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Start/Bench List - Week 6
John Tuvey
Updated: October 10, 2008
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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)
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Chicago (3-2) at Atlanta (3-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2

Much to everyone's amazement Orton has back-to-back-to-back mutliple touchdown games and is averaging 267 yards per game over that span. A matchup with an Atlanta secondary that has surrendered three multiple-touchdown games and three games with at least 262 passing yards makes Orton not just a good play but a very good play this week.

RB Matt Forte

Atlanta has already allowed two 100-yard rushers and given up six running back touchdowns this year. Forte's yardage has dropped the past couple of weeks, but he did find the end zone twice against Detroit and is a good bet to do so here as well.


Devin Hester
Rashied Davis

S3 There should be something of fantasy value here, what with Orton throwing like Dan Marino and the Falcons allowing 160 wide receiver yards per game. With Lloyd listed as doubtful, Hester and Davis are the best bets to exploit this matchup.

Brandon Lloyd

B There should be something of fantasy value here, what with Orton throwing like Dan Marino and the Falcons allowing 160 wide receiver yards per game. Lloyd would be the best play if he's healthy, Hester and Davis if Lloyd can't go.
TE Greg Olsen


Desmond Clark has seen slightly more looks, but Olsen has produced more catches, yardage, and touchdowns. The Falcons are fresh off giving up eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown to Packer tight ends, so look for Olsen to factor into Orton's stat sheet again.

DT Bears S2 The Bears' D is always a threat to score—even more so this week with a healthy Devin Hester and a rookie quarterback facing them.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan B

Despite the multiple touchdown tosses last week Ryan is still looking for his first 200-yard game as a professional. The Bears have given up big yardage to the likes of Donovan McNabb and Peyton Manning (and, um, Brian Griese), but they've also held Jake Delhomme and Jon Kitna in check. I haven't seen enough from Ryan to endorse him in a toss-up matchup like this.

RB Michael Turner

The Bears haven't allowed a back to top 77 yards on them this year, but Turner has 324 yards in two home games. No question Turner will get his carries, but don't expect a monster game against a solid run defense that has held the likes of Joseph Addai and Jonathan Stewart in check. Should be enough there, however, to make him at least a serviceable fantasy option this week.

RB Jerious Norwood B

Two-thirds of Norwood's carries have come in blowout Atlanta wins. Hard to see the Falcons blowing out Da Bears, which means Norwood is looking at something like seven touches this week—and it's hard to produce fantasy-relevant numbers on just seven touches.

WR Roddy White X

Fully half of Ryan's downfield looks—including 27 of 47 over the past fortnight—have gone Roddy's way. He's topped 50 yards in every game this year, scored and topped 100 yards in two of the past three, and is a solid play against a defense yielding 175 yards per game to opposing wideouts. That said, he's likely to be a game-time decision after banging his head in practice Wednesday and sitting out Thursday and Friday.


Michael Jenkins


At the moment Ryan only has eyes for White so there's no sense reaching for any of the Falcons' secondary targets. If White is ruled out prior to kickoff, I could see reaching for Jenkins as a desperation plug-in play... but that's about it.

DT Falcons B Orton eliminated the picks last week, and aside from John Abraham's sack collecting there's little of fantasy note going on with the Atlanta defense.
Miami (2-2) at Houston (0-4) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington B

Chad's been throwing for 225 on a regular basis, but Ronnie Brown is stealing his touchdowns. Houston has allowed a TD pass in every game this season but they made Peyton Manning and David Garrard work for their 200-yard passing days. It's not a stopper matchup by any stretch; there's just nothing here that pushes the typically benchable Pennington to the front of the line.


Ronnie Brown


The Texans have played pretty good run defense the past two weeks, holding the Jaguars and Colts to a combined 169 rushing yards and one touchdown. They have, however, given up 66 receiving yards to backs over that span. And they haven't seen the Wildcat formation yet, either. Brown is sporting back-to-back 100-yard efforts and is quickly approaching the high point at which he left off last season.


Ricky Williams


With Brown taking the snaps, Ricky is fading into the background. It's not a tough matchup on paper, but Williams' upside appears to be 50 or 60 yards and a lot of cheering for Ronnie.

WR Greg Camarillo
Ted Ginn Jr.
B Camarillo and Ginn are Miami's most targeted receivers, but neither has topped 68 yards this season. The Texans' secondary has played surprisingly well... or at least well enough that they don't provide a soft enough matchup to warrant going off the board for an uninspiring receiver like Camarillo or Ginn.
TE Anthony Fasano

The Texans have allowed tight end touchdowns in two of their last three games and just got done surrendering 81 yards to Dallas Clark. Fasano hasn't lived up to his week one promise, but he's good for 50 yards in a typical week and maybe a touchdown against a defense that has had some difficulty stopping them.

