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Start/Bench List - Week 7
John Tuvey
Updated: October 17, 2008
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Sunday Early
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Sunday Early
Sunday Late
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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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Baltimore (2-3) at Miami (2-3) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco B

Coming off career highs in completions, attempts, yardage and interceptions, expect the Ravens to dial back Joe's throwing—if for no other reason than because it's unlikely the Dolphins will race to a lead like Indy did last week. He's only thrown one TD through five games, and there's no reason to expect him to go Matt Schaub on the bit.

RB Willis McGahee


Abandoning the run didn't really work, so bank on the Ravens going back to the ground game. Not that Miami is an easy mark; they're allowing just 80 rushing yards per game to running backs and haven't allowed an RB TD since Week 2. Note to John Harbaugh: in Miami's two wins, their opponents ran the ball 16 and 18 times; in their three losses, those numbers were 28, 28, and 23. So it would figure that McGahee would get the 18 touches a game he averaged prior to last week. Willis enjoyed his Miami homecoming last year (29-104), so after exiting early last week to rest his aching... well, everything, he may get a larger bite of the workload here. That's enough to make him a borderline play, but little more.

RB Le'Ron McClain

With McGahee back in the mix McClain's touches have started to diminish, and with Willis getting the hero's welcome on South Beach that trend is likely to continue. McClain's previous workload has produced some goal line touchdowns, but with the touches down and the scoring hard to come by against the Fins, he's just not a fantasy play this week.

WR Derrick Mason
Mark Clayton

Guys like Boldin and Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson last week have put up big games on the Dolphins; everybody else has been ordinary. And Baltimore's receiving corps is nothing if not ordinary. You could make a case for Mason in a PPR league, but that's about it.


Todd Heap

B Miami has kept tight ends out of the end zone in 13 of the past 14 games, including all five thus far this year. And Heap's days as a meaningful fantasy receiver are rapidly fading in the rear-view mirror.
DT Ravens S3 Go ahead and try to pull that Wildcat stuff on Ray Lewis.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington B

Is Pennington becoming—gasp!—a serviceable fantasy quarterback? Four games of 226 yards or better, two games with multiple touchdowns... if this were a more favorable matchup it just might be the time to give Chad a big blue S. But the Ravens have held every quarterback not named Peyton Manning under 200 yards and to one or zero passing touchdowns—plus, they may still harbor some ill will towards being the lone "W" on the Dolphins' docket from last year.


Ronnie Brown


You're not going to bench Brown—not with him averaging 116 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns per game since the installation of "Wildcat". But the Ravens are allowing less than 90 combo yards per game to opposing backfields and Dominic Rhodes scored the lone RB TD they've given up in the second half of last week's blow out loss. So there are more reasons to be cautious than there are for optimism.


Ricky Williams


Ricky has had double-digit touches in every game this year; he's done something fantasy-relevant with them maybe twice (if 98 yards does anything for you). The touches may be there, but the yardage and score will be harder to come by against the Ravens.

WR Greg Camarillo
Ted Ginn Jr.
B Prior to last week Santonio Holmes' 61 and 1 were the best performance by a wideout against the Ravens. If you think Camarillo and Ginn are in the same class as Wayne and Harrison, who blew up Baltimore's stat line last weekend, then go ahead and plug them into your starting lineup—right after the psych consult I've ordered for you.
TE Anthony Fasano

Tight ends have consistently struggled against the Ravens, with four of five teams failing to get as much as 20 yards out of the position. Consistency is hardly Fasano's game, with eight catches in Week 1 and seven in the four games since. David Martin out performed him last week, making him an even bigger risk—one hardly worth taking.

DT Dolphins S3 Baltimore doesn't offer much offensively, with just one game above 20 points this year. If you're in a bye-week pinch, you could do worse.
San Francisco (2-1) at New York Giants (4-1) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.T. O'Sullivan S3

Okay, so maybe JTO isn't the next coming of Kurt Warner or even Marc Bulger. He's topped 200 yards twice in six tries and thrown multiple scoring strikes at a similar rate. While .333 may get you into Cooperstown, it's not enough to earn an every week starter card. Mix in a road date with a motivated Giants defense who just allowed their first multiple touchdown and 300-yard game of the season and this feels like a borderline-at-best start for O'Sullivan.

