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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 16
John Tuvey
Updated: December 24, 2010
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CAR at PIT WAS at JAC SFO at STL NYG at GBP Start/Bench List by Position
DAL at ARI NYJ at CHI IND at OAK SEA at TBB
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DET at MIA TEN at KCC SDC at CIN MIN at PHI
NEP at BUF BAL at CLE HOU at DEN NOS at ATL
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)
 
 
Tennessee at Kansas City Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins S3

Collins has multiple TD tosses in three of his four full games this season, as well as 237 yards or more in three of four starts. This is a tougher matchup than last week, as the Chiefs have held four of the last five QBs to visit Arrowhead to one or zero touchdowns; also, only one of those five has topped 232 yards. Look for Kerry's stats to fall somewhere in between: good enough to be a fantasy helper, but nothing you want to hang your hat on.

RB Chris Johnson S1

After a couple dogs, CJ is back getting enough carries to be a fantasy stud; he's posted 24-130-1 and 22-111-1 the past two weeks. The Chiefs have allowed three running backs to score in the past two weeks, and they're only three weeks removed from Knowshon Moreno dropping 161 rushing yards on them as well; surely Johnson can approach that territory.

WR Kenny Britt
S2 Britt's 6-128 last week prove he's reclaimed his spot as alpha dog among Tennessee receivers, a role he should exploit against a defense that's allowed six TDs to WR1s in the last five games.
WR Nate Washington
S3 Tennessee's No. 2 option should find success against a KC defense that's allowed a secondary receiver to either score or top 50 yards in four of the last six , including six such performances in the Chiefs' last three home games.
DT Titans B Unless Cortland Finnegan can win a couple rounds, there are no fantasy points to be had in this defense.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S3

Another week removed from his appendectomy can only bring good things for Cassel. A date with a Tennessee defense that's surrendered back-to-back 300-yard, two-TD games doesn't hurt, either.

RB Jamaal Charles
S2 Charles hasn't scored in three straight at home, but he did find the end zone last week in St. Louis. He also has 100-plus rushing yards in three of his last four overall and two of his last three at home, where he's averaging 107 rushing yards per game this season. The Titans have allowed two 140-yard rushers (who didn't score) the past three weeks, so they're ripe for a big Charles game. If not for Thomas Jones, Charles would be an every-week S1.
RB Thomas Jones
S3

While Charles racks up the yardage, Jones gets the touchdown glory with four TDs in his last five at home despite averaging 40 fewer yards per game in Arrowhead. Tennessee plays along with the theme; while allowing two backs to rush for 140 or more yards the past three weeks, they've ceded touchdowns to two other backs.

WR

Dwayne Bowe

S3

Since his hot streak ended, Bowe has just three catches (and no touchdowns) in three games. Here's his chance to get back in the saddle: a date with a Titans secondary that over the past five games has allowed five different receivers to score and two to top 100 yards.

DT Chiefs B KC hasn't produced a DST score in the past nine games; it's unlikely they'll start now.
 
Baltimore at Cleveland Back to top
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S2

Flacco's biggest fantasy game of the year—262 and three—came against the Browns back in Week 3. Cleveland's pass defense has been better of late, giving up just two passing touchdowns in the last four games and holding all four quarterbacks under 210 yards, but they also keep losing key defensive personnel. Flacco has multiple TDs in three of his last four and is at minimum a solid fantasy option here.

RB Ray Rice S2

Rice didn't score in the earlier meeting, which is hardly surprising considering the Browns have surrendered only five RB TDs all year and Rice has just five scores this year as well. But he's still a yardage-league hound, with triple-digit combo yards in six of his last seven. He put up 80 rushing and 16 receiving in the earlier meeting with Cleveland, but the Ravens seem to have rediscovered him of late so expect an uptick.

WR Anquan Boldin
Derrick Mason
S3

Cleveland has allowed just four WR TDs in six home games this season, but they've given up both monster games (101 and 1 to Roddy White, 222 and 1 to Terrell Owens) and across-the-board success (the Jets had two different receivers score and another put up 59 yards), and they continue to lose defensive backs to injury. With no clear-cut favorite among Baltimore receivers—neither has posted back-to-back fantasy helpers since Mason did so in Weeks 9 and 10—both are okay plays with upside.

