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Start/Bench List - Week 9
John Tuvey
Updated: November 6, 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)
Kansas City (1-6) at Jacksonville (3-4) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel

Jacksonville allows roughly the same passing yardage at home (250) that it does on the road (242), but they've given up more than twice as many touchdowns in away games. Cassel's splits are similar: he's about 40 yards per game and a half a touchdown worse in road whites than home reds. And since neither his numbers nor his offense is all that great anyway, tough to recommend him for a start even though Jacksonville's pass defense has been nothing special.

RB Jamaal Charles


With Larry Johnson suspended, the Chiefs will give Charles a test drive in the backfield. He's averaging 6.3 yards every time he touches the ball, but he has yet to touch it more than nine times in a game this year. Speed backs like Chris Johnson and Steve Slaton have caused the Jaguars problems, but that's setting the expectations bar pretty high—especially since the Jags are tougher against the run at home, allowing 86 yards per game and just one RB rushing TD in three home dates. There's a little upside in the passing game, where Charles was being used earlier in the season and where he's bound to see more use with LJ sidelined, but this is still more or less a desperation play at best.

RB Kolby Smith


Smith warrants mentioning because he's been splitting first-team reps with Charles and could be activated off the PUP list (Chiefs coach Todd Haley indicated he was "optimistic") to share carries. But this would mark his first action since knee surgery, and at best he'll be job-sharing in a lousy offense on the road against a formidable defense. That's hardly a ringing endorsement for a guy who hasn't played since Week 9 of last year.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

In three home games, the Jaguars have allowed three opposing No. 1 receivers to score despite limited yardage. That sounds like the blueprint for Bowe's season; he's topped 74 yards just once but scored in four of six games. If he's a regular for you, there's nothing here to suggest he won't have similar success.

WR Mark Bradley
Bobby Wade
Chris Chambers


Secondary targets like Steve Breaston (83 yards) and Kenny Britt (105) have picked up yardage in Jacksonville, but only No. 1s have scored. And the Chiefs' receiving corps depth is much closer to that of the Rams (who mustered just 68 yards alongside Donnie Avery's 17 and a score) than the Cards or Titans. So reaching for Bradley, Wade, or the newly signed Chambers would be digging too deep for fantasy help.

TE Sean Ryan


No tight end has topped 40 yards against the Jaguars and only Owen Daniels has scored. Ryan isn't in Daniels' class and would be a stretch here, even in a six-team bye week.

DT Chiefs B The Chiefs' defense isn't a compelling play against a Jacksonville offense that performs significantly better in front of the home crowd—sparse as it may be.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S2

Simply put, Garrard is a different quarterback in a home uniform. He's averaging a whopping 173 passing yards per game more at home than on the road, and all five of his passing touchdowns have come in Jacksonville. The Chiefs have been awful regardless of venue; only JaMarcus Russell and the Redskins tandem of Jason Campbell and Todd Collins have failed to throw for multiple touchdowns and at least 268 yards. While his power to audible out of running plays has been reduced, he should still have plenty of chances to pad his stats this week.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew

MoJo has 310 rushing yards and five touchdowns in his last two games, and his coach just issued the edict that his quarterback not audible out of running plays so that Jones-Drew can get even more carries. Oh, and he faces a defense that's allowed two 100-yard rushers in three road games. Yeah, this matchup should work out just fine.


Mike Sims-Walker

S1 The last four No. 1 receivers in legit passing offenses (rules out the Redskins) have all scored (two of them twice) and topped 140 yards against the Chiefs. It's a perfect opportunity for Sims-Walker to make amends for last week's doggy-doo performance with a fourth straight fantasy helper in front of the home crowd.

Torry Holt

S3 Maybe Holt needs to hyphenate; seems to be working for Jones-Drew and Sims-Walker. Let's go with Schoffner-Holt in honor of Torry's father, a name change that essentially doubles his chances of a solid game against a secondary that's given up touchdowns to No. 2 receivers in two of the last three games. It doesn't hurt that Schoffner-Holt has also benefitted from Garrard's home cooking to the tune of 15 more yards per game

Marcedes Lewis

S3 Lewis is another homebody, with both of his touchdowns and his two best yardage dates all happening in Jacksonville. Both of the tight end scores Kansas City has allowed have come—you guessed it—on the road, and all three tight ends they've faced on the road have amassed at least 69 yards. So if you're scrambling for a bye week option in a TE-mandatory league, here's a solid option.
DT Jaguars B

Despite the low-scoring offense, the Chiefs haven't been turning the ball over (just seven on the year) and haven't allowed a defensive touchdown. The Jags aren't forcing the issue, either, with just one takeaway in the last three games. In other words, you can do better.

