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Start/Bench List - Week 2
John Tuvey
Updated: September 12, 2008
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*Updates
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)
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Chicago (1-0) at Carolina (1-0) Back to top
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton B

Orton is averaging 131 passing yards per start for his career, and he hasn't topped 200 yards since Week 14 of 2005. This doesn't strike me as a good matchup to snap that streak.

RB Matt Forte
S3

The Panthers have allowed just two running back rushing touchdowns in their last eight games, so don't get your hopes up too high. But after last week's performance Forte has most certainly earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a starting nod.

RB Kevin Jones B

Jones didn't do enough with his 13 touches last week to warrant fantasy consideration, especially since he's clearly no better than the second-best player at his position on his own team.

WR Devin Hester
Brandon Lloyd
Marty Booker
Rashied Davis
B Hester still has value in the return game but until Orton starts throwing the ball downfield a little more frequently this entire lot is bench fodder.
TE Greg Olsen
Desmond Clark

B

Olsen and Clark were the Bears' leading receivers last week, splitting four catches and 82 yards. That's barely enough to make one fantasy starter, so if they're sharing I'm not interested.

DT Bears S3 Chicago proved they can still play some defense, and every time you kick to Hester you're risking six the other way.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme S3 Consider me sold; something about the 870 yards and nine touchdowns in his last four games has me believing you can go Delhomme again.
RB Jonathan Stewart
DeAngelo Williams
S3 Carolina's two-headed backfield rolled into San Diego and overwhelmed the Bolts to the tune of 139 yards on 28 carries, with Williams holding a two-to-one edge in touches over the rookie Stewart. Expect similar results here, as the Panther line is at this stage of the game a superior run-blocking unit to the Indy group Chicago stifled last week.
WR Steve Smith B

Caution to the Vikings: you won't like him when he's angry. And he's getting angry.

WR Muhsin Muhammad
S3

With Smith still suspended, Muhammy is the go-to guy. And it's always nice to light up your former team, so he'll have a little extra motivation.

WR D.J. Hackett
Dwayne Jarret
B

Colts wideouts combined for 23 catches, 210 yards, and a touchdown against the Bears last week. However, Hackett and Jarret are in no way comparable to Wayne, Harrison, and/or Gonzalez; plus, I expect Carolina to have more success on the ground than Indy did, meaning there will be less receiving love to be spread around.

TE Dante Rosario B

Don't overreact to Rosario's big game last week; the Bears have ceded an average of three catches, 42 yards, and a quarter of a touchdown to tight ends over their last 10 games. He was limited in practice this week, but is expected to play.

DT Panthers S3 It's not as if the Bears are expected to light up the scoreboard this weekend—plus, the Carolina defense is chock full of playmakers waiting to capitalize on an Orton miscue.
 
Tennessee (0-1) at Cincinnati (0-1) Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins U

When's the last time you got some passing game love from the Titans? WIth Vince Young down for the next month it'll be Collins' show, and the last time Kerry got the call he threw for 280 yards. The Bengals held rookie Joe Flacco in check, but Collins has him on experience. It's not a great start, but if you just lost Tom Brady it might be a direction to at least pursue.

RB Chris Johnson S2

The mysterious leg injury Johnson left last week's game with appears to have been cramping... which may come into play again this week, as Johnson and the Titans face a Bengals team that surrendered 229 rushing yards last week.

RB LenDale White S3 White is still in the mix, splitting carries equally with Johnson last week and scoring a touchdown. Against a Bengals defense that couldn't contain Le'Ron McLain last week, there should be plenty of rushing yards to go around.
WR

Justin Gage
Justin McCareins

U

While I'm not ready to green-light a fantasy start for a Titan wideout just yet—their leading wide receiver, Gage, had two catches last week—be on notice that with Collins at the helm they could actually come into play.

TE Bo Scaife
Alge Crumpler
B

With Young at the helm, Scaife rolled up a 100-yard day last week. The switch to Collins might also switch the passing game's focus, and the presence of Crumpler potentially stealing Scaife's looks—or did Scaife steal Crump's looks last week?—make this a situation best avoided for now.

DT Titans S2 The Bengals couldn't score an offensive touchdown in Baltimore last week, while the Titans held Jacksonville to 10 points and picked David Garrard twice. With Cincy's offense in disarray this week provides another solid opportunity for the Tennessee D/ST to help your fantasy squad.
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S3

Palmer looked out of sync against the Ravens in Week One. He's too talented to give up on after one clunker, and the hope is that a full week of working with Housh and CJ in practice will get everyone back on the same page. It's reassuring to note that Palmer threw for 283 and three when these clubs met in Week 12 of last year.

