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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List: Week 13
John Tuvey
Updated: December 2, 2011
 
PHI at SEA CAR at TBB OAK AT MIA GBP at NYG Start/Bench List by Position
TEN at BUF CIN at PIT DEN at MIN DAL at ARI
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IND at NEP KCC at CHI BAL at CLE DET at NOS
NYJ at WAS ATL at HOU STL at SFO SDC at JAC
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)
 
 
Kansas City at Chicago Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tyler Palko B

Palko is still looking for that elusive first NFL touchdown; so far all he has to show for his 73 attempts this season are six picks and 450 yards. With Kyle Orton seeing more and more practice snaps every day Palko has maybe a half of football before the Chiefs go to the bullpen.

QB Kyle Orton B

Don’t look for Orton to start over Palko this week, but he’ll be on in relief and take the reins next week. Meantime, your best hope is for him to see second-half action against his former team and get Dwayne Bowe some lovin’.

RB Jackie Battle
B Battle hasn’t seen double-digit carries since Week 9 as the Chiefs are spreading out the workload. He also hasn’t scored since Week 8, and this matchup with a Chicago defense that ranks among the stingiest in fantasy points surrendered to running backs isn’t likely to help him.
RB Dexter McCluster
B You could make a case for McCluster in PPR leagues given his third-down work and a Bears defense that’s allowed 26-222 receiving to running backs over the past four games. But ideally you’d have another fantasy option at your disposal.
WR

Dwayne Bowe

S3

Uncertainty at quarterback, plus a Chicago defense that’s allowed only one WR TD since their Week 8 bye; it’s not exactly a scintillating combination. If you’re starting Bowe you’re doing so because he’s the Chiefs’ only playmaker, as his 11 targets last week attests; you’re also banking on Kyle Orton entering the game sooner rather than later.

WR

Steve Breaston
Jonathan Baldwin

B

With the QB position unsettled and a tough matchup at hand, now is not the time to be digging into the Chiefs’ receiver depth.

TE

Leonard Pope

U

How desperate are you? No team gives up more fantasy points to the tight end position than the Bears, but Pope saw one target last week and his 12 over the last three games is as active as he’s been all season.

DT Chiefs B They’re facing an untested QB, but the Chiefs have generated just four sacks and three turnovers over the past month so you can’t trust this D with a fantasy start.
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Caleb Hanie S3

Hanie showed enough in his first regular season start to warrant consideration against a mediocre defense like the Chiefs. He threw for 254 and 2 in Oakland, with the added bonus of 50 rushing yards as well. There may be some matchups yet this season where Hanie is a legit fantasy starter; for this week, at least, he’s merely useable.

RB Matt Forte S2

The Chiefs haven’t given up a 100-yard game since Week 1, but six backs since have reached triple-digit combo yardage against them. Forte’s 18-touch workload last week was a bit surprising; expect the Bears to do a better job of getting him the football, and Forte responding by snapping his three-game streak of games with 85 yards or less of combo yardage.

RB Marion Barber B

Only three of the 10 RB TDs the Chiefs have allowed have come after their Week 6 bye, and since touchdowns are how MB3 carves out fantasy value there doesn’t look to be much here for him.

WR

Johnny Knox

S3 Every quarterback needs a go-to receiver, and Knox’s 10 targets last week—as many as all of Chicago’s other wideouts combined—suggest he is Hanie’s. That might mean he draws killer cover corner Brandon Flowers, but even so he’s the only member of the Chicago receiving corps worthy of a fantasy look.
TE

Kellen Davis

U No team has given up more TE TDs and only one has allowed more fantasy points to the position than the Chiefs. There’s monumental risk associated with starting a guy who’s targeted two, maybe three times a game and hoping for a touchdown, but Davis has delivered each of the past two weeks and is facing a defense that’s allowed five TE TDs in the past four games.
DT Bears S1 Whether it’s the inexperienced and pick-prone Palko or their old pal Orton, the Bears have to like where this matchup is headed defensively. And oh yeah there’s the Devin Hester factor, too.
 
