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Start/Bench List: Week 2
John Tuvey
Updated: September 16, 2011
OAK at BUF SEA at PIT CLE at IND SDC at NEP 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)

Cincinnati at Denver

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Andy Dalton B

Dalton was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday due to the wrist injury he suffered in Week 1, but he was back for a full session on Friday. He's listed as probable, and while there's upside in facing a defense that may be without Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil it's not enough to warrant a fantasy start.

QB Bruce Gradkowski B

Sounds like Dalton will go, so don't reach for Gradkowski.

RB Cedric Benson S1

No team allowed more fantasy points to running backs last season than the Broncos, and Denver picked up right where they left off in surrendering 150 yards to Darren McFadden in Week 1. You know the Bengals will want to run the ball, and they'll give Benson ample opportunity to do so.

WR A.J. Green
Jerome Simpson

It took a busted play and a quick snap for Green to make his first NFL catch, but he turned it into a touchdown. Simpson, meanwhile, was the teams' most frequently targeted wideout. Both warrant consideration this week, especially if the Denver secondary is sans Champ.

TE Jermaine Gresham S2 The Raiders don't use the tight end position now that Zach Miller is gone, so they didn't fully exploit a Denver defense that gave up the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends last season. Cincy, on the other hand, leans heavily on Gresham; they'll make up the Raiders' difference and then some.
DT Bengals B Nothing compelling from the Bengals that suggests you plug their D in this week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S3 Despite the Tebow talk this is still Orton's show to run. He'll run it better if he has Brandon Lloyd to throw to, but even if he doesn't Leon Hart can't be everywhere in the Cincy secondary. Orton could get a bump to S2 if Knowshon Moreno can't go and Lloyd can.
RB Knowshon Moreno B Knowshow did not practice all week due to a hamstring injury. Even if he goes, he's sharing the load with Willis McGahee--and McGahee is getting the goal line shots.
RB Willis McGahee S3 Worst-case, McGahee still has his goal line duties and some third down work in addition to change-of-pace carries. And if Moreno is out or limited, McGahee's workload--and fantasy value--go up.
WR Brandon Lloyd


Lloyd is battling a groin injury and sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday. He returned on a limited basis Friday and If he plays he's a fantasy starter because he's Kyle Orton's favorite target; he gets a cautionary S3 with both risk and upside.

WR Eddie Royal
Eric Decker


Decker and Royal are carving out a little fantasy value on their own, but to really sell this S3 (or better) they'll need at minimum Moreno to be out so the passing game receives more love. And if Lloyd can't go, one or both have some targets to account for.

DT Broncos S3 At home against either a dinged-up rookie or a journeyman working with a very young receiving corps. Either bodes well for the Broncos generating some fantasy points on D.

San Diego at New England

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San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

On the heels of Chad Henne dropping 416 and two on the Patriots, here comes Rivers fresh off a 335 and two of his own. Pack a lunch; we're headin' for a shootout.

RB Ryan Mathews S3 Mathews split carries with Tolbert, and while he caught fewer passes he had more yards both rushing and receiving. Tolbert's roles might be producing more fantasy burn, but that doesn't mean Mathews has no value.
RB Mike Tolbert S2 Reggie Bush caught nine balls for 56 yards and a score against the Patriots; that's the same role in which Tolbert caught nine balls and scored twice last week. Mix in his goal line work and Tolbert is once again the better fantasy play out of the Bolts' backfield.
WR Vincent Jackson S1 While Jackson was underwhelming against the Vikings in Week 1, after seeing Brandon Marshall take the shaky New England secondary for 139 yards on Monday night, we have renewed hope for V-Jax's prospects.
WR Malcom Floyd S3 Even after Marshall got his there was enough left over against the Pats for Brian Hartline to score and Davonne Bess to rack up 92 yards. So while Floyd might be third in the passing game pecking order, this week that's still enough for fantasy productivity.
TE Antonio Gates S2

The Pats were tough on tight ends last season, but Gates (4-50-1) managed to find the end zone against them and Anthony Fasano's 5-62 in the season opener suggests that may no longer be the case. And since Gates is twice the tight end Fasano is, would 10-124 be out of the question?

DT Chargers B

We just saw Tom Brady go for 500 yards; you don't want to run a fantasy defense out there in front of that.

New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

There's a very real possibility Brady could post 10 times the passing yardage the Chargers gave up in their last game. Or at least double the 159 and 1 the Bolts limited him to in last year's meeting. You saw Brady on Monday night; is there any defense you'd sit him against?


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Law Firm scored in last season's meeting, and he scored in Week 1 against Miami. He seems to be losing carries to Danny Woodhead, but he's still getting the money shots and in this offense that's cause for celebration.


