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Start/Bench List - Week 14
John Tuvey
Updated: December 10, 2010
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IND at TEN CIN at PIT STL at NOS DEN at ARI 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)
Indianapolis at Tennessee Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

On the bright side, Peyton has something to play for in December. And if you don’t get docked for the 11 INTs he’s thrown in the last three games, his eight TDs and 1,046 yards certainly bolster your fantasy bottom line. Tennessee hasn’t been getting lit up of late, but they aren’t putting up a ton of resistance and a spate of injuries along their defensive front assure—and Indy’s utter lack of a ground game—assure another solid game, with spectacular always a possibility for Manning.

RB Donald Brown
Jarvarris James
B If Brown goes—he’s among the 72 Colts listed as questionable—he’ll be limited by the ankle injury that knocked him out of last week’s game. And he’ll be replaced at the stripe by James or maybe Dominic Rhodes. He doesn’t do enough between the 20s to warrant fantasy consideration. James isn’t going to get you yardage—he’s averaging just over two yards a pop—so you’re banking on him getting a short touchdown. But the Titans have allowed only five RB TDs all year, just one of them at home, so it’s not automatic.
WR Reggie Wayne S2

Early in his career Wayne owned the Titans, but more recently they’ve held him in relative check. His 10-108-1 in last season’s series included his first touchdown against Tennessee since 2007, and he hasn’t had a 100-yard game against the Titans since Week 2 of 2004. But with no running game to speak of and Peyton running out of receivers he trusts, you know he’s going to get double-digit targets (like he’s done in three straight, five of six, and eight of 12 games this season). Odds are he’ll turn those targets into something that will help your fantasy squad.

WR Pierre Garçon S3

Garçon had a big game (6-136) against Tennessee last year, but it’s been a while since multiple receivers had success against Tennessee in the same game—like, back in Week 5 against the Cowboys. And because Wayne is more trustworthy than Garçon, and WR1s haven’t been shut down by the Titans (in the past month alone Andre Johnson scored before getting kicked out and Santana Moss tallied 6-106-1), Pierre gets put at second banana.

TE Jacob Tamme S1

Tamme has come back to reality after doing a very passable Dallas Clark impression for the first few games of his starting tenure. A Tennessee defense that is giving up more than 100 yards per game to tight ends over their past five tilts, with two 100-yard efforts and three TE TDs surrendered during that span, should push him back towards Clark-like numbers. There is some question whether he'll play on Thursday night after being limited in practice Wednesday, but an X here would do you no good. Tune in a little early to get the inactive lists, and if Tamme isn't on there he should be in your lineup.

DT Colts B The best you can hope for are a few sacks against Kerry Collins, but Indy’s defense hasn’t been much of a fantasy helper this season.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins B

It’s been three games and more than 70 passes since Collins’ last touchdown toss; in fact, he’s thrown 84 passes against the Colts as a Titan with nary a scoring strike to show for it. You have to go back to his Raider days, October of 2004, to find his last TD toss against Indy. The Colts are banged up in the secondary, but they’ve still allowed only two QBs to top 250 yards (just one of the last nine) and four QBs to throw multiple TDs against them all year, so don’t look for fantasy help here.

RB Chris Johnson S1

After two clunkers, here’s a chance for CJ to get back on track. The Colts have allowed six 100-yard rushers this year, including two straight; they’ve allowed eight backs to rush for at least 95 yards against them and 10 to rush for 87 or more. They’ve also given up RB TDs in three straight. If CJ can’t get it going here, it may be time to write him off for the season.

WR Kenny Britt
Nate Washington
Randy Moss
Justin Gage
B Indy has allowed only four WR TDs in its last eight games; Titans wideouts have one score in the past four games. Maybe Britt comes back, maybe Moss wakes up, maybe Gage or Washington flash a little something... maybe you’d best leave the lot of them on your bench.
TE Jared Cook B The Colts have given up three TE TDs in the last month, but Tennessee is splitting its looks three ways. Cook has seen 15 targets the past two weeks while Bo Scaife and Craig Stevens have combined for nine, but do you really want to trust a guy with zero career touchdowns coming off a personal best 4-47 at this point in your fantasy season?
DT Titans S3 There’s no arguing with the fact that Peyton Manning has thrown four pick-sixes in the last two games. That alone gives Cortland Finnegan a fighting chance here.
Cleveland at Buffalo Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B

You have to go back to 2008 to find a legitimate fantasy helper from Delhomme. He threw for 325 yards against Buffalo last year, but with no TDs and three picks. Even against a defense that’s allowed multiple touchdown passes in nine of its last 11 games—including to Tarvaris Jackson last week—there are around 30 better fantasy options than Delhomme this week.

