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Start/Bench List - Week 8
John Tuvey
Updated: October 24, 2008
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Sunday Early
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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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Oakland (2-4) at Baltimore (3-3) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

Sure, Russell's throwing more now that Lane Kiffen isn't around to serve as a buffer between the owner's box and the play calling. But he's still thrown for two touchdowns in three games, and that's unlikely to change against a Ravens defense that has held every quarterback not named "Peyton Manning" in check. That both Manning and Pennington have topped 250 yards the past two games against Baltimore is cause for optimism, but that's about it.

RB Darren McFadden
Justin Fargas


When healthy, Fargas is the primary ballcarrier in Oakland. That's not to say he's the most productive; after all, last week it took 30 touches for Fargas to roll up 81 yards from scrimmage while McFadden had 89 combo yards on just 11 touches. No back has managed more than 77 yards from scrimmage against the Ravens this season, so your only hope for fantasy production here is to cross your fingers McFadden busts a long run—and that's at best unlikely, especially after Run DMC aggravated his toe injury in practice and was limited all week.

WR Javon Walker
Chaz Schilens
Ashley Lelie
Johnnie Lee Higgins
B Last week Walker put up the biggest game by a Raiders receiver thus far this season: five catches, 75 yards, one touchdown. Funny, the Ravens have allowed exactly one receiver to put up a line like that this year. And it's been a couple knee surgeries and multiple quarterbacks since Walker has been in Reggie Wayne's class. Bonus points if you can pick Chaz Schilens out of a lineup—and that's not to imply that he or any other Raider has been in a lineup recently.
TE Zack Miller B

If you're forced at gunpoint to start a Raider—and again, not to imply anything about Raider Nation or their rights to bear arms—Miller is your best bet. With Russell's restrictor plates off Zach has 12 catches for 198 yards and a touchdown the past three games; over that same span tight ends have posted 18-202-1 against Baltimore. So I'm sayin' there's a chance.

DT Raiders B This doesn't project to be a pointfest—no game on the board has a lower O/U—and it's unlikely the Ravens will take enough chances to provide the Raiders D with opportunities.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco B

Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler have had success against the Raiders, but the rest of the league is still wrestling with a secondary that ranked first in the league against the pass last season. Flacco isn't in Rivers/Cutler territory just yet, so his mini-run of back-to-back 200-plus yard outings may be in jeopardy. Flacco is throwing a touchdown pass every three games, and since he threw one last week it doesn't look good for a score here.

RB Willis McGahee


Fresh off his first 100-yard effort since Week 15 of last year, McGahee gets a defense that has allowed triple-digit rushing yardage in five of six games and an average of 114 rushing yards per game to opposing backs. It couldn't be a more positive matchup for McGahee, and he appears to be healthy enough to make something of it.

RB Le'Ron McClain

His touches are down dramatically with McGahee back near full speed, but he's still a goal line force to be reckoned with—and the Raiders are allowing almost two running back touchdowns per game.

WR Derrick Mason


Mason is a PPR gem: at least four catches in every game, at least five in each of the past four, at least six in each of the previous two. He's only averaging 69 yards a game and scored his first TD of the year last week, and the Raiders have allowed only one WR TD since Brandon Marshall blew them up Kickoff Weekend, so Mason isn't a tremendous play. And after being a late addition to the injury report due to an illness, he's hardly worth the bother. If you feel like sweating out a game-time decision on a borderline quality play in a PPR league, then please consider Mason for your lineup.

WR Mark Clayton

Nothing in the Baltimore passing game suggests you go any deeper.


