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Start/Bench List: Week 6
John Tuvey
Updated: October 14, 2011
CAR at ATL BUF at NYG CLE at OAK MIA at NYJ 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)
Carolina at Atlanta Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments

Cam Newton

S1 Atlanta has allowed multiple TD tosses in four of five games this year and 300-plus passing yards in four of five as well. Newton has multiple TDs (including rushes) in four of five and 300-plus yards in three of five. And since the dome takes rain off the table, Cam is golden.

DeAngelo Williams

S3 Williams' carries have gone down each week since the start of the season, but his yardage has gone up. If you trust him to break off a long run he's usable; just know he has a better chance of growing a third eye in the middle of his forehead than getting a goal line carry.

Jonathan Stewart

B The best word to describe Carolina's backfield this season is schizophrenic. There's a word for you if you're forced to plug Stewart into your lineup because of injuries and/or the bye week, but it's not suitable for a family web site.
WR Steve Smith S1

Prior to last season Smith had a very strong track record against the Saints, with 429 yards and three touchdowns in four games. Last year, he faced them once and was targeted just three times. Happy days are here again thanks to Cam Newton, and an Atlanta secondary that's surrendered five WR TDs in the last two games and big yardage to deep threats like James Jones (5-140-1) and Jeremy Maclin (13-171-2) will help Steve celebrate.

WR Legedu Naanee S3

Naanee is the more targeted secondary receiver (33, compared to Brandon LaFell's 18), and against a defense that's allowed three secondary WRs to score in the past two games that makes him bye-usable.

TE Greg Olsen

Usually it's Jeremy Shockey deflating Olsen's fantasy potential; this week it's a double shot, with Shockey getting an assist from an Atlanta defense that hasn't allowed a TE TD since Week 1 and has given up more than 45 yards to just one tight end all year.

DT Panthers B The Panthers aren't producing sacks, takeaways, or defensive scores; as such, you can find a better fantasy defense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

Three straight one-TD games with declining yardage has us less than giddy about Ryan this week. A Panthers secondary that's surrendered three multiple-TD games and as many 300-yard passers salvages a starting nod, but Ryan is at minimum on double-secret fantasy probation.

RB Michael Turner S1

Which favorable trend do you like most: Turner's four 100-yard outings and nine total touchdowns in his last five against the Panthers? Or the 205, 122, 90, and 85 yard games Carolina has already surrendered to opposing backs this season? Take your pick, they both rock.

WR Roddy White S2

White has scored in each of his last two home games against Carolina and is averaging 13 targets, seven catches, and 75 yards over the last six meetings. With no Julio Jones to steal looks, those feel like baseline numbers for Roddy.

WR Julio Jones B

A hamstring injury will keep Jones out of Sunday's tilt.

WR Harry Douglas B

Douglas gets the start in place of Jones, but it's hardly a favorable matchup with a Carolina defense that hasn't allowed a secondary wideout to top 40 yards against them since Jordy Nelson did so in Week 2.


Tony Gonzalez


Gonzo has scored in three of four against Carolina, including both meetings last season, and has four touchdowns in his last four games. He's a very attractive start against a Panthers defense that just gave up 129 yards to Jimmy Graham last week and has also served up 60-yard games to Jermichael Finley and Jeff King.

DT Falcons B Over their past three games Carolina has allowed one sack and turned the ball over just twice; that's not going to help the Atlanta defense get on the fantasy scoreboard.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Curtis Painter B

Painter's mini-run of success--games of 281 & 2 and 277 & 2--runs into the wall that is the underrated Bengals' defense. Not that they've seen a who's who of quarterbacking, but over the past three games they've allowed just one TD toss and no quarterback has thrown for 225 yards on them this season. Put another way: last year Peyton Manning went for 185 and zero against Cincy.

RB Joseph Addai B Addai is listed as questionable with the hamstring injury he suffered last week, but he didn't practice all week and is unlikely to play on Sunday.
RB Delone Carter B Carter and his 3.0 yards-per-carry average will likely split time with Donald Brown if Addai sits this one out. Against a Cincy run D that is giving up 88 rushing yards per game, neither makes a shrewd fantasy play.
WR Reggie Wayne B

If JUMbotron's tweet earlier in the week wasn't hint enough, let the first official bench recommendation in recent memory for Wayne be the final straw. These are not Peyton Manning's Colts... though it's worth noting that even with Manning chucking Wayne mustered all of 34 yards in last year's meeting with the Bengals.

WR Pierre Garçon

Painter looks at Garçon more than he does Wayne. He's also the kind of deep threat to have success against Cincy--like Jason Hill (5-118-1) last week and Eric Decker (5-113-2) earlier this season.

TE Dallas Clark B

Clark has been utterly ordinary without Peyton Manning; facing a defense that's allowed 14 yards to tight ends the past two weeks, no reason to expect anything different.

DT Colts B Indy has gone two games without creating a turnover, making it difficult to generate much in the way of defensive fantasy points.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Andy Dalton S3

Dalton gets the Colts fresh off surrendering four TD tosses to Matt Cassel, and while he's not a great start he has the running game to keep Indy's pass rush honest and the tackles to keep Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney at bay. He's a serviceable bye week plug-in.