Atlanta at Houston Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

The Texans haven’t given up multiple touchdown passes since Week 5. Granted, they haven’t exactly seen A-list quarterbacks—Josh Freeman, Matt Hasselbeck, and Joe Flacco are easily the three best they’ve faced over that span, and Drew Brees lit them for 370 and 3—but that’s impressive nonetheless. However, Ryan has been impressive himself with multiple TDs in three of four and 262 yards or better in each of Atlanta’s four games since their Week 8 bye. Houston may not know what to do when faced with legit quarterbacking, so advantage Ryan.

RB Michael Turner S2

While Turner is better at home than on the road he’s a load at the stripe and he’s going to get 20 carries, assuming the groin injury that limited him in practice this week allows; he's listed as questionable but expected to play. Even at the 4.2 yards per carry the Texans allow that’s still 80 yards, plus a shot at a score. Can’t ask for much more than that on the road.

WR Roddy White S2

If you thought the quarterbacking the Texans have faced has been bad, get a load of the wideouts they’ve seen. Mike Williams was clearly the best they’ve faced over the past month and a half; prior to that luminaries like Anquan Boldin (8-132), Torrey Smith (3-84), Darrius Heyward-Bey (7-99-1), Mike Wallace (4-77), Lance Moore (9-88-1), and Reggie Wayne (7-106-1) had their way with Wade Phillips’ secondary. So while lesser wideouts may cower in the presence of the Texans, White should not—not after 17-267-1 over the past two games alone.

WR Julio Jones
Harry Douglas
B

While we have faith in White to get his against the highly-regarded Texans defense, the same can’t be said for his wingmen. First, we need to know Jones is healthy and involved, not just a decoy like last week. He practiced only one day this week, and that was on a limited basis, so the combination of a tough matchup, a viable backup plan, and questions about his health keep him on the bench. Those same issues make Douglas a difficult start as well.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S2

Only two teams have given up fewer fantasy points to the tight end position, but Gonzo’s steady supply of 8-62 over the past five games—with three TDs to boot—make him a must start. It’s worth noting that the only other A-list tight end the Texans faced this season, Jimmy Graham, put up 100 and a touch on them.

DT Falcons S3 Atlanta’s defense has been a fantasy dud this season, but facing a rookie quarterback who’s only in the lineup because of multiple injuries at least gives them a shot at fantasy relevance.
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB T.J. Yates B Well, Yates has had a week to practice with the first team. Meanwhile, the Texans have Kellen Clemens in the wings and Jake Delhomme as insurance. Never has such an underwhelming group of quarterbacks been assembled on a playoff-bound team. Unless Yates shows us something completely unexpected, there’s no reason to look to this group for fantasy help.
RB Arian Foster

S2 Only one team has allowed fewer fantasy points to running backs than the Falcons. But they did surrender a Toby Gerhart touchdown last week, and this is the most productive back in fantasy football we’re talking about here. Benching him would be a dramatic overreaction.
RB Ben Tate B Tate, on the other hand, is a tough start against a defense that’s barely allowing enough yardage for one fantasy helper. Wait for another softball before trotting out Foster’s caddy.
WR Andre Johnson S3

At least Yates connected with AJ in his first game back from hamstring surgery, though 2-22 isn’t going to cut it going forward. More good news: Atlanta has served up at least 95 yards to four of the last five WR1s they’ve faced, and three of those four have scored. Yates needs to learn quickly to trust his wideout to make plays. All it will take is one great AJ play to get Yates on board; let’s hope it comes early in the game.

WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones
B

What damage wideouts have done against the Falcons has come largely from the WR1s. Besides, Walter and Jones haven’t been producing anything with Johnson out; no reason to expect them to start now.

TE Owen Daniels B

Last week Daniels got the targets but Joel Dreessen got the touchdown. The Falcons aren’t especially forgiving to the position, and Daniels’ last couple of games have topped out at a pedestrian 31 yards. There’s very little to bank on here for fantasy purposes.

DT Texans S3 Houston’s defense has been playing even better of late with 15 sacks and 10 turnovers in just the last three games plus a five-game stretch in which opponents have failed to reach 15 points. However, the Falcons pride themselves on not making the kinds of mistakes that lead to fantasy points; in fact, they’ve allowed single-digit fantasy points to opposing defenses in each of their last 10 games. The Texans are every-week starter material, but temper expectations this week.
 