RB Frank Gore S3

If Gore reaches triple-digit yardage from scrimmage, as he's done in four of his six games, he'll be the first to do so against the Giants. That Gore got it done against Philly last week strongly suggests he'll be able to get his if he gets more than 20 touches—and if the Niners are paying attention they'll note that they're 0-3 in games where Frank doesn't reach that mark. It won't be easy; Big Blue has already held the similarly talented Clinton Portis and Steven Jackson in check. But San Fran's offense runs through Gore, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

WR Isaac Bruce
Arnaz Battle
Bryant Johnson

B Big games by T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Braylon Edwards have accounted for 300 of the 783 wide receiver yards and two of the four WR TDs the Giants have allowed. There isn't a Housh or Edwards on the 49ers roster, which means Bruce, Battle, and Johnson will be battling over table scraps. Each has exactly one game over 50 yards this season, and Bruce has four of San Fran's five WR TDs so you could maybe cross your fingers and hope he's become JTO's red zone buddy. Otherwise, you're basically playing lottery numbers here—and the payoff isn't that great.
TE Vernon Davis S3

If you're a fan of recency, almost half of the tight end production the Giants have allowed came last week with Steve Heiden and Darnell Dinkins combining for 6-81-1. And VD nearly doubled his season-to-date digits with a 6-75 game of his own. Based on his early-season contributions there's a distinct possibility Davis is in your free agent pool; if you're in a bye week bind, he's as compelling a flier as you'll find. But the primacy of the first five weeks of the season should temper whatever expectations you're setting for Vernon.

DT 49ers B Eli was back to his pick-throwing ways last week, but that's a pretty thin nail to hang your hat on—especially with the G-Men back at home and the Niners traveling cross-country.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S3

After a solid start to the season the San Francisco secondary has showed some holes, allowing at least 259 yards in three straight and multiple touchdowns in two of those three. Eli's Monday night game wasn't pretty, but he's still averaging 245 yards per game and should bounce back against this secondary. Claims that he's surpassed his brother may be premature, but he's still worthy of a fantasy start this week.

RB Brandon Jacobs S1

The two teams that failed to rush for triple-digit yardage against the Niners landed at 97 and 98, and every San Fran opponent has scored at least one RB TD against them. With Jacobs taking his share of the workload off the top, odds are he'll get at least his typical 90 yards and a touch before Ward and/or Bradshaw start taking food off his plate.

RB Derrick Ward

Some positive trends for Ward: the Niners have allowed copious receiving yardage to Rudi Johnson (52 and a score) and Correll Buckhalter (85 last week), and Ward has 10 of the 18 receptions by Giants running backs. Plus, Ward is getting 10 touches a game as the change-of-pace back, and last week he was more productive than Jacobs. With San Fran ceding more than 150 combo yards per game to opposing backs, there might be enough left over for Ward to take a decent sized doggie bag home to your fantasy squad.

WR Plaxico Burress S2

You'd think with Nate Clements on the field, No. 1 wideouts would be struggling against the Niners. But the Saints had three different receivers top 80 yards, Randy Moss had his best game of the season against San Francisco, and DeSean Jackson put up 98 last week. If opposing teams have been throwing their best corners at Plax it hasn't slowed him, as he has 100 yards or a touchdown in three of his four outings this year. Maybe Nate can keep his numbers subdued, but it's tough to see Plax being kept off the fantasy scoreboard.

WR Amani Toomer
Steve Smith

There might be some leftovers against a defense that is giving up 237 wide receiver yards and almost two WR TDs per game over the past three weeks. Smith has come on of late and may be usurping Toomer as Eli's backup plan; that said, they have one touchdown between them this season. Domenik Hixon's only big game came with Plax out of the lineup, so if you're picking a secondary target keep it to Toomer or Smith—but neither is a great play.

TE Kevin Boss B

Boss is too much of an afterthought for him to be a strong fantasy play against anything but the most favorable of matchups. And while L.J. Smith scored against the Niners last week this isn't the most favorable of matchups.

