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Start/Bench List: Week 7
John Tuvey
Updated: October 21, 2011
WAS at CAR SDC at NYJ KCC at OAK BAL at JAC 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)
Chicago vs. Tampa Bay (in jolly ol' England) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

All three of Jay's multiple TD outings this season have come at home; this one won't be played stateside. And Tampa's defense has been better on the road, though facing Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees at home will skew those stats. Jay is lineup-worthy, with a matchup that screams neither "Use me!" nor "Bench me!"

RB Matt Forte S1

Forte has five 100-combo metre games this season as the focal point of the Chicago offense. Facing a defense that's allowed not only two 100-yard rushers but also three 40-yard RB receivers this season, Forte should have a game that makes even the Buckingham Palace guards smile--if only ever so slightly.


Roy Williams

S3 Bigger targets (Megatron, Roddy White, Josh Morgan, Marques Colston) have fared well against the Bucs. With Roy back in the starting lineup (3-50 on four targets last week) he's as usable as any Chicago wideout.
WR Devin Hester


Harvin's always a threat in the return game and he's doing more as a receiver as well, with 5-91-1 on seven targets last week. However, if Earl Bennett is back in the lineup he may be a better option here. Both are healthy and expected to play, which makes both a little more difficult to trust with a fantasy start..

DT Bears S3 The Bucs haven't been turning the ball over, but any time you have Devin Hester on your side you've got a shot.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S2

Freeman showed signs of snapping out of his slump with 303 and 2 last week against the Saints, and with LeGarrette Blount still out of the lineup he'll be forced to carry the offense once again. A Bears defense that's allowed five TD passes in two road games shouldn't get in his way.

RB Earnest Graham


Graham was solid filling in for Blount last week, with 131 combo yards on 19 touches. The Bears sold out to stop Adrian Peterson last week, but they won't be nearly as focused on Graham. Also worth noting is that the Bears have ceded receiving yards to RBs as well--five different backs have amassed at least 32 yards through the air. Put them together and it adds up to another fantasy helper from Graham.

WR Mike Williams

A whopping 13 targets last week suggests that Freeman and the Bucs are doing everything they can to shake Williams out of hsi sophomore slump. His 6-59 on those 13 targets wasn't great, but it's a step in the right direction, and with Chicago still sorting through some issues at safety he's at least worth of a roster spot to see if he's coming around.

WR Arrelious Benn
Preston Parker

Benn and Parker own Tampa's last four WR TDs. They're not great plays, but in a week with six teams on the bye you could do worse than semi-frequently targeted wideouts against a team that's still unsettled in the secondary.

TE Kellen Winslow S2

Winslow is the third-most targeted tight end, with little to show for his efforts. A Chicago defense that's surrendered five TE TDs in the last four games and at least 50 yards to the position in every game this season might be the cure for what ails him.

DT Buccaneers B Jay Cutler has gone two straight without a pick; in fact, the Bears have just six turnovers this season. Their o-line woes won't be an issue against a Tampa Bay team that's gone sackless in back-to-back games, and we've seen what Cutler can do sans pressure
Houston at Tennessee Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Schaub has been a bit on the erratic side, with a couple big games and three very mediocre fantasy outings. Not having Andre Johnson again won't help, but Schaub has been able to cobble together numbers that make him at least worthy of consideration. And considering the last time the Titans took the field they gave up five passing TDs to a gimpy Ben Roethlisberger, there's at least a chance Schaub is more than just a lineup placeholder.
RB Arian Foster

S2 Foster drilled the Titans in the first meeting last year with 143 yards rushing and another 75 receiving; Tennessee got their revenge in the rematch by holding him to 15 rushing yards on 11 carries. Don't expect a touchdown, as Foster has never scored on the Titans and Tennessee has allowed only one RB rushing score all year. However, they are a little more susceptible via the air and Foster is seeing copious opportunities in the passing game. Even if Tennessee sells out against the run again, Foster should do enough through the air to be a solid fantasy starter.
WR Andre Johnson B

Johnson will miss another game and is now three weeks into the "worst-case" scenario of six weeks.

WR Kevin Walter S3

This isn't a particularly favorable matchup for any Houston wideout, because Andre Johnson isn't available to replicate the 6-82-1 Mike Wallace posted on the Titans. But Walter could fill the niche exploited by Matt Willis and Hines Ward, possession guys who have three of the four WR TDs the Titans have allowed this year.

WR Jacoby Jones B Aside from Wallace's 82 yards, no other wideout has made it to 60 yards against the Titans--though nine have tallied at least 45. Jones scored last week while filling the Andre Johnson role, but in a similar situation last year (starting for AJ) he landed at an underwhelming 7-50. In a bigger league 50 yards might be enough to warrant fantasy attention, but in most leagues it's just wasteland.
TE Owen Daniels S3

Daniels has had to split his numbers with Joel Dreessen, both recently and historically against the Titans. However, Daniels is the more reliable fantasy play and a solid bet to help your lineup against a Tennessee defense that's surrendered three TE TDs in the past two games.

