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Start/Bench List - Week 6
John Tuvey
Updated: October 10, 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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Cincinnati (0-5) at New York Jets (2-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick B

Just as Carson Palmer was showing signs of life, he'll sit this one out again with a sore elbow. Despite a favorable matchup against a Jets secondary that has allowed three quarterbacks to throw for 250 yards and multiple touchdowns already this season, I just can't give you the green light on a guy with a 5:11 career touchdown-to-interception ratio.

RB Chris Perry
Cedric Benson

One of the Jets' goals this offseason was to improve their run defense. Having held four formidable foes—including LT—to an average of 74 rushing yards per game, you'd have to say mission accomplished. Perry's 74 yards against the Giants represents the high-water mark for the Bengals' ground game this year, and with Benson horning in on the action and Perry battling fumblitis this has all the makings of a job share... one that this week is best avoided.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

The Jets had no answer for Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin (or Steve Breaston, for that matter) last time out, so there should be some space for the Bengals to operate. Housh was far and away Palmer's favorite hook-up (48 targets, compared to 29 for Ocho Cinco), but with Fitzpatrick under center he's been downgraded to S2.

WR Chad Johnson
Antonio Chatman

The once-mighty Johnson has been reduced to a matchup play, but this week the matchup is definitely in his favor. Of course the same can be said for Chatman, who has more catches and yards than his over-hyped teammate. Keep in mind that it's Fitzpatrick and not Palmer at quarterback, so these guys are a little less attractive as sleeper plays this week.

DT Bengals B Cincy's defense is definitely improved... but they had a long way to go.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Cincy has done a decent job of keeping the passing yardage to a minimum, though much of that has to do with a soft run defense and they've still allowed every quarterback they've faced to find the end zone. Favre is following up a six-TD outing and has multiple scores in three of four in the different shade of green. His yardage might be somewhat subdued, but he's money for a touchdown or three this week.

RB Thomas Jones S2

Jones has done little since Week 1, but here's an opportunity for him to break that downward cycle. The Bengals are allowing 150 rushing yards per game and have already ceded 80 yards to six different backs, making this about as creampuffy of a matchup as you'll find.

WR Laveranues Coles
Jerricho Cotchery

Your gut tells you a date with the Bengals means dust off all your fantasy players, but the Cincy secondary isn't the easy mark it's been in the past; in fact, TO's 67 and 1 last week is the best any opposing pass catcher has done against them. You'll have to dial back your expectations, but don't go overboard and sit either of these guys.

TE Dustin Keller

At least two Jets tight ends have caught passes in every game this year, and all three caught balls in their last game. Keller has scored in back-to-back games and seems to be the best fantasy play of this group; against a defense that has allowed at least 50 yards to tight ends in three straight games and TE TDs in two of three, go ahead and plug him into your lineup.

DT Jets S2 The Jets' D has scored in back-to-back games and with Chris Perry fumbling regularly and Carson Palmer nursing a sore elbow and tossing a pick a game... there are bound to be opportunities.
Carolina (4-1) at Tampa Bay (3-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme S2 Think the Panthers missed Delhomme last year? In his four previous dates with the Bucs Jake threw for at least 216 yards and a touchdown in every outing, averaging 237 per game in that span. The Bucs have already surrendered three multiple-passing TD games and three tilts with at least 227 passing yards, and Jake rolls into this contest with back-to-back multi-TD games with 237 and 294 yards. All trends point towards Jake being somewhere between solid and spectacular here.
RB DeAngelo Williams S3 Williams was the last back to hit the century mark against the Bucs with a 20-121-2 effort in last year's regular season finale, and he rolls into this tilt on the heels of a 20-123-2 performance—with a receiving score thrown in for good measure. Williams has received more carries than Stewart in four of the Panthers' five games, but even if he gets a little more than half the production there may not be much to go around against a Buccaneer defense that has allowed zero RB rushing scores and just one back to top 52 rushing yards this season.Tampa Bay has ceded a pair of RB receiving scores, though, and with DeAngelo the Panthers' primary target out of the backfield there's reason to expect at least a little something from him this week.
RB Jonathan Stewart
B While Williams had the better day last week, Stewart has been the more valuable fantasy entity three of the five Sundays this season. However, most of Stew's value comes with his touchdowns, and the Bucs have yet to surrender a running back rushing score this year. With a touchdown unlikely, a limited number of yards to go around, and Stewart still the understudy, this is a good week to look for other options.
WR Steve Smith S1

Think Smith missed Delhomme last year? In two games with substandard quarterbacking Smith mustered just 5-48 and 5-32 against Tampa Bay. In the previous four against the Bucs, with Delhomme flinging him the ball, Smith topped the century mark four times and totaled 31 catches, 565 yards, and two touchdowns. Tampa has already allowed a pair of 100-yard receivers and six WR TDs this season. The Bucs, Delhomme, and Smith will be reunited this week, and like Peaches & Herb said it'll feel so good.