DT Dolphins S3 When you hold New England and San Diego under 14 points in back-to-back games, odds are you can keep the Texans in check.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3

Assuming he avoids the bad squid that knocked him out of last week's tilt, Schaub figures to be an above-average play against a Miami defense that's allowed a touchdown pass in every game this year. Kurt Warner is the only quarterback to take the Dolphins for more than 200 yards, so this isn't shaping up to be a huge day for Schaub. However, he averaged 232 yards per game against three pretty stout defenses (Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Jacksonville) and should be able to carve out a decent day against the Fins.

RB Steve Slaton
S3 Since allowing 101 yards to Thomas Jones in the opener the Dolphins have been dynamite against the run, holding the likes of Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson to under three yards per carry. Much like the Chargers targeted LT nine times last week, expect Houston to try to get Slaton the ball in space. The possibility of Ahman Green stealing touches and a pretty tough matchup make Slaton a borderline start this week, but he's versatile enough and has shown enough to get the benefit of the doubt.
RB Ahman Green
B Despite the ringing endorsement from Gary Kubiak, Green has a better chance of getting hurt (again) than of putting up any meaningful fantasy digits this week.
WR Andre Johnson S3 In danger of losing his "every week starter" card, Johnson hauled in nine of 11 targets against the Colts and looked every bit the top-10 fantasy receiver he was supposed to be. This is another difficult matchup, as the Dolphins have allowed just 222 wide receiver yards and two touchdowns to the Patriots and Chargers after being lit up by Kurt Warner in Arizona. Seeing as I expect Schaub to get his, it stands to reason that a significant share of that will go towards Johnson and make him a viable starter again this week.
WR Kevin Walter B

Walter will see a half-dozen balls come his way, catch most of them, and wind up with around 50 yards. The Miami defense is playing well enough that you can't expect much more than table scraps for Walter, and table scraps don't make for good eatin'.

TE Owen Daniels B

Daniels' prospectus reads a whole lot like Walter's above. The Dolphins are allowing 30 yards per game to tight ends and haven't allowed a TE TD yet this season. Scoring isn't Daniels' bag anyway, but if his yardage is expected to be reduced by a tough Miami defense he doesn't bring much to the fantasy table.

DT Texans B The Fins have topped 20 points just once this season, so there's a chance the Texans' defense can help you out this week. But the burning question remains: can they stop the Wildcat?
Baltimore (2-2) at Indianapolis (2-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco B

The rookie is averaging 150 yards per game and has thrown one touchdown through the first month of the season. A matchup with a Colts defense that has allowed just one passing touchdown hardly seems like the time for Flacco to morph into Johnny Unitas.

RB Willis McGahee
Le'Ron McClain

No team has run the ball more than the Ravens, and only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Colts. Assuming McGahee doesn't add another injury to his chart this week both he and McClain are great plays this week—McGahee for the yardage and McClain for the scores, though they may share amongst themselves this week given the cushy matchup.

WR Derrick Mason
Mark Clayton

In a favorable matchup you're hoping for five catches for 80 yards and a score from Mason. Only Andre Johnson has done that to the Colts this year, and Mason isn't in that class.


Todd Heap

B The Colts have shut out tight ends in 18 of their past 20 games, or roughly the same number of times Heap has been listed as "questionable"
DT Ravens S3 This version of the Ravens D is a lot closer to their Super Bowl squad than this edition of the Indy O. And Ray Lewis ain't afraid of anyone.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S3

It's unlikely you'll want to bench Peyton—or have a compelling enough option on your bench to make it worth considering—but this is about as tough a matchup as he'll see all year. The Ravens are allowing less than 150 passing yards per game and have allowed just three scoring tosses through four games. With Manning off a bit from previous years, dial down those expectations.

RB Joseph Addai S3

You're not going to get 100 yards out of Addai this week; no one does that to the Ravens, and Addai has struggled to get into the 70s this season. But he's score four times in three games, including twice against Jacksonville and once against Minnesota's tough run defense, so unless you really hit the running back jackpot on draft day you're not likely to find anything better on your bench.

WR Reggie Wayne S3 The Ravens aren't making life easy for receivers, either; the most they've allowed to any one pass-catcher is 61 yards, and through four games they've only given up one wide receiver touchdown. That said, Wayne is an every-week start. However, in what is becoming a familiar refrain, you'll need to lower the bar on those expectations.
WR Marvin Harrison
Anthony Gonzalez
B There simply won't be enough to go around for Indy's secondary targets to be relied upon for helpful fantasy digits.
TE Dallas Clark S3

The Titans were able to chip away at the Ravens via their tight ends, with Bo Scaife and Alge Crumpler combining for nine catches, 87 yards, and a touchdown. That means there's hope for Clark this week... just as long as he doesn't have to share his score with Tom Santi, like he did last week.

