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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)

Miami at New York Jets

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne B

Don't look for a repeat of Henne's big showing against the Jets earlier this year; since that game he's had twice as many dogs as fantasy helpers, and Gang Green has gotten healthy in the secondary. For proof, look no further than the 559 passing yards and two TDs they've surrendered in their last three home games combined.


Ronnie Brown
Ricky Williams


The Dolphins duo can't even muster a fantasy helper against a soft run D; they have no shot against a Jets defense that's allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs.


Brandon Marshall


Marshall destroyed the Revis-less Jets in Week 3 to the tune of 10-166-1, but now that Revis is back it's Marshall who's iffy; he was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable. Even healthy you'd have to consider sitting him against Revis, but knowing that he's hobbled there's no way you can use Marshall this week.


Davonne Bess


The Dolphins aren't likely to have the passing success they did back in Week 3, and as bad as it looks for Bess now it could be worse if Marshall can't go and Bess winds up wearing Darrelle Revis all afternoon.


Anthony Fasano


Over the past five weeks the Jets have given up three TE TDs and more than 70 yards per game to the position. Fasano scored in the earlier matchup with the Jets, scored last week, and might be the only option available to Chad Henne here.

DT Dolphins B Miami isn't as likely to force Sanchez into mistakes, nor as apt to take advantage of them.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

Sanchez was more than solid in his earlier meeting with the Dolphins, but he's totaled just 331 yards and two TDs in his past two games and he's facing a Miami secondary that's gone a month without allowing multiple touchdown passes.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Shonn Greene

The Jets backfield has now gone six games without scoring a touchdown; so much for a dominant running game. The touches have evened out, but neither LT nor Greene is doing much with them. Tomlinson scored in the earlier meeting, but against a Miami defense that just blanked Peyton Hillis you're looking at mediocre numbers split evenly—making both backs fringe fantasy starters at best.

WR Santonio Holmes


Edwards had the big touchdown in the earlier meeting between these clubs, but Holmes wasn't active yet. He's usurped Braylon's big play role, and the Dolphins have struggled with speed (see Jacoby Ford) this year so look for Santonio to be Sanchez's primary weapon this time around.

WR Braylon Edwards


As he demonstrated in the previous meeting, Edwards can make plays. And as he demonstrates on a weekly basis, he has trouble holding on to the football. With Holmes entrenched as the go-to big play receiver, Edwards is relegated to afterthought status.

TE Dustin Keller S3

Keller has done little since taking the Dolphins for 98 yards and two scores back in Week 3, but after seeing Ben Watson reach triple-digits against Miami last week you would think this is an opportunity for Keller to get back in the proverbial fantasy saddle.

DT Jets B Henne has thrown at least one pick in nine straight games, a total of 15 in all. You would think the Jets could figure out how to turn that to their advantage.

Denver at Arizona

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2 It may look like Arizona's pass defense has improved, but don't be fooled by the numbers; teams are just running all over the Cardinals so the passing yardage totals are down. Denver won't be as kind; Orton already has six 300-yard games and two more with 295 or better, and he knows he needs to pad that stat line before Tim Tebow takes over.
RB Knowshon Moreno S1 Moreno is the hot knife; he has two 100-yard rushing games in the past month and four straight with at least 118 combo yards, plus three TDs in that span. Arizona's defense is the butter; they've allowed six straight feature backs to score on them, a total of 11 RB TDs in that span, with three 100-yard outings.
WR Brandon Lloyd


If Orton's throwing, Lloyd will be catching. He has six TDs in the last five games and has been targeted at least nine times in each of them. Triple digits is quite likely against an Arizona secondary that's allowed four 100-yard receivers in its last six games.

WR Jabar Gaffney
Eddie Royal


Against the Cards there's generally been enough to go around; in the past two months 11 different receivers have scored and/or topped 60 yards. Gaffney and Royal are secondary options, but this is the kind of matchup where secondary options can be fantasy helpers.

DT Broncos S3 Denver's defense has done nothing special, but Arizona's quarterback play has been so bad it could make any opposing side look like the '85 Bears.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB John Skelton B

It's a matchup with a Denver defense that's allowed 1,206 passing yards and 12 TDs in the past four games, but if this guy has been stuck behind Derek Anderson and Max Hall on the depth chart you don't want him anywhere near your fantasy squad.

RB Tim Hightower
S2 Arizona has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs, but Denver has allowed the second-most. And with Wells still an enigma, Hightower is the Cardinals back poised to exploit this matchup for your fantasy gain.
RB Chris "Beanie" Wells
B Between the injuries and the fumbles and the inability to pass protect who knows when Wells will see significant carries again. It's a great matchup, but it looks like Tim Hightower will be the one who gets to exploit it.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

The hope is that Skelton finds Fitzgerald early and often; problem is, Fitz will likely be wearing Champ Bailey all afternoon and the rookie won't want to throw in that direction. Fitz gets an S3 on reputation, but the killer combo of a bad quarterback and a shutdown corner could easily turn him into a bench play.

