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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 15
John Tuvey
Updated: December 17, 2010
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SFO at SDC NOS at BAL HOU at TEN NYJ at PIT Start/Bench List by Position
BUF at MIA JAC at IND WAS at DAL DEN at OAK
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DET at TBB PHI at NYG KCC at STL GBP at NEP
ARI at CAR CLE at CIN ATL at SEA CHI at MIN
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 New York Giants Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S2

Vick's worst game in his last six was a 258-yard, zero-TD pass (but one rushing score) outing against the Giants in Week 11. It's not just Vick Big Blue has shut down; only once in the past six games has an opposing quarterback produced multiple touchdowns. Vick's rushing ability buoys his value, but this is likely to be a (for him) subdued fantasy total.

RB LeSean McCoy
S2

McCoy has at least 120 yards from scrimmage in four straight and triple-digit combo yardage in six of his last seven—with the only miss being a 94-yard effort in a 59-28 pasting of the Redskins where he gave way to Jerome Harrison around halftime. That run includes a 111-yard rushing performance with a touchdown against the Giants, and after seeing them give up 113 to Maurice Jones-Drew a couple weeks back there's no need to hit the panic button on McCoy here.

WR DeSean Jackson
S2 The Giants have allowed only one WR TD in the past month, but they've given up a couple of big yardage games including 120 to Jeremy Maclin in Week 11. Jackson's home-run threat can't be denied, so despite his 5-50 a month back against the Giants you'll want him in your lineup this week. Officially he's listed as questionable, but Jackson said he did more on Friday than earlier in the week and with two more days before kickoff he fully expects to be in the lineup.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S3 While Jackson makes the splashier plays, Maclin has actually had more targets and more catches than Jackson in four of the last five games. If the Giants overfocus on Jackson again—or if Jackson's foot injury limits him here—Maclin proved with that 9-120 in the earlier meeting that he's capable of making opponents pay.
TE Brent Celek
B As if it weren't enough that Vick is virtually ignoring Celek, now he has to deal with a matchup against a Giants defense that's allowed one TE TD in the last 11 games and none since the team's Week 8 bye. Celek was invisible in Philly's previous meeting with the Giants, and there's little reason to expect that to change dramatically this time around.
DT Eagles S2 Eli has thrown 19 picks on the year, including three in the earlier matchup with the Eagles. And with his regular receiving corps all kinds of nicked up, a tip here or a miscommunication there could lead to six the other way very quickly.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

After seven straight multiple touchdown games Eli has now thrown one in two games—not because he's struggling, but because his ground game is working and his defense has allowed just 10 points during that span. Expect him to get back in the fantasy saddle against a Philly D that's allowed multiple TDs in five straight and eight of nine as well as 242 yards or more in three straight and eight of nine.

RB Brandon Jacobs
S3

Jacobs took over the lead dog role after both he and Bradshaw struggled against the Eagles in Week 11. Since then Jake has averaged 102 rushing yards and one TD a game. More importantly, he keeps getting touches. Against a Philly D that's given up nine RB TDs in the last six games, his workload and role warrant at least some fantasy consideration.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw
S2

While Bradshaw has ceded the lead role to Jacobs, he's still produced an average of 101 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game. He's also staying on the field in some goal line situations and catching 3+ passes per game, boosting his value in all scoring formats. After denting the vaunted Vikings run D for 103 last week he certainly deserves a fantasy start here.

WR Hakeem Nicks
S2

Nicks looked plenty healthy in putting up 7-97 on Minnesota last week, and he'll have a chance to reprise his role as the team's leading receiver against Philly. The Eagles have allowed 513 WR yards and four WR TDs in the past three weeks alone, and with both Steve Smith and Mario Manningham out of the lineup Nicks will be Eli's go-to guy.

WR Derek Hagan
S3

Hagan scored in the earlier meeting with the Eagles and will also capitalize on being among the Giants' few healthy receivers.

TE Kevin Boss
S2

Positive trends collide here. Philly gave up two TE TDs last week and has allowed four in the last four games and nine in the last 10 as well as three 100-yard efforts to TEs this year. Boss has stepped into the void created by all the wide receiver injuries to produced five TDs over the past two months. With Smith and Manningham out, Boss remains near the top of the pass-catching pecking order.

