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Start/Bench List - Week 10
John Tuvey
Updated: November 7, 2008
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Thur Night
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Sunday Early
Sunday Early
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Monday Night
* Updated
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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Indianapolis (4-4) at Pittsburgh (6-2)

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S3

Manning has multiple touchdown tosses in four of five and at least 220 yards in five straight... and this week he runs into the latest iteration of the Steel Curtain. Pittsburgh has yet to allow multiple TD passes in a game, and the 206 they gave up to Jason Campbell on Monday night was a season high. In other words, this is one brutal matchup. I've already posed the question, is "yeah, but he's Peyton Manning" enough this year, and aside from the Packers game Manning has answered in the affirmative every time we've questioned him this year. Can you go to the well one more time and expect more than 210 and one? Of course; after all, he is Peyton Manning, you know.

RB Joseph Addai B

Which is more depressing: that Addai hasn't topped 78 yards on the season, or that the Steelers haven't let an opposing back rush for more than 63? Or do you want to go off the board and bemoan the fact that Pittsburgh has allowed a total of three RB TDs through eight games? In this case, "yeah, but he's Joseph Addai" just doesn't cut it.

WR Reggie Wayne S3 Based on the statistical evidence the Steeler secondary isn't absolutely impenetrable. After all, they've allowed two WR TDs this year: one to Kevin Walter in Week 1 (while Andre Johnson was rolling up 112 yards) and one to Chad Johnson in Week 7. Does that mean to check back for another in Week 13? Memo to self: start Randy Moss that week. Wayne was held to 29 and 24 yards by the Titans and Packers, respectively; those two units right in the immediate vicinty of the Steelers in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, which is hardly a positive omen. Wayne did take a Ravens defense that ranks in that same neighborhood for 118 yards and a score, so there's hope. A .333 average gets you into the Hall of Fame, but this ain't baseball; "yeah, but he's Reggie Wayne" gets him a borderline start, but it's hardly a ringing endorsement.
WR Marvin Harrison
Anthony Gonzalez

B In a standard scoring system (6 points for a TD, 1 point for every 10 yards), only five wideouts have posted double-digit fantasy days against the Steelers. Two of the five were secondary targets (Walter and Mike Walker), but despite Gonzo's two-touchdown outing against the Pats last week I just can't find a logical reason either of these two regulars should be in your fantasy lineup this week.
TE Dallas Clark S3

You know how Scooby and Shaggy would stumble upon the chair that tripped the rotating bookcase that led to the secret passageway? Here's the secret passageway to fantasy success against the Steelers. Pittsburgh has allowed three TE TDs in the past five games; in one of the non-scoring games Chris Cooley had 78 yards, and the other was against a Bengals team that uses its playoff-ticket printer more frequently than its tight ends (sorry, that was mean-spirited). Clark has 60 or more yards in four of his last five games and has scored twice in that span. So, while there are no easy matchups against the Steelers... this one is the least hardest.

DT Colts S3 There's a possibility the Colts' defensive line could cause some problems for a shaky Steeler line and whichever quarterback Pittsburgh trots out there.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B

It looks like Roethlisberger will play this week with a separated throwing shoulder and sprained tendons in two fingers of his non-throwing hand... but Byron Leftwich will be warming in the bullpen. Also consider that the one team that's allowed fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Steelers is the Colts. And behind that line, with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis lurking, his availability for the entire game is certainly questionable. I'd suggest finding another alternative and preferably keeping him in your lineup even though Big Ben has been greenlit for the weekend.

RB Willie Parker B Officially Parker is listed as doubtful, but he is not expected to play against the Colts due to a shoulder injury.
RB Mewelde Moore S2 Yes, you can run on the Colts, but it's not as if they're the Bengals. The Packers, Titans, and Patriots have averaged just 3.5 yards per carry against Indy over the past three games; however, they've persevered to average almost 30 carries a game and as such have produced a little over 100 yards per game and five RB TDs in that span. With Bob Sanders back in the lineup the Colts are a lot closer to the middle of the pack than they are to the creampuffs (Houston and Cleveland) Parker devoured early on. Moore has been a more than adequate fill-in, against both softer defenses and tougher ones, so he could be used with at least some degree of confidence this week. Just don't bank on the Colts being a walkover that will serve up gaudy totals to Moore and the Steeler ground game.
WR Hines Ward


If there's solace to be found it's in the fact that the one good game against Indy came from a No. 1 receiver, and No. 1s are averaging five catches for 55 yards vs. the Colts. That's not saying much, but when you're facing the team that's allowed the fewest fantasy points to wideouts this season—and Indy has faced some quality competition, including Randy Moss, Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson, Matt Jones, and Bernard Berrian, among others—there simply isn't a lot there to work with.

