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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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Philadelphia (2-3) at San Francisco (2-3)

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S2

San Fran's secondary is talented, but they've been beaten up the past couple weeks by Drew Brees and Matt Cassel. McNabb, meanwhile, has mixed a couple pedestrian 196-yard efforts with three big games of 262 yards or better. There's nothing to suggest this one will fall on the low end of the scale, so pencil The Don in for something near his average: 260 and a touch.

RB Brian Westbrook B

Evidently even the toughest back in the league can't play through two broken ribs this week.

RB Correll Buckhalter S3

Buckhalter is no Westbrook, but he should find room to roam against a defense that is allowing more than 150 combo yards per game to opposing running backs. .

WR DeSean Jackson

S3 Over the past fortnight five different receivers have posted 73 yards or better on the Niners' secondary, and three different receivers have scored. So there's fantasy hay to be made here; the question is, how will it be divvied up? Bigger receivers (Fitzgerald, Meachem, Moss) have had more success scoring, but speed guys like Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, and Wes Welker have posted nice yardage games. With the rest of the Philly receiving corps banged up, Jackson is at minimum a decent yardage play this week.
WR Reggie Brown
B Brown has been ruled out of this week's tilt with a groin injury. I know, you're stunned by this development.
WR Kevin Curtis
Hank Baskett
Jason Avant
B Curtis has been practicing and may see some game time this week, while Avant is the only other Philly wideout besides Jackson and Brown who has caught more than one ball in a game the past two weeks. However, there's only so much pie to go around and it appears as if Curtis, Baskett and Avant are at the end of the line.
TE Brent Celek
L.J. Smith

John Carlson is the only tight end with more than 30 yards against the Niners; Smith went for 39 and a touch in the opener but no Philly TE has done anything since. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

DT Eagles S3 Jackson is a return-game threat, and any team that applies the kind of pressure Philly does is on the cusp of a pick-six.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.T. O'Sullivan S3

O'Sullivan hasn't been big money but he's been consistent money: either 250-plus or multiple touchdowns in four straight games. Philly has held four of five opposing quarterbacks under 200 yards and kept three of five out of the end zone; the other two, however, each threw three TDs. So it's not a great matchup, but it's one where JTO should get enough to keep his fantasy owners happy.

RB Frank Gore S2

Philly has held some pretty good backs in check, as neither Steven Jackson nor Willie Parker nor Matt Forte could muster more than 85 yards from scrimmage against them. Gore is averaging 120 and has been in triple digits four of the five games (and had 99 in the other), so he's more likely to emulate the 114 and 2 Marion Barber stuck on the Eagles or the 158 Clinton Portis hit them with last week.

WR Arnaz Battle
Bryant Johnson

B You know the drill with a Mike Martz receiving corps, especially when there's no true alpha male. Three different Niners have led the team in receiving this year, though none has been able to do so in consecutive weeks. They'll be trying carve out yardage from a defense that has let only one receiver top 51 yards against them this year. I don't like the chances of enough of that yardage collecting in one place to make any of them a viable fantasy option.
WR Isaac Bruce

S3 Okay, I lied. By virtue of four touchdowns in the past three games, and an Eagles secondary that has given up four scores in as many games, Bruce gets a luke-warm endorsement as a serviceable fantasy option this week.
TE Vernon Davis B

The Eagles have allowed two tight ends to top 100 receiving yards this season. And if Davis had more than 87 yards on the year, I might think about using him as a plug-in play here. But he doesn't... so I won't.

DT 49ers B Patrick Willis is an IDP monster, Justin Smith is piling up solid stats, and Nate Clements is still a shutdown corner. But this defense is less than the sum of its parts, at least fantasy-wise.
Green Bay (2-3) at Seattle (1-3) Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S2

Seattle's secondary has been largely accommodating this year, giving up almost 250 yards per game and at least one touchdown toss in each. Seeing as Rodgers has thrown for at least 290 in three of his last four and has multiple touchdown tosses in three of four as well, he's a good bet to at least meet the Seahawks' standards—and most likely exceed them. Rodgers was held out of Friday's practice but is expected to play, and after last week's gritty gutty performance he's earned the benefit of the doubt.