RB Peyton Hillis


Miami may have stymied Hillis last week, but the Bills rank 21 spots below them in stopping the run. Buffalo has allowed three straight feature backs to reach the century mark and score, so it’s a license to print money for Hillis this week.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi B

On the plus side, Massaquoi has seen his productivity rise with Delhomme under center. And the Bills have allowed three 100-yard receivers and five WR TDs in the past four games. However, Massaquoi still has one touchdown in the last 10 games and hasn’t topped 100 yards since Week 11 of last year. If you’re scrambling for a wideout this week there are some trends in his favor, but preferably he’d be on your fantasy bench.

TE Ben Watson S2

Though they’ve been better of late, no defense has allowed more TE TDs than the Bills. And with Watson the sixth-most targeted tight end in the league coming off a 100-yard outing, you have to like his chances here.

DT Browns B Despite all their offensive woes, the Bills aren’t making the kinds of mistakes that lead to defensive fantasy points, especially at home.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S3

Cooling significantly after his early-season hot streak, Fitzpatrick has one legit fantasy helper in his last five games. The Browns have been better of late as well, though shutting down Jimmy Clausen and Chad Henne isn’t exactly locking up Unitas and Montana. Fitz should help your fantasy club this week, but he’s delivered mostly disappointment over the last month so temper your expectations.

RB Fred Jackson S3

Teams have been able to run on the Browns, they just haven’t been able to punch many running backs across for touchdowns. The Bills’ offensive line is in shambles, which will increase the degree of difficulty here, but after posting decent numbers on the Steelers and stumbling in Minnesota (where backs go to die) this should still provide an opportunity for Jackson to help in larger, yardage-based leagues.

WR Steve Johnson S3

Johnson has been disappointing in three of his last four, and after watching Joe Haden last week the Browns could very easily make it four of five. His targets were down dramatically last week, and if Haden is as effective this week, it’ll be an extremely tough row to hoe for Johnson.

WR Lee Evans B

Remember Evans’ hat trick against the Ravens back in Week 7? Since then he has zero touchdowns and hasn’t topped 75 yards. It’s like playing the lottery, only your odds of picking a winner are probably better with the PowerBall.

DT Bills S3 Any date with Jake Delhomme could lead to a pick six.

Green Bay at Detroit

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Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

Rodgers hasn’t been below 289 yards in a month and has at least three TD tosses in three of his last four games. He threw three in his earlier meeting with the Lions and has multiple scoring strikes in each of his five career starts against Detroit; in fact, over those five games he’s averaging better than 300 yards per game and almost three TDs per tilt. And with the Lions losing their top corner to injured reserve, it’s shaping up to be another set of big numbers for Rodgers.


James Starks


Starks made his Packers debut with 18 carries last week; clearly, they trust him. There’s no reason to expect a reduced workload against the fourth-worst run defense in the league, so whether you snagged him off the waiver wire or beat the rush and have been holding him as your trump card, this is the week you’ve been waiting for.


Brandon Jackson


Despite losing significant touches to Starks, Jackson remains in the mix. Even if it’s only as a passing-downs back, the Packers consider most situations to be passing downs so he’ll contribute as a receiver.

WR Greg Jennings


With apologies to Dwayne Bowe, Jennings may be the hottest receiver in the league right now. Over his past seven games he has four 100-yard outings and eight touchdowns, averaging almost 110 yards and more than a TD per contest. Jennings was subdued (2-25-1) in the first meeting between these clubs, but those totals should jump substantially here.

WR Donald Driver


In three of the Lions’ last five games they’ve allowed a second receiver to score, and Driver’s touchdown effort last week re-established him as Green Bay’s WR2. The Pack has had multiple receivers find the end zone in each of the last four games, further enhancing Driver’s shot at helpful fantasy numbers this week.

WR James Jones
Jordy Nelson


Not that this isn’t a good matchup, but with Driver back in the mix and Jennings entrenched as the lead dog, even against Detroit there may not be enough leftovers here to make either of Green Bay’s tertiary targets viable fantasy plays.