Todd Heap

B If you need 50 yards or a touchdown from your tight end to help your fantasy team... well, Heap hasn't been a helper since Week 3 of last year. The Raiders have given up at least 48 yards to the position in three straight games and TE TDs in three of their last five, but Heap simply can't be trusted with a starting spot on your fantasy squad.
DT Ravens S2 Oakland's offense produced three points on its last road trip, while the Ravens have allowed an average of 11 points per game to visiting foes. If the Saints can shut down the Raiders, you have to like Baltimore's chances.
Arizona (4-2) at Carolina (5-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S3

Fear the Panthers. Not that you should bench Warner, but once look at what Carolina did to Drew Brees last week should at least give you pause. The Panthers are allowing 180 passing yards per game (Brees' 231 last week was their high this season) and have surrendered just two passing touchdowns since Philip Rivers took them for a trifecta back in Week 1. Warner has multiple touchdowns in five straight and is averaging 287 yards per game, but it's extremely difficult picturing him reaching those benchmarks this week.

RB Edgerrin James B

It's not impossible to run on the Panthers; after all, they're allowing 100 running back rushing yards per ballgame at 4.2 yards per carry. But James is rolling at 3.6 yards a pop, has received a single-digit workload in two of the past three games, and is averaging 38 yards per game over that span. It feels as if his upside here is 65 yards, which doesn't help much.

RB Tim Hightower U All three of the rushing touchdowns the Panthers have allowed have come at the hands of fullbacks in short-yardage situations. Since that's a role Hightower fills for the Cardinals you could be cautiously optimistic; then again, since it's happened in fewer than half the games the emphasis should be on "cautious" instead of "optimistic".
WR Larry Fitzgerald

No wideout has topped 90 yards against the Panthers, and wide receivers haven't reached the end zone against Carolina since both Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers turned the trick back in Week 1. Then again, aside from Roddy White (7 for 90) and a not-healthy-yet Marques Colston the Panthers haven't seen talented wideouts since Week 1. Fitz has scored and/or topped 120 yards in every game this year; more impressively, he has scored and/or topped 85 yards in 21 straight games. He'll get his.

WR Anquan Boldin

Boldin has scored or topped 80 yards in all four of his appearances this year and in seven straight dating back to last season. He'll be limited to 30-35 snaps this week according to his coaches, but 30-35 snaps of Boldis is better than 60-70 snaps of a bunch of other wideouts.

WR Steve Breaston

Breaston has to take a step back with Boldin's return. Between the reduced looks and Carolina's deep secondary, this isn't a favorable matchup for Arizona's third wheel.

TE Ben Petrick
B The next touchdown by an Arizona tight end this year will be the first.
DT Cardinals B The last time the Cards headed east they gave up 56 points.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme S2 It's not just Brett Favre who's having his way with the Cardinals secondary; take out the six-TD game and Arizona is still surrendering 250 yards and two passing TDs per game over the past month. Jake's only topped 250 once this year, but he does have multiple scores in three of his last four and seems a solid bet to become the latest QB to have his way with the Cards.

DeAngelo Williams
Jonathan Stewart

S3 Carolina backs love the home cookin'; the Williams/Stewart tandem is averaing 32 carries and 136 rushing yards per home game, against just 21 for 73 on the road. Moreover, eight of the Panthers' nine running back touchdowns have come at home. Arizona is no pushover on the ground; they haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in the past 11 games dating back to last season. But they have allowed four backs to score in six games this season, so it's not as if they're a brick wall. Williams is the more favorable yardage play and Stewart the goal-line guy, but with each back averaging 16 carries per home tilt there may very well be enough for both to make fantasy hay this weekend.
WR Steve Smith S1

Smith has had 96 yards or better in each of his past four games and has clearly reconnected with Delhomme. Small, speedy receivers Arizona has seen recently have put up some very nice numbers (Santana Moss 75-1; Laveranues Coles 105-3; Lee Evans 100-1), suggesting this is an extremely favorable matchup for the Napoleonic yet extraordinarily quick Smith.

WR Muhsin Muhammad


As Smith's numbers have climbed Muhammy's have tailed off, declining steadily from 147 in Week 4 to 71 to 68 to 43 last week against the Saints. There should be enough to go around against Arizona, but Muhammy's regular share is settling in at around 50 yards, and a score is hardly assured.

TE Dante Rosario

The trend continues. Rosario Week 1: 96 yards and a touchdown. Panther TEs in the six games since Week 1: 147 yards and no scores. Nothing in the Cardinals' track record suggests they make a soft play Delhomme will eschew his wideouts to exploit.

