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Start/Bench List: Week 10
John Tuvey
Updated: November 11, 2011
OAK at SDC WAS at MIA BUF at DAL DET at CHI 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)
Oakland at San Diego Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

The Chargers saw Palmer last year in Cincinnati and he took them for 269 and 4, so he knows his way around their secondary. He has different weapons to work with, but last week’s 332 and 3 less than a month removed from watching NFL games from his couch is cause for optimism.

RB Darren McFadden

Run DMC was still on crutches as of Wednesday and has officially been ruled out for Thursday night.

RB Michael Bush

Bush has been in this spot before, rushing for 104 yards and a score sans McFadden in the front end of last season’s series with the Chargers. He followed up with 95 and a score in Week 13 even though McFadden was back in the lineup and after his 19-96 (plus 2-33-1 receiving) last week he’s a solid start once again.

WR Jacoby Ford S3

Ford found the end zone against San Diego last season and was the Raiders’ surprise go-to receiver last week with 5-105-1. Does Darius Heyward-Bey get his job back this week or is it Ford’s for the foreseeable future? There’s enough upside to roll the dice.


Darius Heyward-Bey
Denarious Moore


Maybe the tea leaves will reveal more about the Raiders’ receiver rotation by Friday, but after being left high and dry with DHB last week it’s too volatile a situation to yield more than the tentative S3 on Ford above.

DT Raiders S3 The Raiders aren’t a tremendous start, but they are facing the NFL’s interception leader.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

Plenty to like, as Rivers threw for 711 and 3 in this series last year, has 754 and 4 in his last two games, and is averaging 323 and 2 at home this year. However, if your league penalizes for picks you have to tweak those numbers downward; he’s tossed multiple picks six times already this season.

RB Ryan Mathews S3 Mathews is on track to play Thursday, but you have to throw him into your lineup sight unseen after missing last week due to a groin injury. Worse, he comes off two pedestrian outings prior to the injury and will still cede a share of the workload to Mike Tolbert. Mathews does, however, catch the Raiders still reeling from giving up 181 RB rushing yards and two RB TDs to the Broncos last week.
RB Mike Tolbert S3 He’d be a better play, obviously, if Mathews wasn’t going to cut into his workload. But Tolbert flashed enough last week to keep getting goal line touches and passing game work, and after seeing the Broncos gouge Oakland last week there should be room for two backs to post fantasy numbers against this defense.
WR Vincent Jackson S1 Jackson’s holdout prevented him from facing the Raiders last season, but he does still sport a three-game scoring streak against Oakland dating back to 2008. Fresh off a monster game against the Packers and operating without Malcom Floyd, Jackson should have at least as much success against Stanford Routt as he did against Nnamdi Asomugha.
WR Vincent Brown S3 Brown steps into Malcom Floyd’s spot in the lineup; last week that meant a solid 4-79 against the Packers. He should be a fantasy helper again this week facing a defense that’s allowed multiple wideouts to score and/or top 60 yards in three straight and four of five.
TE Antonio Gates S1

Gates has averaged 6-75 in three games since returning from his latest round of foot problems, scoring in two of the games. He found the end zone in both ends of last season’s series and should continue his roll here; the last time Oakland saw legitimate tight ends they gave up 201 yards and a touchdown to Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen.

DT Chargers S3

The Bolts haven’t done much this season defensively, but with Carson Palmer having thrown three picks in each of his last two games you have to look at this D as a legitimate fantasy option.

New Orleans at Atlanta Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Brees certainly isn’t disappointed to see the Falcons on the schedule—not after averaging 341 and 2 against them over the past three seasons. Atlanta’s secondary has been better of late and Brees has been a touch off his game, but if 280 and a TD or two is his baseline and still leaves room for upside that’s a better play than most of the league.


Darren Sproles


Atlanta surrendered 120 RB receiving yards to the Saints in last season’s series, and they’ve allowed more than 50 a game thrice already this season—and that’s without having seen the runaway leader in RB receptions. Bump him to S1 in PPR leagues


Pierre Thomas


The good news for Ingram is that Chris Ivory is questionable; the bad news is that Mark Ingram, who missed the last two games, is now probable. The Saints backfield is still a job share of undetermined participants, and the cumulative amount they’re drawing from won’t be substantial: only one team has allowed fewer RB rushing yards this season than Atlanta.


Chris Ivory


Mark Ingram is probable and Ivory is now questionable; it's unlikely he gets healthy enough to hurdle three guys on the depth chart for a piece of the RB action.


