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Start/Bench List - Week 5
John Tuvey
Updated: October 9, 2009
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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)

New England (3-1) at Denver (4-0)

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New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S3

Shutting out Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell is one thing... but the Broncos have also shut out Carson Palmer and Tony Romo, holding each under 260 yards as well. Brady should provide Denver's stiffest test yet, but with just two touchdowns in his last three games he has issues as well. Yardage shouldn't be a problem; Brady is averaging 282 per game, and as indicated earlier legitimate quarterbacks can get theirs against Denver. But multiple touchdowns against a defense that hasn't allowed a single passing score yet might be trickier—especially when you consider that Denver's coach used to spend his time overseeing Brady and the New England offense. Brady is still a starter, but don't expect vintage 2007 numbers.

RB Laurence Maroney
Kevin Faulk
Sammy Morris

In the battle of the RBBCs, don't look for fantasy help on the visiting side. Denver has surrendered just two RB TDs thus far this year and is giving up about 70 yards per game on the ground and another 45 via the air. On the bright side, Fred Taylor's ankle surgery has removed him from this committee—though don't kid yourself, that just opens a slot for BenJarvis Green-Ellis to get promoted to junior partner.

WR Randy Moss
S2 This isn't necessarily the same defense that held Moss to 5-69 but gave up two touchdowns in last year's meeting. Moss has shredded the softer secondaries of Buffalo and Atlanta, but the Jets and Ravens have held him to a combined seven catches for 74 yards and a score. Guess which category Champ Bailey and a Denver defense that hasn't given up a passing score yet this season fall into? You can't bench Moss, but it'll take yeoman's work for him to match last year's yardage numbers and score half the touchdowns.
WR Wes Welker
S3 What little the Broncos have given up through the air has gone to bigger targets like Chad Ochocinco (5-89) and Braylon Edwards (6-92). Welker offers a different sort of challenge, but like Moss he was limited by Denver last year to the tune of 6-63-1. He'd do well to reprise those numbers. Note that Welker was once again limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable, but he's been down that road before and showed up on Sunday.
WR Julian Edelman
Sam Aiken
B Denver is barely offering up enough for two wideouts; no need to dig this deep into the Patriots receiver rotation. If Welker comes up lame by the end of the week, however, Edelman comes back into play as a borderline start.
TE Ben Watson B Jason Witten posted the best game by a tight end against the Broncos this season: four catches, 31 yards. Watson isn't Witten, and while Brady loves to spread the ball around and comes to Watson three or four times a game banking on him to put up helpful fantasy numbers is a stretch.
DT Patriots S3 If Josh McDaniels is running a Patriots-style offense, who better to stop them than the Patriots themselves?
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton B

Orton has cobbled together decent yardage but has just five touchdown tosses in four games. The Patriots are allowing similar scores and a little less yardage. If it comes down to backing Orton running New England's offense or New England's defense stopping their West Coast clone... well, do you really want to bet against Bill Belichick?


Correll Buckhalter

B The General has been ruled out of this contest with a a bum wheel. That should mean a heavier workload for...

Knowshon Moreno

S2 ...the rookie, who has already been averaging 16 touches and 70 combo yards a game. Assuming the RBBC doesn't rear its ugly head and throw a disproportionate number of touches to LaMont Jordan, Moreno's touches should drift north of 20 and lead to solid fantasy numbers against a defense that let Fred Jackson and Ray Rice amass better than 140 yards from scrimmage
WR Brandon Marshall

With scores in his last two games, Marshall is reasserting himself as Denver's go-to receiver. He still has to do much of the work on his own, as Orton's throws are still more horizontal than vertical, but as last week's game-winning catch and run against the Cowboys demonstrated he's up to the challenge. Opportunities will be limited against a secondary that's allowed just one WR TD this year, but Marshall's big play ability has too much upside to stash on the bench.

