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Start/Bench List - Week 12
John Tuvey
Updated: November 26, 2010
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NEP at DET PIT at BUF MIN at WAS STL at DEN 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)

Philadelphia at Chicago

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S2

Much has been made of the primrose path Vick has faced thus far this season, tearing up three bottom-10 pass defenses and putting up mediocre-at-best passing numbers against the two legit pass defenses (Indy and the Giants) he's faced. The difference, however, is that Vick bailed out both those sorry showings with rushing TDs—in many leagues the equivalent of two throwing scores. So while a struggle against a Chicago secondary that has yet to allow multiple TD tosses this season is to be expected, you can also bank on Vick picking up enough rushing yardage and a TD to once again salvage his stat line.

RB LeSean McCoy

This represents a tough matchup for McCoy; the Bears have allowed only two backs to reach triple-digit combo yardage against them, and both picked up the bulk of their yardage on the ground. McCoy is more of a renaissance man, mixing the run with the pass to get to the century mark; he's scored or hit triple digit yardage from scrimmage in four of five road games and eight of 10 overall. There's always the threat of Vick vulturing a score, but McCoy's yardage should make him a fantasy helper in most performance scoring systems.

WR DeSean Jackson
S2 Jackson had his first down game of the Vick regime, and while this isn't the sort of soft matchup that will vault him back to the top of the charts he's too bright a blip on Vick's radar to be relegated to the fantasy bench just because of a tougher matchup.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S2 Maclin didn't get into the end zone last week either, though he did put up 120 receiving yards. Like Jackson, so long as Vick is chucking Maclin needs to be in your lineup regardless of matchup.
TE Brent Celek
B Combine a tight end who's fallen off his quarterback's radar with a defense that has yet to surrender a TE TD this year and you get a B with a capital B.
DT Eagles S1 Asking Jay Cutler to solve Philly's high-pressure defense without turning the ball over is like asking Ray Charles to solve a Rubik's cube while wearing mittens.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S3

The Eagles limited pre-Martz Cutler to 171 and 1 last year, but truth be told after a fast start Jay hasn't been much better; he's tossed multiple TDs in two of the last three, but been held to one or zero scores in three of the last five. Philly has surrendered multiple touchdown tosses in five of six and 250 yards or better in five of six as well, so it's looking up for Jay this week. Of course, the prospect of a pick or three ratchets down Cutler's value a bit.

RB Matt Forte S3

Forte has cobbled together decent yardage and still finds the end zone from time to time despite the presence of "goal line back" Chester Taylor. Between his yardage and shot at a score against a Philly D that's allowed six RB TDs in the past three games alone, Forte is a viable fantasy option this week.


Johnny Knox

S3 Knox remains the most reliable and most targeted of Chicago's receivers, but he hasn't scored since Week 7 or topped 100 yards since Week 6. It's enough to keep him on the fringe of fantasy relevancy, but little more.
TE Greg Olsen


Olsen has scored in two of three and remains a Cutler red zone favorite. While he's not a big PPR or yardage guy, he has a legitimate shot at a score against a Philly D that's allowed six TE TDs in the last seven games.

DT Bears S3 No team tackles the ball like the Bears, and while the Eagles haven't been prone to turning the ball over you have to respect Chicago's chances of creating a miscue. Or busting Devin Hester on a return.

St. Louis at Denver

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S3

Bradford has been that rarest of commodities, a fantasy-relevant rookie quarterback. He's thrown multiple TDs in three of his last four games and now faces a Denver D that's surrendered back-to-back four-touchdown games. Don't look for Sam to make it three straight Abe Lincolns, but in between Steven Jackson runs he should carve out some decent fantasy numbers.

RB Steven Jackson S1

You know Jackson will get his yardage; he's reached triple digit combo yardage in seven of his last eight games. And the Broncos will help him reach that goal, having allowed a back to cross the century mark in yards from scrimmage in five of their last six. But just to mix things up, Jackson should also make a rare visit to the end zone against a Denver defense that's allowed 11 RB TDs in the past six games.

