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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

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
NOS at ATL TEN at CAR JAC at IND NYG at SFO
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HOU at TBB PIT at CIN DEN at KCC NEP at NYJ
ARI at PHI STL at CLE BAL at SEA MIN at GBP
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)
 
 

Baltimore at Seattle

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Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S3

The yards haven't been hard to come by; Joe has back-to-back 300-yard efforts and has topped that number three of the last four and four of the last six games. But Flacco has just two touchdowns in the past five games so he's anything but a sure thing in TD-heavy scoring formats. That said, Seattle has surrendered multiple scoring strikes in two straight and three of four, so maybe they'll help Joe out a little bit here.

RB Ray Rice S2

Seattle's stout run D is showing some cracks: 95 yards to Monterio Hardesty, 76 to Bernard Scott, 139 last week to DeMarco Murray... should be relatively easy pickings for Rice. As an added benefit, the Seahawks have surrendered 40-plus receiving yards to backs two of the past thre games so Ray should be able to augment his rushing with those numbers as well.

WR Anquan Boldin

S2

Boldin has double-digit targets in three straight and nine or more in four straight. More important is what he's doing with those targets: two 100-yard games, two touchdowns, and generally carrying the Baltimore passing game. The four wideouts with double-digit targets against Seattle have produced 29 catches for 429 yards and two TDs, so you have to like Boldin's chances of yet another big game.

WR

Torrey Smith

S3 Secondary receivers have 50 yards or a TD (or both) in six of the last seven against Seattle. The way Smith is taking the top off of defenses you know he's going to get some downfield shots; you don't want his 75-yard touchdown on your bench.
TE

Ed Dickson
Dennis Pitta

B Not that Seattle is shutting down tight ends; it's more that Baltimore now has two pass-catching tight ends sharing the productivity. Combined they'd have stat lines of 7-54, 12-90, and 7-46 the past three weeks--all startable numbers in TE-mandatory leagues. Split, however, they're both bench fodder.
DT Ravens S2 Seattle has mustered 28 points in the last three games, and the 12th man doesn't scare Ray Lewis.
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson S3 The Seattle passing game hasn't produced a touchdown toss since Week 5, though Jackson has 544 yards the past two games. The TD trend is likely to continue against a Baltimore secondary that has yet to allow multiple scoring strikes in a game this season, but the Ravens have ceded two 300-yard games--including last week to Ben Roethlisberger--so T-Jax is a fringe option in yardage-heavy leagues.
RB Marshawn Lynch B

Lynch's 135 and 1 against a pretty good Cowboys run defense last week is impressive. Don't expect a repeat against a Baltimore defense that's allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs.

WR

Sidney Rice

S3 It's as if T-Jax has Rice on his fantasy team; he's targeted him 22 times in two games, producing 171 yards. The Ravens have allowed five 90-plus yard receivers already this season, so they can be thrown on--especially if they're as heavily targeted as Rice is.
WR

Doug Baldwin

S3 Secondary receivers are finding success against Baltimore as well; in each of the last two games a second target has either scored or topped 90 yards. That trend stretches back to the beginning of the season as six times the secondary target has chipped in at least 50 yards or a touchdown. The running game isn't going to work, so Baldwin should see enough action to join Rice on the starter side of the ledger.
DT Seahawks B Aside from Red Bryant's blocked kicks there's little on this defense to excite fantasy owners.
 

Detroit at Chicago

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Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford S2

The Bears had a great game plan for Michael Vick on Monday night; let's see what they have in store for Stafford, who has multiple touchdown tosses in seven of eight this season and hasn't thrown a pick since Week 5... against Chicago. The 219 and 2 from that earlier meeting was his second-lowest total of the season; also the second-best defensive effort by the Bears. Should be interesting, but you have to favor the guy who gets to throw at Calvin Johnson.

RB Maurice Morris
B

Jahvid Best destroyed the Bears with 163 rushing yards in the earlier meeting, his last full game this season. Morris doesn't bring nearly the same explosiveness to the table; sharing carries with Keiland Williams and maybe even Kevin Smith he'll be lucky to get a third of that total this week.

