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Start/Bench List - Week 6
John Tuvey
Updated: October 16, 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)
Cleveland (1-4) at Pittsburgh (3-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson

Even when he was good—yes, Virginia, there was a time when Anderson was a Pro Bowl quarterback—he struggled against the Steelers, with a high game of 186 yards in three attempts. Pittsburgh has allowed 236 or more passing yards in four of five this year, but the Browns have made it to that statistical marker just once thus far. And after Anderson completed a grand total of two passes last week, it would take some serious cajones—or quite possibly a brain injury—to start him on the road against the defending Super Bowl champs.

RB Jamal Lewis


The Browns' ground game has produced back-to-back 100-yard games, and the Steelers will be without run-stuffing DE Aaron Smith. Plus, Jamal put up 94 yards on 23 carries against Pittsburgh in last season's finale. Okay, I tried; just can't work up enough enthusiasm for the moribund Cleveland offense despite the recent success. Ced Benson's 76 yards and a score is the high water mark for a Steeler opponent; tough to see Lewis equalling, let alone bettering, that performance.

RB Jerome Harrison


It was a nice run. But his touches went from 21 and 34 sans Jamal to eight last week. That's not nearly enough for him to be banked on for fantasy help.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi

The Steelers have allowed one WR TD every game; does that mean the Browns have to have one? If so, Massaquoi is your guoi... sorry, guy. You know, seeing as he's just two weeks removed from that 8-148 afternoon and was the only wideout to catch a pass last week. That's far too thin a peg on which to hang your fantasy hopes.

TE Steve Heiden
Robert Royal


Heiden has outperformed Royal each of the past two weeks. That's a little like the Royals taking two out of three from the Pirates in a spring training series. Even the bigger share of nothing is still nothing.

DT Browns B Truth be told, the Browns have a better shot at scoring with Joshua Cribbs on the field than they do with their regular offense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2

Big Ben has multiple touchdowns in two straight and has topped 275 yards in three straight and four of five. The Bills didn't do much against Cleveland last week but the previous three QBs all threw for at least 230 yards and all four opposing clubs other than the Bills had at least one TD toss. Roethlisberger didn't even make it to 200 yards against Cleveland last year, but in wins by a combined 41-6 he didn't really have to throw. No need to sit him because of the matchup.

RB Rashard Mendenhall
Willie Parker


The Browns are giving up 194 yards from scrimmage to opposing backs and have already ceded eight RB TDs. Parker practiced fully all week and should return for at least some share of the carries. Mendenhall missed a day of practice with flu-like symptoms but was back Friday and is expected to start. Both are decent fantasy plays against Celveland.

WR Santonio Holmes
Hines Ward

There's nothing in the matchup to suggest either Steeler wideout needs to sit. Holmes scored in last season's series while Ward was the more consistent producer; in other words, business as usual. Teams that have wanted to throw on the Browns have had success (Ochocinco two TDs, Derrick Mason 5-118-1), and the Steelers don't mind tossing the ball around.

WR Mike Wallace

Slot guys have had success (Percy Harvin scored, Brandon Stokley had five grabs for 70 yards) against the Browns, but with the running game and Ward/Holmes taking their bites first there simply might not be enough pie to go around.

TE Heath Miller

The Browns haven't seen much in the way of tight end talent this season, so don't be mislead by the mere 19 catches, 186 yards, and one TD they've allowed to the position. Miller has played his way into an every-week start in TE-mandatory leagues, and there's no reason to shy away from him here.

DT Steelers S1 Troy Polamalu is likely to return; as if that weren't enough, they get to face Derek Anderson. Oh, and the Browns have scored seven points or less in four of their last five against Pittsburgh.
Kansas City (0-5) at Washington (2-3) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel

The Skins have yet to allow multiple TD tosses in a game; then again, they haven't exactly been facing a murderer's row of quarterbacks (Eli Manning followed by Bulger, Stafford, Josh Johnson, and Delhomme). Cassel has thrown two TDs in each of the past three games, with increasing yardage each week, so don't sit him because you fear the wrath of the Washington secondary.