DT Panthers S3 The Cards have scored 30 or more points in three straight and four of five... but Carolina has held three of its last four foes to single digits. Something's gotta give, right? Given Arizona's track record traveling east, the Panthers aren't a bad play this week.
Tampa Bay (5-2) at Dallas (4-3) Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S3

Garcia's gonna give you a touchdown per game—he has one in each of his four appearances this season—and while the Cowboys' secondary is all kinds of banged up they've yet to allow a 300-yard passer and are hovering around the 220 yards per game range. That's right in Garcia's wheelhouse

RB Earnest Graham

The key to running the ball on the Cowboys is perseverence; the two teams who have had success on the ground against Dallas are also the only teams who have stuck with the run long enough to compile more than 23 carries. The Graham/Dunn duo is averaging 26 totes per contest and producing 125 yards per game on the ground, though on the road those numbers diminish to 19-108—and both Graham and Dunn are looking for their first road score of 2008. I see the Bucs continuing to pound the ball, and if Dunn is at all limited Graham could wind up with the bulk of the carries; for that reason he warrants consideration as an S3. If, however, Dunn gets clearance from the tower on Sunday morning you might want to dial Earnest back to bench status.

RB Warrick Dunn

Dunn practiced fully on Friday but is listed as questionable with a back injury. Assuming he'll be somewhat limited even if he plays, his share of the Buccaneer touches will be less than usual—and there's just not enough here to feed two hungry mouths.

WR Antonio Bryant


Bryant is the author of the only two truly helpful fantasy games from Buccaneer wideouts this year. With Hilliard still shaking off a concussion and Galloway relegated to backup even if he returns from his foot injury he's the best bet to put up numbers against a Cowboys secondary that has allowed at least one wideout to put up friendly fantasy digits in each of the past six games. On average there's 165 wide receiver yards and a touchdown to be had against Dallas, and that was when they were working with a full depth chart. Expect Bryant to take his cut off the top.

WR Joey Galloway
Ike Hilliard
Michael Clayton

Between the injury status of Galloway and Hilliard—both are listed as questionable—and Clayton's consistent 3-for-30 contribution, there's nothing here to suggest anyone other than Bryant will take advantage of the Cowboys' banged-up secondary.

TE Alex Smith
Jerramy Stevens
John Gilmore

Good luck picking which Buc tight end gets to wear the pants this week; you'll need it against a defense that hasn't allowed a tight end game of note since Kellen Winslow scored in the opener.

DT Buccaneers S2 Brad Johnson tossed three picks last week, and the Bucs have multiple interceptions in four of the past six games. Seems like a match made in fantasy heaven.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson B

Maybe it was the rust; maybe after 17 years BJ just doesn't have it anymore. With Tony Romo already announcing he won't be available this week the job of righting the Cowboys' ship falls once again to Johnson—who didn't handle those duties so well last week. Tampa's secondary has turned things around since surrendering seven touchdowns in the first four weeks; if Jay Cutler can't muster more than 227 and 1 against the Bucs' Cover 2, it's tough to expect much of anything from BJ this week. Most of his 234 yards against the Rams came in garbage time, and after completing just half his passes last week he'll struggle to do better against a Bucs' defense that has held three of its past four foes to a 52 percent completion rate or worse.

RB Marion Barber S2

Little reason for optimism on the ground, as the Bucs have allowed running back rushing touchdowns in one of the past 14 games—and none this season. However, Reggie Bush (112-1) and Matt Forte (66-1) both had success in the air, and Barber already has 247 receiving yards and a couple receiving touchdowns. That should be enough to salvage what promises to be a very difficult day on the ground against a Tampa defense that's allowing less than 80 rushing yards per game to opposing backs.

WR Terrell Owens S2

Maybe a little home cooking will get TO back on track. Owens scored in six of eight in Dallas last year and has found the end zone in all three home games this season; in all, he has 14 scores in his past 11 in Big D. Teams have had success pressing Owens this season, but the Bucs are a little smallish on the corners to do the same. There's no lockdown/shutdown guy here that suggests you bench Owens, but with BJ at the helm expectations must continue to be tempered.

