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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)
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

Don’t expect fireworks; Big Ben hasn’t had a multiple TD game against the Bengals since the first meeting of 2008, and even that was a pedestrian 216 and 2. He does, however, bring a streak of three straight 300-yard games into this tilt and the two highest yardage totals allowed by Cincy have come the last two weeks—and not exactly to elite QBs, either, as the Tarvaris Jackson/Charlie Whitehurst tandem tag-teamed for 375 and Matt Hasselbeck threw for 272. It’s bend-don’t-break, though, as the Bengals have allowed just four passing TDs in the past six games. Start Ben in a yardage-heavy scoring system, but seek a more prolific option in a TD-heavy league.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


Since Mendenhall’s big 23-146-1 in Week 6 he’s been held to 13 carries a game; tough to get it going with that sort of workload. He scored last week against the Ravens and is certainly a threat to score against a Cincy D that’s allowed RB TDs in six of the last seven games, but with such a stunted workload he’s a borderline starter at best.

WR Mike Wallace

Mike has made two trips to Cincinnati as a Steeler and each time left with a 100-yard game in his back pocket. The Bengals have given up four 100-yard games this year and Wallace has four of his own, with touchdowns in four of the last five as well. And if Roethlisberger won’t throw to him, Wallace will do like he did last week and intercept a pass intended for a teammate for a touchdown of his own.


Antonio Brown


Brown has seen 26 targets the past two weeks, topping 100 yards last week after scoring the previous week. Expect him to stay hot against a Cincy secondary that allowed two wide receivers to score last week and two 100-yard receivers the week before that.

TE Heath Miller S3

Miller has owned the middle of the field that past couple of weeks with 12-158 against the Patriots and Ravens. He’s even scored a couple times in the past month, so while he’s more valuable in PPR formats he can’t be ignored in TE-mandatory touchdown leagues either.

DT Steelers S3 In many years this matchup would be an S1, but even with a dented version of the Steel Curtain it’s still Dick Lebeau against a rookie quarterback—and that’s a matchup that warrants fantasy attention.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Andy Dalton S3

You can argue Dalton has put up a ROY-worthy season in the shadow of Cam Newton; you can also argue he has yet to face the Steelers/Ravens AFC North meat grinder. You can’t argue that he has multiple TD tosses in three of his last four. It won’t be easy against the Steelers, but it’s not impossible; after all, less than a month ago Kevin Kolb took them for 272 and 2. You should have a better option at your disposal.

RB Cedric Benson S3

It’s the Steelers, and it’s Ced, so don’t expect too much. But he’s scored against Pittsburgh each of their last two trips to Cincinnati, this one’s in the Queen City. You’ll get 20-75-1, which is about what you pencil in for Benson at home.

WR A.J. Green
Jerome Simpson


Interesting dynamic at play here: while WR1s have posted decent yardage against the Steelers (Boldin 88, Fitzgerald 78), it’s been WR2s who have found the end zone (Torrey Smith, Deion Branch, Early Doucet, Damian Williams). So both Green and Simpson are in play here; just don’t expect gaudy numbers in Andy Dalton’s maiden voyage into the Steelers’ gauntlet.

TE Jermaine Gresham B Gresham did little against the Steelers last season and is working his way back from a hamstring injury. No need to rush him back into your fantasy lineup this week.
DT Bengals S3 It’s a home date for the underrated Bengals defense, and they haven’t allowed more than 20 points at home yet this season. They’ve also tallied four return TDs in the last four games, so they’re definitely worthy of consideration.
St. Louis at Cleveland Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford B

Bradford was back last week after a two-game injury hiatus, but the results weren’t much better: 255 yards, zero TDs. The Browns have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so don’t reach for Sam here.

RB Steven Jackson S1

Jackson has back-to-back 100-yard efforts and a banged-up quarterback. Against a very good Cleveland pass D expect him to shoulder the load once again; against a very soft Cleveland run D—one that’s allowed three 100-yard rushers in the past two games—expect him to be extremely effective once again.