DT Giants S3 Vick hasn't been making mistakes, but few (if any) teams have had the success containing him that the G-Men did in the earlier meeting—and few (if any) have the speed up front to hound him into the mistakes that lead to defensive fantasy points.
 
Cleveland at Cincinnati Back to top
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

Eric Mangini made the smart move and went back to Colt McCoy; didn't see that one coming. McCoy practiced fully all week, and the ankle injury that opened the door for Jake Delhomme to return to the lineup is no longer an issue. While McCoy is the better QB for the Browns he's still not a fantasy helper, with three TDs in five games and no multiple-TD efforts to his credit.

RB Peyton Hillis

S1

Cincy gave up 102 and one to Hillis back when he was still a novelty ; since then he's produced three 100-yard efforts and two multiple touchdown games, while the Bengals have allowed three of each. The Browns aren't going to threaten anyone via the pass, so may as well load up Hillis with a bunch more carries.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi B

The Browns couldn't even muster 100 receiving yards as a collective in their previous meeting with Cincy; even with the Bengals all kinds of banged up in the secondary, you shouldn't anticipate a significant uptick this time around.

TE Ben Watson S3

Watson caught six balls for 60 yards against the Bengals back in Week 4, but Evan Moore stole his touchdown. Cincy hasn't allowed a TE TD since, but with Moore still nicked up Watson can be a fantasy contributor in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Browns S3 The Bengals have served up five DST TDs in the last five games; who's to say the Brownies can't get in on the fun?
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S3

Palmer has been mired in a three-game slump, but the secondary that served him up a 371-yard, two-TD performance back in Week 4 is just the ticket to get him back on track. Besides, Cleveland's a much more favorable matchup than the last three Palmer has faced: Jets, Saints, Steelers.

RB Cedric Benson S3

Benson's 15-60 in the earlier meeting was nothing special, just as he's been nothing special against anything but cream puff run defenses this year. Cleveland ranks at least 10 spots higher than either Tampa Bay or Buffalo, which means your expectations for Benson should be kept in check this week.

WR Terrell Owens
Chad Ochocinco
S3

TO destroyed the Browns for 222 and one in the earlier meeting, but of late it's been just as likely to be Ochocinco as TO—maybe because the latter keeps throwing everyone in the organization except himself under the bus. The Browns secondary has played better of late; in fact, since their Week 8 bye they haven't allowed a 100-yard receiver and have given up just four WR TDs in six games. Both Bengal wideouts are capable of a fantasy helper, but neither is a must-start this week. They're also banged up: Owens is officially listed as questionable with a knee injury and his only practice work this week was a limited session on Thursday; Ocho sat on Thursday but practiced fully on Friday and despite the dramatic nature of his tweets should be good to go. It's worth keeping an eye on TO's status—he's already thrown the rest of the organization under the bus, it wouldn't be a shock if he decided not to play hurt for them—but if they're regulars in your lineup you should be fine.

TE Jermaine Gresham B Gresham has become an afterthought, with just one touchdown in the last two months. Cleveland offers a favorable matchup, but even when Gresham was hot earlier in the year he only took them for 5-35; no reason to look for an uptick here.
DT Bengals S3 It's a date with Jake Delhomme; that's turned out well for many a fantasy defense.
 

Houston at Tennessee

Back to top
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2 The Texans had no need to press offensively the last time they faced Tennessee because Rusty Smith offered no scoring threat whatsoever; still, Schaub was able to throw a pair of touchdowns. This time around the Titans at least have Kerry Collins at the helm, so Schaub might have to work a little harder. Seeing as he's had multiple touchdowns in three straight and four of five, as well as back-to-back game with 330-plus yards and 250 or more in five of six, he'll definitely be up to the task.
RB Arian Foster
S1 Foster has produced 100 rushing yards or a touchdown (or both) in eight straight games, including a 143-yard effort against the Titans three weeks ago. Injuries have ravaged the Titans' defensive line, so there's no reason Foster can't extend his string and tighten his grip on the fantasy MVP hardware.
WR Andre Johnson S2 Johnson has nine catches in three of his last five, 140 or more yards in three of his last five, and four touchdowns over that span as well. So long as Cortland Finnegan doesn't goad him into another ejection, AJ should have little problem with a secondary he took for 9-56-1 in a short afternoon of work three weeks ago and which is fresh off giving up 106 yards to Reggie Wayne and 93 and two to Pierre Garçon.
WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones
S3

The auxiliary targets have chipped in of late, with Jones scoring in each of the past two games and both wideouts topping 50 yards last week. They're not great plays, but you can bet Finnegan will be... uh, "engaged" with AJ so there should be openings elsewhere in the secondary.