WR Santonio Holmes
Nate Washington


Holmes was targeted 13 times Monday night, and Washington led the Steelers in receiving. And yet heading into any given Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday) both are behind Ward in the Steeler receiver pecking order. Given the matchup this week—see Indy's prowess in defending wide receivers above, and note that No. 2s are averaging three catches for 30 yards against the Colts—there's just not enough available to warrant a fantasy start for either.

TE Heath Miller B

Tight ends have 15 catches against the Colts over the last two games. Too bad Miller is an afterthought in this offense.

DT Steelers S2 Any team that gets to the quarterback like Blitzburgh gets to the quarterback is a tipped pass or strip/sack away from giving you some big fantasy points.
Kansas City (1-7) at San Diego (3-5) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tyler Thigpen S3

No secondary has allowed more passing yards and only one has surrendered more passing touchdowns than our friends in San Diego. So if you're ever going to start Tyler Thigpen, this would be the week. What can you expect if you do? The 280 and two he put up on the Jets might be a tad aggressive, but six of the eight quarterbacks who have faced the Chargers have thrown for at least 247 yards and all but one have thrown at least one touchdown pass. It's a borderline start if only because, really... how many chances in your lifetime will you get to start Tyler Thigpen in your fantasy league?

RB Larry Johnson B

This one is a league suspension, if you're keeping track at home. Let this be a lesson to all the kids out there: be nice to the ladyfolk.

RB Jamaal Charles S3

Herm Edwards has already indicated Charles can't handle a full workload, and to prove his point he split first-team carries in practice between Charles and Dantrell Savage. Charles' 106 yards against the Bucs is encouraging, and when you consider the Bolts have allowed 150 or more RB yards from scrimmage in five straight games—and five RB TDs over that span—you couldn't be faulted for thinking Jamaal is worth a bye-week flier. The prospect of shared carries is a little disconcerting, but expect Charles to see the bulk of the touches.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

Bowe has at least 85 yards or a touchdown in all but one game this season; strangely enough, though, he's yet to do both in the same game. San Diego is a relatively fantasy-friendly defense against wideouts, and while you shouldn't expect the 164 and one Bowe dropped on the Bolts last year he's worth keeping in your lineup. After all, somebody's gotta catch all those Tyler Thigpen touchdowns, right?

WR Mark Bradley
B Bradley has been targeted seven times in each of the past two games, but have you really seen enough from Thigpen to start reaching this far down into his receiving corps?
TE Tony Gonzalez S1

Not only is Gonzo still front-and-center in the KC passing game (19 catches for 238 yards over the past three games alone), the Chargers are the single most fantasy-friendly defense against tight ends thus far this season. Gonzo has averaged 90 yards per game against San Diego over the past three seasons, so if they haven't figured him out by now it's unlikely they ever will.

DT Chiefs B While there are some exciting and talented pieces, this isn't the week to test drive them.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S2

The Chiefs' porous run defense has helped keep a lid on the passing production they've allowed. That said, don't expect Rivers to come in too far below his typical 250 and two; while KC is giving up an average closer to 225 and one, two teams have essentially abandon the pass while rushing for 700 yards. Divide the Chiefs' totals by six instead of eight and you come in right around where Rivers will land this week.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 If you've been waiting for LT to really reward you for making him the first overall selection in your fantasy draft... this is the week your patience is rewarded. Take your pick, every trend points strongly in Tomlinson's favor. H'es averaged 173 yards from scrimmage and more than a touchdown per game against KC the past two seasons. The Chiefs are allowing 213 combo yards and two RB TDs per game this year. And with a week off, LT and that troublesome toe should be rested and ready for a monster game this weekend.
WR Vincent Jackson
Chris Chambers


Toss out the Tennessee and Oakland aberrations—those teams accounted for a combined three completions to wide receivers—and KC has allowed at least one WR TD and at least one wideout to top 95 yards in every game this year. Jackson has been the yardage guy and Chambers the TD guy, so both belong in fantasy lineups this week.

