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Start/Bench List - Week 7
John Tuvey
Updated: October 17, 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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New York Jets (3-2) at Oakland (1-4)

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Two big games and three just shy of 200 yards; three multiple-touchdown outings and two with just one each. Odds are Favre is going to give you fantasy fodder one way or another, and against an Oakland secondary that has one solid effort (limiting Philip Rivers to 180 and 1) to its credit, he's a decent bet for both.

RB Thomas Jones S2

Oakland has surrendered multiple RB TDs in four of five games this year; Jones enters this tilt fresh off a three-TD performance. There should be yardage on the table against a team that's allowing 107 rushing yards per game, but Jones hasn't done much in that regard since Week 1 so anything in addition to a touchdown or two has to be considered a bonus.

WR Laveranues Coles
Jerricho Cotchery

The Raiders have allowed seven different receivers to top 50 yards through five games, but they've only given up one WR TD since allowing two to the Broncos in Week 1. Both wideouts can be expected to land in the 75-yard range, with Coles the slightly better bet for a score based on his 4-3 edge over Cotch in that category and the fact that two of the three WR TDs the Raiders have allowed have gone to smaller, faster guys like Laveranues.

TE Dustin Keller

If only the Jets were to pick a tight end and stick with him, I could tell you how great this matchup is against a defense that has allowed three TE TDs in the past four games. Alas, after Keller scored in back-to-back weeks he laid a goose egg last week. It was either Confucius or Roger Daltry who said, "I won't get fooled again." Words to live by.

DT Jets S2 Hard to believe JaMarcus Russell hasn't served up a pick-six yet. The Jets have a pair already, so maybe this is the week Russell goes the other way.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

Since Lane Kiffin was relieved of his play-calling duties the Raiders' passing attempts have climbed from 20 per game to 36... and their points per game have dropped from 20 per game to 10. Coincidence? Russell's passing yardage has jumped from 130 to 218 per game, but he's also thrown his first two picks. The increased opportunities might lead to a decent yardage day against a Jets secondary that's giving up more than 250 per game, but it's tough to see JaMarcus matching the multiple touchdown efforts of Pennington, Rivers, or Warner.

RB Darren McFadden
Justin Fargas
Michael Bush

McFadden's pre-injury 20-carry, 164-yard effort in Week 2 stands as the high water mark for the Oakland ground game—and Michael Bush's 90 and a touch in the same outing is the only other fantasy effort of note from the Raiders' RBs. With three backs still in the mix cannibalizing each other's numbers and the Jets having held opposing runners to 63 yards per game on the ground, there's little here to help fantasy owners. Gang Green has surrendered seven RB TDs this year, but you're in the same "grab bag" mode for determining who'll get the money shots. Fargas seems to be the go-to guy when healthy, but McFadden has the most upside... when healthy. Your best bet is to avoid the situation entirely.

WR Johnnie Lee Higgins
Ronald Curry
Chaz Schilens
Javon Walker
Ashley Lelie
Todd Watkins
B Aside from the Arizona game in which the Cardinals were playing catchup from the outset and threw 57 times, the Jets have held opposing wide receivers in check: one WR TD and no receivers with more than 75 yards. The Raiders have had exactly one game in which a wideout topped 40 yards, and their three WR TDs have been evenly split amongst three guys who aren't on anyone's fantasy roster. Schilens gets promoted to starter; Curry gets demoted. Not that it should matter to fantasy owners, as there's nothing to see here.
TE Zack Miller B

The Jets have allowed three TE TDs, but none in the past two weeks. Miller, meanwhile, has seen a slight uptick in his looks with the increase in passing, but aside from one long touchdown he's done little to live up to the preseason sleeper hype.