WR Steve Breaston

Assuming Champ is draped on Fitz, Skelton will need to throw the ball somewhere. Breaston has been matching Fitzgerald's looks and production, though that isn't saying much. Again, it's a risk with an untested quarterback, but Max Hall seemed to find his receivers okay.

DT Cardinals S3 Arizona's defense has to take some chances, because they know their offense will struggle to put points on the board.

Kansas City at San Diego

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Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel B

Cassel had an appendectomy earlier this week, didn't practice at all, and is officially listed as doubtful. An appendectomy isn't one of those "tape it up and play" things, so don't expect to see Cassel this week.

QB Brodie Croyle B

The Chiefs are forced to go to the bullpen for a quarterback who hasn't started since last year's season opener and who has one career game with more than 200 yards. On the bright side, they have a pretty good running game they can lean on.

RB Jamaal Charles

Charles scored in the first meeting between these clubs and has back-to-back 100-yard games. And after watching the Raiders gash San Diego's run defense last week, you have to think Charles is at least capable of Darren McFadden numbers.

RB Thomas Jones

And if Charles equals McFadden, wouldn't Jones equal Michael Bush? Jones continues to get carries at the expense of Charles, but while he hasn't been nearly as productive as Charles he at least warrants fantasy consideration here.


Dwayne Bowe


Bowe's scoring streak was snapped last week by Champ Bailey, and now he'll be working with a backup quarterback who hasn't made a start since Week 1 of last year. Making matters worse, he'll be facing one of the two toughest teams for fantasy wideouts to score upon. The Chargers and the rain held Bowe to one catch in the season opener, but he had scored in his two previous meetings with San Diego. The fact that Croyle has found Bowe for touchdowns in three of their last four games together keeps Bowe on the start side of the ledger, but it's not nearly with the degree of confidence we had with him a couple weeks ago.


Tony Moeaki


Moeaki scored in the earlier meeting with San Diego, but Leonard Pope stole his score last week and now he could be dealing with a new quarterback. It's all a gosh-darn mess.

DT Chiefs S3 The Chargers' special teams have had enough issues this season that the Chiefs at least warrant a look-see this week.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

Rivers has just one passing TD in his last two games combined. But against a KC defense he took for 298 and two in a monsoon, a defense that's given up six passing TDs in its last two road games, Philip should get back on pace to break Dan Marino's record.

RB Mike Tolbert S3 Look for Tolbert to once again get the bulk of the touches in this one, with Mathews unable to pass block and Darren Sproles still nursing a concussion and officially listed as questionable. However, don't expect huge productivity against a Chiefs defense that hasn't allowed a running back rushing score in its last seven games.
RB Ryan Mathews B Mathews teased us in the earlier game with KC, rushing for 75 yards on 19 carries in a rain storm. But he hasn't made it back to the field after suffering an ankle injury, in part because he can't pass block. Until he does get back in the mix, he can't be trusted with a fantasy start.
WR Malcom Floyd S3 Floyd should be available for this week's tilt, the healthiest of San Diego's walking wounded receiving corps. That puts him in the best shape to take advantage of a Chiefs' secondary that prior to last week had allowed a WR TD or 75-yard receiver (or both) in every game this year.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu
Vincent Jackson
S3 Legedu Naanee is doubtful after not practicing all week, and Patrick Crayton has already been ruled out. That leaves Jackson, who practiced fully on Friday but is still a bit of a risk with that troublesome calf, and the healthy but hard-to-say Ajirotutu. Both could be considered for a spot start here, as Rivers is on a torrid pace and the Chiefs have allowed five receivers to either score or top 90 yards in the past three games alone.
TE Antonio Gates S3

Early indications are Gates will play this week, though he didn't practice all week. If he's on the field he belongs in your lineup, and the fact that he played through this injury last week makes it a little easier to trust him this time around. He scored in the earlier meeting with San Diego and has touchdowns in three of the last four games in which he's played. Downgrade him to an S3 because of his lack of practice and his questionable status, but if you're able to wait it out (maybe swap in another late-game TE if Gates doesn't go) there should be a reward if Gates does in fact play.

DT Chargers S2

With Matt Cassel out, the Chargers will have the opportunity to take advantage of some backup quarterbacking.


Philadelphia at Dallas

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S1

The Cowboys have allowed at least 260 passing yards in seven straight games, with multiple touchdowns in six of them. Vick has 300 and two in back-to-back games and three of his last four. And if that isn't enough to float your boat, he also has five rushing touchdowns in his last five games. Any questions?

RB LeSean McCoy

Somewhat surprisingly McCoy has held onto his fantasy value even while Mike Vick takes over the offense. McCoy has at least 120 yards from scrimmage in three straight, triple-digit combo yardage in five of six, and has four touchdowns in his last four games. He might even get a boost in the scoring department this week from a Dallas defense that has surrendered four RB TDs in the last two games alone.

