The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Start/Bench List - Week 13
John Tuvey
Updated: December 3, 2010
  Print this page Print 
HOU at PHI DEN at KCC SFO at GBP STL at ARI Start/Bench List by Position
  Upgrade       Downgrade  
  Update Only  
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)

Dallas at Indianapolis

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S2

The blueprint to beat Indy is to run, but the Cowboys have at times seemed allergic to running the ball. And then there's the very real possibility that the blueprint falls apart and you're forced to play catch-up. Both of those scenarios lead to decent fantasy numbers from a competent quarterback, which Kitna has certainly proven to be filling in for Tony Romo. Gaudy numbers are unlikely, but decent numbers are definitely in the wheelhouse.

RB Felix Jones

Marion Barber has been ruled out of this game with a calf injury, leaving Jones to handle a probable 20-touch workload that, in the hands of other backs to face Indy, generally results in a touchdown and triple-digit combo yardage. And many of those backs lacked Jones' explosiveness, so there's additional upside here as well.

RB Tashard Choice S3

It's reasonable to expect Choice to step into Barber's role, and while it's been a minority role of late the Colts can most definitely be run upon so there is upside here.

WR Dez Bryant
Miles Austin

Bryant whiffed miserably in his Turkey Day debut, failing to catch a ball in six targets; Austin (3-25) was only slightly more effective. The Saints' secondary will do that to you, and while Indy's pass defense ranks highly as well they're not nearly a shutdown unit. Teams have not struggled to get the ball to their receiver of choice, so Kitna should have his pick of both targets. Neither projects to blow up a stat sheet, but both should shade all the boxes quite nicely.

WR Roy Williams B

Williams hasn't been bad, but the Cowboys shouldn't have any problems getting the ball to their first couple of options so they won't need to go slumming with Roy.

TE Jason Witten S3

Indy has given up tight end touchdowns in two of its last three, and with Witten back on Kitna's radar to the tune of 10 catches last week he's back on the must-start list in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Cowboys S3 Between the Dallas return game and Peyton's newfound penchant for pick sixes, the Cowboys might just be able to cobble something together here.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

The Cowboys' last six foes have all thrown for at least 260 yards; five of them tossed multiple TD passes. With no running game to speak of, Manning will be forced to at minimum do the same. He'll find the going much easier against the 27th ranked Cowboys pass defense than he did against the second-ranked Chargers.

RB Donald Brown
Mike Hart
B Hart was back at practice this week with full sessions on both Wednesday and Thursday, so he and Brown could combine to pretend to run the ball for Indy. Thus far that role has only led to significant fantasy points when Joseph Addai was doing the running, and he's listed as doubtful. There may be a goal line look or two to swipe, but it could just as easily be Javarris James carrying there as well. Little upside, plenty of risk... that's not a winning fantasy combination.
WR Reggie Wayne S2

WR1s have had little difficulty putting up solid numbers against a Dallas secondary that's allowed a dozen WR TDs in just the past six games. Wayne missed Friday's practice with a knee injury after working out fully both Wednesday and Thursday, and he's definitely felt the weight of carrying an injury-depleted receiving corps. But for the most part he's still been good for his numbers, and there's no reason to stop trusting him at this juncture.

WR Pierre Garçon
Blair White

Secondary targets have been partaking in the pleasures of picking on Dallas as well; in each of the last six games a second wide receiver has joined the WR1 in either scoring or topping 90 yards or both. Garçon should be the guy, but White has shared a wavelength with Manning in the red zone and could steal another TD or two. Both are viable options against a secondary that's struggling as much as Dallas's is.

TE Jacob Tamme S2

At least nine targets, at least seven catches, and at least 60 yards in each of the last four games—plus two TDs in that span as well. The Cowboys are middle-of-the-road in defending the tight end, but Tamme is doing anything but putting up middle-of-the-road tight end numbers.

DT Colts B Maybe Bob Sanders returns; maybe he doesn't. The Colts' defense needs more help than just that.

St. Louis at Arizona

Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S2

Bradford put up 253 and 1 on the Rams in his NFL debut. Now he gets them again with 11 games of experience, with back-to-back multiple touchdown games and multiple TDs in four of his last five; you have to like his chances of improving on that first impression.

RB Steven Jackson S1

It's time. Time for Jackson to stay in the game for a goal line carry, time for him to punch one in, time for him to turn all those touches into a monster game of productivity. Each of the last five teams to face the Cardinals has produced at least 150 combo yards from their backfield and scored multiple RB TDs. Since Jackson tends to get the bulk of the Rams' touches, he'd be in line for those scores and that yardage. It's the game Jackson's fantasy owners have been begging for. And it's happening this week.