WR Eddie Royal
Brandon Stokley
Jabar Gaffney

The last two weeks Marshall has produced nine catches for 158 yards and two scores; the rest of Denver's wideouts have combined for eight catches, 67 yards, and zero touchdowns. Mark Clayton's 5-45 last week was the biggest outing the Patriots have ceded to a secondary receiver; if that's the upside, there's no one of use to you here.

TE Tony Scheffler


After surrendering tight end touchdowns in each of their first two games, the Patriots have gotten their act together and held Tony Gonzalez and Todd Heap to a combined five catches for 62 yards. That's a touch match-up, especially for a guy who has six catches on the year.

DT Broncos S3 They're allowing less than a touchdown per game, they're playing at home, and the Patriots have already served up two defensive scores this season. That's not a bad trifecta of trends.

Jacksonville (2-2) at Seattle (1-3)

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S3

Garrard already has road issues—he has yet to throw a TD on the road and is averaging more than 130 yards less away from Jacksonville than in front of the home folks—and Seattle offers one of the least hospitable environments in the league. Dial back your expectations, but don't bench him entirely; after shutting down Marc Bulger and Shaun Hill the Seahawks secondary is starting to look a whole lot more like last year's fantasy-friendly version, allowing 600 yards and five touchdowns over the past two games.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Visiting running backs have found little success in Seattle: all four of the RB TDs the Seahawks have surrendered have come on the road. MoJo, however, travels extremely well with 270 combo yards and four touchdowns in two away games. If Garrard is going to struggle, it'll be up to MoJo to shoulder the load. He found the end zone against the significantly tougher Titans' run D, so no need to worry about him here.


Mike Sims-Walker

S2 Over the past three games Sims-Walker has firmly established himself as Garrard's go-to guy; he's been targeted more frequently than any other receivers, resulting in more catches, more yardage, and more touchdowns. Seattle hasn't been lit up as badly as last year, but they haven't exactly shut folks down, either; five different wideouts have rolled up at least 70 yards. Sims-Walker is averaging 6-90-1 over the past three games, and that feels like a solid approximation of what he'll do on Sunday.

Torry Holt

B Holt scored in his last game against the Seahawks, last year as a member of the Rams, but he's become merely a second banana in Jacksonville. With MoJo expected to do the heavy lifting and Sims-Walker taking most of what Garrard serves up, Holt is looking at a pedestrian 5-50; maybe that's helpful in larger PPR leagues, but in most situations that plants him firmly on the bench.

Marcedes Lewis

B Lewis has had two big home games (totalling 7-138-2) and two forgettable road trips (a combined 4-41). The Seahawks have given up at least 32 yards to every tight end they've faced, but only one has found the end zone. The upside here is adequate yardage but an extremely slim shot at a score; you should be able to do better.
DT Jaguars B

Even if it's Seneca Wallace again instead of Matt Hasselbeck, it's tough to see Jacksonville's D making any fantasy noise on the road.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2 Jacksonville's secondary hasn't offered much resistance this season—but they've been especially fantasy-friendly on the road, allowing an average of 300 yards and two touchdowns away from Jacksonville. Hasselbeck threw for 278 and three in the home opener, then left the next game with a busted rib. Listed as probable for this week, Hasselbeck practiced fully on Friday and should make a triumphant return here—to Seattle, to the Seahawks' lineup, and to your fantasy squad.
RB Julius Jones

You wanna play the home-road card? Jones has a total of 44 yards from scrimmage in two road games and an average of 136 and 1 in two home dates. The Jags have given up at least 115 combo yards to running backs in every game this year, setting Jones up nicely for a helpful fantasy afternoon.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Nate Burleson


There should be enough to make both Seahawk receivers happy. The Jaguars have already allowed five different wideouts to top 85 yards and two more to top 65, so both Housh and Burly are in line for decent yardage. Three of the five WR TDs Jacksonville has ceded have gone to No. 1s; that's not a particularly strong trend, and the way Burleson has played of late a case could be made for either Seahawk being the No. 1. Either way, both are good fantasy plays this week.