DT Packers S1 Green Bay took one all the way back against Shaun Hill in the first meeting; you have to believe they can do the same to Drew Stanton.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Stanton B

Stanton has been meh in two starts against good pass defenses this year, and meh isn’t going to cut it against a Green Bay secondary that has held six straight quarterbacks to one or fewer touchdowns and seven straight under 260 passing yards.

RB Jahvid Best
Maurice Morris

Aside from Morris’ two-TD aberration on Thanksgiving, the Detroit running game has done nothing since Best stubbed his toe back in Week 3. And while the rookie looked a little more spry last week, don’t expect fantasy help against a Green Bay defense that’s given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs.

WR Calvin Johnson S3

The Packers haven’t allowed a wide receiver touchdown in a month, but as Megatron proved last week regardless of matchup or quarterback you just can’t bench him. He scored twice in the earlier meeting with Green Bay, and unless you’re loaded with alternatives he belongs back in your lineup again this week.

WR Nate Burleson B

If Megatron is barely a start, his wingman can’t be expected to fare much better.

TE Brandon Pettigrew S3

Green Bay has given up TE TDs in each of the past two games, and they surrendered 91 yards to Pettigrew (and another 63 to Tony Scheffler) in the earlier meeting between these teams. Stanton knows where to find his tight end (nine targets last week, a season-high 12 looks in Stanton’s other action this season), so in performance-based scoring systems Pettigrew should remain in your lineup.

DT Lions S3 Detroit’s defense is improved, but they’re not ready for a fantasy start against the Packers. Not yet.

New York Giants at Minnesota

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Eli had a streak of seven straight games with multiple scores snapped last week, more by an early lead and the success of the Giants’ ground game than anything either he or the Redskins’ secondary did or didn’t do. That is unlikely to be the case in Minnesota, which means Manning gets back in the saddle this week.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Since Ronnie Brown broke off a 51-yard run back in Week 2, no back to visit the Metrodome has topped 42 yards against the Vikings. Also, no opposing back has scored in Minnesota. The Vikes are particularly tough on inside runners, which means Jacobs won’t have much room to operate. And while he may be the starter in name, one look at last week’s touches (26 for Bradshaw, eight for Jacobs) tell you who the Giants want on the field when he’s not fumbling the ball.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

The speedier Bradshaw should find a bit more success around the edges of the Williams Wall, but this still isn’t a great matchup for him. Then again, the last time the Giants saw a defense ranked this high against the run Bradshaw took the Bears for 129 yards and a score. That was at home, though; opposing backs lose their mojo in Mall of America Field. However, Jacobs could use the passing game as a way to buy back some fantasy value, and as such should remain in most fantasy lineups.

WR Steve Smith
Hakeem Nicks

Both Smith and Nicks saw limited practice time this week; both are hopeful of returning to the lineup Sunday, and both are considered game-time decisions. Are both worth waiting around for? Nicks is a mismatch for Minnesota's best corner, the diminutive Antoine Winfield and should be in your lineup if he goes. Smith doesn't present nearly as big a problem, but if Winfield is occupied elsewhere (read: Nicks) then Smith belongs in your lineup as well. However, it's tough to bank on either even making it to the field so bench them for now and wait for a final word on their status Sunday morning.

WR Mario Manningham

The Vikings have allowed at least one WR TD in five of six home games this year, but more than one just once. The scores haven’t always gone to WR1s, either, but Manningham’s best bet at a score would come if Smith returns and draws the attention of Antoine Winfield. Otherwise, Winfield gets Manningham and Manning gets even more frustrated. If both Nicks and Smith are back, Manningham returns to third-receiver duty and is a fringe play at best. Worthy of consideration in two of the three possible scenarios, keep Manningham in your lineup pending Sunday's GTDs on Smith and Nicks.

WR Derek Hagan

If it’s Manningham and Hagan, the latter comes into play as a viable fantasy option because Minnesota goes about one deep at the cornerback position and also sports some of the worst safety play in the league. If Hagan's the WR3, he's a borderline play at best. And if he's kicked all the way down to WR4, he's too risky to start. In this case, two out of three is bad, as that's the number of scenarios in which Hagan belongs on your bench. Put him there for now and wait for Tom Coughlin's announcement on Sunday morning.