DT Colts B If you use the Colts you're doing so only because Baltimore's offense isn't going to do much damage. Nothing on the Indy D/ST suggests they'll be a fantasy helper.

Detroit (0-4) at Minnesota (2-3)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna
Dan Orlovsky
Drew Stanton

Kitna has thrown for at least 225 yards and a touchdown in each of his past four against the Vikings. However, his back spasms has him listed as doubtful, and you can bet if he's in the lineup the Purple won't be shy about blitzing and hitting him. That leaves Orlovsky, who's nicked up himself; if he can't go, the Lions have said they'd have to dumb down the offense dramatically and put Stanton at the helm. Either way, the production will mostly be garbage-time yardage, as the Vikings have allowed just three passing touchdowns this season despite allowing two 300-yard passers the past four weeks.

RB Kevin Smith
Rudi Johnson

Lion running backs are averaging 64 yards per game; the Vikings are allowing 58 running back rushing yards per contest. Since it could be either Smith or Johnson getting carries, neither can be counted upon for even that meager amount.

WR Calvin Johnson S3

The Vikings are capable of taking a receiver away from a team with Antoine Winfield; which one will they pick? It's kind of important, because the Vikings have allowed five 90-yard receivers already this season—with most of those yards coming against the non-Winfield Vikings. How dominant has Winfield been? He's allowed six completions of the 18 balls thrown his way this year. If the depth charts hold true, it will be Winfield on Cal—which likely means a third straight frustrating outing. To further complicate the matter, Johnson was held out of Friday's practice and is listed as questionable.

WR Roy Williams

Initially I was more optimistic regarding Roy this week; last year Williams posted 7-111-1 and 5-85 games on the Vikings, while Calvin managed 4-61-1 and 1-17. But now Williams is listed as questionable and was limited during Friday's practice by a hip injury. It sounds like both Detroit receivers will go, and I still think Winfield will take Johnson, but with a backup quarterback and injury concerns neither is better than a borderline fantasy play this week.


Shaun McDonald
Mike Furrey


Last year McDonald and Furrey each topped 50 yards in both meetings with Minnesota. That was under the Martz regime; this year neither receiver has sniffed that mark and shouldn't be banked upon to do so here—especially if you're dealing with a backup quarterback.

DT Lions B The Lions have given up an average of 31 points per game their last three trips to Minnesota. Unless they trade for Reggie Bush this week, there's nothing to suggest this unit will do anything worthy of fantasy note.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Gus Frerotte S3

Three starts, three games north of 200 yards. The Lions have allowed a passing touchdown in each of their games this season—and multiple scoring strikes in their last three—so it's a favorable matchup for a quarterback who isn't playing that bad right now.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

Still trying to figure out how the Saints rose up and thwarted Peterson last week. Thankfully, there's a date with Detroit on the schedule for All Day to get back in the saddle. Last year Peterson rushed for 116 yards and two scores when the Lions came a-calling, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. In Detroit's last three visits to Metrodome the Vikings have rushed for 487 yards and four touchdowns. Need more? In the last three season series Minnesota backs have amassed 787 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, with another 107 receiving yards and a score. Matchups don't get any more favorable than this one against a defense that's already allowed 732 combo yards to RBs and seven RB TDs.

RB Chester Taylor S3

There should be plenty of leftovers this week. Last year Taylor turned 14 carries into 70 yards and a touchdown—and that was after ADP got his. If you're in a bye week bind odds are Taylor can help you out.

WR Bernard Berrian

Looks like that knee is healthy, and it looks like he's the guy Gus wants to throw to down the field. Against a defense that's surrendering 169 wide receiver yards per game and has already allowed six WR TDs, there should be room for another solid stat line for Berrian.

WR Sidney Rice S3

Rice practiced this week, albeit on a limited basis, but indications are he'll be back in the lineup on Sunday. At least it's an early game, so you'll know in time to adjust your lineup accordingly. If he plays he's a good bet to exploit a Lions secondary that has already allowed six wide receivers to top 50 yards against them—not to mention the six TDs cited above.

WR Bobby Wade

Wade has been the Vikings' leading receiver each of the past two games with lines of 7-75 and 8-64, but if both Berrian and Rice are back in the lineup he's a third receiver in an offense that would prefer to run the ball.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

Even more impressive than Shiancoe's two touchdowns in the past three games is the fact that he caught both balls thrown his way last week. Greg Olsen rolled up big yardage on the Lions last week and Delanie Walker scored on them the week before, so there's a possibility VIshante could get in on the offensive fireworks this week.

DT Vikings S2 Where there's an Antoine Winfield, there's a way.

