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Start/Bench List - Week 9
John Tuvey
Updated: November 5, 2010
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NYJ at DET CHI at BUF NYG at SEA PIT at CIN 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)
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New York Jets at Detroit Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

It’s not a tough matchup, but even in a best-case situation Sanchez is at best a borderline starter; consider that in seven games this season he’s never posted anything better than the 11th-best fantasy stat line by a quarterback in any given week. Factor in that the Lions are better at home and there’s no reason to reach for Sanchez.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1

Expect the Jets to succeed where the Redskins failed to even attempt last week: on the ground. Heading into Week 9 the Lions had allowed four straight 100-yard rushers, so of course Washington ran the ball a total of 15 times in the game. It’s possible both Jets backs will get that many carries this week; certainly LT will, as he’s had that number or more in each of the past five games. He’s scored in three of those five and is a money play to do so here against a Lions defense that’s surrendered the second-most fantasy points to running backs.

RB Shonn Greene S3

Greene’s carries have dipped below double-digits each of the past two weeks, but that trend should reverse against the second-most fantasy friendly RB defense. And 10 or more carries certainly puts Greene in play to be a fantasy helper in a week where six teams are on the bye.

WR Braylon Edwards


If there’s a go-to guy in this passing game—and that’s no sure thing; last week Cotchery saw the most targets, followed by Holmes and then Edwards—it’s probably Edwards. This matchup isn’t as soft as you might think, either; the Lions have allowed only one WR TD the past three weeks, facing teams that on average throw the ball 10 times a game more than the Jets. Edwards gets a narrow nod for the possibility of a score.

WR Jerricho Cotchery
Santonio Holmes


As noted above, this isn’t the cream puff matchup you might think when you hear “Lions”. That, combined with the Jets’ preference to travel by ground, renders the extraneous members of Gang Green’s passing game fantasy irrelevant.

TE Dustin Keller S3

Again, while you hear “Lions” and think “cupcake”, the stats tell a different story. Both of the TE TDs Detroit has allowed have come on the road; at home they haven’t given up so much as 60 yards to the position. Keller is too heavily targeted to be benched even in a “tough” matchup, but he’ll have to work to earn his fantasy keep.

DT Jets S3 You’d think this would be a far more compelling fantasy play, but the fact of the matter is the Jets have generated just three turnovers and seven sacks in three road games. Detroit isn’t turning the ball over (four in three games) or giving up sacks (four in three games) at home, so expectations need to be lowered.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford S3

After a rough stretch with Darrelle Revis hurt, the Jets are starting to reassert themselves defensively. Over the past two weeks they’ve held Kyle Orton and Aaron Rodgers to an average of 90 yards less than their typical output, with but one touchdown between them. Stafford threw four TDs in his return from injury, but expectations need to be significantly dialed back against Gang Green.

RB Jahvid Best B

The Jets gave up a running back touchdown in the opener—and haven’t given up much of anything since. It remains to be seen if Kevin Smith will continue to take bites out of Best’s workload, but even a lion’s share of the touches isn’t enough to make Best a shrewd fantasy play this week.

WR Calvin Johnson S2

Sure, he’ll draw Revis; maybe even Cromartie, too, and safety help over the top. In fact, the Jets’ amoeba defense might just bubble 10 guys around Megatron. And he’d still warrant a fantasy start.

WR Nate Burleson B

Yes, all the Jets' attention will be focused on Megatron. No, that doesn't necessarily mean Burleson will see enough leftovers to have fantasy value.

TE Brandon Pettigrew B

Pettigrew saw his looks being reduced last week as Matt Stafford only had eyes for Megatron. Don’t expect much to change this week, as the Jets have given up a total of 10 yards to the position over the past three weeks.

DT Lions S3 Hey, the Lions have two defensive touchdowns in the past three weeks, while Mark Sanchez has multiple picks in each of the past two games. Stranger things have happened.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S3

Freeman put up 250 and 2 in his first meeting with the Falcons last year, though he was held to 174 and 1 in the rematch in Atlanta. The Falcons’ secondary is in a tough place right now, though, having surrendered 738 yards and six TDs in its last two games, so while Freeman hasn’t had multiple TDs since Week 2 he’s looking at a decent opportunity to bust that trend.

RB LeGarrette Blount


After tearing up the very fantasy-friendly Arizona defense, Blount faces a substantially stiffer test. The Falcons haven’t allowed a running back rushing score since Week 2 and held an assortment of solid backs (Benson, McCoy, Hillis, Gore, Thomas) to 77 yards or less in that same span. Blount will put his 5.8 yards per carry average to the test in Atlanta; the expectation is that he’ll grade out a little lower than he did in the desert.

