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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)
 
 

Atlanta at Seattle

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Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

The Seahawks have served up three, four, four, and three TD tosses to the last four legitimate quarterbacks they've faced (Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen don't count). And while typically Ryan's biggest games come at home, he hasn't faced a secondary as soft as Seattle's. He'll be limited only by the success of Atlanta's ground game.

RB Michael Turner S1

Turner proved his road mettle last week in Carolina, and he walks into another favorable matchup here. When you add Turner's three-game road scoring streak—with 331 yards and five TDs in that span—to the 636 rushing yards and six RB TDs the Seahawks have surrendered in their last four home games, you get yourself a big ol' S1.

WR Roddy White S1

Seattle has been kind to elite receivers, giving up 170 and 3 to Dwayne Bowe, 113 and 2 to Marques Colston, and 128 and 1 to Hakeem Nicks—and that's just in the past six weeks. Yes, Roddy has been slowed by a knee injury but he's also faced three top-12 pass defenses the past three weeks; a date with No. 30 will make him look and feel a whole lot healthier.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S2

Gonzo's scored in two of his last three; the Seahawks have given up a TE TD in two of their last three. Gotta like those odds.

DT Falcons S3 Atlanta's defense hasn't done much, but they're facing a quarterback that's thrown eight picks in the last four games.
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3 Hass has been hot (for him), with multiple touchdown tosses in two of three and at least 282 yards in four of his last five. Of course, he's also thrown eight interceptions in the last three games, so if you subract points for picks you'll want to stay far, far away. As it stands he's a fringe fantasy helper against an Atlanta defense that's been better of late; after giving up multiple touchdowns in five straight they've held three consecutive quarterbacks to one or zero scoring strikes.
RB Marshawn Lynch B

The Falcons have allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers, but Lynch seems ill-equipped to take advantage. His one fantasy helper came against Carolina, the third-most fantasy friendly run defense; despite their recent foibles, for the season the Falcons rank among the five toughest defenses for backs to score fantasy points against.

WR

Mike Williams
Ben Obomanu

S3 A home game, a semi-hot quarterback, and an Atlanta defense that's allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wideouts; the stage is set for the return of Seattle's top two receivers from injury. Obomanu practiced fully all week, while MBW got in two full days of work including Friday. Hey, if Hass can get Ruvenll Martin and Deon Branch into the end zone he can make fantasy helpers out of BMW and Obomanu.
DT Seahawks S3 Matt Ryan doesn't turn the ball over, but sometimes the 12th Man makes strange things happen.
 

New York Jets at Pittsburgh

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

Sanchez has laid three eggs in a row, throwing just one TD over the past three games. A Steelers defense that's allowed only three scoring strikes in the past month isn't the cure for his ails.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Shonn Greene
B

The Jets backfield hasn't scored in a month, and they're splitting the carries and the yardage so they're no help in performance leagues, either. Worse, the Steelers haven't given up a RB rushing score in nine games. So much for Gang Green's dominant ground game.

WR Santonio Holmes

S3

The Steelers have allowed only one WR TD in the past five games, and the Jets' WRs have seen their stats suffer along with Sanchez's struggles. Holmes has four of the last six TDs produced by the Jets, along with both of their 100-yard games--not to mention some extra motivation against his old team. If any Jets wideout will find success this week, it'll have to be Holmes.

WR Braylon Edwards

B

The tough matchup, the struggling quarterback, the drops... Edwards isn't the answer this week.

TE Dustin Keller B

Keller hasn't scored in 10 weeks, and a halt to that scoreless skid isn't likely against a Steelers defense that's allowed only one tight end to find the end zone against them in the past two months.

DT Jets B Rex's defense has been a huge fantasy letdown this season.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

Big Ben’s has struggled of late, with only one TD toss in his last three games. The Jets have held four of the last five quarterbacks they've faced to only one TD. At least Roethlisberger has been a bit of a yardage helper, with 246 yards or better in each of his last five starts. He's a fringe fantasy contributor this week, but odds are you can turn up a more favorable matchup.

RB Rashard Mendenhall

S3

Mendenhall's not a great start against the league's second-toughest run defense, but he has five TDs in six home games—including scores against the No. 4 and No. 6 run defenses—and can't be ruled out completely.

