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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 7
John Tuvey
Updated: October 23, 2009
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Sunday Early
Sunday Early
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
Sunday Night
Bye Week
BAL, DEN,
Monday Night
DET, JAC,
 
SEA, TEN
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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 (4-2) at Tampa Bay (0-6) Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S1

Jake Delhomme was the first quarterback the Bucs have faced this season who didn't throw for multiple touchdowns against them. Expect Brady, fresh off his six-pack against the Titans, to start that streak up again. He's also averaging 287 yards per game, which should translate well against a Tampa Bay defense that's already given up 353 to Tony Romo and 264 to Donovan McNabb.

RB Laurence Maroney

S2

With both Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris left on this side of the pond, the backfield gig falls to Maroney by default. He looked pretty good in the snow against a downtrodden Titans D, and he should have similar success against a Bucs' defense that has allowed four 100-yard rushers—two last week alone—and two more 90-yard backs.

RB

BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Kevin Faulk

U

You know the Pats won't give all the carries to one back, so there's bound to be some bye-week help here. Green-Ellis turned his first seven carries of the season into 67 yards last week, just in time for him to play a loud second fiddle against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up touchdowns and 100-yard games to both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart last week. Faulk could assist in PPR leagues, as he's seeing a steady dose of three or so catches per game and last week took one to the house.

WR Randy Moss
S1 If you liked Moss last week, wait until the Brits get a load of him in London on Sunday. The Bucs have allowed 10 WR TDs, eight of them from 32 yards and out (7 from 40 and out, four of at least 50 yards... you get the idea), so get used to seeing Moss running free behind the Buccaneer secondary.
WR Wes Welker
S1 Another way to score a long touchdown? Take a slant and make a tackler miss. Sounds like a recipe for a big day from Welker as well.
WR Sam Aiken
U Julian Edelman has a busted arm and Joey Galloway got cut, leaving Aiken as the Patriots' third receiver. Against the Bucs, who gave up scores to all three Cowboy wideouts in the opener, that might warrant a fantasy play in a week where six teams are on the bye.
TE Ben Watson S2 Four tight ends have amassed at least 58 yards against the Buccaneers, and two have scored. Watson was omitted from last week's fun, but it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out he's a decent play in TE-mandatory leagues this week.
DT Patriots S2 They pitched a shutout last week and get another winless team this week—one with an inexperienced quarterback, no less. Gotta like Bill Belichick in that chess match.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Johnson B

Certainly last week's snow numbers skew the New England pass defense stats, but it's not as if you should expect much from Johnson anyway; he's topped 150 yards just once in three NFL starts and that took 50 attempts for him to do. Even if he chips in his usual 40 rushing yards, he's still not a good fantasy start here.

RB Carnell Williams


S3

Cadillac is back to taking the bulk of the workload, and against the Patriots that should mean at least serviceable numbers; over the past month New England is giving up an average of 95 rushing yards per game to opposing feature backs. A touchdown isn't likely, though Williams would double his chances of finding the end zone with any work he does in the passing game.

RB Derrick Ward
B

Ward hasn't seen double-digit touches since Week 2 and at this juncture is barely a blip on the fantasy radar.

WR Antonio Bryant
Sammie Stroughter
Michael Clayton

B

Diminished passing game numbers lead directly to diminished wide receiver totals. The Patriots have been solid against receivers all season, allowing no 100-yard receivers and only Brandon Marshall and Derrick Mason to score. There's nothing in the Tampa Bay receiver corps that compares favorably to either of those players, so bench the lot of them.

TE Kellen Winslow
S3

Winslow has wavered between being Johnson's favorite target and being largely ignored. The Patriots have given up a couple TE TDs this year, so Winslow has as good a shot as any to claim any passing game production the Bucs might generate.

DT Buccaneers S3 The Bucs are allowing 30 points per game and face a team that just scored 59. Tough to like their chances.
 
Buffalo (2-4) at Carolina (2-3) Back to top
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Trent Edwards
B

Edwards was knocked silly last week and has been ruled out of this tilt. That leaves Fitzpatrick, who threw one or zero touchdowns in 11 of 12 starts last year and topped 210 yards just once, to face a defense that's allowed one passer to top 250 yards and shut out two of the past three quarterbacks it has faced.