Danny Woodhead


That's a career-high 14 carries in each of the last two games for Woodhead, and 13 or more in three of the last four. His role is evolving into a part-time feature back, which isn't ideal but in a high-powered offense still has fantasy value.

WR Wes Welker S2 San Diego bottled Welker up last season, but 160 and 2 last week suggests he'll find a way to wriggle free.
WR Deion Branch
Chad Ochocinco
B Ocho was nearly nonexistant despite the 517 passing yards. Branch was involved (7-93), but a reduction in Brady's numbers will bite hardest into his totals. Benching a Brady target may seem foolish, but these guys are low enough on the totem pole that against a stout defense they'll be the first to drop below the start line.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Rob Gronkowski
S2 Gronk scored and Hernandez was targeted eight times in last year's meeting; both found the end zone last week, and they're both nipping at Welker's heels to be Brady's most favored target. Still, 2A and 2B in this offense is hardly a consolation prize.
DT Patriots S3 If nothing else, the Chargers still seem to have some return game issues that can be exploited for fantasy gain.

Houston at Miami

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2 Schaub's numbers were subdued last week as the Texans coasted against Indy, and they might take a tweak downward this week if Arian Foster returns to the lineup. But he's facing a secondary that couldn't keep up with New England last week, and the Texans may have better targets so you know Schaub will have every opportunity to get his.
RB Arian Foster
S2 Foster practiced all week on a limited basis, and if he's active he belongs in your fantasy lineup. But it sounds like you may have to sweat out another game-time decision.
RB Ben Tate
B If you have Foster and Tate, put Foster in and make the switch on Sunday morning if Arian is inactive. Because it sounds like if Foster can play, he'll get the carries. Somewhere Darth Shanahan is mumbling, "You have learned well, Padawan Kubiak."
RB Derrick Ward
B Ward has been ruled out due to ankle and shoulder injuries. So that clarifies things a little.
WR Andre Johnson S1 Few if any corners can hang with Andre, and after watching Miami's secondary get steamrolled by the Patriots it's pretty clear none of those corners are on the Dolphins' roster.
WR Jacoby Jones S3

Kevin Walter is unlikely to play after bruising his shoulder Week 1, so Jones steps into the lineup against a secondary that looked thoroughly overmatched against the Patriots last week and is starting at least one cornerback who was not in the league last week. Sounds like opportunity knocking.

TE Owen Daniels S2

The Dolphins surrendered 189 yards and two touchdowns to the tight end position last week; time for Daniels to return to Pro Bowl form.

DT Texans B Wade Phillips' new look defense brought some serious heat against Indy, but now they're on the road against a team that didn't just lose its franchise quarterback.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne S2

Houston's defense is vastly improved, but Kerry Collins didn't provide a true test. Henne isn't likely to have the same 416-and-2 success he had last week, but there's definitely upside here.


Reggie Bush


Tony Sporano seems bound and determined to run Reggie Bush into the ground, 20 touches per game at a time. By my count that gives him about a month before injury strikes, so may as well get what you can from him while you can.


Brandon Marshall


Despite all the defensive additions the Texans couldn't contain Reggie Wayne (7-106-1) last week, so it's unlikely they can contain Marshall this week.


Davonne Bess


Bess is a PPR deity, and with the ground game still unsettled and Houston still exploitable via the air he's looking at another solid fantasy helper.

DT Dolphins B This defense just got undressed on national television; best let them cover up before you consider putting themon fantasy display.

Philadelphia at Atlanta

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S1

Vick returns to Atlanta. Can he live up to the hype, or at least the 326 and 3 Kevin Kolb dropped on the Falcons when these teams met last season? His methods might be a little different, but there's little question Vick matches the fantasy value of those numbers--and then some--against a defense that just allowed 312 and 2 to Jay Cutler.

RB LeSean McCoy

Matt Forte padded 16-68 on the ground with 5-90-1 as a pass-catcher against the Falcons last week. Sounds a whole lot like a McCoy kind of line.

WR DeSean Jackson
S2 The Falcons limited Jackson to one catch in the previous meeting, but it was a 34-yard touchdown. Coming off a 6-102-1 opener, Jackson is poised to help Vick reclaim his throne as king of Atlanta.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S3 Maclin was a monster against Atlanta last season, with seven catches for 159 yards and two TDs. You have to expect Vick to be flinging, and while D-Jax may be the primary downfield target there will be enough left over to make Maclin a fantasy helper once again.
TE Brent Celek
B The Bears, of all teams, tallied a TE TD against Atlanta last week. But Vick is focused on deep targets and McCoy dumpoffs, pushing Celek too far down the pecking order to be banked on for fantasy purposes.
DT Eagles S3 The Dream Team wasn't perfect last week, but they're bringing some heat up front and with their talented corners it's only a matter of time until that turns into a pick six.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

Ryan put up big yards but no scores against Da Bears last week; now he'll try his luck against the Dream Team corners. He was good for 250 and 2 against last year's iteration of the Philly D; he'll have to step up his game to match those numbers now that Asomugha and Cromartie are manning the corners.