WR Muhsin Muhammad


His 14-243-2 in the three games since Smith returned from suspension compares favorably to Steve's 16-262-1, but the Bucs have allowed only one secondary receiver to top 40 yards this season. The upside for Muhammy is to put up complementary games like Keyshawn Johnson did in 2006, the last time the Bucs had to contend with Delhomme-to-Smith: 6-37-1 and 7-97-1. Against this defense, though, that's optimistic.

TE Dante Rosario

Let's recycle last week's comment, with a little bit of updating. Rosario Week 1: 96 yards and a touchdown. Panther TEs since Week 1: 110 yards and no scores. Tight ends against the Bucs through five games this year: 159 yards and no scores. You'll note we didn't have to change much, including the B in the column to the left.

DT Panthers S3 Carolina is coming off a shutout and should have an opportunity to make some plays against a Buccaneer offense that has thrown eight picks already this season.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia B

Griese's elbow injury will keep him out this week, with Garcia returning to the starting gig he held at the beginning of the season. Probably doesn't matter; since surrendering 217 and 3 to Philip Rivers in Week 1 the Panthers have held four teams to an average of 158 passing yards per game and one passing TD between them. Luke McCown put up 236 and 2 in last year's regular season finale, but the previous four meetings with Carolina all saw Buc quarterbacks under 200 yards. There is still a potential for multiple cooks, so you'd best avoid this kitchen entirely.

RB Earnest Graham
Warrick Dunn

Carolina has shut out some pretty good backs thus far this year—LT, Forte, All Day, Michael Turner, LJ—and feature backs have seen their yardage decline each week, from LT's 97 in the opener to LJ's 2 last week. With limited yardage available and Graham and Dunn sharing the workload neither makes a reliable fantasy play this week. Dunn has mild upside as a receiver, as Carolina is allowing more than five RB receptions per game. But that's a pretty skinny nail to hang your hat on.

WR Antonio Bryant
Ike Hilliard
Michael Clayton

The Panthers haven't allowed a 100-yard receiver in the past 14 games, and they haven't allowed a wide receiver touchdown since the Chargers scored two in Week 2. With Joey Galloway still hobbled and the quarterback situation in flux, there's not much here to suggest you pull out a Buc receiver for a fantasy play this week.

TE Alex Smith
Jerramy Stevens
John Gilmore

It's not a stopper matchup, but the three Tampa Bay TE TDs have been split amongst three different guys, and none of them seem ready, willing, or able to step up as the go-to guy.

DT Buccaneers S3 Tampa Bay already has a couple of defensive touchdowns, so it's not as if you're pulling them out of thin air for a fantasy start this week.
St. Louis (0-4) at Washington (4-1) Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger B

Trent Green had the most productive day for a Rams quarterback in Week 4... so it only makes sense for the Rams to bench him in favor of Bulger. Hey, this is the team that promoted the coordinator of a defense allowing 37 points per game; you expect logic? The Skins have faced a murderer's row of quarterbacks—Eli, Brees, Warner, Romo, McNabb—yet are giving up just 225 yards and a touchdown per game. Bulger would be lucky to reach those benchmarks.

RB Steven Jackson S3

Steven won't get it done on the ground against a defense that, following a week one 116 to Brandon Jacobs, has held Reggie Bush, Edgerrin James, Marion Barber and Brian Westbrook to 57 rushing yards per game. There's cause for optimism, however; Jackson is averaging more than 50 receiving yards per game and the Skins allowed 61 to Bush and 51 to Westbrook via the air. It's a decent combo-yardage start for S-Jax, but not much else.

WR Torry Holt S3

Cause for cautious optimism: the lead dog of each receiving corps to face the Skins has put up decent yardage (133, 55, 109, 71, 84), though only two of the five WR TDs Washington has allowed have gone to No. 1 targets. Whether Holt is closer to Burress or Fitzgerald (the two triple-digit receivers listed above) or to David Patten (the 55) at this stage of his career determines just how cautious that optimism must be.


Donnie Avery

B Secondary targets have three of the five WR TDs the Skins have ceded, but in all likelihood there will be only one score this week and Holt is the best bet to get it.
DT Rams B Just... no.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell S2

The Rams are serving up an average of 260 yards and two touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. That order seems a little tall for Campbell, but his baseline for this contest is 210 and a touch and there's no reason you can't expect more.