TE Antonio Gates S2

Let's start with the obvious: you're not benching Gates. Now, whether you apply the principle of due (Gates hasn't scored in three straight against the Chiefs, so he's due) or the even-odd theorem (Gates has scored in each of the past three even-numbered weekends, and this is Week 10) or some other random corollary, you needn't worry that the Chiefs have allowed just one tight end touchdown this year. Gates is an every-week starter in TE-mandatory leagues and there's no reason he shouldn't be in WR/TE lineups as well.

DT Chargers S3 The Chiefs are scoring some points, but the risk-takers in San Diego's secondary are always a threat to take a pick the distance.

New York Giants (7-1) at Philadelphia (5-3)

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S3

Another date in the NFC East meatgrinder. A big day—like, say, three touchdowns against the Cowboys—is always a possibility, but you're more likely to get games like the 219 and 1 or 135 and 1 Eli posted against the Eagles last year. With Philly allowing 210 passing yards and a touchdown per game and Manning averaging 216 and a little more than a score a game, you know about where the bar is set.

RB Brandon Jacobs S2

Jacobs has reached triple-digits against the other two NFC East members, and both of the NFC East backs who have faced Philly this year have reached the end zone. With Jake on a roll, expect an uptick from his 70-yard performance in his last meeting with the Eagles. Another 100-yard outing might be optimistic, but 80 and a score is hardly out of the question.

RB Derrick Ward
Ahmad Bradshaw

More often than not neither Ward or Bradshaw have turned their limited touches into something that will help a fantasy squad—and each time they did it came against a softer defense. Philly isn't a softer defense.

WR Plaxico Burress S3

Plax has four touchdowns and four 100-yard outings in his last six against the G-Men—which may be one of the reasons the Eagles went out and signed Asante Samuel in the offseason. A combination of injuries, attitude, and opponents have kept Plax largely in check since his 10-catch, 133-yard effort in the opener—and yet he's still managed to score three times in six games. Philly has allowed 100-yard recievers in back-to-back games, but that might be a tad aggressive for Burress this week. A score seems likely, though.

WR Amani Toomer
Steve Smith

There doesn't project to be a whole lot of passing yardage left over after Plax takes his bite. Not that either Toomer or Smith won't score or have a solid game; just that you're taking a bit of a risk pluggint one into your lineup and expecting big things.

TE Kevin Boss S3

A sneaky little play this week, Boss has scored in each of his last two games and gets a favorable matchup; only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to tight ends thus far this year.

DT Giants S2 The Giants don't need MapQuest to find their way to Donovan McNabb.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S2

The Giants have held opposing quarterbacks largely in check this season, allowing only one to throw multiple touchdowns against them and holding five of eight under 200 yards. That's where McNabb found himself against the G-Men last year, but this season he's clipping along at a 275-yards per game clip and has multiple scores in two of his last three. The Don is always capable of a big game, but against the Giants you'd best keep those expectations a little more subdued.

RB Brian Westbrook S2

Westy kills the Giants, to the tune of 415 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in his last three against them. Maybe this year Big Blue is ready for him: despite matchups with stud backs like Clinton Portis, Steven Jackson, Marion Barber, and Frank Gore no opposing RB has topped 94 combo yards against the Giants this season. New York has also allowed just three running back touchdowns on the season. Maybe this is the year...

