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Start/Bench List - Week 2
John Tuvey
Updated: September 12, 2008
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Sunday Early
Sunday Early
Sunday Early
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
Sunday Night
Monday Night
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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N.Y. Giants (1-0) at St. Louis (0-1) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

This is the kind of matchup where Eli should make his hay. The Lambs have surrendered multiple touchdown tosses in four straight, including last week's trifecta for Donovan McNabb, and an average of 287 passing yards per game over that span.

RB Brandon Jacobs S2

Who wants to jump in front of the big blue bus? There's no reason for the G-Men not to give Jacobs 20-plus carries, and when he gets the carries he gets the yardage. The Rams, who ranked a welcoming eighth in fantasy points allowed to running backs, don't strike me as a team built to slow Jacobs down.

RB Derrick Ward U

Ahmad who? Ward touched the ball 11 times in the Giants' opener, while Bradshaw handled kick return duty. If the Rams play as poorly this week as they did last week the G-Men will have their B-team in for mop-up duty, which could mean even more work for Ward.

WR Plaxico Burress S1

Only one team allowed more yardage to wide receivers last season than the Rams, and that trend continued in Week 1 as three Philly receivers topped the century mark. Considering Plax is coming off a 10-catch, 133-yard game, got paid, and is getting healthier by the day, Burress could be the fantasy play of the week at the wide receiver position.

WR Amani Toomer
Steve Smith
Sinorice Moss

Plenty of room for a wingman this week, maybe two; Toomer has the upper hand, as he was targeted more (five times) than Smith (three) and Moss (one) combined.

TE Kevin Boss B

No need to go out of your way to start Boss, who was targeted twice and failed to register a catch in the opener. There might be spillover, but you can find an equally competent play with a favorable matchup—and maybe it will even be a guy who's recorded a catch this season!

DT Giants S2 On the one hand you have an offense that crossed midfield once and barely hung a "3" on the board; on the other you have the defending Super Bowl champions, fresh off limiting the Redskins to 298 yards of offense. Put 'em together and you have a D/ST poised to help your fantasy squad.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger B

Bulger had as many games under 200 passing yards last season as he did over, so his Week 1 158-yard dog wasn't a complete surprise. And expectations this week shouldn't be set much higher.

RB Steven Jackson S2

Jackson only touched the ball 17 times in the season opener, largely because the Rams fell behind so quickly. Hopefully the Rams can stay close a little longer at home, because you really don't want to be sitting your first-round pick this early in the season.

WR Torry Holt S2

One gosh darn catch? (It's the edited for TV version) That hasn't happened to Holt since 2004. He bounced back with 111 yards and a touchdown, and if the Rams don't want to incite a hometown riot they'll be sure to get the ball in Torry's hands more than once this weekend.


Dane Looker
Dante Hall
Eddie Kennison
Keenan Burton


B If you liked the four catches for 31 yards Rams secondary receivers compiled in Week 1, and you liked the 42 yards the Giants allowed to secondary wideouts in their opener... then your league's scoring system is screwed up. The Rams pulled Eddie Kennison off the street and are threatening to give him playing time this week; that's a situation no fantasy footballer should be looking to for help.
TE Randy McMichael S3

The Al Saunders TE Pro Bowl express got off to a decent start with McMike leading the Rams in receptions and yardage last week. The Giants were better against tight ends over the second half of last season, but it was the Washington O more than the New York D limiting Chris Cooley to one catch last week. McMichael is still a solid play in performance leagues with a mandatory tight end.

DT Rams B On the one hand you have a defense that was violated more frequently than the traveling portion of the NBA rule book; on the other hand... does it even matter?
New Orleans (1-0) at Washington (0-1) Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

Don't overlook the fact that Brees threw for 317 non-Marques Colston yards last week. Sure, it will be a different offense, but it's not as if the Saints are lacking for weapons.