RB Larry Johnson


LJ is going to get his carries; despite a 2.4 yards per carry average, he's still getting close to 20 carries a game. Washington is giving up 3.8 ypc, which means Johnson might be looking at a season high this week—yep, topping his 78-yard output from a couple weeks back. Tough to see a touchdown coming out of the KC backfield, though, as they don't have one yet and the Redskins have only allowed two on the year.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

Bowe has only failed to score in one game this season, and he was limited in that tilt by a calf injury. The Chiefs' passing game isn't producing gaudy numbers, but Bowe is consistently delivering 60 yards and a touchdown. Washington's defense has been adequate against the pass but is no reason to shy away from Bowe this week.

WR Mark Bradley
Bobby Wade


Wade and Bradley are junior partners in the KC passing game, good for the occasional touchdown but worthy of fantasy consideration only in the largest of PPR leagues.

TE Sean Ryan


Sure, Jeff King found the end zone against Washington last week. But no tight end has broken 30 yards against the Redskins since Kevin Boss in Week 1, and Ryan is too inconsistent a part of an average offense to use this week.

DT Chiefs B It's not as if the Redskins are an offensive juggernaut, but the Chiefs defense isn't doing anything to warrant fantasy attention even in a bye week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell S2

This will be the true test for Jim Zorn's offense. Every passing game the Chiefs have faced has mustered at least 292 yards and multiple touchdown tosses... except the Raiders. So, are the Redskins that bad? We've actually seen signs of life in Washington, so given the fantasy-friendly match-up Campbell makes a decent bye week plug in.

RB Clinton Portis S2 Opposing backs haven't exactly been stymied by the Chiefs, who are giving up about 125 rushing yards and one RB rushing TD per game. Since Portis isn't sharing the carries, all of that is his for the taking. Unfortunately Clinton hasn't been taking his expected share in other cupcake match-ups (79 vs. the Rams and 42 vs. the Lions spring to mind), but maybe he's healthier now; he did rush for 98 yards against the Bucs and scored twice last week against Carolina, so there's not nearly as much risk plugging him into what should be a very fantasy-frienldy match-up.
WR Santana Moss


How can you not like Moss's chances against the Chiefs one week after Miles Austin snapped off a pair of long touchdowns en route to a 10-250-2 afternoon? It's not like DeSean Jackson (6-149-1) and Steve Smith (11-134-2) haven't already gone there against Kansas City, or that Moss didn't similarly abuse the Lions for 10-178-1. Speed (and poor tackling) kills the Chiefs, and Moss has plenty of speed.

TE Chris Cooley S3

Cooley is being called on more frequently to help with the blocking; last week those duties took him completely off of Campbell's radar. The Chiefs have trouble covering tight ends—four of the five they've faced have caught at least four balls for 41 yards; the other has to catch passes from JaMarcus Russell—so Cooley should find his way back into the offensive game plan this week.

DT Redskins S3 Washington's defense hasn't been much of a fantasy factor, but if your league tracks points allowed it's worth noting that KC hasn't topped 20 points since Week 1 and the Skins haven't allowed more than 20 points since Week 1.

Carolina (1-3) at Tampa Bay (0-5)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme S3 It's the classic battle between the movable object—a Tampa Bay defense that's allowed multiple passing touchdowns in every game this year—and the resistible force of Jake Delhomme, who hasn't thrown more than one touchdown in a game since Week 8 of last season. You shouldn't bench Delhomme because of the match-up... but you can't be blamed for benching him because you expect a repeat of last season's second meeting, when the Carolina run game overpowered Tampa and Jake threw just 20 passes.