RB Cedric Benson S1

Benson's lousy on the road (one TD in his last nine away from home) and a beast at home, where he averages almost 30 yards and almost a full yard per carry more than in visiting whites; he's also scored five TDsand topped the century mark three times in his last seven home tilts.

WR A.J. Green


Andre Johnson burned the Colts; so did Mike Wallace. And last week, both Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston had their way with Indy's secondary. With three touchdowns and two 100-yard games through his first five pro games, Green is fast approaching elite WR status and this game should give him a boost down that road.

WR Jerome Simpson


Simpson is on the cusp of a fantasy start, as a secondary WR has tallied at least 50 yards in each of Indy's last three games and Jerome is working his way back into the team's good graces following his Cheech & Chong moment. If you're desperate, he's an option but there are likely better ones out there.

TE Jermaine Gresham S3 While the Colts haven't given up much to tight ends thus far this season, they surrendered 9-85-1 to Gresham in last season's meeting. Gresham is a top-five TE in targets, catches, and touchdowns; he belongs in your lineup on a weekly basis.
DT Bengals S3 Painter hasn't turned the ball over much, but a road game against an underrated Bengals defense could lead to Cincy's second defensive score in as many weeks.

San Francisco at Detroit

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San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith S3

With back-to-back multiple TD outings Smith is a viable bye week option. However, it won't be easy against a Detroit defense that has held four of five foes to one or fewer TD toss.

RB Frank Gore S3

After a sluggish start Gore has put together a couple nice games. A third straight 100-yard effort might be asking too much, but if Matt Forte can do it behind his abysmal line then Gore at least has a shot. He should aslo make hay as a pass-catcher; only two teams have allowed more RB receptions than the Lions.

RB Kendall Hunter B

Hunter has made modest contributions the past couple of weeks, but it's tough to bank on him doing the same on the road against the undefeated Lions.

WR Michael Crabtree S3 Witih Josh Morgan done for the season, his targets will trickle towards Crabtree. Physical receivers like Dwayne Bowe, Dez Bryant, and Michael Jenkins have fared well against Detroit, further making him worth a shot this week.
WR Ted Ginn B Ginn moves into Morgan's starting spot, but he's a better bet to score in the return game than against the Detroit secondary.
TE Vernon Davis S1

The Lions have surrendered TE TDs in three straight games, and with Morgan out Davis should see increased looks. Delanie Walker lurks to vulture a touchdown, but Davis is still a very good start.

DT 49ers S3 San Fran has multiple takeaways in every game this year, but they're on the road and facing a Detroit team that has yet to turn the ball over more than once in a game. They're a fringe fantasy start in this time-honored matchup of the immovable object and the irresistable force.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford S2

Stafford has multiple TDs in every game this season. The Niners have shut out two teams but allowed two or more touchdown tosses to the other three. The way Stafford is playing, he gets the benefit of the doubt here.

RB Jahvid Best S3

Best's big showing last week and his proficiency in the passing game salvage him from the bench against a San Francisco defense that hasn't allowed a running back rushing score this season and held Cedric Benson to 64 yards and everybody else--including LeGarrette Blount, LeSean McCoy, Felix Jones, and Marshawn Lynch--to 34 yards or less.

WR Calvin Johnson S1

The touchdown pace has slowed now but he's still reaching the end zone at least once a game. And against a defense that let Miles Austin go for 143 and 3 and DeSean Jackson tally 6-171, Megatron is good to go.

WR Nate Burleson
Titus Young

What damage opposing wideouts have done against the Niners has been limited primarily to WR1s; neither Burleson nor Young have had a fantasy helper since Week 2, so a change to either trend seems unlikely.

TE Brandon Pettigrew

San Francisco has given up at least 50 yards to four straight tight ends; Pettigrew has topped that number thrice--strangely enough, all on the road. He did score last week at home against Chicago and is targeted enough to warrant a fantasy star--especially with Tony Scheffler out with a concussion.

DT Lions S3 For all the hype, the Lions have two Romo pick-sixes and lettle else as a fantasy defense; in fact, they couldn't even force Donovan McNabb or Jay Cutler into a turnover. They're startable, just not elite--especially against a Niners team that's turned the ball over just four times in five games.

St. Louis at Green Bay

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford S3

Okay, so playing the Packers is not a license to print passing yardage, as Matt Ryan learned last week. Bradford is still looking for his first multiple-TD outing, and he's been under 200 yards in three of four this season. A week off to get on the same page with his receivers, coupled with the likelihood that he'll be playing catch-up, put him on the start side of the fence this week.

RB Steven Jackson S3

There are combo yards to be had against the Packers, who are allowing an average of 128 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backs. And with Jackson housing all the touches once again, he'll at least get you on the board with some yardage points.


Danario Alexander


Alexander headed into the bye as the Rams' leader in targets in back-to-back games--a rarity this season. If you're taking a chance on a St. Louis wideout, he has the best opportunity of any.