RB Clinton Portis S1 Portis just finished posting back-to-back triple-digit efforts against the Cowboys and Eagles... on the road. Is there any doubt he'll have his way with a defense that's allowing 183 combo yards and more than two touchdowns per game to opposing backs? There's probably enough here for three or four of Clinton's multiple personalities to each have a big day. Check with your commish to see if you can start both Southeast Jerome and Dolemite Jenkins this week.
WR Santana Moss S2

At least the Rams haven't allowed any more 100-yard receivers since letting the Eagles have three Kickoff Weekend. As it stands they're allowing 210 wide receiver yards and a touchdown per game, so there's little doubt Moss gets back in the saddle after last week's disappointing goose-egg.

WR Antwaan Randle El

Randle El has thrown as many touchdowns as he's caught this season and is averaging just 31 yards per game over the past three. Given the matchup it's tempting to reach for him, but he's done nothing to warrant such faith.

TE Chris Cooley S2

Cooley has been targeted 31 times over the past four games—just three fewer than Moss. The Rams haven't ceded much to tight ends this year, but with Cooley such a large part of the offense there's no reason to think he won't get his share against St. Louis.

DT Redskins S2 On the points-allowed bonus alone the Skins are a good play against an offense that's averaging 10 points a game this year.

Jacksonville (2-3) at Denver (4-1)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S3

Garrard seems to be settling into his 200-and-a-touch groove. While he could hold his own in a shootout, it's unlikely Jacksonville wants to roll that way. Garrard is the same safe, steady start he was at the end of last season, with a little bit of upside.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Fred Taylor

There are fantasy points to be had here. The Broncos have surrendered at least 166 yards from scrimmage to opposing running backs in every game this season and on average allowing more than 200 RB combo yards per tilt. They've also allowed seven touchdowns to opposing backs. If you liked what MoJo and Fred did to the Colts, combining for 296 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, then you'll have at least a little bit of affinity for what they should produce this week in Denver.


Matt Jones

S3 Denver's secondary got off to a slow start, allowing four wide receiver touchdowns in their first two games; since then, only Ike Hilliard has cracked the code. There should be yardage to be had, as three different wides have topped 80 yards against the Broncos and they're allowing 150 WR yards per game over their past three. Mike Walker's knee injury will keep last week's waiver-wire wonder off the field, leaving Matt as the Jags' receiver with the best shot of making something out of this favorable matchup.
TE Marcedes Lewis B

The Broncos have let four different tight ends top 40 yards against them... but three of them were Gates, Gonzo, and Shockey. Lewis found the end zone last week, reminding me of the old adage about a blind squirrel and an acorn. He has seven grabs on the year, and he's not of the Gates/Gonzo ilk, so turning to him this week is a desperation move at best.

DT Jaguars S3 The Jags have defensive touchdowns in two of their last three games, but if you're penalized for allowing points it's more than a little risky to take a defense in Denver.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S1

The Jaguars have allowed back-to-back 300-yard, three-touchdown games to Matt Schaub and Ben Roethlisberger, so erase any thoughts you might have of this being a tough matchup; these are not your father's (or even your older brother's) Jaguars. Jay cleansed the palate with his "bad" game (227 and 1) last week, so expect him to get right back in the saddle with a big game this week.

RB Michael Pittman
Andre Hall
U Jacksonville no longer presents a shutdown defense on the ground; they're specifically susceptible to speed backs and backs as receivers. Pittman is the leading pass-catcher among Denver's backs, and he's also the goal line guy, but he hardly fits the mold of speed guy. With Selvin Young ruled out and Ryan Torain not yet ready to return this is about as uncrowded as the Denver backfield can get. That said, I still can't bring my to recommend a Broncos back.
WR Brandon Marshall S1

Marshall's monster season hit a bump in the road last week with a dud against a favorable matchup. What, you're gonna bench him now? Another good matchup this week, as the Jags have allowed four WR TDs in the past two games and six in the past four—plus they're allowing 165 WR yards per game over the past month. Go ahead, give Brandon another shot.

WR Eddie Royal
Brandon Stokley


Only one secondary target has posted more than 40 yards against the Jags, but three of their six WR TDs have gone to non-primary receivers. Royal is questionable for this tilt after suffering an ankle injury last week, and I don't know that I'd reach any farther down the depth chart even if Eddie can't go.

TE Daniel Graham
Nate Jackson

Opposing tight ends have topped 45 yards in four of the Jaguars' five games, but Tony Scheffler will sit this one out with a groin injury. Daniel Graham is more blocker than pass catcher, and Nate Jackson is... well, Nate Jackson. The matchup has its positives, but I don't know that I'd trust either Graham or Jackson to take advantage.

