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Start/Bench List: Week 8
John Tuvey
Updated: October 28, 2011
ARI at BAL NOS at STL NEP at PIT SDC at KCC 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)
Indianapolis at Tennessee Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Curtis Painter B

You'd like to think you could squeeze another week of usefulness out of Painter, especially given this matchup with a Titans secondary that's allowed multiple TD tosses in two straight and three of four. But the egg he laid in prime time Sunday night was so rotten we were treated to Dan Orlovsky. That alone deserves a benching.

RB Joseph Addai S3 Addai's balky hamstring flared up one series into Indy's last game, but he was back at practice Friday and is expected to play this weekend. There's plenty of risk involved here, and the upside is an S3-caliber start so the reward may not be enough to offset that risk.
RB Delone Carter S3 The Titans have allowed three 100-yard rushers in the last two games; yes, you read that correctly. With Addai back in the mix Carter's quantity of touches could be reduced. If you're desperate he's worth a start, and if Addai is ultimately ruled out on game day Carter could threaten S2 territory.
WR Reggie Wayne B

Sad, really, how a guy can tumble from Peyton Manning's go-to guy to Curtis Painter's afterthought. His yardage has dipped each of the past two weeks, back when he initially crossed over the bench threshhold, and it doesn't look like he'll be climbing back any time soon.

WR Pierre Garçon

Garçon has Indy's last four WR TDs, but against a defense that's allowed only one wideout to top 60 yards and only four WR TDs for the year even Curtis Painter's favorite target is a reach as a fantasy helper.

TE Dallas Clark B

You'd like to think a matchup with a team that's allowed four TE TDs in the last three games would be a favorable one for Clark, but he wasn't even targeted last week and simply can't be trusted as a fantasy starter.

DT Colts B They gave up 62 points last week and haven't generated a turnover since Week 3. So... no.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3

Each of the last five quarterbacks to face Indy have thrown for at least 250 yards, and they've given up 10 TD passes in the last three games. Hasselbeck has strung together a couple of duds, but this matchup should get him back in--or at least near--the saddle.

RB Chris Johnson S2

Maybe you've heard this before: this is the matchup that allows Johnson to become CJ2K once again. He did score in both ends of last season's series with the Colts, and Indy has allowed six different backs to rush for at least 88 yards and an equal number to score. One last shot, although this time he only gets S2 because we've been burned before.

WR Nate Washington
Damian Williams
S3 With the exception of Tampa Bay's Mike Williams, who has been a hugh disappointment to everyone this season, every go-to receiver to face the Colts has scored at least one touchdown. Sadly, the Titans don't really have a go-to receiver but Washington and Williams are the closest thing; either is an okay start against Indy this week.
TE Jared Cook
S3 Cook's no Jimmy Graham... but maybe he's half the tight end. He does have two TDs in the past three games, so scoring one against a defense that surrendered two to Graham last week isn't out of the question.
DT Titans S3 Yes, they've given up 79 points the past two games. But Indy has allowed a defensive touchdown in each of their last two and scored just 24 points in that span. That should help the Titans D look a whole lot more like the unit that held four straight foes to 16 points or less earlier this season.
Washington at Buffalo Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB John Beck S3

Each of the last five quarterbacks to face Buffalo have thrown for at least 292 yards, and three of the five threw multiple scoring strikes. Beck was solid if not spectacular in last week's 279 and 1 against Carolina, so at least he's not unarmed if this turns into a shootout.


Ryan Torain

S2 You want to start Torain against a defense that's allowed two of the last three feature backs they've faced to reach triple digits and a total of four RB TDs in the past two games. All you have to do is trust that Mike Shanahan won't dig deep into his bag of tricks and find yet another way to stick it to fantasy owners like yourself. Take a deep breath and jump...

Roy Helu

U Helu will likely be the third down back, which against the Bills has translated to around 25-30 yards. Mix in a smattering of carries and Helu could be a desperation fantasy start in larger leagues. Then again, Mike Shanahan could get a bug in his bonnet and give Helu all the touches. Or none. Take a deep breath and jump...
WR Jabar Gaffney

S3 With Santana Moss out Gaffney becomes the Redskins' go-to wideout by default; against the Bills, that's translated into at least 90 yards and/or a touchdown each of the past five games. Those numbers may be a little aggressive for Gaffney, but he's still a viable fantasy option.
WR Anthony Armstrong
Niles Paul
B There could be some additional numbers for auxiliary wideouts, as the Bills have allowed three secondary targets to top 50 yards over the past two games. But just who will step into the role is kind of a gray area. How gray? Charcoal. Best let it sort itself out before looking for fantasy help here.
TE Fred Davis

Since Chris Cooley ruined his finger early in the Week 6 loss to Philly, Davis has seen 19 targets for a dozen catches, 175 yards, and a touchdown. Buffalo has given up big games to the TE position in three of their last four outings; Davis makes it a solid four out of five.