WR DeSean Jackson
S1 Jackson still needs a redemption game to make up for Andy Reid's tongue lashing following the loss to Chicago. This date with a Dallas secondary that's allowed at least one WR TD and at least one receiver to top 90 yards in each of the last seven games gives him just the pulpit he needs.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S2 Don't worry, there'll be plenty left over for the wingman; over the past seven games a whopping 16 different wideouts have either scored or topped 80 yards against the Cowboys—at least two wide receivers hitting those benchmarks in each of those seven games.
TE Brent Celek
B Celek is seeing a slight uptick in his looks, but considering he's at best the fourth option in this offense you can find more fantasy help elsewhere.
DT Eagles S3 Philly brings some heat, and while Kitna is a veteran even he can get rattled.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S2

Philly's been scoring plenty of points, but of late they've been giving them up as well; over the past five weeks only two teams have allowed more passing touchdowns. Despite the Cowboys' newfound ground game, Kitna will still throw plenty. And if he sticks to his every-other-week pattern, he's due for a 300-yard outing this week.

RB Felix Jones

Jones is still the secondary back, but he's also still explosive enough and involved enough in the passing game to warrant a fantasy start against a mediocre-at-best Eagles run D.

RB Tashard Choice S3

Choice leapfrogged Jones and took over the bulk of the carries last week, producing a 100-yard game and scoring for the second consecutive week. Philly's run D has been better at home than on the road, so it's another opportunity for Choice to stake his claim for the starting gig in 2011.

WR Miles Austin S2

With Dez Bryant on the shelf, Austin can go back to being the top target—and top targets have fared quite well against Philly, from Reggie Wayne to Roddy White to Andre Johnson last week.

WR Roy Williams S2

Williams moves back into a prominent role as well, and if Kitna is more comfortable throwing to a bigger target—as he seemed to be with Bryant—he could lean more on Williams as well. The Eagles' secondary should get healthier this week with the return of Asante Samuel, but he can't be everywhere.

TE Jason Witten S1

If Witten is healthy—he played through an ankle sprain last week—this is a fabulous matchup for him against a Philly defense that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends. And if Witten isn't healthy, maybe Martellus Bennett is worth a look-see.

DT Cowboys B Dallas' D hasn't done much to warrant fantasy attention, and with Dez Bryant out of the picture the return game isn't nearly as dynamic, either.

Baltimore at Houston

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S2

It's a nice matchup for Flacco, facing a Houston secondary that's given up more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other. While the Ravens still like to run the ball, Flacco knows what to do with a good matchup—like, say, this one.

RB Ray Rice S2

You know the drill with Rice: plenty of yardage, iffy on the scores. He's at least as versatile as LeSean McCoy, who tallied one each way last week against the Texans, so maybe Ray will toss those in TD-heavy scoring systems a little bone this week.

WR Derrick Mason

Mason complained about the Baltimore offense following last week's loss to the Steelers; now he gets a chance to put it right against one of the most fantasy-friendly secondaries in the league.

WR Anquan Boldin

Only three teams allow more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Texans, and after Boldin resurrected his season last week with a big game against the Steelers it's a great time to get him back into your fantasy lineup.


Ed Dickson

S3 Todd Heap left fantasy owners in the lurch last week, exiting Baltimore's loss to the Steelers after just one play. Enter Dickson, who caught three balls against the Steel Curtain and as a reward gets this matchup with the softest tight end defense in the league. If you've been playing matchup poker at the tight end position this year, here's your playoff trump card.
DT Ravens S3 It's aging, and it hasn't done much this year, but this defense can still go the other way with a turnover as good as anyone in the business.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Schaub has been more of a handoff guy at home; his three biggest yardage days and four of his six multiple touchdown outings have all come on the road. Baltimore is particularly stingy against passing touchdowns, but Schaub has proven to be resourceful and may wind up using Foster more as a receiver to offset the Ravens' stout run defense.
RB Arian Foster
S2 Sure, you could be concerned; the Ravens are the sixth-toughest defense for running backs to score fantasy points on, and Foster's only dog this season came against a Giants defense ranked eighth in that category. On the other hand, whether it be yardage or touchdowns or as a receiver Foster has found a way to carve out fantasy value on an every-week basis; it would be foolish to bail on him now.
WR Andre Johnson S2 Sore ankle or no, AJ keeps rolling; he has four 100-yard games and four TDs over the past seven games. Only Revis Island and the Chargers have been able to slow him, and the Ravens don't sport a shutdown corner or a similar secondary.
WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones

Jones took one of his two catches into the end zone last week, but the Houston passing game is still Andre Johnson, dump offs to Arian Foster, and then everybody else as an afterthought.

TE Owen Daniels B

Daniels is finally healthy enough to rejoin the reindeer games... just in time for a matchup with one of the toughest defenses against tight ends. The Ravens have given up just one TE TD in the last five games, so give Owen another week on your bench before returning him to the fantasy fray.

DT Texans B Nothing here to warrant your fantasy attention.

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