WR Brandon Gibson
Danny Amendola

Gibson has been targeted 26 times over the past three games and ever so gently appears to be nudging Amendola into a complementary role. While neither has been putting up ginormous numbers of late, the Broncos could help in that regard: they've allowed two 100-yard receivers and multiple receiver TDs in each of the past two games.

WR Laurent Robinson U Robinson led the Rams in targets last week, had a good week of practice and is slated to start Sunday against a Broncos pass defense that's putting fear in no one. If you're in need of a sneaky sleeper at your WR3 or WR4 position, you could do worse than taking a flyer on Robinson. The downside is that as a starter he may be dealing with Champ Baily for a good portion of the game.
TE Michael Hoomanawanui

It's not too soon to start learning how to spell Dr. Hoo's surname. The Rams have three TE TDs in the past four games, two of them by Hoomanawanui, and the Broncos are just outside the top 10 in fantasy friendliness to the position. He's not a great play, but if you're stuck in a TE-mandatory league he could get you over the hump this week.

DT Rams B Nothing here suggests the Rams are worthy of your fantasy attention.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2 The Rams are a tougher pass D than you might think, having allowed multiple passing TDs just once in the last five games. But Orton has been money at home this year, averaging 297 and 2 at Mile High, so there's no reason to fear this matchup.
RB Knowshon Moreno S2 Moreno has scored in three of four, hit triple-digit combo yardage in each of the last two, and scored four touchdowns in four home starts. He's not only getting the bulk of the carries, he's also become the Broncos' pass-catching back as well; hence the combo yardage output. Facing a Rams defense that has surrendered at least 100 yards from scrimmage to three of four backs it has faced on the road, you have to like Moreno's chances of extending his hot streak.
WR Brandon Lloyd


The Rams have done a good job of keeping WR1s in the 80-yard range and out of the end zone; two of the three 100-yard games St. Louis has allowed have gone to wingmen, as have four of the last six WR TDs they've allowed. But you still have to like Lloyd's chances; he's scored in three straight (four TDs in that span) and has five 100-yard efforts to his credit already. If his baseline is 80-some yards, it's worth a shot that somehow, someway Orton finds a way to get Lloyd an extra look or two to push him into solid starter status.

WR Jabar Gaffney


As noted above, secondary targets have found reasonable success against the Rams. And with Orton averaging almost 40 throws a game, there should be ample opportunity for Gaffney to carve out some fantasy value this week as well.

DT Broncos B Denver hasn't been doing defense particularly well this year.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore

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Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

Freeman has three consecutive multi-touchdown efforts, but now he goes on the road to face the Ravens. Not that Baltimore has been lights out against the past, but Freeman's hot streak has come against softer defenses; only three teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Ravens. Freeman is startable in larger leagues, but there isn't much upside here.

RB LeGarrette Blount


You can almost repeat Blount's outlook from last week, when we noted that his two fantasy helpers came against bottom-feeding run defenses but this week's opponent was at the other end of the spectrum. And while Blount's 82-yard showing against the Niners wasn't abysmal, it still left you with single-digit fantasy points. And now Blount moves three steps further up the ladder to face the Ravens; tough to see him improving on last week's performance, so it's tough to expect fantasy help here.

RB Carnell Williams


You could cobble together fantasy value for Cadillac in a larger PPR league, as the Ravens have given up five or more RB receptions in three straight and four of five. But it would have to be a really big league.

WR Mike Williams

Williams has scored in three of his last four and is Freeman's go-to guy. And while the Ravens remain tough against the run, they've allowed 10 WR TDs in the past six games, with four different wideouts reaching the century mark. As Tampa's ground game stagnates, Freeman will be forced to throw—and he'll be looking for Wiliams.

