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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List: Week 9
John Tuvey
Updated: November 4, 2011
 
NYJ at BUF MIA at KCC CIN at TEN BAL at PIT Start/Bench List by Position
SEA at DAL TBB at NOS STL at ARI CHI at PHI
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CLE at HOU SFO at WAS NYG at NEP  
ATL at IND DEN at OAK GBP at SDC  
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)
 
 
NY Jets at Buffalo Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

Bit of a conundrum here as the Bills are a classic bend-don’t-break defense, having given up 290 yards or more in five of seven games but holding the last two quarterbacks they’ve faced without a touchdown toss. Conversely, The Sanchize hasn’t topped 201 yards since Week 3 but has multiple TD tosses in two of three and five of seven. Yardage leagues, Sanchez is startable; TD-heavy scoring formats, look elsewhere.

RB Shonn Greene S2

Three different Jets backs posted 100-yard games in last season’s series, including Greene’s 22-117 in the first meeting. Most of the major damage the Bills have allowed on the ground has come on the road so don’t expect a walkover here; however, Greene has been seeing enough carries of late (62-269 the last three games) to be productive so it’s safe to use him here.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S3

LT’s touches have dipped, and the Jets are also talking about giving Joe McKnight more carries as well. Tomlinson’s role as the Jets’ pass-catching back still makes him a viable fantasy play in PPR leagues.

WR Santonio Holmes

S3

Holmes was within an official’s review of a three-game scoring streak; how he’ll have to start a new one against a defense that’s already allowed four 100-yard receivers—most of them speed guys like himself.

WR Plaxico Burress


S3

Plax’s Week 7 hat trick wasn’t a mistake: he’s been the Jets’ most targeted receiver each of the past three games. The Bills have been giving up plenty of yardage, so by sheer volume Burress should be able to carve out a fantasy helper here. Note that Plax was limited in practice both Thursday and Friday due to a back injury and is officially considered a game time decision, so have a back-up plan.

WR Jeremy Kerley

B

The rookie is seeing a steady increase in targets, but he’s still the third or fourth option on a team that purports to be run-first so best wait on including him in the fantasy fun.

TE Dustin Keller S3

Keller scored twice on the Bills in the front end of last season’s matchup, and after a two-game hiccup he’s back to being a steady contributor with 104 yards in the past two games. Buffalo has allowed 80 yards or more to four of the last five tight ends they’ve faced, including 94 to Fred Davis last week, so there’s an opportunity here for Keller.

DT Jets S3 The Bills haven’t been turning the ball over much, but the way Revis is covering the field you don’t want to bet against him.
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S2

The Jets haven’t allowed a multiple passing touchdown game since Week 1, holding both Brady and Rivers to a single scoring strike each. Fitz threw for 128 and 2 when he saw the Jets in Week 4 of last year, and after a brief slump he’s now has back-to-back games with multiple scores and at least 240 yards. He’s a strong S3 or a weak S2; at home we’ll give him a nudge to the better grade.

RB Fred Jackson S2

Jackson did little against the Jets last year, but he only handled the ball 17 times in two games; he’s a much bigger part of the game plan now and has 100 rushing yards in three straight and five of seven as well as at least 98 yards from scrimmage in every game this season. The Jets’ run defense is significantly softer on the road, giving up 465 yards (at 4.7 yards per carry) and six RB rushing scores in three games away from home. That should provide Jackson ample opportunity to continue his roll.

WR Steve Johnson S3

Johnson is a borderline start this week for one simple reason: Darrelle Revis, who has allowed a total of 10 completions this season. Johnson got in the end zone last year against the Jets, but he totaled just 103 yards in the two-game series. This would be a good week to explore other options.

WR David Nelson S3

Nelson had 75 yards in the front end of last season’s series, and Fitzpatrick has demonstrated a willingness to spread the ball around—especially if the alternative is throwing into Revis Island. Like Johnson, Nelson isn’t a great start but there should be at least some fantasy productivity to be had here.

WR Naaman Roosevelt
Donald Jones
B

Gang Green has given up three WR TDs on the season, and the Bills’ top two targets are near-bench material. Under those circumstances it’s even tougher to reach for depth receivers like Roosevelt and Jones, who may or may not return to the lineup after missing time with an ankle injury.

TE Scott Chandler B

It still feels like chasing points, especially against a Jets defense that’s allowed one TE TD all year—and that to Antonio Gates.

DT Bills S3 The Bills are coming off a nine-sack game, and the Jets’ o-line hasn’t exactly been overachieving this year.
 