DT Texans B The Titans aren't giving opponents many opportunities for defensive fantasy points, having turned the ball over just six times in five games. And sans Mario Williams the Texans aren't as likely to create those opportunities on their own.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3

You don't go out of your way to start Hasselbeck, and there's nothing to this matchup that urges you to change that way of thinking. But as a guy you plug into your lineup with six teams on the bye, Hasselbeck is spot on. He has a TD in every game, at least 250 yards in four of five, and is the perfect placeholder for your fantasy lineup this week.

RB Chris Johnson S1

The Texans are certainly familiar with Johnson; he's roasted them for at least 130 rushing yards in three of their last four meetings. Wade Phillips knows him as well; CJ took Wade's Cowboys for 131 yards and two TDs in Week 5 last year. Johnson's been a little slower to get going this season, but coming out of the bye there's no excuses left: he's rested, in football shape, and had reps with his team. Time to live up to the contract.

WR Nate Washington
S3 Washington was a bit part in last season's series with the Texans, watching Kenny Britt and Randy Moss (remember him?) have the fun. However, Washington still managed to include a touchdown among his two catches in the back end of the series. As the Titans' de facto WR1 he's first in line to take a bite out of a secondary that's allowed seven games of 75 or more yards and six WR TDs in as many games.
WR Damian Williams
S3 Williams has scored in back to back games and has actually been targeted more frequently than Washington. Maybe he takes the first bite; worst-case, he's next man in against a Houston defense that's allowed multiple wideouts to either score or top 60 yards in three of five this season.
TE Jared Cook
S3 Cook has been targeted 15 times in two games, which almost by default makes him useable in a six-team bye week. However, the Texans allowed 100 and 1 to Jimmy Graham and 96 yards total to all the other tight ends they've faced--combined. The slim pickings push Cook to the start side of the ledger, but unless you're in a larger TE-mandatory league you may have better options at your disposal.
DT Titans S3 Houston has been playing relatively mistake-free football, but the Titans are a pretty good defense--the 38 points Pittsburgh hung on them in Week 5 notwithstanding. Note that the Texans haven't topped 20 points against Tennessee since the front end of the 2009 series.

Pittsburgh at Arizona

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

After rousting us with a five-TD blowup while playing on one foot, Big Ben went back to his ho-hum one-touchdown ways last week. Arizona has allowed multiple TD tosses more often than not, so there's a chance Roethlisberger gives us a little more than just adequate fantasy numbers. In a six-team bye week he's worth taking a chance on; just don't be shocked if you get the ordinary Ben numbers.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


After seeing Adrian Peterson (29-122-3), Marshawn Lynch (19-73), and Tim Hightower (20-96)--none running behind anything close to elite offensive lines--have their way with the Cardinals, Mendenhall has to feel pretty good about being next in line. His 146 yards against Jacksonville last week demonstrated his hamstring is healthy; more importantly, his 23 carries indicate he's still the Steelers' go-to back.

WR Mike Wallace

There's opportunity here against a defense that's already surrendered 178 and 2 to Steve Smth, 109 yards to Sidney Rice, and 162 and 1 to Hakeem Nicks. Wallace is the guy to take advantage; though he was limited in practice during the week he's listed as probable and expected to play. Only that little twinge of concern associated with a lingering hamstring injury keeps Wallace from S1 status.


Antonio Brown
Hines Ward


Even with Wallace in the lineup Pittsburgh's secondary targets are useable against a Cardinals' secondary that's allowed a second receiver to top 60 yards in three of five games.

TE Heath Miller B

Miller has topped 50 yards just once and scored just once in six games. He could be considered in larger TE-mandatory leagues, especially if Mike Wallace can't play, but ideally you'd want a better matchup than a defense that's allowed just six catches to the position over the past three games.

DT Steelers S3 The Steel Curtain is still a bit banged up, but they've generated eight sacks the past two games and could cause problems for an Arizona offense that's surrendered a similar amount in that same span and turned the ball over six times in two games.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kevin Kolb B

Tough to trust Kolb with a start here. His yardage and touchdowns have stagnated or declined in every game this season, and he's facing a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed three TD passes in five games and held four of their last five opponents under 160 passing yards. You can cling to the "He's got Fitz" angle, but in his last game Kolb threw twice as many passes to Early Doucet as he did to Fitz.

RB Chris Wells
S2 Wells has scored in all four games he's played, with 90 yards or better in three of the four. He's had an extra week to get the hamstring healthy, so there's no reason he can't followin the footsteps of Ray Rice (19-107-1), Joseph Addai (17-86-1), Arian Foster (30-155-1), Chris Johnson (14-51-1) and Maurice Jones-Drew (22-96).
WR Larry Fitzgerald

The Steelers have allowed WR TDs in each of the past two games, but only one wideout has topped 75 yards against them this season and none have topped 85. Fitz is unbenchable, but this is not the best matchup he'll see.