RB Marshawn Lynch S2

Carolina's defense has been better since their Week 4 bye, holding opposing backs to 93 and 86 yards from scrimmage after allowing an average of 175 through their first three games. Of course, that may have more to do with the lousy Washington and Tampa Bay offenses than any miracle turnaround on the defensive side. The Bills aren't afraid to lean heavily on their backfield tandem, especially if they're working under a backup quarterback. Lynch is still narrowly the lead dog in this duo, which means he should be in line for a little more yardage and the inevitable touchdown; every team to face the Panthers this season has scored at least one RB TD.

RB Fred Jackson
S3

Jackson should pick up the leftover yardage, and with the Panthers allowing 140 RB yards from scrimmage there should be some leftovers. A touchdown is less likely, however, given that all seven of the RB TDs scored against Carolina have come from the opposition's primary ballcarrier.

WR Terrell Owens
Lee Evans
B

The Panthers have allowed only one WR TD and no receiver to top 75 yards this season. Between the tough D and the potential for a backup quarterback, this looks like yet another bench-worthy week for all of Buffalo's passing game. Note that T.O. did not participate in practice on Friday, but it was not injury-related and there are no indications he'll miss this game. Not that you'll be able to tell by the box score.

DT Bills S1 Thanks in no small part to 17 turnovers in five games the Panthers have allowed three defensive touchdowns; they've also given up two return touchdowns. And now they face a Buffalo club that already has two defensive scores on the season and fields one of the league's better special teams/return units? Gotta love the Bills' chances here.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B On the plus side, Delhomme has thrown a touchdown in each of the past four games. On the negative side—and this list is considerably longer—his yardage has gone down each of the past three weeks and would need to slip below 65 to continue that trend; and he faces a Buffalo defense that's allowed just one touchdown pass over the last month.
RB

DeAngelo Williams

S1 Last week Carolina remembered that they run the ball extremely well, with predictably positive results for both Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Let's hope they don't forget which side of the offense butters their bread, because this is another fantastic matchup for the ground game. The Bills have allowed four consecutive 100-yard rushers, concluding with Thomas Jones' 210-yard effort last week, and have given up nine RB TDs thus far this year. Williams turned 30 carries into 152 yards and two touchdowns last week and seems poised for another monster outing here.
RB

Jonathan Stewart

S2 Over the past month, while the Bills have been giving up 100-plus yards to feature backs, they've also let two different backups rush for at least 85 yards. Two backup backs have also scored in the past month, so coming off a 110-yard, one-TD performance of his own Stewart belongs back in fantasy lineups this week. He's listed as questionable, but he practiced fully on both Thursday and Friday so that shouldn't be a concern.
WR Steve Smith B

At this point, if you're starting Smith it's on name value alone. The Panthers don't have a single wide receiver touchdown this season, and Smith has done little since his 131-yard effort in Week 2—a total of 10 catches for 107 yards in three games, to be precise. The Bills have given up just one WR TD on the year and only one receiver to top 67 yards since Week 1, so the task won't get any easier. Tough to bench a guy who was likely a second- or third-round pick, but it's also tough to see him busting out of this slump any time soon.

WR Muhsin Muhammad
B

It's not as if Muhammy has picked up Smith's slack, and with the Bills shutting down receivers and Delhomme ignoring wideouts there's even less to see here.

TE Dante Rosario
Jeff King
B

If Rosario and King, who between them have scored in four straight games, weren't sharing looks they might make an intriguing plug-in play against a Buffalo defense that has allowed four TE TDs already this year. King has the two most recent scores and would be the bye week plug-in play in a pinch, but you should be able to find a more reliable option.

DT Panthers S3 Carolina's defense is starting to come around a little bit, with nine sacks in the past two games. The Panthers are right on the fringe of being a fantasy start; the fact that six teams are on the bye gives them a nudge into S3 territory. If Buffalo is forced to go to the bullpen and use Fitzpatrick this week, they might get nudged further.
 

