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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
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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)

Houston at Denver

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2 Schaub rolls in with four straight multiple touchdown outings and three straight with at least 325 yards. Against a Denver defense that's faced John Skelton and Jason Campbell the past two weeks, Schaub will look like Dan Marino and Dan Fouts all rolled into one. About the only thing standing between him and extending those aforementioned streaks to five and four, respectively, is a monster day from Foster on the ground.
RB Arian Foster
S1 No team has allowed more RB yards or TDs than the Broncos; no back has more yards or TDs than Foster. Sometimes, this isn't rocket science.
WR Andre Johnson B Johnson didn't practice all week and is now dealing with a foot issue as well as his problematic ankle. Indications coming out of Houston are that AJ won't play, and even if he does he's no lock to last all four quarters. That's risk enough to cause concern, and when you factor in Champ Bailey it's tough to trust Johnson with a fantasy start.
WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones

With AJ expected to sit this one out, somebody will need to step up and replace the 8-100-1 Johnson has averaged over the past month. Unfortunately, one of these guys will likely draw Champ Bailey, though it's tough to see Denver devoting him to one or the other specifically. As each has stepped it up in recent weeks—Jones has scored in two of the last three, Walter scored last week—both are decent fringe starts this week.

TE Owen Daniels S2

Add Daniels to the mix of Bailey-free alternatives; with 18 targets the last two games, Schaub certainly knows he's there. The Broncos have allowed four TE TDs in the last four games, so he could be in line for a score as well. And with Target No. 1 (Johnson) likely out, Target No. 2 (Daniels) deserves an upgrade.

DT Texans B Defense isn't likely to enter into the equation this week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Tebow S2 It comes down to this: is Tebow Rusty Smith, or is he at least as good as all the other QBs who faced the Texans this year and put up multiple touchdowns? The Broncos bet a first-round pick that Tebow was at least competent; with a rushing score a possibility as well as the exploitation of the league's shakiest secondary, you'd be wise to follow their lead.
RB Owshon Moreno S3 Owshon Moreno missed practice n Wednesday but got in limited sessions on Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable. If he's active he warrants consideration against a Houston D that's allowed six RB TDs in the last three games, but only you can gauge just how much faith to put in such a fragile back with your championship on the line. Lance Ball sounds more like a painful procedure than a viable fill-in if Moreno can't play.
WR Brandon Lloyd


Tebow found Lloyd in the end zone last week, and that was against a top-seven defense against wideouts; now he'll face the second-most fantasy friendly defense against wide receivers.

WR Jabar Gaffney
Eddie Royal


Even after Lloyd gets his there should be enough to go around against the aforementioned second-most fantasy friendly defense against wideouts. The key will be getting Tebow to connect with them at a better rate than his one-for-five clip from a week ago.

DT Broncos B With the score more likely to resemble the NBA, this isn't the place for a defense.

New York Giants at Green Bay

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S3

This will be a challenge for Eli; against similarly ranked defenses he's had success (263 and three against Carolina) and struggles (195 and 0 against the Bears, 187 and 1 against Minnesota. Tom Brady was the first quarterback in two months to throw for multiple touchdowns against the Packers, who have held three straight visiting QBs to a single scoring strike. Manning borders on unbenchable given his weapons, but don't expect big numbers this week in Lambeau.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

Top-10 run defenses don't scare the Giants: in games against the Bears and Vikings Bradshaw has 232 yards and two TDs. He's a slightly more reliable fantasy play than Jacobs, though the way things have gone of late he may lose some touches at the stripe.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Jacobs has had similar success against tough run D's, with 178 yards and two TDs against Chicago and Minnesota. Don't look for big numbers, but don't bet against at least a touchdown this week.

WR Hakeem Nicks

Green Bay hasn't allowed a WR TD since prior to their Week 10 bye, which is bad. But four of the last six WR scores they've given up have gone to physical mismatches—Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Dez Bryant. Nicks offers a similar target and some fantasy upside despite the tough matchup.

WR Mario Manningham

With Steve Smith out Manningham is seeing enough targets to warrant consideration even against a tough foe like the Packers; moreover, he fits the mold of the the speed receivers (Maclin, Armstrong, Bess) who own the other three WR TDs the Pack has allowed.

TE Kevin Boss

Green Bay has allowed at least one TE TD in each of the last four games, a total of five in all; Boss has scored in back-to-back tilts and is fast becoming a favorite target of Manning. Gotta like the confluence of those trends this week.

DT Giants S3 Sure, they gave up 28 points in less than eight minutes, but they get after the quarterback as well as any team in the league and they'll be facing a concussed quarterback behind a much-maligned offensive line. So we're sayin' there's a chance.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S2

Back from getting his bell rung, Rodgers returns to the friendly confines of Lambeau Field—where he's thrown multiple touchdowns in five of six home games and topped 255 yards in five of six as well. Assuming the Big Blue pass rush doesn't claim another victim, Rodgers should pick right up where he left off.


