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Start/Bench List - Week 10
John Tuvey
Updated: November 13, 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)
 
 
Chicago (4-4) at San Francisco (3-5) Back to top
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

You might be a tad concerned that the 49ers have shut out two straight quarterbacks, though one was Vince Young. What should concern you is if the 49ers' run defense can be trusted; in games where the Bears run the ball effectively (that is, against cupcakes Cleveland and Detroit) Cutler has thrown for 141 and 225 yards. In all other games Jay is averaging 280, and he's fresh off a Bear-high 369 last week. With yet another negative prognostication for Forte, expect Jay to pick up the slack with another solid statistical outing.

RB Matt Forte
S3

At this juncture Forte is purely a match-up play; almost half his rushing yardage and all three of his touchdowns have come in his two games against bottom-five run defenses. The Niners rank near the middle of the league in fantasy friendliness towards running backs, in about the same range as the Falcons—against whom Forte produced 23 yards on 13 carries. His best showing against a non-bottom feeder is 66 yards, and the only factor salvaging his fantasy value is his potential in PPR leagues. Only two teams have allowed more RB receptions than the Niners; three backs have caught at least six, and five more have caught at least three against them. Forte has four or more grabs in three of his last four and five of his last seven, so his S3 strikes a balance between his status as a helper in PPR leagues and a disaster everywhere else.

WR

Devin Hester

S2 No. 1 receivers have had their way with the Niners' secondary—in each of the past five games the opposition's No. 1 has led his team in receiving yardage, with an average of 112 yards per game—and Hester has asserted himself as Chicago's No. 1. Primary targets also have five of the six WR TDs the 49ers have allowed. Hester has not only led the Bears in receiving yardage in every game since their Week 5 bye, he also has their lone WR TD in the past three games.
WR

Johnny Knox
Earl Bennett

B On the one hand you have the San Francisco secondary, which has treated secondary receivers with disdain; only three opponents (Indy, Minnesota, and Arizona) have managed to get a second receiver over 50 yards and Greg Lewis' miracle catch at the end of the Vikings game is the lone touchdown by a secondary target. On the other you have the Bears' secondary targets: Bennett, who hasn't put together back-to-back games with more than 50 yards yet this year (caution: he had 93 last week) and is still looking for his first NFL touchdown; and Knox, who hasn't topped 50 yards since Week 2 or scored in a month. Looking for fantasy help here is bucking multiple trends.
TE Greg Olsen

S2

Teams that want to get the ball to the tight end can do so against the Niners, as evidenced by at least six catches from John Carlson, Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels, and Dallas Clark. Three touchdowns last week and an average of six-plus targets per week suggest the Bears want to get the ball to Olsen, whose outlook is dampened by the lingering presence of Desmond Clark and his four targets per game.

DT Bears S3 If Chicago remembers to pack their pass rush—they're sackless in their last two road games—they could exploit the Joe Staley-less Niners line and force Alex Smith into a second pick six.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith S2

Smith's ascension to starter has led to Mike Singletary scrapping his run-first mentality; Smith is averaging more than 11 pass attempts per game more than his predecessor, leading directly to 105 more passing yards per game. That most definitely puts Smith in play against a Bears defense that has allowed five touchdown passes to two of the last three quarterbacks they've faced. Smith's 276 yards per game and the 261 Chicago allowed to each of the previous NFC West QBs they've faced (Kurt Warner and Seneca Wallace) suggests thisa solid yardage day for Smith as well.

RB Frank Gore S2

Gore isn't getting the 25 carries per game Singletary may have envisioned for him, but he's been plenty productive with the 15 or so he's been getting—plus he's adding plenty as a receiver. The Bears have allowed a RB TD in each of their road games this year and while statistically they haven't been susceptible to backs as receivers Gore's 292 combo yards in Smith's two starts speaks for itself.

WR Michael Crabtree

S2 Crabtree has been the Niners' most-targeted wideout since joining the team, which makes him the likely beneficiary of the Bears' largesse towards No. 1s. Throw out the Cleveland game and primary receivers have scored in three straight and topped 100 yards in four of five against the Bears. All told, No. 1s have six TDs and five 100-yard games against Chicago making this the week for Crabtree's first NFL end zone visit.
WR Jason Hill
Josh Morgan
B With Isaac Bruce moving to more of a mentoring role, Hill and Morgan will battle for leftovers in the San Francisco passing game. Last week Morgan was targeted more but Hill scored twice, making it difficult to discern which makes the better play. Since big yardage is unlikely—Steve Breaston's 66 yard effort is the first trip above 40 yards by a secondary target against Chicago since Hines Ward in Week 2—and Crabtree and Vernon Davis have first dibs at the touchdowns, this may be digging a little too deep in the well.
TE Vernon Davis S1

Only the Lions have allowed more TE TDs than the Bears, and no tight end has scored more touchdowns than Davis. If John Paul Foschi, Anthony Becht, and Ben Patrick can turn five targets into three touchdowns you have to love the chances of Davis, who has been targeted 27 times since Smith took over.