Houston (5-3) at Indianapolis (7-0) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S3 Here's a match-up that will test the notion Schaub has achieved every-week starter status. There's no track record of success against the Colts to draw from, since he's missed the last three meetings due to injury and there's nothing compelling about his 236-yard, one-TD performance from Week 3 of 2007. If Schaub were to be trusted, wouldn't he have managed a score against the Bills last week? Indy has given up half the scores Buffalo has and fewer yardage to boot; they've also held 12 straight quarterbacks (and 23 of the past 24 they've faced) to one or zero touchdown passes. Schaub has at least 268 yards in four straight and at least 224 in seven straight—but Indy has allowed only two QBs to top 200 yards against them this season. Oh, and Schaub now has to adjust to life without tight end Owen Daniel and may have pass-catching back Steve Slaton taken away as well in favor of Ryan Moats and his nine career catches. There's no sugar-coating it; Schaub has a whole lot of factors knocking him out of that 290-and-two comfort level his fantasy owners have come to expect.
RB Steve Slaton
B Surely Gary Kubiak can't be serious, replacing Slaton with career backup Ryan Moats based on one strong showing against the worst run defense in the NFL... can he? He can, and don't call him Shirley. While Slaton should remain in the mix, Kubiak spent enough time studying at the feet of Mike Shanahan to have learned how to royally screw up a backfield. The good news is that Slaton's 16-93-2 against Indy last year came with Ahman Green getting 12 carries as well, and his 14-156-1 in the rematch came despite Green siphoning another 10 touches. Unfortunately (for the Texans, at least), Indy's run defense is better this year than last. And besides, can you really trust Slaton again knowing that Kubiak is stage right with one of those big grappling hooks waiting to yank him the first time the pigskin bobbles in his hands? It's like having a Ferrari with a gas gauge that doesn't work; you can drive that thing real fast, but you just don't know when the ride will come to a screeching halt.
RB Ryan Moats
S3 Is Moats as good as Maurice Jones-Drew (21-97-1 in the season opener at Indy) or Frank Gore (13-91-1 against the Colts last week)? Uh, no. Best guess is that he gets half the running back touches for a Texans' offense that has had success running the ball against Indy in the past (313 yards and three TDs in last season's series). Since he's not one fumble away from the bench, his longer leash suggests you can plug him into your fantasy lineup with somewhat reduced expectations—but less fear that he'll get the hook than you'd have if you used Slaton.
WR Andre Johnson S3 Schaub and Johnson have never faced the Colts together; Matt's missed the last three with injuries and Andre was unavailable for Schaub's first meeting with the Colts back in early 2007. Not that Johnson hasn't put up numbers against Indy; Sage Rosenfels targeted him 27 times over the past three meetings, producing 20 catches for 260 yards and two touchdowns. But you'll have to dial back expectations against a secondary that has allowed only one WR TD on the year—and only one WR TD in Indy over their last 12 home games, dating back to a Texans two-step when both Johnson and Kevin Walter scored in Week 16 of 2007. That's a whole lot of history working against AJ—not that you should bench him, but enough that you should at least be aware of it.
WR Kevin Walter

On the plus side, Walter's looks should increase with Owen Daniels out of the mix; on the down side, so will the coverage. If Houston's No. 1 receiver is a borderline start it would be difficult to justify using Houston's No. 2 against the same defense.

TE Joel Dreessen B

With both Daniels and rookie James Casey out with knee injuries, Dreessen becomes Houston's tight end by default. The fifth-year player is the proud owner of 25 career catches and two touchdowns, the most recent coming in Week 11 of 2007. In other words, he's an unlikely candidate to follow in Vernon Davis' footsteps and become the second tight end to score against Indy this season.

