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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)
Arizona at Minnesota Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson B

Anderson is a slightly better option than Max Hall, which is like saying gout is a slightly better option than impetigo. Considering that in two dates with top-10 pass defense the Cardinals have totaled 280 yards and zero TDs—and yes, that’s a two-game total—and the Vikings currently rank seventh in fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, this isn’t likely to end well for anyone in red.

RB Chris "Beanie" Wells
Tim Hightower
B You don’t run on the Vikings in their house, where they’re giving up 3.2 yards per carry and an average of 73 rushing yards per game. And the Cards still haven’t fully given over the workload to Wells, so they’ll be splitting that minuscule yardage total. Hightower might have some upside if the Cards follow the lead of other Vikings foes and throw a thousand screen passes, but his proclivity for fumbling might cost him all his playing time one touch in. Wells was limited all week in practice by a swollen knee, but his workload increased on Friday and he says he'll play. He'd be a bench even healthy and not sharing carries, so with the risk of being gimpy and giving up touches to Hightower, both are fantasy bench fodder.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

It’s like the Change Bank from the old SNL commercial. How do we make our money? Volume. Anderson is a crappy quarterback, but at least he throws a lot at Larry. As a result, Fitzgerald is able to cobble together some fantasy value on a regular basis. It won’t be pretty, but against a banged-up secondary that’s allowed WR TDs in three straight and back-to-back 100-yard efforts Fitz deserves a shot.

WR Steve Breaston

If you squint you can see the upside here: Arizona won’t be able to run, the Vikings’ secondary is all kinds of banged up, and Breaston is a close second to Fitzgerald in the Cardinals’ passing game pecking order. And in a six-team bye week, you may need to squint. Hopefully, however, you’ll have clear eyes. And a full heart. And of course, if that’s the case you can’t lose.

DT Cardinals S2 The Vikings have plenty of special teams woes and Brett Favre still knows how to find an open defender for six. The Cards lead the league in return TDs, so this falls right into their wheelhouse.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S3

This ain’t last year, that’s for sure. Favre has multiple TD tosses just once and is racking up injuries to body parts he’s never even photographed and texted to... wait, where were we? Oh yeah. The Cards’ secondary hasn’t given up much, but that may be because teams are running on them so easily they’re barely bothering with the pass. That’s bound to be Minnesota’s angle this week as well, though you may see more play-action at the goal line seeing as calling the exact same slow-developing running play in short-yardage situations just isn’t working all that well.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Cardinals, who have already served up 100-yard games to LeGarrette Blount, Mike Tolbert, and Jason Snelling. If those three can hit triple-digits what’s in store for AP, who brings a six-game home scoring streak into this tilt. He’s also scored in three straight and five of six overall and has three 100-yard efforts of his own.

WR Percy Harvin


The Vikings may be without both Randy Moss and Harvin this week; Moss was kicked to the curb by interim coach Brad Childress, while Harvin is nursing an ankle injury suffered last week. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and looked gimpy during limited work on Friday. Considering that his speed may be compromised and the guy who cleared defenses for him is gone, this projects to be a tough week for Harvin. If he's not deactivated on Sunday you could consider using him, but be prepared for significantly subdued stats.

WR Bernard Berrian
Greg Camarillo


Brett Favre has turned nondescript receivers into something respectable in the past, but this might be more than even his midas touch can shower with gold.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S2

Only three teams have allowed more TE TDs than the Cardinals, and given the Vikings’ inability to close at the stripe last week you have to expect Shiancoe to factor into the mix a little more this week. He’s also quite likely to be Favre’s top target overall, so he could bring yardage and catches to the table as well as scores.

DT Vikings S3

They haven’t done much this season, but with Derek Anderson and/or Max Hall throwing the football maybe they can rise from their coma.

New England at Cleveland Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

Brady hasn’t thrown multiple TD passes since Week 3—also known as the last week Randy Moss caught a pass for the Pats. Not that the entire passing game revolved around Moss, but since he checked out Brady’s per-game averages have dipped by more than 40 yards and almost two TDs per game. Perhaps the Browns can help; over their last five games they’re allowing 286 yards and two touchdowns per game.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Law Firm puts his five-game scoring streak on the line against a Browns defense that’s allowed only one RB rushing score all season. He doesn’t require yardage; twice in his streak he’s had less than 25 yards. And since the fourth-, seventh-, and eighth-ranked defenses against RBs have already surrendered TDs to him, a date with the sixth-ranked Browns shouldn’t scare anyone.


Danny Woodhead


Woodhead has a tougher row to hoe than BJGE; though he gets the occasional goal line touch, he’s a less reliable scorer than Green-Ellis. And given the tough matchup, he’s too risky to trust with a fantasy start.

