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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)
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Blaine Gabbert B

Ever so slowly Gabbert is getting closer to fantasy relevancy. Against a Steelers defense that's given up two passing touchdowns in the last four games, however, is not the game to expect a great leap forward.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S2

The Steelers have given up RB TDs in three straight and four of five. MoJo has at least 80 rushing yards in every game thus far, and facing a Pittsburgh defense that's allowed at least as much to two of the last three feature backs they've faced 80 feels like a starting point.


Mike Thomas

B Eventually all those targets are going to mean something--just not this week against a defense that's allowed only two WR TDs all year and only one WR to top 75 yards.

Jason Hill

B Hill is closing on Thomas' targets, so see above.

Marcedes Lewis

B Lewis has whiffed on some real opportunities to help out his rookie QB, dropping a couple potential touchdowns. Don't know if Gabbart has lost confidence in him, but we have.
DT Jaguars B

Jacksonville's defense has played well in general but done little to foster fantasy scoring.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

Just when it looked as if Big Ben was limping off into fantasy mediocrity, he blows up with five TD tosses. Tough to bank on that this week, but a Jacksonville secondary that's allowed multiple scores in three of five should be more than accommodating enough.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


Mendenhall was active last week, available in a pinch, but did not play. He practiced all week this week and isn't listed on the injury report; the Steelers announced that Mendenhall had retained his starting job, but expect them to give Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer carries. Mendy was struggling prior to the injury, and now he may be sharing touches so until he proves he's back in business as the bell cow back you should look elsewhere for fantasy help.

RB Isaac Redman


Redman could have touches taken off the top by Mendenhall, or he could get undercut again by Jonathan Dwyer. Betwixt and between is a tough spot for fantasy points.

WR Mike Wallace

Wallace has scored in three of his last four, while the Jags have allowed three of the five WR1s they've faced to find the end zone. Bank on both trends extending.


Antonio Brown
Hines Ward
Emmanuel Sanders


Who's getting the secondary looks in Pittsburgh? Last week Ward danced his way onto Big Ben's radar, scoring twice. Tough to trust that happening again, so look elsewhere for fantasy help.

TE Heath Miller S3

The Jags have allowed a TE TD in four straight games; last week the Steelers scored two, with David Johnson swiping one from Miller. You could certainly do worse for a bye week plug-in than Miller in this matchup.

DT Steelers S2 The Steelers have just two takeaways on the season and are depleted defensively, but a rookie quarterback in their house is too good an opportunity not to take advantage of.
Philadelphia at Washington Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S2

Vick has two TD tosses in four of five and has topped 300 passing yards in back-to-back games; he also has two 90-yard rushing games and 165 rushing yards in the past two alone. Oh, and you may remember his 333-yard, 4-TD plus 80 and 2 rushing performance against the Redskins last year. He probably won't match that this time around... but you never know.

RB LeSean McCoy

McCoy has triple-digit combo yardage in every game except one and has scored in every game bar none. He had 268 yards from scrimmage in last season's series with the Skins; no reason to expect much different this year, against a defense that's allowed every feature back they've faced to score or top 150 combo yards.

WR DeSean Jackson
Jeremy Maclin
S2 Both Jackson and Maclin scored in the back end of last season's series, both are similarly targeted, and both are a threat to blow up on any given Sunday. The good news is the baseline for both seems to be something in the 70-yard range, with plenty of upside from there.
DT Eagles S3 Plenty of talent, but they've only produced five takeaways and haven't scored a return TD since Week 1. Philly's D did score in DC last year, and they're worth a shot this time around as well.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman S3

Philly held Ryan Fitzpatrick's numbers down last week, in part because Fred Jackson was doing so much damage to them on the ground. Washington will take a similar approach, leaving Grossman's stats a little on the lacking side as well. He's still a viable bye week plug-in, but expect the game plan to be extremely ground-heavy this week.


