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Start/Bench List - Week 11
John Tuvey
Updated: November 14, 2008
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Thur Night
Sunday Early
Sunday Early
Sunday Early
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Sunday Night
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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New Orleans (4-5) at Kansas City (1-8) Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Brees has stumbled twice this season, in tougher road matchups against pass defenses ranked 27th and 31st in fantasy friendliness towards quarterbacks; everyone else, he's torched. While the Chiefs haven't been as soft a touch as you might think, of late they've been... well, exactly as soft a touch as you might think; they've allowed 290 or more passing yards in three straight and multiple TD tosses in two of three. So, all systems are go for Brees this weekend.

RB Deuce McAllister S2

The Chiefs appear to have corrected some of the defensive defects that led to them surrendering rushing yardage by the bushelfull earlier this season. Over the past fortnight they limited the Bucs and Chargers—two pretty decent rushing teams—to 80 and 93 yards, respectively, on the ground. So maybe Deuce isn't quite the monster-game-in-waiting you might have thought. He's still a decent play, and with fullback/goal line vulture Mike Karney out with a knee injury all the carries at the stripe should be his. However, the potential for 75 yards and a touchdown isn't as great as what might have been kicking around in your brain just a couple weeks ago. Sorry to disappoint.

RB Reggie Bush B

Reggie's return has been pushed back at least another week.

WR Marques Colston
Lance Moore
S2

Not only have the Chiefs allowed five 100-yard receivers this season, on four of thos occasions they've allowed a wingman to top 50 yards—and on three of those they've allowed another 40 or more to a third target. In other words, there should be plenty of yardage at play here. Moore and Colston are the most targeted Saints and the safest bet to take their shares off the top before the rest of the receiving corps dives in for theirs.

WR Devery Henderson


S3 As stated above, more often than not the Chiefs serve up enough receiver production to feed a third target. And seeing as Hendu has two of the Saints' last four WR TDs he's as good a bet as any to give you a little fantasy love this week.
TE Jeremy Shockey
Billy Miller
Mark Campbell
U Kansas City has allowed tight end touchdowns in back-to-back games, and the volume of throws the Saints make to the tight end position gives this spot a bucketload of upside. The problem: too many options in the mix. Shockey should be the top target, but he may have burned his bridges with Brees. Miller has been the most productive, with 317 yards in the past five games. And Campbell has theSaints' only two TE TDs this year. If this were a bye week you could take your pick of these plug-in plays; now you might have a more reliable option than spinning the wheel with this bunch.
DT Saints B Defense hasn't been the Saints' strong point this season.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tyler Thigpen S2

Whatever else has gone wrong in Kansas City this season, at least they've found their quarterback. Over the past three games Thiggy has thrown for 710 yards and six touchdowns with zero interceptions—not to mention without Larry Johnson at his disposal. He's played well against easy defenses (Chargers), middle of the road defenses (Jets), and tough defenses (Buccaneers),and this week it's something that falls between middle and easy. The Saints have allowed seven of nine opposing passers to top 220 yards and given up multiple TD tosses in three straight. It will be interesting to see how the return of LJ factors into the mix—aside from requiring the cheerleaders to wear raincoats—but it's tough to see the Chiefs taking the ball out of Thiggy's hands after he's proven to be more than capable.

RB Larry Johnson
Jamaal Charles
S2

Watch out, ladies, Larry's back! Johnson may not return to the days of 25-plus carries, as the Chiefs now actually have a competent quarterback. Instead, expect a two-pronged approach against a defense that has allowed 359 rushing yards and five RB TDs over the past three games. LJ isn't a bad bet to emulate the between-the-tackles success backs like Earnest Graham and Jonathan Stewart have had against the Saints, while Charles should see some outer-edge carries as well as the bulk of the work in the passing game. And since the Saints have surrendered 209 running back receiving yards the past three games alone, there should be enough there for Charles to maintain his fantasy value as well.

WR Dwayne Bowe S1

The Saints are giving up almost 150 yards per game to wideouts, and they've already let top targets like Santana Moss (164-1), Brandon Marshall (155-1), Bernard Berrian (110-1), Steve Smith (122-1), and even Roddy White (68-1) to have their way. There is little standing between the frequently targeted Bowe and a spot on that list in next week's S/BL writeup for the Saints' opponents.

WR Mark Bradley
S3 Last week I posed the question, "Have you really seen enough from Thigpen to start reaching this far down into his receiving corps?" And now the answer is a resounding "yes"—especially given the matchup stats listed above.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1

Gates had six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown against the Saints a few weeks back. And it's even money that the red-hot Gonzo can top those stats in the tight ends' latest round of "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better".