WR Danario Alexander

The Cardinals have allowed at least one WR TD and/or 100-yard outing in each of the last seven games. If Alexander is healthy, he's emerged as the guy Bradford loves to throw to.

WR Danny Amendola

Amendola is a great wingman, always there for Bradford to check down to. He stands above Brandon Gibson and Laurent Robinson as a viable fantasy play.

TE Billy Bajema

Don't chase last week's pair of scores; he's a backup target at best, and the Cards have allowed only one TE TD the past six games. Bradford has other options in this offense.

DT Rams S3 I'd recommend your local high school team's defense for a fantasy start if they got to face Derek Alexander. And depending on where you live, the Rams' defense may be better.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson B

It's the same song every week with Anderson: one touchdown and something hovering in the neighborhood of 300 yards. He had 297 and 1 in the opener against the Rams, and that feels like his max again this week. You'd have to be playing in a pretty big league for that to warrant fantasy consideration.

RB Tim Hightower
S3 Hightower produced 94 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the first meeting between these clubs, and with Wells struggling with injuries and fumblitis he's still getting the majority of the carries. Against a St. Louis defense that's allowed a running back TD in three straight games, that's enough to put him firmly on the fringe of fantasy relevance.
RB Chris "Beanie" Wells
B Wells asked for more carries... then promptly fumbled his first one. He's officially on the "you gotta show me before I believe ya" list.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

Fitz gets the nod on reputation and talent. He still gets the targets, but Arizona's passing game is so dysfunctional sometimes even that's not enough.

WR Steve Breaston
Early Doucet

There will be yardage here, but the odds it splits like it did in the opener—132 to Breaston, 43 to Fitz, 37 to Doucet—are long; more likely it's 70/70/70 or something not far off, and with Fitz the favorite for the score it's a tough sell for a fantasy start.

DT Cardinals S3 The Arizona DST has produced the most return touchdowns because they have to; the offense isn't getting it done. They're at least worthy of consideration against a rookie quarterback on the road.

Carolina at Seattle

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments

Jimmy Clausen

B The Seahawks have allowed 289 yards or more in eight of 11 games this year, have allowed three more more TD passes in three of the last four, and have allowed four TD tosses in each of the last two. And there's still no way you can trust Clausen with a fantasy start.

Jonathan Stewart
Mike Goodson

S3 Seattle can be run upon—they've given up at least one RB TD in each of the last seven games and 442 rushing yards in their last two home games alone—and that's something the Panthers can actually do. Stewart will take the lead on the ground, but Goodson brings enough to the table as a change of pace and third down back to be just as fantasy relevant.
WR Steve Smith
Brandon LaFell
David Gettis

Doesn't matter how many WR TDs the Seahawks have given up (eight in the last seven games), Clausen can't find Smith and the rookies are too inconsistent to be trusted with anything but a desperation fantasy start.

DT Panthers B The Panthers pick-sixed Jake Delhomme, but who hasn't? Now it's back to reality.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck B Hass hopped back on the multiple touchdown bandwagon last week for the first time since the season opener, but now it's time to jump off again. As bad as Carolina is, their secondary is actually playing some pretty good football. As such, expect a typical Hasselbeck day with plenty of yardage but only one score—not enough to make the fantasy grade.
RB Marshawn Lynch
Justin Forsett

Who wants it... uh, least? Lynch and Forsett have been awful of late; throw out the 157 yards they combined for against Arizona, the worst run defense in the league, and they've produced a combined 237 yards in four games of work. That's less than 30 yards from scrimmage each per game. And yet their success against the Cards suggests that even they might exploit a defense that in the last four games alone has allowed six different players to rush for 50 or more yards and two of them to add at least 60 receiving yards to their stat line. The Panthers have also given up seven RB TDs in that span, making a repeat of the borderline fantasy helpers that Lynch (62 combo yards and a TD) and Forsett (95 combo yards and a score) put up on the Cardinals actually plausible.


Mike Williams

S2 Williams practiced fully on Friday, and Pete Carroll said the Seahawks are "counting on him" to play. And when Williams plays, Matt Hasselbeck throws him the ball--and good fantasy things happen. Sure, there's risk involved but a full practice on Friday suggests Williams won't be limited on Sunday, and his upside is in the double-digit catch, triple-digit yardage neighborhood.

