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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)

St. Louis at Dallas

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford B

All signs point towards Bradford sitting this one out due to his high ankle sprain. He's a game-time decision and it's a favorable matchup, but that's a whole lot of risk to assume for a guy who hasn't been playing that well thus far.

QB A. J. Feeley B

A.J Feeley gets the starting nod and a fantasy opportunity against a Dallas secondary that's allowed at least 240 passing yards in three straight and multiple TD tosses in four of five. However, it's A.J. Feeley, and the Rams are waiting as long as possible to officially rule Bradford out so they don't trust him much either.

RB Steven Jackson S3

It'll be an uphill battle for SJax against a Dallas defense that's allowed one back to top 50 yards against them and surrendered a total of two RB TDs in five games. But Jackson sees so many touches in the Rams' game plan he'll help your fantasy team through sheer volume.


Brandon Lloyd


The Dallas secondary has been surprisingly stout thus far this season, with only one wideout topping 75 yards. But the Rams didn't trade for Lloyd to sit around; he's familar with Josh McDaniels' offense from their time in Denver together and it won't take long for him to rise to the top of the Rams' receivers. And by "not long", don't be surprised if he's the most targeted receiver this week. Hey, none of the other receivers have all that much chemistry with A.J. Feeley, either, so why not?


Mark Clayton
Danario Alexander
Brandon Gibson


The rest of St. Louis' wideouts will be battling to establish pecking order, and Clayton--who was Bradford's go-to guy last year prior to his injury--hasn't even been activated from the PUP list. Having A.J. Feeley under center doesn't help.


Lance Kendricks


With all the quarterback and wide receiver shuffling t may wind up being Kendricks who has the best opportunity against Dallas. The Cowboys have allowed three TE TDs and as many tight ends to top 60 yards against them. If Kendricks can only hang on to the passes thrown his way, he'll be in good shape to help your fantasy squad this week.

DT Rams B You might be tempted to throw a defense--any defense--against Tony Romo. Most defenses, we'd agreee; however, the Rams rank near the bottom of the league in sacks and takeaways, and they're giving up 27 points per game. So, most teams, yes; the Rams, no.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S1

Romo has 300-plus yards in four of five games, both his stud receivers back, and a banged-up and inexperienced running game; the Rams have surrendered multiple TD tosses on four of five and 300-plus yards in two of their last three. Matchups don't get much more favorable than that.

RB DeMarco Murray S2

Somehow the Packers managed to bust up a perfectly good trend whereby the Rams had allowed at least 130 rushing yards to every team they faced--prior to last week. Maybe Green Bay called off the dogs, but make no mistake the Rams are not a good defense against the run. That means there's an opportunity for Murray, who is expected to get the majority of the touches in place of the injured Felix Jones. His 10-32 last week was underwhelming, but this matchup is screaming for you to give him another chance.

RB Tashard Choice U

Choice will also see touches, perhaps at the goal line. It's a favorable enough matchup--and the carries are likely to be split enough--that in a week with six teams on the bye and numerous other backs nicked, Choice at least warrants fantasy consideration.

WR Dez Bryant S2

Bryant gets separated out from Austin's projected success because, well, he's been a bit of a wuss. Maybe he's not fully healed from the quad injury, maybe he doesn't know the whole playbook, maybe his conditioning isn't where it should be... all those excuses have added up to shutout second halves in three of Bryant's last four games. He'll do enough in the first half to earn that fantasy start, but a post-halftime encore would be nice for a change.

WR Miles Austin S1

The Rams have allowed three 100-yard receivers and eight different wideouts to score. As Tony Romo's most reliable target, Austin is well-positioned to take advantage of all of those trends.

TE Jason Witten S2

No tight end has scored on the Rams this season, only one has topped 35 yards, and none have bested 60. Tough row to hoe for Witten, but he's targeted so heavily that he can buck those trends for another solid PPR and yardage contribution.

DT Cowboys S2 A backup QB, an offensive line that's allowing better than four sacks a game, and a Rams' offense that's served up three defensive touchdowns already this season. That's opportunity knocking, and if DeMarcus Ware is healthy he'll single-handedly kick that door in. Or would that be "single-footedly"?

Green Bay at Minnesota

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Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

In his last four games against the Vikings Rodgers has 1,267 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has multiple touchdowns and at least 297 yards in every game this season. The Vikings may get Antoine Winfield back for this game, but they'd need to also bring back Paul Krause, Bobby Bryant, Ed Sharockman, Joey Browner, Nate Wright, Carl Lee, and John Turner--and then play them all at the same time. In other words, it's another license to print money for Rodgers and his fantasy owners.


James Starks


While Starks is still barely edging Ryan Grant in the battle for carries, he's seeing enough to warrant consideration against a Vikings run defense that's a mere shell of its former self. And there's always the possibility that the Pack will be up big and just want to run clock.


Ryan Grant


Not that Grant couldn't score, but his share of the workload places him well down in the Packers points-producing pecking order. Even at the goal line he likely ranks behind Starks, Rodgers, John Kuhn, Jermichael Finley, and the back-shoulder fade to Greg Jennings.