RB Chris Perry
Kenny Watson
B

Nothing in the Bengals' ground game—not Perry's 2.0 ypc average in the opener, not the touchdown Watson scored against Tennessee in last year's meeting—suggests that this unit will fare any better than Maurice Jones-Drew (5 for 13) and Fred Taylor (9 for 18) did last week.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Chad Johnson
S3

What little success the Jags did have against Tennessee last week came throwing the ball down the field. The Bengals know how to do that, so while this matchup may not be the best Housh and Ocho Cinco have ever faced there's still reason to believe they'll get theirs (Housh had 7 for 66 against essentially this same defense last season) or better (CJ tore the Titans up for 12 catches, 102 yards, and three scores in Week 12 of last year).

TE Ben Utecht B

Cincy's purported use of the tight end is still more myth than fact.

DT Bengals U Any time you're dealing with Kerry Collins there's a good chance for an INT. Mix in the Titans' propensity for low-scoring games and you could do worse than taking a flier on the Bengals this week.
 
Green Bay (1-0) at Detroit (0-1) Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S2

The Lions picked up where they left off last year—as the most fantasy friendly defense a quarterback could hope for—and made Matt Ryan look like Dan Marino in his NFL debut. It's logical to assume they'll make Rodgers look like Brett Favre, who tossed five touchdowns against Detroit last season.

RB Ryan Grant S2

Only Grant's hamstring limits him this week; last year he scored twice in two meetings with the Lions while averaging better than 7.5 yards a carry. Grant practiced fully Friday and indicated to the media that he expected a full workload. In his case, even half a workload against the Lions should be enough to help your fantasy statsheet.

RB Brandon Jackson B

Could end up with garbage-time carries if the Pack get way up or Grant's hammy acts up... but unless you're already starting Grant, want to cover your bases, and have no other option you can't risk a fantasy start on either prospect.

WR Donald Driver
Greg Jennings
S2

If Roddy White and Michael Jenkins can put up 116 yards and a score on three catches against Detroit's Cover-2, there's no question Driver and Jennings can do similar damage.

TE Donald Lee S3 Rodgers didn't look to the tight end as much as Favre might have, but the Lions have allowed tight end scores in three of their last five regular-season tilts
DT Packers S2 The Lions have topped 13 points once in their last five against the Pack, and with Jon Kitna putting the ball in the air a pick-six is always a possibility.
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S2

Mike Martz may have taken the high-flying passing game, but the Lions still field a defense that will force Kitna to play catch-up. He tossed for 470 and 2 in the season series last year, and he'll likely be forced into circumstances that require similar output this time around.

RB Kevin Smith U

Credit the Lions for not abandoning the run completely in the face of last week's early deficit. However, I need to see more than three yards per carry from the rookie before giving him a fantasy start—especially against the Pack, who have allowed just six RB rushing scores in their past 20 games.

RB Rudi Johnson B

Johnson said he has a better understanding of the offense, which could result in a few more touches. But right now this is Smith's gig, relegating Rudi to bench duty in both fantasy and real life.

WR Roy Williams
Calvin Johnson
S2

Tough to bench either of these studs when the expectation is for Green Bay to be up early. Roy put up a big game on the Pack in early 2006 but has been quiet since; Cal scored in his first tilt against Green Bay but was held in check in the follow up when he flew solo due to a Williams injury. Don't expect gaudy yardage, as only three teams surrendered fewer receiving yards to wideouts than the Pack last season, but Williams and Johnson each have the potential for a red-zone-ish touchdown like Sid Rice's 23-yarder last week. The talented tandem gets a late-week upgrade due to the potential of Charles Woodson missing this game due to injury; doesn't change their status, just allows you to raise your expectations.

WR

Shaun McDonald
Mike Furrey

B

Motown's Big Two out-targeted McDonald and Furry at a two-to-one rate and outproduced them at a three-to-one clip. No need to dig this deep until the byes are upon us, and even then you may not have to reach this far.

TE

Michael Gaines
Dan Campbell

B

The three catches by Lions' tight ends last week were as many as that position has produced since Week 15 of 2005.

DT Lions B The vaunted Vikings defense did nothing to slow the Pack, so expect little from the Lions D/ST and you might not be let down.
 