RB Reggie Bush S2

Only two defenses gave up more receiving yards to running backs last season than the Skins, and six backs besides Brian Westbrook caught at least five balls against them. So even if Bush shares carries he's bound to make up the difference in the air.

RB Pierre Thomas S3

For now Thomas appears to be the Saints' between the tackles guy. At five yards a pop, he's effective in that role. And if the Saints saw how Brandon Jacobs battered this defense last week, Thomas could be looking at an uptick from last week's 10 touches.

WR Marques Colston B

Four to six weeks... ouch, babe.

WR Devery Henderson
David Patten
Robert Meachem

In Week 1 Meachem was a healthy scratch while Hendu and Patten combined for two catches. Okay, they were both touchdowns. If I'm expecting Brees not to miss a beat sans Colston, somebody needs to step up. Eventually I believe it will be Meachem, but you don't go from healthy scratch to fantasy starter without showing something first. Patten would be my pick to click this week, but in deeper leagues there's no question Hendu's upside belongs in fantasy lineups as well.

TE Jeremy Shockey S2 The last time Shockey scored against the Redskins, Sean Payton was his offensive coordinator. With Colston out, Brees may be looking Shockey's way more frequently; considering only two tight ends caught more balls last week, that would put Shock in line for a pretty good week.
DT Saints B Washington's offense looked completely out of sync in the opener, but that's still not enough to boost the Saints D/ST into the realm of fantasy relevance.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

Jeff Garcia ran the WCO to the tune of 221 yards and a touchdown against the Saints last week. And he's been doing it a lot longer than Campbell has. Let's let Jim Zorn's offense work out the kinks before turning the reins of your fantasy squad over to Campbell.

RB Clinton Portis S2 Despite a concerted effort this offseason the Saints continue to struggle up front. And seeing as Portis was about the only element of the Redskins' offense that worked last week...
RB Ladell Betts B Token touches, nothing more.
WR Antwaan Randle El
Santana Moss

The Saints were the most fantasy friendly defense in the league against wideouts last season, and they allowed the less-than-impressive Bucs trio of Galloway, Hilliard, and Bryant to put up 144 and one on them last week. Despite the struggles of the DC WCO Randle El and Moss combined for a dozen grabs last week, so at minimum both are decent PPR/performance league plays. Besides, any time Jason David is on the other team there's a good chance a wideout is breaking free deep. Mix in the fact that three Saints' starters—including two in the secondary—will sit this one out and there's actual hope that Jim Zorn's offense won't be as sleep-inducing as it was last Thursday.

TE Chris Cooley S2

You might recall Cooley had just one catch in last year's season opener as well; then he scored in each of the next four games. New Orleans allowed five TE TDs over the second half of last season, and this week they'll be without both their starting strong safety and their starting strongside linebacker. Sounds like Captain Chaos may be back in business.

DT Redskins B The Skins defense has talent and has held six of its last seven opponents under 20 points. But is it worth risking the possiblity of a Jason Taylor touchdown against all that Saints firepower?
San Francisco (0-1) at Seattle (0-1) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.T. O'Sullivan B

When's the last time a Mike Martz offense threw the ball only 20 times? Of course, the Niners scant 22 minutes of possession had plenty to do with that. O'Sullivan wasn't bad last week, but I don't like his chances against a defense that allowed just seven passing touchdowns at home last season.

RB Frank Gore S2

He's the focal point of the offense, so the ball will be in his hands. It's not necessarily a great offense around him, but with 20 touches Gore is bound to contribute something helpful to your fantasy scoresheet.

WR Isaac Bruce
Bryant Johnson
Josh Morgan
Arnaz Battle
B Still waiting for Martz to turn this receiving corps into Shaun McDonald/Mike Furrey West.
TE Vernon Davis S3

After one week it looks like Martz has adapted his offense to fit his talent—meaning Gore and Davis were his two top receivers. If Robert Royal can go for 52 yards and a score against the Seahawks, Davis should at least be in the mix for a starting gig in a TE-mandatory league.