DeAngelo Williams

S2 Those who spent a first-round pick on DeAngelo on draft day did so with visions of his Week 14 slaughter of the Buccaneers in mind. It's easy to remember the 19-186-2; it's not so easy to recall the 11-27 Williams posted on the Bucs in the earlier meeting in Tampa. So starting Williams this week is not without risk. However, Tampa Bay's defense has proven to be nothing like its predecessors, so you can be reasonably confident DeAngelo can deliver something along the lines of what seven other backs have done to the Bucs—rush for 98 yards, or score a touchdown, or both.

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Stewart's 15-115-2 against the Bucs last year was lost in the glow of Williams' big day. But it's clear Tampa Bay is giving up enough backfield production to go around, so there's no reason to think Stewart won't find the end zone for a second straight week.
WR Steve Smith S2

You have to go back to 2003 to find a game in which both Smith and Jake Delhomme played against the Bucs where Smith didn't score or have 100 yards. Eventually that string will have to end, but with Tampa Bay giving up 150 yards and two touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers it's a tough sell to think that "eventually" comes this week. Smith was back for a full practice on Friday, so there should be no injury concerns here.

WR Muhsin Muhammad

Muhammy has been targeted more than Smith each of the past two games, but there's little question he's the second option. And while the Bucs let secondary options score on them in each of the first two games, the past two weeks they've limited the damage to just the No. 1 receiver. So expect the same ol' same ol' from Muhammad: something in the five catch for 50 yard neighborhood and a front-row seat while Steve Smith does his thing.

TE Dante Rosario
Jeff King

Panther tight ends have scored in three straight games, but last week it was King stealing the looks from Rosario. There's not enough here to feed two mouths, even against a Bucs defense that's allowed four of the five starting TEs they've faced to top 50 yards.

DT Panthers B It's a young quarterback who threw three picks last week, but Carolina's defense has done little to warrant you placing your fantasy faith in them.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Johnson S3

The Bucs would much rather run the ball than have Johnson throw 50 passes again. And it's gonna take a ton of passes for Johnson to put up helpful fantasy numbers. At home, the safer bet is that Tampa finds success against one of the league's more fantasy-friendly run defenses—limiting Johnson's attempts, and in turn his fantasy value. Only the 40 yards per game Johnson is picking up on the ground salvage him in performance leagues.

RB Carnell Williams


The Bucs ground game should be working against a Carolina defense that's giving up 125 RB rushing yards per game and has allowed three RB rushing TDs plus three more scores to backs via the pass. In addition to seeing more carries than Ward, Williams also has more catches, so he'll have multiple opportunities to exploit the Panther defense.

RB Derrick Ward


Ward is averaging the same 4.1 yards per carry as Cadillac; he's just getting about three fewer touches per game to do so. Against Carolina, there should be enough on the table for both Buc backs to get a little somethin'.

WR Antonio Bryant


Carolina has allowed just one wide receiver touchdown this season—matching the total posted by both Bryant and the entire Buccaneers wide receiver corps. Bryant's 9-200-2 game from Week 14 of last year seems like more than just 10 months ago, and anything close to a repeat of that with Johnson at the helm is extremely unlikely. Bryant gets the borderline nod here because he's been Johnson's favorite downfield target, but truth be told Kellen Winslow is the better play in combo WR/TE leagues.

WR Michael Clayton
Sammie Stroughter

Clayton and Stroughter both got looks from Johnson last week, but between Carolina's secondary and the expected success of the Tampa Bay running game—not to mention the fact that there are at least two receivers ahead of this duo in the pecking order—neither warrants fantasy attention this week.

TE Kellen Winslow

The Panthers must have watched some film during the bye week; after being beat up by Brent Celek (6-37-1), Tony Gonzalez (7-71-1), and Jason Witten (9-77), they regrouped to shut out Chris Cooley completely last week. Winslow isn't likely to be asked to block quite as much as Cooley was last week, so he should continue to be Johnson's favorite target.

