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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 8
John Tuvey
Updated: October 29, 2010
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DEN at SFO WAS at DET MIN at NEP HOU at IND Start/Bench List by Position
JAC at DAL CAR at STL TBB at ARI  
UPDATES
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MIA at CIN GBP at NYJ SEA at OAK  
BUF at KCC TEN at SDC PIT at NOS  
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)
 
 
Carolina at St. Louis Back to top
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B Moore comes off his first multiple-TD and first 300-yard (and 200-yard, for that matter) outing of the season, only to run smack dab into a Rams defense that’s playing extremely well; six of seven opposing QBs have thrown one or zero TDs against them, including all four to visit the Ed Jones Dome. Don’t bank on Moore bucking that trend.
RB

DeAngelo Williams

B Williams is battling a sprained foot and missed the entire week of practice; he's officially listed as "doubtful", so proceed as if he won't be available for this tilt.
RB

Jonathan Stewart

S2 Stew hasn’t done squat save for a short TD plunge in Week 3 and a flukish long receiving score in Week 4. But in the three games Williams missed last season, Stewart took on the full load and posted 26-120-1, 28-206-1, and 16-125-1. The only back to get more than 19 carries against the Rams this year ran for 145 yards, so if history is any indication of Stew's workload he's at minimum a decent start this week.
WR Steve Smith S3

The Rams are hardly a shutdown secondary, and they’ve allowed enough production to other top-end wideouts who constitute the majority (if not entirety) of their team’s passing game—124 and 1 to Santana Moss, touchdowns to Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson—that if you regularly bank on Smith there’s no compelling reason to look elsewhere.

WR David Gettis B

Gettis has seen an increase in looks and last week made them pay off with 125 yards and two TDs, including the game-winner. The good news is, Matt Moore apparently has confidence in him. However, you have to believe Moore will still look Steve Smith’s way first and turn to Gettis only if that option is extinguished. And nothing in the Rams’ track record suggests they’re capable of taking away a WR1.

DT Panthers B Sam Bradford is taking extremely good care of the ball for a rookie, and the Rams aren’t giving opponents much of an opportunity to generate defensive fantasy points. And the Panthers are doing a lousy job of generating their own defensive fantasy points, so they’re not worth considering here.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S3

Over the Panthers’ last four games no quarterback has thrown for multiple touchdowns and only Drew Brees has topped 200 yards. That’s going to make Bradford’s task significantly more difficult, though the Rams haven’t been shy about turning the game over to him and letting him chuck. He’s a borderline play for now, pending what the Rams decide to do with Steven Jackson and his broken finger.

RB Steven Jackson S2

Jackson sat out Wednesday’s practice after having surgery Monday to repair a broken finger. The Rams remain hopeful he’ll be available, and while he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday, Jackson does have a track record of playing through injuries. You'll have to track him right up until kickoff, but the default setting should put Jackson in your linep for a favorable matchup against a Carolina defense that’s allowed two straight 100-yard rushers and five of six opposing backfields to rush for triple-digit yardage.

WR Danny Amendola
S3

While he hasn’t been nearly as targeted as the 19 balls he saw in the game where Mark Clayton went down with a season-ending knee injury, Amendola remains the closest thing Bradford has to a go-to guy. Sadly, that hasn’t amounted to much sans Clayton. Consider Amendola a fringe play in PPR leagues but, unless you include return yardage, benchable in most other formats.

WR Danario Alexander
Laurent Robinson
Brandon Gibson
B

Consider this the Rams’ “Spinal Tap drummer” position; you show up, bang out a hit or two, then spontaneously combust. Happened to Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton; who’s next? Maybe Alexander, who is questionable for this tilt with his chronic knee issues.

DT Rams S3 An improving pass rush, a defense that’s generated nine of its 11 turnovers at home, and a visiting team that’s turning the ball over more than three times a game add up to an intriguing bye week plug-in fantasy defense.
 