WR Mike Williams

The Falcons couldn’t stop Antonio Bryant, who scored in both ends of last season’s series, and the Bucs consider Williams an upgrade at the position. Facing a secondary that’s surrendered six WR TDs and three 100-yard outings to WRs in just the past two games, you have to like Williams’ chances of proving the Bucs right.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

Winslow put up games of 7-81 and 5-56 in last season’s series, and last week aside he’s been just as heavily targeted this year. Atlanta, however, has been stout against the tight end: they’ve allowed only two TE TDs, none in the past three games, and Jeremy Shockey is the only opposing tight end to top 50 yards. Consider Winslow a starter in TE-mandatory leagues, but don’t go out of your way to work him into mixed-league lineups.

DT Buccaneers S3 The Falcons aren’t big on turning the ball over, though they did cough up a defensive TD against Cincy their last game before the bye. But last week the Bucs summoned the ghosts of Cover-2 past in returning two picks for scores. Playing against Matt Ryan at home is completely different than facing Max Hall, but this Bucs D is brimming with confidence and certainly warrants fantasy attention.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Positive trends abound for Ryan here. He’s posted 250 and 2 and 299 and 3 in his last two games after going for 223 and 2 in the back end of last season’s series with the Bucs; Chris Redman stepped in after Ryan was injured in the first meeting and threw for 243 and 2. Tampa Bay has allowed five straight teams to throw multiple touchdown passes against them, including the tag team ticket of Hall/Anderson last week. Ryan is money at home and should put up a stat line this week that lands somewhere between solid and spectacular.

RB Michael Turner S1

The Bucs snapped a streak of surrendering a 100-yard rusher in four straight games by holding Chris Wells in check last week, though both Wells and Tim Hightower managed to find the end zone and the duo combined for 91 yards on just 20 carries. Expect the Falcons to get Turner at least 20 carries, an important benchmark because he’s scored and rushed for at least 97 yards the last six times he’s carried the ball at least 20 times.

RB Jason Snelling S3

The way the Falcons have historically run the ball against Tampa Bay, and the way the Bucs have been sieve-like against the run this season, there could very easily be enough leftovers for Snelling to have some fantasy value this week as well. Not as much as his 25-147 against the Bucs in Week 17 of last year, but some.

WR Roddy White S1

White’s fantasy owners dearly missed the top wideout in the game last week, as he had scored or topped 100 yards (or both) in six of the seven games prior to the bye. Though the Bucs held White’s yardage in check last season he scored in both ends of the season series. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to come back to a matchup against a secondary that has allowed at least one WR TD in every game this season as well as three 100-yard receivers already this year.

WR Michael Jenkins S3

Jenkins is definitely the second banana—third, even, after Gonzo—but in a six-team bye week you may need to reach this far. And it’s a favorable matchup: only seven teams have allowed more fantasy points to wideouts, and in three of Tampa Bay’s last five games a wingman has pitched in either a touchdown or a 100-yard game.


Tony Gonzalez


Gonzo put up 9-83 in the front end of last season’s series, then was held to 3-30 in the rematch—and watched Justin Peelle steal his touchdown. The Bucs have been solid against tight ends—they haven’t allowed more than 47 yards to the position since Week 1—but have given up a couple TDs. And since Gonzo is still heavily targeted, he’s still a viable play in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Falcons B It’s a middle-of-the-road matchup with no strong trends one way or the other. You can find a matchup with at least some sort of angle elsewhere.

San Diego at Houston

Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

Pit a quarterback on pace to break the single-season record for passing yardage against the defense that’s allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and you get one of, if not the, best QB fantasy play of the week.

RB Ryan Mathews S2 The matchup is favorable, but Mathews is still losing goal line touches to Tolbert and passing-game work to Sproles—plus, he left last week’s game after taking a shot to the melon and losing his helmet. He still makes a good play, but if he were bogarting the carries he’d be even better.
RB Mike Tolbert S3 Nothing wrong with the goal line guy against a team that’s allowed six RB rushing TDs in the past six games. And if Mathews’ facial scrapes limit his practice time and jeopardize his availability, Tolbert is ready for his close-up.
RB Darren Sproles B Sproles has been a viable PPR contributor, but Houston has given up only one RB receiving TD and only one back has topped 40 receiving yards against them—numbers that suggest Sproles might be even more lightly used than usual this week.
WR Patrick Crayton S1 No Malcolm Floyd, no Legedu Naanee, Buster Davis to IR, Vincent Jackson still suspended... Crayton is the last man standing. Against a secondary that’s allowed the third-most fantasy yardage to wideouts, that’s a very good thing indeed.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu S3 A Fresno State product just like Ryan Mathews, Ajirotutu is the prototypical Chargers receiver: namely, big. And with Floyd and Naanee listed as doubtful, The Bishop is the next man up in Philip Rivers' feeding line.
TE Antonio Gates B

Gates is officially listed as doubtful, and while some in San Diego are holding out hope he can fight off the toe injury on his left foot and the torn plantar fascia on his right foot your best bet is to be proactive and find a replacement sooner rather than later. Might we recommend...