DT Chiefs B This one feels like a shootout, but while Brees is capable of a pick-six I'd be more than a little gun-shy of this game playine well above the over.
 
Oakland (2-7) at Miami (5-4) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

Russell was limited in practice all week, but while he'll likely be back under center for the Raiders this week he shouldn't be returning to fantasy lineups any time soon. In fact, he shouldn't have been there in the first place. I don't even need to bother you with stats like Jay Cutler being the only quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns against the Dolphins since Week 3... but I just did anyway.

RB Justin Fargas


B

Fargas rushed for 88 yards last week against a tough Carolina defense, while at the same time Julius Jones carved out the same amount against a pretty good Miami D. So I guess you can't dismiss Fargas entirely; if something in the 88-yard neighborhood does your fantasy team any good, you go right ahead and plug Fargas into your lineup—though with Darren McFadden expected to play Justin's touches are headed in the wrong direction.

RB Darren McFadden

B

Raiders coach Tom Cable is optimistic that McFadden will be available for this game. Were you like me and couldn't help but giggle at the phrase "Raiders coach Tom Cable is optimistic?" I'll need to see McFadden do more than practice on a limited basis or turn a lighter workload into 50 yards from scrimmage before I can trust him with an S of any sort.

WR Javon Walker
Chaz Schilens
Ashley Lelie
B Raider wideouts have four touchdowns on the year (one in the last six games, zero in the last three) and three games of more than 40 yards. Worse, they have three catches as a group the past two games (all by Walker, by the way; speaking of Javon, what was your favorite Javon Walker moment from 2008, now that it's all over for him?). So... no, thank you.
TE Zack Miller B

The Dolphins are the only NFL team that hasn't allowed a tight end touchdown this season. That's too bad, too, because I was all set to recommend Miller as a... okay, no. No, I wasn't. Not that he's a bad fantasy option, just too inconsistent to be given a start now that bye weeks are behind us.

DT Raiders B Hey look, the Raiders signed Justin Miller! The turnaround has to start somewhere, right?
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington B

Pennington has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game in which he hasn't been yanked—seven straight and eight of nine on the year. He may be limited by the ability of any team to run at will on the Raiders, and Nnamdi Asomugha does shut down one side of the field. If Oakland can pick Jake Delhomme four times and hold him to 72 yards, tough to see Pennington going off on the same defense. Odds are that with no byes this week you have a better option on your roster.

RB

Ronnie Brown

S1

Scary thought: the Wildcat might not work against Oakland because Al Davis remembers what football was like before the forward pass. Okay, scratch that; it would probably work anyway against a defense that has allowed at least 157 running back combo yards in each of the past seven games. You have to like Brown's chances of a score as well, given that the Raiders have already surrendered 14 RB TDs this season.

RB

Ricky Williams

S2

Yep, should be plenty for Ricky to get his as well. If you consider 100 combo yards or a TD to be a solid fantasy outing, a dozen backs have had solid fantasy outings against Oakland. Ricky comes off a 100-yard game and has scored in two of three and three of five, so it's not as if you're reaching here.

WR Greg Camarillo
Ted Ginn Jr.
B Eddie Royal went for triple-digits in the opener, but since then no opposing wideout has reached the century mark against Oakland. Seeing as neither Camarillo nor Ginn warrants flip-flopping Asomugha both will likely see him over the course of the afternoon. That means, in essence, each player will have roughly half the opportunity they usually do to contribute to your fantasy stat sheet. The non-Asomugha blanketed target has a chance, as six of the seven WR TDs Oakland has allowed have gone to secondary receivers. However, the upside either offers isn't worth the risk of them spending too much time with Asomugha.
TE Anthony Fasano
David Martin
U

What little upside Fasano or Martin offers is negated by an Oakland defense that has had success defending the tight end this season, holding four straight foes out of the end zone and under 50 receiving yards.

DT Dolphins S1 Oakland has two touchdowns in the past five games and will trot out JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, or maybe even Marques Tuiasosopo at quarterback. 'Nuff said.
 
Baltimore (6-3) at New York Giants (8-1) Back to top
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco B

Hey, look, Joe has multiple touchdown tosses in back-to-back games... against the 5th and 11th most fantasy friendly pass defenses. Big Blue is ranked 23rd, having held more teams under 200 passing yards (six) than not and more quarterbacks without multiple touchdown tosses (seven) than with.