Green Bay at New York Jets Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S2

Rodgers hasn’t exactly been dominant this season, with more games below 300 yards than above it and more single-TD outings (3) than three-TD affairs (1). Worse, his two worst fantasy showings have come on the road, and only a rushing score against the Bears prevented it from being a clean sweep. The Jets rebounded from an embarrassing four-game stretch of giving up multiple passing TDs to put the screws to Kyle Orton in Week 6 and, fresh off a bye, have a healthy Darrelle Revis at their disposal as well. You can’t bench Rodgers, if for no other reason than he’ll have to throw because the Pack won’t be able to run on Gang Green, but best steel yourself for merely good numbers rather than the usual Rodgers greatness.

RB

Brandon Jackson

B

The Jets gave up a short-yardage TD to Willis McGahee in the opener and haven’t allowed a running back touchdown since. They’ve also held every back other than Adrian Peterson to 54 yards or less on the ground. Jackson won’t get enough touches to put up helpful fantasy numbers, nor will he be productive enough with those limited touches to warrant fantasy consideration.

WR Greg Jennings

S3

More than any other Packer, Jennings has been the beneficiary of Jermichael Finley’s absence; in two games sans the talented tight end Jennings has been targeted 17 times, making a dozen catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. In part because teams can’t run on the Jets, and in part because of Darrelle Revis’ troublesome hamstring, Gang Green has allowed a WR TD or 100-yard game—or both—in every contest this season. Revis is supposed to be healthy, and if he locks on to Jennings all bets are off; it’s a concern, but the Jets have been more willing to throw Antonio Cromartie at an opposing WR1s so it’s not a given. Running scared would be understandable, but ultimately Rodgers has to throw to somebody.

WR Donald Driver

B

Driver was clearly less than 100 percent last week, and while he's listed as probable he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday. While the matchup is favorable—the Jets have allowed wingmen to score or top 80 yards (or both) in each of the past five games—the Packers have too many other options and Driver looked to debilitated last week to be trusted with a fantasy start here.

WR James Jones

S3

Maybe Driver draws some attention, maybe he simply cedes the spot to Jones; either way, Jones is a viable starter for a passing defense long on bluster but short on stopping foes.

WR Jordy Nelson

B

Since it appears as if Driver will gimp his way through this game again, the fantasy loser in that scenario is Nelson who won't get as much field time.

TE Andrew Quarless
B The Jets have allowed a total of 51 tight end yards in the past four games. Quarless is the lead dog in a three-headed committee filling in for Jermichael Finley; he was incorrectly credited with a touchdown last week, otherwise his stat line (3-39 in two games sans Finley) would look even more anemic. If you start him here you're hoping for a goal line TD, something the Jets have allowed two of to TEs in the past four games. Seems like a bit of a reach for a guy who hasn't really scored a legit NFL TD.
DT Packers S3 Any defense with Charles Woodson and Clay Mathews has a shot at significant defensive fantasy points, regardless of opponent or venue.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

For the most part Sanchez has been ordinary this season, while the Packers’ pass defense has been pretty good; in fact, only seven teams have allowed fewer TD passes. Sanchez isn’t a regular starter and there’s nothing in the matchup to suggest that status changes. You could plug him in as an injury or bye-week filler, but it’s unlikely you’ll be pleased with the results.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S2

The Packers’ lofty ranking as a run defense comes primarily because teams abandon the run against them; four of their seven opponents ran the ball 17 times or fewer against them. The three teams that stuck with the run—with 25 or more attempts—averaged 135 yards between them and produced two TDs in three games. The Jets have run the ball 25 times or more in each of the last five games, producing an average of 149 yards per game and six rushing scores. With Tomlinson still the lead dog in Gang Green’s committee, he’ll be in line for the bulk of that yardage and the leading candidate for a score as well.

RB Shonn Greene U

This matchup isn’t quite soft enough to start both Jets backs, but it’s pretty close. If you’re stuck on the six-team bye there’s at least some upside to Greene’s minority share of the Jets’ ground game production, along with a shot at a short-yardage score.

WR Braylon Edwards
Santonio Holmes

S3

Both speed guys (Davone Bess, Anthony Armstrong, Santana Moss, Johnny Knox, Jeremy Maclin) and size mismatches (Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson) have had success against the Packers, so both Edwards and Holmes could be considered. You would think the physical Charles Woodson will match up with the physical Edwards, limiting his opportunities and opening the door for Holmes to have the better day. Both are fringe starts at best, however, as the passing game’s best matchup play is the tight end and the Jets are likely to go heavy on the ground game anyway.