DT Texans B The Colts have put up at least 31 points in each of Houston's last six visits to Indy; using the Texans' defense here is foolhardy at best.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

The last time Peyton failed to throw for at least 269 yards and multiple touchdowns against the Texans in Indy was 2002. His average home game against Houston consists of 301 yards and three touchdowns; he's bested that yardage in three straight and four of five and matched or bettered that TD total in five of the last six. This is the surest thing since Walter 'Gib' Gibson hitch-hiked cross country to meet the blonde his buddy Lance set him up with.

RB Joseph Addai S2 Addai has scored in four straight and five of six meetings with the Texans, a total of seven touchdowns in that span. And in the game he didn't score, the back end of the series his rookie season, he rushed for 100 yards. In three of those six games Addai ceded at least 10 carries to another back, so the expected return of Donald Brown this week does little to dampen expectations for Addai; in fact, after he struggled a bit with a full workload last week it's probably for the best that he's back to merely heading up the committee.
RB Donald Brown S3 Only twice in the six games with Houston since Addai joined the Colts has an Indy back other than Joseph found the end zone—but both times it happened when a second back received double-digit touches, and that definitely falls into Brown's job description. The Texans have been better against the run of late, but that's more a product of teams not running the ball: each of Houston's last five teams has had fewer than 20 rushing attempts; four of the five have failed to score. Indy may be a passing team, but they've run the ball at least 21 times in six of their seven games—and produced a running back score in six of their seven games. Brown's junior share puts him in line for a possible touchdown and makes him a viable option in a six-team bye week. Note, however, that Brown did not practice on Friday and is listed as questionable due to the shoulder injury that forced him to miss last week's game.
WR Reggie Wayne

Wayne has scored in five straight and six of seven; he's also had at least 84 yards in each of his last five against the Texans. Houston's pass defense looks good on paper, but it's one thing to shut down the likes of Lee Evans, Josh Morgan, and Darius Heyward-Bey; Chad Ochocinco topped 100 yards and Larry Fitzgerald scored twice against the Texans, and it wouldn't be surprising if Wayne pulled off both feats.

WR Austin Collie
S3 While touchdowns may be at a premium, there should be plenty of yardage to go around against a defense that's let six different secondary receivers top 55 yards already this season. Collie has 24 catches, 264 yards, and four touchdowns over the past four games and looks to be settling into a role that's one step up from Pierre Garçon.
WR Pierre Garçon

B Garçon has been significantly quieter than Collie over the past month (11-157-0), but as you well know, using any member of the Indy passing game in your fantasy lineup gives you the proverbial chip and a chair.
TE Dallas Clark S1

Clark has eight or more catches for 77 or more yards in three of his last four games—and in his lowball 3-44 game he scored a touchdown. The Texans shut Clark out last year despite 10 catches for 125 yards, but he scored three times in the 2007 series and has to be viewed as a serious threat against a defense that let Vernon Davis score three times.

DT Colts S2 Only one team has topped 17 points against the Colts this season, and with Bob Sanders back and flying to the ball anything is possible.

Carolina (3-4) at New Orleans (7-0)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B Odd stat number one: Delhomme has never lost to the Saints in Louisiana as a starter. Odd stat number two: the Saints haven't picked Delhomme off since Week 15 of 2005. That said, the best possible move the Panthers could make this week would be to take the ball completely out of Delhomme's hands and let the running game have at it. Despite the past success, Delhomme has topped 207 yards just once in his last five against New Orleans, and he's still looking for his first multiple touchdown outing of the season. It's unlikely to come against a secondary that's held all but one opposing QB to one or fewer scoring strikes—almost as unlikely as Delhomme avoiding a 15th interception against a defense that has 16 pilfers already this season

DeAngelo Williams

S2 Williams carried 43 times for 244 yards in last season's series with the Saints, and after watching Michael Turner have his way with the middle of the New Orleans defense you have to think the Carolina game plan will be similar. Williams and Jonathan Stewart have combined for at least 25 rushes in all but one game this season, and they've topped 40 carries in two of the last three games; not surprisingly, the duo has produced a touchdown in every game except one and multiple scores in the two 40-plus attempt efforts. With Williams still the lead dog in this committee, he's in line for the larger share of the yardage; however, Stewart still looms at the stripe to vulture some value.