Ryan Grant


The 241 rushing yards the Giants pasted on Seattle in Week 5 has skewed the Seahawks' numbers; they held Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, and Steven Jackson to 76 or fewer prior to getting lit up last week. Lynch, Gore, and Brandon Jacobs all reached the end zone against Seattle, however, so while it's tough to expect much more from Grant than the 83 yards he put up last week there's a reasonable chance he'll score his first touchdown of the season. Don't expect a reprise of Grant's 201 and three from the playoffs last year—though just knowing it's out there, don't you feel a little better about Grant's chances this week?

WR Greg Jennings S1

Seattle has allowed three 100-yard receivers in four games, while Jennings has three 100-yard games (and an 87 and a 91) already this year. Hey, if the Seahawks can't cover Isaac Bruce or Domenik Hixon, what shot do they have against Jennings? They let him score twice in the playoff game last year, so consider that a rhetorical question. As in, you don't need to bother with an answer because the S1 should have given it away.

WR Donald Driver

Driver has already scored as many touchdowns (two) this year as he did all of last year, and with Seattle allowing an average of 190 yards per game to wide receivers there should be some table scraps left for him to clean up.

TE Donald Lee B The Seahawks have allowed 10 tight end receptions through four games and have shut out the big fellas in three straight games. If Brett Favre were driving the bus you could expect the tight ends to get more involved, but Rodgers has an affinity for his wideouts—which has made Lee mostly an afterthought, and not much of a fantasy play this week.
DT Packers S3 The Pack has picked Matt Hasselbeck before, and they've made a living off pick-sixes already this year. No reason that has to stop now.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye B

It's come to this? Matt Hasselbeck is unlikely to play and Seneca Wallace has a calf injury; that leaves the Frye guy, and last we saw him he was dribbling the Browns' starting job down his leg early last year. Frankly, Hass was a bench guy this week anyway based on his recent trends (194 and 1 in the playoff loss to Green Bay last yea, then declining yardage of 190, 189, 172, and 105) and a Packers D that has held three of five opposing QBs under 200 yards. Green Bay has given up a touchdown toss in every game, but odds are you're looking for more than 190 and a touch—and it's a stretch to think Frye could deliver even that.

RB Julius Jones

The Packers have already allowed four 100-yard rushers this season, and if there were no chance Mike Holmgren wouldn't force-feed carries to Maurice Morris Juice might be an S1 play this week. As it stands you may have to settle for a share of the 169 yards from scrimmage Green Bay is ceding to opposing backs. The good news is, given Morris' past performance it's a good chance Jones will see the majority of the production.

RB Maurice Morris

Morris opened the season as the starter but left six carries in with a sprained knee. So which Holmgren quotes to we believe: that he'll ride the hot hand (which is obviously Jones) or that he'll work Morris back into the mix? I'm concerned enough that I've dialed Jones back, but given how good JJ has looked and how average Morris has been throughout his career I can't see using both backs unless the matchup is significantly softer.


Bobby Engram
Koren Robinson
Mike Bumpus
Keary Colbert


Three different wideouts have topped 100 yards against the Pack, and each of them have scored as well. But all of them (Calvin Johnson, Miles Austin, Roddy White) used the deep ball to build their stats and unless you think KoRo is rehabbed and ready to run deep routes I don't see such a threat amongst the Seattle receiving corps—not with Branch unlikely to play (though optimistically listed as "questionable") with a heel injury to go along with the knee injury he's still working his way back from. Too many teams, fantasy and otherwise, have been burned by KoRo for me to give him yet another opportunity without seeing something first. Unfortunately this grouping is a raffle, and the prize isn't attractive enough to make it worth purchasing a ticket by plugging one into your fantasy lineup. If you have to pick one, make it Engram—but don't expect too much.

