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Start/Bench List
John Tuvey
Updated: October 7, 2011
PHI at BUF CIN at JAC TBB at SFO CHI at DET 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)
Arizona at Minnesota Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kevin Kolb S3

What you have to ask yourself is, do you believe Kolb is closer to Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford (a combined 713 yards and 4 TDs against the Vikings) or Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel (a combined 503 and 2)? With the Cards unlikely to find success on the ground and Minnesota still sporting a soft underbelly to their defense--and quite possibly without top corner Antoine Winfield--wherever he falls in between should be enough to warrant a fantasy start.

RB Chris Wells
B On the bright side, Wells will likely have a better game against the Vikings than he did in their last meeting when he carried once for negative-two yards. It took Wells 27 carries to pound out his career effort last week; no back has even had as many as 15 against Minnesota this year, and the only rushing TDs they allowed came while Kevin Williams was suspended. You'll have to hope for another "out at the one" scenario to set up points for Wells this week, and even then the Cards might opt to play action or jump ball instead. Additionally, Wells was limited all week in practice by his troublesome hamstring. Add it up, and unless the bye week really ravaged your team you likely have a better option at hand.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

Calvin Johnson went for 108 and 2 on the Vikings; Dwayne Bowe had 107 and 1. And Minnesota could be without Antoine Winfield, thinning an already anorexic secondary. Fitz had 107 in last year's meeting and has 100 yards or a touchdown in three straight; it all bodes well for a wonderful homecoming.

WR Early Doucet

With or without Winfield there are holes in Minnesota's secondary, enough for secondary targets to score or top 50 yards in each of the last three.

TE Todd Heap

Heap has emerged as the more targeted tight end, and against a Vikings defense that's exploitable in the middle he'll do enough to be a viable bye week plug-in guy.

DT Cardinals S3 Darnell Dockett against this line is a mismatch, and Patrick Peterson can take a mistake the other way in a big hurry.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb B

Tarvaris Jackson is the only QB to face the Cards who hasn't thrown for two touchdowns this year; almost fitting that the guy who essentially kicked T-Jax to Seattle will be the second. No reason to be overly excited about McNabb, who has four TDs in as many games and has yet to reach the 230-yard mark.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

AP rolled up 144 yards from scrimmage and scored twice against the Cards last year. Against an Arizona defense that's already surrendered 335 combo yards to running backs in just two road games, and with the Vikings desperate to put the boot to the throat of someone, those feel like starter numbers for All Day.

WR Percy Harvin


The 126 Harvin dropped on Arizona last year came with Brett Favre at the helm. Things are different this time around, but a secondary that has already served up triple-digit yardage or a touchdown--or both--to every opposing WR1 should help Percy get back on track.

WR Michael Jenkins
Bernard Berrian


Jenkins is a possession guy, Berrian the deep threat, but neither has been consistent enough to warrant fantasy attention, even in a bye week.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

Shiancoe reached the end zone in last year's meeting and has seen an uptick in looks. The Cards have surrendered TE TDs in two of their last three games, and Shank is a great option on the goal line play-action.

DT Vikings S3

Jared Allen and the underrated Brian Robison coming off the edges might be enough to cover the Vikings' secondary shortcomings, at least this week.

Seattle at NY Giants Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson S3 After giving up a pair of 300-yard games to start the season the Giants defense has toned it down, shutting out Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb. Jackson is a threat with his feet and the team will likely be playing from behind, so he's an adequate "in a pinch" bye week plug-in.
RB Marshawn Lynch B

Lynch isn't seeing enough carries to be a fantasy factor; something akin to his 11-48 against the Giants last year is probably what you're looking at. You should be able to do better.


Sidney Rice

S3 The G-Men have allowed a 100-yard receiver in two of their last three; Rice has 188 yards and a touchdown in his first two games as a Seahawk. He's the guy Jackson looks for, and thus far this year those targets have put up good numbers against the Giants.

Ben Obomanu
Doug Baldwin

B With Mike Williams nursing a concussion there might be fewer mouths to feed, but Rice is still the biggest and everyone else scrambling for table scraps.