Ben Obomanu

B While Obomanu still has upside, if he has to cede his "X" receiver role back to BMW his fantasy value takes a hit. And the matchup with a solid Carolina secondary isn't one where you go out of your way to start secondary receivers.
TE John Carlson B Would love to give you Carlson as a sleeper against a Carolina defense that has allowed five TE TDs since its Week 6 bye, but Carlson is so lightly used at this juncture that it's just not worth the shot.
DT Seahawks S2 At home, facing an inept rookie quarterback... time for some of that Twelfth Man magic!

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

The Ravens have faced Big Ben just once in the last three meetings between these clubs, and while the Baltimore secondary has been playing better of late there's still no reason to think Roethlisberger can't put up a bunch of yards on them. He did so last year (259 and 1) and comes into this game averaging over 300 yards per game in his last three. Touchdowns will be tougher to come by—they usually are in Steeler-Raven battles—but unless you've got a QB stashed that you know will deliver you multiple scores Big Ben's upside dictates he at least receive consideration for the starting spot.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


If the 144 yards Peyton Hillis dropped on the Ravens earlier this season didn't take the sheen off that run defense, Mike Goodson's 120 two weeks ago probably did. Mendenhall scored twice in the earlier meeting and ran the ticker as high as 95 yards last year, so he can get it done despite the matchup. Expectations shouldn't be jacked too high, but if Hillis and Goodson can get it done...

WR Mike Wallace

Last year it was the Steelers' speed that gave Baltimore fits, with Wallace posting 3-83 and Santonio Holmes going for 5-86-1. That same speed is giving the Ravens problems again this year, with speedsters like David Gettis, Lee Evans, and Deion Branch all scoring. While Holmes takes shots underneath, expect Wallace to go deep and make Ed Reed pay for any incorrect gambles.

WR Hines Ward

You can't bench a warrior like Ward, not in a rivalry game like this where he might just will himself to 10 catches for 100 yards and a TD. He's been significantly quieter than that of late against Baltimore, but last week's 7-107 shows he still has game.

TE Heath Miller

Baltimore has given up just one TE TD in the last two months and only two all year; further, only one tight end has topped 50 yards against them. While Miller has seen a slight uptick in looks of late, he still hasn't scored since Roethlisberger's first game back and can't be relied upon this week.

DT Steelers S3 The Ravens aren't prone to turnovers, but a rivalry game like this often turns on a big play and the Steelers D has several guys who know just how to create one of those.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S2

Flacco has had moderate success against the Steelers, usually good yardage with a score or a more subdued yardage total with a bonus TD tacked on. Pittsburgh's run D is a little stouter and pass D a little softer, so Baltimore's balance might lean slightly more pass-heavy than their counterpart. That puts Flacco in line for a slightly better statistical day than Roethlisberger, though it's very, very close.

RB Ray Rice S2

If you're in a TD-heavy scoring system you may want to dial Rice back to an S3 as he's no sure thing to score. While Ray put up two very nice yardage efforts last year and a toe-stubber this year, it's been McGahee who has scored in two of the three tilts. Since Baltimore's Week 8 bye Rice has posted four straight triple-digit combo yardage games, but he has just one touchdown in that span—same as McGahee. Expect the yards to be there this time; in the past three weeks alone, both Fred Jackson and BenJarvus Green-Ellis have topped 100 yards from scrimmage against Pittsburgh. Just don't count on a TD.

RB Willis McGahee B

Yes, McGahee has scored in two of three against the Steelers. But he's also averaged just seven touches per game over the last month and needs to convert that limited workload into a score to be successful—and do it against a defense that's allowed only four RB TDs all year long.

WR Derrick Mason

Over the last month Mason has taken on the familiar role of lead dog, nearly doubling Boldin's catch total while scoring in three of the last four. He led Ravens receivers in yardage in the earlier meeting with PIttsburgh; now he's poised to be the most productive fantasy target of the three.

WR Anquan Boldin

Boldin has fallen behind Mason, to the point that he's barely a fringe starter here. However, he's too tough a matchup for the Ravens not to put him to good use. You can't bank on a touchdown, as there are only so many to go around and at this point Anquan might be fourth in line, but he should produce a solid catch-and-yardage day that makes him a viable option in most performance-based scoring systems.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Since the Ravens' Week 8 bye Housh has exactly two catches a game and is averaging just over 40 yards per tilt. He's the afterthough in this offense, and while afterthoughts can certainly register a fluke TD from time to time they can't be trusted with a fantasy start.


Todd Heap

S2 It isn't a glaring weakness, but the Steelers have shown susceptibility at the tight end position; see Gronkowski, Rob in the Patriots game. Heap has become such a factor in this offense—49 or more yards in six of the last seven games, touchdowns in two of the last three, five scores in the last six—that he'd warrant starting consideration regardless of matchup. The fact that he scored twice against Pittsburgh last year only stokes his fire.
DT Ravens S3 Any time Ed Reed is on the field there's the potential for a defensive score.

