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Start/Bench List: Week 12
John Tuvey
Updated: November 25, 2011
GBP at DET CAR at IND TBB at TEN DEN at SDC 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)
Minnesota at Atlanta Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Christian Ponder S3

Jake Locker threw for a couple scores in Atlanta last week, why can’t Ponder? He’ll be without his best offensive player and likely any semblance of a running game, except for what he adds with his scrambles, so carving out a fantasy helper here is certainly possible.

RB Adrian Peterson B

AP stubbornly insists he'll play despite the high ankle sprain, but he didn't practice all week and is listed as doubtful. This sounds a whole lot like last year's Bears game, where ultimately the Vikings opted to sit AP. Expect them to do the same here.

RB Toby Gerhart B

This would have been a test for Peterson, as only one team has allowed fewer RB rushing yards than the Falcons. Gerhart is in line to get the carries, but that doesn’t mean you want to plug him in here. He averaged 2.6 yards per carry last week at home against an inferior Oakland run defense; the prognosis in Atlanta is not very good at all.

WR Percy Harvin


Even before Peterson was knocked out of the lineup Harvin was getting carries out of the backfield; sans AP, expect that to be a more frequent occurrence. Harvin also doubles as the Vikings’ best wideout and, in Peterson’s absence, top playmaker. Harvin is still dealing with a rib injury that's bothered him, but if he’s on the field you can bet the Vikings will find ways to get the ball into his hands.

WR Michael Jenkins


It’s a revenge game for Jenkins, but that also means the Falcons know his limitations. This is a somewhat favorable matchup, and if Ponder's tight ends are banged up--both Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph were limited in practice during the week--he'll need a security blanket target.

TE Vishante Shiancoe


Only two teams have allowed fewer touchdowns to tight ends, and Shiancoe is questionable after missing most of practice during the week. His backup, rookie Kyle Rudolph, is listed as doubtful so at least he won't swipe looks should Shiancoe play.

DT Vikings B

There’s only so much Jared Allen can do alone.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Since the Falcons’ Week 8 bye Ryan has averaged 314 yards and two TDs a game. The Vikings somehow snapped a string of four straight games with multiple TD passes and at least 250 yards allowed, but Ryan is perfectly situation to fire another up this week.

RB Michael Turner S1

The Vikings just allowed their first 100-yard rusher of the season—at home, no less. Now they travel to the Georgia Dome, where Turner has averaged 21-101-1 in five starts this year. He’s a big-money play this week.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers U

There’s upside to Rodgers, who is seeing a half-dozen carries on a regular basis—including some goal line packages. He could make his mark in the passing game, as the Vikings have allowed the second-most RB receiving TDs.

WR Roddy White S2

The floor for White is 4-66, which is what Larry Fitzgerald managed against Minnesota. Other receivers of White’s ilk—Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Steve Smith—have reached triple digits and scored, so Roddy’s ceiling is quite high indeed.

WR Julio Jones S2

Jones was back for a full practice session on Friday and is listed as probable. If he's on the field you want him in your lineup, and the matchup with a bottom-feeding pass defense makes him all that much more attractive.

WR Harry Douglas S3

Douglas has been a solid wingman in place of Jones. With Julio back his looks may be a little more limited, but he's done enough to at least warrant fantasy consideration here.


Tony Gonzalez


Gonzo sports a three-game scoring streak and has either scored or topped 60 yards in nine of 10 this season. Over the past four games Minnesota has allowed three TE TDs and games of 67 yards to Jermichael Finley and 73 yards to Greg Olsen. So essentially this is a blank check game for Gonzo.

DT Falcons S2 A rookie quarterback leads his 2-8 team into your house without his best offensive player? You can’t really tee it up any better for the Atlanta D.
Buffalo at NY Jets Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S3

Fitz has fallen off the map since his big payday, but plenty of other factors—injuries to his offensive line, receiving corps, and now all-purpose back Fred Jackson—have contributed to his demise. The Jets held Fitz to 191 and 1 a month ago in Buffalo; improvements to those numbers sans Jackson and perhaps multiple receivers doesn’t seem likely.

RB Fred Jackson B

Coe College’s finest will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured fibula.

RB C.J. Spiller S3

If you look at the season stats the Jets’ run defense appears soft, but in fact they’ve allowed only one RB TD since Week 5 and an average of 71 rushing yards per game over the past month. That includes 18-82 (and another 38 receiving) to Fred Jackson in Week 9. Spiller has never carried the ball more than nine times in a game so this will be a test for him, but it’s not like the Bills are flush with alternatives.

WR Steve Johnson B

Johnson is nursing a shoulder injury; if he’s fortunate enough to return to the lineup, he’ll likely spend the afternoon wearing Darrelle Revis. Start making alternative plans now.

WR David Nelson B

Nelson missed Wednesday’s practice due to illness; he’d better get well soon, as the Bills are woefully short on wideouts.

