2 to Chris Johnson has an answer for stopping Peterson.

WR Randy Moss


The Vikings are going to take their shots down the field at Moss; he hadn't seen more than the 10 targets Favre gave him three days after joining the team since Week 11 of last year. One will hit, maybe two... maybe more, if Moss is still miffed at Jerry Jones for passing on him in the draft. Regardless, Moss is once again an unbenchable fantasy entity.

WR Percy Harvin


If last week's 5-97-2 against the Jets was any indication, the addition of Moss has opened things up significantly for Harvin. Seeing as speed guys like Santana Moss (6-77), Devin Hester (4-77-1), and Johnny Knox (4-86) have had success against the Dallas secondary, a speedy guy like Harvin should already be looking at a big game; add the Moss factor to open up further lanes and it might just be another very big outing.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

Shiancoe will still be a red zone factor, but there's no question the arrival of Moss will bite into his looks. He scored against the Cowboys in last year's playoffs, but it was his only catch. That TD potential makes him a must-start in TE-mandatory leagues, but his value is taking a hit in TE/WR combo and performance leagues.

DT Vikings S3

The Vikings D gets an S3 just because of what they did to Tony Romo in the postseason last year. After watching the Cowboys surrender six sacks last week, you have to think there's a very good chance of history repeating.


Indianapolis at Washington

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

The Redskins have held four of the five quarterbacks they've faced to one or zero TD tosses. But Peyton is clearly not most quarterbacks, and with his running game all kinds of banged up he'll turn to whatever receivers are healthy enough to go and produce yet another quality fantasy outing.

RB Joseph Addai S3 Addai completed the hat trick this week: he was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, sat out Thursday, and practiced fully on Friday. He's already said he's itchin' to get back on the field, and all indications are he'll start and handle his usual workload Sunday night. In a best-case scenario you'll own both Addai and Mike Hart and be able to make a more informed decision prior to kickoff; based on what we know right now, Addai should be good to go and offers enough upside to warrant a fantasy lineup spot—especially against a defense that's allowed more RB receiving yards than any other.
RB Donald Brown
Mike Hart
B Everybody's questionable for the Colts, whose injury report is about as helpful as a fork at a soup kitchen. Brown was limited in practice Thursday but didn't go either Wednesday or Friday; he'll likely cede the backup job to Hart, but with Addai handling the bulk of the workload there isn't much fantasy value to be found here.
WR Reggie Wayne S1

At least Wayne didn't appear on the injury list to start the week. While Washington's secondary has been better of late, they allowed three 140-yard receivers in the first two games alone. If Wayne is the only healthy regular wideout, Manning will find a way to get him the ball. Heck, even if both Collie and Garçon are good to go Manning will find a way to get Reggie the ball. He always does.

WR Austin Collie S2

After seeing his scoring streak snapped, Collie sat out Wednesday's practice; he worked out on a limited basis Thursday, then practiced fully on Friday and is listed as questionable. And while "questionable" is a catch-all category for the Colts that could range from paper cut to comatose, it's a pretty simple equation with Indy's wideouts: if they're on the field, they belong in your fantasy lineup.

WR Pierre Garçon S3

See above; Garçon followed the exact same path, only he's ranked slightly lower because Collie is capturing more of Manning's attention than he is.

TE Dallas Clark S1

Right now Wayne and Clark are the healthiest of Manning's targets. Against a Redskins defense that's allowed TE TDs in three straight games, expect Clark's numbers to be among the healthiest regardless of how many wideouts are able to play this week.

DT Colts S3 With both of Washington's tackles banged up, there is mild optimism that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis could create some havoc for the Redskins—and havoc frequently leads to turnovers, which in turn lead to defensive fantasy points.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb B

The Don has a couple big yardage games—both at home, it should be noted—but is still looking for his first multiple touchdown outing as a Redskin. Indy's pass defense has, for the most part, been sound. With Indy susceptible to the run it's tough to see McNabb throwing enough to pile up the yardage that would offset a lack of TDs, making him a meh start again this week. Odds are you can do better.