Buffalo (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1)

Back to top
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Edwards B

Edwards looked good at home against a solid Seattle secondary, but a trip to Jacksonville—where the Jags allowed five passing touchdowns last year—is a tougher prospect. Then again, JP Losman threw for 211 and one there a year ago, so it's not out of the realm of possibility for Edwards to be at least somewhat productive.

RB Marshawn Lynch S2

In their past four games the once-vaunted Jags have surrendered triple-digit rushing yardage to the Steelers, Raiders, Texans, and Titans. While this certainly won't be a creampuff for Lynch, you needn't abandon all hope. Moreover, as Chris Johnson proved last week (and five different backs who caught five or more passes against Jacksonville last season attests), running backs who can catch improve their chances of a productive fantasy day against the Jags.

RB Fred Jackson B

Right on pace with the 10 touches per game bit. In a six-team bye week against a softer matchup I might toy with Jackson as a fringe starter; this week is none of the above.

WR Lee Evans S3

It's so tough to recommend Evans when he hasn't had more than four catches in a game since Week 9 of last year. While the Jags ranked 26th in the league in allowing completions of 40 or more yards they were very susceptible to the intermediate (20 or more yards) completion, ranking sixth with 49 allowed. It's not the definitive number I was hoping for, but it's enough to at least roll the dice on Evans hauling in a long one this week.

WR Roscoe Parrish
Josh Reed
James Hardy
B If the trends are borderline for Buffalo's primary target, it's tough to expect things to be better for the secondaries.
TE Robert Royal U Only two teams allowed more tight end touchdowns last season than the Jags, and last week Bo Scaife topped the century mark against themwith 105 yards. Royal continues to do his best Rodney Holman impersonation in Turk Schoenert's offense and he makes a sneaky-good fantasy play this week.
DT Bills U The Bills D/ST is no longer the best kept secret in fantasy football. With Garrard suddenly pick-prone, the offense hardly in sync, and the Jags down another couple of offensive linemen... why, Buffalo might just put points on the board for you again this week.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S3

Garrard's worst fantasy start at home was a 204-yard, one-TD effort in the opener, and in Week 12 he pasted 296 and one on these very same Bills. You didn't draft Garrard for big games, you drafted him for his consistency; there's no reason to expect he'll give you anything other than 200 and a touch or two again this week.

RB Fred Taylor B

Until the Jaguars get their offensive line sorted out I find it impossible to recommend Taylor for a start. He's still getting more carries than MoJo, but it's tough to do as much with them when your starting center and both starting guards are dinged up.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S3

I'm only slightly more optimistic about MoJo, in part because one way to combat a porous line is to throw to your backs and Jones-Drew is the better receiver.

WR

Reggie Williams
Dennis Northcutt
Troy Williamson
Matt Jones

B Jones was the go-to guy last week, with as many catches as the other three combined. Maybe he's this year's Reggie Williams... but I'll need to see more before giving him that crown and the coveted "S3" that sometimes goes along with it.
TE Marcedes Lewis B

Buffalo's improved secondary and linebacking corps have surrendered tight end touchdowns in just two of the past dozen games—which is even more frequently than Lewis, with two scores in his last 17 tilts, has found the end zone.

DT Jaguars S3 Jacksonville's defense is always a strong play at home, where they held foes to one or fewer touchdowns in half of their eight home dates last season.
 

Oakland (0-1) at Kansas City (0-1)

Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

Big Russ is right around 200 yards and a touchdown in his first two NFL starts; not bad, but you need more from your fantasy quarterback. His first visit to Arrowhead doesn't feel like the best spot for him to jump-start that production.

RB Darren McFadden
Justin Fargas
S3

Fargas received twice as many touches as McFadden last week, and both were relatively productive. The Chiefs let Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney combine for 138 yards from scrimmage, so in performance leagues both Fargas and McFadden have at least some upside here: Fargas because of the touches and McFadden because he's a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball.

WR Javon Walker
Ronald Curry
Ashley Lelie
B A shaky line plus a young quarterback generally adds up to lots of passes to the running backs and tight ends; at least, that's been the case thus far in Russell's career. If you need to throw a dart at a Raider receiver this week Curry is the most reliable; of course, that's like being the tallest jockey at Churchill Downs.
TE Zack Miller S3

Miller was the Raiders' top pass-catcher Monday night with four grabs, giving him a cool dozen in Russell's two pro starts. The Chefs allowed just two tight end touchdowns all of last season, but PPR and performance leaguers can turn to Miller with at least a little optimism.