Brandon Jackson


Jackson is coming off a solid effort against New England, but he's ceding too many short-yardage looks to John Kuhn to be trusted with a fantasy start, especially against a Giants defense that's allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to backs and has held Ryan Torain, Adrian Peterson, and LeSean McCoy out of the end zone in successive weeks.

WR Greg Jennings


Sure, Jennings scored with Matt Flynn at the helm but he's much more fond of Rodgers: in Aaron's last seven full games, Jennings has produced eight touchdowns and four 100-yard efforts. No reason to think the flame won't be rekindled—and quickly—with Rodgers returning this week.

WR Donald Driver
James Jones


Only once in the past two months have the Giants allowed multiple receivers to score in the same game. While Driver and Jones aren't necessarily bad fantasy plays, there's too much risk and not enough reward to go around.

DT Packers S2 Eli's been prone to picks, and any time Charles Woodson is on your side there's a good chance you can take a turnover the other way.

Seattle at Tampa Bay

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck B Fresh off a benching, Hass gets to travel cross country and face a Bucs defense that has allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Don't be shocked if we're treated to another Charlie Whitehurst sighting this week.
RB Marshawn Lynch S3

Five of the seven feature backs to visit Tampa have left with a 100-yard effort to their credit. With Lynch firmly ensconced as the Seahawks' lead ballcarrier he should see enough carries to produce decent fantasy numbers—maybe even enough to jack that stat to 6-for-8.


Mike Williams

S3 When Williams is healthy, he gets targeted. And targeted receivers tend to have at least some success against the Bucs. Over the last month four WRs have seen double-digit targets, combining for 32 catches for 395 yards and two TDs. That might not be enough to make him the most productive Mike Williams in this game, but it does provide at least some fantasy assistance.

Ben Obomanu

B Obomanu is a good fantasy play when Mike Williams is out of the lineup and an iffy one when he's not. Williams is healthy, meaning you should look elsewhere for help this week.
DT Seahawks B Leon Washington is a threat in the return game, but both of Seattle's defensive scores have come at home.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S2

Seattle's pass defense does not travel well; in seven road games they've given up at least 289 yards six times, an average of 308 yards per game, with five multiple touchdown outings and a total of 14 TDs. Freeman has yet to blow up with a monster fantasy game, but this one provides him every opportunity to do so.

RB LeGarrette Blount


Blount has scored in three straight at home with at least 91 yards in each of those tilts and back-to-back 100-yard outings in front of the locals. Seattle has given up more fantasy points to running backs than all but three other teams, so they're setting Blount up nicely for yet another solid showing in Tampa.

WR Mike Williams

Give the home team's entry an edge in the "MVMW" (Most Valuable Mike Williams) battle this week. In Seattle's seven road games, the opposing WR1 has scored seven times and topped 100 yards thrice. Williams has scored in back-to-back home games and has little standing between him and the hat trick this week.

WR Arrelious Benn

While Williams has been the lead dog, Benn should have no trouble getting his as well against a Seattle secondary that's allowed 14 WRs to either score or top 50 yards (or both) in seven games away from the Pacific Northwest.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

About the only position the Seahawks don't roll over for is the tight end; still, they've given up three TE TDs and two 70-yard games to the position in their past seven outings. Winslow has scored in three of his last six—a ticky-tack offensive pass interference call prevented that number from swelling to four of six last week—and is at least worthy of consideration in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Buccaneers S3 Seattle has served up defensive touchdowns in two straight; a long trip and quarterback issues could very easily allow the Bucs to run that number to three.

Minnesota at Philadelphia

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Webb B

Why all the fuss about his availability as a wide receiver? He's not producing nearly enough to be valuable at either position. His saving grace this week might be his running ability, as the Eagles are sure to show him blitzes he's never even seen before.

RB Adrian Peterson S3

Peterson didn't practice Wednesday but did get in limited sessions on Thursday and Friday. He's indicated he's going to play, but with this being a Sunday night game and the goose egg he left fantasy owners with thanks to last week's DNP, unless you can swap in Gerhart if necessary once the inactives are announced there's too much risk and not enough upside to warrant a fantasy start with your title on the line.

RB Toby Gerhart S3

If Peterson sits, it will be up to Gerhart again to carry the Vikings offense. Philly provides a more favorable matchup than the Bears defense Gerhart dented for 77 yards on 16 carries, so there's at least a little upside here. And even if AP plays, with nothing on the line Gerhart should see an uptick in carries.

WR Percy Harvin


Harvin is the kind of player who can make any defense look foolish, but perhaps most importantly between returns, end arounds, and the Wildcat formation he isn't necessarily dependent on Webb getting him the ball. For that at least he still warrants fantasy consideration.

WR Sidney Rice


Rice, on the other hand, needs Webb to put the ball close enough for him to make a play. And that we haven't seen enough of just yet to warrant giving Sid a fantasy start this week.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

You know how young, inexperienced quarterbacks love to check down to the tight end, and you saw proof of that last week when Shiancoe was targeted a season-high nine times. He's bound to see plenty of looks again, and facing the most fantasy-friendly defense against tight ends he might just be able to carve out some fantasy  value.

