In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections . The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.
RICKY WILLIAMS (AT NE) - PROJECTION: 70 YDS + 1 TD, SBL RATING: B
TUVEY: Ricky is a backup; only twice has he had more than 11 carries in a game, and both of those came against soft run defenses—a mold the Patriots definitely do not fit. So he’ll have reduced opportunities, as I indicate in the SBL writeup. Moreover, the two ways Williams turns fewer carries into fantasy value are via touchdowns and receptions. The Patriots have allowed just one rushing score and three total RB TDs this season, and only one team has allowed fewer RB receptions than New England. A backup back against a tough opponent capable of taking away his two primary weapons; I’m certain I can find plenty of other baskets in which to put my fantasy eggs.
DOREY: The Dolphins have been scoring over 30 points per game for the last four weeks which included BUF, NO and NYJ twice - not exactly doormats. So in deciding how the Fins might score, I had to resist the copout that Ginn would just run in two more kickoffs. I have a hard time seeing Henne throwing for more than one touchdown since he has done that only once and it was at home. On the road not really that pretty at all. We both agree that Ronnie Brown will be held in check. And I am not all that fond of Williams since I only give him 50 rush yards - which he has done more often than not. - and I gave him 30 receiving yards which he did @SD, @NYJ and NYJ. So he catches a bit more on the road. Ronnie Brown has had almost no role as a receiver since he only has 10 catches for 66 yards on the year. Williams has 15 catches for 185 yards and one touchdown. The Pats are going to depress Brown's stats and encourage Henne to throw it away quickly. In retrospect, maybe he could have 40 rush yards instead of 50. The biggest problem here is that I gave him a TD because I had to put one somewhere on this offense. Ronnie Brown has never scored on the road - not once. Williams has TDs in two of three away games. I certainly do not love Williams this week by any means but his stats are a product of the breakdown and he is slightly more likely to benefit in this way than someone else.
CONSENSUS: He's no lock in any week and much less so on the road to New England. Best bet here is that Williams is only a fill-in for you if you have no other decent options. It was mainly a product of building a box score but his confidence level is low.
T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (VS. DET) - PROJECTION: 50 YDS, SBL RATING: S2
TUVEY: The Lions are giving it up to everybody, so there’s no need to quibble as to whether or not Housh is Seattle’s No. 1 or No. 2; he and Nate Burleson are separated by exactly one target per game. There will be plenty to go around against Detroit, giving Matt Hasselbeck ample opportunity to oil the squeaky wheel Housh has become.
DOREY: I agree pretty much and I am still stuck wondering when S3 stops and S2 begins. I'd love for all my receivers to playing the visiting Lions. If you think my Houshmandzadeh projection is low, then consider he'll have five or so catches anyway and anything can happen on each catch.
CONSENSUS: Against the Lions - Housh is no worse than a decent play and no doubt has the best matchup of any of your receivers..
MIKE WALLACE (AT DEN) - PROJECTION: 60 YDS + 1 TD, SBL RATING: B
TUVEY: My preference in the Steelers game is to give the touchdown to Hines Ward. Yes, Champ Bailey is awesome but, as the SBL writeup notes, he hasn’t prevented No. 1s like Derrick Mason and Vincent Jackson from finding the end zone. Meanwhile, tertiary targets have done absolutely nothing against Denver. It’s a tough match-up, so I’m far more inclined to take my chances with a proven talent like Ward than Wallace, who has put up nice little numbers against the Lions, Browns, and a Vikings secondary missing its best corner.
DOREY: The projections reflect an even distribution between the three starting wideouts. One of the problems here is that Jackson gets moved all over the field to force different matchups. Jackson scored on a three-yard slant that had a pick and was covered by SS Renaldo Hill. He was nowhere near Bailey and he only ended with four catches for 46 yards in the game anyway. . Derrick Mason caught a 20-yard touchdown while guarded by CB Andre Goodman and he only had 40 yards on four catches in the game anyway. I really do not like any of the receivers in this game and the awarding of the score - always the problem - went to Wallace because Roethlisberger is going to have to avoid the corners and look for a slot man on a safety.
CONSENSUS: There is nothing attractive about using a receiver against the Broncos secondary in Denver no less. It is all fraught with high risk. Consider Wallace only as a last resort - he has just as good a chance of doing nothing.
HEATH MILLER (AT DEN) - PROJECTION: 20 YDS, SBL RATING: S2
TUVEY: DMD and I are looking at this game differently. He sees the passing game shut down except, evidently, for Mike Wallace; I think the Steelers will continue to throw to the guys they’ve been throwing to—like Miller, who’s been targeted at least six times in each of the last five games—and those guys will overcome the tougher defense to put up numbers similar to what they’ve been posting—like the four TDs and three 50-yard games Miller has had over the aforementioned five-game span. And it’s worth noting that in his writeup DMD agrees that Miller is in the mix. So maybe we’re not that far apart after all.