DT Raiders B Look at it this way: the Raiders defense has almost as good a shot at a touchdown as the offense.
Cleveland (2-3) at Washington (4-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson S3

Why wouldn't Anderson show up on national television against the defending Super Bowl champs and throw more yards and more touchdowns than in any two of his previous games combined? Looks like he's in for another big day here because nothing in the statistical analysis suggests he'll do much of anything. The Redskins have held Donovan McNabb and Marc Bulger under 200 yards and without a passing touchdown between them, and even with Tony Romo's 300-yard game included the Skins are allowing an average of 209 passing yards per contest. I'll give Deke an S3 based on the possibility that he's back to the level he played at for the first couple months of last season, but I'm not sold quite yet.

RB Jamal Lewis S2

Between-the-tackles runners like Brandon Jacobs (21-116) and Edgerrin James (18-93) have had success against the Redskins, and with Jamal coming off his best two-game stretch of the season (46-167-2) he's a decent bet for 80 and a touch.

WR Braylon Edwards S3

The difference between dropping the deep ball and hanging on to it? Edwards averaged less than nine yards per catch and had 95 total yards through four games heading into last Monday night; a couple long balls later he had a 154-yard night (at better than 30 yards per grab) and was once again a fantasy entity. The Skins have failed to slow Plaxico Burress and Larry Fitzgerald, and when Edwards is on he's most definitely in that class. So, the question is: was Monday night an aberration or a return to form? His upside—as well as the injuries to the Washington secondary—suggests he stay in your lineup until he proves (or reproves) he belongs elsewhere.

TE Kellen Winslow B

Winslow ran with the first team Friday and is listed as questionable; based on what the Skins have allowed to non-Jason Witten tight ends (and really, he shouldn't count) there's no need for K2 to hurry back. Steve Heiden and Darnell Dinkins filled in admirably and could do so again in a very non-fantasy-friendly, non-obtrusive fashion. I won't say you'd be nuts to start Winslow this week, but I won't deny having thought about saying it.

DT Browns B Washington's demise last week was brought about by three fumbles, so I anticipate they'll take better care of the football. However, the Browns have eight picks in the past three games and could warrant consideration in leagues where turnovers help your fantasy line.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell S3

Campbell followed up two multiple touchdown efforts with back-to-back goose eggs, and the going doesn't promise to get any easier against a defense that has held nine straight opposing quarterbacks—including Romo, Eli, Big Ben, and last year's version of Carson Palmer—to one or zero touchdown tosses. Not much yardage there, either, with Campbell averaging 210 and the Browns surrendering 197. Jason's upside makes him a borderline start, but it's not a start of the "go out of your way to get him into your lineup" variety.

RB Clinton Portis S1 Fresh off his third straight outing of 120 yards or more, and his second multiple touchdown effort of the season, Portis gets a Browns defense that is giving up 124 rushing yards per game and has allowed seven RB TDs already this year. He could very easily put up enough fantasy points to warrant creation of yet another personality. Don't let the questionable designation scare you; Portis practiced fully (though not at full speed) Friday and will be in the lineup Sunday. The alternative is Shaun Alexander, which is really scary.
WR Santana Moss S3

The bigger and/or more physical targets (TO, Ocho Cinco, Plax, Hines Ward) have racked up touchdowns against the Browns, and the Redskins don't have anyone like that in their regular rotation just yet. Speed guys have had success compiling yardage, and if Moss returns from his unplanned vacation (just two catches for 22 yards the past two weeks) he's worthy of a play in performance-based leagues.

WR Antwaan Randle El

Randle El has been targeted 17 times the past two weeks as teams roll their coverage towards Moss—and yet he's averaged just 60 yards and failed to score in that span. At 139 wide receiver yards per game and a total of four WR TDs allowed, the Browns aren't serving up enough stats for secondary targets to warrant consideration.

TE Chris Cooley S3

Cooley has four games of at least 50 yards this season, has scored twice in the past month, and writes a very funny blog. Two of those things are pertinent to his success this week, though expectations should be tempered against a Browns defense that has held tight ends out of the end zone for nine straight games dating back to last season and allowed only Jason Witten to top 33 yards during that span.

DT Redskins B The Browns aren't allowing sacks and have stopped turning the ball over, which will make it very difficult for the Skins to produce a defensive touchdown.

