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Start/Bench List - Week 7
John Tuvey
Updated: October 22, 2010
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CLE at NOS CIN at ATL SFO at CAR MIN at GBP 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)
Cleveland at New Orleans Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

Not that McCoy wasn’t alright in his NFL debut; 281 yards and a TD in Pittsburgh is nothing to sneeze at. But he’ll likely be without his top two wide receivers and makes another road start against a formidable pass defense; the Saints have allowed an average of 205 passing yards per game with only one multiple-TD outing along the way. It’ll take another Herculean effort for McCoy to be merely serviceable from a fantasy perspective.

RB Peyton Hillis


After having his scoring streak snapped last week, Hillis gets a much more favorable matchup. Not only have the Saints surrendered two 100-yard rushing games already, only three teams have allowed more RB receiving yards—and in case you didn’t notice, Hillis has racked up 49 receiving yards each of the past two weeks. His thigh injury limited him during the practice week, but it has yet to impact his game day availability.

WR Chansi Stuckey
Brian Robiskie

Mohamed Massaquoi has been ruled out of this tilt after suffering a concussion last week, and Josh Cribbs was just cleared to return to practice Friday. That leaves the Browns with a backup quarterback throwing to backup receivers against the team giving up the fewest fantasy points to wideouts.

TE Ben Watson S2

Evan Moore still lurks—he stole 4-86 from Watson’s bottom line last week—but there are too many trends still favoring Ben to keep him on your bench. Take your pick: the 6-88-1 Watson produced with McCoy at the helm last week; the absence of Cleveland’s regular receivers to divert attention; a young quarterback’s fondness for the tight end as opposed to taking the sack or making a mistake down the field; and a Saints defense that has allowed the secon-most tight end yardage in the league.Enjoy.

DT Browns B There is no compelling reason to throw Cleveland’s defense in front of the oncoming train that is the Saints’ offense.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

The Browns have allowed at least 257 yards and two TDs in three of their last four games, not to mention multiple scores in each of their three road tilts thus far this season. Brees has 254 yards or better in five straight and multiple scoring strikes in four of his last five. This matchup could lead to what is often called a “field day.”

RB Pierre Thomas
Reggie Bush

Bush and Thomas have both been ruled out of this week's game, leaving Ivory to handle the bulk of the workload.

RB Chris Ivory S2

Maybe the Browns had been doing it with smoke and mirrors: Rashard Mendenhall scored the first RB rushing TD on them last week, one week after Michael Turner posted a season-high 140 rushing yards on them. Ivory finally stepped up last week, and he should see the bulk of the carries over Jones and Betts. It’s not the cream puff matchup the Browns used to present to opposing running backs, but double-digit carries should give Ivory more than enough opportunity to put up helpful fantasy numbers.

RB Julius Jones
Ladell Betts

This uninspiring duo will battle for table scraps after Ivory takes his share. While the Saints’ offense often produces a feast, it’s tough to rely on leftovers to fill your fantasy squad.

WR Marques Colston S2

Five of the six opposing WR1s to face Cleveland have scored. You could argue Colston isn’t the Saints’ WR1, but the counter would be that WR2s have scored in two of three road games and the Browns have surrendered multiple WR TDs in all three away from home. Even if he’s relinquished his WR1 card, Colston is still a solid fantasy play here.

WR Devery Henderson
Robert Meachem
Lance Moore

Somebody’s gonna get screwed here; last week it was Hendu (one target, zero catches), the week before Moore (one catch), and Meachem has a no-catch game to his credit this year as well. But against a Cleveland secondary that’s allowed 1,000 yards to wideouts and nine touchdowns in six games, they all have more than enough upside to offset the risk.

TE Jeremy Shockey B Not that Shockey wouldn’t be a decent play if he’s able to go after leaving last week’s tilt with an injury, but he’s splitting looks with Dave Thomas and now rookie Jimmie Graham. The Browns surrendered their first TE TD of the season last week, but they’ve still allowed only one tight end to top 50 yards and with the Saints’ production fractured it’s tough to single one out for a fantasy start.
DT Saints S3 This hasn’t been the same Saints D that topped the fantasy charts last season, but they could get healthy in a hurry against an inexperienced quarterback with few weapons at his disposal.
Jacksonville at Kansas City Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Todd Bouman B

The combination of the injuries, a road game, and a solid Kansas City secondary strongly suggests that whomever the Jags trot out at this position doesn’t belong in a fantasy lineup. With David Garrard ruled out and Trent Edwards missing the entire week of practice, it looks like it will be the veteran Bouman—who wasn't even with the team five days ago—as the starter and Patrick Ramsey as the backup. That's right, two guys the Jaguars signed off the street this week are in line to take all the snaps. Ugh.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S1

Every backfield to face the Chiefs has managed to compile at least 129 yards from scrimmage, and since MoJo pretty much constitutes the entirety of the Jacksonville backpack it’s about time he rewards the patience of those who spent a top-five pick on him and have stuck with him through his sluggish start. What else are the Jags gonna do, have Bouman or Ramsey chuck it all afternoon?