TE Scott Chandler U

By sheer default Chandler might be a decent fantasy play this week as the Bills are very nearly out of wide receivers. Then again, an improvement on the 3-24 he posted against Gang Green in Week 9 still doesn’t warrant fantasy consideration.

DT Bills B The wheels are falling off the offense, and there’s just not enough on the defense to offset it.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

The Sanchize has just one multiple touchdown game in his last five starts, including 230 and 1 in Buffalo in Week 9. But the Bills have surrendered back-to-back hat tricks and offer Sanchez an opportunity to pad his stats.

RB Shonn Greene S3

Greene did the heavy lifting (19-76) in the previous meeting but ceded touchdowns to both LaDainain Tomlinson and John Conner. With LT still nursing a sore knee Greene has one less vulture to concern himself with against a defense that’s allowed four RB TDs in the last three games.

RB Joe McKnight U

There’s some upside here if LT sits, as Greene is nursing a bruised rib and McKnight turned 22 touches into 121 yards in Denver last week. No LT--he didn't practice all week and is listed as questionable--makes McKnight a viable play in larger PPR leagues.

WR Santonio Holmes


Santonio scored in the previous meeting with Buffalo, but while he’s been similarly targeted he seems to be lagging behind Plaxico Burress in the production department. The Bills haven’t given up a ton of yardage to wideouts so it feels like another borderline fantasy helper for Holmes—and the upside he flashed earlier in the season is fading in the rear view mirror.

WR Plaxico Burress


Plax has been the more productive fantasy wideout in three of the last four games, and the Bills’ MO—giving up TDs but not yardage—falls more in his wheelhouse than in Holmes’.

TE Dustin Keller B

Keller’s 4-64 in the earlier meeting with Buffalo was his most productive outing of the past two months. If those are the numbers you seek from a tight end you could give Keller a shot, but odds are you need more.

DT Jets S2 Buffalo’s offensive struggles have led to multiple turnovers in five straight and back-to-back games with single-digit points. The Jets held them to 11 in the earlier meeting and would seem well-positioned to pick up plenty of bonus points here.

Tampa Bay at Tennessee

Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman S2

After an extremely disappointing first five weeks Freeman used the absence of LeGarrette Blount to rediscover the passing game. Over the past five games Freeman has three multiple TD outings and four games with at least 264 passing yards. The Titans have been all over the board defending the pass, so the stronger trend is Freeman's uptick.

RB LeGarrette Blount S2

With one run last week against Green Bay Blount reminded us just how good he can be. Will we see that same back this week? A similar back in Michael Turner just took the Titans for 100 and one, so we'll give Blount a fighting chance here.

WR Mike Williams

Maybe Williams is figuring it out as well; his 7-83-1 last week was easily his best performance of the season. And after seeing Roddy White go 7-147 against the Titans last week there's reason for optimism.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

Noticing a theme here? All these Bucs who have been so disappointing thus far fantasy wise are finally starting to produce. Winslow is picking up his game at an ideal time; he comes off a 9-132 showing last week to face a Titans defense that's allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends.

DT Buccaneers B The Bucs have served up 30-plus points in back-to-back games and aren't doing near enough to warrant fantasy attention.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2

Hasselbeck practiced fully all week, so it looks like his injured elbow won't prevent him from taking advantage of a Tampa Bay defense that's allowed multiple TD tosses in three straight.

RB Chris Johnson S3

Every time you think you're out, they keep pulling you back in. Johnson laid yet another egg in last week's loss to the Falcons... and yet, this matchup with a Bucs run defense that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs is so, so tempting. CJ has forfeited his elite back card, but he's still a matchup play--and this is a good one.

WR Nate Washington
S3 Multiple receivers going off against the Bucs is hardly unheard of. Washington scored twice last week and is battling Damian Williams for WR1 honors in Kenny Britt's absence. This week, there's room for both.
WR Damian Williams
S2 Williams has been the most-targeted Tennessee wideout each of the last three weeks, including 11 last week (but only one catch; who says Jake Locker has accuracy issues?). He's only a week removed from 5-107-1, and if Washington draws Aqib Talib--which appears to be the logical matchup--he'll be the better fantasy option.
TE Jared Cook
S3 Only two teams have allowed more TE TDs than the Bucs, and Cook's 20 targets over the past three games suggest he's back on the radar. He's not a great fantasy starty, but if you're looking to play the matchup there is definitely upside here.
DT Titans S3 Freeman has thrown nine picks in the past four games, so there's an opportunity for the playmakers in the Tennessee secondary to.. well... make plays.
Arizona at St. Louis Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB John Skelton B

When you’re benched for Richard Bartel, odds are you’re not a fantasy play the following week regardless of matchup. But since you’re wondering, the Rams have actually held four straight QBs—including Skelton in Week 9—to one or zero touchdown passes.