DT 49ers B A defense that lets the opposition control the ball for 37 minutes doesn't belong on anybody's fantasy roster.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2

Hasselbeck has never failed to throw for at least 207 yards and a TD against the 49ers, and in 10 meetings over his career he's averaging 272 and two per matchup. He says the back's fine; this week, I take his word for it and get him into the lineup

RB Julius Jones

Time for Juice to earn that paycheck. The Seahawks have given their feature back 20-plus carries in three straight against the Niners, and with Shaun Alexander gone and Maurice Morris out that workload falls directly on Jones' shoulders. The sheer volume of touches, combined with San Francisco's bend-and-then-bend-some-more run defense, should make Jones usuable in performance leagues this week.

RB T.J. Duckett B

Might actually see the field with Mo Morris down. But I'm not wagering a fantasy starting spot on it.


Courtney Taylor
Logan Payne
Billy McMullen
Samie Parker


If there's a group that can make the 49ers receiving corps look like Rice and Taylor, it's this group. That said, see Hasselbeck's numbers against the 49ers and you have to believe somebody will step forward. Taylor was targeted nine times last week, and even though he caught just two balls and his drops prompted Mike Holmgren to suggest he may be benched if he doesn't step up his level of play... well, do you really want to roll the dice with Payne, McMullen or Parker? Give Taylor a shot here; if he craps out, put the Seattle passing game on hold until Branch and Engram return.

TE John Carlson

Only one team allowed more TE TDs than the Niners last year, and Carlson proved ready for prime time with a four-catch, 52-yard effort in his pro debut. Also worth noting: Seahawk tight ends have scored in three straight matchups with the 49ers.

DT Seahawks S3 A truly disappointing effort from a defense that's much better than it showed in Week 1. Last year they held the Niners to a field goal in the season series—yes, three points total in two games—so it's worth giving them a shot at redemption.

Atlanta (1-0) at Tampa Bay (0-1)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan B

A home debut against the Lions is one thing; a road trip to Tampa and the defense that surrendered the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks last season is another thing entirely. Ryan ain't Drew Brees just yet.

RB Michael Turner

Temper your expectations for Michael Turner Overdrive this week, but don't bench him outright; after all, Saints backs hammered out 103 yards on 24 carries last week. MTO may get that many totes by himself, and from that the yardage will follow.

RB Jerious Norwood B

Norwood will get his touches, but it will take the bye weeks or at least a better matchup for him to warrant a fantasy start. That said, he's a home run threat each of the 10 times he'll touch the ball. So if you need the long ball...

WR Roddy White B

The Bucs allowed two wide receiver touchdowns at home last year. Two. And White did nothing of note in either matchup. With the rash of injuries you might not have the option, but if you happen to be flush at receiver this would be a good week to look elsewhere for help.

WR Michael Jenkins B

Jenkins actually outperformed White against the Bucs last season, but I don't suggest going to that well again here.

WR Laurent Robinson
Harry Douglas

Both are still looking for their first catch of 2008. Both should still be waiting for their first fantasy start of 2008.

TE Ben Hartsock
Justin Peelle

Hartsock and Peelle split the Falcons' tight end production last week, and there isn't that much to go around.

DT Falcons B The Bucs scored 31 and 37 points in their two meetings with Atlanta last season, and the Falcons' D didn't improve THAT dramatically in the offseason.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brian Griese B

Over the past eight games only two teams have failed to throw for at least 260 yards against the Falcons: the Bucs, and... the Bucs. Mainly it's been because they've won by a combined 68-10 and have been running clock. Now with a backup quarterback under center, expect Tampa to continue the trend of running over the Falcons, running down the clock, and running up the score.

RB Earnest Graham S2

Graham averaged 113 combo yards and scored in both ends of the season series with Atlanta last season. If you told me he'd get significantly more than the 13 touches he received last week I'd be tempted to make him an S1; as it stands I'll hope for 15 touches and the solid fantasy production they should yield.