WR Mike Wallace
Hines Ward
S3

Ward hasn't scored since Week 9, Wallace since Week 11. But Darrelle Revis can't be everywhere, as evidenced by the five WR TDs the Jets have allowed over the past three games. And both are solid home plays; Wallace has 420 yards and four TDs in his last four at home, while Ward has 100 yards or a TD in two of his last three at Heinz Field.

TE Heath Miller B

Miller hasn't scored since Big Ben's first game back; after two months, you can go ahead and write him off as a fantasy helper.

DT Steelers S2 Sanchez has thrown at least one INT in eight straight games, and with the Steel Curtain coming off a game in which they produced two defensive touchdowns you have to like their chances against Sanchez.
 

Denver at Oakland

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Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton B After a week's hiccup the Raiders got back to giving up multiple TD tosses, as they've done in 11 of 13 games this season. Sadly, the Denver passing game that used to look so potent has hit a wall; Orton hasn't topped 217 yards in three straight games and hasn't thrown for multiple touchdowns in a month. Despite a 45-point deficit in the previous meeting Orton only threw for 198 and two, so keep those expectations in check. Orton hasn't practiced all week because of a rib injury, and he's at best a game-time decision in what is expected to be sloppy conditions in Oakland. You can do better.
QB Tim Tebow B At the risk of offending Tebow Nation, it's tough to give a fantasy start to a guy who hasn't played more than two consecutive snaps this season. The weather shouldn't be a concern because, of course, Tebow can walk on water, but it's too late in the year to risk your fantasy season on an untested quarterback.
RB Knowshon Moreno S1 The Broncos may be falling apart around him, but Moreno continues to produce. He's had triple-digit yardage from scrimmage in five straight, with a touchdown in four of those five. Against an Oakland defense that's given up six RB TDs, two 100-yard rushing games and two more of at least 85 yards—all in just the past month—his hot streak should continue.
WR Brandon Lloyd

S3

Lloyd's stats have borne the brunt of Orton's struggles; his four-game scoring streak screeched to a halt and he has just five catches for 63 yards the past two weeks. He's still being targeted, but until Orton gets back in the saddle it's tough to completely trust Lloyd.

WR Jabar Gaffney
Eddie Royal

B

Over the past two months Royal and Gaffney each have one fantasy helper. With Orton mired in a slump and Lloyd still the go to guy, both are to be relegated to fantasy benches.

DT Broncos B The last time Denver faced the Raiders they gave up 59 points; clearly, their defense is not an option here.
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

Campbell has been an inconsistent fantasy contributor at best, and while he managed two TDs in the previous meeting with Denver that felt more like an aberration than something you can trust to repeat. Denver has held opposing quarterbacks to one or fewer touchdown toss in four of their last five road games, and given the success of Oakland's ground game and the Broncos' porous run D there may be no need for Campbell to throw at all.

RB Darren McFadden
S1

Run DMc obliterated the Broncos in their last meeting, with 165 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Since that game Denver has served up four 100-yard games and seven RB TDs—and that's just the past six games. McFadden rolled the Jags last week, and there's nothing to suggest he won't blow up the Broncos once again.

RB Michael Bush
S2

Even with McFadden's monster numbers, Bush was able to carve out 52 yards and a score of his own in the previous meeting with Denver. No reason to think he won't be involved in the reindeer games again this week.

WR

Jacoby Ford
Louis Murphy

B

The Raiders rolled up 59 points on the Broncos the last time they met, but in that entire point orgy they didn't come up with one WR TD. Champ Bailey will draw one of these wideouts, which will take him out of the equation, and after the running game takes its bite and Zach Miller gets his there just doesn't project to be enough left to make either wideout a viable fantasy helper.

TE Zach Miller S3

The Broncos have given up four TE TDs in the past three games, and they let Miller score in the previous meeting. After a couple down games, Miller looked spry last week and should take advantage of a Denver defense that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends.

DT Raiders S3 Denver has allowed only two defensive scores: last week, and the last time they faced the Raiders. Oakland's DST is nothing special, but the odds are at least tilting in their favor.
 

Green Bay at New England

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Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Flynn B

It's not looking promising for Aaron Rodgers this week; he failed to practice and is listed as doubtful, with all indications pointing towards a Flynn start this week. And after the way Flynn struggled against the Lions it's impossible to project anything positive against the Pats.

