In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections . The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.
Maurice jones drew (AT kc) - PROJECTION: 70+10 yds SBL RATING: s1
TUVEY: The Jaguars will have (take your pick) Trent Edwards with a bad hand or a guy who less than a week ago was playing in a Brett Favre Wrangler League (by the way, St. Cloud State is in central Minnesota for those of you wondering about Todd Bouman's alma mater). And since the Chiefs are softer vs. the run (check the stat in the S/BL) than vs. the pass, the game plan will run through MoJo. In fact, the game plan IS MoJo. There is no other option. He's good enough, and the matchup friendly enough, that he qualifies for an S1. I understand the frustration of those who own him; I'm a MoJo owner as well and I know he's been underachieving dramatically. This week, that changes.
DOREY: While what he says is true, there is more to the story to me. First off we have MJD who has only scored in one of six games played. That was against Indy back in week four but he only had 84 yards in Buffalo the next week. In fact the only other road game he has played in was when he gained 31 rushing yards in San Diego. Two road games, averaging 58 rushing yards per trip and only capable of scoring in one game against a divisional rival in a trap game of sorts. Sure, every backfield to face the Chiefs has complied 129 yards from scrimmage, but we need to weed out a couple of internal facts. FIrst, at home the Chiefs have played in two home games and allowed at most 78 rushing yards to Mathew Ryan who had a vaunted passing attack that the Chiefs had to worry about. Frank Gore only had 43 rushing yards on 15 carries. Now your figure of 129 yards includes receiving yardage but MJD has never had more than 17 yards in any game this year. He is averaging exactly two catches per game for 11 yards. The majority of the KC defense will be devoted to stopping him especially with David Garrard out. Giving him 80 yards is saying he is going to have an average showing in a worse situation - on the road with even more questionable passing. And he's only scored in one game, so how can this one be better than say playing in Buffalo? Guess what - there has only been one team that has not scored a rushing touchdown against the Bills and that was MJD and the Jaguars.
CONSENSUS: The difference here is that Tuvey sees a chance for Maurice Jones-Drew to take a step forward and do something more than mediocrity against a road team. Dorey sees him has an average play in a likely bad situation with nothing in the past suggesting this is where he changes anything. He's an average play unless you are an optimist.
Heath Miller (AT mia) - PROJECTION: 80 + 1 TD, SBL RATING: B
TUVEY: Miller's on my bench because he's about the fourth option in Pittsburgh (after running the ball with Mendenhall or throwing to Ward or Wallace) and I don't see this game providing that much offense. He doesn't offer much of a yardage safety net—especially not against a defense that has held all non-Dustin Keller tight ends to zero touchdowns and an average of less than 50 yards per game—and he's too far down the pecking order to be trusted for a score.
DOREY: My projections for Miller are a definite high side but reflect a couple of factors. First off it is true that only Keller had a score (and he had two) and they have only averaged 50 yards allowed to tight ends but that considers that the Bills never threw to any tight end in week one, the Vikings had 106 yards to theirs, Keller turned in 98 yards, and then Hernandez only had 29 yards because Tom Brady only had 19 completions since they ran 32 times on the Fins. And five of those went to the tight end Hernandez who was second only to Wes Welker in that game. The only other game was last week when the Packers were without Jermichael Finley and used two no name rookies for two catches for 56 yards. The return of Ben Roethlisberger throws a new spin on this as well. Miller is the third option in the passing game and last year when the Steelers had both Wallace and Holmes, Miller left Miami with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. I see this game as a continuation of that sort of trend and he did it just last year when there was one more valuable passing target than there is this year. The Dolphins have only allowed three scores to the wide receivers this year, so I like one to end up where it already did in 2009 - with Miller.
CONSENSUS: Miller is not a bad play in Miami and he already had a nice game there last year. 80 yards is pretty high for a projection and a touchdown is always an iffy thing for any player. To consider him as bench material is expecting Miller to not pick up with Roethlisberger even though the two connecting last week in his first week back. Safest bet is to consider Miller as an upside tight end this week but be willing to accept a 30 or 40 yard game with no score.
Mike Thomas (AT kc) - PROJECTION: 80 + 1 TD, SBL RATING: B
TUVEY: The KC secondary is pretty good—just ask Peyton Manning—and the Jaguars are a lousy road team. Oh, and they'll be fielding somewhere between their third- and fifth-string quarterback, a guy who wasn't even on the team's roster a month ago. I'm confident I can find enough other guys without these issues whom I'd rather put in my lineup this week.
