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Start/Bench List - Week 14
John Tuvey
Updated: December 10, 2010
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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 Carolina Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Only two visiting quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns in Carolina, and both were NFC South rivals. Ryan has three straight multiple TD efforts on the road, so even away from the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome he's capable of posting solid fantasy numbers..

RB Michael Turner S1

Turner gets a bad road rap as well, but he's scored or topped 100 rushing yards in four of his last five away from the Georgia Dome. He's also scored in five of six overall, a total of seven touchdowns, and reached the century mark four times in that span. He's also reached triple digits three straight times against the Panthers and should continue that success against a defense that's allowed an opposing feature back to score three touchdowns in each of its last two games.

WR Roddy White S2

White has cooled somewhat since that big prime-time showing against the Ravens, but he's still be targeted 35 times in three games and produced 21 catches for 206 yards. Don't expect him to get back to gaudy this week—the Panthers haven't allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 14 of 2009—but White proved last season he is capable of scoring against Carolina (6-53-1 in the Georgia Dome) and putting up quality yardage (7-98 in Carolina).

WR Michael Jenkins B

Jenkins isn't superhuman like White, so a matchup with a secondary that's allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers is cause for benching.


Tony Gonzalez


Great opportunity for Gonzo if the sprained ankle that knocked him out of last week's game isn't bugging him—and after Gonzalez practiced in full both Thursday and Friday, that looks to be the case. He scored in the front end of last season's series and had 6-67 in the rematch, though Justin Peelle stole his touchdown in that game. Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Panthers, and Gonzo does some of his best work in division games; since that ankle's good to go so are his fantasy prospects.

DT Falcons S3 Atlanta's defense hasn't done much, but they just got a key kick return TD last week and they're facing Jimmy Clausen.
Pos Player SBC Comments

Jimmy Clausen

B Atlanta's secondary has played better of late, stringing together back-to-back games with only one passing touchdown, but they're still one of the top 10 defenses for fantasy quarterbacks to face. Then again, so was Seattle and Clausen did nothing against them. Best wait for Jimmy to produce a viable fantasy helper before plugging him into your lineup.

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Positive trends collide here as Stewart comes off his second 90-plus yard game to face an Atlanta defense that just surrendered a 100-yard game to LeGarrette Blount on the road. Stew has three TDs in two home starts against the Falcons and is poised to once again be just about the only offense the Panthers can rustle up.

Mike Goodson

B Goodson has scored in back-to-back games but he's clearly the second banana to Stewart in Carolina's backfield. Tough to trust him to get another TD when his touches are so limited.
WR Steve Smith B

Smith's last four against the Falcons: 34 and 2, 131, 168, 96 and 1. Sadly, Smith's last four in general add up to 12 catches for 180 yards and no touchdowns. Sad what lack of quality quarterbacking can do to a talented receiver.

DT Panthers B Atlanta's string of turnover-free games ended last week, but it's not as if they're just giving the ball away.
Tampa Bay at Washington Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S3

Since getting shredded by Michael Vick the Redskins secondary has been solid, shutting out three straight quarterbacks and holding each under 230 yards. Freeman remains on the fringe of fantasy relevancy, throwing at least one TD in each of the past nine games—but only one in each of the past two and less than 250 yards in each of the past five. His rushing yardage boost him onto the start side of the ledger, but we're still waiting for that "here I am" game.

RB LeGarrette Blount


Blount proved his mettle in a tougher matchup last week; now he gets a hanging curveball. Over the past month the Redskins have allowed seven RB rushing scores and three 100-yard rushers; during that same span Blount has scored twice and averaged better than 80 yards per game facing significantly tougher competition that included three top-10 run defenses. Hanging curve, meet Louisville Slugger.

WR Mike Williams

The season-long numbers suggest the Redskins secondary is soft, but they haven't allowed a WR TD since Week 10. However, you don't want to bet against Williams: he's averaging eight targets per game over the last six tilts, and while the yardage isn't impressive he's scored in four of those six games.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

The Skins have surrendered only one TE TD in the last seven games, but K2 is essentially the Bucs' No. 2 receiver, averaging seven targets per game over the last month. And with Blount struggling at the stripe, expect more tight end action in the red zone—even more than what has produced two Winslow TDs in the last month.

DT Buccaneers B The loss of Aqib Talib saps the Bucs of their primary defensive playmaker.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S3

On the one hand you have McNabb with three straight one-TD outings and only one multiple touchdown game all year; on the other you have a Bucs D that just lost its top corner and has given up back-to-back multiple touchdown games. Maybe this is the boost McNabb needs to jump from consistent near-miss to legitimate fantasy helper.