Ryan Torain

S2 Torain appears to have taken over the lead role in Mike Shanahan's committee after going 19-135-1 prior to the bye. The Eagles are letting everyone run all over them, so if you threw big money at Torain a couple weeks back here's your payoff.

Tim Hightower

B Even with Torain blowing up back in Week four, Hightower still got nine touches. However, the shoulder injury that opened the door for Torain is still bugging Hightower and limited him all week in practice. He's already seeing a reduced share, one he may not even be available to handle.

Roy Helu

U It's worth noting that last year Keiland Williams scored three times in the second meeting with Philly and there was still a touchdown left over for Darrel Young. If Hightower can't go, Helu falls into a dozen or so touches as the change of pace guy; against Philly's awful run defense, that's enough to warrant fantasy consideration.
WR Santana Moss
S3 Moss continues to punch out those half-dozen catch, 75-yard outings like clockwork. He did little against Philly last year but has been steady and solid so far this season and the Eagles' dream secondary has still surrendered five WR TDs the last four games.
WR Jabar Gaffney

B Gaffney has been a poor man's Moss this year, but with Moss already at the low end of the starting scale the "poor man's" pushes him across the divide to the bench side.
TE Fred Davis

Davis and Cooley are both getting plenty of field time, but Davis is getting the targets--maybe even more than usual if Cooley's knee keeps him on the sidelines. Regardless, Davis is the better fantasy play against a defense that's allowed three TE TDs in the past four games.

TE Chris Cooley B

Cooley scored in last season's meeting with the Eagles, but his role has changed to the point he can't be banked on for fantasy help. He's also listed as questionable after having fluid drained off his troublesome knee and being limited in practice all week.

DT Redskins S2 Philly has turned the ball over 14 times in the last four games; given their o-line issues and the Redskins' pass rush, the home team is a solid bet for defensive fantasy points.

Houston at Baltimore

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Schaub stepped it up against Oakland last week, leaning heavily on his tight ends and Arian Foster to amass 416 passing yards. The Ravens won't be as forgiving; they'll also be tougher to run on, meaning Schaub should have to throw more. Probably not 62 times like he did in last season's meeting, but enough to hold on to fantasy starter status.
RB Arian Foster

S2 Foster went for exactly 100 yards in last year's matchup with Baltimore, but the Ravens have been significantly tougher against the run this year, giving up just one RB TD and holding all backs to less than 80 yards of total offense. You can't bench Foster, as he'll find a way to get his stats, but you aren't exactly giddy about this matchup.
WR Andre Johnson B

And now it's official: Johnson is out for this week's tilt.

WR Jacoby Jones B The Texans could have put a Fathead of Andre Johnson on the field in place of Jones last week and received similar production. The TD Jones scored in last season's matchup (with AJ still in play) might suck you in, but one catch on 11 targets last week strongly suggests Jones isn't clicking with Schaub.
WR Kevin Walter S3

Walter, on the other hand, caught a TD pass last week and put up numbers similar to Jones (sans the TD) in last year's Baltimore tilt. He's a more reliable option, though truth be told he's barely on the good side of the bench/start chasm this week.

TE Owen Daniels S3

Baltimore hasn't given up squat to the tight end position thus far this year, but Daniels' 8-73-1 in last season's meeting and his 7-89 last week put him in play, especially in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Texans B Let's see how they adjust to life without Mario Williams before trusting them with a road start against a run-first offense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S3

The Texans haven't given up big passing yardage (Drew Brees the exception), but they have allowed multiple TD tosses in two of their last three. Flacco got them for 235 and 2 last year, and thaf feels like what you can expect this time around as well.

RB Ray Rice S2

Houston has been pretty good against the run, but they're down Mario Williams and they can be had by versatile backs like Darren Sproles (85 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown). Or like Rice's 120 combo yards in last season's meeting. Or like the 135 combo yards and one TD Rice is averaging thus far this season.