Seattle at Dallas Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson S2 T-Jax has a more than respectable 808 yards and four touchdowns in roughly two-and-a-half games after putting up 323 in relief of Charlie Whitehurst last week despite not having practiced much due to his pec injury. Hey, if that’s T-Jax hurt then smack him in the chest on a regular basis. A Cowboys defense that’s given up multiple touchdown tosses in five of seven and an average of 252 passing yards per game isn’t likely to put up too much of a fight.
RB Marshawn Lynch S3

It’s extremely difficult to trust Lynch, who averaged 1.5 yards per carry last week yet managed to score for the third time in four games. Dallas has been stout against the run, last week’s abusing at the hands of LeSean McCoy notwithstanding. With all the injuries and uncertainty at the running back position Lynch is useable, but you shouldn’t be giddy at the prospect.

WR

Sidney Rice

S2 With Jackson at the helm Rice was back on the radar with 14 targets and 102 yards last week. Wideouts have had plenty of success against the Cowboys, and now they’re banged up in the secondary again. The Seahawks will likely trail, forcing Jackson to the air again, and Rice will get fed. His DNP on Thursday was for "rest" purposes, according to the team so he should be on the field Sunday.
WR

Doug Baldwin
Ben Obomanu

S3 Baldwin was more targeted, Obomanu more productive last week. There should be enough to go around as Seattle chases down the Cowboys via the air, and while neither is a great start both are useable this week.
DT Seahawks B Romo has kept the brain farts to a minimum, and Seattle’s D is better at home anyway.
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

Romo has stumbled a bit the past two weeks with a total of 369 yards and 3 TDs. But he’s much closer to the QBs that have had success against the Seahawks—Roethlisberger, Ryan, and Manning—than to the ones they’ve shut down—Smith, McCoy, Dalton. And with Seattle stout against the run, look for Tony to throw more than enough to build a solid fantasy resume.

RB DeMarco Murray S2

The rookie and his 9.9 yards per carry average over the past two games will severely test a defense that’s holding opposing backs to just 3.1 yards per tote. The key will be if Seattle stays in this game long enough to limit Murray’s touches; we’ll take the over 10.5, which translated into enough yardage to be a fantasy helper.

RB Felix Jones B

Still nursing a high ankle sprain, not to mention the bruised ego of watching your job being stolen, Felix has officially been ruled out again this week.

WR Miles Austin S2

Apparently the Seattle secondary wasn’t impressed by A.J. Green and his touchdown last week. Perhaps they were more impressed by Victor Cruz’s 161 and 1, or Julio Jones’ 127 yards, or Mike Wallace’s 126 and 1; they certainly had an up-close vantage point for each. With that kind of track record it’s tough to see Austin failing to impress, either the Seahawk defenders or his fantasy owners this week.

WR Dez Bryant S2

Bryant is seeing just as many looks as Austin, so despite the media concerns about his route-running, conditioning, etc. he has just as much of a chance to post big fantasy numbers as Austin does.

WR Laurent Robinson B

It wouldn’t be out of the question for Robinson to put up a fantasy helper here; the Giants had three receivers post solid numbers against the Seahawks just last month. But most of his value last week came from being the option not covered by Nnamdi Asomugha, and Tony Romo won’t run into that sort of difficulty with his primary targets and the Seattle defense this week.

TE Jason Witten S2

Witten saw a dozen targets last week, par for the course for Romo’s BFF. Where he might pad his fantasy value this week is at the stripe, as the Seahawks are stout against the run and Witten might come into play on play-action calls near the goal line.

DT Cowboys S3 With T-Jax back at the helm in Seattle the pick six is back in play for the opposition.
 

Cleveland at Houston

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Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

The Texans gave up a big game to Drew Brees and a 300-yard outing (with no touchdowns) to Joe Flacco; all other quarterbacks they’ve faced have been held to 206 yards or less, and only Jason Campbell mustered multiple touchdowns. McCoy has been okay but needs a favorable matchup to be a fantasy factor; this doesn’t look to be one.

RB Peyton Hillis

B

Hillis tried to practice again this week, and in a stunning development aggravated his hamstring injury and will miss this game--and quite likely a few more as well.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya S3

With Hills out and Montario Hardesty sidelined due to a torn calf muscle the Browns will turn to Ogbonnaya, who less than a month ago was on the Texans’ practice squad. Not only will he make his first NFL start against the team that kicked him to the curb, he’ll do so in his hometown of Houston. Ogbonnaya’s strength is his pass-catching ability so he’s a viable PPR play, and while he may be miscast as a feature back his former mates should make him feel welcome: they’ve given up 580 combo yards to running backs in four road games and are surrendering almost six RB receptions a game as well. Of course, Huddlers have had front-row seats for the Ogbonnaya bandwagon for the past couple of weeks; all those berry-come-latelys can move to the back and hold the strap.