TE

Ed Dickson

B The Browns have shut out tight ends in five of six home games this season, so whether it's Dickson or Todd Heap returns from injury you'd be best served looking elsewhere for fantasy help.
DT Ravens S2 The Ravens have four return TDs (three defensive, one special teams) in their past two road games; maybe they're coming around at just the right time.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy S3

Smart move, giving McCoy the starting job back; he responded with the Browns' first multiple touchdown outing of the season and put up the team's third-highest yardage total as well. With the Ravens having surrendered three touchdown tosses in each of the past two games, you could certainly consider McCoy as a fringe fantasy helper this week.

RB Peyton Hillis

S2

Hillis is money at home, with at least one touchdown in each of his six at Cleveland Browns Stadium; he's also hit triple digit rushing yardage in three of his last five at home. After seeing Hillis take the Ravens for 144 and 1 in Baltimore back in Week 3 there's no need to fear the matchup, though the carries do seem to be taking a toll as he's delivered two disappointing efforts in his past three games.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi
Brian Robiskie
B

Seeing as Cleveland wideouts have only four TDs all season, just one in the last five games, and mustered all of five catches for 58 yards (all by Josh Cribbs) in the earlier meeting with Baltimore, there's no reason to go mining for fantasy help here.

TE Ben Watson S2

Cleveland tight ends have 221 yards (192 of them from Watson) and two touchdowns (one by Watson) over the past three games. Watson also put up 5-47-1 in the earlier meeting with Baltimore, and he catches them struggling against the position; the Ravens have allowed 278 yards and three TDs to opposing tight ends over the past month.

DT Browns B Over the past month the Browns have six sacks, five takeaways, and zero defensive touchdowns. That's hardly the recipe for fantasy success.
 

San Francisco at St. Louis

Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Troy Smith B

Smith dropped an unexpected 356 and 1 on the Rams in their earlier meeting, but the "1" has become a theme; he has four TD tosses in five games, never more than one in a contest. Don't expect that to change against a Rams defense that has given up just one multiple TD effort in seven home games. Smith might get you decent yardage, and a rushing TD is possible, but overall you can do better fantasy-wise.

RB Brian Westbrook
Anthony Dixon
B

Frank Gore posted 87 rushing yards (with a touchdown) and 67 receiving yards in the Week 10 showdown between these squads. With Gore out of the lineup those numbers will not only be reduced, they'll be split between Westbrook and Dixon. The last two teams to visit St. Louis put up big rushing numbers, but the Chiefs and Falcons both sport elite ground games; the Niners, especially sans Gore, do not. Dixon practiced on a limited basis both Thursday and Friday after sitting out Wednesday's session, so if he doesn't go Westbrook might get enough touches to make a fantasy dent.

WR Michael Crabtree S3 Say this for Troy Smith: he knows where to find Crabtree: three of Troy's four TD tosses went to Crabtree, accounting for 60 percent of his scoring to date (in 36% of his games). While there aren't many touchdown passes to go around, odds are when they happen they'll wind up in Crabtree's hands.
WR Josh Morgan B With Troy instead of Alex calling the shots, Morgan has just nine catches in five games. And while he's averaging almost 20 yards per grab, he has zero touchdowns in that span. It'd be tough to ask Troy to find a new favorite receiver at this point in the season.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Half of VD's yardage with Troy Smith at quarterback came in his final game in that role—and most of that yardage came on one busted play Davis turned into a long touchdown. The good news is, at least Troy knows where to find Davis; the bad news is, odds are Crabtree is his first read. Davis still has a shot of helpful fantasy numbers against a Rams defense that's allowed TE TDs in each of its last two home games, but he's not the solid play he'd be if it were still Alex under center.

DT 49ers B The Niners have failed to generate a takeaway in four of their last six games; tough to produce any fantasy points under those circumstances.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S3

Bradford has now gone three straight without a touchdown pass, and his 251 and one in the earlier meeting with San Francisco wasn't much of a fantasy helper, either. However, the Niners have served up three straight multiple touchdown outings, with at least 273 yards in each, so Sam should have every opportunity to put up the kind of numbers that should clinch him Rookie of the Year honors.