RB Michael Turner S2

Philly didn't do much to slow the Rams' running game last week, even after Steven Jackson left with an injury. Meanwhile, Turner averaged 10 yards a carry against the vaunted Bears. With Philly sporting quality corners at every turn, look for the Falcons to try to win this one on the ground; that means copious opportunities for Turner to pile up fantasy points.

WR Roddy White S3

White has had his struggles with shutdown corners, and he'll likely spend this tilt sharing air with Asomugha. Philly's new corner was thrown at twice last week--one a long completion, one a defensive pass interference call--but if he's on White he'll see substantially more action. Expect a battle, with White carving out enough to remain in your fantasy lineup.

WR Julio Jones B

The Eagles go three deep at corner, so Jones will draw serious coverage. With Ryan's numbers expected to be dampened, Jones' are bound to suffer as well.


Tony Gonzalez


Gonzo scored twice in last season's meeting with the Eagles, and his 5-72 in Week 1 indicate he hasn't been forgotten in Atlanta. Philly was fantasy-friendly to tight ends last year, and only a couple Lance Kendricks drops in Week 1 prevented those numbers from getting off to a similar start. With the Eagles flashing their corners around on the outside, Gonzo might even see an uptick in looks this week.

DT Falcons S3 Atlanta's only touchdown thus far this season was a defensive one, and you can bet the Georgia Dome would love to see Mike Vick throw just one more Falcons touchdown.

St. Louis at NY Giants

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S2

The finger injury Bradford suffered last week doesn't look as if it will impact his availability this week; however, Steven Jackson's probable absence shifts more of the offense onto Bradford's arm. If his line can keep the Giants' pass rush at bay, there are holes in the secondary Bradford can exploit; just ask Rex Grossman.

RB Steven Jackson B

Jackson hasn't practiced all week, and it doesn't look like he'll be able to go on Monday night.

RB Carnell Williams S3

Tim Hightower ground out fantasy value against the G-Men last week, while Williams filled in admirably for the injured Jackson. Caddy's ability to stay on the field all three downs should help him compile enough yards from scrimmage to make a decent fantasy play.


Mike Sims-Walker
Brandon Gibson
Greg Salas


No Danny Amendola (most likely; he's looking for permission to play this week, but if he winds up needing surgery it could be more like two months) provides an opportunity for whomever can catch--which proved to be a problem for the Rams in Week 1. MSW and Gibson are the safer bets, but the rookie Salas will play Amendola's slot position--a role that's PPR gold in Josh McDaniels' offense.


Lance Kendricks


After a tremendous preseason Kendricks caught a case of rookie jitters and an accompanying case of the dropsies. If he can shake the yips, this matchup--and Amendola's absence--provides tremendous fantasy opportunity; the Giants gave up 126 yards to the tight end position last week alone.

DT Rams B There's some talent on this defense, but they're not doing anything that makes fantasy owners sit up and take notice.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S3

Eli was far from elite in Week 1, and he'll most likely be without Hakeem Nicks. He should still be able to cobble together a decent fantasy outing, but the upside is limited.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

LeSean McCoy had plenty of success against the Rams last week, and Bradford plays a similar role for the Giants--plus New York's line is significantly better than Philly's. The split in touches favored Bradshaw by better than 2-to-1 last week, so he's the more reliable bet for fantasy help.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Jacobs saw just six carries last week, but at almost five yards a pop he was plenty effective. And with the Giants down a receiver, look for them to lean a bit more heavily on the ground game--including Jacobs.

WR Hakeem Nicks

Nicks suffered a bruised knee last week, but he was back at practice on a limited basis by Friday. It's a tough call given that it's a Monday night game, but as of now it sounds like Nicks is a go--which means he's a fantasy starter.

WR Mario Manningham


Somebody has to catch passes for the Giants, right? Manningham has the best shot at matching what DeSean Jackson did to the Rams last week (6-102-1)...

WR Domenik Hixon


...but don't overlook Hixon, who would run in Nicks' spot if he can't go and offers a bigger target for Eli than Manningham does.

DT Giants S3 A shaky secondary cancels out a stout pass rush. There's upside here, but the Giants are a fringe fantasy helper at best.

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