Brandon Lloyd


It’s a stretch to start a receiver when you’re benching his quarterback, but Lloyd has seen 38 targets in three games as a Ram so he’s essentially the entirety of their passing game. He’ll likely draw plenty of attention from Joe Haden so the numbers won’t be gaudy, but through sheer volume he should carve out a viable fantasy day.


Mark Clayton


Fresh off the PUP list, Clayton makes an intriguing play—especially if he’s tabbed to play out of the slot position that’s already sent Danny Amendola and Greg Salas to the IR. Don’t start him, but keep an eye on his targets to see if he takes a bite out of Brandon Lloyd’s looks.

DT Rams S3 The Browns are averaging less than 10 points a game over their past three and haven’t topped 17 since Week 2, so if your league rewards your fantasy D for keeping the score down the Rams are worth a look.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

McCoy’s done nothing to warrant fantasy attention; it’s been a month since he threw multiple touchdowns and longer still since he topped 250 yards. The Rams have played better defense of late and aren’t nearly a soft enough matchup to encourage a start for Colt on a non-bye week; actually, that soft a matchup might not exist.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya S3

Silent G’s homecoming got off to a rocky start when he fumbled on his first carry, and it went downhill from there. However, Montario Hardesty and Peyton Hillis aren’t coming out of that tunnel—well, if they do they’ll be on crutches. That means Ogbonnaya gets the bulk of the backfield work again this week; against a Rams defense that’s allowed the third-most RB rushing yards, that should translate into a useable fantasy stat line.

WR Greg Little B

If “targets” is a stat in your fantasy league then Little is a starter; he’s had 38 the past month. However, all he has to show for those looks is 17 catches, 164 yards, and zero touchdowns. Either petition the league to add “targets” or keep Little on your bench until those targets turn into productivity.

WR Josh Cribbs S3

This is based on more than Cribbs scoring in each of the past two games. The former college quarterback and sometimes slash has hinted that the Browns have some tricks up their sleeve, likely involving Cribbs in some sort of wildcat formation. Nothing wrong with getting the ball into the hands of your most dynamic playmaker; fantasy owners, be prepared to take advantage.

TE Ben Watson B

Watson has to share looks with Alex Smith and Evan Moore, and this week he’ll have to deal with a Rams defense that’s given up just one TE TD all year and has allowed the fewest catches and yards to the position. Look elsewhere for fantasy help.

DT Browns S3 The Rams have scored 39 points in four road games, so if your league rewards your fantasy D for keeping the score down their opponents are worth a look as well.

Buffalo at Dallas

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S3

Fitz’s frenetic pace slowed last week against Darrelle Revis and the Jets; expect it to kick back up against a defense that’s allowed at least 240 and 2 to the last three non-NFC West “quarterbacks” they’ve faced.

RB Fred Jackson S2

Two weeks ago this matchup looked significantly tougher on paper. But over the past fortnight the Cowboys have surrendered 185 and 2 to LeSean McCoy and 135 and 1 to Marshawn Lynch. That bodes well for Jackson, who’s reached triple-digit rushing yards in three of his last four. And if he falls shy of the 100 yards per game he’s averaging on the ground Jackson can always fall back on the 49 receiving yards he typically produces per game.

WR Steve Johnson S2

While Johnson will be happy to get off of Revis Island, the Cowboys aren’t a whole lot easier matchup. That said, WR1s are producing a steady supply of scores and good-not-great yardage, so it’s safe to reinsert Johnson into your fantasy lineup.

WR David Nelson B

Tough to see Nelson producing against a pretty tight Cowboys secondary that has yet to allow two different receivers to score in the same game. The assumption is that Johnson gets his, leaving nothing on the board for Nelson or any of Buffalo’s other secondary wideouts.