WR Greg Little S3

Little has seen double-digit targets in two of the last three games, and when you’re being thrown at that frequently you almost have to have fantasy value. The Texans haven’t given up much to receivers, but the four who were targeted double-digit times produced 351 yards and three TDs so Little should be in line for at least adequate numbers.

WR Josh Cribbs B

The Browns keep talking about getting the ball into the hands of their one true playmaker, but that has yet to happen on a frequent basis—or at least frequently enough that you can start him with any degree of confidence.

TE Ben Watson S3

Watson faces a couple of issues this week: a Houston defense that’s allowed only two TE TDs on the season and only one tight end to top 50 yards against them; and the looks and production that teammates Evan Moore and Alex Smith steal from him on a weekly basis. It’s enough to send fantasy owners scurrying for help elsewhere.

DT Browns B While they’re playing better defensively, they’re not yet a fantasy factor—especially on the road against a good offense.
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Despite the presence of Arian Foster—or maybe because of the presence of Arian Foster, given his receiving production—Schaub has thrown for at least 220 yards in all but one game this season. He’s also been hit-and-miss with the touchdowns as well, and a matchup with a Cleveland secondary that’s given up just one passing touchdown in the past three games does him no favors either. He’s startable, but there are definitely better options available.
RB Arian Foster

S1 Since returning from his hamstring injury Foster has had at least 100 combo yards in every game, with three 100-yard rushing games, two 100-yard receiving games, and five touchdowns in five games. Facing a Cleveland defense that has given up three 100-yard rushers and an average of 118 RB rushing yards per game, Foster might be the best running back play of the weekend.
RB Ben Tate U The last time Tate got more than five carries he broke the century mark himself—and this was after Foster rolled up 234 combo yards of his own. It’s a favorable matchup, and if you’re feeling a Houston blowout you could tag-team both backs to cover all the bases.
WR Andre Johnson B

Johnson failed to practice again this week and will miss a fifth game due to his hamstring injury.

WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones
B

Neither wideout has been particularly impressive in Johnson’s absence, and this matchup isn’t much help. Cleveland has allowed only three WR TDs on the season, only two wideouts to top 70 yards, and none to top 90. Too much risk, not nearly enough reward here

TE Owen Daniels S3

It’s a favorable matchup with a defense that’s allowed five TE TDs in seven games, but Daniels may get vulture by teammates Joel Dreessen and/or James Casey. At least here the reward is worth the risk.

DT Texans S2 Bonus if you play in leagues that reward points allowed, as the Browns haven’t topped 20 since Week 2.
 

Atlanta at Indianapolis

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Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

How is it that the Colts are allowing 31 points a game yet have held six of eight opposing quarterbacks to only one touchdown pass? The short answer is, see Michael Turner’s S1 for details. Meanwhile, Ryan hasn’t had a multiple touchdown effort of his own since Week 2. This one has all the makings of a 200-yard, one-TD, sit back and watch the ground game milk the clock kind of day for Ryan—and there’s not a ton of fantasy value in that.

RB Michael Turner S1

Opposing backs are on pace for a 2,148-yard, 16-touchdown season against the Colts. Turner, with 261 and 2 of his own the past two games, is ready for his close-up.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers U

Fourteen backs have had double-digit carries against the Colts this season, averaging 71 yards per back. Rodgers seems to have usurped Jason Snelling for secondary carries, and he’d be in line to snag some garbage time work this week.

WR Roddy White S2

Opposing WR1s have scored in five straight and six of eight against Indy, so you can all but ink Roddy for a score. The yardage might not be there as this projects to be a ground-heavy game for the Falcons, but touchdowns are hardly frowned upon in fantasy circles.

WR Julio Jones B

Secondary receivers are capable of big games—like Steve Breaston’s two-TD effort in Week 5—but for the most part the WR1s do the scoring and then Indy’s opponents turn things over to the ground game. It’s not a tough matchup, just not a great opportunity. Let Jones prove he's all the way back from his hamstring injury before re-inserting him into your fantasy lineup.

WR Harry Douglas B

With Jones back, Douglas returns to third/slot duties and his fantasy value takes a hit.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S2

Gonzo has been money this year, with a TD or 60 yards or both in six of seven games. It’s a favorable matchup as well against a Colts D that’s surrendered 94 yards and two TDs to the position the past two games. Plenty to like here.

DT Falcons S2 If your league awards fantasy points for fewer regular points allowed, Atlanta’s date with an Indy offense that has topped 20 points just once all season meshes well with a Falcons D that hasn’t given up more than 17 points since Week 5.
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Curtis Painter B

Not that the Falcons are a shutdown D, but Painter has one touchdown toss in the last three games. Anything he gets will be garbage time; with only four teams on the bye, you can do better.