DT Raiders B They just gave up 41 points at home; the Raiders are on double-secret probation until further notice.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Damon Huard B

Jay Cutler carved up the Raiders last week; Huard, who threw for 177 in Oakland last season, is not Jay Cutler. Plus, Oakland's fantasy-friendly run defense will all but take the ball out of Huard's hands anyway.

RB Larry Johnson S1

You have to go back to Week 2 of 2005, when LJ and Priest Holmes were sharing carries, to find the last time the Chiefs' feature back didn't rush for at least 100 yards and score at least one touchdown against the Raiders. Monday's performance doesn't indicate Oakland has done anything to correct the problem.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

There's no question Bowe is the primary target on any downfield passing play, but he's still looking for his first score against the Raiders. Oakland's secondary is formidable, but if Eddie Royal and Darrell Jackson can score it's not asking too much for Bowe to give us 75 yards and a touch... is it?

WR Jeff Webb
Devard Darling
Will Franklin
B Darling made one big play last week, while Webb had two catches for 10 yards and Franklin sat out with an injury. Their greatest contributions this week might be getting Larry Johnson water between carries.
TE Tony Gonzalez S3

Gonzo hasn't scored against the Raiders since blowing them up for a couple TDs in Week 16... of 2004. In fact, aside from Tony Sheffler's long haul on Monday night Oakland has been solid against tight ends for some time, allowing just three TE scores last season. Don't bench Gonzo in a tight end mandatory league, but if your scoring system is TD-heavy you need to temper your expectations.

DT Chiefs B Young quarterbacks always struggle their first trip to Arrowhead, and there's upside in Tamba Hali against that offensive line. But you'd be reaching a long way down the list to get to the Chiefs.
 

Indianapolis (0-1) at Minnesota (0-1)

Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

The league's worst pass defense from a year ago limited a first-time starter to an 81% completion percentage in Week One. Somehow I don't get the impression Peyton is particularly worried.

RB Joseph Addai S3

Troubles along the offensive line, coupled with a pretty good Bears defense, kept Addai in check last week. The Williams Wall showed at least one crack last week against Green Bay, but this is not the matchup Addai owners circled on the schedule expecting big results. I'm not a believer in "benching your stud", but if you find yourself deep at the running back positions it would behoove you weigh your options this week.

WR Reggie Wayne S1 An every week starter, and this matchup certainly suggests he'll be a HUGH fantasy helper this weekend.
WR Marvin Harrison
Anthony Gonzalez
S2 While Marv appears to have reasserted himself as No. 2 to Gonzo's No. 3, this week there should be plenty to go around for both to offer an assist to your fantasy squad. Adding to the upside is the possibility—nay, likelihood—that Dallas Clark won't be stealing any slot time.
TE Dallas Clark B

Clark's bum knee and a defense that allowed just four tight end scores all of last season should send you looking for other options this week. Clark was listed as questionable heading into the weekend, which combined with the matchup is enough to keep him holding steady at "Bench" status.

DT Colts S3 The smart move for the Vikings would be to run the ball all day at the Colts' undersized front—much like the Bears did with tremendous success in Week 1. Of course, the rub is that you're banking on the Vikings to make the smart move.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson B

All four of Jackson's career 200-yard passing efforts have come at the Metrodome. That said, if you're putting your fantasy team in T-Jax's hands you'll find yourself in the same boat as the Vikings. And right now that boat appears to be taking on water.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

I think we saw Indy's run defense regress to 2006 levels; that's bad for Indy but extremely good for running backs with the Colts on their upcoming schedule. And given that the Vikings should try to emulate Chicago's game plan of run first, run second, and run third—and that Peterson is at least as talented as Matt Forte—the expectations bar should be set at the 123 and one Forte delivered in Week 1.

RB Chester Taylor B

Still the insurance you have to have and hope you never need to use.

WR Bernard Berrian
Sidney Rice
B

So much for stretching the field; Minnesota's passing game plan appeared to be to throw the ball up for grabs and look for a penalty flag. Expect the Vikings to follow the Bears' lead and keep the throwing to a minimum; obviously, that's not good news for either Berrian or Rice. Neither is the fact that no team allowed fewer yards to wide receivers last season than the Colts, and they held Chicago to 50 in Week 1.

TE Vishante Shiancoe B

Is there a minimum number of targets a guy needs to have to qualify for the league leader in drops? Because Shiancoe would be right there.

DT Vikings S3 You'd like to think Jared Allen and the Williams Wall could put some pressure on a line that's down a couple starters. Of course, you'd like to think that for the millions the Vikings invested in Allen they could have at least gotten one tackle in the season opener.

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