TE Dustin Keller S2

The Packers have given up a TE TD or at least 69 yards to the position in each of the last five games; okay, technically they didn’t allow an official TD against the Vikings but everyone this side of Stevie Wonder saw it so we’re counting it. Regardless, Keller comes into this game hot with 75 yards or a TD or both in four of his last five. He’ll be the primary target for Sanchez and the best play among Jets pass catchers this week.

DT Jets S2 The Jets have forced three turnovers in every home game; the Pack has coughed it up twice in every road contest. That, combined with the Packers’ sketchy offensive line and the Jets’ aggressive tendencies, lends itself well to some defensive fantasy points for the home club.
 

Tennessee at San Diego

Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young B

It probably won't be as bad as Young's 8-for-21 effort for 89 yards against the Chargers last season. But it's not likely to be much better against a defense that has yet to yield multiple TDs this season.

RB Chris Johnson S1

The Bolts have let both backs who received at least 18 touches against them rush for triple-digit yardage and score. It's also essentially the same defense—perhaps worse—than the one that surrendered 142 yards and a TD to Johnson in Week 16 of last year. With Johnson riding an amazing streak of eight straight 100-yard games on the road—you have to go back to Week 4 of last season to find a road trip in which CJ didn't come back with triple digits—he's once again a safe bet to be among the top fantasy backs of the week.

WR Kenny Britt
S3 If a little bar brawl led to 225 and 3 from Britt last week, might we suggest an all-out melee, replete with knives and gunplay? It'll take something for Britt to extend his streak of 5 straight games with a touchdown, as the Chargers have surrendered only two WR TDs all season and all indications are this will be another heavy Chris Johnson day. But you don't mess with a streak, so Britt stays in your lineup.
WR Nate Washington
B The other guys are an afterthought to Britt in the passing game, and the passing game is almost an afterthought to Johnson and the running game. An afterthought to an afterthought does not a good fantasy start make.
TE Bo Scaife B Only one team has allowed more TE TDs than the Chargers, but to bank on one from Scaife would be to assume Vince Young will throw two—because you know one's going to Britt. And a two-TD outing from Young is extremely unlikely, especially against the Bolts.
DT Titans S2 Tennessee has created 18 turnovers; the Chargers have turned the ball over 18 times. San Diego has also served up a league-high five D/ST TDs, while the Titans have scored on three returns in the past five weeks. Sounds like the odds are stacked on Tennessee's side of the ledger.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

On the one hand you have Rivers averaging 334 passing yards per game; on the other you have Tennessee giving up an average of 327 passing yards per road game. The 264 and 2 Phil dropped on the Titans in last year's 42-17 win feels like a baseline for this year's stat line.

RB Ryan Mathews B Mathews was a no-show after halftime last week as the Chargers went into comeback mode and used Darren Sproles for his pass-catching and pass-blocking acumen. With the emphasis likely to be on the passing game again this week and the Titans stout against the run anyway, you can't bank on Mathews to see enough action to warrant a fantasy start.
RB Mike Tolbert B Tough to expect much from a goal line back against a defense that's allowed only one RB rushing TD all year.
WR Patrick Crayton S2 Malcolm Floyd is expected to miss another game, leaving Crayton as San Diego's primary downfield target. While the wideouts are still a collective second fiddle to Gates, Crayton should provide ample production against a secondary that's already allowed four 100-yard wide receivers this year.
WR Craig Davis S3 When you expect something north of 300 passing yards, there should be enough for secondary receivers to get a taste—and in a six-team bye week, that taste might just be enough to warrant a fantasy start.
WR Legedu Naanee B Naanee's practice week headed in the wrong direction: he was limited on Wednesday, then didn't go at all Thursday or Friday. He's officially listed as "doubtful", which casts more than enough doubt on his ability to help a fantasy lineup this week.
TE Antonio Gates S1

Gates has scored in six of seven this year—including last week, when he was battling a toe injury. He should be closer to 100 percent this week, so he belongs in your lineup; you can attribute any extra optimism to the 3-74-1 he posted against Tennessee last year, or to a Titans defense that has allowed 80-plus tight end yards in two of its three road games this year. No need to sweat the toe injury this week, either; after sitting out both Wednesday and Thursday, Gates was back at work Friday for a full practice session.