WR Roy Williams


The Cowboys have too many other options to bank on Williams, who was targeted just twice last week and will need time (and maybe Tony Romo) to get acclimated to the Dallas offense.

TE Jason Witten S2

Targeted nine times a game. Catching six balls a game. BJ new where to find Witten last week, looking his way a season-high 11 times (and then two more to backup tight end Martellus Bennett in garbage time), and that hook-up will be in play once again against a defense that has already given up 50-plus yards to Shockey and Scheffler and last week surrndered a touchdown to John Carlson.

DT Cowboys B Demarcus Ware will get his sack(s), but with secondary personnel dropping faster than the Dow it's tough to expect a fantasy contribution from this group.

Washington (5-2) at Detroit (0-6)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell S2

It's not as if the Lions have faced a steady diet of Montana, Unitas, and Marino, and yet they're still surrendering 260 passing yards and a couple touchdowns on a regular basis. Campbell should find plenty of room to up his 63 percent completion rate against a defense that has let opposing QBs connect almost 70 percent of the time. The downside is 200 and a touch, and against the Lions the sky's the limit for upside.

RB Clinton Portis S1 The Detroit run D has been better at home, allowing 93 yards and a touchdown on the ground (as opposed to 180 and 1 away from Ford Field). Portis is averaging a yard less on the road and has scored just one of his six scores outside the Beltway. And that's about all the ammunition the Lions bring to this battle, which looks to be a Portis walkover any way you slice and/or dice it.
WR Santana Moss S2

Last week was the first in which the Lions failed to allow a wide receiver score, though 141 yards could hardly be considered "containing" Andre Johnson. There's 180 yards and a score to be had here, and after a two-game hiatus Moss reasserted himself as the alpha male of the Redskins receiving corps. No reason to expect him to be slowed this week.

WR Antwaan Randle El

More often than not there's been enough spillover for two wide receivers to put up decent numbers, as the Lions have allowed multiple 50-yard receivers in four of six games this year. Fitty is right in Randle El's wheelhouse, and if that number helps your squad you could consider Antwaan for a plug-in play this week.

TE Chris Cooley S2

Tight ends have at least 50 receiving yards in four straight against the Lions, and last week they completely ignored Owen Daniels at the goal line—twice. Cooley is good for a consistent 50-plus, and there's obvious upside to this week's matchup as well.

DT Redskins S2 The Redskins have held three straight foes (and four of their last five, and five of seven this season) under 20 points, and there's little reason to think this iteration of the Lions could provide much more offensively.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Dan Orlovsky

The Skins have held Donovan McNabb, Marc Bulger, and Derek Anderson to a combined one passing touchdown the pass three weeks, with none of the above surpassing 200 yards in the air. Orlovsky might reach that number via a long ball or two to Calvin Johnson, but this matchup doesn't suggest he's anything more than a desperation bye week plug-in play.

RB Kevin Smith
Rudi Johnson

What little running room the Redskins have provided has come betwen the tackles—which would play more towards Rudi's strengths than the rookie's. That said, Smith has been far more productive despite the Lions' attempts to give Johnson the job. Neither projects to be a quality fantasy start against a Washington defense that's allowing just 80 running back rushing yards per game and has given up only one RB TD in the past five games.

WR Calvin Johnson S2

All it takes is one of Orlovsky's desperation downfield heaves to find its way into Johnson's mitts for this start to pay off, and with the Redskins likely missing Shawn Springs for another week they won't be able to employ the same shutdown D that smothered Terrell Owens. He'll be the Lions' primary weapon; expect them to find ways to get the ball in his hands.


Shaun McDonald
Mike Furrey


McDonald started in Roy Williams' place but it was Furrey who saw his stats perk up. That was against the Texans; the Redskins are giving up just 129 WR yards and less than one WR TD per game, so after Johnson takes his there won't be enough left over for either.