Seattle (1-4) at Tampa Bay (4-2)

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Seneca Wallace B

How sad is it that Charlie Frye matched Matt Hasselbeck's season total of touchdowns last week alone? Almost as sad as his 85-yard output. It won't get any better as the Seahawks travel cross-country (which has not worked out well for them, with one touchdown in two games in the Eastern time zone) to face a defense that has held opponents to 211 passing yards and one passing score per game since Drew Brees lit them up in Week 1. And those were legit quarterbacks like Cutler, Rodgers, and Delhomme. Wallace has at least had some success at the NFL level, averaging 197 yards and two touchdown tosses per game in four starts back in 2006. But this is 2008, this is a road game in Tampa Bay, and this is not a good opportunity to squeeze Seneca into your fantasy lineup.

RB Julius Jones
Maurice Morris

You'd think that with the Frye guy at quarterback and the Packers struggling to stop the run Jones would have received more than 14 carries last week. If Juice didn't get a shot against a favorable matchup it's unlikely he'll get one against a defense that is allowing 75 rushing yards per game to running backs and has yet to allow a running back rushing touchdown this year. There's a modicum of upside to whomever the Seahawks might throw to out of the backfield, but with Morris working his way back into the mix this situation is best avoided.


Bobby Engram
Koren Robinson
Deion Branch
Mike Bumpus
Keary Colbert


Unlike the Frye guy, who completed three of 10 passes to his wideouts, Wallace knows where his wide receivers are located; six of his eight scoring strikes in the aforementioned four starts went to wideouts, as did nearly 83 percent of his yardage. Given the averages that means there could be 150 or so yards in play amongst this group. If you're feeling lucky you could pick one; Colbert scored last week (on his one catch), Engram leads the group in receptions (despite being shut out last week), and... aw, why even bother? If it matters, Branch failed to practice on Friday and is considered doubtful.

TE John Carlson

Tight ends have yet to score against the Bucs this year, and with Wallace looking downfield 80 percent of the time it's tough to see the rookie cracking the fantasy radar this week.

DT Seahawks B The Seahawks have allowed 34 and 44 points in their two previous cross-country trips. Have they considered the Madden cruiser?
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S3

The Seahawks are going to give you something north of 200 passing yards and a scoring strike or two; Garcia, on average, takes a little less than that. If you're looking for a bye week plug-in you could do worse, but there isn't a tremendous amount of upside to his game.

RB Earnest Graham
Warrick Dunn

Seattle has been relatively solid against the run and is giving up 140 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game to opposing backs. If that total is to be split between Graham and Dunn, who are averaging closer to 170, pencil Graham in for the touchdown and Dunn for a slightly larger share of the yardage. Neither is a bad start, but neither grabs you by the throat and demands to be plugged into your lineup, either.

WR Joey Galloway
Antonio Bryant
Ike Hilliard
Michael Clayton

Galloway's return to practice this week further clouds an already muddled situation. There should be a fantasy play or two against a secondary that's serving up 188 yards and a touchdown per game to wideouts—but Bryant is the only Buc to top 60 yards this year, Hilliard has all three of Tampa's WR TDs, and Galloway—when healthy—is the team's top receiver. Bye-week desperation could drive you to a dip in this talent pool, but with so many swimmers there may not be enough room to float your boat.

TE Alex Smith
Jerramy Stevens
John Gilmore

With touchdowns in two of the past three games Smith is threatening to emerge as the go-to guy here. However, the Seahawks have allowed just 30 total tight end yards since Week 1, making this matchup not worth the effort of determining which Buc to back.

DT Buccaneers S2 Seattle's last two East Coast visits have yielded a total of 16 points, and with the Bucs having generated 13 turnovers and two defensive touchdowns already this year they make a very compelling fantasy play this week.

Denver (4-2) at New England (3-2)

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S1

You're not about to bench Cutler against a secondary that's allowed three touchdown tosses in back-to-back games. Jay may fall a little shy of his 282 yards per game average, but not much, and he should have little difficulty matching his two TD toss per game pace.