WR Calvin Johnson S1

Chicago was the first team to limit Johnson to one touchdown as he could only muster 5-130-1 in the earlier meeting. That was also the start of his current four-game 100-yard streak. The Bears haven't grown a cornerback who can match up with him in the month since they last met, so expect more of the same from Megatron.

WR Nate Burleson

B

Burleson did next to nothing in the earlier meeting with Chicago and is seeing some of his looks gobbled up by Titus Young. He shouldn't be trusted with a fantasy start here.

TE Brandon Pettigrew
S2

Pettigrew scored in the earlier meeting with Chicago, and since then the Bears have given up 60 yards to Brent Celek, a touchdown to Kellen Winslow, and 65 yards to the Vikings' Shiancoe/Rudolph combo. So little has changed; Pettigrew remains a good play against this matchup.

DT Lions S3 Detroit's defense housed a pair of returns in their last game, while Chicago coughed up a defensive touchdown last week against the Eagles. What could they taunt Jay Cutler about?
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S3

Cutler has produced solid though not spectacular yardage and has multiple touchdowns in two of the last three. However, he was held to one scoring strike in the earlier matchup with Detroit and the Lions have allowed just one multiple-touchdown game all season. Settle for the solid yardage, view any scores as gravy.

RB Matt Forte S1

Forte has triple-digit combo yardage in six straight against the Lions, with four TDs and five 100-yard games (four rushing, one receiving) in that span. He failed to score while racking up 116 rushing yards and another 35 receiving in the earlier meeting with Detroit, but you can bank on the triple-digit yardage and a long score isn't out of the question.

RB Marion Barber B

MB3 is definitely the goal line guy, but against a Lions defense that's allowed only two RB rushing scores he may be lightly (if at all) used this week.

WR

Earl Bennett

S3 Bennett returned to his role as Jay Cutler's favorite receiver with 5-95-1 last week. He'll take the same role that Dan Sanzenbacher turned into 6-64 in the earlier meeting and likely take it closer to the 7-104 he produced in his last meeting with the Lions.
WR Roy Williams
Devin Hester

B

Outside of Bennett it's impossible to trust any Chicago receiver to be targeted enough to be fantasy relevant.

DT Bears S2 You've got the built-in bonus of Devin Hester in the return game, plus a playmaking defense at home. Even against an offense as potent as the Lions the Bears D has earned its start.
 

NY Giants at San Francisco

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

The yardage should be there against a defense that's allowed 241 or better each of the last three games, but Eli may have to work for his touchdowns. Don't bet against him, however; he has multiple TD tosses in six of his last seven games and may need to shoulder more of the load against a stout San Francisco run defense.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw
B

Bradshaw has been ruled out for a second straight week due to his foot injury. It's not a particularly good matchup for him anyway.

RB Brandon Jacobs
S3

Jacobs ran well last week, but even if he's the primary back he's a borderline start at best on the road against a defense that's allowed the fewest rushing yards to running backs thus far this season.

WR Hakeem Nicks
S3

Nicks did some running and is listed as questionable, with Tom Coughlin indicating he'll be a game-time decision. That makes things tricky since this is a late game. Be cautiously optimistic, but if you have a juicy alternative don't be afraid to use it.

WR Mario Manningham
Victor Cruz

S2

Manningham has scored in back-to-back games--one with Nicks, one without--while Cruz has topped 90 yards in each tilt and scored once. The S2 assumes both Nicks and Bradshaw can't go, leaving the running game lacking and Cruz and Manningham to pick up the slack in the passing game. Any change to the Giants' alignment this weekend might tweak their values, but regardless of personnel they're both viable fantasy starters.

TE Jake Ballard S2

Ballard has carved out a role in the Giants' passing game with 50 yards or a touchdown in five straight games, and he hit both markers last week against the Patriots. Especially if Bradshaw is out and Jacobs isn't effective against the Niners' solid run defense, Ballard on the play-action is a red-zone favorite.

DT Giants S3 Despite the Niners' record and success this season this still feels like an opportunity for the Giants' pass rush to make Alex Smith look like... well, the Alex Smith we remember from the past couple of seasons.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith still has just one game with more than 201 yards and has three straight outings with one and only one passing touchdown. The Giants haven't exactly been a shut-down pass defense, but they do have a bunch of guys who can make quarterbacks extremely uncomfortable in the pocket. Don't bank on Smith picking this week to change his stripes.