TE Owen Daniels S2

Joel Dreessen scored in the earlier meeting with Tennessee, but Daniels looks to be healthy and, after shaking off some rust and the dropsies last week, produced the kind of game (5-91) we were getting from him prior to his injury. The Titans have allowed five TEs to top 80 yards this year, so they're vulnerable at the position. And if Schaub goes back to him 11 times like he did Monday night against the Ravens, even bigger numbers are in store.

DT Texans B Unless the Titans are forced to go back to Rusty Smith, there's nothing to see here.
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins S2

Collins missed out on a previous opportunity to toy with the league's most fantasy-friendly secondary; he won't make that mistake again. Collins looked plenty healthy throwing for 244 and three against Indy last week and he should put up similar numbers against a secondary that's allowed 10 consecutive non-Rusty Smith quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns against them, as well as five of the last six non-Rusty QBs (and 10 of the last 12) to throw for at least 268 yards.

RB Chris Johnson S2

The Texans have allowed only two 100-yard rushers all season, and feeling no threat from the passing game in the previous meeting they limited CJ to an embarassing five yards on seven carries. With Kerry Collins under center Houston will have to at least pretend to respect the pass, which should open the door enough for Johnson to have something that more closely resembles his typical solid fantasy effort..

WR Kenny Britt
Nate Washington
S3 Only one team has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Texans, and with Britt and Washington accounting for 15 of Collins' 17 WR targets last week they're the best bets to exploit said secondary.
WR Randy Moss

B Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
TE Bo Scaife S3 Scaife scored twice last week, and the Texans have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than all but one other team. However, the Titans also have Craig Stevens and Jared Cook getting looks at the position. Two out of three ain't bad
DT Titans B While the Texans served up a pair of return TDs last week, the Titans' defense is definitely not the Ravens.
 
Washington at Dallas Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman B

Strange benching, considering McNabb was on fire (for him), with multiple TD passes in 2 of his last 5 games. Maybe Danny Snyder researched Donovan’s track record against the Cowboys: one multiple TD outing in his last 8 vs. DAL and more than 230 yards just once in that span. So we get Grossman, who has one start since 2007 and hasn’t had a multiple TD game since WK15 of 2006.

RB

Ryan Torain

S2 Torain has rushed for 100 or more yards in three of his last four games, and facing a Cowboys defense that's allowed five 100-yard games already this year and four RB TDs in the last three he's a good bet to put up helpful fantasy numbers once again. He's officially listed as questionable because of that troublesome hamstring, but he practiced fully all week and his availability isn't a concern.
WR Santana Moss
S3 Since blanking the Redskins in Week 1, the Cowboys have allowed at least one WR TD in every game. More recently, they've allowed a 200-yard receiver in back-to-back games and at least one 90-yard receiver in each of the past eight games, a total of 10 in all. Moss went for 6-77 in the opener and remains the Skins most consistent play at wideout. Against this secondary, he should be able to help your fantasy squad.
WR Anthony Armstrong
B Armstrong had a brief run where he usurped Moss, but the pecking order has been restored. Despite what looks to be a favorable matchup, starting two Redskins receivers seems a bit of a stretch considering how infrequently McNabb produces multiple touchdowns.
TE Chris Cooley S3

The Cowboys haven't allowed a TE TD in a month, but Cooley's 6-80 in the opener proves he can find seams in their defense, and his 101 targets prove he's an integral part of the Redskins' offense.

DT Redskins B This unit continues to lose key players, and it wasn't doing much fantasy-wise to begin with.
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S2

Kitna's been money at home, with multiple touchdowns or 300-plus yards in each of his four Big D starts. He'll have another opportunity to entertain the locals against a Redskins defense that's allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than all but four other teams.