DT 49ers S3 Jay Cutler has thrown 10 picks in four road games; the Niners haven't intercepted a pass in more than a month. Something's gotta give
 
Atlanta (5-3) at Carolina (3-5) Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan S3

With the Panthers struggling to stop the run you can expect Ryan to do a whole lot of handing off. Since his 220 and three against Carolina earlier this year he's topped 200 yards just twice, and he's been limited to one TD toss in each of the past two games. Carolina has allowed multiple passing scores in just one of the last six games, so this one feels like a borderline-at-best fantasy game right around 200 yards and a score.

RB Michael Turner
S2

Worry about the home/road splits if you want, but Turner has now scored in seven straight road games including last year's playoff loss; he's also scored in seven straight overall this year. The Panthers have allowed a running back touchdown in five straight home games dating back to last season as well as at least one RB TD in every game this year. Sure, Turner's yardage can be subdued on the road and no opposing back has rushed for more than 64 yards in Carolina this year. But if the worst-case scenario is 60 yards and a score and the upside is something like the 151 and one Turner posted at the Superdome two weeks ago, fretting over the venue seems senseless.

WR Roddy White S3

Ryan has targeted Roddy 36 times in the last three against Carolina, but all he has to show for it is 17 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown. That's 6-70 per game, with a not-so-great shot at a score. The Panthers have allowed just three wide receiver touchdowns on the year, including the one to White earlier this season, and until two Saints reached the 90s last week no opposing wideout had topped 75 yards against Carolina this year. It's a tough matchup, but that earlier score suggests that White has at least a fighting chance. It's also worth noting that he's listed as questionable and was limited in practice all week, though he was questionable last week and played and all signs point towards him at least being on the field again this week.

WR

Michael Jenkins

B

Jenkins isn't even on most fantasy radars and barely warrants a mention here.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S2

Gonzo scored in the earlier meeting and remains a must-start in TE-mandatory leagues; only three tight ends have been targeted more. Carolina's defense against tight ends has been much better since their Week 4 bye, allowing just 13-106-1 in five games, but they did allow a Ben Patrick touchdown two weeks ago and are down a linebacker this week.

DT Falcons S2 Atlanta has defensive scores in consecutive weeks, and no team has allowed more D/ST scores thus far this year than the Panthers. Sounds like a recipe for success.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B Romo, Brees, and Cutler all managed multiple touchdown tosses against the Falcons, but Jake isn't of that ilk. Moreover, Carolina has been leaning heavily on the ground game of late, so Delhomme will have even fewer opportunities to produce his first multiple-TD game of the season. Even if your league doesn't penalize for picks, Delhomme isn't a good fantasy play this week.
RB

DeAngelo Williams

S2 Williams has 149 yards in three of his last four, TDs in three of four, and a total of 90 carries for 548 yards and five touchdowns over that span. He's also scored in two straight against the Falcons, though both TDs came in the ATL. Okay, we're sniggling; Williams is a very good start here. Of course, that assumes he plays; Williams was held out of Friday's practice and is listed as questionable. It's a situation you'll have to keep an eye on right up until game time, with Stewart the obvious beneficiary if Williams is limited in any way.
RB

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Stewart scored the last time these teams played in Carolina, and while it's tough to start the junior member of an RBBC with confidence he's getting enough touches (double-digit carries in four of the last five) and enough goal line work (four TDs in the last five games) that he's definitely an option in larger leagues.
WR Steve Smith S3

The good news is that Smith has 16 catches for 299 yards in his last two against the Falcons; the bad news is that since his earlier 8-131 against Atlanta in Week 2 he's done very little—no 100-yard games, only one touchdown. The Falcons' secondary hasn't been all that great, providing at least a glimmer of hope that even if Smith can't blow up here he can at least give you something usable for fantasy purposes.

WR Dwayne Jarrett
Muhsin Muhammed
B

Carolina has one wide receiver touchdown on the year, and you know the passing game goes through Smith. That pretty much renders any other wideout a fantasy non-entity. And with Muhammed potentially returning from his knee injury here (he's listed as questionable), you have two guys battling over leftovers that won't even feed one.

TE Gary Barnidge

S3

Barnidge seems to be the go-to tight end in Carolina, at least for the moment; he's been thrown to 14 times the past three games, compared to Jeff King's five, and Dante Rosario has DNP'd the past two weeks. Rosario scored in the earlier meeting, and the Falcons have allowed at least six catches for 85 yards to opposing tight ends in each of the past five games. So if you've been playing the match-up game since Owen Daniels or Chris Cooley went down, throw Barnidge into the mix this week.

DT Panthers S3 We've seen signs of life from the Panthers' defensive playmakers the past couple of weeks, so at minimum they're worth a look-see.
 

Tampa Bay (1-7) at Miami (3-5)

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Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

Fine debut for the Bucs' quarterback of the future, but let's not go chasing fantasy points just yet. Over the past six games only one quarterback has thrown for multiple touchdowns against the Dolphins, a stretch in which they've faced Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers. The silver lining is that Freeman looked pretty good with his feet and no team has allowed more QB rushing scores than the Dolphins. But that's a pretty flimsy hook on which to hang your team's fantasy hopes.