Zach Miller

B After allowing a 105-yard outing to Fred Davis in Week 1 the Giants have located and shut down opposing tight ends. Miller has yet to make a real connection with Jackson; until he does he can't be started with any degree of confidence.
DT Seahawks B The Seahawks have forced all of two turnovers; that's not exactly setting the table for defensive fantasy points.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Eli rolled for 290 and 3 in a 41-7 shellacking of the Seahawks last season. Seattle has yet to allow an opposing QB to throw multiple touchdown passes, but Eli has two or more TD tosses in each of his last three. He's one of the elite quarterbacks (just ask him), so his trend trumps what the Seahawks have done to the likes of Smith, Kolb, and Roethlisberger.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

Bradshaw scored twice against the Seahawks in last season's meeting, but they've rebuilt their defensive line. No matter: he's scored in three of four this season and is the lead dog in the Giants' backfield committee--a committee that will quite likely be without Brandon Jacobs this week, leading to even more touches for Bradshaw.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Jacobs didn't practice all week and is listed as doubtful for this one. You can track his availability Sunday morning, but indications are he's not playing this week.

RB Danny Ware

With Jacobs doubtful for this tilt, Ware could sneak a handful of touches away from Ahmad Bradshaw. If you're desperate due to the bye week and injuries, at least he's a guy who might get some touches.

WR Hakeem Nicks

Nicks ruined the Seattle secondary last season to the tune of 128 and 1, and after allowing 126 and 1 to Mike Wallace, 64 and 1 to Larry Fitzgerald, and 127 to Julio Jones it doesn't appear as if the Seahawks have improved their pass coverage.

WR Victor Cruz


Cruz's 208 and 2 the past two games indicate Eli Manning has a level of comfort with him; trust that comfort will propel Cruz into the same secondary receiver role that has produced 67, 50, and 78 yards for other WR2s Seattle has faced.

WR Mario Manningham


Manningham was back in the mix last week but appeared to lose ground to Cruz. You know Nicks will get his, and with Eli looking quite comfortable throwing to Cruz, for the moment at least Mario seems to be the odd man out.

TE Jake Ballard S3

Three of the four tight ends the Seahawks have faced have topped 45 yards, and Tony Gonzalez scored on them last week. Ballard isn't quite as targeted, but in a week where six teams are on the bye his emerging role in the Giants' offense at least warrants fantasy consideration.

DT Giants S3 Seattle has surrendered 14 sacks this year; the Giants have multiple sacks in every game thus far and have produced multiple turnovers in three straight. You have to like Big Blue's chances of getting to Tarvaris Jackson and creating havoc.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3

After giving up the hat trick to Joe Flacco in Week 1 the Steelers have allowed just one TD pass in three games. Hasselbeck has multiple touchdown tosses in three of the last four tilts, and in a six-team bye week he's done enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

RB Chris Johnson S2

A little more than cautiously optimistic, especially when you consider that Johnson had just 34 yards on 16 carries in last season's meeting with the Steelers. Among the reasons: the return of fullback Ahmard Hall from suspension, Pittsburgh's loss of James Harrison to injury, the success of other backs against the Steel Curtain thus far this year (from Ray Rice's 107 & 1 to Joseph Addai's 86 & 1 to Arian Foster's 155 & 1), and CJ's return to triple digits last week.

WR Nate Washington
S3 Success has been tough to come by for opposing wideouts against the Steelers. Washington gets enough looks to earn a fantasy lineup spot, but look around as you'll likely find a more favorable matchup elsewhere.
TE Jared Cook
S3 The jump in targets was nice, as was the 80-yard touchdown. The Steelers have shut out five straight visiting tight ends, but with Craig Stevens likely unavailable Cook should get not only the flex looks he got last week but also more as an in-line tight end. It's enough to make him worth considering with six teams on the bye.
DT Titans S2 Pittsburgh's patchwork offensive line has allowed 14 sacks already this season, and now they're protecting a banged up Ben Roethlisberger. Sounds like a good opportunity for the Titans to turn one around the other way.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

Big Ben is expected to play through his foot injury, but he's still a sketchy start at best against a Tennessee defense that's held three foes under 200 passing yards and allowed a total of four passing TDs on the year. Use him if you must, but odds are there's a better option on your roster or in the free agent pool.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


Mendenhall missed practice Wedensday and Thursday with a hamstring injury, but he was back at work on Friday splitting first-team reps with Isaac Redman. Will he get the full workload against a defense that has allowed only one RB rushing score and one back to top 52 yards against them? That's the best-case scenario; more likely he splits carries. Neither has much fantasy upside.