Mike Sims-Walker
Mike Thomas

B Tough to like either with questionable quarterbacking on the road against a defense that shut out Indy’s wideouts and surrendered just one WR TD in each of the other four games. That Tiquan Underwood is also seeing some action further diminishes the chances of any Jaguar wideout making a fantasy splash.

Marcedes Lewis

S3 The Chiefs are much softer on tight ends than wideouts, and Lewis has been Jacksonville’s most consistently productive pass catcher thus far this year. It’s not a great play, but if you’re in an injury or bye-week bind he could help you out.
DT Jaguars B

As if the Jaguars’ underwhelming defensive performance thus far isn’t enough, they’ll be facing a Chiefs team that has allowed a total of four sacks and turned the ball over just four times on the season.

Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S2

Both times the Jaguars have traveled, they’ve given up three touchdown passes. Cassel rolls into this game fresh off a three-TD effort of his own, and if you liked his productivity for you last week you’re bound to enjoy him here as well.

RB Thomas Jones
Jamaal Charles

Sure it took a (very) late TD run for Chris Johnson to finish with solid fantasy numbers against the Jags, but on their two previous road trips they gave up triple-digit rushing yards to fractured backfields. Something similar to the 35 carries and 193 yards this tandem put up last week wouldn’t surprisse.


Dwayne Bowe


No team has surrendered more fantasy points to wide receivers than Jacksonville, and coming off 108 yards and two TDs Bowe is the KC target best equipped to take advantage.


Chris Chambers
Dexter McCluster
Terrence Copper


Chambers returned to practice this week after missing time with a finger injury; he and McCluster could be considered in deeper leagues, but between them they'll maybe touch the ball a dozen times; tough to put your fantasy fate in that small a sample size. Same with Copper; there are just too many other mouths to feed in this offense.


Tony Moeaki


The Jags have allowed four TE TDs in as many games, including one to Bo Scaife last week. And Moeaki is still the Chiefs’ top secondary target, so he should get the chance to take advantage.

DT Chiefs S2 You’ve got a good secondary, questionable quarterbacking, and a pair of dynamic return men; sounds like a quality defensive fantasy play.

Philadelphia at Tennessee

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kevin Kolb S2

The Eagles certainly aren’t going to run on Tennessee; they barely run the way it is. But the three-step drops and short passing game should help them duck the Titans’ pass rush. While that’s not likely to lead to the big numbers downfield passers Eli Manning (386), Kyle Orton (341) and Tony Romo (406) put up, Kolb has posted decent numbers himself the past couple of weeks and should be a viable fantasy play here. Michael Vick has returned to full practice, but Kolb will be the starter and Vick may still wind up as the emergency quarterback.

RB LeSean McCoy

McCoy has the quickness and receiving skills of backs who have had success against the Titans this year (Darren McFadden 150 combo yards, Ahmad Bradshaw 118 combo yards, Felix Jones 126 combo yards), and he’ll be used in a similar fashion: just enough running to keep the pass rush honest, and plenty of draws and screens and dump-offs designed to get McCoy the ball in space.

WR Jeremy Maclin
S2 With DeSean Jackson out, Maclin becomes Kolb’s top downfield target. But rather than going long, look for Maclin to run shorter routes designed to produce YAC but allow Kolb to get rid of the ball before the rush gets to him. It’s a role that paid dividends for Steve Smith (9-103), Eddie Royal (8-113-1), and Mike Thomas (8-88), and Maclin has more YAC ability than that trio anyway.
WR Jason Avant
S3 Avant has quietly carved out a role in Philly’s offense, and sans Jackson he’ll see enough balls thrown his way to make him a viable plug-in play in larger leagues.
TE Brent Celek
S2 Averaging eight targets a game with Kolb at the helm, Celek offers another option to taking a sack. Tight ends are averaging eight targets a game against the Titans, so it’s obviously an attack other teams have used; seeing as Celek is Kolb’s BFF, expect an uptick in opportunities—with a corresponding spike in productivity.
DT Eagles S2 A hobbled Young or maybe Kerry Collins in the face of what’s sure to be a relentless Philly blitz sounds like a recipe for defensive fantasy points.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young B

The Tennessee passing game hasn’t topped 215 yards this season, but there’s been at least one TD toss in every game. However, there hasn’t been a whole lot more, and with Young nursing knee and ankle injuries a rushing score seems unlikely. Young didn't practice all week and is listed as questionable; while plenty of Titans QBs have played without benefit of practice, this only adds further risk to Young's low-upside fantasy potential.