RB Felix Jones
Tashard Choice
S2

Unless the Cowboys opt to muddle the mix with Marion Barber (who was limited all week in practice and is listed as questionable), both Jones and Choice have opportunities to help here. First, it's a soft matchup against a defense that's allowed six RB TDs in the last three games and five 100-yard rushers in the last two months. With Jones it's all about the yardage: he has at least 83 combo yards in each of the last five games, with two TDs in that span. Choice has come on of late with two TDs and a 100-yard effort in the last three weeks. Expect the Cowboys to give Choice a shot at redemption; remember, it was his fumble just before halftime that cost Dallas the previous game with Washington.

WR Miles Austin S2

The Redskins haven't allowed a WR TD in a month, but sans safety Laron Landry their secondary will be a whole lot more susceptible. Austin had 10-146-1 in the opener against the Skins, and with the Cowboys down a couple more receivers he'll be at the top of Kitna's go-to list once again.

WR Roy Williams B

It'll be a bit tougher for Roy against a defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to score in the same game only three times all year. Worse, Williams is nursing a groin injury that limited him on Wednesday and knocked him out of practice Thursday and Friday. Even with Laron Landry out and the Cowboys' receiving corps thinned, an injured Williams makes a risky play this week.

TE Jason Witten S1

Witten has three touchdowns in the last two games and 190 yards in the last three. He was an afterthought in the opener (3-27) with Tony Romo going downfield, but Kitna loves him and will continue going to him.

DT Cowboys B Aside from facing a relatively toothless Redskins offense, the Cowboys D has little going for it fantasy-wise.
 
Kansas City at St. Louis Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S3

After allowing only one multiple passing touchdown game through the first 10 weeks, the Rams have allowed the last three legit quarterbacks they've faced (doesn't include the Cardinals) to turn the trick. Whether Cassel will be healthy enough to take advantage of the Rams' fading pass defense remains to be seen, but he practiced on a limited basis all week and is listed as questionable. And an injured Cassel is infinitely better than a healthy Brodie Croyle, so plan on him being available—and a fringe fantasy option.

RB Jamaal Charles
S2 With all 11 defenders playing the run last week the Chiefs couldn't get their ground game going; the return of Cassel should fix that issue. The Rams have been solid against the run, but KC has had success against defenses of all ilk and it's unlikely they ask Cassel to carry the club less than two weeks after an appendectomy. Charles has established himself as the lead dog in the Chiefs' committee, and he's talented enough to turn even a limited number of touches into a fantasy helper.
RB Thomas Jones
S3

It's been almost a month since Jones produced a quality fantasy start, but he's done a nice job of finishing Chiefs drives where Charles does most of the legwork. He's still getting touches, so he's still a viable fantasy option.

WR

Dwayne Bowe

S3

A pair of absolute clunkers burned up all the good will Bowe's hot streak garnered. Against a Rams secondary that's allowed six WR TDs over the last three games--and with Cassel back at the helm--he has a great shot at earning back another chunk of it.

TE

Tony Moeaki

B

The Rams have allowed only one TE TD in the past eight games, but Moeaki can top that: he's scored just once in the last 10. Wait, that's a bad thing.

DT Chiefs B It's been two months since the Chiefs produced a DST TD; surprisingly, this matchup with a rookie quarterback isn't a cure-all for that slump.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S3

Bradford's had multiple touchdowns in three straight home games; the Chiefs have allowed multiple TD tosses in three straight on the road. So we're sayin' there's a chance.

RB Steven Jackson S3

Jackson is regularly close but frequently falls short, be it winding up in the 90-yard range or being stopped just shy of the goal line. He has a decent shot at one or the other against a defense that allowed two RB TDs last week and a 161-yard game to Knowshon Moreno the week before; just don't get greedy and expect both.

WR

Laurent Robinson
Brandon Gibson

S3

Gibson and Robinson are the latest contenders for the Rams' vacant and revolving WR1 role. They're being targeted more frequently than Danny Amendola, and against a Chiefs secondary that's allowed six WR TDs in its last three road games they have a shot of being fantasy helpers this week.

DT Rams B Unless the Chiefs have to go back to Brodie Croyle, there's no reason to reach for the Rams' defense as a fantasy helper.

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