DT Broncos B You'd think with the talent Denver's defense has maybe they'd bring a little more to the fantasy table.

Dallas (4-1) at Arizona (3-2)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

The six-TD day the Cards allowed to Brett Favre was a bit of an aberration, owing more to the personnel Arizona had at their disposal in the secondary; the games on either side (193 and 2, 238 and 1) are a little more indicative of what the Cardinals will allow. And since Romo already has three 300-yard games and three with three TDs, he's a safe bet to meet and exceed those numbers. Just don't set your hopes on six TDs and you'll be just fine.

RB Marion Barber S2

This isn't a layup; the Cardinals have held an impressive slate of opposing backs (Frank Gore, Ronnie Brown, Clinton Portis, Thomas Jones, Marshawn Lynch) under triple digits, though they have surrendered three RB TDs. There's some receiving yardage to be had here as well, and Barber has shown the ability to get his against any defense—so long as he gets the touches.

RB Felix Jones S3

Jones has outgained Barber each of the past two weeks and while he remains a borderline start this week I believe he's entered the realm of every-week starter—just treat him like Lee Evans or Devin Hester, a home-run threat who won't get a ton of touches but is capable of taking any one of them the distance. It's like having a home run hitter in your lineup; if you can accept the occasional strikeout, you're gonna love having him hit cleanup for you.

WR Terrell Owens S2

The Bengals took away TO on the outside, so the Cowboys beat them over the middle with Jason Witten. It's unlikely the Cards will follow Cincy's lead; they've allowed other teams with talented tight ends—the Redskins and Jets—to direct double-digit tosses at Santana Mos and Laveranues Coles, respectively. Meanwhile, the Boyz are bending over backwards to grease TO's squeaky wheel, getting him the ball on end-arounds as well as throwing it his way. It's not a pushover matchup, but there's nothing here to suggest a move as drastic as sitting TO.

WR Miles Austin
Patrick Crayton


The majority of the damage to Arizona's secondary has been done by primary receivers; in fact, even including Jerricho Cotchery's 67 and 2 in the six touchdown affair, secondary receivers are seeing just seven targets a game, splitting 57 yards, and Cotch has the only two TDs by non-No. 1s. Since Witten is Romo's 1A target anyway, neither Austin nor Crayton smack of a strong play this week.

TE Jason Witten S1

Witten has been targeted at least nine times in every game this season; the only tight end the Cards have seen who can compare is Chris Cooley, who turned eight targets into seven catches for 72 yards. That would actually be a down game for Witten.

DT Cowboys S3 Not many teams can keep up with the Jones in the Dallas return game, so in leagues that include special teams play the Cowboys are an every-week play.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S1

Which trend do you like more, Warner's four straight with multiple touchdowns or the Cowboys having allowed at least 217 passing yards in four in a row of their own? Either way, Warner is a rock-solid start.

RB Edgerrin James B

The Cowboys have ceded between 54 and 62 yards to three of the five feature backs they've faced—four, if you count Chris Perry and Cedric Benson as one entity. Two of Edge's last four games fall into that range as well, which gives you a pretty decent idea of what to expect. And it's not particularly pretty.

RB Tim Hightower B Brian Westbrook is the only running back to score against the Cowboys, which makes it difficult to recommend Arizona's goal line guy as a solid start this week.
WR Anquan Boldin B

Anquan has been ruled out of this week's game. With Arizona on the bye next week it will be almost a month between games for Boldin when he returns in Week 7..

WR Larry Fitzgerald

The Cowboys have allowed three 100-yard receivers; Fitzy has topped the century mark three times this year. But 100 yard games or no, Boldin or no Boldin, you're plugging Fitzgerald into your lineup every week regardless of matchup.

WR Steve Breaston

Breaston has topped 50 yards three times already this year and is filling the void left by Bryant Johnson's departure. Johnston wasn't much of a consistent fantasy play either, and even if Boldin sits again I don't see big things for Breaston against a Cowboys defense that is allowing less than 50 yards per game to No. 2 receivers.

TE Leonard Pope
Ben Patrick
B Dallas has seen some pretty good tight ends already this season and is still allowing just over 30 yards per game to the position, with only one touchdown allowed all year. So to reach for one of these gentlemen would require Stretch Armstrong-type flexibility.
DT Cardinals B Any defense that gives up 56 points can't be used for a fantasy team for at least... oh, let's say four games. That puts the Cardinals back in play in time for the Rams game.

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