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Start/Bench List - Week 11
John Tuvey
Updated: November 19, 2010
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CHI at MIA OAK AT PIT DET at DAL TBB at SFO 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)

Atlanta at St. Louis

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

Ryan is about 40 yards worse on the road than at home; he's also closer to one TD per game on the road as opposed to almost two per game at home. The Rams are stout at home as well; they've given up four passing touchdowns in five home games, never more than one a game. Set your expectations low for Ryan; he's still startable, but big numbers are unlikely.

RB Michael Turner S3

Turner also sports a road/home trend that skews towards Georgia: only one of his seven touchdowns have come on the road. The Rams have been stout against the run as well, especially in St. Louis: no back has topped 65 yards against them, and they haven't given up a running back touchdown at home since the season opener. Again, Turner's too good to bench but if you find yourself loaded at the position he makes a compelling case to be the odd many out.

WR Roddy White S2

Finally, a Falcon whose success extends beyond the Georgia state lines: White is averaging 91 yards per road game and has scored twice in four away tilts. The Rams have already given up three 100-yard games at home as well as three touchdowns, so despite the bleak prognosis for Ryan you can rest assured White will find a way to get his.

WR Michael Jenkins B

On the bright side, two of the three WR TDs the Rams have allowed at home have gone to secondary targets. However, WR2s haven't put up more than 40 yards since the season opener when Steve Breaston had 7-132. Jenkins posted 99 yards in his first game back from injury but has done little since and doesn't warrant fantasy consideration.


Tony Gonzalez


All three of Gonzo's touchdowns have come on the road, and he's targeted frequently enough to remain a viable fantasy starter in TE mandatory leagues. But the Rams have allowed only one TE TD all year, so in a combo league you may have better options.

DT Falcons B Atlanta's defense has done nothing of fantasy note.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S2

The Falcons have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games, while Bradford has multiple scores in two of his past three. With the ground game expected to meet staunch resistance, Bradford will be called upon more than usual—and to this point, nothing suggests he can't deliver.

RB Steven Jackson S3

Atlanta has allowed only one RB TD—and that a receiving one—over the past seven games, but Jackson isn't a touchdown guy anyway. Trouble is, no back has topped 77 yards on the ground against them since Week 2 either. However, the Falcons have given up at least 40 receiving yards to five backs in the last seven games. Jackson will need to do some pass-catching at home—he's had only one catch in three of his five home games and single-digit yardage in four of five—but his versatility should buy him a starting spot again this week.

WR Danny Amendola

Amendola has scored in three straight, and against an Atlanta secondary that's allowed 10 WR TDs over the past four games alone he's a solid bet to extend that string.

WR Brandon Gibson

Gibson has 14 catches for 139 yards over the past two games, and he's poised to score his first touchdown since Week 4 thanks to an Atlanta secondary that's allowed multiple wideouts to score in four straight games, a total of 10 WR TDs in that span.

DT Rams B The Rams defense has been playing better, but they're not doing anything to warrant fantasy consideration.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco

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Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S3

The Niners have allowed at least 250 passing yards in seven of their last eight but given up multiple touchdowns just once in the last six games. Since it's likely they'll have success keeping the Tampa Bay ground game in check, Freeman will have ample opportunity to boost his yardage numbers. And considering he's had multiple TD passes in each of his last two, he's a legitimate fantasy start this week.

RB LeGarrette Blount


Blount's two big games have come against soft run defenses; the Niners are on the opposite end of that spectrum. They've allowed only one RB TD in the past month, only four all season, and no back has reached triple digits against them. Blount has an uphill battle for fantasy relevancy, as we've seen the Bucs go back to Cadillac Williams for at least a share of the workload when Blount struggled. He's a fringe start at best this week.

WR Mike Williams

Innocent until proven guilty. Or, in the case of star players in the NFL, he'll be punished—just not right now when there's a game to win. Williams celebrated Thursday with a little too much vigor and was pickup for DUI. Initial reports suggested Williams would play, then there was an apparent flip-flop and he wouldn't, and now official word from Raheem Morris is that any discipline Williams will face won't take place this week. So proceed as planned; now back to our regularly scheduled analysis. The opposition's go-to receiver has scored in three straight against the 49ers, and there's no doubt Williams holds that role for the Bucs. Don't expect gaudy, but Williams is the kind of big-play guy Freeman will force the ball to at crunch time—and Williams will deliver.

WR Arrelious Benn

Benn has scored in back-to-back games, but Williams still has him out-targeted 23-4 over the past three games—suggesting that Benn's been a bit on the lucky side.