TE John Carlson
S3 You're not about to bench Carlson and his eight targets per game in TE-mandatory leagues, but keep your expectations in line; the Jaguars have already seen both Dallas Clark and Owen Daniels—on the road, no less—and held both to less than 40 yards though Daniels found the end zone, the only TE TD the Jags have allowed this season. On the plus side, Hasselbeck hit Carlson for a pair of touchdowns in his last full game.
DT Seahawks B Jacksonville doesn't turn the ball over much and Seattle's defense is still a bit banged up; if you're using the Seahawks' D here you're banking on big help from the 12th man.

Indianapolis (4-0) at Tennessee (0-4)

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

A red-hot Manning—with four straight 300-yard games—against a Titans' D that's allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other squad? Sign me up!

RB Joseph Addai
Donald Brown
B Indy backs have had some success against Tennessee in the past—last year, for example, Dominic Rhodes produced 109 combo yards in the first meeting—but there's no reason to expect Indy to stray from the path of least resistance. Against the Titans right now that's the air, leaving Addai and Brown to divvy up 120 or so yards from scrimmage and maybe a touchdown. There's too much risk—and too little upside—in this guessing game to make either a viable fantasy entity.
WR Reggie Wayne

No. 1 receivers are killing the Titans to the tune of 34 catches, 479 yards, and six touchdowns through the first month of the season. Wayne's been no slouch himself with two 100-yard efforts and three touchdowns already this season. Bring these two trends together and you can't be faulted for expecting ginormous things.

WR Pierre Garcon
S3 Secondary targets have been getting a smaller share of the pie, but with Manning throwing and the Titans trying to defend that pie should be big enough to feed Garcon this week. In the three games since Anthony Gonzalez went down with a knee injury Garcon has racked up 183 yards and two touchdowns; don't bet against him hitting those averages again here.
WR Austin Collie
U The rookie scored his first NFL touchdown last week, but he's still Manning's fourth option and a longshot for fantasy help this week. Then again, this is the most permissive secondary in the NFL...
TE Dallas Clark S1

Throw out a pair of meaningless Week 17 matchups and Clark has 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns in his last two against the Titans. Considering Tennessee has surrendered TE scores in three straight games and Clark has 22 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns over that same span, it's tough to imagine a better fantasy play at tight end.

DT Colts S3 A desperate Titans team that's been turning the ball over of late meets an opportunistic Indy defense that can get after the quarterback. There might be something here if you're looking for a bye-week plug-in.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins B

Only two teams have allowed fewer passing touchdowns thus far this year than the Colts, and Collins hasn't exactly been tearing up the gridiron with just one multi-touchdown game. If the Titans are to get off the schneid it will come on the backs of their ground game, so Collins' upside here is a little more than 200 yards and a touchdown; your fantasy squad can do better.

RB Chris Johnson S2

You have to go back to 2005 to find a meaningful Indy/Titans game in which Tennessee didn't squeeze at least 25 carries out of their backfield. And with Johnson accounting for a larger share of the touches now—something in the neighborhood of 75 percent—you have to like his chances of putting up Maurice Jones-Drew (123 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown) or Ronnie Brown (136 rushing yards and two scores) numbers.

RB LenDale White B

LenDale has three touchdowns in the last two meaningful games between these clubs—but both of those games came when White was still getting double-digit carries. This has become Johnson's show, and until the Titans are providing White with more regular red zone totes he's an iffy play at best.

WR Nate Washington
S3 There doesn't project to be much available in the Tennessee passing game, but Washington makes the most logical fantasy start of the bunch. His targets continue to trend upwards and he's scored in three straight games.
WR Kenny Britt
U Britt's looks are also trending upward, and last week he posted the first 100-yard game of the year by a Titans wideout. But he's still looking for his first NFL score and needs to show more consistency before you can trust him in your fantasy lineup.
WR Justin Gage

B Gage was Tennessee's go-to guy in Week 1; since then he's managed just seven catches for 79 yards and seen his role usurped by Nate Washington. He's the third-best option on a run-first team facing a shutdown pass defense; in other words, fantasy bench fodder.
TE Alge Crumpler
B Tennessee now has three tight ends sharing in the looks; none of them make good fantasy plays against a defense that has given up 91 yards and zero touchdowns to the position through four games this year.
DT Titans B There's no question Tennessee's defense is capable of big things; this year, however, they've shown none of the old swagger and it's unlikely that returns against Peyton Manning this week.