RB Steven Jackson S2

Jackson rolled up 148 combo yards with a touchdown in the Week 10 clash with San Francisco, and he's been equally hot of late with three straight triple-digit combo yardage efforts and touchdowns in two of the three. San Francisco's numbers against the run look good on the surface, but only because teams are using multiple backs to do the damage: since Jackson's outing against them, the Niners have surrendered 130 or more combo yards in four of five and allowed RB TDs in three of five.

WR

Danny Amendola

S3

It's been a month since a St. Louis wideout scored a touchdown, but a date with a San Francisco secondary that's allowed eight WR TDs in the past three games alone might just be the cure. Amendola is the most frequently (and consistently) targeted, so he gets the nod for a fantasy start over the less reliable Brandon Gibson and Laurent Robinson.

TE

Michael Hoomanawanui

B

Dr. Hoo scored in two straight and three of four prior to suffering an ankle injury that knocked him out for three games. However, after suffering a setback in practice he's been officially ruled out of this tilt.

DT Rams B The next DST TD for the Rams will be their first this year; don't risk a spot in your fantasy lineup that it will come this week.
 
Indianapolis at Oakland Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

Holding Tim Tebow to one TD toss is one thing; containing a red-hot Manning, who has five straight multiple-TD efforts and is averaging 318 yards per game over that stretch, is something else entirely. This is still the same Raiders secondary that's given up multiple touchdowns in 11 of 14, and it's a very motivated Manning looking to will the Colts back into the playoffs. Advantage: Sony pitchman.

RB Joseph Addai S3 Addai practiced fully all week and despite being listed as questionable once again he expects to play, though a full workload might be expecting too much. Nonetheless, a date with an Oakland defense that's allowed six RB TDs and four 80-plus yard rushers over the last five games makes Addai a sneaky-good fantasy play.
RB Donald Brown B With 129 yards and a touchdown last week, Brown flashed just enough competence to inspire free-agent-to-be Addai to miraculously recover from his two-month injury. With Addai back in the mix, Brown bumps to the back burner... and the fantasy bench.
WR Reggie Wayne
Pierre Garçon
S2

Somebody has to replace Austin Collie's numbers, and it ain't gonna be Blair White. That leaves Wayne and Garçon—who are already putting up decent digits of their own—to divvy Collie's looks amongst themselves. There should be plenty to go around against an Oakland secondary that has served up eight WR TDs and a pair of 100-yard outings over the past six weeks.

TE Jacob Tamme S3

Tamme hasn't scored or topped 50 yards in almost a month, but he gets a favorable matchup against an Oakland defense that has allowed more TE TDs than all but six other teams. Plus, with Collie out Manning will be looking for trustworthy targets—a category Tamme has tended to fall into.

DT Colts B Tyjuan Hagler's kickoff return aside, there isn't much fantasy help to be found on the defensive side of the ball.
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

Campbell's multiple touchdown efforts have come against the 5th, 7th, and 8th-most fantasy friendly defenses against quarterbacks. The 18th-ranked Colts present a significantly tougher challenge, not unlike that of the 17th-ranked Chiefs who held Campbell to 229 yards and one score. This isn't a compelling enough matchup to warrant giving Campbell a fantasy start.

RB Darren McFadden
S1

Indy struggles to stop the run in general, but they're particularly bad on the road: four of the last five feature backs they've faced have scored, and all five have rushed for at least 95 yards. The totals look even worse: in seven road games the typical feature back treats himself to 107 rushing yards and a touchdown against Indy. McFadden is a bit better than your typical feature back, though he may cede a few carries to Michael Bush. Pencil him in for solid numbers, with spectacular definitely not out of the realm of possibility.

RB Michael Bush
S3

Over the past five road games Indy has allowed a second back to find the end zone three times. Bush has three scores in his last three games—and that's even with Run DMc going off—and his goal line duties make him a viable fantasy play against Indy's porous run D.

WR

Jacoby Ford

S3

Over the past month only one opposing wideout has found the end zone against the Colts, but between the end arounds and the return game Oakland finds enough ways to get the ball in Ford's hands that he's at least worthy of consideration in distance scoring leagues.