RB Willis McGahee
Ray Rice
Le'Ron McClain

B

No player has as much as 90 rushing yards against the Giants and only one team has reached triple digits. The Ravens have one of the more prolific ground games in the league, and they've had success against top-flight defenses like the Steelers (105 rushing yards and a touchdown) and Titans (119 and one). So they're not about to abandon the run just because Big Blue is tough. However, in each of those tilts the Ravens used multiple backs with no individual picking up more than 65 yards. So even if Baltimore does run and run well odds are it'll be in some non-helpful committee form like 65 for McGahee, 40 for Rice and 25 for McClain. If you're forced to pick one last week seemed to indicate that McGahee is the chair of this committee, but it's difficult to envision him putting up anything that will truly help your fantasy squad this week.

WR Derrick Mason

S3

Mason separated his shoulder diving for a ball last week... and returned to play in the same game. After sitting out Wednesday and Thursday Deke practiced on a limited basis Friday and is listed as questionable. Odds are he'll find a way to make it to the field on Sunday, and if he does he's the best bet amongst Raven wideouts to help your fantasy squad.

WR Mark Clayton
Yamon Figurs

B

The Giants have allowed a WR TD in each of the past five games, so there might be something here. Mason looks like he's going to play, so there's no need to reach this deep.

TE

Todd Heap

B Only three teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends than the Giants, so don't chase last week's two-TD aberration—matching, by the way, Heap's touchdown output from the previous 20 games combined.
DT Ravens S2 Hey, Eli didn't lead the league in INTs last year on reputation. Besides, the Ravens need to find a way to cover for their injury-depleted secondary, and what better way than not asking your backup DBs to cover any longer than necessary?
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S3

Eli hasn't seen the north side of 200 yards since Week 5... but he might be due for a visit against a Baltimore defense that has allowed each of the past five opposing quarterbacks to explore that studio space. The good news is that Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of the past two games, although the Ravens have held seven of nine foes to one or fewer scoring strikes. Rather than put the onus on Manning expect the Giants game plan to use him as a complement to their ground game, with a projected upside along the lines of 200 yards and a TD or two. It's not a great line, but if you've been using Eli as your regular starter it's a line you've become used to.

RB Brandon Jacobs S3

Jacobs whiffed in his earlier meeting with an elite AFC North run defense, posting 47 yards on the Steelers. And with the Ravens an even stiffer test you'll forgive me for being less than optimistic about the Beast's prospects this week. The Ravens are allowing 2.8 yards per carry; Jake is averaging 3.2 per tote against the AFC North this year, though he's scored twice. The upside feels like 50-60 yards and maybe a touchdown.

RB Derrick Ward

U

While Jacobs has had difficulty with AFC North foes this season, Ward has produced 288 yards from scrimmage in three meetings against that division. More upside: while Baltimore has allowed one RB rushing TD this year they've allowed three RB receiving scores. It's not a fabulous matchup, obviously, but if you're scrambling for backfield help there is some upside to Ward's role in this game.

WR Plaxico Burress S3

Burress is obviously the lead dog in this pack, but aside from his one touchdown in the past three games he hasn't done much—unless you're into something less than 60 yards, and I'm guessing you're not. The MO of the Baltimore defense is to allow one wideout to put up something in the vicinity of 75 yards and probably score. Burress is the most likely Giant to compile those numbers, but it's hardly a given.

WR Amani Toomer
Steve Smith
B

Quick, name the last Giant wideout with a 100-yard game. Did you say Domenik Hixon? Congratulations. How about the last Giant wideout to top 60 yards?Did I hear Steve Smith? If you're getting the impression that Big Blue's receiving core is a cluster bomb of mediocre games, then I'm getting my point across. This matchup is too tough and the Giant receivers too inconsistent of contributors to bank on any of them for fantasy help.

TE Kevin Boss S3

Can't bench a guy who's scored in three straight games, and the fact that Baltimore has given up some decent-sized games to tight ends (72 to Bo Scaife, 71 to David Martin, 64 to Kellen Winslow, 56 to Zach Miller) suggests Boss might be an okay play this week.

DT Giants S3 This one has all the makings of a defensive slugfest; then again, so did last week's shootout with the Eagles.
 