WR Greg Jennings


If the stadium deal falls through and Zygi Wilf ends up selling the Vikings he'll have to consult with Jennings, who has absolutely owned them over the past three meetings with 20 catches for 307 yards and five touchdowns. Last week's 4-82 was his first game this season without 100 yards or a touchdown; given his success against the Vikings, expect him to get back on track.

WR Jordy Nelson


Nelson did nothing against the Vikings last season, but he's emerged as the most reliable contributor next to Jennings with four TDs and four games of 75 yards or better. He's also a deep threat, and against perhaps the league's worst safety tandem he should find himself behind the defense much of the afternoon.

WR James Jones


Jones had 158 yards and a touchdown in last season's series, and with scores in three straight he's forced himself into the fantasy conversation. He's the third or fourth option, but with Rodgers putting up such big numbers there's enough to go around.

TE Jermichael Finley


Finley missed the season series last year; in fact, he's only seen significant action in one game against the Vikings--back in Week 4 of 2009, when he caught six balls for 128 yards and a touchdown against them. Minnesota traditionally struggles to defend the tight end but has yet to allow a TE TD this season; tough to see that holding up against Finley, even though he's done little since taking the Bears for 85 and 3 in Week 3.

DT Packers S2 Ya think the Packers will have some blitz packages designed to mess with the rookie QB?
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Christian Ponder S3

Why not? Ponder looked okay in relief of Donovan McNabb last week in Chicago; at least he wasn't throwing the ball at his receivers' feet, and he had the wheels to scramble out of trouble (which will be vital this week and pretty much the rest of the season until the Vikings can use that high draft pick on USC LT Matt Kalil). The Vikings will likely be playing from behind, so through sheer volume of opportunity Ponder should put up decent yardage. In a six-team bye week, there are definitely worse options out there.

RB Adrian Peterson S2

You have to back to AP's rookie year to find a game in which he didn't score against the Packers. Last year he didn't reach triple-digits, but he did reach the end zone in both ends of the season series. You can bet the Pack will focus on shutting him down once again, but it's not like every other team doesn't do that and he still finds a way to get his.

WR Percy Harvin


Harvin is nursing sore ribs that limited him in pracitce all week but isn't expected to prevent him from playing on Sunday. He appeared to be a Ponder favorite when the rookie entered the game against Chicago, and while Green Bay has been pretty solid of late against wideouts both speed guys (Devery Henderson, 6-100-1; Steve Smith, 6-156) and slot guys (Greg Salas, 8-77 last week) have found success. If you're a Harvin owner you know by now that checking the injury report is a must--but if he's health, he belongs in your lineup.

WR Michael Jenkins
Devin Aromashodu


Could one of the Vikings' tertiary targets get behind the Pack secondary for a garbage-time score? Sure, anything's possible against a defense that's allowed the likes of Brandon LaFell and Dane Sanzenbacher to score on them. But a rookie quarterback in his first start for a run-first team in a game they're likely to lose big just doesn't sound like a recipe for big fantasy numbers from auxiliary receivers.

TE Vishante Shiancoe
Kyle Rudolph

With first-round pick Ponder entering the lineup, it's only a matter of time until second-round pick Rudolph starts taking bigger and bigger bites out of impending free agent Shiancoe's playing time. Vikings tight ends are heavily targeted, but at present they're splitting looks which leads to fantasy frustration.

DT Vikings S3

If your league tracks sacks, Jared Allen and Brian Robison could steal you some points against a Green Bay line that will be without Chad Clifton once again. However, if your league tracks points allowed, you'd be best served looking outside the Metrodome for fantasy help.


Indianapolis at New Orleans

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Curtis Painter S3

Painter's mini-run of success came to a screeching halt in Cincy last week, but a prime time date with a New Orleans defense that's given up multiple TD tosses in three of four looks to be just what Curtis needs to get back in the saddle. It's certainly not the marquee matchup NBC was expecting when they scheduled the game, but at least Painter will go down swinging.

RB Joseph Addai S3 jEarly indications were that the LSU alum would miss this homecoming of sorts, but he practiced fully on Friday and could see action Sunday night. This being a night game you'll need to have Carter or Brown as a backup plan in case Addai is a late scratch, but against a defense that's allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers Joe should be a go for fantasy purposes.
RB Delone Carter
Donald Brown
B Carter and Brown were splitting touches sans Addai, but it looks like Joe will go this week. If Addai is a late scratch Carter is the inside guy, Brown the slasher, but regardless of Addai's availability neither Carter nor Brown is a reliable fantasy play this week.
WR Reggie Wayne S3

Garçon is Painter's target of choice, but fortunately for Wayne and his fantasy owners the Saints are quite forgiving to all targets; they've allowed two fantasy contributors (a TD or 60-plus yards, or both) in four of six this season.

WR Pierre Garçon

Lucky Pierre; with Painter at the helm he's usurped Wayne as the most targeted Colt and produced 323 yards and four TDs in the last three games, Indy will need to keep pace with the Saints' scoring, and Garçon is Painter's weapon of choice.