RB Chris Wells
S3 Everybody has gouged the Rams on the ground of late—everybody, that is, except Wells who laid a 10-for-20 “ow my knee hurts” egg in the Week 9 meeting. But we’re all about second chances, especially after seeing notables such as Chris Ogbonnaya (19-90) and Marshawn Lynch (27-88-1) carve out decent fantasy production. And Wells’ 22-83-1 against the Ravens just prior to crapping the bed against St. Louis purchased some additional credibility. Nope, still not really talking ourselves into it; how about you?
WR Larry Fitzgerald

Fitz has scored in three straight, including 4-43-1 against the Rams in Week 9, and is demonstrating just how matchup-proof and bad-QB-proof he is.

WR Early Doucet


The fallback plan when Skelton doesn’t feel like throwing into triple coverage, Doucet has two TDs in the last four games. However, the Packers and Giants—teams with significantly better receiving corps—are the only clubs to have multiple wideouts score against the Rams. The Cards aren’t in that class, and Fitz has dibs on the numbers so don’t reach here.

DT Cardinals S3 Patrick Peterson with a shot at a pick or punt return alone warrants the start.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford B

No multiple touchdown games this season. Only one foray above 200 yards since Week 6. We’ve secretly replaced Sam Bradford with (insert journeyman quarterback here). Did you notice a drop-off when A.J. Feeley stepped in? Just sayin’.

RB Steven Jackson S2

Jackson’s 29-130 in Arizona is a reminder of what he can do to below-average run defenses. After a pretty good Seahawk unit limited him last week, look for Jackson to get back in the saddle against the Cards.


Brandon Lloyd


Bradford may not be startable, but Lloyd is absolute bank. He’s led the team in targets every game since joining the Rams and scored in three of the last four. The only shutout in that streak was 5-80 in Arizona, but a home date and another set of double-digit targets should rectify that oversight.

DT Rams S3 The Cards have given up multiple sacks in every game, turned the ball over seven times in the last two, and served up a defensive score in Week 10. The Rams D has been playing better of late, with 15 sacks and a defensive score of their own in the past month. They’re a decent play against a backup quarterback at home.
Chicago at Oakland Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Caleb Hanie B

Hanie’s next NFL regular-season touchdown pass will be his first. It’s a favorable matchup against a Raiders defense that’s allowed multiple TD tosses in three straight and eight of nine, but this one feels like it’s going to be a whole lot of handing off to Matt Forte so let’s hold off before plugging Hanie into a fantasy lineup.

RB Matt Forte S1

And you thought the Chicago offense ran through Forte before; with Jay Cutler out, look for Forte to do everything from shining the helmets to washing the towels. In between he’ll take advantage of an Oakland defense that’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs.

RB Marion Barber S3

Forte won’t have to shoulder the entire load; expect the Bears to work in plenty of Barber—not just at the stripe, where he’s scored in four of five, but for something approaching double-digit carries as well.


Earl Bennett
Roy Williams
Johnny Knox

B Before we at least knew Jay Cutler would butter Earl Bennett’s bread. We have yet to see who Hanie favors, and the upside to any of Chicago’s receivers doesn’t warrant the risk of plugging them into your fantasy lineup and getting stuck with 1-18 or 2-13.
DT Bears S2 Between Devin Hester and pick-prone Carson Palmer there’s no need to yank the Bears D from your starting fantasy lineup.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

The Bears have allowed at least 260 yards in three of their last four and multiple TD tosses in two of those four—meshing nicely with Palmer’s six TDs and 786 yards in three games since taking over as Oakland’s starter.

RB Darren McFadden

McFadden has been ruled out due to his foot injury.

RB Michael Bush

Chicago offers up a solid run defense, but they’ve also allowed seven different backs to top 30 receiving yards. In four games without McFadden Bush has carried 96 times for 461 yards, against defenses both tough and soft, so he’ll challenge the Bears on the ground. Mix in the 150 and 1 receiving he’s compiled in that span and sans Run DMC Bush is matchup-proof.

WR Denarius Moore U

Moore hasn't practiced all week, but he hasn't officially been ruled out. He'll likely be inactive, but if he plays the Bears' secondary can certainly be had deep so he'd be worth a shot.

WR Jacoby Ford B

Ford is still bothered by a foot injury and has been ruled out.


Louis Murphy
Chaz Schilens


As it stands right now Murphy might be the healthiest of Oakland’s wideouts. Against a defense that just let Vincent Jackson destroy them for 7-165-1 and served up 238 yards to a trio of Detroit receivers, all any Raider receiver will need is a pulse and two healthy feet to make a fantasy dent.


Kevin Boss


Boss has been mostly a bit player, but with wideouts dropping like flies he saw a season-high six targets last week and produced five catches for 37 yards. Now that Palmer knows where to find him, Boss should improve on those numbers against the league’s most fantasy-friendly defense against tight ends.

DT Raiders B Black Hole fans might scare the daylights out of Hanie, but the Bears’ conservative game plan won’t lend itself to the Raiders creating opportunities for defensive fantasy points.

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