WR Kevin Curtis
DeSean Jackson
Reggie Brown

B Over the past four games the Giants have given up 165 wide receiver yards and one WR TD per game. Both Curtis and Brown have had big games against Big Blue in the past, but neither is what you would call consistent. Jackson has the most upside, or at least he's the safest bet to see more than a half-dozen balls thrown his way. Trouble is, that 165 could very easily split three ways and there's no lock for the touchdown, either. It's not a lockdown matchup, but with no alpha male asserting himself amongst the Philly receivers it's a lottery draw to pick which one might be most productive this week.
TE L.J. Smith B

Smith is expected to return from a concussion; even with double vision he could see Brent Celek stealing his job with that 131-yard effort last week. The tight end plays an important role in Eagles-Giants games because Big Blue brings the heat and the tight end is a critical outlet valve. Smith has 111- and 84-yard games against the Giants on his resume; unfortunately, with Celek likely to siphon off at least some playing time whatever stats this position might generate will likely be split. And the Giants have had success slowing tight ends thus far this season anyway. Sorry to get your hopes up.

DT Eagles S2 It's easy to forget that Eli led the league in picks last year, and Philly knows how to bring a blitz or two.

San Francisco (2-6) at Arizona (5-3)

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San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Shaun Hill S3

Can Mike Martz create another monster? J.T. O'Sullivan appeared to be on his way to at least Jon Kitna status before the league caught up with him. Hill had some success late last season and worked with the first team in the preseason; now he gets an opportunity against an Arizona secondary that has allowed multiple touchdown tosses in three straight and a totoal of 16 scoring strikes over the past three games. There should be plenty of yardage as well, as the Cards are giving up more than 250 passing yards per game over the past five contests. C'mon, everybody, hop on board the latest Mike Martz QB bandwagon!

RB Frank Gore S1

Not surprisingly, Hill leaned heavily on Gore last season; Frank averaged 132 yards from scrimmage in Hill's three starts. Funny, that's very close to the 139 combo yards Gore is averaging against the Cardinals over the past two-plus seasons; he's also scored eight touchdowns in those five meetings. Arizona's run defense is playing well this season, but Gore managed a touchdown and 151 yards from scrimmage against them earlier in the year and is a solid bet to put up yet another quality fantasy effort in the desert.

WR Isaac Bruce
Josh Morgan
Bryant Johnson
Jason Hill

B 49er wideouts managed just four catches for 64 yards against Arizona in the opener, and you have to go back to guys like Brandon Lloyd and Antonio Bryant to find San Fran wide receivers who have put up good numbers against the Cards. We're still waiting for someone to emerge; three different players have scored the 49ers' last three WR TDs (and it's taken four games to do so), and Bruce owns three of the four 50-plus-yard efforts posted by San Fran wide receivers this season. If you missed this week's lottery you could pick one of these guys and plug them into your fantasy lineup; you'd have similar odds of success, but the payoff wouldn't be quite as nice.
TE Vernon Davis B

Let's see if Davis can make it through an entire game under Mike Singletary without being sent to the naughty rug before we start plugging him into fantasy lineups.

DT 49ers B The Cards' offense is flying too high to risk exposing your fantasy defense to the possibility they'll have a 40 or 50 thrown up on them.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S1

Warner's 197 and one in the season opener was a ginormous disappointment considering he had 1,139 yards and six touchdowns in his previous three full games against the Niners. Since that slow start, however, Kurt has averaged 321 and two since then, with multiple touchdown tosses in seven straight and back-to-back 300-yard efforts. Unless Mike Singletary is suiting up this week it's tough to envision San Francisco's defense stopping Warner twice in a row.

RB Tim Hightower S2 Hightower scored his first NFL touchdown against the Niners in the season opener, but it was Edgerrin James who ran for 100 yards against San Francisco. Now that Hightower is getting not just the money carries but pretty much everything else he's the guy in position to exploit a 49er defense that has allowed an Arizona running back to rush for 100 yards or score—or both—in four of the last five meetings.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin

Over the past seven meetings this duo has combined for 88 catches, 1,242 yards, and 10 touchdowns. As gaudy as those numbers are—roughly a dozen catches for 177 yards and a touchdown per game etween them—they're actually averaging more (13-179-2) this season. No way either of these guys is on your bench this week.

WR Steve Breaston

A third Cardinal receiver has managed at least 50 yards four times in the last five meetings with San Francisco. In other words, there's probably enough left over for Breaston to be a little bit of a fantasy contributor as well.

DT Cardinals S2 You have to like the chances of an opportunistic Arizona defense against the relatively inexperienced Hill.

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