Ryan Torain

S2 Torain was back at practice after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, even putting in full sessions on both Thursday and Friday, and while he's listed as questionable he's expected to start. He posted two 100-yard games prior to his injury and could return to a third, as the Bucs have allowed six 100-yard rushers this season and four RB TDs in the past four road games

James Davis

B Davis would stand to get the carries if Torain aggravates his troublesome hammy, but that's a thin hook to hang your fantasy hopes on.
WR Santana Moss
S3 Moss is still a reasonable play in PPR leagues, but McNabb is more willing to take home run shots with Armstrong.
WR Anthony Armstrong
S3 Armstrong has now outperformed Moss in four of the last five and is actually the better candidate to take advantage of a loosening Tampa Bay defense that has allowed a wide receiver score in each of the last two games.
TE Chris Cooley S2

The Bucs have allowed TE TDs in three of their last five road games, and Cooley could use some help finding the end zone. But in the two months since he last scored, he hasn't been targeted fewer than seven times, so he'll get his catches—and his chances.

DT Redskins B No Haynesworth might actually mean an upgrade, but not enough to make the Skins a viable fantasy entity.

St. Louis at New Orleans

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

Bradford is probably on his way to Rookie of the Year honors, but this week he steps up in class to face one of the top two pass defenses in the league. He managed 198 and 1 against the other (San Diego), and don't expect him to fare much better against a New Orleans secondary that's allowed only one multiple touchdown game this season and just two total passing TDs in the last six games.

RB Steven Jackson S3

The Saints have allowed four RB TDs the past two weeks, and after Jackson rediscovered the end zone last week there has to be some hope for him; he's scored in two of his last three on the road and topped 100 rushing yards in three of his last five away from St. Louis.

WR Danny Amendola

Amendola gets a fringe recommendation based on his being the most consistently targeted member of Bradford's receiving corps. But it's a tenuous recommendation at best.


Danario Alexander
Brandon Gibson


The Saints have allowed a total of two WR TDs in the past six games. There's barely going to be enough for one wideout to have a fantasy impact, so spare parts are out of luck.

TE Billy Bajema

New Orleans hasn't allowed a tight end touchdown since Week 3.

DT Rams B The Rams could be without a couple key members of their defense, and they're facing the Saints.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

While the Rams may have shut down the Cardinals' trio of QBs last week, now they head to the den of the World Champs to face the best. Brees has thrown for multiple touchdowns or at least 275 yards in every game since the season opener, and there's no reason for that streak to end here.


Chris Ivory


The Saints have been so enamored with Ivory's play they don't want to reduce his workload. That means he'll get goal line looks against a Rams defense that's allowed RB TDs in three of its last four. And you can't argue with Ivory's back-to-back two TD efforts.


Pierre Thomas
Reggie Bush


All this talk about Bush getting a bigger workload and Thomas being fully healthy... and every week it's Ivory with the production. Until Thomas and Bush show something on the field during a game, they can't be trusted with a fantasy start.

WR Marques Colston S2

So maybe he's not a pure WR1; tough to quibble with five TDs in the past six games, three 100-yard efforts in that span, and an average of 10 targets per game.

WR Robert Meachem
Lance Moore
Devery Henderson

The Rams haven't given up a big game, but they've surrendered plenty of good games: in the last month alone, 10 different receivers have had 48 yards or more, seven of them 61 or better. That's right in the wheelhouse of Brees and his spread-it-around philosophy.

TE Jeremy Shockey
Jimmy Graham
B Shockey and Graham are splitting the looks, and against a Rams defense that's only allowed two TE TDs all year there doesn't project to be enough to make a fantasy helper out of either.
DT Saints S3 Time for Gregg Williams to start gearing up for the postseason with some aggressive defenses designed to freak a rookie out.
Seattle at San Francisco Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3 Two of Hasselbeck's last three multiple touchdown games have come against the 49ers, which tells you two things: one, Hass doesn't splurge on the TDs much anymore and two, he's got the Niners' number. San Francisco has allowed multiple touchdowns or 250-plus passing yards—or both—in 10 of 12 games; if Hass gets at least one of his go-to receivers (Mike Williams or Ben Obomanu) back, he's a decent bet to make it 11 of 13. However, both those guys are iffy right now so Hass's expectations must be tempered.
RB Marshawn Lynch S3

The Niners have allowed only six RB TDs all year, but three of them have come in the last four games. And after watching Lynch punch it across three times last week alone, you have to like his chances. As an added bonus, over the last month three backs have topped 70 rushing yards against the Niners and two more have topped 60 receiving yards, so Lynch could be a yardage helper as well.