TE Kellen Winslow B

One week after snapping a 17-game scoring drought look for Winslow to start a new one; the Niners have shut out tight ends in four straight and haven't given up as much as 50 yards to an opposing TE this season.

DT Buccaneers B Troy Smith has played two games of mistake-free football, which makes it extremely difficult for an opposing defense to generate fantasy points.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Troy Smith B

Despite just two passing touchdowns in his two 49er starts, Smith has used his feet (a rushing score in Week 8) and his arm(356 passing yards last week) to creep onto the fantasy radar. A midseason slump saw the Bucs surrender multiple passing touchdowns in five straight games, but they've righted the proverbial ship over the past couple. Smith is on the fence, and with all 32 teams active you can probably find a fantasy quarterback with a bigger upside.

RB Frank Gore S1

The Bucs have allowed a 100-yard rusher in six of their last seven games—and in the game they didn't, Arizona backs combined for 91 rushing yards and two scores. You think Gore, who has 100-plus rushing yards in three of his last four, has reached triple digits thrice in five home games, and who has 149 combo yards or a touchdown (or both) in every home game this season, is excited about his prospects?

WR Michael Crabtree S3 Crabtree has scored in back-to-back games and is targeted slightly more frequently than Josh Morgan; as such, he's in line to put up a decent stat line against a Tampa Bay secondary that, while it's been better of late, has still allowed four WR TDs in as many road games.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Davis is an every-week starter in TE-mandatory leagues regardless of matchup, but the Bucs have done a solid job against the position this season—over the past eight games only Tony Gonzalez has topped 50 yards against them—so expectations should be diminished.

DT 49ers B No compelling reason to reach for the 49ers DST.

Indianapolis at New England

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

The ground game remains in disarray, so once again the onus will be placed squarely on Manning. He'll face an improving young New England secondary that, after allowing multiple TD tosses in each of the first five games has held three of four to just a single score. Manning was shut out for the second time last week, but both occurred at home... in wins. On the road Manning has been typically solid, with at least 294 yards in each of his five road tilts and multiple scores in four of five. There's always the potential for a jaw-dropper with Manning, but more likely this week is a typical boring solid outing—you know, the kind of game most other quarterbacks would kill for.

RB Donald Brown B With Addai and Hart looking like they'll be at best limited participants in this tilt, the bulk of the Indy running game should once again fall into Brown's lap. He's been underwhelming in that capacity thus far, and even though New England offers a relatively favorable matchup you're not shooting very high if you give Brown a fantasy start.
RB Javarris James S3 The Patriots have allowed five RB TDs in the last four games, and that's the role James has filled admirably the last couple of weeks. If you're looking for a fringe fantasy helper in a touchdown-heavy scoring system, James' shot at a score makes him an intriguing play.
RB Joseph Addai
Mike Hart
B Reading the Indy injury report is a bit like trying to interpret the Latin translation of Plato's Republic. Both Addai and Hart fall under the catch-all umbrella of "questionable", but Hart didn't practice all week and Addai sat out Friday after working on a limited basis Thursday. Such a practice slate makes either too risky to trust with a fantasy start.
WR Reggie Wayne S2

Wayne's numbers have been merely mortal this season, in no small part because everyone around him has been hurt, allowing opposing defenses to focus on shutting him down. The potential return of Austin Collie should help greatly, though with Indy's injury report you can never be certain of a player's status.

WR Pierre Garçon S3

Manning throws; that's the Indy offense. And against a New England secondary that's allowed 18 different receivers to score or top 50 yards (or both), there will be room for more than one fantasy helper.

WR Austin Collie S2

Collie practiced fully on both Thursday and Friday and looks ready to return from that nasty head shot he took a couple weeks back. Peyton has tired throwing to a blanketed Wayne and a cast of backups, so Collie's return should provide a spark—both for the Colts and for Austin's fantasy owners.

TE Jacob Tamme S2

Tamme continues to fill in admirably for Dallas Clark; he's been targeted 36 times in three games, producing 24 catches for 245 yards and two scores. The Patriots have been better of late but are still middle-of-the-pack at defending tight ends, so there's no reason to worry about Tamme's continued productivity this week—or his back injury, for that matter, as he's not even listed on the injury report.

DT Colts B Indy's defense is a fringe fantasy play against offenses that can't handle their edge rushers; the Patriots do not fall into that category.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

Brady appears to have mastered the short game, over the past two weeks posting his first two multiple touchdown outings since Randy Moss vanished from the offense. A repeat of his 375 and three from last year's meeting seems unlikely, especially since Moss accounted for 178 and two of those numbers. That said, Brady dink and dunked the Steelers to death with only the occasional shot down the field so don't bet against him having similar success at home against the Colts.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Teams love to run the ball against the Colts, who have given up four 100-yard games and three more of 87 yards or better already this season. Green-Ellis was the feature back (or what passes for one in Boston) against the Steelers, and he would be in line for a similar role against the Colts—the kind of role likely to yield decent yardage and a possible goal line plunge.