TE Randy McMichael S3

Remember him? This could be a throwback day for McMichael, who stands to be the beneficiary with Antonio Gates sidelined. Hey, somebody's got to catch passes from the most prolific passer in the league against the defense that's allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than any other.

DT Chargers B

A team that’s generated just 11 turnovers—none in the past month—against an offense that’s turned the ball over just nine times does not a good fantasy matchup make.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2 Schaub has been on-again/off-again this year, alternating ordinary games with multiple-touchdown outings. The good news is, after throwing for 201 and 1 last Monday against Indy he should be on again this week. The Bolts also demonstrated a little susceptibility in the secondary last week in allowing the Titans to throw for 305 and 2—both season highs. Cautious optimism here.
RB Arian Foster
S2 The Chargers have given up a running back touchdown in four straight, with two of the four backs reaching triple-digit rushing yardage as well. So while San Diego’s holding Chris Johnson to 15-59-1 last week may cause some concern, that scoring streak and Foster’s run of five TDs in four games and four 100-yard efforts this season should trump them.
WR Andre Johnson S2 The Chargers have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to wideouts, and Johnson is clearly still hobbled by his ankle injury. Still, he’s Andre Johnson and he shows up to play every week—and as back to back games with 100-plus yards and a touchdown suggest, not just play but play well.
WR Kevin Walter B

Walter is too inconsistent a contributor and the Chargers too stout a secondary to be reaching this deep into the Houston receiver rotation for fantasy help.

TE Owen Daniels S3

Daniels still doesn’t look like he’s all the way back from his knee injury, but he’s a large enough part of the game plan that he should fare well against a San Diego defense that ranks third in fantasy points allowed to the tight end.

DT Texans B Despite the Chargers’ special teams woes, the Texans haven’t demonstrated any reason to give their defense a fantasy whirl.

New Orleans at Carolina

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New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

Brees was good not great in the earlier meeting with Carolina, throwing for 275 yards and a touchdown—his lowest fantasy production in the past seven games. On the other hand, that’s the most passing yardage the Panthers have allowed this season. Somehow, despite generating no pass rush and offering no threat offensively the secondary remains stout. Brees has been more “Brees-like” with four straight multi-TD efforts, but he’s been held to a single scoring strike in his last two against Carolina and will have to work for his fantasy points here.

RB Chris Ivory S3

With no Reggie Bush or Pierre Thomas once again, the Saints will attempt to cobble together a ground game from Ivory, Julius Jones, and Ladell Betts. The latter two are sled dogs at best; when New Orleans has had success on the ground sans Bush and Thomas, it has come from giving Ivory the bulk of the carries. He posted 12-67 in the earlier meeting (compared to Betts’ 12-47) and is the best option from a sketchy at best backfield.

WR Marques Colston S3

While Brees is still spreading the wealth in the passing game, Colston has been his most targeted wideout in five straight games, with touchdowns in each of the past two. It’s a tough matchup for Saints wide receivers, but Colston stands the best chance of any of them of helping your fantasy squad.

WR Robert Meachem
Lance Moore
Devery Henderson

Yes, they’re all still involved. Moore has scored in three of the last five, including the Saints’ Week 4 win over Carolina; Meachem has moved into the WR2 role opposite Colston, and Henderson lurks as well. But the Panthers have allowed only three WR TDs on the season, and no wideout has so much as topped 67 yards against them since Week 1. If Colston is expected to take his cut off the top, that leaves this trio fighting over table scraps—and not enough to feed most fantasy bellies.

TE Jeremy Shockey B Brees has been spreading the tight end love as well, with Dave Thomas and occasionally Jimmy Graham getting looks as well as Shockey. The Panthers have allowed TE TDs in back-to-back games, but both went to teams who were seriously lacking in the WR department. The Saints barely used their tight ends in last season’s series with the Panthers, and even if that changes here there are too many ladles dipping in the broth.
DT Saints S3 Perhaps as their secondary gets healthy they’ll start taking more chances; right now they’re barely on the fantasy radar, and that’s being generous.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B The Saints have given up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Moore ranks 35th among NFL quarterbacks in fantasy points per game; for reference, that’s behind not just one but two Raiders quarterbacks. In the immortal words of The Crusher, “That is all the people need to know.”