WR

Louis Murphy

B

Murphy has come on of late, but it's slim pickings for wideouts against Indy and Ford has first dibs.

TE Zach Miller S3

Indy has been soft of late against tight ends, giving up four TE TDs and 178 yards to the position in just the last three games. Miller has shrugged off his foot injury to catch eight balls for 107 yards over the past two weeks and should thrive with Oakland's downfield targets blanketed by Indy's Cover 2.

DT Raiders B Peyton Manning has stopped throwing touchdowns to the other team, so no need to dust off Lester Hayes and the Oakland D here.
 
San Diego at Cincinnati Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

The Bengals have been extremely hospitable to opposing quarterbacks of late, giving up 872 passing yards and eight TD tosses in their past three home games. Not that Rivers needs much help: he's thrown multiple scoring strikes in 10 of 14 this year, including each of the last two, and has failed to top 225 passing yards only once this season.

RB Mike Tolbert S2 Peyton Hillis failed to score last week, snapping a string of five straight visiting feature backs to cross the stripe in Cincy—a stretch that included seven total touchdowns and a pair of 100-yard games. Tolbert is still the Chargers' goal line guy, with touchdowns in two straight and four of the last five; he's also matching Ryan Mathews carry for carry and yard for yard. He's the more reliable option among San Diego backs this week.
RB Ryan Mathews B Not that Mathews can't help you; he's received the same 34 carries over the past two weeks that Tolbert has, turning those touches into 121 yards and a score. But the Bengals haven't allowed multiple backs to score in the same game this season, and the biggest effort by a secondary rusher has been 47 yards. You saw Tolbert get the rock over and over and over again at the goal line last week, so it's clear Mathews will need to get his between the 20s; it's a risk that's probably best avoided with your fantasy title on the line.
WR Vincent Jackson S1 VJax is clearly back, as last week's hat trick would indicate. Now he'll get to exploit a depleted Cincy secondary that's allowed three of the last four WR1s to visit to put up 100-plus yards and a touchdown; the fourth was held to 82 yards but still scored.
WR Malcom Floyd B Floyd had a setback with his hammy and is listed as doubtful after not practicing all week. Tough to trust him with a fantasy start.
WR Kelley Washington S3 With Floyd and Patrick Crayton unlikely participants, Washington is the leading candidate to help VJax exploit a Bengals secondary that's allowed nine WR TDs in its last four home games as well as seven different wideouts to top 65 yards in that span.
TE Randy McMichael B

McMichael has done little since his first spot start for Gates, and it would be unwise to expect anything different against a Cincy defense that's given up just one TE TD in its last 10 games.

DT Chargers S2

The Bengals have served up five return touchdowns in the last six games, so a bonus DST score from the unit that pick-sixed Peyton Manning twice isn't out of the question.

Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer B

It's been a month since Palmer's last fantasy helper, and a date with a Chargers defense that has given up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks won't help matters.

RB Cedric Benson S2

Benson has been solid in Cincy, where he's scored in four straight and topped 100 yards in two of the last three. The Chargers have been friendlier against the run on the road, giving up four RB TDs in their last four games and three 100-yard efforts in that span. With the passing game falling apart, don't be surprised if Benson gets 25-plus carries—and don't be surprised if he needs that many to produce helpful fantasy numbers.

WR Chad Ochocinco
B

With Terrell Owens out, Ochocinco would have been in line for the bulk of the looks. However, he's got injury issues of his own and is listed as questionable after missing two days of practice and getting in only a limited session on Friday. Indications are his snaps will be reduced even if he does play, and given the matchup with the league's second-toughest defense against wideouts he shouldn't be counted on to contribute.

WR Andre Caldwell
Jordan Shipley
B

No TO and a limited Ocho open the door for some secondary targets to get a test drive, but this tough matchup quickly slams it shut.

TE Jermaine Gresham B Gresham hasn't had a fantasy helper since Week 10; the Bolts haven't allowed a TE TD since Week 8. Rookie, meet wall.
DT Bengals B The Bengals haven't generated a turnover in either of the last two games, which makes it extremely difficult to score defensive fantasy points.

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