DT Redskins B Buffalo has been prone to shootouts, and the Redskins haven't been doing much to generate enough fantasy points to offset the damage giving up a bunch of points can do.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S3

Fitz stumbled a bit after his rapid start, but near-200-yard games against a couple of tough defenses is understandable. The Redskins have held some quality quarterbacks in check themselves so don't set the bar too high for Fitz, but he's at minimum useable in a six-team bye week.

RB Fred Jackson S1

The go-to back has been a fantasy helper in every game but one against Washington, and Jackson is most definitely having a go-to back kind of season with four 100-yard games and scores in five straight. He's already taken two NFC East foes for 364 combo yards and two TDs in just two games; the Redskins are next up on his list.

WR Steve Johnson S2

Johnson has attracted a bit more defensive attention and his yardage is down a bit, but he's scored in four of six games and is a solid play against a Washington secondary that's already allowed four 100-yard receiving games--all to WR1s.

WR David Nelson S3

Naaman Roosevelt and temporarily-converted RB C.J. Spiller are also in the mix, and the Redskins haven't given up a ton of production to secondary targets. But Nelson is targeted almost as frequently as Johnson and at minimum ranks as a bye-week plug-in play.

DT Bills S3 They may be giving up a bunch of points, but they also have three defensive TDs in the past four games and get a shot at an inexperienced quarterback on their home turf.

Detroit at Denver

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford S3

Stafford is nursing knee and ankle injuries, but he worked his way back to full-time snaps with the first team by the end of the week and is expected to play on Sunday. There's certainly risk involved, as there always is with Stafford, but he's definitely startable this week.

QB Shaun Hill B

This isn't Hill's first rodeo; in nine starts last year (10 less the game in which he exited early due to injury) he threw at least one touchdown in each, had five multiple-touchdown games, and averaged 278 passing yards per tilt. However, with Stafford back in the saddle Hill has no fantasy value this week.

RB Jahvid Best B

Best didn't practice all week, and it is doubtful he'll return to the lineup as he recovers from yet another concussion.

RB Maurice Morris
Keiland Williams

Morris was on the field for more snaps and has been more involved in the passing game, but he and Williams had the same number of carries sans Best last week. Denver is a good-not-great matchup, but non-division foes haven't had a back top 63 yards against them and they have not only not allowed a running back rushing score this year they haven't allowed an RB TD period since Week 1. A split of mediocre numbers doesn't do anyone any fantasy good.

WR Calvin Johnson S2

Hill is intimately familiar with Megatron, though it's nothing of a sexual nature I assure you (I assure you). In eight shared starts last season Johnson tallied seven touchdowns, and while his yardage was down a bit (only one 100-yard game) he was held scoreless just twice. No reason to downgrade him due to the change in quarterback, though you can dial down the yardage just a bit more due to Champ Bailey's tight coverage. Can't stop the end zone jump ball, though.

WR Nate Burleson


Secondary receivers haven't fared particularly well against the Broncos, and Hill will be focusing his attention on Megatron; last year Burleson scored just twice in the eight games Hill and Megatron started. You'll want to look elsewhere for fantasy help.

TE Brandon Pettigrew

Hill certainly knows where to find his tight ends; last year the position averaged 96 yards in Hill's starts and tight ends scored three times. Pettigrew has scored in two of his last three this year and remains heavily targeted; he's a solid play regardless of QB.