TE John Carlson

Green Bay has allowed tight end touchdowns in back-to-back games, but Hasselbeck completely forgot about Carlson when Engram and Branch returned to the lineup last week. There's the potential for upside, but to use him this week you'll have to get over the fact that Carlson wasn't even targeted last week and is still looking for his first NFL touchdown.

DT Seahawks B This once-proud defense has allowed 33, 34, and 44 points already this season. They're off my Christmas card list.

New England (3-1) at San Diego (2-3)

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New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S3

Cassel came out of the bye with at least a little more freedom to go downfield, which led directly to his first 200-yard day as a pro. Against a secondary that has allowed more passing yards and more passing touchdowns than anyone else in the league, Cass might just get that first multiple touchdown game—though you may have to settle for another 250 and 1.

RB Kevin Faulk
Sammy Morris
Laurence Maroney


Last week the Patriots' goal line guy got the most carries, the third-down guy handled goal line work, and the most talented member of the group was a bit player. It's like prior to each game they draw from a hat and see which role they'll play today. Whichever one gets the direct snaps will be the most valuable this week, as the only back to have success against San Diego this season has been Ronnie Brown working out of the "Wildcat" formation. Faulk has filled that role before and is what passes for the best play coming out of a difficult-to-read situation. You might recall Maroney rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers in last year's AFC title game; since then he has 129 yards on 42 carries (3.0 per tote) in four games combined, plus he's nursing a shoulder injury the Pats won't talk about. At least LaMont Jordan has been ruled out of this mix.

WR Randy Moss
Wes Welker
S3 The Bolts haven't been locking anyone down this year; Brandon Marshall abused them in his first game back, and all told six receivers have topped 50 yards and another three 40 against them. Welker is by far the most targeted member of the receiving corps and he'll put up numbers worthy of starter status in a PPR or performance league. Moss will likely get a couple shots down the field, and if one hits he's in line for another 100-yard day. However, this is the defense that held him to one catch in last year's conference championship, and that was with a much better quarterback throwing him the ball.
TE Ben Watson

The Chargers have allowed more tight end touchdowns this year than any two other teams combined. Unfortunately, while San Diego has surrendered five TE TDs, New England tight ends have seven catches on the year. That Watson was targeted six times last week provides a glimmer of hope, but you'd have to be pretty desperate to glom onto that paper-thin thread.

DT Patriots B Like everything else regarding the Patriots this season, expectations must be dialed back.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S3

Rivers has come back down to earth after opening the season with a trio of three touchdown games, failing to top 200 yards in each of his last two. The Pats just gave up three touchdown tosses to J.T. O'Sullivan but held him to 130 yards—and Brett Favre to 181 three weeks prior. In short, there's little reason to expect Rivers to dramatically exceed the 211 he threw for in the AFC title game—though Phil does have a touchdown in each game this year and should be able to dent the Pats this time around.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S3 You have to think LT has been taking some direct snaps this week; after all, he's a proven passer and the only back to have success against the Patriots this season did so out of the single wing. Take out the Ronnie Brown game and New England is giving up 86 rushing yards per game with zero touchdowns allowed. Of course, in games featuring the single wing the Patriots are allowing 216 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Tomlinson would love to get a shot at the Pats after missing most of the title game, and while the Chargers have limited his practice work this week there's little question he'll play; question is, will he finally be the LT we know and love and drafted first overall?
RB Darren Sproles B With LT expected to play, Sproles stays on the bench.
WR Chris Chambers
Vincent Jackson
Buster Davis

Chambers went for 90 yards in the conference championship, but the Pats haven't allowed a wideout to top 68 this year and CC hasn't topped 83 yards yet this season. Worse, he's listed as doubtful for this week's tilt. See if this sounds familiar: Jackson went for 93 yards in the conference championship, but the Pats haven't allowed a wideout to top 68 this year and VJ hasn't topped 74 yards yet this season. Jackson returned to practice on Friday, but while the Patriots have allowed wide receiver scores in three of four—including two last week to Isaac Bruce—he hasn't been a touchdown guy and doesn't make a good play this week. As for Craig Buster Davis... well, I have little reason to be optimistic.