DT Giants S3 Big Blue sackless on Monday night? Maybe all those injuries are taking their toll. Maybe they'll get their groove back against a 49er line that has surrendered a league-high 23 sacks.
Dallas (4-2) at St. Louis (1-4) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo B

Officially listed as questionable, Romo is unlikely to tough this one out according to team owner Jerry Jones. Dallas should be able to beat the Rams with Brad Johnson at quarterback, so barring a late reversal he'll sit this one out. Even if he goes, he'd be so limited in what he could do and very likely to exit with a re-injury, so the better fantasy option is to go with whatever is behind Door Number 2.

QB Brad Johnson S3

BJ was perfect the last time he faced St. Louis: 1-for-1 for 12 yards as a Viking in the 2006 season finale. Pressed into action due to Tony Romo's busted pinkie, Johnson will at least have multiple quality targets to work with. He lacks the big arm but works the underneath like you might expect a 17-year veteran to. The St. Louis secondary has improved since being picked apart by Donovan McNabb and Eli Manning in the season's first fortnight, allowing an average of 192 yards and less than a touchdown a game over the past three. With all of the weapons at his disposal it's difficult to see BJ serving up anything less than 200 and a TD or two, but it's tough to expect a 300-yard game from a guy whose last foray above that mark came in Week 3 of 2004.

RB Marion Barber S1

Sans Romo, the smart move would be to keep things on the ground. Sans Felix Jones, that means a heavier workload for MB3. And a matchup with a Rams defense that's allowing 185 RB combo yards and more than two RB TDs per game bodes extremely well for a big day.

WR Terrell Owens S2

TO has a new quarterback and a new running mate; trouble is, neither presents an obvious boost to his fantasy potential. The last time the Rams saw TO they held him to a three-for-33 afternoon—and let Patrick Crayton run wild to the tune of 7-184-2. St. Louis may not have the luxury of a myopic focus now that Williams is on the other side, which is kind of what the Cowboys are banking on. And while Johnson lacks the big arm he's deadly accurate on the short stuff—and TO isn't afraid of taking a slant and adding his own YAC. While a monster day is unlikely, the switch at quarterback doesn't seem to cause for panic.

WR Roy Williams


The last time the Rams saw Roy he took them for nine catches and 139 yards. That was back in 2006, but it was also without a threat like TO on the other side. If you have other options it might be wise not to toss Williams out there until he's had a few days to acclimate himself to the Cowboys; then again, how tough is it to go get a jump ball in the end zone?

TE Jason Witten S2

Detroit has played tight ends pretty tough this season, but Witten is in a class by himself. And with TO and Roy stretching the field and safeties bunching the line to stop MB3... well, there should be even more room for Witten to ply his trade. Given Johnson's arm strength (or lack thereof), Witten might actually benefit from Romo's month-long hiatus.

DT Cowboys S3 There's not much left in the secondary, but if the Cowboys keep getting to the passer they'll create some havoc.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger B

Bulger has yet to throw for 200 yards in a game this season, but the Cowboys' banged-up secondary has allowed three straight passers to exceed that mark—and throw multiple touchdowns as well. There's reason for cautious optimism here; probably not enough to warrant plugging Bulger into a fantasy lineup, but cautious optimism nonetheless.

RB Steven Jackson S3

If the Rams are to go down, at least they're going down firing their cannon. Jackson has 20-plus carries (and 25 or more touches) in each of the past three games; not surprisingly, after failing to top 90 yards from scrimmage in his first two tilts he's posted 111 or better combo yards in three straight. Only two backs have received as much work against the Cowboys, and not surprisingly Clinton Portis and Brian Westbrook have combined for 238 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. Hey, who else are the Rams gonna give the ball to?

WR Torry Holt S3

If Holt is to have a bounceback game, this could be his opportunity. The Cowboys have allowed a 100-yard receiver in four of the past five games and surrendered six WR TDs in the past three games. Holt's 210 yards and one touchdown sound like a big game rather than a five-game total, but his fantasy owners would settle for a score and something close to triple digits. Sad, but true—and, in a bye week, a serviceable fantasy WR2 output.


