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Upon Further Review: Week 8
David Dorey & John Tuvey
October 28, 2011

In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections. The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.


TUVEY: Thomas has been kind of ordinary the past two games, but the Dolphins’ other options are to overload Reggie Bush and run him into the ground or ask Matt Moore to make plays; in other words, they really have no choice but to give him the ball. An S2 and 60 yards isn’t all that disparate; I’d want a TD with 60 yards, or another 25-30 yards to live up to S2 billing. Against a Giants defense that’s giving up an average of 120 or so to feature backs, I’m comfortable Thomas gets that large a share of what the G-Men have to offer.

DOREY: I am reticent to give much more to Thomas since he is on an incredibly bad team that is about to lose a headcoach and he has to split carries with Reggie Bush. In New York against the Jets, he only gained 47 yards on 15 carries. He then gained just 53 yards on 19 runs at home against the Broncos. Granted he had two decent games earlier in the year but that is precisely my problem. These last two weeks was with Matt Moore at quarterback, not Chad Henne. It is a different offense and a worse offense. The feature backs that got 120 were Fred Jackson (121), LeSean McCoy (128), Beanie Wells (138) and Marshawn Lynch (98). The first three have nothing in common with Thomas and never share the ball with anyone. And if you split it in two as they do in Miami, you are at the 60 yards I projected. Lynch was a nice surprise in a big upset over the Giants but his 98 yards was really 11 carries for 51 yards and one run for 47 yards. You start expecting more than 60 yards, you are banking on something that has not happened with Matt Moore as the starter and this Miami team is teetering on throwing in the towel anyway.

CONSENSUS:  The fortunes of Thomas is going to rely on how the game unfolds. If the Giants score early and often, then Thomas will not get the carries to amount to much more than the 60 yards. But the Giants have a trip to New England on the other side and they know they can win this game. Chances are that Thomas gets enough work against a softer rushing defense to produce enough to merit a fantasy start in this bye week where options are mostly low for teams.


TUVEY: Not that I don’t think Branch could score here, but if I’m projecting out this game I’m giving scores to Gronkowski (who scored three times against Pittsburgh last year) and Welker (who has 100 yards and/or a TD in four straight and five of six) and Hernandez (who’s scored in three of four); by the time I get to Branch I’m out of touchdowns. If there’s an element of this offense the Steelers can take away it’s probably Branch, since they’ve allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wideouts. If you’re desperate enough I could see starting Branch, but I’m sure I could come up with 30 receivers I’d rather play this week.

DOREY: Playing in Pittsburgh is normally reason enough to not start a player and I can understand it in this case. But I have to faithfully do the analysis to project hard numbers and assign them out in best case/ best guess/ flip a coin scenarios. The problem as always with the Pats is that they have so many weapons that other than Welker, anyone of them could turn in a complete dud of a game and have. The 50 yards that I project for him already makes this one of his least productive games. Branch had two very bad games in weeks 3 and 4 but he missed some practices then and as in all things Belichick, the speculation was that he was much more injured than they let on. He bounced back these last two weeks with 74 and 69 yards efforts with a score against the Jets. So I am already cool on him with the 50 yards. The problem I suppose is with the touchdown. That is one play and may not happen. I leaned towards it because the Steelers have not faced an offense that can pass like the Pats so comparisons are not that valid and of the four touchdowns allowed by the Steelers, three of them went to the #2 wideout.

CONSENSUS:  Branch is a realistic risk to have marginal yardage and no score. He could be shut down and Brady just uses other receivers. It depends on what you have to use but Branch is not only a risk to use, he does not have much upside here either so 50 yards and a lucky score may be as good as it gets. And much less is just as likely.


TUVEY: If you’ve hated Mike Thomas’ production so far, you’ll hate Jason Hill just as much. Thomas used to be the most targeted Jaguar, but he’s apparently ceded that role to Hill. As Thomas proved, copious targets don’t necessarily translate into fantasy points. Hill on the road, you’re crossing your fingers for a garbage time touchdown; as with Branch above, I can find at least 30 guys I’d rather plug into my lineup.

DOREY: This is not that different than Branch above - trying to assign a touchdown to one player tends to be the problem I incur that Tuvey doesn't. I see the Jaguars scoring one touchdown in the entire game and it appears most likely to be a passing score since Maurice Jones-Drew only had two touchdowns this year and both were in home games. So for that passing score, it could go anywhere since the Jags have only thrown for four touchdowns this year and never more than one in any game. Of the four, two went to Jason Hill over the last three weeks. Yeah, that is hardly any guarantee but it makes it slightly more likely than giving it to someone who never scores. Hill has been coming on the last three weeks.

CONSENSUS:  You can disregard the touchdown and even the 60 yards was more "put it somewhere" than any locked certainty. HIll carries a lot of risk and is not viable unless you have very few alternatives.


TUVEY: If 80 yards isn’t an SB2 it’s pretty doggone close. DMD’s projections land VJax in a tie for the 22nd-best wideout of the week; I’ve got him higher in my personal rankings (seventh), but the S2s stretch to 18 so we’re really splitting hairs. Basically I see Jackson catching a touchdown, DMD’s not so sure. Probably extends to Rivers, whom DMD has with just the one score. I like him for another, landing with VJax.

DOREY: I know I don't get 80 yards from all of my wideouts and if I did, I would start them. Last week there were only nine wideouts with 80 yards or more so that is more S1-ish in my book. I gave the passing score to Antonio Gates but said Jackson might end up with the touchdown. This is the Monday Night game and Rivers could end up with a second passing touchdown easily as I said in my writeup that he had a chance for a couple of scores.

CONSENSUS:  Both writers agree that Jackson is no worse than a S2 this week so start him.

Start Bench List Ratings:
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)
Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.

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