RB Chris Johnson S1

Philly has allowed only one 100-yard rusher in their last 29 games, but already this year they let the Packers (123 yards), Jaguars (107), and Redskins (125) backfields combine to reach triple digits—and the Lions fell just a yard shy of that mark. So start Johnson like you always do and wait for the yardage to roll in.

WR Kenny Britt
B Better make plans for a lineup that doesn't include Britt, despite his hot streak. Evidently Britt opted to celebrate his four-game scoring streak by getting involved in an altercation at a bar this week. The Titans held him out of practice and could deactivate him, so he's a risk if you're setting your lineup prior to Sunday morning. Factor in the quarterback concerns and the distinct possibility that even if Britt plays he'll be distracted and you can find a more reliable fantasy option elsewhere.
WR Nate Washington
B Even if Britt doesn't play, that still leaves only 13 balls (and less than eight receptions) going to the wideouts in Tennessee so it’s tough to bank on Washington for fantasy help. Factor in his back-to-back one-catch games and he’s bench fodder.
TE Bo Scaife S3 While Scaife is only averaging around three balls a game, this matchup puts him in play as a fantasy starter. The Eagles have surrendered four TE TDs in the past three games, so while Scaife isn’t likely to become the third opposing tight end to hit triple-digit yardage against Philly a score is hardly out of the question.
DT Titans S2 The Eagles have ceded 20 sacks; the Titans have recorded 24. While Kolb has held up well to the pressure thus far, this would certainly be an opportunity for it to cause some problems... problems that lead to defensive fantasy points.

Buffalo at Baltimore

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick B

Fitz has been on a nice little run with multiple touchdown tosses against the Patriots, Jets, and Jaguars; however, when you consider those teams rank 30th, 28th, and 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, it’s not nearly as impressive. If he can pull it off against the Ravens, who have allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other team and multiple TDs in a game just once this year... now that would be impressive.

RB Fred Jackson B

The good news is, Jackson should see the larger share of the carries in the Bills’ backfield committee. The bad news is, it’s still the Bills’ offensive line attempting to block for him. And the worse news is that they’ll be facing the Ravens, who may no longer be world-beaters after giving up 144 yards to Peyton Hillis but are still stout enough to put the squeeze on the Bills.

RB C.J. Spiller B

A smaller share of numbers that land Jackson on fantasy benches aren’t likely to do much more for Spiller.

WR Steve Johnson B

Johnson has been the primary beneficiary of Fitzpatrick’s touchdown barrage, with four TDs in the last three games—but again, those came against bottom-five defenses vs. wideouts; the Ravens rank third.

WR Lee Evans B

Evans is barely trustable in a softer matchup, and he’s been targeted less than Johnson in each of Buffalo’s last two games. He’s simply not worth the risk.

DT Bills S3 The only upside here would be that Spiller may get a bunch of chances to return kickoffs.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S3

Buffalo has surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games, so if Flacco opts to throw he’ll put up numbers. Problem is, only one team has allowed more RB rushing yards than the Bills so this may be one of those “all ground” afternoons that keep Flacco’s numbers down. You’re not sitting him because the matchup is too tough, but you might want to consider sitting him because the Bills’ run D will make it unnecessary for Flacco to throw.

RB Ray Rice S1

So what if the Ravens want to give Willis McGahee more first-half carries? In four of the Bills’ five games they’ve allowed multiple backs to either score or top 60 yards. Rice is still the lead dog, and if more McGahee early means that maybe Rice stays on the field to finish a drive rather than giving way to Willis at the stripe fantasy owners aren’t going to complain.

RB Willis McGahee S3

McGahee is definitely usable this week against the Bills, especially with word that the Ravens want to get him more carries. But he’s still second in the pecking order, plus he’s no longer the clear-cut goal line guy, so there’s an element of risk involved.

WR Anquan Boldin

The opposing WR1 has scored in four straight against Buffalo, and while Mason is seeing an uptick in looks and productivity Anquan is still unquestionably the top target in Baltimore.

WR Derrick Mason

The opposing WR1 has scored in four straight against Buffalo, and while Mason is seeing an uptick in looks and productivity Anquan is still unquestionably the top target in Baltimore.