DT Chargers B

Would you believe the Chargers haven't forced a turnover since Week 4? Tough to get any defensive fantasy points that way.

 
Minnesota at New England Back to top
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Of course he's going to play. There's the streak, for one thing, and there's the incompetent backup and the coach who wouldn't dare stand up to Favre. So even though he didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday, pencil him in against the softest pass defense he's seen since he put up 264 and 3 against the Jets.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

The Pats have allowed only two RB rushing scores this year, and no back has topped 88 yards against them; then again, only one back has more than 15 carries against them. Even the bumbling Minnesota coaching staff can give AP at least that much work; get him 20 carries and he'll give you 100 yards or a touchdown, or both. In order to keep the pass rush from breaking Favre's other leg, Peterson will have to get at least that many carries; in other words, he's his typical money fantasy play.

WR Randy Moss

S2

Whose will is stronger: Moss, who you know wants to stick it to the team that traded him, or Belichick, who doesn't want to be shown up? The matchup favors Moss if only because the Pats simply don't have the horses in the secondary; they rank eighth in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. While neither Moss nor his mates may be capable of giving him the monster game he'd love to have, at least one score seems like a lock.

WR Percy Harvin

S2

The Vikings keep finding ways to get Harvin the ball, and Harvin keeps finding ways to get it into the end zone. He was one misstep away from multiple TDs last week, and much like we compared him to Davonne Bess in this very space last week it's not out of line to expect Percy to have the kind of 93-yard, one TD effort Bess posted against the Patriots earlier this year.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

In a perfect world full of lollipops, rainbows, and competent officiating Shiancoe would enter this contest with a one-game scoring streak, and it would be a lot easier to justify starting him against a defense that's allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. But the world isn't perfect, so you'll have to take a little leap of faith in trusting Shiancoe to go where Gresham, Keller, Heap, and Gates have gone before him.

DT Vikings S3

If your league doesn't include special teams, the Vikings are bench fodder until their vaunted pass rush shows up. But if you get to include Percy Harvin's kick returns, the Vikes are absolutely in play.

New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

The Vikings somehow made it two months into the season with no pass rush and a banged up secondary before teams started taking it to them. After giving up 220 and 3 to Tony Romo and 295 and 2 to Aaron Rodgers the past two games, the Vikings are primed to receive another lashing similar to Brady's two previous outings against them—372 and 4 in the last meeting, 239 and 3 the time before that. Of course, Brady hasn't had a multiple TD game since ignoring Moss against Miami just prior to his being traded... but you can bet he wants to prove something just as much as Moss and Belichick do.

RB

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

S3

Though they're still pretty doggone good, the Vikings aren't the shutdown run D they've been the past few seasons. In fact, they've allowed a running back rushing score in each of their three road games this season—playing right into BJGE's role in this offense, not to mention his four-game scoring streak. Don't look for big yardage, but a TD would seem to be a given.

RB

Danny Woodhead

U

As noted above, the Vikes are still pretty stout against the run. They have, however, given up 132 RB receiving yards over the past two games alone as teams slow their pass rush with screens and dump offs. That fits Woodhead's role and makes him at least worthy of consideration in larger performance-based leagues, especially in situations where you're in a serious bye-week predicament.

WR Wes Welker
Deion Branch
S2 There are enough holes in the Minnesota secondary that Brady should be able to find the matchups he likes. And because he's spreading the ball around that means neither Welker nor Branch will put up big numbers—but both should put up solid stats. Note that Branch was limited in practice both Thursday and Friday because of a hamstring issue and is officially listed as "questionable"; note also that this is the same team that has listed Tom Brady on the injury report for the entirety of his career.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Rob Gronkowski
B Hernandez is the yardage guy, Gronkowski the designated scorer. But the Vikings have allowed only one legit TE TD this season and less than 40 yards per game to the position, so there's no compelling reason to trust either with a fantasy start.
DT Patriots S2 Brett Favre has thrown a pick-six in each of the past two road games; between that and the Patriots' return game, you have to like their chances here.

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