Brandon Gibson
Mike Sims-Walker


Good luck picking out another option from this passing gam. Alexander is chancy enough; beyond him there isn't enough upside to justify the risk.

DT Rams B No reason to roll the Rams out in front of the Green Bay offensive juggernaut.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

Like you need to ask. The Rams held Rex Grossman in check, but Rodgers ain't Rex Grossman.


James Starks


The Rams are giving up almost 150 RB rushing yards per game; even if Starks has to share, his portion is more than enough to make him a fantasy starter.


Ryan Grant


If you could guarantee me Grant would get 10-plus touches I'd probably give him a starting nod, as there will be plenty to go around this week.

WR Greg Jennings


The worst game by a WR1 against the Rams was Anquan Boldin's 7-74, but he was throttled down after Torrey Smith snagged three TDsin the first quarter. Jennings should have little difficulty getting his this week.

WR Jordy Nelson


Secondary targets like Smith and Dominek Hixon have scored against the Rams, so there's room for Nelson to get his as well.

WR James Jones


Why not start all your Packers? James has as good a shot of getting behind the St. Louis secondary as Nelson or Jennings, and he's on a two-game scoring streak of his own.

TE Jermichael Finley


Two reasons we're not giddy about this matchup: Finley's been relatively quiet for the past two weeks, and the Rams have given up only 115 yards to tight ends all season, with zero TE TDs. Finley is matchup proof, but you may need to lower expectations slightly.

DT Packers S2 Green Bay's defense makes things happen; against a team that's allowed 19 sacks through four games, they could make things happen a lot.

Buffalo at NY Giants

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S2

Fitz has come back to earth, with two sub-200 yard games and just one TD the past fortnight. But don't write him off just yet; he has a line playing well enough to keep the Giants' pass rush at bay, a running game that can punch the G-Men in the stomach, and enough depth in his receiving corps to take advantage of a secondary that's still not completely healthy.

RB Fred Jackson S1

Jackson has churned out at least 98 yards from scrimmage in every game this season and found the end zone in each of the last four. Facing a defense that's allowed 131, 138, and 141 combo yards to the last three feature backs they've faced, you have to like Jackson's chances once again.

RB C.J. Spiller B

All the damage to the Giants has been done by feature backs; no secondary back has reached the 20-yard mark. Spiller is too lightly used to be trusted here.

WR Steve Johnson S1

The Giants have allowed a 100-yard receiver in three of their last four games. They don't have a shutdown corner, and given his druthers Fitz will throw to Johnson.

WR David Nelson
Naaman Roosevelt

New York's secondary has allowed a secondary receiver to score or top 50 yards a total of six times in five games. With Donald Jones out, Roosevelt steps into the lineup and makes a viable plug-in play. Nelson, as the slot guy, is seeing enough targets consistently to warrant a fantasy start as well.

TE Scott Chandler B

It was a nice run for Chandler, who has been targeted just three times in the last two games. The Giants haven't given up a TE TD yet this season, so it doesn't make sense to bank on the lightly-looked at Chandler to break their maiden.

DT Bills S2 Make it three straight games with defensive touchdowns for the opportunistic Bills defense. The Giants just served one up last week and have turned the ball over seven times in two games. Anyone for four in a row?
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S1

Buffalo has surrendered multiple TD tosses in three of the last four games; Eli has thrown two or more scores in four straight. These teams average a combined 57 points per game, so there's going to be plenty of offense; start Eli with confidence.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

There has been plenty of combo yardage against the Bills, including 107 and a TD to LeSean McCoy last week. Bradshaw dribbled a golden opportunity down his leg last week, producing just 85 yards from scrimmage despite Brandon Jacobs being sidelined. We're willing to give him another chance, seeing as he had scored in three of the previous four.

RB Brandon Jacobs

Jacobs tapped out of last week's game with a knee injury, didn't practice at all this week, and has been ruled out of Sunday's game.

WR Hakeem Nicks

The Bills have allowed a 100-yard receiver in four straight games, and five WR TDs in that span. Nicks is the most likely candidate to take advantage...

WR Victor Cruz


...unless it's Cruz, who has an eye-popping 369 yards and three touchdowns since taking over a regular role in the receiver rotation.

WR Mario Manningham


Hardly forgotten, Manningham was targeted nine times last week and produced a good-not-great 5-56. This one feels like a shootout, so if you're in a pinch you can go this deep into New York's wide receivers.

TE Jake Ballard S3

Ballard has scored in two straight, and the Bills have stopped only the teams that don't bother to use the tight end; frequently targeted TEs like Rob Gronkowski (7-109-2) and Jermaine Gresham (4-70-1) have put up good numbers. In a bye week and with Ballard on a hot streak, he's usable here.

DT Giants S3 Strength on strength: the Giants have 18 sacks; the Bills have allowed just four. The Giants create turnovers; Buffalo has just five on the season. Give the nod to the G-Men at home, but this isn't a slam dunk of a matchup.

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