TE Scott Chandler S3

Maybe the reason WR2s are starving is that TEs are beating them to the dinner table. Dallas has the most yardage and second-most fantasy points to tight ends, making this a week where you can actually plug Chandler into your fantasy lineup and not feel like you just bought a Powerball ticket.

DT Bills B Buffalo has slowed considerably since their three-game flurry; aside from the 10-sack aberration against Washington, they’ve done to suggest their fantasy defense warrants a start here.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

Only the three-CB Philly secondary has kept Romo from at least 250 yards or multiple touchdowns, or in many cases both. Buffalo’s pass defense has played better after a shaky start, but holding John Beck and Mark Sanchez in check is one thing; keeping Romo from his appointed rounds is another thing entirely.

RB DeMarco Murray S2

Only the Colts have allowed more RB rushing scores than the Bills, and the way Murray is piling up the yardage—an average of 155 yards per game in his three starts, at a gaudy 8.4 yards per carry—people are already forgetting that one guy that used to be the Cowboys running back but is now hurt or something.

WR Dez Bryant S2

There’s plenty of yardage to be had here, and with Miles Austin sidelined Bryant becomes the Cowboys’ WR1. Expect Romo to give Bryant ample opportunity to put his freakish athleticism to use; you’ll be happy to post the subsequent results to your fantasy team’s Facebook page.

WR Laurent Robinson S2

Don’t sleep on Robinson, who has scored in back-to-back games as the third wheel and now steps up to take Austin’s spot in the lineup. The last time he did that he saw 10 targets for 7-116, and while Bryant is healthier now and taking a larger share of the looks it’s a taste of what Robinson can do for your club.

TE Jason Witten S1

Witten has a touchdown or 60-plus yards in every game except one this season. Facing a Buffalo defense that’s already allowed 4-64 to Dustin Keller, 8-94 to Fred Davis, 5-81 to Jake Ballard, 4-70-1 to Jermaine Gresham, 7-109-2 to Rob Gronkowski… you get the picture. Witten owners, start your engines!

DT Cowboys B The Bills didn’t allow a sack to the Jets; of course, they also scored just 11 points. Tough to see the Cowboys doing anything to generate big fantasy value here; with no teams on the bye, you can do better.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Blaine Gabbert B

You haven’t started him yet, and you haven’t missed a dang thing. With 31 alternatives on the board, even this matchup isn’t enough to get Gabbert off your fantasy bench.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S1

The only real concern here is if Jones-Drew hits the sidelines early; no team has given its feature back 20 or more carries since LeGarrette Blount took 25 totes for 127 yards and a touchdown back in Week 4. Not that backs haven’t been productive, it’s just that teams have been able to play the JV against Indy. MoJo’s track record against the Colts has been to blow them up with 20 or more carries, and this Jacksonville team isn’t good enough to coast home without Jones-Drew building a big stat line en route to the sidelines.

RB Deji Karim U

Last week we tipped you off to the number of backup backs who have received double-digit carries and produced viable yardage against Indy. However, this isn’t a bye week so there should be no need to dig this deep.


Jason Hill

S3 If you have to pick a Jacksonville wideout to play—and this being a non-bye week, you really shouldn’t have to—Hill has the last three Jaguar WR TDs, including one in their most recent game. The Colts offer little resistance, so it’s kind of a battle of who could care less (copyright Ben Folds).

Mike Thomas

B This passing game can’t even support one viable fantasy wideout, let alone multiples—regardless of how soft the matchup is.

Marcedes Lewis

B Funny, the one thing the Colts seem to be able to do this season is shut down the tight end. Not that Lewis was doing much of anything anyway.
DT Jaguars S2

If you’ve been playing the “start any defense facing X” game, the Colts are this year’s X—and that makes Jacksonville this week’s beneficiary of a team that’s scored in single digits two of the past three weeks, turned the ball over multiple times in each of the past four games, and given up two defensive touchdowns in the past month.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Curtis Painter B

If there were teams on the bye we’d start breaking down Painter to see if he’d make a viable plug-in. But with 31 other options you should be able to do better without breaking a sweat.