RB Isaac Redman


Redman has been horning in on Mendenhall's carries already and could end up splitting touches this week. It's not a favorable matchup, certainly not one that would yield enough fantasy stats for two backs, so if Mendenhall is active Redman shouldn't be in your fantasy lineup.

WR Mike Wallace

Tennessee's shutdown secondary--only one WR TD allowed thus far this season, and no wideout has exceeded 60 yards against them--and the possibility of a backup quarterback makes this a difficult matchup. Wallace's success makes him matchup-proof, but this may not be the week he gets back in the 100-yard saddle..

WR Antonio Brown

Brown has emerged as the Steelers' second target, but he has the same issues working against him as Wallace--and none of the track record of success.

WR Emmanuel Sanders
Hines Ward

We've already benched the Steelers' WR2; there's nowhere to go but down with their WR3 and WR4.

TE Heath Miller B

Given the struggles of Pittsburgh's offensive line, Miller will likely be spending as much time blocking as running pass patterns.

DT Steelers S3 Harrison may be out, but Troy Polamalu is still capable of making a play or two.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S2

Freeman has needed rushing touchdowns to salvage fantasy value the past couple of weeks, but he threw for multiple scores against San Francisco last season and faces a 49ers secondary that's allowed multiple TD tosses in three of four this year. And

RB LeGarrette Blount


Blount has run well of late, but a couple reasons for concern: first, the Bucs haven't been afraid to abandon the run and use Earnest Graham in the short passing game instead; second, the 49ers run defense is stout. They haven't allowed a RB rushing score this year and only one back has topped 33 yards. Start Blount, but do so with caution.

RB Earnest Graham


As noted above, there are ways this game can go south for Blount--which, in turn, would better Graham's chances of fantasy success. The only RB TD the Niners have surrendered came via the air, and that's Graham's role with this team. He's not a great start, but in a six-team bye week there are enough trends in his favor to make him worth considering.

WR Mike Williams

Still waiting for that breakout game from Williams. Maybe a defense that surrendered 143 and 3 to Miles Austin and 171 yards to DeSean Jackson can help Williams do just that.

WR Arrelious Benn
Preston Parker

Benn is the deep guy, Parker the underneath guy. Both are getting attention from Freeman, and the San Francisco secondary is soft enough that both could be considered for a bye week plug-in play here.

TE Kellen Winslow B

Winslow has yet to have a fantasy helper this season, and between his 82-year-old knees and the multitude of offensive options on the Bucs roster that fantasy helper isn't necessarily imminent.

DT Buccaneers S3 The Niners have allowed some sacks, and Tampa Bay's improved pass rush could create some havoc; it is, after all, Alex Smith.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith S3

Smith has had a couple multi-touchdown games; the Bucs have allowed a couple 300-yard efforts. In a week with six teams on the bye, that's enough to make Smith a fringe fantasy option.

RB Frank Gore S3

Gore comes off his most dynamic game of the season, but he's still ceding touches to Kendall Hunter--not to mention facing a defense that's held all non-Adrian Peterson backs under 75 yards and out of the end zone. He's still a starter, but he's no AP.

RB Kendall Hunter B

Hunter has received 11 touches each of the past two games, but after seeing Gore tear it up last week it's clear the torch hasn't passed just yet. There's not enough in this matchup to feed two backs, and Hunter is still the junior partner.

WR Michael Crabtree S3 The Bucs have surrendered three 100-yard receivers in the past two games. Crabtree is healthy enough to be San Fran's most targeted receiver; the question is, will he be locked down by Aqib Talib. Crabtree's athleticism makes him worth a start in a six-team bye.
WR Josh Morgan B Morgan scored last week, but he's targeted significantly less than Crabtree and is a riskier fantasy play.
TE Vernon Davis S2

Davis was an afterthought in last year's shutout loss to the Bucs, but he found the end zone last week and faces a Tampa Bay defense that's allowed two TE TDs already this season.

DT 49ers S3 The Niners' underrated defense has created multiple turnovers in every game this season. And turnovers lead to defensive fantasy points.

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