WR Anquan Boldin


Derrick Mason scored twice in last season's Ravens/Texans battle, and Boldin has taken the targets vacated by Mason's departure. He's a solid bet for a Brandon Marshall-like 6-79-1 sort of line.


Torrey Smith

S3 Speed guys like Darius Heyward-Bey (7-99-1) and Antonio Brown (5-67) and Lance Moore (9-88-1) and Devery Henderson (3-62) have had success against the Texans. Lee Evans remains sidelined, leaving the deep shots to Smith.

Ed Dickson

B The only tight end with any stat line of note against the Texans has been Jimmy Graham, and he's a different animal. Dickson should see some targets, but he's third or fourth in the Ravens' offensive pecking order; you can find a higher priority tight end with a better matchup elsewhere.
DT Ravens S1 Baltimore scored two return TDs in last year's meeting with Houston and is fresh off of four reutrn touchdowns against the Jets. Yeah, they're a good play here.
Cleveland at Oakland Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy S3

Colt needed 61 throws to get to 350 yards last week, but against an Oakland defense that's allowing an average of 43 attempts and 316 passing yards he could very well approach that number once again.

RB Peyton Hillis


The strep is gone, he has the green light from his agent... and now Hillis has a solid matchup against a Raiders defense that not only can be had on the ground (see Fred Jackson's 117 and 2 or the combined 172 and 2 from BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley) but has also allowed more RB receiving yards than any other NFL team.

RB Montario Hardesty


If Hardesty wrests third-down duties from Hillis he'll have additional value here, but seeing as he leads NFL running backs in drops that might not be the best use of his skill set.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi
Greg Little
Josh Cribbs

Little has been officiallly named the starter, but he was already getting starter playing time anyway so don't expect a big jump in numbers. In fact, no Browns receiver has more than one game with more than 50 yards this year. There's no consistency here to be trusted against what is otherwise a relatively fantasy-friendly matchup.

TE Ben Watson S2

This is not only where Cleveland prefers to do its passing-game damage--Watson has been targeted 19 times the past two games, more than any Browns WR--but also where the Raiders are susceptible. Last week alone Oakland gave up 201 yards and a touchdown to the TE position.

DT Browns B The Raiders love to run the ball, and the Browns aren't forcing many turnovers. That's not the recipe for a fruitful fantasy defense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell S3

Campbell has alternated sub-200-yard outings with 300-yard affairs; this is slated to be a 300-yard outing. While Cleveland has yet to surrender so much as a 275-yard game this season they'll likely be without top corner Joe Haden--enough of a difference to make Campbell useable on a six-team bye week.

RB Darren McFadden

You can run on Cleveland (two 100-yard outings already); more importantly, you can combo-yard on Cleveland (every feature back to face the Browns has rung the triple-digit yardage bell). McFadden is coming off his first non-100-yard effort of the season, but the Browns have a cure for that.

RB Michael Bush

Bush might be a tough sell against a defense that's allowed only one RB rushing score all season, but teams are on average rushing 30 times against Cleveland so even if McFadden gets his usual 20 carries there will be enough left over for Bush to have fantasy relevancy.


Darius Heyward-Bey


Cleveland's secondary has been pretty good, but with shutdown corner Joe Haden questionable at best for this gamet, DHB is worth a flier. He's been targeted a team-high 19 times the past two weeks, catching 11 balls for 214 yards and a score. No Haden, DHB belongs in your fantasy lineup.


Denarius Moore


Moore, Jacoby Ford, Derek Hagan, Chaz Schilens... they're all playing second fiddle to DHB right now, and Campbell hasn't demonstrated he's consistent enough to produce passing game numbers that make WR2s fantasy-relevant.

DT Raiders B Cleveland has turned the ball over just once in each game, and their dink-and-dunk offense doesn't provide many opportunities for defenses to rack up fantasy points. Odds are you can find more help elsewhere.

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