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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)

Dallas at New England

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S1

Romo and the Patriots' D have produced seven 300-yard games and seven mutliple touchdown efforts in a combined nine games. So the odds of you getting something very fantasy friendly are extremely good.

RB Felix Jones

The Patriots haven't given up a ton of rushing yards, but they've allowed plenty of RB receiving yards and at least one RB TD per game. Jones gets the bulk of the touches in Dallas, so he's best situated to take advantage.

WR Dez Bryant S1

When both Bryant and Austin are healthy, Miles tends to be the 1A--but not by much. With such a favorable matchup this week, if Bryant is even close to healthy he'll have every opportunity to put up the same gaudy stats we expect Austin to post.

WR Miles Austin S1

In the two games in which he was healthy Austin put up 233 yards and four TDs. Against a secondary that's already ceded four 100-yard games and seven WR TDs, he may only need one good hamstring to blow up your fantasy team.

TE Jason Witten S2

New England isn't exactly shutting down tight ends, but with both Bryant and Austin back in the mix you have to think Witten's numbers will be down at least a little bit from the 42 targets, 27 catches, and 366 yards he's totaled through four games.

DT Cowboys B Aside from that four-pick aberration, the Patriots haven't been turning the ball over. Worse, if you're in a league where points allowed matters, New England is lighting up the scoreboard with no regard for energy conservation.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S1

Brady just had a 15-game streak of multiple touchdown games snapped, though he made up for it with 321 passing yards. The Dallas pass defense has played better of late, but they've still surrendered multiple passing scores in three of four so there's little reason to worry about Brady this week.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


The Cowboys haven't allowed so much as a 50-yard rusher this season, but BJGE is getting first crack at the goal line looks--at least when he's healthy. Be advised that he was limited on both Wednesday and Friday and missed Thursday's practice completely with a toe injury. On the New England injury report that could mean anything from stub to amputation, so use him with caution.


Stevan Ridley


The rookie is still the junior partner in New England's RBBC backfield, but with both Law Firm and Danny Woodhead limited all week in practice he could get looks as the goal line back or the pass-catching back--maybe both. In a week with six teams on the bye and several other backs injured, that's enough to at least toss him into the starter conversation.

WR Wes Welker S1 Would you believe the Cowboys haven't given up a 100-yard receiver yet? Of course, they've only faced two wideouts who've seen double-digit targets--and that's essentially breakfast for Welker. Dallas doesn't have anybody who can hang with him, so look for Wes to resume his insane yardage pace this week.
WR Deion Branch S3 While Wes is building his contract case, Branch has quietly scored in back-to-back games. He's the fourth or fifth option in this passing game, but it's such a big number that most weeks there's enough to go around. And this matchup is definitely one of those "most weeks".
TE Rob Gronkowski S1 Gronkowski's targets will diminish ever so slightly with Hernandez back in the mix. But that's no reason to shy away from him.
TE Aaron Hernandez S1 Hernandez returned last week and picked up right where he left off, getting nine or so targets a game. He wasn't as productive as he'd been prior to his injury, but this matchup with a Cowboys' club that's allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends should set him back on the right track.
DT Patriots B Tony Romo has been known to make an ill-advised throw every now and again, but New England's defense hasn't done much in the way of turnover generation and the possibility this turns into a points festival should send you scurrying for a different fantasy defense.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

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New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

So far Drew's "off" game this year has been 351 yards and just one touchdown. Tampa Bay has surrendered multiple scoring strikes in three of five thus far and allowed 263 and three to Brees in the first meeting last year. Maybe you dial the expectations back, but not too far.


Darren Sproles


Gore, Peterson, Best... all have had triple-digit combo yards against the Bucs this year. Sproles is more of a 90-yards kind of guy, with upside if he quits going out of bounds at the 1 and the Saints stop giving goal line touches to Jed Clampett.


Mark Ingram


When Clampett... okay, Jed Collins... isn't stealing the carries, Ingram is the Saints' go-to guy at the stripe. This offense is good enough that that role is still worth a fantasy start. To wit: in the front end of last season's series with Tampa Bay, Chris Ivory rushed for 158 yards... but Ladell Betts and Heath Evans got the touchdowns.