Oakland at Miami

Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

With 299 yards or better in three of his four Oakland starts Palmer has picked up where he left off as a borderline elite QB in Cincinnati. The Dolphins have been a tougher mark of late, but they’ve also haven’t been facing top-tier quarterbacking. The 226 and 2 Tony Romo dropped on them on Thanksgiving Day is more indicative of what Miami’s secondary is like; that yardage is chump change for Carson, and the touchdowns should come as well.

RB Michael Bush
S2

The Dolphins haven’t allowed a RB TD since Week 4, but the 128 yards from scrimmage they allowed to DeMarco Murray suggests they’re not as stout as the first stat suggests. Bush has pounded out 129, 242, 129, and 93 yards from scrimmage in his four starts, and on the heels of Murray’s performance there’s no need to sweat plugging Bush into your lineup this week.

WR Denarius Moore
Jacoby Ford
B

Both Moore and Ford have already been ruled out of Sunday's tilt.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
Chaz Schilens
S3

With Moore and Ford out, the pass-catching duties fall to DHB and Schilens. Both have some ability, along with a competent quarterback, and could be useful plug-ins in larger leagues.

DT Raiders S3 Oakland has six picks in two games, so while Matt Moore hasn’t been mistake-prone the Raiders could force the issue. That makes them at least worthy of fantasy consideration.
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore S2

Moore has three TD tosses every other game, and he’s due for the hat trick this week. Making it more likely is an Oakland secondary that’s served up multiple touchdown passes in four straight and nine of 10.

RB

Reggie Bush

S2

Combine Bush’s 15 carries with his 4-5 catches—against a defense that’s already allowed two running backs to top 100 receiving yards—and he’s looking at a very nice combo-yardage afternoon.

RB

Daniel Thomas

B

The rookie has flirted with relevancy, but last week his carries were scaled back dramatically as the Dolphins weren’t comfortably in front. That’s likely the case again this week, so you’re looking at a half-dozen totes and minimal fantasy contribution.

WR

Brandon Marshall

S1

The Raiders haven’t been able to keep track of Johnny Knox (4-145-1), Percy Harvin (6-73-1), Vincent Brown (5-97-1), or Eric Decker (3-47-1) over the past month, so it stands to reason that the oft-targeted Marshall, coming off a 5-103-1 performance in Dallas, will have free run of the field as well.

WR

Brian Hartline

B

Despite last week’s 77 yards, Hartline is still purely a wingman in this passing game. And the Raiders’ MO has been to serve up big games to feature receivers while wingmen go lacking.

TE

Anthony Fasano

U

Oakland has allowed TE TDs each of the past two games—to Kyle Rudolph and Kellen Davis, not exactly the elite of the position. Fasano has three TDs in the past four games, so if you’re desperate at the position you might get lucky that one of Fasano’s four targets gets turned into a touchdown.

DT Dolphins B Miami has multiple picks in three straight, but after throwing six in his first two Oakland appearances Palmer has taken much better care of the ball. You can find more upside elsewhere.
 
Denver at Minnesota Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Tebow S2 If there’s a team Tebow can throw against it’s the Vikings, who have allowed a league-high 22 passing touchdowns. Mix in his 60 rushing yards and probable rushing score and the bottom line is another solid fantasy performance. It won’t be pretty, but it will get results.
RB Willis McGahee S3

These are no longer the shutdown run D Vikings, but they haven’t given up a ton of yardage. Of course, they haven’t seen the read option and the last time they hosted an AFC West foe they served up 109 yards to Michael Bush. Don’t go out of your way to start McGahee, but he deserves to be in the conversation.

WR Eric Decker S2

Decker has emerged as what passes as a go-to receiver for the Broncos, with touchdowns in four of the last five. The former Minnesota Gopher will enjoy his homecoming of sorts against a banged-up secondary that was already a liability to begin with.

DT Broncos B Superstud rookie Von Miller has a banged up thumb and is listed as questionable; his possible lack of availability saps what little fantasy value this defense might have provided.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Christian Ponder S3

Denver’s secondary has been better of late, allowing just two TD tosses in the past three games combined. But Ponder has been better at home, firing multiple touchdown passes in each of his two Metrodome starts. He’ll most likely be without Adrian Peterson again, which means more throwing—and perhaps more sneaky rushing stats from this underrated athlete.

RB Adrian Peterson B

As expected, the Vikings have ruled out AP's participation here due to his high ankle sprain.