WR Wes Welker
Deion Branch
Brandon Tate
S3 Only three teams have allowed more WR TDs than the Browns, so there are points to be had here. But with no downfield threat drawing attention Welker’s productivity has been limited; Tate’s big game last week was primarily the result of one long busted play, and Branch has seen his targets decline each week since returning to New England. All could score, but none stand out as a must-start.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Rob Gronkowski
B The Browns have given up TE TDs each of the past two weeks, but only the Saints have posted more than 70 yards at the position—and it took three tight ends to cobble that together. The Patriots are splitting production between Gronkowski (the scorer) and Hernandez (the yardage guy); depending on your scoring system you could spot-start one or the other in this heavy bye week, but in general the best plan would be to avoid the situation entirely.
DT Patriots B For a rookie quarterback the Browns aren’t giving foes many opportunities at defensive fantasy points, and the Patriots aren’t doing enough to take advantage of what few shots there might be.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

All indications point to McCoy starting again while Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace continue to recover from their respective ankle injuries—to say nothing of the fact that McCoy is the best quarterback of the bunch. However, he’s done little of fantasy note thus far and he catches the Patriots as their young secondary is coming together; after allowing multiple TD tosses in each of the first five games the Pats have given up just two total to Philip Rivers, Brett Favre, and Tarvaris Jackson. Tough to ask McCoy to buck those odds.

RB Peyton Hillis


The Pats are among the more fantasy-friendly defenses for opposing backs. Better still, they’re particularly susceptible to backs who can catch; no team has given up more RB receiving scores. Hills does enough of each—and the Browns are devoid of offensive firepower elsewhere—to be the best fantasy play in pumpkin and brown.

WR Chansi Stuckey
Brian Robiskie

The Browns haven’t scored a WR TD since Week 2, while the Pats have allowed just one the past three games against wideouts far more talented than anything on the Cleveland roster. Doesn’t matter who’s healthy and who isn’t, there are no points to be found here.

TE Ben Watson S3

With the Browns’ receiving corps depleted, Watson is the lone palatable pass-catching option in Cleveland. Lucky for him tight end is a weak spot for the Patriots; only three teams have allowed more TE TDs. It’s not a great play, but with the talent pool thinned by bye weeks Watson makes a viable play.

DT Browns B The Browns scored two defensive TDs against the Saints prior to the bye, but it’s tough to see a Patriots team that’s turned the ball over six times in seven games serving up anything of note to Cleveland.

Miami at Baltimore

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne S3

Henne's subdued numbers have come against two formidable pass defenses; the Steelers and Bengals rank 23rd and 25th, respectively, in fantasy friendliness to quarterbacks. So it's a bad sign that the Ravens rank even lower on the list of fantasy points given up to QBs—29th, to be precise. That said, over the past three games the Ravens have served up an average of 329 passing yards and more than two passing TDs per game. So Henne is at least usable this week.


Ronnie Brown
Ricky Williams


The only backs to have any success against a Ravens defense that ranks 26th in fantasy points allowed to RBs have received at least 20 touches. Brown and Williams might split that size workload, but neither is a consistent enough scorer to warrant a fantasy start here.


Brandon Marshall
Davonne Bess


The secondary is where the Ravens' defense is most vulnerable, but just like the ground game it takes plenty of knocking before they let you in: wideouts who put up fantasy points against Baltimore all saw double-digit targets. That's been a problem of late for Marshall, who no longer appears to be Henne's first read on every passing play. However, with the ground game stymied both Marshall and Bess should get double-digit looks and as such have a solid shot at posting helpful fantasy digits.

TE Anthony Fasano

Fasano isn't targeted consistently enough to be trusted with a fantasy start here, especially against a defense that ranks 30th in fantasy points allowed to the position.

DT Dolphins B Baltimore has turned the ball over four times in five games; the Dolphins have forced four turnovers in their last five. In other words, there simply won't be enough opportunities for the Miami DST to be a fantasy factor.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S2

Flacco appears to be hitting his stride, with multiple TD tosses in each of the past two games. He'll face a Miami defense that's allowed multiple scoring strikes in two straight and 300-plus yards in two of the last three. The Ravens appear to be moving away from their reliance on the ground game, giving Flacco ample opportunity to put up decent fantasy numbers on a regular basis.

RB Ray Rice S3

Only one back has topped 70 yards against the Dolphins, and they haven't surrendered a running back touchdown in their last three games. Rice, meanwhile, has more to worry about than just a tough matchup: he's losing looks in the offense to the passing game, and he's ceded more than a few touches to Willis McGahee. If we were sure Rice would get 20-plus touches we'd feel pretty good about his fantasy chances; instead, he may settle in around the 15-19 range, which may or may not be enough to be a fantasy help.