RB Michael Pittman
Selvin Young
Andre Hall
B Pittman got all the carries last week, but don't get used to it. Young returned to practice as he recovers from his groin injury, and Ryan Torain is back at it as well. Aside from the infamous "Wildcat" game the Patriots run D has been rock solid, limiting the likes of LT, LJ. Thomas Jones and Frank Gore to less than 90 yards per game on the ground with a Gore receiving score the only RB TD allowed. While it wouldn't be at all surprising to see the Broncos put Pittman, Young, and Hall in the same backfield, it's not suggested that your fantasy squad do likewise this week. Young and Torain are both questionable this week, but even with diminished cooks in the kitchen this still doesn't feel like a favorable matchup for Pittman.
WR Brandon Marshall S1

Marshall has had one dud, two studs, and a couple quality starts since returning from suspension. Against a secondary that just let Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd have their way with it—and Isaac Bruce the week before—there's little reason to expect Marshall to do anything other than carry your fantasy team to victory this week.

WR Eddie Royal


Royal practiced fully on Friday and looks to be a safe option, especially against a defense that struggled to cover the likes of Malcolm Floyd last week.

WR Brandon Stokley


Stokley did not practice Friday, and while he is officially listed as questionable he is not expected to play this week due to the concussion he suffered last week.

TE Tony Scheffler
Daniel Graham
Nate Jackson

The Pats have given up tight end touchdowns in two of their last three games, but while Graham scored last week Scheffler has returned to practice. And Jackson still lurks. Scheffler is still limited by a groin injury and at best will see limited action Monday night. It's a somewhat favorable matchup, but there are too many players in the mix to trust one with a fantasy start.

DT Broncos B Bill Belichick will barely let Matt Cassel look downfield, let alone get into a position where a pick-six is a possibility.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S3

Since the back-to-back shootouts with Philip Rivers and Drew Brees the Broncos have tightened up their secondary, allowing right around 200 passing yards per game and three scores in as many outings. Cassel is finding it difficult to throw with Bill Belichick's restrictor plates strapped to his arm, so 200 and a touch feels like all he'll be allowed to reach for, with the vast majority of that total going underneath to backs, tight ends, and Wes Welker.

RB Kevin Faulk
Sammy Morris


There is hay to be made on the ground against a defense that is giving up 200 combo yards per game to running backs. Who will make that hay? LaMont Jordan and Laurence Maroney are both listed as doubtful, which is good fantasy news for Morris and Faulk. SaMo, who has the high-water mark for Patriot backs with his 87 combo yards in the season opener, would be the safest bet to lead the club in carries and a decent guess for the goal lie totes as well. Faulk is ideally suited to exploit a defense that has allowed more running back receiving yards than any other squad. Of course, there's just as good a chance that Belichick out-Shanahans Shanahan, giving BenJarvus Green-Ellis the goal line carries and throwing to fullback Heath Evans. There are fantasy points to be had here, but proceed with caution.

WR Randy Moss
Wes Welker
S3 The Broncos haven't allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 10 of last year and have given up just one WR TD in the past month. Welker is a PPR contributor but is averaging just nine yards per catch and is still looking for his first score. Moss must have worked one deep throw per quarter into his contract during the bye week, but Cassel missed him all four times last week and has made Moss useful from a fantasy perspective but once since Brady went down. Quentin Jammer shut Moss down pretty much by himself last week, so the Broncos may opt to sic Champ Baily on Randy and ruin his evening. Both Patriot wideouts have upside, but neither can be started with any degree of confidence.
TE Ben Watson
Dave Thomas

Tight ends have scored in two of the last three against Denver but you'd have better luck getting a Big Mac at a Wendy's drive-thru than you would plugging one of New England's tight ends into your fantasy lineup and actually getting a return on that investment.

DT Patriots B Rivers took them apart last week; what's to stop Cutler from doing the same?

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