DT Lions B Unless you get points for trash talking and facemasks, you should be able to find a better fantasy option this week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Tebow S3 The Lions have held three straight opposing quarterbacks to one TD toss and less than 250 passing yards, so this is hardly a favorable matchup for Tebow. But while he's not a big yardage helper he finds a way to put points on the board and is still a threat for a rushing score as well. If only the entire game were Tebow Time.
RB Knowshon Moreno B Moreno will see an uptick in touches with Willis McGahee sidelined, and the temptation is to want to use him against a Detroit defense that's allowed three straight 100-yard rushers. But we've seen nothing from Moreno to believe he's in the same league as Matt Forte, Frank Gore, or Michael Turner--the backs who dented Detroit for triple-digits--plus he'll likely be sharing carries with Lance Ball and ceding goal line carries to Tebow. He's a desperation start at best.
WR Demaryius Thomas S3

The handful of receivers to have big days against Detroit have tended to be bigger, more physical pass-catchers--and that's what Thomas brings to the table. He moved quickly to the top of Tebow's target list last week (10 targets to nine for all the other Denver wideouts combined) and is the one Broncos wideout trustable with a fantasy start this week.

WR Eric Decker


We had Decker pegged as the go-to guy, but Thomas usurped him. Secondary receivers have topped 50 yards just twice against Detroit, so it's a reach to go back to him this week.

TE Daniel Fells


Fells caught the game-tying touchdown last week so Tebow knows where to find him. He'll likely look to him a lot against a Lions defense that's served up four TE TDs in the past five games.

DT Broncos S3 Hill's been around this block before, but injuries along the offensive line and no go-to back leave him a bit short-handed--things the hometown Broncos could exploit to the tune of defensive fantasy points.
New England at Pittsburgh Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S1

You know to discard the Steelers' stout defensive statistics against Brady; after all, he saw a better version of this D last season in Pittsburgh and skinned them for 350 yards and three TDs. No reason to doubt Brady this week.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


Law Firm was the lead dog in last year's committee, banging out 87 yards on 18 carries. He has a similar role this time around, and the Steelers' D is a little softer than last season. He could still cede touches to any number of Patriots backs, but right now he looks to be in line for at least a modicum of fantasy help.

WR Wes Welker S2 Welker has 100 yards or a touchdown (or both) in four straight and five of six; the Steelers have yet to cede a 100-yard receiver, but after allowing 8-89 to Welker last season it wouldn't be a shock if he were the first.
WR Deion Branch B Branch managed 7-71 in Pittsburgh last season, but he's the least consistent of Brady's targets and thus most susceptible to Pittsburgh's pass defense.
TE Rob Gronkowski S3 The Steelers may remember Gronk from last year; he scored three of the four TE TDs they allowed for the year. They'll know where to find him this time around, and Aaron Hernandez is the more targeted tight end, but he's still a must-play in TE mandatory leagues.
TE Aaron Hernandez S2 Hernandez has scored in three of four and has at least five catches in every game this season. He's the next best thing to Jimmy Graham regardless of defense.
DT Patriots B The Steelers have played back to back turnover-free games, and the Patriots aren't doing much to force them. This one feels like a shootout, one where defenses should be kept out of the way.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2

Big Ben has been a touchdown machine in two of his past three; against a New England club that has not only been surrendering 331 passing yards a game but will also put up points on the other side of the ball and force the Steelers to play keep-up, Roethlisberger will need to keep up the pace--like the 387 and three he put up against the Pats last year.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


Working against Mendenhall is not only the fact that he's struggled this season but that he's generally not involved in the Pittsburgh passing game--and the Steelers will likely be throwing to match Tom Brady's scoreboard pace. He's still the goal line guy and should see at least a dozen carries, but this projects to be an okay game rather than a big one.

WR Mike Wallace

Wallace blew up the Patriots for 136 yards and two TDs in last season's meeting; a New England secondary that's already allowed four 100-yard receivers doesn't appear to be in any better position to slow him this time around--especially when you consider he's scored in three straight and five of six.


Antonio Brown


It's not just WR1s having success against the Patriots; eight secondary targets have scored or topped 50 yards against them already this season. Brown is the most dynamic of Pittsburgh's secondary receivers; while Emmanuel Sanders will start in place of the injured Hines Ward, Brown is the better fantasy start.


Hines Ward


Ward is at best a fringe fantasy factor, and he was a non-contributor in last year's meeting. He's nursing an ankle injury that cost him practice time, and despite his propensity for playing through injuries he's not expected to go in this one. His absence affords more looks for Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.

TE Heath Miller S3

Antonio Gates is the only featured tight end who didn't score or top 75 yards against New England. Miller isn't exactly featured, but he does have touchdowns in two of his last three and is a viable bye week plug-in play here.

DT Steelers B This is not your father's Steel Curtain, or even your older brother's; they're startable in leagues rewarding big plays but likely belong on the bench if you're punished for allowing big points and yardage, as this one threatens to be a shootout.

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