DOREY: The projection for Thomas is mostly a function of trying to determine who is most likely to have catches and yards and a score. The Chiefs have been weaker against flankers and Thomas has been the most effective receiver for the Jaguars. But he has yet to score so the awarding of the one score I see by the Jaguars isn't going to the running game which I explained beautifully above, and while it certainly could end up with Marcedes Lewis, I have to think his 3 TDs in the last three weeks will be noticed by the defense. The touchdown is speculation and with little for proof on this low scoring team. The yardage is mostly trash time.
CONSENSUS: Thomas is far more risky than expecting a score and 80 yards. Benching him is certainly a safe thing to do since he is averaging only 47 yards per road game. He has some upside, but he has much more risk.
Zach Miller (AT DEN) - PROJECTION: 60 yds SBL RATING: B
TUVEY: Another tight end with quarterback issues facing a defense that has exhibited the ability to take tight ends out of the game. It wouldn't be surprising if the Broncos put Champ Bailey on Miller; he's the most threatening member of Oakland's passing game. Of course, being the top Raider receiver doesn't automatically qualify Miller for fantasy relevance.
DOREY: What I like is that the Broncos have given up games of 75, 80, 60 and 52 yards to team tight ends in the last four weeks. I'm no great lover of Zach Miller but he is about all they have and if Kyle Boller plays for OAK he does like to throw to tight ends. If the Broncos put Champ Bailey on Miller - a possibility for I think a first time for a tight end - it would plummet his yardage and even still, only 60 yards is no big game. Miller has never had less than 43 yards in any game this year.
CONSENSUS: If you kick it down to that 43 yard floor - which is only one catch really - then Miller has his worst game here. There is much risk on the road and in Denver and with Kyle Boller at the helm. He's been a lock for 43 yards so far, figure that for your "sure to get" numbers.
Peyton Hillis (AT NO) - PROJECTION: 40 + 40 yds SBL RATING: s2
TUVEY: Usually I'm the guy shooting holes in Hillis' fantasy viability, but this week... 90 combo yards in Pittsburgh and a TD in every game except one, facing a defense that's not only soft against the run but also susceptible to running backs who can catch the ball? Like Jacksonville and MoJo, the Browns don't bring much more offensively to the table aside from Hillis—especially with Massaquoi and Cribbs out with concussions. Maybe he's a low-end S2, but Hillis has done enough for me to feel pretty good plugging him into my lineup this week.
DOREY: I'm not so sure we are that far off since I project 80 yards for him. That has to be in the top 24 for all running backs. I hate Hillis because he is hard to forecast. The reason is that the Browns are so bad, that sometimes opponents do not really prepare for them and he has 180 yards in Baltimore and 110 yards against the Bengals. Against the visiting Chiefs it is only 35 rush yards and 61 yards total. His numbers are all over the place but he has scored that one touchdown in all but the last game. I think John and I are pretty much agreed on this.
CONSENSUS: We both agree that Hillis is no worse than a low-end "S2" and with him you never know really. He could end up with two catches or seven catches.
Anthony Armstrong (at CHI) - PROJECTION: 50 + 1 TD, SBL RATING: B
TUVEY: It's tough for me to consider starting any Redskins receiver outside of Moss and Cooley, as they account for the vast majority of the production. That said, McNabb is taking the occasional deep shot to Armstrong and the lone two WR TDs the Bears have allowed have gone to deep threats. Twist my arm and I could throw Armstrong into the low end of the S3s as a guy with maybe a shot at helping a fantasy team this week.
DOREY: I'm in the same spot really. Armstrong has been good for around 50 yards in each of his last three games and he scored once. As I mentioned in the Predictions and Projections, the Bears have been more likely to have the opposing split end score on them. The Redskins could move the players around as well. Figure a projection of 50 yards and a score could be 100% accurate but if the defender interferes or Armstrong only gets one foot down on that play, he could be left with only say 30 yards and everything I envisioned happened except the end of one play.
CONSENSUS: Armstrong is very risky and touchdowns such as this have a low confidence - he only has scored once this year. He is a safer bench to be sure but has minor upside if you have no other alternatives.
|Start Bench List Ratings:
|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)
||Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.