RB Joseph Addai
Donald Brown
Delone Carter
B Three guys holding down one spot that barely produces numbers. None of them are useable fantasy plays.
WR Reggie Wayne
Pierre Garçon

The Curtis Painter-led passing game left Wayne at the altar weeks ago, and now it’s abandon Garçon as well. Worse, they’re now sharing looks with Austin Collie—who actually outperformed both Wayne and Garçon last week. There’s just not a fantasy start to be found here.

TE Jacob Tamme B

Last year when Dallas Clark went down with an injury Tamme became a go-to fantasy tight end. It’s a different story this time around.

DT Colts B If the Colts are going to score, it’ll probably come on the defensive side of the ball just like last week. But no teams are on the bye, so there’s bound to be a better option out there for you.
Denver at Kansas City Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Tebow S3 Tebow saved his job with two passing scores and almost as many rushing yards (117) as passing yards (124) last week. Can he do it again? Hey, Matt Moore waltzed into Arrowhead and threw three TDs last week so anything’s possible. The rushing yardage salvage Tebow’s fantasy value; get used to hearing that.
RB Willis McGahee S2

McGahee wasn’t excited about running the read option; 163 yards and two long touchdown runs later, he’s changed his mind. The Chiefs now have film on what Denver’s doing, but they had film on Reggie Bush and still couldn’t stop him from racking up 142 combo yards and scoring his first rushing touchdown since before he had his Heisman taken away. So we’re sayin’ there’s a chance.

WR Demaryius Thomas
Eric Decker
Eddie Royal

Any one of these guys could step up with a big game, but none of them inspire much confidence. And when you’re talking about maybe 150 passing yards split three ways, you have to bank on a touchdown. If anything give Royal the slight nod since he could bust another return score in addition to his work as the slot receiver.

DT Broncos B Aside from the Chiefs laying a three-point egg at home last week there’s no compelling reason to reach for the Broncos’ fantasy defense here.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S2

Cassel has decent yardage the past two weeks (253 and 261) despite throwing just one touchdown. And while he’s had at least 250 yards in four of his last five, he’s also been held to one or zero TD tosses on four of his last five as well. The upside here is two-fold: a Denver defense that has allowed three touchdowns and at least 267 yards in each of the last two games; and a memory of the 469 and 4 Cassel dropped on Denver the last time they visited Arrowhead.

RB Jackie Battle
S3 Battle has settled into a Ced Benson-like 70-yard rut since bursting onto the scene with 119 against the über-soft Indy run D. Denver isn’t nearly that soft; in fact, they’ve allowed just one RB rushing score this season. Battle will get the bulk of the carries and produce adequate yardage, but with no teams on the bye he’s at best a fringe play in yardage-heavy leagues.

Dwayne Bowe


Which Bowe vs. Broncos result is to be believed: his 13-170-3 from Week 10 or his shutout on three targets just three weeks later? Of course, the answer is something in between, and the way the Broncos have been playing defense this year it’s closer to the big number than the zero. Denver has allowed back-to-back 100-yard games after giving up four in three games while Champ Bailey was out with an injury. Bowe’s steady supply of double-digit targets hasn’t yielded a touchdown or 100-yard game since Week 5, but he’s still a solid start this week.


Steve Breaston
Jonathan Baldwin


Secondary receivers are having success against Denver as well, producing a touchdown or 50-plus yards or both in each of the past three games and seven times in the past five. The question is, do you trust the fast-rising rookie who scored two weeks ago but had just one catch last week? Or do you go with Breaston, who was targeted even more than Bowe last week and produced a solid 7-115 against the Dolphins? Hey, if Cassel can throw for four bills again there’ll be enough for both.

DT Chiefs B Yeah, so much for that S1 last week; they made Matt Moore look like Joe Friggin’ Montana. Tanks fer nuttin’, Danny!

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