Minnesota (5-4) at Tampa Bay (6-3)

Back to top
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Gus Frerotte B

It's been a month since the Bucs allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for more than 200 yards and almost two since they surrendered multiple touchdown tosses. I'd point out that it doesn't hurt they've faced three straight backup quarterbacks... but this date with Frerotte will make it four in a row, so the point is moot. Gus has been under 200 yards in his last two (after five straight starts above that mark), but he's thrown multiple scores in three consecutive contests. His upside in this one feels like 190-200 yards and a couple scores while the defense focuses on Adrian Peterson; it's the same as most of his other starts, only the matchup is tough enough to slide him from the plus side to the "actively seek other options" side of the S/BL ledger

RB Adrian Peterson S2

Benching All Day on the heels of four straight 100-yard efforts smacks of overcoaching. Not that you shouldn't respect this matchup; the Bucs held Marion Barber to 75 yards and Jamaal Charles is the only back to reach triple digits against them. But look at it this way: seven of the nine teams to face Tampa Bay haven't rushed the ball more than 25 times in a game—less than Peterson's average workload over the past month. And the two teams who ran the ball at least 30 times rushed for 161 and 137 yards. So if the Vikings don't abandon the run—and, really, what other options do they have?—Adrian will have every opportunity to carve out some useful fantasy numbers. Put another way: if Jamaal Charles can rush for 106 against the Bucs, Peterson at least has a shot.

RB Chester Taylor B

The upside for Taylor, one of the better pass-catching backs in the league, is the fact that Tampa Bay allowed fellow receiving RBs Reggie Bush (8-112-1) and Matt Forte (7-66-1) to put up solid numbers. Unfortunately, those games came back in Weeks 1 and 3, respectively; since then no back has topped 30 receiving yards in a game. If you're forced to grasp at straws there's a little something here in a PPR league... but it ain't much.

WR Bernard Berrian
S3

Berrian's hot streak ended abruptly when the Packers shut him out last weekend. The Bucs were able to handle Terrell Owens in a similar manner, but big games by Steve Smith (6-112), Greg Jennings (6-109-2), and Brandon Lloyd (6-124-1) suggest they're not unbeatable. It's tough to have confidence in a guy that just was held without a catch, so I understand if you feel the need to bench him this week. But with Tampa's defense unquestionably focusing on Peterson, there should be an opportunity or two down the field.

WR Sidney Rice
B

Yes, Rice scored for the second straight week last week. But he feels like a goal line back who's only getting one carry a game, as he's only had the two catches and nothing else. It's like playing the green on a roulette wheel: you could win big, but the odds are stacked against you.

TE Vishante Shiancoe B

Shiancoe's two-game scoring run ended last week, and a matchup with a Bucs defense that has allowed one TE TD this season hardly seems like a kickstart to a new run.

DT Vikings S3 The return of Madieu Williams has helped in the secondary; his potential absence may just set them back a step or three. At least Jared Allen is starting to show he's worth the money Minnesota spent in the offseason.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S2

Garcia's dink-and-dunk has produced 877 yards over the past three games, but only two touchdowns. Minnesota's pass defense has seen a definite uptick with the return of safety Madieu Williams, and truth be told they've been solid all season: more opponents have finished under 200 passing yards than above, and only two of nine foes have tossed multiple scoring strikes. Because the Buc backs are banged up and the Vikings run defense is stout expect Garcia to top 40 attempts for the third straight game; that should be enough to produce a decent yardage game, and if Williams is out of the lineup—he was listed as doubtful Friday—then perhaps asking for more than one touchdown toss isn't as aggressive as initially feared.

RB Earnest Graham
Warrick Dunn
Carnell Williams
B

Mix one tough run D—the Vikings are allowing just over 80 rushing yards per game to opposing backs—with a committee of banged-up backs and you've got a recipe for... well, I'm not sure it's anything you'd want to put in your fantasy lineup. There might be some upside to Dunn as a pass catcher, given that Reggie Bush (7-64) and Steve Slaton (8-56) posted decent numbers via that route; at least Dunn practiced fully this week, as Graham was limited each day and Williams isn't expected to be activated just yet.

WR Antonio Bryant

S2

Bryant has put up 115 yards and a score in two of his last three games, clearly establishing himself as the alpha male of the Bucs receiving corps. That's enough to make him the most likely candidate to score against a Vikings secondary that has allowed five of its six WR TDs for the year in the past five games. However, a big yardage game against a defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard receiver since Week 5 or a 70-yard receiver since Week 7 seems unlikely—especially if Bryant draws the blanketing coverage of Antonio Winfield, which has been successful in holding both Steve Smith and Andre Johnson under 75 yards. The potential absence of safety Madieu Williams isn't quite enough to boost Bryant to S1 status, but at the very minimum it needs to be noted.