TE Kevin Boss

Boss’s ultimate value also depends on which, if any, of Big Blue’s banged up receivers return to action. If Smith and Nicks are out, Boss moves up in the pecking order because Manning can trust him. It doesn’t hurt that the Vikings have allowed three TE TDs in the last four games, either.

DT Giants S2 You’ll either get a banged up Favre running for his life... or an incompetent Jackson running for his life.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre B

Favre didn't throw a ball in practice all week, though he was seen throwing on the side on Friday. The streak hangs in the balance, but you have to believe the drama king is merely milking one more turn in the spotlight. However, he won't have Percy Harvin at his disposal and is facing a defense that's already knocked out four quarterbacks this season. Unlike the Vikings, you have a better fantasy option on your bench.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

AP is a monster at Metrodome: he’s scored in five of six there this year, hit the century mark thrice, and averages 110 rushing, 25 receiving, and 1.5 TDs per home game. With Favre’s wing in question—or, God forbid, Tarvaris Jackson soiling his pants under center—the game plan will be heavy on Peterson. There’s little question he’ll respond well against a defense that’s allowed LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew to take them for 100 yards in the past three weeks.

WR Percy Harvin


Harvin missed last week with migraines, and this week hasn't been any better as he failed to make it to the practice field. If he plays he’s a focal part of the offense and belongs in fantasy lineups, but as of now he's listed as doubtful and likely to sit out a second straight game.

WR Sidney Rice


Rice’s hip sure looked healthy as he made a pair of acrobatic touchdown catches to pull Jackson’s bacon out of the fire last week. At minimum it looked healthy enough to match what Anthony Armstrong (6-97-1), Jeremy Maclin (9-120), and/or Dez Bryant (3-104-1) have done to the Giants over the past month.

TE Vishante Shiancoe B

Big Shank got his big revenge last year with 7-94-1 against his old team. It’s a good thing that score is settled, because Shiancoe is more of an afterthought in this year’s attack; moreover, the Giants haven’t allowed a TE TD since their Week 8 bye.

DT Vikings S3

Maybe this time the wake-up call sticks. Plus, they’re at home in a dome that’s caused problems for the Giants before, and Eli has been know to throw his share of picks as well.


Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S3

Palmer is traditionally slightly worse in the Pittsburgh half of the season series; that’s how it’s happened ever since Palmer’s four-TD stunner in Pittsburgh in 2006. So after throwing for 248 and two in the Cincy half of this year’s slate he barely warrants a blip on the fantasy radar. A Steeler defense that’s allowed two passing scores total in the last three games does little to change that thought.

RB Cedric Benson B

The optimist would say that Benson has scored in two of his last three against the Steelers; the pessimist would note that both scores came in Cincinnati and that Benson has 23 carries for 57 yards and zero scores in two visits to Heinz Field as a Bengal. The Steelers have allowed only one RB TD in five home games and the 87-yard effort by BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Week 10 is more than twice what any other back has been able to muster in their Pittsburgh visit. Here’s hoping you have a better fantasy option this week.

WR Terrell Owens

TO put up the biggest game by an opposing receiver against the Steelers back in Week 9 with 141 yards and two scores; expect the Steelers to take drastic measures to ensure that doesn’t happen again. That said, Owens is still the more targeted member of the diva duo and the most likely to put up helpful fantasy numbers.

WR Chad Ochocinco

The Steelers have allowed only one WR TD in Pittsburgh, and TO already called dibs. That leaves Ocho with wingman numbers, which in Pittsburgh have ranged from mediocre (71, 68) to abysmal (27, 13). Neither of those are words associated with a successful fantasy performance.

TE Jermaine Gresham B Gresham is a nice complementary piece to Cincy’s puzzle, but it’s tough to see him finding success against a defense that’s shut out the TEs it’s faced in 10 of 12 games. He also missed practice all week to be with his family following the passing of his grandmother, and while he's expected to play he hasn't been involved in any of the game-planning.
DT Bengals B The Bengals didn’t have many playmakers on defense to begin with, and the ones they had they keep losing to injury.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

Big Ben’s numbers against the Bengals are usually subdued; he has just two TD passes in his last three games against them. But Cincy has given up 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in two of its last three and Roethlisberger has at least 250 yards in four straight plus seven TDs over that span, so he may be just north of subdued this time around.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


The Bengals have given up at least one RB TD in eight of their last nine and allowed 100-plus yards and multiple touchdowns to two of the last three feature backs they’ve faced. Mendenhall came close (22-99-1) in the earlier meeting; he should get to triple digits this time around.