Pierre Thomas


The third wheel in New Orleans' backfield committee, Thomas scored last week but it felt flukish. There's upside, but at 10 touches per game he's a desperation bye week play at best.

WR Robert Meachem
Lance Moore
Marques Colston


It's just a mess, and the emergence of Superstar Jimmy Graham is cutting even further into the WR's numbers. Colston feels like the most bankable commodity, but he's no guarantee. This isn't a "start 'em all" matchup, but at least the top three New Orleans wideouts have enough upside to warrant fantasy consideration.

WR Devery Henderson

Henderson seems to take a back seat to Lance Moore, so he's excluded from the "start your Saints' WRs" bundle package.

TE Jimmy Graham S1 Hide the women and children! Graham has three straight 100-yard games, scored in his last meeting with the Bucs, and faces a Tampa Bay defense that just allowed three TE TDsin the same game.
DT Saints B The Bucs got sloppy last week, but that hasn't been the norm. The Saints aren't generating much in the way of turnovers, so look elsewhere for fantasy defensive help.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S3

Freeman wrapped up last season with 255 and 2 against the Saints; he hasn't had a multiple touchdown game since. The Saints have surrendered multiple TD tosses in three of their five games, and with Blount out of the lineup Freeman will have to throw more; that combo makes Freeman worth a shot this week.

RB LeGarrette Blount


Blount will miss this week and perhaps a couple more, leaving the carries for Earnest Graham and Kregg Lumpkin.

RB Earnest Graham


With Blount sidelined, Graham and Kregg Lumpkin will handle the workload for the Bucs with Graham expected to be the lead dog in the committee. Thus far that's led to fantasy-relevant games for the likes of DeAngelo Williams, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ben Tate, Matt Forte, and James Starks. Graham can hang with that grouping.

WR Mike Williams

Williams has been the biggest disappointment in fantasy football thus far. He scored in the second meeting with New Orleans last season but his yardage in both games was forgettable; he's benched until he starts living up to the promise he flashed last season.

WR Arrelious Benn
Preston Parker

After giving up three WR TDs to the Packers in the season opener the Saints have surrendered just three more in the last four games. Neither Benn nor Parker is doing enough to inspire confidence that they can be trusted with a fantasy start; if you must reach, Parker is the underneath guy and thus far both Dane Sanzenbacher and Kevin Walter have scored in similar roles.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

With Tampa Bay's wide receivers struggling, look for Winslow to pick up the slack against a New Orleans defense that allowed four TE TDs in just the past three games.

DT Buccaneers B The Bucs haven't tallied a defensive touchdown since Week 1, aren't generating turnovers, and went sackless last week. Plus, the Saints have been known to put points on the board.

Minnesota at Chicago

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb B

McNabb had a Chicago homecoming of sorts last season, throwing for 200 and 1 with the Redskins. His numbers in Minnesota haven't been much better, and it's impossible to trust him with a fantasy start at this juncture.

RB Adrian Peterson S2

After owning the Bears for three seasons--averaging 122 rushing yards and two TDs over that six-game span--AP was held to 17-51 in the first meeting last year, then missed the rematch with an injury. The Bears haven't stopped anyone this season--only three teams have surrendered more RB rushing yards--so there's no reason not to expect Peterson to get his fair share.

WR Percy Harvin


Harvin has scored in two straight and three of four against Chicago, but he's been quiet thus far this season. Against a defense with safety issues, not to mention one that will be bringing safeties up to stop Peterson, there's an opportunity for Harvin to put his speed to use and get out of his fantasy funk this week. Note that he was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable due to sore ribs, but expectations are that he'll play on Sunday.

WR Michael Jenkins
Devin Aromashodu


Jenkins has been Minnesota-s most reliable receiver--a little like having the most teeth at an Arkansas county fair--and Aromashodu can play the revenge card against his former team. Both could be fantasy helpers; we just haven't seen enough from McNabb to trust that he'll get them the ball so they can capitalize.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

The Bears have allowed five TE TDs in the last three games; between the play-action of Peterson and the targets Shiancoe is getting, he's a sneaky fantasy play this week.