TE Antonio Gates S2

The Pats—and a dislocated toe—limited Gates to two catches in the conference championship game. The toe doesn't seem to be holding him back this year, so an uptick over those numbers is to be expected—maybe something along the lines of the 66 and a touch Anthony Fasano posted on New England a couple weeks back. Maybe even more.

DT Chargers S3 San Diego's defense has played better of late... but so has New England's offense. Still, Matt Cassel isn't what you would consider experienced and the Bolts have players who can turn a mistake into six the other way very quickly.

New York Giants (4-0) at Cleveland (1-3)

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

The Browns have held three of four opposing quarterbacks under 200 yards this year and none have thrown multiple touchdowns. Those numbers are skewed, however, by matchups with Joe Flacco and Ryan Fitzpatrick and a game against Ben Roethlisberger in 50 mph winds. Instead, trust Eli's consistent 250 and two.

RB Brandon Jacobs S1

You have to love Jacobs against a defense that allowed the Cowboys to rush for 168 yards and three scores and the Ravens to rush for 153 and three. Jake will take his share off the top, but there should be enough leftovers for a sammich or two.

RB Derrick Ward
Ahmad Bradshaw

It's a race to see which backup back can post helpful fantasy numbers this week; after all, the Browns have allowed multiple backs to score in two different games and five different RBs have topped 60 yards against them. Ward will get first crack as the change-of-pace guy, but if the G-Men get up too far too fast it will be Bradshaw in garbage time picking up the stats.

WR Plaxico Burress S2

TO has scored against the Browns; so has Chad Johnson. Burress fits that mold, and you can expect Eli to reconnect with him in his first game back from suspension.

WR Amani Toomer
Domenik Hixon
Steve Smith

The risk here is that Burress with get his early and by the time it comes to feed the rest of the pack the Giants will be so far ahead they'll call off the dogs. Five receivers have reached the 50-yard mark against the Browns, which is a little more impressive when you consider who's been quarterbacking and one game was played in a wind tunnel. Toomer is the safest play, but Hixon has flashed his upside and Smith is seeing looks as well.

TE Kevin Boss B

Boss is too infrequent a target to be counted on for a front row seat when this offense starts passing out points.

DT Giants S2 The Browns are averaging 11 points; the Giants are giving up an average of 12. Sounds like bonus points!
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson B

Anderson has been abysmal, and the Giants have held opposing quarterbacks in check. There's maybe a touchdown to be had here, something north of 200 yards is unlikely, and if you're a Brady Quinn fan you'd better keep your Monday night open.

RB Jamal Lewis B

Jamal has fought an uphill battle all year and is unquestionably missing All Pro guard Eric Steinbach. If 79 yards against the Bengals is the best he can muster, than there's little hope against a Big Blue defense that has held four pretty good backs (Portis, Jackson, Perry, and Julius Jones... okay, three pretty good backs) to 73 yards per game and one touchdown between them.

WR Braylon Edwards B

Edwards had four 100 yard games last season; this year, through four games he doesn't even have 100 yards total. Unless he traveled back in time during Cleveland's bye week and brought the 2007 version of Braylon Edwards—not to mention the 2007 version of Derek Anderson and the 2007 version of Cleveland's offensive line—back with him, it's impossible to get excited about him against a defense that has allowed just three wide receiver touchdowns this season and allowed just one wideout to top 76 yards against them. Edwards turned in his every week starter card prior to the bye and this isn't the type of matchup where he's likely to state his case for getting it back.

TE Kellen Winslow B

Winslow didn't have a favorable matchup—he's been good for about 53 yards a game this year, while the Giants have allowed 53 yards total to tight ends this season—but based on his role in the offense he was still a starter in tight end mandatory leagues. Then he spent much of the week in the hospital with... um... swollen testicles. Yeah, I think most guys are willing to give him the week off.

DT Browns B Romeo, Romeo... wherefore art thou defense, Romeo?

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