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Seventeen isn't just a magazine; it's Stewart's magic number. Stew had 17 carries in each matchup with the Saints last year, producing a total of 124 yards and scoring in both ends of the season series. He's also scored in three of the last four games, or in each game in which he received double-digit carries; two of those games were 17-87-2 and 17-110-1 fantasy helpers. So the solution is simple; get the ball to Stewart 17 times, then sit back and watch the fireworks.
WR Steve Smith S2

History suggests that Smith is a great start; he's scored in six of his last eight against the Saints and topped 100 yards in both meetings last year. And while the Saints have allowed two receivers in the last three games to top 100 yards and score, Smith just scored his first touchdown of the season last week and can no longer be considered a sure thing. He's the only thing going in this passing game, but dial back the expectations from "great" to "good".

WR Dwayne Jarrett

The second (and sometimes third, behind the tight ends) passing game option on a run first team, and a backup at that; hardly the recipe for fantasy success. Jarrett comes off a season-best 2-22 outing, but he belongs nowhere near any self-respecting fantasy lineup.

TE Jeff King
Gary Barnidge
Dante Rosario

No tight end has scored against the Saints, and only Brent Celek and Tony Gonzalez have exceeded 40 yards against them. Doesn't help that the Panthers are using three different players to fill this spot, none of whom could hold a candle to Celek or Gonzo.

DT Panthers B The Saints have scored 45 points or more four times already. When you see a train coming, you get out of the way.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

Brees had 386 yards and four touchdowns the last time the Panthers visited the Silverdome. On paper Carolina's pass defense looks like it wouldn't be inclined to a repeat, but slugs like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Johnson, and Jason Campbell have skewed the numbers. Quarterbacks with talent have had decent yardage (Romo 255, Warner 242) and thrown multiple touchdowns (McNabb 2, Ryan 3, Warner 2), so there's no need to worry about Brees' numbers this week.

RB Pierre Thomas

The Panthers have allowed at least one running back touchdown in every game thus far, so there's fantasy help to be had here. Thomas, who is the more talented back and has been more productive with less, gets the nod as the most likely to give you the numbers you need, but he's certainly not alone.

RB Mike Bell

Bell is getting double-digit touches and still gets at least a look or two at the goal line, so in a six-team bye week he's a viable option against the Panthers' fantasy-friendly run defense.

RB Reggie Bush

Not only have the Panthers allowed a running back score in every game, three of them have come on receptions; funny thing is, Bush's last two scores have come on runs. In any event, high tide floats all boats so despite the infrequent touches Bush comes into play this week thanks to the fantasy-friendly matchup. There's a "that's what she said" in there somewhere.

WR Marques Colston

Colston is the one constant among New Orleans receivers, with touchdowns in three straight games. It's a tough matchup, to be sure, but the 7-123-1 Colston put up on the Panthers in last season's finale suggests he knows his way around the Carolina secondary—and that Brees knows where to find him.


Devery Henderson
Robert Meachem


Only two teams are allowing fewer fantasy points to wide receivers than the Panthers, making it even more difficult to pick a helper out of the Saints' deep rotation of receivers. Meachem caught four balls for 45 yards and a score in last season's series, but he hasn't had more than two catches in a game this year. Henderson posted 5-109 against Carolina last year, but he hasn't topped 71 yards or scored since the season opener. Despite the Saints' offensive prowess, both are too risky to be trusted with a fantasy start this week.


Lance Moore


Moore's ankle injury landed him in an ankle boot, and he's been ruled out of this contest—costing him a chance at a repeat of the 8-91-2 he dropped on Carolina in last season's finale.

TE Jeremy Shockey S2 The Panthers haven't exactly blanked tight ends; three have scored, including Ben Patrick last week, and studs like Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten both topped 70 yards. With Shockey receiving a steady supply of targets—he has at least four catches in every game this year—there's no reason you can't expected continued contributions this week.
DT Saints S1 On the one hand, you have Darren Sharper and a New Orleans defense that has six touchdowns already this year; on the other, you have the NFL's leader in interceptions. Gentlemen, start your engines!
Detroit (1-6) at Seattle (2-5) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford

The Seahawks have alternated shutouts and allowing big games to quarterbacks; unfortunately for Stafford, they're on "shutout" this time around. Truth be told, it has more to do with the quarterbacks (Jay Cutler and Kurt Warner combined for 523 yards and five touchdowns; Marc Bulger and David Garrard mustered 379 and zero) than sheer luck. And since Stafford has yet to give us a multiple touchdown game and we don't know if he'll have Calvin Johnson at his disposal, best keep him on the bench for now.