Danny Woodhead


Woodhead's numbers have been slumping, and between the return of Sammy Morris and possibly Fred Taylor to the lineup and a Colts defense that doesn't give up much in the way of receiving yards to running backs, his fantasy value is trending in the wrong direction.

WR Wes Welker S2 Welker put up solid numbers in last season's tilt, but much of that had to do with working underneath while Moss cleared the safeties. After an adjustment period we're starting to see Welker's numbers begin to creep back up, and while Brady loves his tight ends he still targeted Wes a dozen times last week. While it may not be quite as gaudy a set of numbers as it was during the Moss heyday, there's little doubt Welker will put up fantasy helpers.
WR Deion Branch
Brandon Tate
B Only twice all season has a second receiver had 50 or more yards against the Colts. While Branch appears to be emerging as Welker's wingman, between that stat and Brady's fondness for tight ends the secondary wideouts are being neglected. It's worth noting that Tate missed Friday's practice and is listed as questionable with an illness.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Rob Gronkowski
S3 No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends than the Colts. However, Jermaine Gresham scored and dropped 85 yards on them last week and Brady's last five touchdown passes have gone to tight ends. Gronkowski is the better play in TD-heavy scoring formats, while Hernandez should be the shrewder move in yardage based leagues.
DT Patriots B New England's defense has been playing better of late, but there are far better moves than lining up your fantasy defense against a Peyton Manning-led offense.

New York Giants at Philadelphia

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Eli is on a bit of a roll, with multiple touchdown tosses in five straight and at least 290 yards in four of the five. There are things that could sidetrack him here—a banged up offensive line, an aggressive Philly blitz—but all those really do is tweak him from a great start to a very good one.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

Philly hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher, but they're giving it up in other ways such as receiving yards and TDs to running backs, an area where Bradshaw is starting to perk up. He's had at least 89 yards from scrimmage in all four road games, and with the Eagles having given up four RB receiving scores this season as well as four RB TDs in the past two games there are plenty of chances for Bradshaw to augment his yardage with scores.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Things need to go well for Jacobs to get his carries. Take last week, for example; the Giants fell behind Dallas and Jacobs was limited to seven touches for 28 yards. If you think New York bounces back from that Cowboy collapse and takes it to the Eagles, then Jacobs should be in your lineup. But on the road, coming off a disheartening loss, with a beat-up offensive line... you're bound to find better options than Jacobs.

WR Hakeem Nicks

The Eagles haven't allowed a WR TD since Kenny Britt dropped 225 and three on them back in Week 7. However, Nicks is absolutely capable of that kind of game: he had a hat trick of his own in the season opener, posted 4-110-1 on Philly in the back end of last season's series, and in four road games this year has two multiple TD efforts and three 100-yard outings.

WR Mario Manningham

Only twice this season have the Eagles allowed a second wide receiver to contribute anything of fantasy note. However, with all the injuries to the Giants' receiver depth you can expect the bulk of the stats to be distributed between Nicks and Manningham. Mario has scored in three of his last four and was targeted 16 times last week when he was bumped up to WR2 to replace the injured Steve Smith. At present he's too targeted and too involved to be ignored.

TE Kevin Boss

Boss is another beneficiary of the banged up Giants receiving corps. Sans Smith last week Boss saw a season-high seven targets for a season-high five catches, posted his second-best yardage showing of the season and scored his second touchdown in as many games. His involvement comes at an opportune time, as only four teams have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Eagles.

DT Giants B It's tough to sack what you can't catch. Also, believe it or not but Michael Vick has yet to throw an interception this season.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S1

Vick has been otherworldly coming out of the bye. Even if he can't join Peyton Manning and Jon Kitna as the only quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdown passes against the Giants, the stat boost his rushing numbers provide move him to the top of almost any list. Vick rushed for a score against the G-Men last year as a novelty QB, so now that he's carrying the ball 10 times a game a rushing score is a near certainty. Add to that a few downfield connections, and it doesn't take much for Vick to readh S1 status.

RB LeSean McCoy

McCoy will find the going tough against a Giants team that's allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. While it was nice to see Vick use him as a checkdown target last week, overall LeSean's fantasy value suffers with Vick at quarterback due to lost opportunities at the stripe and fewer dumpoff passes. With the Giants not giving up much yardage on the ground, the absence of those two elements from McCoy's repertoire make him a borderline starter this week.