RB Frank Gore S2

Don't give up on Gore's five-game string of 100-yard efforts; it sounds like his sore ankle shouldn't limit him this weekend, and the Giants have already surrendered four 100-yard games as well as RB TDs in five of the last six games.

WR Michael Crabtree S3 Crabtree has been the Niners' most targeted receiver in three straight--essentially since he got healthy--and that most-targeted role has been turned into three 100-yard games and multiple touchdowns by Giants opponents.
WR Braylon Edwards B While several 49er foes--including each of the previous two--have generated more than one productive fantasy wideout, Edwards isn't targeted enough to trust with a fantasy start.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez broke the Giants' tight end maiden last week, scoring the first TE TDs the G-Men had allowed this year. Davis hasn't scored since Week 5 but he's still the second option in this passing game and a viable starter in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT 49ers S3 San Francisco's defense has generated multiple turnovers in seven of eight this season, and Eli has been known to make a bonehead throw from time to time.
 

New England at NY Jets

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New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

Brady's lone non-multiple TD outing came in the earlier meeting with the Jets, though he did throw for 321 yards to offset the lack of touchdowns. Gang Green hasn't surrendered multiple scores since Week 1, but if anybody can buck that trend it's Brady. Bottom line, don't bet against him; even in losses the last two week he's thrown for 540 yards and four TDs.

RB

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

S2

Law Firm blew up the Jets for 27-136-2 in the earlier meeting. And while you shouldn't expect a repeat performance BJGE is at minimum startable; in three subsequent games following the Green-Ellis performance the Jets gave up 118, 97, and 87 rushing yards at 4.3 yards a pop. Law Firm hasn't been anywhere near the 27 carries or 136 yards, but his standard 12-50 is a baseline against a run defense that can be had.

WR Wes Welker S2 Welker found his way around Revis Island for 124 yards in the last meeting; you gonna bet against him? Don't look for a touchdown, but the catches and yardage should still be there.
WR Deion Branch B Yes, Branch hauled in seven balls for 74 yards and a touchdown in the earlier meeting while Revis was chasing Welker around the field. Feels like too much to ask him to do it again against a defense that's giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to wideouts in the league.
TE Rob Gronkowski S2 Both Gronk and Hernandez were quiet in the earlier win over the Jets, but Gronk has at least 74 yards in each game since and got back into the end zone last week. Time for the Patriots to make their chess move and free up Brady's favorite targets.
TE Aaron Hernandez S3 Hernandez was shut out by the Jets but has scored in three straight since then. However, he's been targeted substantially less than Gronkowski in each of the last two and is an ever-so-slightly less reliable fantasy start than his positionmate.
DT Patriots B Defense hasn't exactly been the Patriots' strong suit thus far this season, especially with regards to fantasy production.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

Sanchez's 166 and 2 in the Week 5 loss to New England marked the Jets' return to more of a "ground and pound" approach. Sanchez is averaging a shade over 200 yards per game in the three games since, with one multiple score outing and two one-TD affairs. He's not a strong start, but a New England defense that's allowed at least 250 yards to every quarterback they've faced (except Sanchez) and 200-plus to all but two definitely provides an opportunity for fantasy success.

RB Shonn Greene S3

Greene has seen around 20 carries in each of the last four games, but he's turned them into just one TD and one 100-yard effort. The Pats haven't surrendered a triple-digit rushing effort yet this season but they did serve up a score to Greene in the earlier meeting and one to a similarly styled back, Brandon Jacobs, last week. Those aren't particularly sexy numbers for Greene, but "20 touches" and "goal line looks" are fantasy buzzwords to be heeded.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson B

LT swiped a score from Greene last week after Greene suffered a head injury, but in general his touches are too limited to be of fantasy use, especially in a non-bye week.

WR Santonio Holmes

S2

Holmes scored in the earlier meeting with New England and is an overturned replay review away from a four-game scoring streak. His yardage numbers have taken a hit due to "ground and pound", but he's a playmaker and the Jets are trying to get him the ball. Against a team that's allowed the second-most yardage to wideouts you want playmakers in your lineup.