RB Joseph Addai B Addai practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday, then took Friday off and is listed as questionable. If he were getting the lion's share of the work, or doing more with the work he's been getting, then he might be worth waiting for; as it stands, you can't trust him with the fantasy start.
RB Delone Carter
Donald Brown
B In a best-case scenario, for fantasy owners at least, Addai sits and this is a two-back committee. Neither does enough with a dozen or so touches to warrant serious fantasy consideration.
WR Reggie Wayne
Pierre Garçon
B

A whopping 29 targets between them, and neither could muster a touchdown or as much as 70 yards. In larger leagues a 6-60 day might be enough, but wouldn’t you rather find a receiver where that’s not their best-case scenario?

TE Dallas Clark B

The Falcons have seen some pretty good tight ends since Week 1, including Finley, Olsen, Pettigrew, Celek, and Winslow, and have held all of them out of the end zone. Clark received double-digit targets last week but he’s still at best a desperation start in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Colts B They’re two weeks removed from serving up a 60-burger and haven’t generated a turnover since Week 3. In a word: no.
 

Miami at Kansas City

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Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B

Since Chad Henne went off against New England in Week 1 the Miami passing game has averaged 193 yards and half a touchdown per game. In Kansas City to tangle with a Chiefs secondary that’s shut out Philip Rivers twice, tough to see them even hitting that standard.

RB

Daniel Thomas

S3

Expectations are that he’ll play after missing last week’s tilt with a hamstring injury, but he was limited all week in practice so it's hardly a lock. He’ll be sharing carries, but given the current state of the Miami passing game you can expect plenty of running regardless of score. Make sure you check the inactives prior to kickoff and have a backup plan in case Thomas is scratched.

RB

Reggie Bush

S3

Reggie is seeing enough touches, and doing enough with them, to carve out a little fantasy value. However, every time he runs between the tackles his injury-meter jumps ahead.

WR

Brandon Marshall

S3

Marshall has been mediocre at best, and it’s tough to see an upgrade from that against KC’s killer secondary led by Brandon Flowers, who is primarily responsible for ho-hum stat lines posted by the likes of Vincent Jackson (3-49, 5-63) and Reggie Wayne (4-77). The S3 is definitely optimistic.

WR

Davonne Bess

B

Secondary receivers have done alright against the Chiefs so if you’re in a PPR bind you could stretch for Bess; just don’t be surprised if he falls shy of the 50 yards you were hoping for.

TE

Anthony Fasano

B

Don’t let last week’s TD fool you; Fasano has been targeted just 12 times in the past five games and he’ll be facing a Giants’ defense that has yet to allow a TE TD and has given up just 158 yards to the position over the past five games.

DT Dolphins B A defense that has generated four turnovers in seven games isn’t exactly raking in the defensive fantasy points.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S3

Cassel has 250-plus yards in three of his last four, but he’s also been held to one or fewer TD toss in an equal number of games. Thankfully he gets a friendly matchup with a Miami defense that’s surrendered multiple scoring strikes in two straight and five of seven on the season.

RB Jackie Battle
S3 Surprisingly Miami isn’t a soft matchup for running backs; they’ve only given up two RB TDs all season and Ben Tate’s 103 yards in Week 2 is the most allowed by more than 20 yards. That said, Battle is clearly the Chiefs’ lead back with 54 carries (and 265 yards) the last three games. It’s a bet Cedric Benson-esque, but I’ll take my shots with a back getting 20 carries a game.
RB Thomas Jones
Dexter McCluster
LeRon McClain
B

Of course, with Battle getting so many carries, touches are scarce for the rest of the backs. McClain fumbled at the goal line, costing him that gig, and no one else is getting enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

WR

Dwayne Bowe

S2

Only two teams have given up more WR TDs than the Dolphins, who have surrendered at least one in every game—and most of them to WR1s, too. Even with the Monday night splash of rookie Jon Baldwin Bowe was more targeted, so he’s still the better play here.

WR

Steve Breaston
Jonathan Baldwin

S3

Until last week secondary receivers hadn’t done much against Miami—primarily because WR1s were having their way with them. If Cassel spreads the ball around as much as he did Monday night against San Diego—when Baldwin was targeted eight times and Breaston four—both could be viable fantasy plays. It’s not the matchup to be feared, just a run-heavy offense and two guys splitting up a pie already half devoured by Bowe.

DT Chiefs S1 KC has generated 10 turnovers and scored two defensive touchdowns the past two games and will be facing a Miami offense that’s allowed 13 sacks in three games and hasn’t scored more than 17 points since Week 1. Oh, and they’re at home. What’s not to like?

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