DT Lions B The Lions have treated their guests to 82 points in two home games.

Buffalo (5-1) at Miami (2-4)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Edwards S3

Home or road, sickness or health, good matchup or bad... Edwards is going to get you a touchdown toss and something in the 230-240 yard neighborhood. Not a bad neighborhood, but with Miami having allowed one (and only one) passing TD in each of their past four there's no reason to expect Edwards to deviate from his appointed rounds.

RB Marshawn Lynch S3

Lynch has reached triple-digit yards from scrimmage just once this season, but he's scored in four of six. The Dolphins are nothing special against the run and already let both Thomas Jones and Willis McGahee come into their house and leave with 100-plus yards and a touchdown. Lynch is capable of those numbers, though he hasn't shown it yet; better dial expectations down a bit until he lives up to his potential.

RB Fred Jackson B

Jackson received more touches last week (12) than he has since Week 2, but he's done nothing to suggest he's worthy of fantasy consideration.

WR Lee Evans S2

The Phins have allowed a wide receiver score in every game this season; meanwhile, the formerly mercurial Evans has scored in three straight and is threatening to become (gasp) a consistent fantasy stud. Lee has had more success in the second meeting between these squads, but that may be more a factor of the slow starts he used to get off to. There is nothing in this matchup to suggest Evans' newfound consistency won't continue.

WR Josh Reed
Roscoe Parrish
James Hardy
B Reed scored in both ends of the 2006 season series between these clubs, but with Edwards throwing just one TD a game and Evans gobbling them up there's no reason to reach for any of Buffalo's secondary targets.
TE Robert Royal B Royal has had success against Miami in the past, with two scores in the second meeting last year and three in the past three matchups. And while Buffalo's new offense involves the tight end more than in previous seasons there are more reasons to stay away from Royal—his three catches in three road games, the fact that the Dolphins haven't allowed a TE TD this year—than compelling reasons to reach for him.
DT Bills S2 Buffalo has held opponents under 20 in four of six—the same frequency with which the Dolphins have failed to reach the 20-point mark. Miami has also totaled 33 points in the previous four matchups, with a high of 17. Mix in the Bills' always-top notch special teams and there are plenty of reasons you can expect points from the Bills D this week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington S3

Color me convinced. Pennington's 295 against the Ravens—his fourth straight (and fifth this year) above 225—earn him the big blue S. Chad is helped by a Buffalo defense that's a little banged up and has surrendered 200-plus in three straight and multiple scores in back-to-back outings; moreover, Pennington took the Bills for 291 and a score as a Jet last season. Before you get carried away, though, the back-to-backs came from Kurt Warner and Philip Rivers; Pennington is still averaging one TD a game, and I don't suggest getting your hopes up for much more.


Ronnie Brown


The novelty of the Wildcat may be wearing off, as Brown's digits have been in steady decline since his monster game against the Patriots. He's missed the last three meetings with Buffalo but put up triple-digit combo yardage in two of the previous three, and given the success pass-catching backs have had against Buffalo a solid yardage day is in order here. Brown has scored in four of five as well, while the Bills have surrendered four RB TDs in their past three. It may not be gaudy, but it has the makings of an effective fantasy day for Ronnie.


Ricky Williams


He hasn't topped 50 yards from scrimmage in any of the Dolphins' three post-bye games and is clearly an afterthought in this backfield.

WR Greg Camarillo
Ted Ginn Jr.
B On the surface this appears to be a favorable matchup with a secondary that's allowed six WR TDs already this year—four in the past two games alone. But all those scores went to receivers 6-3 or taller, matched up with Buffalo's smaller corners. Camarillo is 6-1 and has one of Miami's two WR TDs this year, but that's a pretty skinny hook to hang your fantasy hopes on.
TE Anthony Fasano
David Martin

With Fasano and Martin splitting looks and the Bills having shut out tight ends in all six games this season, you'll need a horseshoe and some pixie dust to find fantasy help here.

DT Dolphins S3 Aside from some sacks and violence from Joey Porter there's not much here for the fantasy aficionado to appreciate.

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