RB Justin Forsett B

The way the touches are being split up, Lynch is a viable fantasy entity and Forsett an afterthought unless the matchup is extremely favorable. This one isn't.


Mike Williams
Ben Obomanu

B Neither Williams nor Obomanu practiced at all this week, and both are officially listed as questionable this week. If one or the other plays they would be an okay start (S3 caliber), but they're game-time decisions and this is a late game so you'll likely need to make a lineup decision prior to knowing their availability. Can't risk a zero at this juncture, so keep them on your fantasy bench.
TE John Carlson B The Niners have gone two months without allowing a tight end touchdown and haven't let a tight end top 50 yards against them all season long. Even if Carlson is back from the hip injury that kept him out last week that's too tough a matchup to trust him against.
DT Seahawks S3 Seattle's defense has made some plays, and Alex Smith has been known to make some mistakes.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith S3

The Seahawks shut out Smith in the season opener, but since then their secondary has allowed five 300-yard games, three more games with 289-plus yards, and seven mutliple-TD efforts. So even a quarterback that's been benched, like Smith, warrants fantasy consideration against them—especially on the road, where they've allowed four multi-TD games and at least 289 yards in every outing.

RB Brian Westbrook
Anthony Dixon

Not only have the Seahawks allowed at least one RB TD in every road game this season, they've allowed multiple backs to dent them for yardage: two have topped 100, two more have topped 90, another three have exceeded 70, and seven more have rushed for at least 50 or more. With Dixon and Westbrook splitting the workload, there should be a little something for everybody.

WR Michael Crabtree S2 Only one team has given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Seahawks, and they're especially shaky on the road. Here's a chance for Crabtree to start living up to some of that hype that preceded him into the league last year.
WR Josh Morgan S3 In five of six road games the Seahawks have allowed at least one secondary receiver to score or top 55 yards, so this week there's enough to go around for Morgan.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Troy Smith finally finds Davis, and now he's benched. That's okay; Alex knew where he was, so he'll be plenty targeted and a viable fantasy option.

DT 49ers B Nothing here suggests the Niners' defense warrants fantasy attention.
New England at Chicago Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

Brady has multiple TD tosses in four straight, back-to-back games with Abe Lincolns (four scores), and 326 yards or better in three of his last four. Yes, the Bears are a pretty good pass defense... but so were the Jets.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Five touchdowns in the last three games indicate the Pats are comfortable with BJGE around the goal line. And while the Bears haven't allowed a bunch of RB TDs this year they've let the likes of Jahvid Best, Marshawn Lynch, and Justin Forsett cross the stripe at Soldier Field, which certainly bodes well for Green-Ellis.


Danny Woodhead


He'll get some yards and he may even score, but you can't bank on that production against a defense as solid as Chicago's—especially when BJGE is bogarting the goal line looks.

WR Wes Welker
Deion Branch
S3 Welker and Branch are splitting the outside targets and while neither is a great play against a very good Chicago defense, they have Tom Brady throwing to them and the Bears have given up WR TDs in two straight and six of the last seven so they at minimum warrant fantasy consideration.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Rob Gronkowski
S3 Tight ends are a huge part of New England's offense; they've accounted for seven touchdowns in the last five games alone. It's not a cream puff matchup against a Bears defense that's allowed just one TE TD this season, but the Pats don't treat their TEs like ordinary TEs.
DT Patriots S1 Bill Belichick is playing chess; Jay Cutler is playing checkers.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

Only one team has allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Patriots, and while it's unlikely Mike Martz turns Cutler loose he'll definitely get some opportunities to attack New England's young secondary.

RB Matt Forte S3

Forte has done enough of late to warrant consideration here, if only because it's a softer matchup than you might think; the Pats rank 11th in fantasy points allowed to running backs. They've also given up at least 75 combo yards to six backs on the road this year; Forte has hit that mark in four of his six home games.


Johnny Knox
Earl Bennett

S3 New England's secondary is improving, but they're still exploitable: over the past month they've given up seven WR TDs and nine different receivers have scored or topped 60 yards (or both). Knox is Cutler's top target, but Bennett out of the slot is just as likely to put up helpful fantasy numbers.
TE Greg Olsen


Olsen isn't heavily involved in the flight pattern until the red zone, and the Pats have allowed only one TE TD in the last six games so he's best left on your bench this week.

DT Bears B Chicago sports a good defense, but Tom Brady is playing mistake-free football right now.

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