WR Early Doucet

Yes, Doucet was targeted twice as much as Fitz in Arizona's last game; even 16 looks wasn't enough to get him over 100 yards or in the end zone for the first time since Week 1. Against a Pittsburgh secondary field the stats listed above, you can do better than a WR2 with a struggling quarterback.

DT Cardinals B Arizona hasn't tallied a return touchdown since Week 1, has just one sack in three of their last four games, has generated only seven turnovers this season, and has given up 30-plus points in each of their last two. Nothing in that laundry list suggests a viable starting fantasy defense.
Kansas City at Oakland Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S3

With Jamaal Charles out, Cassel has picked up the offensive slack with his two top yardage games plus an Abe Lincoln (four scores) against the Colts in Week 5. Oakland has allowed multiple passing scores in five straight and gave up 216 and two to Cassel in the front end of last season's series; tha's more than enough to make Cassel a viable option in a six-team bye week.

RB Thomas Jones

Jones is still getting his 10 or so touches per game, but he appears to have ceded lead dog status in the KC backfield to Battle. However, against a defense that has allowed multiple backs to top 60 combo yards in three of six games, Jones is worthy of consideration as a bye-week plug-in in larger leagues.

RB Jackie Battle
S3 Was Battle a one-hit wonder? We'll find out if he can follow up the 19-119 from a cushy matchup with Indy in Week 5 against a slightly tougher Oakland run defense. So long as Battle remains involved in the passing game, where the Raiders have allowed the most receiving yardage to RBs, he should pay dividends on the free agent acquisition budget investment it took to get him a couple weeks back.
RB Dexter McCluster
B Rather than step into the role created by Jamaal Charles' injury McCluster has seen his touches decline each of the past three weeks, to the point that he's no longer fantasy relevant.

Dwayne Bowe


Bowe is at it again, with three 100-yard efforts in his last four games and four TDs in his last three. He was in the 60s in both matchups with Oakland last year, scoring once, and with Nnamdi Asomugha gone and no Jamaal Charles to take away opportunities Bowe should stay torrid.


Steve Breaston


Since Kansas City's ground game went down with an injury in Week 2, Breaston has tallied196 yards and two touchdowns in a wingman role. The Raiders have already allowed a couple two-TD games, and in the front end of last season's series Verran Tucker augmented Bowe's score with one of his own.

DT Chiefs B The Raiders aren't making mistakes and the Chiefs aren't forcing them; put it together and it's a recipe for a bench-worthy fantasy defense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer B

Now Hue Jackson is playing coy about his starter, but word is leaking out that it won't be Palmer. Understandable, given he's been a Raider for about three days. Stash him until after the bye, when he comes out guns blazing.

QB Kyle Boller B

There's a fantasy start to be had against a KC secondary that's allowed multiple touchdown passes in four of five this season, including the last two to Donovan McNabb and Curtis Painter. However, even if Palmer doesn't start you can expect him to get some snaps at some point. That makes Boller unusable, though "Raiders Team QB" is an intriguing option.

RB Darren McFadden

McFadden rolled up 104 combo yards in the front end of last season's series, then missed the finale with an injury. He's cooled after a blistering start but is still averaging 127 yards from scrimmage per game. The Chiefs haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Fred Jackson in Week 1, but three backs have taken them for triple-digit combo yardage and two have multiple scores. With Carson Palmer under center, you know the game plan will be run-centric--and that means big opportunity for Run DMC.

RB Michael Bush

As noted above, if the Raiders do in fact start Palmer at quarterback you know they'll help him out with a double shot of the ground game. Last year Bush mopped up in the series finale with 137 and 1 as McFadden sat out with an injury. He'll be relegated to wingman status this time around, but already this year the Chiefs have allowed two secondary backs to score in addition to the primary putting up big digits.


Darius Heyward-Bey


Once could have been a fluke; twice was intriguing. And now DHB has posted three consecutive solid outings; could it be he's not a first-round bust? DHB should have little difficulty getting behind a defense that surrendered 125 and two to Pierre Garçon the last time they took the field, and Boller under center isn't a downgrade as one thing he can most definitely do is throw the deep ball.


Denarius Moore
Jacoby Ford


Sure, all the Oakland receivers could benefit from adding Palmer to the mix, but there's no need to rush into things. Ford blew by the Chiefs for 148 yards in last season's first meeting but those looks are being taken by DHB now. Ford and Moore were similarly targeted as secondary options, and once Palmer can spend a little more time with the offense they'll be viable targets. Just not five days after Palmer arrives in camp.

DT Raiders B The Chiefs have played turnover-free ball their past two games, making it tough for opponents to generate opportunities for defensive fantasy points.

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