Todd Heap

S3 It’s rare that the gravy train rolls around long enough to get to Heap, though he did score his first touchdown of the season last week. But against a defense that’s allowed five TE TDs in the last three games... well, if not here when would you use Heap? Of course, there's the usual caveat with Heap: check the injury report, as he missed Wednesday's practice and was limited Thursday by a neck injury.
DT Ravens S3 The Ravens have been a flat-out bust as a fantasy defense. But against an undermanned Bills offense, they may be worth one more shot.

Cincinnati at Atlanta

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S3

Carson has torn up a couple of easy matchups, but he’s also posted some dogs against better defenses. Atlanta is somewhere in the middle, not the soft touch of a Browns or Patriots matchup but not the stopper of a Ravens or Panthers tilt. So while this isn’t a must-play situation for Palmer, you can go ahead and use him with at least a little confidence this week.

RB Cedric Benson S2

Benson posted his first 100-yard game prior to the Bengals’ bye, but he hasn’t scored since Week 2. Atlanta’s run defense has taken some steps forward since surrendering back-to-back 100-yard games the first two weeks of the season as well. You know Ced will get his chances, averaging more than 20 carries a game, and even at his rate of a shade under four yards per tote that’s 80-plus yards—definitely worthy of a fantasy start.

WR Terrell Owens

T.O. has leapfrogged Ochocinco to the top of the Bengals’ passing game pecking order; he’s had more targets in three of the last four, more yards in four straight, and his overall numbers dwarf Chad’s. And while neither Cincy wideout fits the mold of the speedsters (Lance Moore, Jeremy Maclin) who have had the most success against Atlanta, through sheer volume Owens should post another solid fantasy outing.

WR Chad Ochocinco

Since a big Week 1, Ochocinco has done nothing of fantasy note: he hasn’t topped four catches or 59 yards and he hasn’t reached the end zone. Atlanta has allowed multiple fantasy helpers in half their games, including each of the last two, and there’s always the chance of the diva pendulum swinging back towards Ochocinco for a week. Worst case he’ll get you right around 50 yards, and the upside makes him a viable fantasy play.

TE Jermaine Gresham S3 It’s not a must-start compelling matchup for Gresham against a Falcons’ defense that’s allowed a couple TE TDs but only one to top 50 yards; in fact, that description fits Gresham as well. He brings a four-catch, 40-yard baseline but the shot at a touchdown is his only upside. Use him to plug a bye-week hole, but it wouldn’t be tough to find a more exciting option.
DT Bengals B Cincy isn’t generating a whole lot of fantasy points, and a conservative Atlanta offense that’s giving up less than two sacks a game and barely one turnover per contest isn’t likely to present them with copious opportunities to improve on that performance.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Ryan has been a steady provider of 230 yards and a couple touchdowns, slight upticks from what the Bengals generally provide. However, a couple factors come into play: the Falcons should be able to run the ball on Cincy, and Ryan’s passing numbers tend to bump up a bit in conjunction with ground game success; and Atlanta should have an edge against a defense that’s allowed two TE TDs and 46 yards or more to the position in four of five games. Since you know Roddy White is going to get his, that adds up to a quality afternoon for Ryan and the Falcons’ passing game.

RB Michael Turner S2

Turner has churned out three 100-yard games in six starts, and he was well on his way to a fourth before an injury sidelined him. Moreover, he’s the kind of wear ‘em down back that has had success against Cincy; think Peyton Hillis (102 and 1) and Earnest Graham (65 and 1). He’ll see enough carries to produce the yardage, and a TD against a Bengals defense that’s surrendered RB rushing scores in three straight suggests Turner will cross that “t” as well.

WR Roddy White S2

Prior to their last game before the bye the Bengals had done a pretty good job of containing WR1s; then Tampa’s Mike Williams got ‘em for 7-99-1. With Roddy seeing double-digit targets on a consistent basis, he’ll have ample opportunity to post a fantasy helper here.

WR Michael Jenkins B

Jenkins made a bit of a splash upon his return from injury; he was targeted as frequently as White and had more yards. But Cincy’s secondary is stout, and if someone is going to get fantasy stats against them it’s far more likely to be White.


Tony Gonzalez


As noted above, this should be a matchup the Falcons can exploit. Over the last two games alone the Bengals have given up 86 yards and 84 yards and a TD to the position, while after a slow start Gonzo has been targeted seven or more times in four straight games while scoring thrice and averaging 52 yards per tilt.

DT Falcons S3 The Falcons D is coming around and Palmer is showing a proclivity for picks; you could certainly do worse.

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