WR Plaxico Burress

S3

Plax was the most targeted receiver against New England; he was also the least effective. He's playing through a back injury, but it didn't keep him from 5-79 last week and assuming he returns to practice this week shouldn't keep you from plugging him into your lineup this week. The Pats have allowed nine WR TDs, and Plax has become a go-to guy at the stripe.

TE Dustin Keller S3

Keller's two-game midseason slump coincided with the Jets' trip to New England as he produced a paltry 1-7. He's been much more involved the past three games (168 yards) and isn't that far removed from his monster 115 and 1 against the Patriots last year. If ground and pound is working, he'll be a play-action option at the stripe as well.

DT Jets S3 Since giving up 30 to the Pats the Jets have allowed a total of 38 points in three games, forcing eight turnovers in the process. They're definitely worth a shot at home against a suddenly mortal Brady who's thrown 10 picks already this year.
 

Minnesota at Green Bay

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Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Christian Ponder S3

Ponder threw for 219 and 2 against Green Bay in his first NFL start; six of the other seven quarterbacks the Packers have faced have thrown for more. Ponder may spend more of this one playing catch-up, which can only pad his numbers. Now if he can only throw fewer completions to Charles Woodson...

RB Adrian Peterson S1

Not only did AP extend his scoring string against the Pack he tossed in 175 yards for good measure. That effort was sandwiched between 18-96 from Steven Jackson and 19-83-1 from Mike Tolbert; in other words, you can bang this defense for yardage. No reason to think Peterson won't score yet again against Green Bay.

WR Percy Harvin

S3

Harvin isn't exactly a WR1, but he's the closest thing the Vikings have. He's also versatile, as demonstrated by his rushing touchdown against Carolina. Minnesota is looking to find ways to get him the ball, and with the bye week to heal his sore ribs he could be in for a significantly increased workload Monday night.

WR Michael Jenkins

B

Jenkins' first career 100-yard game came in the earlier meeting with Green Bay thanks to a near-touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage. Not that the aggressive Packers secondary won't bite again, but they'll certainly be more wary of Jenkins this time around.

TE Vishante Shiancoe

S3

The Packers have allowed at least 50 yards or a touchdown to every tight end they've faced, including Shiancoe's 4-45-1 in the Week 7 meeting. Unless Kyle Rudolph takes away too many looks, Shank should be in line for another solid outing this week.

DT Vikings B

Jared Allen might enjoy some sacks at Aaron Rodgers' expense, but that's about the only upside in this matchup for the Vikings' fantasy defense.

Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

Rodgers' new five-game total against the Vikings, after 335 and three in Week 7, stands at 1,602 yards and 14 touchdowns. Minnesota has surrendered multiple TD tosses in three straight, and unless they brought Paul Krause and Joey Browner out of retirement over the bye week are still woefully undermanned in the secondary. The way Rodgers is playing this year, it doesn't even matter who he's facing; he's fantasy gold.

RB

James Starks

S3

Starks sealed Green Bay's earlier win with some punishing end-of-game runs, winding up with 75 yards on 13 carries. The Pack might go to him a little earlier in the game, but either way he's a decent bet for a fringe fantasy helper.

WR Greg Jennings

S1

Jennings' 7-147-1 domination of the Vikings was hardly unexpected; he now has 454 yards and six TDs in his last four against Minnesota. No reason to think that run ends here.

WR Jordy Nelson

S2

The Packer receivers appear in progression of how frequently they're targeted: Nelson's not quite as good a start as Jennings but a more reliable option than Jones.

WR James Jones

S3

Essentially any Aaron Rodgers target has fantasy potential, especially against a Vikings defense that has issues in the secondary.

TE Jermichael Finley

S1

Finley was limited to just two catches in the previous meeting with Minnesota, but he scored on one of them. Fresh off of surrending scores to both Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey in Week 8, it's unlikely the Vikings have a solution to shutting down Finley this time around.

DT Packers S2 Charles Woodson picked Ponder twice in his first NFL start and very nearly had another. And Woodson isn't the only playmaker on that side of the ball, as evidenced by their pair of pick sixes against Philip Rivers last week.

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