WR Michael Clayton
Ike Hilliard
Joey Galloway
B

Take your pick: the best game by a wingman against the Vikings secondary over the past two months has been either Kevin Walter's 47 yards or David Anderson's 12 yards and a touchdown. In other words, there isn't likely to be enough to make any of these secondary targets worthy of fantasy consideration this week.

TE Jerramy Stevens
S3

With Alex Smith unable to practice all week and listed as doubtful, there's some real opportunity here. Only three teams have allowed more yardage to tight ends than the Vikings, and Buccaneer TEs have produced at least 50 yards in each of their past four games. Though three different tight ends have taken a turn at leading the team in yardage, the potential absence of Smith makes it a two-horse race; at the risk of alienating John Gilmore's friends and relations, I'm giving the S3 nod to Jerramy. Now watch him get a DUI on the way to the game Sunday.

DT Buccaneers S3 Frerotte has thrown eight picks in the last three games, and the Bucs have a pretty good idea what to do once the ball changes hands.
 

St. Louis (2-7) at San Francisco (2-7)

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S3

This defense might resemble the one Bulger abused for 368 yards last year; after all, five of the Niners' last six foes have thrown for at least 222 yards and four have tossed multiple scoring strikes. Unfortunately, Bulger is playing more like the quarterback that threw for 155 yards in the second meeting between these squads. It's a matchup that looks to be worth exploiting, but I won't fault you if you just don't think Bulger has any more exploiting left in his bag of tricks.

RB Steven Jackson
B

Jackson has been ruled out due to his thigh injury.

RB Antonio Pittman
B

After a strong debut Pittman has been held to 40 yards on 23 carries over the past two games. He could share carries with Jackson, he could sit and watch Jackson do his thing, or he could shoulder the entire load. Truth be told, none of those scenarios sound like fantasy gold against a defense that has held its last two foes—both, like the Rams, NFC West rivals—to a total of 66 rushing yards. There may be a heavy workload in Jim Haslett's motivational late-week comments about needing Pittman to step up, but setting your fantasy lineup according to coachspeak is one of the quickest routes to an ulcer.

WR Torry Holt
Donnie Avery
S3

The Niners probably aren't as bad as their stat line suggests; take out the 567 wide receiver yards and four WR TDs the Cardinals have hung on them in the two meetings this year and they're only giving up 136 wide receiver yards and one WR TD to the rest of the league. That's still enough to warrant at least one fantasy starter, and the fact that it's even a debate between Avery and Holt is an indication of how far Torry has fallen. He's scored in four of his last five against the 49ers but hasn't topped 75 yards against them since 2005. Maybe he'll still draw Nate Clements, which would free up Avery for the bigger day. However, neither is the must-start you might expect against the Niners.

DT Rams B Right up until they allowed 81 points in their last two games the Rams had been playing relatively decent defense.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Shaun Hill S3

Aside from a couple brain farts Hill wasn't bad in his first start of the season. And while the Rams offer another fantasy-friendly division matchup, Hill might be limited by Mike Singletary's apparent commitment to the run. A couple hundred yards and a score seem likely, but with Hill turning and handing off more than dropping back and throwing—note how comfortable the San Francisco brain trust felt putting the game in his hands, running on both goal-to-go plays at the end of last week's game—there isn't a whole lot of upside.

RB Frank Gore S1

This one should take less deliberation than "Can I top that beer off for you, sir?". The Rams are allowing an average of two running back touchdowns per game, and as we saw Monday night Mike Singletary wants to run the ball more and clearly has sway over Mike Martz. More Gore touches equals more Gore production, and that equals big fantasy numbers.

WR Isaac Bruce
Jason Hill




S3 Would you believe the Rams have held wide receivers without a touchdown in four of their last five games and allowed just one 100-yard game in their past eight? There's not nearly as much fantasy pie here as you'd like to believe, and with Singletary calling more runs and multiple mouths to feed you'd be hard-pressed to identify one worthy of a fantasy start. You could play the revenge card of Bruce against the Rams, or you could identify Jason Hill as the recipient of more brotherly love from Shaun; at least you know Arnaz Battle and Josh Morgan (both ruled out) won't be stealing looks.
TE Vernon Davis S3

It's actually not a bad matchup for Vernon: the Rams are allowing roughly 60 tight end yards per game over their last five contests, and Davis has reappeared on the radar wit (in chronological order) a six-catch, 75 yard outing against Philly; four catches prior to a stupid penalty and a spat with his new coach; and a TD last Monday prompted by an excessive celebration penalty. Hey, at least he's not boring. And if for some reason you find yourself stuck at the tight end position this week, you could do worse.

DT 49ers B I'm not giving them an S until Singletary suits up.

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