New York Jets at New England

Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S2

New England's secondary is improving, but so is Sanchez. His 220 and 3 in the earlier meeting was already a step up on the 136 and 1/163 and 1 he posted as a rookie. The Pats have given up multiple TDs in two of the last three and 250-plus yards in three straight and seven of eight, but expect the Jets to stick to the ground game as much as possible. They'll still take shots down the field, but with Sanchez having thrown picks in six straight the primary concern will be avoiding a repeat of his four-INT rematch with the Pats.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Shonn Greene

Greene has taken the lead in the carries department, but he hasn't done much with them. Here's his opportunity to do so against a defense that has given up six RB rushing scores in the past six games. Tomlinson remains the more productive yardage back and is padding his numbers as a receiver; against a New England defense that's already surrendered 50 receiving yards to four different backs as well as three RB receiving scores, LT is still a good bet for fantasy productivity.

WR Santonio Holmes
Braylon Edwards


This tandem of downfield playmakers may rival any in the league. Holmes has been Mr. Clutch, scoring in three straight and using his elite speed to make defenses pay. Edwards has the size to post up and the speed to get deep as well; he's been slightly less consistent thanks in no small part to his problematic hands. There will be opportunities for both to make the kinds of plays that have made them popular in Gotham; Sanchez just needs to seize those opportunities.

TE Dustin Keller S3

Keller dominated the first matchup of these teams with 9 grabs for 115 yards and a score, though that was pre-Holmes. He also scored in the front end of last seasons's series but was shut out in the rematch. Will Belichick focus on stopping him again? He may not have to, as Keller is currently mired in a seven-game scoring slump. But there is definitely something amiss in the Patriots' TE coverage, as they've allowed at least 60 yards to three straight TEs and five TE TDs on the season. Slump or no, there's an opportunity for Keller to rekindle at least some of that flame he fanned back in Week 2.

DT Jets B The Patriots aren't a team that makes many mistakes, and while the Jets play some great defense they haven't been as inclined to turn that great D into fantasy points as they have in the past.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

Just when we'd written off Brady's version of small ball, he blasts us with three straight multiple touchdown games, two of them with 340-plus yards—and he does it interception-free while completing 84 percent of his passes. He only lightly used Randy Moss in the first meeting, when he threw for 248 and two (with two picks); now we'll see how Rex Ryan adjusts his troops to flank Brady's no-name multi-pronged attack.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


BJGE was ineffective in the earlier meeting, but the Pats gave him 10 carries nonetheless. And of late the Jets have shown some cracks, allowing three RB TDs in the last three games. Green-Ellis obviously isn't a great start against such a shut down defense, but Belichick's track record is to keep taking shots in the ground game. It produced a pair of TDs for Laurence Maroney last year; if he can score on the Jets, so can Law Firm.


Danny Woodhead


Yes, he's an ex-Jet who would love to show his old team a thing or two. But he's a bit part in the running game and the Jets haven't allowed a running back receiver touchdown since Week 14 of 2008; that's 29 games, if you're counting. He may have to leave his impression on special teams instead.

WR Wes Welker S3 Since Darrelle Revis returned, WR1s haven't had much success against the Jets... but Welker is a different WR1 who can be moved around, played off the line, put in motion—all of which negate Revis' ability to control the receiver at the line. It'll be a battle, and it might not always be Revis, but Welker found a way to score and catch six balls in the earlier matchup and should have ample opportunity to match or build on those numbers again.
WR Deion Branch S3 Revis can't be everywhere, and while Antonio Cromartie is a solid cover corner in his own right Branch has played this game a while himself and knows a thing or two about getting open. He's no sure thing, but with 70-plus yards in each of the last three games it's clear Brady is putting him to good use.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Rob Gronkowski
S3 The Pats have six TE TDs in the last four games, so it's clear they're a major part of the flight pattern. Hernandez went for 101 in the first meeting, one of two TEs to reach triple digits against the Jets. Gronkowski has expanded his repertoire from touchdown maker to every-down target, while it remains to be seen how the Jets plan to fix their matchup problem with Hernandez.
DT Patriots S3 Bill Belichick always has a trick up his sleeve, and let's not forget Sanchez is still a relatively young quarterback.

< Back to page 1  |  < Back to page 2  |  Go to list by position >

Other Features
Game Predictions
Projected Player Stats
Under the Numbers
Free Agent Forecast
Fantasy Game Recaps
a d v e r t i s e m e n t
a d v e r t i s e m e n t