Donnie Avery

U See those stats above? If Holt isn't going to capitalize on them perhaps the speedy rookie will. He's been targeted six times a game since entering the lineup and made a key catch in the Rams' win last week. The torch may not be passed just yet, but Holt is nearing the exchange zone and Avery is in the ready position.
DT Rams B The veteran Johnson will minimize the risk while maximizing what his talented teammates can do. Hard to see a way the Rams' D can turn this matchup to their advantage.

Detroit (0-5) at Houston (1-4)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Dan Orlovsky

The Orlovsky era, which may end by the time the Lions return to Detroit in Week 8, began with a whimperesque 150 yards in Minnesota. There is some cause for optimism against a defense that has allowed at least 236 passing yards in three straight, TD tosses in every game this season, and multiple scoring strikes in three of five. But remember, this is Dan Orlovsky we're talking about.

RB Kevin Smith
Rudi Johnson

Smith's bruised shoulder could mean Rudi gets a larger share of the touches, and against the Texans—who are giving up 164 RB yards per game and have allowed 11 RB TDs through five games—that might add up to something. Smith practiced fully on Friday, further clouding the situation. There's upside here; however, the job share prevents us from declaring a winner or even a better fantasy play

WR Calvin Johnson S3

Guess we've cleared up who Detroit's No. 1 is, eh? And just in time for a matchup with a Texans secondary that is giving up roughly 80 yards and a touchdown to opposing No. 1s. Assuming he's back to work after suffering a concussion last weekend, he's about the only thing left in Detroit worthy of consistent fantasy consideration.


Shaun McDonald
Mike Furrey


In the wake of the Williams trade McDonald moves up to No. 2 and Furrey will fill the No. 3 role. Last year in a Mike Martz offense that meant something; this year with Jim Colletto calling the shots and Dan Orlovsky serving them it means very, very little.

DT Lions B Detroit's defense showed up in a big way last week; that makes them one for five this season.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2

Back-to-back 300-yard efforts for Schaub—wrapped around that "DNP-bad squid"—suggests we're starting to see the quarterback the Texans hoped they were getting when they made the trade last year. The Lions aren't stopping anybody through the air; their best defensive effort came in Week 1 when Matt Ryan stopped throwing after 161 yards and a TD on just nine completions. Expect another solid outing for Schaub.

RB Steve Slaton
S3 The Lions have allowed three 100-yard rushers in as many road games and four RB TDs in that span, which bodes well for Slaton. Boding even better: the combo-yardage success of Frank Gore (162 yards and a touch), who is more similar to Slaton in size and stature than Michael Turner or Adrian Peterson, the other backs who have had their way with Detroit. With Ahman Green siphoning touches Slaton isn't a lock for triple-digit yardage from scrimmage... but he's a reasonably good bet, and a decent option to score as well.
RB Ahman Green
B To this point Green has shown no indication he'll offer any fantasy value in and of himself. In fact, since his return he's touched the ball 21 times and produced 90 yards from scrimmage. That yardage would be better served on Slaton's stat sheet, so until Ahman's next injury you'll just have to downgrade the rookie a smidge.
WR Andre Johnson S1 Earlier in the season Johnson's effort and hands were called into question; a two-game torrent of 19-309-2 suggests those concerns can be laid to rest. Against a defense that surrendered 167 yards to Greg Jennings and 131 and a touch to Bernard Berrian there's no reason to think Andre can't be giant yet again.
WR Kevin Walter S3

A secondary that's surrendering 185 wide receiver yards per game and has allowed seven different wideouts to top 50 yards—and an equal number to score—certainly offers enough leftovers for Walter to have a decent fantasy afternoon.

TE Owen Daniels S3

Daniels has yet to score, but if you're in a tight end-mandatory league where his 50-plus yards will help you out he's a reliable fantasy option.

DT Texans S2 The Lions have allowed 19 sacks, eight turnovers, and four defensive touchdowns in their past four games. Stuck for a bye week defensive plug-in? Whomever is playing the Lions is a pretty solid alternative.