DT Buccaneers S3 Carolina is giving up a defensive touchdown every other game, and they're due this week. Between Jake Delhomme's penchant for picks and Aqib Talib's ball-hawking, there's a chance the Tampa D pulls a throwback of their own and brings a tear to Warren Sapp's eye.
Arizona (2-2) at Seattle (2-3) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S2

It's unlikely Warner fears Seattle's 12th man; he threw for a season-high 395 yards there last year and 337 and three the year before that. So expect a fate less like David Garrard and Marc Bulger, both of whom were scoreless in Seattle, and much more like Jay Cutler's 247 and three. Warner has thrown for at least 243 yards in every game this year, so even if the TDs aren't there this time around the yardage should be.

RB Tim Hightower
Chris "Beanie" Wells
B The Seahawks have held Steven Jackson, Matt Forte, and Maurice Jones-Drew to a combined 167 yards in their visits to Seattle this season. That's a pretty formidable trio to have shut down, so it would be folly to think whatever miniscule touches the Cardinals give their backfield duo will result in fantasy help this week.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin

Arizona receivers beat up the Seahawks last year, which is hardly a shock since they beat up pretty much everybody. Fitz posted games of 10-151 and 5-130-2, while Boldin rolled a 13-186 in the lone meeting he played in. The Bears had two wideouts top 70 yards in Seattle, while the Colts had two score and three exceed 70 in their Week 4 win over the Seahawks; in other words, there's plenty to go around this year as well.

WR Steve Breaston

Breaston had a 5-91-1 game against Seattle when Boldin was out of the lineup, so he knows his way around the Seahawk secondary. He's being targeted just as frequently as Fitz and Boldin, and the fact that half of the WR TDs Seattle has surrendered have gone to secondary targets will not be lost on Warner. Breaston was limited all week in practice and is listed as questionable, but this is the same knee injury that's bugged him all year and he's still managed 16 catches for 243 yards in three games.

DT Cardinals B The combo platter of Seattle's banged up offensive line and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's ball-hawking skills is tempting, but not quite tempting enough to warrant a fantasy start.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S1 Hasselbeck has multiple touchdown tosses and at least 241 passing yards in each of his two home starts; the Cardinals have allowed multiple scoring strikes and at least 282 passing yards in three straight games. This could very easily resemble Hasselbeck's 2007 effort against the Cards, when he ripped them for 272 and four.
RB Julius Jones

Jones went belly-up as a fantasy play last week, in no small part because Edgerrin James and Justin Forsett siphoned 22 carries (and 89 yards) as this game went to garbage time early. At least we think Edge got the work because of Seattle's big lead. Jones' upside against an Arizona run D that hasn't allowed a back to top 66 rushing yards this season isn't worth the risk that maybe Greg Knapp wants to turn this into an RBCC.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Nate Burleson


Primary receivers have posted three straight 100-yard games and four TDs in that span against the Arizona secondary. So... does that trend favor Burleson or Housh? Burly actually has more catches for more yards and more TDs in the two full games with Hasselbeck, so if you're splitting hairs he's the better play. But there should be plenty left over for Housh against a defense that's giving up 187 wide receiver yards per game.

TE John Carlson
S3 Carlson scored twice in the season opener with Hass at the helm, but he was largely ignored last week. Arizona largely ignores the tight end, having allowed an average of six catches for 70 yards to the position with two TE TDs in four games. Carlson is still on Hasselbeck's radar, and he's a solid play in TE-mandatory leagues this week.
DT Seahawks S3 They've pitched two shutouts in three home dates. It's unlikely they'll do the same to Arizona, but you have to figure that 12th man could help contribute to a miscue Seattle turns into a defensive touchdown.
Philadelphia (3-1) at Oakland (1-4) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb

Eli Manning dented the mighty Raiders defense for two TDs last week, so you have to believe a Philly passing game that has produced multiple touchdown tosses in every game this season regardless of quarterback should be able to do the same. Yardage hasn't been as gaudy with McNabb at the helm, and an Oakland defense that is giving up around 225 a game might be stingy in that area as well.