RB Warrick Dunn B

True to Jon Gruden's word, Dunn took almost half of the running back touches in the Bucs' opener. You could play the revenge card, but unless you're in a very large performance league Dunn's 50 or so combo yards won't do your fantasy squad much good.

WR Joey Galloway S2

Galloway is still the man, and Griese should figure that out quickly. Considering Atlanta gave up 545 yards to wide receivers in the final two games of last season, then stuck to the trend by allowing 197 to the Lions last week, this is about as favorable a matchup as Galloway will see all season.

WR Ike Hilliard
Antonio Bryant

Griese actually did a solid job of spreading the wealth in his Chicago starts, splitting production between the fast guys (Berrian and Hester) and the possession guy (Muhammad). With no real possession guy here, give the slight edge to Hilliard based on him being on the field more than Bryant as well as the fact that Ike matched Galloway's six catches in Week 1. Both are a stretch, but the spate of WR injuries may have put you in a bind.

TE Alex Smith B

The Falcons did allow a TE TD last week, and it's worth noting that of the nine TDs Griese threw last year four went to tight ends. That said, you'll be reaching if you plug Smith into your fantasy lineup this week.

DT Buccaneers S2 A rookie quarterback on the road, a defense that tagged a pick-six on Drew Brees last week, and the fact that Atlanta mustered 10 points in the season series last year all suggest the Bucs D/ST is a strong fantasy play this week
Miami (0-1) at Arizona (1-0) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington B

Pennington didn't look half bad in his Miami debut. But I expect the Dolphins to have more success running the ball against Arizona's banged-up front than they did against the Jets, which means Pennington won't throw 43 passes. Reduced opportunity and a cross-country flight suggest this isn't


Ricky Williams
Ronnie Brown


They're splitting touches, and last week's running back production wasn't enough for one fantasy starter let alone two. There should be more running room against the Cardinals' banged-up front, but not enough to give either back a ringing endorsement. If you're forced to pick one, Williams out-touched Brown 14-9 last week but Ronnie outgained Ricky 51-39. Didn't help, did it?

WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Greg Camarillo
B Tight ends and wide receivers accounted for 19 of Penningtin's 26 completions. No surprise, given Chad's arm strength, but until he starts involving the guys downfield in the game plan I can't recommend they be anywhere near your starting lineup.
TE Anthony Fasano
David Martin

We have a real barnburner here. On the one hand you have Miami's top two receivers; on the other, the defense that surrendered the fewest fantasy points to tight ends a year ago. Chad's noodle arm is the deciding factor and Fasano seems to be the more prominent target, so if you must use a Phish in a tight end mandatory league roll with Fasano.

DT Dolphins B Ted Ginn's return skills aren't so compelling that you should dig deep for the Miami D/ST this week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S2

Brett Favre seemed to do okay, so I'll call it a trend: geriatric quarterbacks are a good play against the Dolphins. The better trend might be Warner's multiple touchdown tosses in five straight home starts and an average of 315 passing yards per game in that span.

RB Edgerrin James S3

The Dolphins picked up where they left off last year, allowing a 100-yard game to an opposing back. Edge picked up where he left off, rushing for 100 yards on a whole bunch of carries. With Tim Hightower set to steal goal line looks, Edge is a solid play in performance-based leagues but will leave TD-heavy owners lacking.

RB Tim Hightower S3 Hightower appears to be the goal line guy and the third-down guy; seeing as the Phins allowed a Thomas Jones touchdown and five completions to running backs last week, you could plug Hightower into your lineup in just about any scoring format and expect positive results.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin

Fitz got all the attention early on, but it was Boldin who finished with eight catches and almost three times as many targets as his running mate. The Phins allowed multiple wideouts to score on them in the opener, and a repeat performance in the desert wouldn't surprise at all.

TE Leonard Pope
Ben Petrick
B The Dolphins defend the tight end well, and the Cards don't much throw to them anyway.
DT Cardinals B Arizona's D/ST is still mostly potential rather than results; you should be able to find a better option.

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