WR DeSean Jackson
S1 Jackson has a touchdown and at least 98 yards in every game with Vick at the helm; a defense that's allowed WR1s to score in seven of nine games and surrendered touchdowns to Jackson in both ends of last season's series isn't likely to stop the hot streak.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S2 Maclin has now scored in three of Vick's four games as well. He's not as consistent as Jackson, but he's every bit as dangerous.
TE Brent Celek
B There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Celek has to buy a ticket for games in which Vick is quarterbacking, but his lack of involvement does nothing to dispel such talk
DT Eagles S3 Eli has been know to put a few tipped balls in play, and the Eagles' defense is aggressive enough to know what to do with them.

Denver at San Diego

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2 It's a test for Orton: how will he stack up against a defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Well, he seemed to do okay against the Ravens (314 and 2), who rank in the same vicinity. The only downer to Orton appears to be the likelihood that he'll lose opportunities at the stripe to Tebow. That won't hurt much in yardage-based leagues, but it takes away a potential touchdown toss every time Tebow trots onto the field.
QB Tim Tebow S3 At this juncture you have to start looking at Tebow as a viable plug-in in TD-only leagues. He's essentially the Broncos' short-yardage guy and has touchdowns in two straight and three of four.
RB Knowshon Moreno S3 The Chargers have given up some big games to running backs, but all have come on the road; in San Diego, they held Chris Johnson to 59 yards and a touchdown and other backs to even less. On the bright side, Moreno not only gets the bulk of the carries but is also expanding his role in the passing game. He's been more successful at home as well, though he did find the end zone in Jacksonville back in Week 1. He'll get enough touches to be a fantasy helper, but this isn't a great matchup for him.
WR Brandon Lloyd


Lloyd always packs his A-game when leaving Denver; in four road starts this season he has four 100-yard games and three touchdowns. The Chargers have let both Mike Sims-Walker and Nate Washington come into their house and put up 100-yard games with touchdowns, so it's just another business trip for Lloyd.

WR Jabar Gaffney


Only once all season has a secondary wideout so much as topped 50 yards against the Chargers. Gaffney is the most likely of Denver's remaining wide receivers to have fantasy value, but he's bucking an uphill trend.

DT Broncos B This one projects to have an NBA-type final score, so no defenses allowed.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

A quarterback on pace for 5,200 passing yards takes on a secondary that just gave up 469 and four. Sign me up!

RB Ryan Mathews B Mathews didn't practice all week, and indications out of San Diego are that he'll be deactivated for Monday night's game with his lingering ankle injury.
RB Mike Tolbert S2 And if Mathews won't be available, that leaves Tolbert to take on the league's softest run defense—one that allowed 345 rushing yards and four TDs in just its last two road games.
RB Darren Sproles S3 Sans Mathews you can expect Sproles to see a few additional touches against a Denver defense that has allowed two RB receiving scores in the last three games.
WR Malcom Floyd S3 Prior to his injury Floyd was regularly putting up 90 yard outings and finding the end zone. Rivers' pace didn't slow without Floyd around, and after Floyd practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday it looked as if he were safely back in the mix. However, Floyd took limited reps during Friday's practice after experiencing soreness in his injured hamstring. Somebody is going to catch passes from Philip Rivers on Monday night, and if Floyd is healthy he's the best bet. But if you can't sweat out that decision, you're advised to look elsewhere.
WR Legedu Naanee B After a big outing Week 1 Naanee has been relegated to the back burner. Worse, as of this writing he had only returned to practice on a limited basis. While he plans to play Monday night, you likely don't have the luxury of waiting out that decision and taking a zero if you're wrong.
WR Patrick Crayton S3 With Naanee still not assured of a return to action this week and Floyd experiencing a setback, Crayton should at minimum be Floyd's wingman. One way or another, at present it appears that Crayton will have plenty of opportunities in an offense hurtling towards a passing-yardage record.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu
B It was a nice run for The Bishop, but unless both Floyd and Naanee don't go on Monday night, he likely falls behind the lot of them and Patrick Crayton in Philip Rivers' pecking order.
TE Antonio Gates B

As of Friday Gates said he had "a ways to go" with his injured foot before being available for Monday night's game. However, Denver is among the top 10 most fantasy-friendly teams to the tight end position, so if he plays you want him in your lineup. Maybe you stash Randy McMichael on your fantasy roster and play him if Gates is ruled out. If, however, you don't have the roster flexibility to stash McMike or the patience to wait out the decision, you really have no choice but to keep Gates on your bench.

DT Chargers B

The way these teams throw the ball around, you'd think a pick six would be possible. More likely, however, is a 51-49 shootout that does little for your fantasy defense.

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