DT Vikings S3

Jared Allen and Brian Robison against the Bears' offensive line? Sounds like opportunity knocking.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

Cutler has 10 TD tosses in his last three meetings with Minnesota. If his offensive line can find a way to keep Jared Allen and Brian Robison from separating his head from his torso, another big game is in store.

RB Matt Forte S1

The Vikings have shut out Forte in four straight meetings, holding him to just seven receptions for 42 yards and an average of 65 rushing yards per game. But Forte rolls in on the heels of 321 rushing yards in the last two games, and Minnesota has struggled to defend the short passing game in which Forte excels. Expect screens and checkdowns and draws and anything the Bears can come up with to keep Minnesota's pass rush at bay--all of it involving the underpaid focal point of the Chicago offense.


Johnny Knox
Devin Hester

S3 Speed kills the Vikings' defense; Hester scored in both ends of last season's matchup, while Knox had 90 yards in the first meeting and 78 with a score in the back end. Both are worth a fantasy start this week.
WR Dane Sanzenbacher


The Bears lack a go-to guy, but Sanzenbacher is doing a serviceable impression of one with 26 targets in four games. After watching Preston Parker (6-98), Steve Breaston (4-91), and Early Doucet (8-92) work the soft underbelly of Minnesota's Tampa-2, there's little doubt Sanzenbacher can have similar success.

DT Bears S2 The Vikings haven't been turning the ball over, but Donovan McNabb certainly is capable. And Da Bears have three return TDs in as many home games; this one being at home, give them the benefit of the doubt.

Miami at NY Jets

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B

The Jets have allowed a total of three passing touchdowns this season--two to Tony Romo, one to Tom Brady. Moore isn't in that category.


Daniel Thomas


Though he was limited in practice during the week due to a tender hamstring, Thomas should be healthy coming out of the bye and ready to replicate the success he's had in his two pro games thus far. A Jets defense that just gave up 136 and 2 to BenJarvus Green-Ellis is all that stands between Thomas and another fantasy helper.


Reggie Bush


The Jets have given up six RB TDs in the past three games, along with a 64-yard receiving game and two 50-yard outings to secondary backs. Bush isn't the go-to guy in Miami, but with Matt Moore at quarterback expect the Dolphins to lean heavily in their backfield to generate offense.


Brandon Marshall


Marshall's 10-166-1 against the Jets came with Darrelle Revis out of the lineup; when Revis returned, Marshall's numbers were a much more subdued 2-16-1. But he still managed to score, and he'll be a security blanket for Moore. Brave Revis Island if you dare; Marshall has escaped with a touchdown before.


Davonne Bess
Brian Hartline


Tough to ask Moore to find secondary receivers, especially since you know Rex Ryan will be bringing everyone on the blitz.

DT Dolphins B No team defense has scored fewer fantasy points than the Dolphins. We may be able to just leave this statement here for quite a while.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

Even with "ground and pound" back in play Sanchez threw multiple TD passes for the fourth time in five games. Miami has allowed multiple touchdown passes in three of four this season, a total of nine in four games; in other words, they're not stopping anybody.

RB Shonn Greene S3

Green avearged a paltry 2.9 yards per carry against Miami last season. However, the return to "ground and pound" resulted in Greene's best performance of the season last week. Against a defense that's allowed at least one back to top 65 yards against them in every game this season, Greene should get the opportunity to put up... well, at least decent fantasy numbers.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S3

The last time Miami played they gave up 119 receiving yards to running backs. Between Greene's leftovers and the checkdown/passing game numbers, LT is usable this week.

WR Santonio Holmes


Already this season the Dolphins have allowed 160 and 2 to Wes Welker; 93 and 1 to Andre Johnson; and 108 and 1 to Vincent Jackson. As the Jets WR1, those are the numbers Holmes has to shoot for.

WR Plaxico Burress


There's been enough against Miami for multiple wideouts to have fantasy success; twice already a second WR has scored or topped 90 yards. Braylon Edwards scored in the first meeting between these squads last year, and that's whose role Plax is taking.

TE Dustin Keller S1

Keller has slowed after his fast start, but he's still the same tight end that posted 6-98-2 on the Dolphins in the front end of last season's series. And Miami is still the same defense that has allowed three TE TDs and the second-most fantasy points to the position.

DT Jets S2 Rex Ryan smells blood, or at least a backup quarterback.

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