WR Arrelious Benn

In Benn's favor, 11 different wideouts have topped 50 yards against the Ravens in the past six games. However, 50 yards probably isn't enough to help most fantasy teams, and it's tough seeing Benn going much beyond that number.

TE Kellen Winslow B

Looks like K2 is on his way to building another scoreless streak, as the Ravens have surrendered but one TE TD all year and none in the past two months.

DT Buccaneers B These Bucs are still a player or three away from reminding anyone of the Derrick Brooks-era fantasy helpers.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S2

The rankings suggest Tampa Bay is the sixth-toughest defense for quarterbacks to face, but those numbers have been skewed by the quality level (or lack thereof) the Bucs have faced. For the most part good quarterbacks have fared quite well against Tampa Bay, and with Flacco having multiple TD tosses in four of five and at least 250 passing yards in four of five as well, he definitely falls into the "good" category.

RB Ray Rice S1

Rice not only extended his combo-yardage run to five of six with triple digits, he also broke his scoring skid as well. And the news only gets better as Baltimore hosts a Buccaneer D that's given up five RB TDs in the last three games and allowed six 100-yard rushers already this season.

RB Willis McGahee B

While the Bucs have been giving up RB TDs of late, the goal line is no longer McGahee's domain; as such, he's a risky play at best.

WR Anquan Boldin

The Ravens have been spreading the ball around more, to the point that it's tough to bank on Boldin being the top target. That said, he still leads the team in looks and is the safest bet for a productive fantasy outing against a surprisingly stout Bucs secondary that has shut out wide receivers in three straight games.

WR Derrick Mason
T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Could Housh or Mason score? Sure. But they're not seeing as many balls as Boldin, which reduces their chances, and the matchup with Tampa Bay does them no favors either.


Todd Heap

S3 The Bucs aren't rolling over for tight ends, but Heap has been hot—four TDs in the last five games, 49 yards or more in four of five as well—and is a large enough part of the Baltimore game plan to warrant fantasy consideration.
DT Ravens S3 Now that's more like it: two defensive TDs last week and the Ravens are back in business. Call it the Ed Reed Factor.

San Diego at Indianapolis

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San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

Indy has allowed multiple passing scores in two straight; Rivers has back-to-back Abe Lincolns (four scores) and multiple touchdowns in three straight and four of five on the road this year. Only an early lead and success running the ball will keep Rivers from numbers bordering on gaudy.

RB Mike Tolbert S2 With Ryan Mathews likely out again, Tolbert will shoulder the load against a run defense that's allowed six RB TDs in the last seven games and allowed three 100-yard rushers and two more with 95 or better during that span.
RB Darren Sproles S3 Sproles has scored in two of the last three and is picking up some of the slack left by the absence of Antonio Gates... not to mention most of the receivers Rivers is familiar with.
WR Vincent Jackson S2 Jackson couldn't have timed his return much better: a prime time free agent audition with the Bolts having no choice but to throw him right into the mix. Rivers knows where to find him and won't be shy about going to him, in part because all his other receivers are banged up. The Colts have allowed a WR TD in four straight games, with each going to arguably the opponents' WR1—a role Jackson definitely walks right into.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu B Secondary targets haven't done much against Indy, but with Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee still nursing hamstring issues, Patrick Crayton and Buster Davis already on IR, and John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner retired... Rivers may have no choice but to go back to The Bishop this week.
TE Antonio Gates
Randy McMichael

Much like last week, you're in a bind with Gates playing a later game and critical injury information subsequently being delayed. At this juncture you can't bank on Gates until you see him back on the field—even a limited practice would be nice—and while McMike was a nice substitution during a favorable Week 9 matchup he's not as good a play against a Colts defense that's allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends than all but one other team.

DT Chargers B

This one could very well play into triple digits; defenses optional.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

Manning has been held without a TD toss in two of his last three home games and the Chargers are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, so... um, no. You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger and you don't bench Peyton Manning. Especially when he has no ground game at his disposal.