New York Jets (3-3) at Oakland (2-4)

Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

The Sanchize hasn't reached 200 yards since Week 1 and has one TD toss in his last three games. A trip cross-country to face an Oakland secondary that just shut out Donovan McNabb and has held all but one opposing quarterback to one or zero touchdowns doesn't exactly sound like the recipe for jump-starting his Rookie of the Year campaign.

RB Thomas Jones S1

Fresh off a franchise-record 210-yard effort, Jones gets a Raiders defense that is giving up more than 130 rushing yards and one RB rushing TD per game and has allowed two 100-yard rushers in the past month. Could Jones' record last all of one week?

RB Leon Washington S2

Washington's junior share of the Jets' workload should yield decent yardage; where he'll really help fantasy teams this week is as a receiver. Oakland is giving up more than 50 receiving yards per game to running backs, so add that to whatever Leon gets on the ground and you get a solid fantasy contribution.

WR Braylon Edwards


B

You know about the prowess of Oakland's secondary, but it bears mentioning that over the past three games they've held Andre Johnson, Steve Smith (Giants version), and DeSean Jackson to a combined 11 catches and zero touchdowns. Edwards is an iffy proposition at best—last week he was the only Jets wideout with a reception, yet Buffalo defenders still caught more Mark Sanchez passes than he did—and this week's matchup moves him firmly across the threshold into bench territory.

WR Jerricho Cotchery
David Clowney

B

With Edwards' arrival on Broadway, Cotchery and Clowney have become bit players. Their lines will be few and far between in Oakland—in fact, Cotchery has already been ruled out of this week's tilt —so they'll best serve your team on the bench.

TE Dustin Keller
B

After 94 yards in the first game, Keller has a total of 93 yards in the five games since. The Raiders haven't allowed a tight end touchdown yet this year, and with such a minor role in the offense it's unlikely Keller breaks that maiden.

DT Jets S3 Any time your defense is facing JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders, you have a chance to put some D/ST points on the board.
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

Russell posted his best game of the season last week—224 yards and a touchdown, good enough for the 16th-best fantasy performance among quarterbacks in Week 6. If that's his top end, what are his chances against a Jets' defense that's allowed only four touchdown passes this year and only one QB to top 216 yards? That's a rhetorical question, but if you need an answer it's "not good".

RB Justin Fargas
Michael Bush

S3

Mild optimism abounds! Fargas took the bulk of the carries last week, but Bush would still, we assume, be the goal line guy should Oakland get into that position. With Kris Jenkins lost for the year, the Jets' run defense has been shaky at best; they've allowed four RB TDs and an average of 130 rushing yards per game over the past four month. Since Oakland's preferred method of advancing the ball (next to the incomplete pass, which doesn't really count) is the run, both Fargas and Bush could be considered as worthy of a plug in play this week, especially with six teams on the bye.

WR

Louis Murphy
Chaz Schilens

B The Jets have given up just three WR TDs on the season, and only one opposing wideout has topped 70 yards against them. As bad as those numbers are, they're stats Oakland receivers would kill for. Raider WRs have combined for three catches and six yards the past two weeks, and since Murphy went for 4-87-1 in Week 1 nary a one of them has topped three catches or 34 yards. The possible return of Schilens—he's listed as questionable and was limited in practice on Friday—helps, but not enough to make anything in this unit fantasy-worthy.
TE Zack Miller S3

There's a chance Miller will help you in PPR and performance leagues, though expecting a repeat of last week's insane 86-yard touchdown—the longest Raiders play from scrimmage in 25 years—is foolish. The Jets haven't given up big numbers to tight ends, but he's the lone constant in the Oakland passing game and remains a decent start in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT Raiders S3 A rookie quarterback fresh off a five-pick game, tossed into the Black Hole? If ever there were a recipe for a defensive touchdown, that would be it.
 
Atlanta (4-1) at Dallas (3-2) Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S2

Ryan has multiple touchdown tosses in four of his five starts this season and is averaging 230 yards per contest. He should have little trouble reaching those markers against a Dallas secondary that's allowing more than 260 yards per game and has surrendered multiple TDs in three of the last four.