WR Mike Wallace

Wallace went for 110 and one in the earlier meeting with Cincy, and since then he’s outgained Ward in three of four and topped the century mark twice. Few secondaries can stick with him, and with the injuries the Bengals have suffered it’s unlikely they’ve improved since Wallace last dented them.

WR Hines Ward

Hines scored in the previous meeting with Cincy, breaking a three-game scoreless streak against the Bengals. With Heath Miller out Ward should handle most of the short game, certainly enough to warrant fantasy attention in PPR and performance leagues against a defense that’s allowed seven WR TDs and two 100-yard efforts in just the last three weeks.

TE David Johnson B

Johnson is in line to pick up Heath Miller’s slack, but against a defense that hasn’t allowed a TE TD since Week 4 there’s just not much there to get.

DT Steelers S1 This iteration of the Steel Curtain looked pretty formidable against the Ravens last week. The Bengals have looked anything but formidable of late.

Oakland at Jacksonville

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

Campbell hasn’t posted a fantasy helper since hosting Seattle in Week 8, and while the Jags are similarly ranked against the pass this one’s cross country and Jacksonville is playing better: they’ve held three of their last five foes to one or zero touchdown passes.

RB Darren McFadden

After a two-week hibernation, McFadden was back to triple-digit combo yardage last week—his eighth such game of the year. And considering the Raiders have made very public their intentions to keep running the football, and this week’s matchup with Jacksonville (17th in fantasy points allowed to RBs) falls right in between the #18 Chargers (127 and one) and the #15 Texans (129 yards), you have to like McFadden’s chances for fantasy success here.

RB Michael Bush

Starting multiple players at the same position from the same team is always tricky. And while it’s a good-looking matchup for McFadden, it’s tough to bank on the junior partner in a backfield committee getting you much if any help in a matchup that’s good but not great.


Jacoby Ford


For the season the Jags still grade out as a fantasy friendly secondary, but they’ve allowed only one WR TD over the past three weeks and aren’t quite the pushover they used to be. That said, Ford’s electrifying speed and the Raiders’ concerted efforts to get him the ball—he’s been their most targeted wideout three of the past four weeks—make him a fringe fantasy play in leagues that award points for longer touchdowns.

TE Zach Miller B

Miller is playing through a significant foot injury, and it shows: in his last three games he has four catches for 20 yards, and he’s been targeted a total of two times in the past two games. He may not be fantasy usable until he’s had an offseason to rest.

DT Raiders B West Coast teams typically struggle when heading east, and it’s not as if the Raiders defense has been generating much fantasy play anyway.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S3

Oakland has allowed at least 275 passing yards in three straight and multiple touchdown tosses in three of four and 10 of 12. As an added bonus, Garrard is back home where he’s thrown for 596 yards and four touchdowns in just the last two games. Is that enough to offset his back-to-back shutouts with a total of 288 yards? Sure, because he also carries the threat of a rushing touchdown, something he’s done in two straight and three of the last five.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S1

Even after slamming the door on the San Diego running game last week the Raiders still rank in the top 10 in the league in giving up fantasy points. MoJo brings a five-game scoring streak and four straight 100-yard rushing efforts into this tilt; tough to see the Raiders ending either of those runs.


Mike Thomas

S3 Over the past two months the Raiders have given up just one big game to an opposing receiver—Mike Wallace, 116 and 1 in Week 11. But of late they’ve allowed enough smaller stuff that Thomas should be able to step back up into fantasy relevancy.

Mike Sims-Walker

S3 MSW is still nursing an ankle sprain, but he practiced fully on Thursday and Friday and is officially listed as probable for this tilt. And with Oakland's secondary quite friendly of late, expect Sims-Walker to take his share of the pie.

Marcedes Lewis

S3 The Raiders have allowed only one TE TD in the last six games, but Lewis is money at home: four touchdowns in six games, 10 catches for 119 yards and a score in his last two at home. Again, with Sims-Walker iffy Garrard will be looking for someone he trusts—and Lewis has proven to be that guy.
DT Jaguars B

The Jags don’t have a defensive or return touchdown to their credit this season; silly to ask them to start now.

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