TE Dallas Clark S3

Just when we were starting to worry about Clark's hands he makes a fantastic catch in the back of the end zone to remind us he's still around. He should have another opportunity to make noise this week against a New Orleans defense that over the past month has allowed four TE TDs and 345 yards to the position.

DT Colts B Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis can only do so much, and against Drew Brees' rapid release it's unlikely they'll do enough disrupting to make Indy's D fantasy-relevant.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

The Colts have held five of six foes to just one passing touchdown, but that's likely because everybody runs on Indy. Brees' two worst games have been 350-plus yard, one-TD affairs, and that's what this one is shaping up to look like. That's a pretty good S2, like an S2+.


Darren Sproles


Indy hasn't allowed much in the way of receiving production to running backs, which is what Sproles does best, but he's on the field enough that one way or another he'll get his touches. It'd be nice if he got a goal line shot as a token of appreciation, but if it's just 90-plus combo yardage then so be it.


Mark Ingram


While the 9-22-1 stat line doesn't look all that impressive in the box score, Ingram's TD run was a thing of beauty. He'll get even more touches against a soft Indy run defense, and with more touches come more production.


Pierre Thomas


Yes, there should even be enough left over for the third wheel, the guy getting seven to 10 carries of leftovers. That's what happens when you're facing a team that's allowing 161 yards from scrimmage to the running back position.

WR Marques Colston S2

Colston is the most bankable of the Saints' collective of wideouts; against the Colts, that translated into 95 and 1 for Andre Johnson, 128 and 2 for Dwayne Bowe, and 144 and 1 for Mike Wallace. Even if Colston dials back from that a little bit he's still a solid fantasy play.

WR Lance Moore
Robert Meachem

From the rest of the pack, Moore and Meachem stand out for their volume of snaps and big-play ability, respectively. The Colts have allowed a second wideout to score or top 50 yards or both in each of the last four games; the Saints have the passing game to run that string to five.

TE Jimmy Graham S1 On the one hand you have an Indy deense that's allowed only one TE to top 35 yards and given up just one TE TD this year. On the other you have Graham and his NFL-record streak of four straight 100-yard games. Yeah, we'll go with the guy Drew Brees is targeting more than a quarter of the time. Note that Graham sustained an ankle injury during the practice week and sat out Thursday's session, but he was back on a limited basis Friday and is listed as probable.
DT Saints S3 The Saints aren't generating many turnovers, but a home game against a backup quarterback might just be the enough to make New Orleans fantasy-worthy.

Baltimore at Jacksonville

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S3

Flacco has topped 300 yards two of the last three games; he's also gone without a touchdown pass since Week 3, though he did swipe one from Ray Rice last week. Jacksonville is decent defensively, but they're not a benchable matchup. Put it this way: you're not hurting yourself plugging Flacco into your fantasy lineup this week, but there's no compelling reason to go out of your way to do so.

RB Ray Rice S1

Rice is a combo yardage machine whose numbers would be even gaudier had not both Joe Flacco and Ricky Williams stolen touchdowns from him last week. The Jags were gutted by Rashard Mendenhall to the tune of 146 and 1 last week; they should just go ahead and assume the position now, because that's right around what Rice is averaging in yards from scrimmage per game.

WR Anquan Boldin


The Jags haven't given up a huge game to a wide receiver since Kenny Britt toasted them for 136 and two in Week 1; however, they've given up a steady diet of fantasy helpers to WR1s: 76 and 1 to Mike Wallace, 90 and 1 to A.J. Green, 42 and 1 to Santonio Holmes. Coming off an 8-132 effort against Houston, Boldin is ready to extend that line.


Torrey Smith

B It's been primarily WR1s doing the damage to Jacksonville, and while Smith is seeing some deep shots he feels like more risk than reward against a Jaguars defense that hasn't been giving up the long ball.

Ed Dickson

S3 The Jaguars have already given up four TE TDs and two 100-yard games to th position. Dickson isn't quite that targeted, but he does see enough looks to warrant serious consideration as a solid bye-week plug-in given the favorable matchup.
DT Ravens S1 The Ravens' defense has been making plays all over the field; you can bet they have something special in store for rookie Blaine Gabbert.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Blaine Gabbert B

Gabbert's still looking for his first mutliple touchdown game as a pro. The Ravens have yet to allow such a game this season. Gabbert's first fantasy start recommendation can wait.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S2

Don't expect a touchdown: MoJo only has two, and the Ravens have given up just one RB TD this season. The yardage, however, should be there as Jones-Drew has at least 85 yards from scrimmage in every game and is averaging 108 combo yards per tilt.


Mike Thomas

B Thomas ranks fifth in targets--and 40th in fantasy points. Eventually those targets might translate into more production; just don't bank on it happening against the Ravens.

Jason Hill

B Hill has scored garbage time touchdowns each of the past two games, but the odds of him completing the trifecta against Baltimore are similar to playing the Powerball--only with significantly less reward.

Marcedes Lewis

B The Ravens haven't allowed a TE TD this season, but that's okay because Lewis hasn't scored one yet, either.
DT Jaguars B

Nothing suggests Jacksonville's defense warrants fantasy attention this week.

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