RB Michael Turner
S3

Contrasting trends here: Turner has the touchdown machine fired up, with scores in his last four games; the Cowboys haven't allowed a running back rushing score since the Bucs tallied two back in Week 1. Dallas has been keeping the yardage down as well, and that's a trend Turner is unlikely to buck. Subdued yardage but a shot at a touchdown; it's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but Turner has plenty of upside to go with what can be expected that you'd better have a really good alternative if you're planting him on the pine.

WR Roddy White S2

White is rounding back into form with touchdowns in three of the last four games. Dallas has surrendered similar to opposing No. 1 targets, so there's no need to worry about White this week.

WR

Michael Jenkins

B

Jenkins has made one foray above 41 yards this season and doesn't have a touchdown. The Cowboys haven't allowed much to secondary targets; aside from the Giants game in which both Steve Smith and Mario Manningham went off, No. 2s have topped out at 42 yards and failed to score. Atlanta has multiple offensive options to sort through before getting to Jenkins; in other words, bench him if you got him.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S2

Gonzo is an every-week starter in TE-mandatory leagues, and he's a solid play in WR/TE combo leagues this week as well. He's already scored thrice this season and topped 50 yards in four of five, and he should feast on a Cowboys defense that has given up two TE TDs despite having faced a limited number of quality players at the position (Kellen WInslow and... that's about it).

DT Falcons B Very little reason to get worked up about a mediocre Falcons defense on the road. So we won't. Get worked up, that is.
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

Romo's been merely okay this year, but what's worse is that his two least-productive fantasy games have come at home. The Falcons won't make Tony's task any easier; though they've given up 300-plus yards in two of the past three games they've only allowed one quarterback to throw for multiple scores.

RB Marion Barber
S2

You'd expect the Cowboys to go heavy on the run; though Atlanta's stats don't scream "soft in the middle", they can definitely be had on the ground. The similarly styled Panthers—big, physical offensive line, a pair of quality backs—produced 176 yards and a score and the Patriots committee had success as well. Dallas has a running back rushing TD in every game, so if it's Barber getting either the bulk of the carries or the goal line looks he should be set for adequate yardage and a score.

RB Tashard Choice S3

When given more than token carries, Choice has responded: at least 80 yards from scrimmage in every game in which he's seen at least eight touches. Jones is iffy and Barber is reportedly still troubled by his quad injury, which should lead a healthy portion of the workload for Choice. And given his track record, that parlays into serviceable fantasy stats.

RB Felix Jones B

Jones practiced fully all week and is listed as probable for this week's tilt. However, the wise move would be to see him in action—as well as what share of the Cowboys' carries will be made available for him—before plugging him into the lineup.

WR Miles Austin
S3

Johnny Knox became the first wideout to score on the Falcons with his touchdown last week; prior to that, their only fantasy help of note was 100-yard games to Randy Moss and Steve Smith (Carolina version). The common thread appears to be wideouts with speed, so if you must play a Cowboy pass catcher Austin—freshly inserted into the starting lineup on the heels of his breakout performance against the Chiefs—would be the one.

WR Roy Williams
B

Since breaking a long touchdown against an overmatched Buccaneers secondary in Week 1, Williams has contributed just eight catches for 128 yards—and the Cowboys <sarcasm>really missed him against the Chiefs</sarcasm>. He's a merely average receiver to begin with, and while he's listed as probable despite a rib injury there's no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary against a pretty good Atlanta secondary.

TE Jason Witten S2

Time for Tony to get serious with this BFF thing. Witten has been sniffing around fantasy relevancy, averaging five catches and 50 yards over the first five games with only one touchdown to his credit. The Falcons have served up three TE TDs over the past four weeks, so it's time for Witten to start living up to the predraft hype. Otherwise, Romo's gonna start texting Miles Austin.

DT Cowboys B Atlanta hasn't allowed a sack in four games, which will make it difficult for Dallas to generate any fantasy help on the defensive side of the ball.

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