DT Vikings B

Michael Vick has embarrassed the Vikings in the past; why should this week be any different?

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S1

Vick has at least 240 passing yards in six straight, multiple passing touchdowns in four straight, and rushing touchdowns in three straight. There is literally nothing he cannot do.

RB LeSean McCoy

McCoy continues to lose checkdowns and goal line touches to Vick. He's still a productive back, but his upside is limited by his quarterback's versatility.

WR DeSean Jackson
Jeremy Maclin
S2 The Vikings just gave up three WR TDs to the Bears and their banged-up secondary simply doesn't have the personnel to hang with either Jackson or Maclin. Given how bad Minnesota's safety play has been, don't be surprised to see either (or both) get behind the defense for a long touchdown... or two.
WR Jason Avant
S3 As noted above, the Vikings let three different Bear receivers find the end zone against them. Avant has served as Vick's underneath guy, and if Leslie Frazier can find some safeties who grasp the "don't give up the big play" concept of the Cover-2 then Avant will be running free underneath all evening long.
TE Brent Celek
S3 Celek has scored in two of his last four despite being an afterthought in Vick's progressions. The Vikings haven't been stopping anyone of late and that includes tight ends: they've allowed four TE TDs in the past six games. Don't let the matchup dissuade you from using Celek this week.
DT Eagles S1 They're gonna blitz Joe Webb, and then they're gonna blitz him some more. And then they'll bring some pressure. The backup option is Patrick Ramsey, so this won't be pretty.

New Orleans at Atlanta

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New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Atlanta's secondary has been better of late, giving up just two passing TDs in the last four games. However, they haven't been facing Drew Brees. In his last three meetings with the Falcons Brees has 308 and 2, 296 and 3, and 365 and 3 earlier this year. It's a money matchup for Brees.


Pierre Thomas
Reggie Bush
Chris Ivory


After going nine games without allowing a running back rushing score, the Falcons have given up three in the last three weeks. However, the Saints backfield has too may cooks and not enough broth for any of them to serve up a fantasy helper. Even if Ivory sits again—he was limited in practice both Thursday and Friday—it's tough to trust either Thomas or Bush with a start in your fantasy title game. The fact that you won't have enough information to make that decision until Monday doesn't help.

WR Marques Colston S2

Colston scored in both ends of last season's series but was a spectator in the earlier meeting this year as Lance Moore blew up for 149 and 2. More recently Colston has reasserted himself as the lead dog in the Saints' pack of receivers, with seven touchdowns and three 100-yard efforts in the past eight games. With Brees spreading the ball around there's always some risk, but Colston remains the most reliable member of the bunch.

WR Lance Moore

Moore has scored in two straight and three of four. Don't expect the Falcons to ignore him like they did back in Week 3, but right now Moore is a bright blip on Brees' radar and needs to be in fantasy lineups.

TE Jimmy Graham
Jeremy Shockey
S3 The biggest problem with the Saints' tight ends isn't a lack of productivity; it's that there are two and sometimes three splitting up the pie. Graham scored twice last week and is tough to ignore, especially against an Atlanta defense that's allowed three TE TDs in the last six games. But Shockey is still in the mix and still a viable red zone option as well. Upside, to be sure, but also plenty of risk here.
DT Saints B The Saints defense hasn't been nearly as prolific in the takeaways department as it was a year ago. And the Falcons take very good care of the ball, so that's not likely to change here.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

Only one team has given up fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Saints, but they haven't stopped Ryan from putting up decent numbers in their last two meetings—289 and 1 in New Orleans last year, 228 and 2 in the SuperDome back in Week 3 of this year. Don't bench Ryan on account of the matchup, but his upside is tempered by what will likely be a heavy dose of Michael Turner and the ground game.

RB Michael Turner S1

Turner posted 114 and one in the earlier meeting in New Orleans, his second straight triple-digit effort in the SuperDome. However, he missed the home half of last season's series—and you know how fond Turner is of home cooking. Ray Rice's 153 and 1 last week was the first 100-yard game the Saints had surrendered since Turner's effort back in Week 3, and with Turner entering this game on a roll—five TDs and three 100-yard outings in his last four at home—he's looking at another big game.

WR Roddy White S2

White scored in the earlier meeting with the Saints and has touchdowns in two of his last three against them. He's too targeted to be benched, but keep in mind the Saints have allowed a total of four WR TDs all season so expectations must be tempered.

WR Michael Jenkins B

Jenkins wasn't around for the earlier meeting, when non-Roddy Atlanta wideouts combined for one catch. But while Jenkins has scored in two of three it would be a stretch to start him against a Saints defense that's given up the fewest fantasy points to wideouts this season.


Tony Gonzalez


Gonzo blew up for 8-110-1 in the Week 3 matchup with New Orleans; until Ed Dickson slipped one past the goalie last week, that was the last TE TD the Saints had surrendered. The future Hall of Famer is still involved, with two TDs in the last four games, but the Saints are unlikely to let him own them again this time around.

DT Falcons B Atlanta's defense is underrated; it also shouldn't be used for fantasy purposes against the Saints' offensive juggernaut.

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