DOREY: Miller has been a delightful surprise this year but Tuvey is more impressed with Miller facing the Browns and Lions and Chargers than I am. The killer part to me is that Miller is playing in his fourth road game. In Detroit, he had 54 yards and one touchdown because even inactive players do that in Detroit. His other two road efforts? He went 3-27 in Chicago and 5-20 in Cincinnati. Not exactly a road warrior. Let Dumervil and the others smack around Big Ben and everyone may stay in to block. Miller faces a great defense with a track record of small games on the road.
CONSENSUS: Three teams have played in Denver. There have been eight completions for 70 yards in those three weeks combined. Only Jason Witten (4-31) managed to have more than 13 yards. Playing in Denver is a bad matchup and you have to consider that Miller is a risky play at best.
STEVE SMITH (VS. SD) - PROJECTION: 70 YDS, SBL RATING: S2
TUVEY: Smith is still the Giants’ go-to guy; he’s been the most-targeted wideout in seven of eight games this season. And, as noted in the SBL writeup, the guys who have had the most success against San Diego are more like Smith (Hines Ward, for example, who owns the only 100-yard game against San Diego this year). It’s also very possible that San Diego’s alleged prowess against the pass has been inflated by four games against the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Raiders—twice. None of those teams offer nearly the threat the Giants passing game does, and with Mario Manningham out of the mix it’s Smith and Hakeem Nicks left to do the damage. Call me crazy but I like the guy seeing the most balls thrown his way to have a pretty good shot at putting up helpful fantasy numbers.
DOREY: Isn't 70 yards around an S2? I think we really are in agreement on this one. I would expect a solid showing here by Smith as the #1 receiver.
CONSENSUS: Consider Smith as a safe start that should be solid at worst and have some upside.
ALEX SMITH (VS. TENN) - PROJECTION: 250 YDS + 2 TD, SBL RATING: S3
TUVEY: There’s obvious upside against a secondary that’s allowed three 300-yard games and three multiple touchdown outings in four road trips this year. But the Titans are getting healthy, and the Niners will be without left tackle Joe Staley—giving Smith ample opportunity to get up close and personal with the Tennessee defensive line. Again, I see the upside; I just don’t trust a backup quarterback on a team with a run-first mentality and a banged-up offensive line any more than as a borderline starter.
DOREY: Here's the dealio. The Titans secondary looked good last week at home, coming off a bye week, facing a very familiar opponent who was poised for a loss. Stop the presses. But I want to see them do it twice before I can believe the worst secondary in the league magically solved their problems with a vacation and opting to start Vince Young. The yardage and scores are higher for him though he posted 206 yards and three scores in Houston and 198 yards and a score in Indianapolis. Now he is at home against a bad secondary. Crabtree is stepping up immediately, Davis is turning into a machine and Gore is healthy.
CONSENSUS: With probably 10 or 12 starters in your league, there is probably someone else better to use. Smith has a great situation in many regards but inescapably he is a risk. I like the projection but would not deny that Smith has more downside than upside if only since he is just now returning to start.
CARSON PALMER (VS. BAL) - PROJECTION: 260 YDS + 2 TD, SBL RATING: S3
TUVEY: Palmer’s five-touchdown outburst last week has clouded our vision; he’s not the elite fantasy quarterback he was prior to his injury. He’s not just a game manager, obviously, and I’m definitely on board with the yardage given both his and the Ravens’ recent trends. But as noted in the SBL writeup, the Ravens have held four of five to one or fewer touchdowns, and Palmer himself has four games with one or zero TD tosses—three of them at home. So in my mind he’s a borderline option for fantasy owners this week; hence the S3.
DOREY: You say you are on board with his yardage so I won't argue an agreement. But two touchdowns? Let's track back here a bit - Palmer had one score in Pittsburgh but that was playing in the toughest stadium for a quarterback. And he still had one score. So did Cedric Benson. I believe CIN won that game too. He had 271 yards and one score IN Baltimore against these Ravens just three games ago and that was when Benson ran for 120 yards and a score. He threw for 259 yards and a score in Houston but that was a trap game they lost. Basically all I projected was the same as Palmer did against the Ravens already this year only this time he will be at home and coming off a bye. So I gave him one more touchdown. The Ravens are going to be out for blood against Benson and I think that easily lets Palmer pass for 260 yards and two scores.
CONSENSUS: This sort of depends on what you think is going to happen. The only difference of opinion here is really one versus two touchdown passes. There are plenty of reasons to expect Palmer rested and at home to at least equal his previous performance and likely improve on it - by passing for two scores.
Editor’s Note: There were multiple requests to include Antonio Gates in this article based on his 60-yard, one touchdown projection and an SBL code of S3. That code was incorrect; it should have been an S1, which is much more in line with the projections.
|Start Bench List Ratings:
|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)
||Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.