Mark Ingram


Ingram is listed as probable after missing two games due to his bruised heel. He's still in a job share, and this matchup with an Atlanta defense that hasn't allowed much on the ground isn't likely to yield enough for everybody in this backfield to be a fantasy factor.

WR Marques Colston S2

Still the safest play among Saints receivers, though he was lightly targeted (five each game) and largely unproductive (a combined 6-46) in last season’s series with the Falcons. Since returning from injury he’s been the most looked-at wide receiver and has at least 50 yards in every game, so you know the baseline going in.

WR Lance Moore S3

Moore blew up the Falcons in the first meeting last year to the tune of 6-149-2, so he has a track record against Atlanta. He’s also scored in back-to-back games and his clawing his way out of the “rest of the receivers” quagmire. He's questionable for this one, however, with a hamstring injury so check your inactives Sunday before proceeding.

WR Robert Meachem

In the last meeting with Atlanta Meachem was targeted a whopping 13 times, catching 10 balls for 101 yards. We’ve seen nothing like that from him of late; in fact, you have to add up his last five games to match that target total and go six games back to equal the catches and yardage. There’s upside, to be sure, but the risk side of the scale hangs significantly lower.

TE Jimmy Graham S1 Atlanta has given up just one TE TD on the year but they allowed Graham to score in the second meeting last season and Jeremy Shockey took them for 8-78-1 in the front end of the series. Graham is an unstoppable force at tight end; even if he doesn’t find the end zone he’ll get you PPR and yardage points. Don’t let the tough-on-paper matchup scare you away.
DT Saints B The Falcons’ MO has been to avoid mistakes, which translates into fewer opportunities for the defense to generate fantasy points. And since that’s something the Saints aren’t doing much of anyway, no reason to trot them out here.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

Despite the home run throws to Julio Jones last week Ryan is still “game managing” this offense; he hasn’t had a 300-yard game since Week 3 and has one or zero touchdown tosses in six of eight games. You saw a glimpse of the upside in last week’s 275 and three, and he did have multiple TD passes in the home end of the season series with the Saints, but this isn’t a matchup where you should go out of your way to start him.

RB Michael Turner S1

Turner has six touchdowns in his last five games and 458 rushing yards in that span. He’s also scored in four of his last five against the Saints and hit triple-digits in two of his last three. With the Saints surrendering an eye-popping 5.7 yards per carry to running backs, all of those trends in Turner’s favor should continue.

WR Roddy White S2

Since White moved into the Atlanta starting lineup he’s faced the Saints eight times; in that span he’s scored six touchdowns (including one in each end of last season’s series) and topped 100 yards twice. He remains the Falcons’ most-targeted receiver and can be banked on again here.

WR Julio Jones S3

Two long touchdowns last week put an exclamation point on Jones’ return to the lineup. However, three targets suggest he’s still second-fiddle to White and the Falcons will feed Michael Turner plenty in this game as well. Also worth noting is that in the eight meetings with New Orleans since White joined the starting lineup, non-Roddy Atlanta wideouts have just three touchdowns and none have posted a 100-yard game. Don't sweat the missed practice earlier in the week: Jones is listed as probable.


Tony Gonzalez


Gonzo’s 2-12 dog in the back end of last season’s series was his first dog in four Falcon starts against New Orleans; prior to that he had 20 catches for 249 yards and a TD in three games. He’s been money so far this season, with just one game in which he didn’t have at least 60 yards or a touchdown, or both, and it would be foolish to bet against him here.

DT Falcons B The Falcons haven’t been doing much defensively to generate fantasy points, aside from giving up just 40 points the past three games. They’re unlikely to have similar success against the Saints, so sit them this week.

Houston at Tampa Bay

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Schaub’s passing numbers have been subdued sans Andre Johnson, and with AJ unlikely to return this week expect another heavy dose of Arian Foster with just enough passing mixed in to keep Schaub a viable fantasy starter. Don’t bank on Schaub’s rushing scores to continue, however; touchdown runs each of the past two weeks have now doubled his eight-season career total.
RB Arian Foster

S1 In five games since returning from his hamstring hiatus Foster has six 100-yard efforts. Huh? Four 100-yard rushing games and two 100-yard receiving games. He’s also scored five times in that span. A trip to Tampa to square off with a defense that’s surrendering 4.8 yards per carry and just signed Albert Haynesworth as a tourniquet for their damaged run defense doesn’t look like the end of the gravy train by any stretch.
RB Ben Tate S3 Tough to tell you to start a benchwarmer, but this is another matchup where Tate could easily see enough time to make a shrewd fantasy play. The Bucs have allowed multiple backs to score in three of their last four games, and Tate has 100 rushing yards in two of his last three—both while Foster has also topped triple digits. Why sweat out who’s getting the carries in Houston; start ‘em both!
WR Andre Johnson B

AJ makes it to the bye without having played since going down with the hamstring injury. At least you don't have to sweat out the breathless "will he/won't he" next week.

WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones

With Andre Johnson out and opportunity staring them smack-dab in the face, Walters and Jones combined—combined!—for three catches and 33 yards last week. They’ve done nothing since Johnson left the lineup and aren’t worthy of a fantasy start.

TE Owen Daniels S2

The last three teams to throw at least five passes at their tight ends came away with touchdowns against the Bucs, and that’s a pretty typical workload for Daniels. Really all that’s standing between him and an S1 is Joel Dreessen, who’s pilfering a couple looks a game for himself.

DT Texans S2 Wade Phillips has this unit flying to the ball; they’ve allowed 33 points in the past three games, have generated multiple turnovers in four straight, and have multiple sacks in eight of nine games this year. Even on the road against a decent offense they belong in the conversation for a fantasy start.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

LeGarrette Blount returns to the lineup and Freeman returns to single-TD status; there’s a correlation in there somewhere. It’s been a month since the Texans allowed multiple touchdown passes in a game and only one team has topped 206 passing yards against them since Week 3. No one is on a bye this week, so there’s bound to be a better option out there somewhere.

RB LeGarrette Blount S3

Blount was effective in his return to the lineup, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, but he saw just 13 carries and 15 touches overall and Kregg Lumpkin was on the field for the closing drive. Maybe it’s Blount’s lack of acumen in the passing game, maybe it was the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he was flagged for, but ideally you’d like your feature back to see the ball more. This isn’t a particularly favorable matchup, so Blount is a fringe fantasy start at best.

WR Mike Williams

Williams continues to be the most targeted Tampa Bay receiver, but that has yet to translate into any truly helpful fantasy numbers. He’s the best bet of this group to do something to help your bottom line, but that’s like being the center on the seven dwarves basketball team.

WR Arrelious Benn
Preston Parker

Parker could be used in a PPR pinch as the checkdown/slot/hot read guy, but there’s not a ton of upside to his game. Benn has upside and the Bucs say they want to tap into it, but he’s seen three balls in two games so they’re not going out of their way to do so. Take a similar approach to their fantasy status.

TE Kellen Winslow B

Take out the 100 and 1 by all-world Jimmy Graham and in their eight other games the Texans have allowed just 218 yards and one TD to the tight end position. Winslow is seeing a bunch of targets and has scored in back-to-back games but has topped 50 yards just once since Week 1. You could talk yourself into using him in larger TE-mandatory leagues with TD-heavy scoring systems, but for most leagues there are more than enough better options out there.

DT Buccaneers B Tampa’s defense is pretty beat up; throwing them in front of the Texans doesn’t feel like a recipe for fantasy success. Neither is adding Albert Haynesworth.

Arizona at Philadelphia

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kevin Kolb B

Still struggling with a foot injury, Kolb will most likely miss this tearful reunion with the team that traded him away. He's listed as questionable, but all indications are that he'd be available only in an emergency capacity. What, having to start John Skelton doesn't qualify?

QB John Skelton B

Skelton’s 222 and 1 at home against the Rams wasn’t nearly enough to entice fantasy owners to give him a road start against a vastly superior secondary.

RB Chris Wells
S3 If Wells’ knee injury isn’t limiting him this weekend like it’s limiting him during the practice week he’s a solid fantasy start against a Philly defense that’s allowing 5.3 yards per carry to opposing backs. Thus far he’s played through the injury, and if he makes it to Friday without a setback we’ll upgrade him to S2.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

Fitz scored on Oakland and Nnamdi Asomugha last year, but it was the only highlight of a 2-26-1 effort. You know Red Skelton will throw at him (12 targets last week); you also know the completion percentage will be low and fantasy prospects dim. Scour your roster for a more favorable option, as this would be a good week to use it.

WR Early Doucet
Andre Roberts

While Skelton had more success completing passes to his secondary targets (11-for-13 to Roberts and Doucet, compared to 4-for-12 to Fitzgerald), Philly’s secondary is tougher across the board and he won’t have as much time to scan the field in the face of the Eagles’ pass rush. There’s little fantasy upside to reaching into the Arizona receiver depth this week.