RB

Brandon Jackson
James Starks

B

With no threat in the passing game, it will be impossible for the running game to get going. And after the egg Starks laid last week in Detroit, he's become more punchline than fantasy prospect.

WR Greg Jennings

S3

This would be a favorable matchup for Jennings if he had his regular quarterback; the way it looks now, he gets a "they have to throw to somebody" courtesy S3.

WR Donald Driver

B

Driver was just as targeted as Jennings last week, but we've seen nothing from Flynn to suggest he can locate primary receivers, let alone secondary ones.

DT Packers S3 If anyone can go hairdo to hairdo with Tom Brady, it's Clay Matthews. Plus, with no offense backing them up this defense will have to take some chances.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

It's been two months since the Packers allowed multiple touchdown passes; it's been almost that long since Brady didn't throw at least two TDs in a game. If we've learned anything, it's never bet against Brady.

RB

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

S3

While only two teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to running backs, you can't bet against BJGE at home: he's scored in five straight at Gillette, a total of seven TDs in that span facing some of the tougher run defenses in the league.

RB

Danny Woodhead

S3

Woodhead is getting some goal line work as well, plus he's got a nice home thing going with a touchdown or 100-plus yards from scrimmage in his last five at Foxboro.

WR Wes Welker
Deion Branch
S2 The Packers haven't allowed a WR TD in a month, but this is a different animal entirely. New England wideouts have eight TDs and three 100-yard games in just the past three weeks.
TE Rob Gronkowski S2 Green Bay has given up a tight end touchdown in each of the last three games. Pit that against the Pats, who have at least one TE TD in five of the last six games and have scored eight total TE TDs in that span; with Hernandez listed as questionable and missing Friday's practice due to illness, Gronkowski doesn't have to worry about sharing looks.
DT Patriots S1 And you thought Belichick against Cutler was a mismatch; facing Flynn is flat-out unfair.
 

Chicago at Minnesota

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Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

Cutler has seven touchdown tosses in his last two against the Vikings, including four in a December outdoors contest last year. The cold and a tougher Minnesota D has us dialing the expectations back a bit, but he's still a quality start this week.

RB Matt Forte S3

Between the Vikings getting gouged by Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs last week and Forte finding a way to carve out fantasy value even in tougher matchups, he's no longer usable only against the Lions.

WR

Johnny Knox
Earl Bennett

S3 Minnesota has surrendered only one WR TD the last three games, but Knox got them in the earlier meeting and Bennett has been Cutler's favorite target of late. And after the way Cutler carved up Minnesota late last year, just about any of his receivers can be considered in play this week.
TE Greg Olsen

S3

The Vikings gave up two TE TDs in the last meeting with Chicago and have surrendered two more in the three games since. However, Olsen is losing some looks to Brandon Manumaleuna so he's a fringe fantasy play at best.

DT Bears S1 This defense, in the elements, against whatever the Vikings will trot out at quarterback, is a mismatch of epic proportions.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Webb B

That the Vikings are actually considering taking Patrick Ramsey off the street and plugging him in under center should tell you all you need to know about Webb's NFL readiness. He practiced fully on Thursday and Friday despite a hamstring injury, so he's got that going for him. Which is nice.

RB Adrian Peterson S3

The defense will unquestionably be keying on him, but what else are the Vikings gonna do? Peterson missed practice on both Thursday and Friday with ankle and knee issues, but it's tough to see him getting ruled out since the Vikings are already so short-handed. However, if you're banking on AP you'd better have a Monday alternative at your disposal.

WR Sidney Rice
Percy Harvin

S3

It sounds like Harvin will be back for this game, and you can bet the Vikings will find ways to get the ball into his hands that don't necessarily involve Webb throwing downfield. And when he does throw downfield, Rice is capable of going up and getting the ball in a crowd. They're fringe starts, to be sure, but their talent is tough to relegate to the fantasy bench.

TE Vishante Shiancoe B

The rule of thumb is that young, inexperienced quarterbacks love to check down to the tight end. But do you really want to trust a rookie QB throwing to his team's fourth option?

DT Vikings S3

Old-time Vikings football, outdoors in the cold. And Jay Cutler. Stranger things have happened.

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