RB Donald Brown
Javarris James
S3 With Addai and Hart still nursing injuries, Brown and James are beginning to show signs of life. Brown has 97 or more yards from scrimmage in two of his last three, while James has turned limited carries into three TDs in the last three games. The Chargers have allowed RB TDs in six straight games and triple-digit combo yardage in four of six, placing this matchup right in the respective wheelhouses of both Brown and James.
WR Reggie Wayne S2

The Chargers have allowed only four WR TDs this year and have done a particularly good job of keeping elite receivers (like Wayne) in check. That said, a bad day for Wayne is 75 yards—a good day for most other receivers—and with Indy's receivier corps depleted by injury you know Manning will go to his guy early and often.

WR Pierre Garçon
Blair White

Garçon keeps getting targeted, and he keeps doing little with those targets. Eventually Manning will stop going to him; notice how quickly he turned to White last week. With the Chargers presenting an incredibly tough matchup, it's tough to bank on secondary targets for fantasy help.

TE Jacob Tamme S2

It's not just that only three teams have allowed more tight end touchdowns than the Chargers; it's the 47 targets Tamme has seen in the four games since Dallas Clark went down with an injury—and the 305 yards and two TDs he's produced in those targets.

DT Colts S3 If only because the Chargers have difficulty with things like blocking for their punter, the Colts are worth a look-see this week.

San Francisco at Arizona

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San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Troy Smith B

The Cards represent a favorable matchup for the 49ers passing game, but it's tough to trust Smith with a fantasy start when he has two TD tosses in three starts and been held under 200 yards in two of three as well.

RB Frank Gore S1

Gore was a major disappointment last week; not only did he snap a two-game scoring streak, he also ended a run of four straight with at least 125 yards from scrimmage. I'm willing to give him another shot this week, however, against an Arizona defense that has allowed eight RB TDs in the last five games. It's also worth noting that Gore has scored in seven of his last eight against the Cardinals, a total of 11 touchdowns in that span.

WR Michael Crabtree S3 Arizona has given up at least one WR TD in five of six and allowed a 100-yard receiver in four straight. Since Crabtree has the last four WR TDs the Niners have scored, he's the most likely candidate to exploit this matchup.
TE Vernon Davis S2

Davis is nursing an ankle injury and losing looks to Delanie Walker. Assuming he's healthy this week, he's a solid play against a Cards D that has served up five TE TDs already this year.

DT 49ers B You'd think any defense facing Derek Anderson would warrant fantasy consideration, but the Niners disprove that theory.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson S3

Multiple touchdowns seems like asking a bit much from Anderson; he hasn't turned that trick since Week 3. But he's putting up decent yardage, knows where to find Fitzgerald, and is facing a San Francisco secondary that's allowed at least 250 yards in three of four and seven of nine.

RB Tim Hightower
B Hightower brings a little to the table in several areas: he's healthier than Wells, he's still the third down back, and he faces a San Francisco D that's given up RB TDs in each of the last two games. That said, you should be able to find a more reliable fantasy helper with significantly more upside..
RB Chris "Beanie" Wells
B Wells simply can't be trusted with a fantasy start until he proves his knee is no longer an issue and he's nudged Hightower out of the carries rotation. A more favorable matchup wouldn't hurt, either.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

Anderson has found a comfort zone, and it involves throwing heavily at Fitzgerald: double-digit targets in five straight, at least 90 yards in three straight, and three TDs in the last four games. Despite the Cards' quarterback play, Fitz is making a strong case to regain his every-week starter status.

WR Steve Breaston

Breaston is pulling off the "poor man's Fitz": double digit targets in two straights and back to back games with 92 yards or more. He's not as likely to get a touchdown as Fitzgerald, but he's putting up numbers that will help in most yardage-based leagues.

DT Cardinals S3 No team has more return touchdowns than the Cardinals, and a home date with a low-end quarterback should lead to opportunities to increase that total.

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