RB Toby Gerhart B

Expect Gerhart to fill in for AP once again. Last week he swiped a TD after Percy Harvin set him up at the goal line; even that may not work this week against a Denver defense that’s allowed just one RB rushing score all year.

WR Percy Harvin

S2

You got a taste of what Harvin can do last week: the long kickoff return, the amazing touchdown grab, even a couple goal line carries. He continues to play through a rib injury that’s bothered him since training camp so don’t sweat the injury report; he missed Friday's practice due to illness (not migraines, though) but will once again be the focal point of Minnesota’s offense.

WR Devin Aromashodu

B

With Michael Jenkins headed to injured reserve, Aromashodu becomes the Vikings WR2 by default. Even if Champ Bailey shadows Harvin it’s tough to see Aromashodu carving out fantasy value this week.

TE Vishante Shiancoe

B

With Kyle Rudolph expected back from injury, Shiancoe goes back to sharing. And half of whatever the Broncos, who have allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends than all but three other clubs, offer up isn’t enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

DT Vikings B

At this juncture the Vikings are just hoping to field warm bodies in the secondary. That makes it tough for Jared Allen to rope him some calves.

 
Baltimore at Cleveland Back to top
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco B

The Browns have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the quarterback position, and with one multiple touchdown effort in his last eight games Flacco is hardly in a position to fight back. Look elsewhere for help.

RB Ray Rice S1

Rice has scored in every AFC North skirmish this season, a total of five TDs in three games. He should also put up monster combo yardage numbers against a Cleveland defense that has allowed six backs to reach triple digit yards from scrimmage in just the last five games; five of those six have scored as well. In short, Rice is the biggest money play on the fantasy board this week.

WR Anquan Boldin

S3

Boldin blew up the Browns for 8-142-3 in the first meeting, but was limited to just 2-15 in the rematch in Cleveland. The Browns have allowed only four WR TDs this season, so Boldin is a tough start this week. He’ll be targeted, and his past success against the Browns certainly warrants consideration, but odds are you have a better option at your disposal.

WR

Torrey Smith

B Sure, Smith could get deep for a long touchdown against the league’s stingiest secondary, but do you want to risk the 2-23 alternative on a fantasy roster spot? Save Smith for a more favorable matchup and look elsewhere for fantasy assistance.
TE

Ed Dickson

B Aside from his monster game in Seattle Dickson has been quiet; last week Dennis Pitta outproduced him across the board. No reason to toss him into your fantasy lineup; the Browns aren’t that favorable a matchup for tight ends, especially when they’re splitting looks.
DT Ravens S1 The S1 assumes Ray Lewis goes; otherwise maybe this gets dialed back to an S2. Either way, the Browns haven’t scored more than 20 points since Week 2, haven’t scored more than 17 points on the Ravens since 2008, and have a total of 30 points in the last four meetings. That bodes well for the bonus points component of your fantasy defense.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

Baltimore hasn’t allowed multiple TD tosses in a game this season, and McCoy, who has 13 in 11 games, is an unlikely candidate to snap that string.

RB Peyton Hillis B

Yes, Hillis shocked the world with 22-144-1 against the Ravens back in Week 3 of last year; the lesser-known follow-up was a 12-35 showing in Cleveland in Week 16. And with Baltimore surrendering a miniscule 3.3 yards per carry this year, Hillis would do well to reprise the 19-65 he posted on the Bengals last week. Montario Hardesty was back at practice late in the week and might steal some carries as well, further dampening Peyton's fantasy prospects.

WR Greg Little
Jordan Norwood
B

Fully one quarter of Cleveland’s wide receiver touchdowns came last week, with Norwood emerging as a playmaker opposite the oft-targeted Little. Neither has topped 90 yards this season, and against a Ravens secondary that’s surrendered just seven WR TDs all year scoring doesn’t look to promising either. Browns wideouts are barely playable in favorable matchups; this most definitely ain’t one of them.

TE Ben Watson B

The Ravens have yet to allow a TE TD this season, and Watson’s once-prominent role in the Cleveland offense has tailed off dramatically. That’s not exactly a recipe for fantasy success.

DT Browns B Despite fielding a very good secondary the Browns are doing nothing to warrant fantasy attention.

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