RB Willis McGahee B

While McGahee is seeing more than just goal line work, he's still the junior partner in this committee. And in a tough matchup like this, the junior share usually isn't enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

WR Anquan Boldin

Boldin is without question the go-to guy in Baltimore's passing game, and that's a role the Dolphins have been unable to stop: over the past three games, WR1s have averaged 110 yards and better than a touchdown per game. Boldin brings his own two-game scoring streak into this tilt, and odds are he exits with that string stretched to three.

WR Derrick Mason

In the same three-game stretch noted above, where WR1s are tearing up the Dolphins, WR2s are averaging just over 50 yards per outing with one score in three games. If that's enough to float your boat, Mason could be your man this week. Most likely, though, it's not.


Todd Heap

S3 The Dolphins have shut out all non-Dustin Keller tight ends this year, but Heap has three TDs in the past two games and is becoming too large a part of this passing game to ignore.
DT Ravens B Words you never thought you'd hear: only two teams have scored fewer defensive fantasy points than the Ravens. Sad but true.
New York Giants at Seattle Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Let's see if Eli comes out of the bye as hot as he went into it, with three straight multi-TD outings. He's thrown for at least two TDs in all three road games so the trip west and the "12th man" aren't likely to rattle him.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

While Bradshaw may be ceding some goal line work to Brandon Jacobs, he's doing just fine with his between-the-20s duty; back to back 100-yard games and three hundos in the past four. Seattle has been stingy against the run at home, though they did surrender 122 on the road to Darrin McFadden last week. Bradshaw has had success both home and road, so the venue shouldn't prevent him from another outing of solid production.

RB Brandon Jacobs

The Seahawks have allowed a running back touchdown in four straight games, so the goal line back on a good offense is at least worthy of fantasy consideration this week.

WR Hakeem Nicks

Seattle has surrendered a couple 100-yard games in their last three outings and five WR TDs overall, but only one at home and only one wideout has topped 50 yards in Seattle as well. Not that you'd consider sitting Nicks, who has scored in all three of the Giants' road games including 100-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in each of Big Blue's last two away from Gotham.

WR Steve Smith

Like Nicks, Smith has scored in each of the last two road games though he's just a shade below Nicks when it comes to trusting them for fantasy production. Seattle hasn't given up much to WR1s at home let alone WR2s, but the depth of the 49ers, Chargers, and Cardinals receiving corps didn't exactly tax their secondary.

WR Mario Manningham

Certainly there's an upside to being a member of the Giants' passing game, but after Nicks and Smith take their cuts there's not always enough left over to make Manningham fantasy worthy. Seattle's stinginess at home makes this one of those times.

DT Giants S1 Any defense that's already put four quarterbacks on the shelf and is facing a team with a backup quarterback and offensive line issues is setting the stage for a big fantasy game.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck B Hasselbeck has yet to receive clearance to play after suffering a concussion, so he won't be available to face a Giants defense that has knocked out four quarterbacks already this season. Clearly, this is for the best.
QB Charlie Whitehurst B Three of the last four teams to face the Giants have been forced to use multiple quarterbacks, and the Seahawks are already on their second signal-caller before the game even starts. While the Giants have given up five TD tosses in the last two games, it's tough to envision a scenario where this goes well enough for Whitehurst that he should warrant fantasy consideration.
RB Marshawn Lynch
Justin Forsett

Since giving up 125 and 2 to Chris Johnson in Week 3 the Giants have held four teams' worth of backs—decent ones, too, including Arian Foster and Jahvid Best—to 35 yards or less with only one TD among the bunch. Lynch is getting the majority of the touches, but there isn't likely to be enough productivity this week for either back to be a fantasy factor.


Mike Williams

S3 Williams should see enough targets to put up fantasy-relevant numbers against a secondary that's allowed multiple WR TDs in each of the past two games. But with Seattle's passing game topping out at one score a game and a backup quarterback at the helm, there's little upside.

Deon Butler
Golden Tate

B There's barely enough stat love to make one receiver fantasy relevant, and the Seahawks going to the bullpen before the game even starts doesn't help matters; no need to dig into the depth chart.
TE John Carlson B Tight ends have put up 16-156-1 on the Giants over the past two games, but Brandon Pettigrew and Jason Witten were targeted 12 and 13 times respectively to reach those numbers. Carlson is no longer targeted with that frequency, rendering him a bit player in a mediocre at best passing game.
DT Seahawks S3 Between Seattle's "12th Man" and all the tipped interceptions Eli has thrown, the Seahawks' DST could provide a little fantasy help this week.

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