RB Kevin Smith

Jim Schwartz indicated that Smith is still the Lions' primary back despite ceded carries to Maurice Morris last week. However, Smith didn't practice Wednesday because of the shoulder injury that opened the door for Morris, and he was limited Thursday and Friday. He's listed as questionable, but if that means he's sharing carries on the road then you'd be best served keeping him on your fantasy bench.

RB Maurice Morris

While Morris would love to play the revenge card a la Cedric Benson, that's an unlikely scenario against a defense that has entertained Steve Jackson, Matt Forte, and Maurice Jones-Drew and held them all to 67 yards or less and without a touchdown. Plus, it's likely Smith returns for at least a share of the carries, further limiting MoMo's shot at revenge.

WR Calvin Johnson S3

The Lions have already indicated Johnson will be a game-time decision, though Schwartz indicated he was optimistic Megatron would be back in the linup this week. You almost have to play him if he goes, and he did practice all week on a limited basis. But if you wanted to adopt a wait-and-see posture on Johnson that would make sense as well.

WR Bryant Johnson
Dennis Northcutt

There's actually some fantasy value here, as six visiting wideouts have topped 75 yards and four have scored in Seattle. However, Johnson's 2-43 was the high-water mark for Detroit wideouts in a home matchup with the Rams; tough to reward that sort of underachievement with a fantasy start in a road game.

TE Brandon Pettigrew B

So much promise, and yet Pettigrew has done little to suggest he'll warrant fantasy attention during his rookie campaign. He certainly doesn't here against a defense that has shut out Dallas Clark, Vernon Davis, and Jason Witten and allowed just one TE TD this season.

DT Lions B Nope, nothing to see here.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2 Hasselbeck fooled us once, laying an egg at home against a susceptible Arizona secondary. At the risk of being fooled again, we're back to suggest Hass is a money play against a Detroit defense that has allowed 857 passing yards and 10 touchdown tosses in three road games. Heck, they've allowed multiple touchdowns in every game except against the Rams last week. Moreover, Hasselbeck bought back a little faith with 249 and two in Dallas last week. Can't go S1, not after what Matt did to us last time, but an S2 works.
RB Julius Jones

Speaking of guys who've burned us in the past, here comes Jones. He opened with two quality fantasy outings at home (117 and one, 98 yards plus a receiving touchdown), then laid consecutive eggs to the tune of 17 carries for 39 yards against Jacksonville and Arizona. He still projects to get most of the carries, but that's likely to be 15 rather than the 19s he turned into fantasy points earlier in the year. Still, against a Detroit defense that has allowed five backs—including all three feature backs they've faced on the road—to top 90 yards, Jones warrants consideration in larger leagues.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Nate Burleson


Maybe Burleson is Seattle's No. 1; maybe it's Housh. Doesn't matter this week, as the Lions have been fantasy friendly to both. Three No. 1s have scored and two have topped 100 yards, while five secondary targets have found the end zone against Detroit. In all, 10 different wideouts have posted 50 yards or better, and six of those 10 have scored. It may not be a reprise of the Jacksonville game where both Seahawk wideouts scored twice, but decent yardage and a score apiece wouldn't be at all surprising.

TE John Carlson
S2 Carlson hasn't scored since double-dipping in Week 1, but a match-up with a Lions defense that's allowed more tight end touchdowns than any other team might be the cure-all for that problem. Carlson is still being targeted—at least six looks in six of the seven games this season; this fantasy-friendly matchup should be what Hasselbeck needs to connect on those looks and return Carlson to fantasy prominence.
DT Seahawks S2 Seattle's 12th man helps; seven of the Seahawks' nine takeaways have come at home, as have 12 of their 18 sacks. Gotta like the prospects of a defense that's already pitched two home shutouts facing a rookie quarterback and an offense that may be without its two most potent weapons.

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