RB Brian Westbrook S2

That Westbrook and McCoy equally split the touches last week was as much a product of Philly's blowout win as anything else. However, neither was particularly productive and that leads to some trepidation heading into this week. Not that Oakland has been all that stout against the run, giving up an average of 145 RB rushing yards per game and six RB TDs in five games. But used to be you looked at a game like this and thought Westy might get 150 yards from scrimmage and score twice; now you're hoping for a touchdown on one of Westy's reduced number of touches to salvage what looks to be a fairly ordinary 80-yard day. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

RB LeSean McCoy U

McCoy has yet to do anything compelling while sharing carries with Westbrook, so this is hardly a sure thing. But both Denver and the Giants received fantasy value from both backs in their committee, while understudies like Ryan Moates (56 rushing yards), Dantrell Savage (69 yards from scrimmage) and Darren Sproles (66 combo yards and a touchdown) all carved out fantasy production as well. So we're sayin' there's a chance.

WR DeSean Jackson
S2 The good news is that after Maclin's big game last week maybe the Raiders won't know where to direct shutdown corner Nnamdi Asomugha and the Eagle wideouts will take turns finding room in the Oakland secondary. Neither is likely to top 70 yards (Bobby Wade's 72 is the high water mark against Oakland this year), but seven opposing wideouts have tallied at least 49 yards against the Raiders, and five have scored. So you're looking at a pair of good-not-great outings, with Jackson the more likely of the two to find the end zone; hence the S2.
WR Jeremy Maclin
S3 Maclin has zoomed past Jason Avent and is pushing Jackson for the role of Philly's top fantasy receiver—especially after Jackson's one-catch effort last week while Maclin was going off for 6-142-2. If, however, that draws the attention of Asomugha that's bad news for Maclin this week. As it stands, between a pretty good Oakland secondary and the risk that last week was flash-not-trend for the rookie, Jackson remains the safer fantasy play.
TE Brent Celek

S3 Celek is going to get his—his worst game this season is four catches for 58 yards—and remains a must-start in TE-mandatory leagues. But the Raiders have blanked tight ends thus far this year and allowed only Antonio Gates to top 50 yards against them, so Celek is a bit riskier of a fantasy play in combo WR/TE leagues.
DT Eagles S1 The Eagles blitzing JaMarcus Russell? Doesn't really seem fair. Maybe they'll have to count "one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi" and then go after him.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

The Eagles have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in three straight and... oh, wait, this is JaMarcus Russell we're talking about here. The starting quarterback who hasn't thrown a touchdown or topped 128 passing yards since Week 1. Put it this way: if he's on a roster in your fantasy league, either your league is entirely too big... or say hello to JaMarcus' mom for me at the next league meeting.

RB Michael Bush


Only one opposing back has topped 40 yards against the Eagles, and they haven't allowed an RB TD since Week 2. Bush has the Raiders' only touchdown since Week 2, but he had to share carries last week with Justin Fargas. Were he getting the entire workload a mild case could be made for Bush based on his abilities as a pass catcher and the Eagles having allowed four different backs at least 30 receiving yards. But there isn't enough going on in the Oakland offense to support one fantasy starter, let alone a guy who has to give up half his touches.


Louis Murphy

B Here's a list of people who were just two yards away from leading Oakland wide receivers in yardage last week: everybody on the freaking planet. Nary a Raider wideout has scored since Murphy in Week 1, and so long as Russell is running the show the odds are against that changing any time soon.
TE Zack Miller B

Philly couldn't stop Kellen Winslow last week, so there's hope Miller can at least provide his usual four or five catches for 50 or so yards. But a touchdown is unlikely, so odds are you can do better.

DT Raiders B Over the past three weeks they've been outscored 96-16. 'Nuff said.

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