RB Ryan Torain S2 Four out of five feature backs have rushed for at least 87 yards against the Colts; the fifth was Laurence Maroney, who's a feature back only in the loosest definition of the term. Torain had success (18-70-1) against a similarly soft defense, and you can expect Mike Shanahan to employ him as much as the scoreboard allows in hopes of keeping Manning off the field.
WR Santana Moss
S3 Moss has been thrown to eight or more times in four of five games this season—and produced fantasy numbers ranging from decent to very good in those games. You can expect McNabb to target Moss that frequently again—you would too if your other options were Anthony Armstrong and Joey Galloway; in turn, you can expect Moss to put up at minimum helpful fantasy numbers.
TE Chris Cooley S2

Cooley has been targeted eight or more times thrice already; the Colts haven't seen a tight end get that much attention since the middle of the 2008 season. So ignore Indy's #1 ranking against tight ends and treat Cooley like a big receiver. A big receiver who gets thrown to a lot and who you can plug into the TE spot in your lineup.

DT Redskins B Indy has allowed five sacks and five picks in five games; that doesn't give the Redskins defense much to work with in generating defensive fantasy points.

Tennessee at Jacksonville

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young S3

The Jaguars have allowed multiple TD tosses in four straight and big yardage (290 or more) in four of five this year. Young rarely throws for even medium yardage—his season high is 173—and is good for multiple touchdowns every once in a while. It's a softer match-up, so you can look for Young's upside: maybe 200 yards and one, maybe two TDs. That's a fringe fantasy start at best, and based on a Jacksonville defense that looks as if it won't just roll over for Chris Johnson we'll go optimistic and tip the scales in favor of a fantasy start.

RB Chris Johnson S1

While on the surface the Jags look as if they've had success shutting down the run, they haven't faced a back yet who's been given more than 16 carries. 16 carries? Johnson takes that many before breakfast. Expect something closer to the 228 and 2 he dropped on Jacksonville in the back end of last season's series than the pedestrian 16-83 he was limited to in the first meeting.

WR Nate Washington
Kenny Britt
S2 Washington scored in both ends of last season's series and Britt posted a 100-yard game in the first meeting. With no team allowing more fantasy points to receivers than the Jags. you have to like both Washington and Britt (who's scored in three straight) for a fantasy start.
TE Bo Scaife B When Young does throw, he's throwing down the field; that severely limits Scaife's looks, and in turn his fantasy value.
DT Titans S2 22 sacks, 10 takeaways, and a developing return game; those are the kinds of numbers that lead to defensive fantasy points.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S2

Such is the dichotomy of David Garrard: in last season's series with the Titans he went for 323 and 3 at home—then threw for 139 yards before being benched in the Nashville rematch. Fortunately, this one is in Jacksonville so Garrard is in play. And a meeting with a Tennessee secondary that's allowed a whopping 1,133 passing yards in just the past three games (do the math, it's 377 yards per tilt) and surrendered multiple TD tosses in each of the past two games has us as giddy for Garrard's prospects as is possible. Garrard might actually crank it up north of 200 yards, and multiple TDs are probable. Whee! Here's your bye week plug in play! See... positively giddy.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S2

MoJo scored despite receiving just nine touches during Garrard's big game against the Titans last season; in the rematch Jones-Drew carried the load, rushing for 177 yards and two scores despite once again touching the ball just nine times. Tennessee's run defense has been far from airtight this season; they gave up 109 yards to Felix Jones last week. And while Jones-Drew has been stalling out in the 80s and 90s, frustrating milestone league owners, he's too large a part of the Jacksonville offense to be anything other than a fantasy starter this week. Don't sweat the wrist/hand injury; after missing practice on Thursday (Wednesday, really, for a Monday night game) MoJo was back for a full session on Friday.


Mike Sims-Walker
Mike Thomas

S3 Sims-Walker put up 91 yards and two TDs on the Titans in the front end of the season series, then mustered just 2-9 in the follow up in Nashville. This being a home game, of course, both MSW and Thomas are viable options against a Tennessee secondary that's allowed four 100-yard receivers in just the last three weeks.

Marcedes Lewis

S2 Would it surprise you to learn that Lewis went off for 4-76-1 at home against the Titans, then all but vanished (1-20) in the rematch in Tennessee? Of course not. But while Lewis has scored three TDs at home this season, he's also scored in back-to-back outings—including two last week on the road. He's become a legitimate factor in this passing game, at least in touchdown-heavy scoring systems, and he might be in line for some yardage this week as well; the Titans have surrendered at least 103 yards to tight ends in each of their road games. Marcedes' two-TD opener felt like a fluke, but he's followed up with enough production—and this matchup stacks further chips on his side of the ledger—to warrant serious fantasy consideration this week.
DT Jaguars B

Between Jacksonville's tepid sack and turnover totals and a run-heavy Titans offense that doesn't lend itself well to takeaways, there's no compelling reason to give the Jags a fantasy start here.

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