DT Cardinals S3 Arizona is worthy of consideration on the basis of the return game alone, though Patrick Peterson plays some defense as well and could just as easily house an errant Michael Vick toss.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S1

While Arizona has shut out the past two quarterbacks, it’s not as if Joe Flacco (336) or Sam Bradford (255) lacked success. Mix in the four multiple touchdown games and three rushing TDs Arizona has already surrendered to quarterbacks and Vick gets back in the saddle after a poor Monday night showing.

RB LeSean McCoy

McCoy has at least one touchdown in every game this season and triple-digit combo yardage in seven of eight. Arizona has served up hat tricks to each of the last two feature backs they’ve faced on the road, so McCoy’s streak should remain intact.

WR Jeremy Maclin
S2 A secondary that’s surrendered six 100-yard games to wideouts already this season should be the cure for whatever ails Maclin.
WR DeSean Jackson
S3 Teams have taken away the deep ball from Jackson and he has yet to adjust; over the past three games he’s totaled just 93 yards and failed to reach the end zone. He’s still a threat, but there’s more risk involved and you may have a safer option on your bench.
TE Brent Celek
S2 Celek has seen nine targets each of the past three games, producing 18-196-2. Teams throwing to the tight end haven’t had difficulty accomplishing that task against the Cardinals; Vick shouldn’t have any problems locating his security blanket, either.
DT Eagles S2 An aggressive defense at home against a backup quarterback definitely has its fantasy appeal.

Washington at Miami

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB John Beck S3

It’s not a bad matchup for Beck against a Miami defense that’s allowed multiple TD tosses in two of the last three and ranks fourth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. The better news is that no teams are on the bye so you shouldn’t have to reach this deep.


Roy Helu

S3 The Fins have been relatively stout on the ground, and most of Helu’s damage last week came via the passing game. Who knows what twist Mike Shanahan will come up with this week—Tashard Choice? Evan Royster? The unretirement of John Riggins?—but outside of PPR leagues you shouldn’t need to trust the Redskins back with a fantasy start—and your sleep patterns will be better for it.
WR Jabar Gaffney

S3 Another primarily PPR play, Gaffney is taking on Santana Moss’s role but only a portion of his looks; last week both Leonard Hankerson and Terrence Austin saw as many targets as Gaffney. He doesn’t do enough with them on a consistent basis to be trusted with a fantasy start, but the prospects of his catch numbers piling up and thus padding his PPR score make him at least worthy of consideration in those scoring formats.
WR Leonard Hankerson U Hankerson was the go-to guy on Washington’s two-point conversion and could develop into a quality NFL receiver; that’s just unlikely to happen this week with John Beck at quarterback, at least quickly enough to be able to plug him into a fantasy lineup with any degree of confidence.
TE Fred Davis

The Dolphins have tightened up against tight ends since letting the Patriots have their way with them on Kickoff Weekend, but if Davis isn’t limited by his ankle injury he’ll see more than enough targets to be a good fantasy start this week.

DT Redskins B Prior to last week the prospect of a Redskins defense facing Matt Moore looked pretty good. Now it doesn’t seem worth the bother. It’s not like Washington’s D is doing anything special fantasy-wise.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B

Yes, despite Moore’s three-TD outburst last week he’s still bench fodder. Call it primacy (one TD in three-plus previous games) over recency, call it an unfavorable matchup (the Skins have allowed just two multiple touchdown games on the season and no passer has toped 268 yards), just don’t call Moore a starter this week.


Reggie Bush


Is it mere coincidence that Kim Kardashian is back on the market and all of a sudden her former beau is doing an impersonation of an NFL running back? Maybe, but whatever the case he’s averaging a healthy 5.8 yards per carry over his last five games, a Trojan-like 6.9 the past two. Washington has allowed 100-yard rushers in two-straight, three of four, and four of six, so… Kim, are you paying attention?


Daniel Thomas


Oh yeah, this guy; wasn’t he supposed to be the starter? He’s been ordinary and/or injured since putting up 107 yards in his first NFL game, and with seven touches last week he isn’t exactly taking back his gig.


Brandon Marshall


Marshall remains startable because Moore keeps throwing at him: 11 targets last week, good for 8-106-1 while the rest of the receiving corps saw three balls total. But don’t expect too much against a Redskins secondary that’s allowed just two WR TDs this season.