New York Jets (3-1) at Miami (1-3)

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New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

At this stage of his career Sanchez is a lot closer to Trent Edwards than to Peyton Manning or Phillip Rivers; as such, expect his numbers to be a lot closer to the 192 and one Edwards posted than the 300 yards both Manning and Rivers hung on the Dolphins. Three games with under 175 yards and an equal number with one or zero touchdown tosses set the level for Sanchez, and that level isn't one of a fantasy starter.

RB Thomas Jones
Leon Washington

No back has had much success against the Dolphins thus far this year; Michael Turner ground out 65 rushing yards, while Fred Jackson's 68 combo yards last week was the high mark against Miami. The Jets tend to stick with the run longer than most, but that still means each is chasing something in the neighborhood of 70 yards from scrimmage with one touchdown between them. The upside of the Jets' ground game suggests either could be plugged into larger performance leagues, but temper your expectations.

WR Jerricho Cotchery


Cotch scored in the first meeting between these clubs last year, and with Chansi Stuckey shipped to Cleveland he'll be the primary receiver until Braylon Edwards becomes acclimated with his new squad. He's been a steady enough producer, averaging six catches for 90 yards, that he's a safe fantasy start.

WR Braylon Edwards


Maybe the Jets traded for Edwards because they knew he scored three touchdowns the last time he faced the Dolphins. Probably not, but it makes for a nice story. Regardless of how similar Eric Mangini's current offense is to what the Jets are running now, it's going to take Edwards some time to get on the same page with Sanchez; think of how Roy Williams transitioned to Dallas last year. He may see some snaps in this game, but his role will be limited. And it's not as you're going out of your way to start receivers against a Dolphins defense that's allowed just two WR TDs and one wideout to top 65 yards thus far this year.

TE Dustin Keller

On paper Miami looks soft against tight ends; look closer and you'll see that the damage was caused by Tony Gonzalez (5-73-1), Dallas Clark (7-183-1), and Antonio Gates (5-64)—three of the best in the league. Keller's not in that category yet, so don't expect much from him here.

DT Jets S3 This isn't likely to be a shootout, and Rex Ryan is bound to come up with some things Chad Henne has never even seen before.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne B

Henne threw for 115 and one in his first NFL start. It isn't likely to get much better against a Jets defense that will blitz him mercilessly and has allowed just one touchdown pass through four games this season.


Ronnie Brown


On the one hand, Brown has been money in Miami this year with 251 yards and four touchdowns in two home games. On the other, it was Rex Ryan's Ravens who put the kibosh on the Wildcat last year. It's unlikely Brown rolls up gaudy numbers for a third straight home date, but don't bank against a solid fantasy line.


Ricky Williams


Williams has been a solid wingman, especially at home where he's carried 35 times for 154 yards and a touchdown. The Jets haven't been leaving enough on the table for seconds, so while Brown should get his it's tough to see enough for Williams to help your fantasy squad as well.

WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Davonne Bess
Greg Camarillo
Brian Hartline

B Ginn's key drops have dropped him into a receiver rotation. Seeing as Henne is producing barely enough for one wideout to post significant fantasy numbers—and the Jets aren't much help, having allowed only one WR TD and no 100-yard games this season—there's nothing here that should be on your fantasy radar.
TE Anthony Fasano


Fasano was a significant part of the Miami offense last year; in fact, he scored in both ends of the season series with Miami. This season, he has four catches in four games and is all but an afterthought—for both the Phins and your fantasy squad.

DT Dolphins S3 Not only is this likely to be a low-scoring affair, not only is Sanchez still a rookie, but the Jets have already ceded three defensive scores and the Dolphins produced one of their own last week.

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