Indianapolis (3-2) at Green Bay (3-3)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

The Packers have seen some pretty hideous quarterbacks this year—either Jon Kitna or Matt Ryan would be the second-best QB they've faced—so it's unlikely they'll be ready for Peyton. Also working in Manning's fantasy favor: a banged-up Green Bay secondary, a non-existant Indy running game, and multiple touchdowns in each of his last two games.

RB Joseph Addai B

Officially listed as "doubtful", Addai is unlikely to take the field for Indy this week. It's a late game so there may not be any more information prior to the first kickoffs; if I were a betting man I'd expect a heavy dose of Rhodes this week and set my fantasy lineup accordingly.

RB Dominic Rhodes S3

The Lambeau faithful have seen opposing backs take their team for 160 rushing yards and one touchdown per home game this season. Indy's ground game has produced triple-digit yardage just once this season and will be without Joseph Addai, but Rhodes isn't one to squander an opportunity. He turned 25 carries into 73 yards and a touchdown last week, and with only Clifton Dawson to lighten his load he's in line for a solid stat line this week.

WR Reggie Wayne S1 Mix Wayne's rock-steady production—no game below 74 yards, touchdowns in four of five—with a banged-up Packer secondary that's allowed three 100-yard games (two at Lambeau) and at least one WR TD in each home game and you've got yourself a solid play.
WR Marvin Harrison

S3 Unless the Pack applies the TO treatment to Wayne, it's unlikely there will be enough leftover production in the passing game for both Marv and Gonzo. Marv's two touchdowns last week suggest he's back as Peyton's 1A option, making him a quality start in Green Bay.
WR Anthony Gonzalez
B In the three games since he exploited Minnesota's nickel backs by operating out of Dallas Clark's usual slot spot Gonzo has a total of seven catches for 73 yards. He's option No. 4, and this Indy offense isn't potent enough to feed that many fantasy mouths.
TE Dallas Clark S3

The Pack have allowed tight end touchdowns in three straight, so if Clark doesn't have to share with Tom Santi he's in line for a nice afternoon at Lambeau.

DT Colts B Indy has been forcing turnovers, but the Pack has taken good care of the ball in every game except against Tampa Bay so this isn't a favorable matchup for the Colts defense.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S3

Good thing Rodgers has ascended to every-week starter status; otherwise this matchup might bump him to the bench. Indy has given up but one passing touchdown this season, though that stat is less impressive when you consider the murderer's row of opposing quarterbacks they've faced: Orton, Jackson, Garrard, Rosenfels, Flacco. Rodgers has as much talent as any two guys on that list combined and will likely produce as much as any two guys on that list did against Indy. The 250 and two he's been averaging might be aggressive, but considering each of Indy's previous two foes have surpassed 240 and Rodgers is averaging almost two passing scores a game it's not out of the realm of possibility.


Ryan Grant


Even after Baltimore's ill-advised decision to abandon the run last week the Colts are still surrendering more than 150 rushing yards per game at a healthy 4.7 yards per carry. If Grant gets another 33 carries this week, at that clip he's looking at 155 yards all by himself. A touchdown sure would be nice, too; Rodgers has three of Green Bay's rushing scores, while the end zone is still virgin territory to Grant this season. This is a spectacular matchup for Ryan to get off the schneid; if he'd have done anything to this point other than carry the ball a lot he'd be an S1.

WR Greg Jennings S2

Andre Johnson is the only wideout to put up any sort of helpful fantasy statline against the Colts this season, and Jennings has played his way into Johnson's class. Not that you should expect 9-131-1, though it wouldn't be a shock; instead, you can comfortably expect something approaching Jenning's 6-110, with a touchdown a distinct possibility.

WR Donald Driver

Wingmen aren't having a ton of success against Indy; Demetrius Williams' 53 yards is the best effort from a secondary target this season, and No. 2s are averaging less than 30 yards per outing (No. 3s? An even more paltry seven yards per game). With Jennings taking his big bite it's unlikely there's enough to go around.

TE Donald Lee B Lee has scored once this year and isn't racking up enough yardage to appear on the fantasy radar. Indy hasn't allowed a tight end touchdown this season, making Donald bench fodder again this week.
DT Packers S3 It's not as risky a play as you might think: the Pack already has three defensive touchdowns, while the Colts have served up a pair.

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