Davonne Bess


No need to plumb the depths of the Dolphins’ wide receiver depth chart, especially in what shapes up to be a poor matchup for the passing game.


Anthony Fasano


Tight end touchdowns aren’t foreign to the Redskins, who have allowed three in the past four weeks. And Fasano did score twice last week. But he hasn’t had touchdowns in back-to-back games since late in the 2008 season, as he’s just not a featured part of the offense. Were this a bye week you could make a case for Fasano in a TD-heavy league, but it’s not so we won’t.

DT Dolphins S3 A defense that just squelched the Chiefs in KC is at least worth considering at home against John Beck.

Tennessee at Carolina

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck B

Hass saw these same Panthers last year as a Seahawk and threw for 229 yards but no scores. This shapes up to be in the same wheelhouse: Hasselbeck has multiple scoring strikes in just one of his last four games and is averaging 215 yards per game over that span, while Carolina has held three straight and five of six to one or fewer TD tosses and since surrendering back-to-back 300-yard games to open the season is giving up 213 yards per tilt. It’s a meh kind of game that with no teams on the bye relegates Hass to the fantasy bench.

RB Chris Johnson S2

The Panthers are surrendering better than five yards a carry to opposing backs and no team has allowed more RB TDs this year. So despite Johnson’s struggles, color us cautiously optimistic he’ll build on last week’s success and reward those with the patience to stick with him—or the cojones to trade for him.

WR Nate Washington
B It may not matter how Washington’s hip feels; he’s sharing looks with a growing group of Titans wideouts and facing a Carolina secondary that hasn’t allowed a WR TD since Week 3. You can do better elsewhere.
WR Damian Williams
Lavelle Hawkins
B They’re horning in on Washington’s action, but this week there simply won’t be much action to horn in on.
TE Jared Cook
S3 Another eight targets last week; Cook is back on Matt Hasselbeck’s radar. The Panthers haven’t stopped tight ends targeted as frequently as Cook, so he’s a decent start this week if you’re stringing together tight end matchups.
DT Titans B There’s nothing compelling on either end of this equation: Tennessee doesn’t generate that many turnovers (just two the last three games) or get after the quarterback (three sacks in that same span), while Carolina has taken care of the ball at home (three giveaways in their last four home games). You’ve already spent too much time contemplating using the Titans this week; you can find better elsewhere.
Pos Player SBC Comments

Cam Newton

S2 The unstoppable rookie force has thrown for at least 224 yards in five straight games, averaging 276 per game and accounting for a dozen touchdowns (five rushing) over that span. The Titans let three of the last four QBs they’ve faced throw multiple touchdowns, stopping only Curtis Painter, and have given up 268 passing yards per game over their last five. Cam’s on the cusp of an S1, but neither he nor this matchup is perfect enough so he’ll have to settle for a high S2.

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Stewart has been the more involved back the past two games and seems to be on the field in the situations (goal line, third down) that generate fantasy points, so he gets the narrow nod in this crowded backfield. It’s a good not great matchup with a Tennessee defense that’s allowed three 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiving back over the past four games.

DeAngelo Williams

B Take away Williams’ 69-yard touchdown run in Week 5 and he’d be without either a touchdown or a 100-yard game. He scored 17 fantasy points in the game that included the TD—and is averaging 4.4 in the remaining tilts. He can’t be trusted in your fantasy lineup.
WR Steve Smith S2

Worried about a potential tough matchup with a Titans defense that’s given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts? Don’t be. A monsoon held Smith’s numbers in check against the similarly ranked Jaguars, but he burned the similarly-ranked Redskins for 7-143. He’ll get his; he always does.

WR Brandon LaFell B

Smith’s success does not transfer to secondary Carolina receivers—especially given the matchup.

TE Greg Olsen

Only four teams have given up more fantasy points to tight ends than the Titans. Really, the only thing holding Olsen back is the portion of looks Jeremy Shockey steals.

TE Jeremy Shockey

It’s almost a shame this isn’t a bye week, as Shockey would be the perfect bye week plug in play. He’ll find it tough to crack a lineup with no teams on the bye, but if you’re struggling for a tight end you could do worse.

DT Panthers B Carolina’s defense doesn’t score many fantasy points, and the Titans don’t give many up. If you’re looking for a low-scoring tilt you may have found one, as the Titans have topped 17 points just once in the last four games and only three times all year, but there are simply too many teams to choose from this week for that to be enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

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