Oakland (1-3) at New Orleans (2-3)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell S3

Every quarterback to face the Saints has thrown for at least 221 and a touch—numbers that Russell reached for the first time this season the week prior to Oakland's bye. With a week off to acclimate to a new coach, it's tough to predict just what the Raiders will do. The one constant, of course, is Al Davis—so if the sideline phone rings, they're going deep. The upside here is 250 and a touch, which isn't bad for a bye week, so Russell gets a tepid thumbs-up here.

RB Darren McFadden
Justin Fargas
Michael Bush

A couple weeks ago this was looking like a layup, with McFadden having time off to heal his toe and the Saints giving up copious yardage on the ground. Now you have New Orleans fresh off a stumping of Adrian Peterson, Fargas returning to the lineup, and McFadden still in a walking boot. This group has produced one fantasy day of note, and that came against the Chiefs. There may be upside to this matchup, but with three hands in the till it's unlikely any one of them comes away with significant fantasy help.

WR Johnnie Lee Higgins
S3 New Orleans has allowed a wide receiver touchdown in every game this year and a 100-yard receiver in four straight tilts. Forced to pick one of Oakland's candidates to fulfill that destiny I'll go with Higgins, who has authored two of the team's top three wide receiver performances this season. That's not saying much, considering one of the two is a 4-35 effort, but at least Higgins has turned his nine targets into a team-high (among WRs) five catches and 119 yards.
WR Javon Walker
Ronald Curry
Ashley Lelie
B Of the rest of the cast, Lelie is the most targeted but has converted 18 targets into just five grabs; Curry has caught three of 13 targets; and Walker has hauled in two-thirds of his targets but has seen just six balls come his way. It feels like you're trying to come up with a winning lottery ticket here—and you're limited to picking prime numbers.
TE Zack Miller S3

The Saints have allowed three fantasy-friendly games to the tight end position, including scores in two of their last three. Miller might be—heck, is—Oakland's most reliable receiver and comes off a 5-95-1 showing against the Bills. While it's difficult to endorse any element of the Raider passing game, Miller's production and the soft matchup suggest he warrants consideration in TE-mandatory leagues this week.

DT Raiders B It's unlikely that Oakland will slow the Saints' attack, so you'd be banking on Drew Brees to misfire a couple times. It wouldn't be a huge reach to expect this talented secondary to pull off the feat, but on the other hand I wouldn't suggest tying my fantasy team's fate to such hopes.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Brees is averaging a whopping 334 passing yards per game, while to the surprise of no one the Raiders' pass D has been schizophrenic. At times they have looked like the dominant coverage unit from a year ago; at others they've looked borderline inept. The Saints have enough targets for Brees to make them look more like the latter than the former, which isn't necessarily a knock on Oakland; it just puts them in the big pile with every other defense.

RB Reggie Bush S2

There's no compelling matchup-based reason to start or sit Reggie against the Raiders, so you'll just have to start him based on the 106 combo yards per game he's averaging, or the fact that any time he gets the ball in the open field he's a threat to take it to the house.

RB Deuce McAllister S3

The Raiders can be punched on at the stripe, having allowed a couple shorties to Michael Pittman and seven RB rushing scores in all. Deuce doesn't have the legs to get you much more than three yards and a cloud of dust, but he can still move a pile and is a threat to punch one in when given the opportunity.

WR Devery Henderson

Ever since Eddie Royal blew them up in Week 1 the Raiders have looked a whole lot more like the unit that ranked first against the pass last year. They've allowed just one WR TD the past three games while surrendering an average of 124 yards per game to the position. Speedier receivers like Royal and Lee Evans seem to give the Raiders more problems than bigger types (like Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson), and someone from this group is bound to get behind DeAngelo Hall—most likely Henderson, who had big games against Atlanta while Hall was there (though in DeAngelo's defense he was probably occupied with Colston at the time).

WR Marques Colston

After a full week of practice Colston is expected to return this week. And while he was an every-week starter prior to the injury, note the Raiders' success against bigger receivers as discussed above. Plus, there's no guarantee Colston is in game shape after so much time off. It's a risky play plugging Marques into your fantasy lineup this week, but if you've been struggling at the wide receiver position since losing him to injury you may have no other option but to welcome him back with open arms—and a starting spot.

WR David Patten
Lance Moore
Robert Meachem

David Patten will miss this game with his lingering groin injury, but the Saints expect to get Colston back; that bumps Moore and Meachem further down Brees' list of guys to get the ball to, and against an Oakland secondary that has played well of late you don't want to be digging this deep into the depth chart.

TE Billy Miller B Gates and Gonzo have scored on the Raiders, but the tight end position has yet to produce a touchdown for the Saints this season and Miller isn't Jeremy Shockey. And Shockey still doesn't think he's ready to return just yet.
DT Saints S3 The New Orleans return game is electric and makes the Saints D/ST a good play each and every week. If you're asking the defense to stand alone, you could probably do worse than Charles Grant and Will Smith getting after JaMarcus Russell.

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