DeAngelo Williams

B Historically the Panthers have run Williams a bunch against the Saints, including earlier this season when he posted 13-86-1—his best game of the year. However, he failed to practice again this week due to his foot injury and is officially listed as doubtful. Odds are, he's not going to play this week.

Jonathan Stewart

B Stewart has had success against New Orleans in the past, but he’s been flat out abysmal this year—including last week when he had the whole backfield to himself. Even with Williams out it’s extremely difficult to trust Stewart with a fantasy start this week; he'll get all the carries, and if you're in a bye week bind that may be enough, but don't expect much.
WR Steve Smith S3

The Saints have allowed only two WR TDs this year, but the 2-11 he produced in the earlier meeting was as much a product of his rookie quarterback opting not to throw into double coverage as it was the Saints’ secondary. Moore knows where his bread is buttered and will throw at Smith regardless; witness the 15 targets last week. It still might not be enough, but give a playmaker like Smith that many opportunities and he’s bound to get you something.

DT Panthers B Despite the Saints’ recent foibles against the Cardinals and Browns, there’s no compelling reason to use a defense that has produced fewer fantasy points than all but four other clubs.

Chicago at Buffalo

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S3

The Bills have allowed passing touchdowns but not big yardage; Cutler has produced just the opposite with 792 yards but only two TDs in his last three full games. With Buffalo so flat-out awful against the run, expect Cutler’s attempts—and thus numbers—to be down across the board

RB Matt Forte S2

Forte’s two big games—really, his only games of fantasy note—have come when the Bears faced ground game pushovers: Detroit (#2 in fantasy points allowed to RBs) and Carolina (#12). Here’s a date with the #1 most fantasy-friendly defense for running backs, so dust off your Forte and enjoy.

RB Chester Taylor B

Word on the street is that Taylor will be the Bears’ goal line back. That’s all fine and good, but here’s the problem: the bulk of the fantasy points Buffalo allows come via yardage, not touchdowns. Also, the Bears couldn’t punch it in from the one-yard line to save their lives. Forte went 0-for-5 from the three-yard-line and in; behind the same offensive line, there’s no reason to think Taylor will do any better.


Johnny Knox

S3 The Bills have actually been pretty good against the pass, at least yardage-wise; it’s the touchdowns they’ve struggled to prevent, having allowed at least one in every game since Week 2. Knox scored last week—the first WR TD by a Bear since Week 2—and is Chicago’s most-targeted receiver; if any Bear is to be trusted with a fantasy start here, it’s Knox.

Devin Hester
Earl Bennett

B Bennett is a fringe player at best, Hester is seeing his snaps from scrimmage reduced so he can do more on special teams, and the other Chicago wideouts are afterthoughts.
TE Greg Olsen


No team has given up more TE TDs than the Bills, and since Olsen is a red zone favorite of Cutler he’s a viable fantasy play here.

DT Bears S3 While you can’t expect the Bills’ Hahvad-educated quarterback to make mistakes, more Hester on the special teams and the Bears’ bevy of defensive playmakers make Chicago’s DST usable.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S3

Fitz came back to earth a little bit last week, as the Chiefs snapped his streak of four straight multiple touchdown games. It won’t get any easier against a defense that has yet to allow multiple TD tosses this year and has held its last four foes under 250 passing yards. But with the running game unlikely to get going, through sheer volume Fitz should put up serviceable numbers.

RB Fred Jackson
C.J. Spiller

Buffalo has yet to establish anything resembling a running game, be it versus tough defenses (Jets, Ravens) or ones they should fare well against (Chiefs, Jaguars). The Bears fit in between those two groups, but there’s no reason to think Jackson will suddenly find success here and the Bills aren’t giving Spiller enough touches yet to be fantasy relevant.

WR Steve Johnson S3

Only four teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to wideouts than the Bears, and only one team has allowed fewer touchdowns. But Johnson has a TD in every game Fitzpatrick has started. Every. Game. Infinity trumps trend.

WR Lee Evans
Roscoe Parrish

Evans and Parrish have thrived with Fitzpatrick at the helm, but this matchup doesn’t leave enough on the table for everyone to get fed, and we’re rolling with Johnson and his forever streak.

DT Bills S3 The Bills have one interception all year. Jay Cutler throws more picks than that in warmups alone. It’s like the moveable object against the resistible force, and something’s gotta give.

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