RB Carnell Williams
Derrick Ward


B

If you dig you can uncover some mild optimism here, as the Dolphins have allowed 80-yard rushers in each of the past three games. Caddy's best road showing, however, is 77 yards and he's not getting the 20 carries two of the three backs required to reach that mark against Miami. The Dolphins haven't allowed a running back receiving score since Week 1 and no back has topped 50 receiving yards against them, so if you're looking at Ward's line from last week and hoping to find help there you're bound to be disappointed. This is still a committee approach, and with multiple forks digging into a smaller-than-usual pie this week you'll be best served looking elsewhere for fantasy help. You could maybe use Caddy if the knee injury that caused Ward to miss Friday's practice and has him listed as questionable keeps him out of Sunday's tilt, but it would be a desperation move at best.

WR Antonio Bryant
Sammie Stroughter
Maurice Stovall

B

The Bucs haven't had a wideout top 65 yards since Week 2 and no Tampa Bay wide receiver has caught more than five balls in a game. Miami's secondary has been a little more forgiving, allowing a dozen wideouts to amass at least 60 yards—but they've also seen the likes of Moss, Welker, Wayne, White, Colston, and Jackson. Tough to tab any Tampa receiver for fantasy success here. Bryant would seem to be the best choice, but he didn't practice all week and is listed as doubtful

TE Kellen Winslow
S3

Winslow gets the proverbial "if you're forced to start a Buc" endorsement, but he also has some trends working in his favor. The Dolphins have allowed three TE TDs, two 100-yard tight ends, and five big fellas to amass at least 65 yards against them this year. Winslow was Tampa's most prolific pass catcher in Freeman's first game and has the most upside of what little the Bucs' passing game has to offer.

DT Buccaneers S3 Don't look now, but the Bucs have three D/ST scores in the past three games—not to mention multiple picks in three straight and four of five—and might warrant a little bit of fantasy attention.
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne S3

It's a great matchup for Henne against a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed multiple touchdown passes to seven of eight quarterbacks this year, with Jake Delhomme the lone dissenter. If Henne had more than one touchdown toss in the last three games—91 attempts—we'd be downright giddy. Instead, we'll be cautiously optimistic Henne will reward those who spot start him with a little more than 200 yards and a score or two.

RB

Ronnie Brown

S1

Home is where the touchdowns are for Brown, who has both 100-yard games and all seven of his touchdowns this year in Miami. The Bucs have allowed four 100-yard rushers already this season, and Brown seems like an excellent bet to add to that total

RB

Ricky Williams

S3

Tough to know just who's going to score for the Dolphins as they run personnel in and out of the Wildcat like a stampede at a Krispy Kreme when the "Hot Donuts Now" sign lights up. But Ricky has scored in five of eight games this season, including two of four at home, and has rushed for at least 68 yards in all four South Beach dates. Williams isn't as involved as a receiver as you might think—he hasn't had as many as three catches since Week 5—but this matchup offers ample opportunity for the junior member of Miami's RBBC to post helpful fantasy numbers.

WR Davonne Bess
Greg Camarillo

S3 Somebody has to take advantage of a Tampa Bay secondary that's allowed multiple WR TDs in three of four and six of eight. We've hand-selected Bess and Camarillo because they've been the most frequently targeted and most productive pass catches of late—and because Ted Ginn drops more balls than a blindfolded juggler while Brian Hartline has topped two catches and 23 yards exactly once in his NFL career. Don't expect big numbers, but the numbers the Bucs have allowed suggest both have a shot at helping in deeper leagues this week.
TE Joey Haynos

B

There's certainly a temptation to spot-start Haynos, with touchdowns in back-to-back games, against a Bucs' defense that has allowed three TE TDs in the past five games. But the Dolphins have plenty of other mouths to feed before tossing something Joey's way, so unless you're comfortable banking on one of Haynos' two or three catches to wind up in the end zone you'll want to look elsewhere for help.

DT Dolphins S3 The Dolphins are just a couple weeks removed from three D/ST scores in a single game. They still have Ginn returning kicks, and they'll be facing a rookie quarterback in his first road start. So Miami has plenty working in its favor here.
 

Detroit (1-7) at Minnesota (7-1)

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Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford
S3

All three quarterbacks to visit Metrodome have thrown multiple touchdowns—probably because opposing runners are averaging 3.4 yards per carry in Minnesota. Stafford has posted better numbers since his 152 and 1 against the Vikings back in Week 2, topping 200 yards thrice and throwing for multiple scores for the first time in his NFL career last week. The upside, however, is mild at best. It's worth noting that the Vikings have not recorded an interception since Antoine Winfield went down with a foot injury in Week 6.

RB Kevin Smith
B

Smith mustered 83 yards on 24 carries against the Vikings in the earlier meeting; since then he's been hampered by a shoulder problem and is now getting roughly half the carries he needed to produce that previous yardage. Ray Rice is the only back to score against the Vikings thus far this season, and it's unlikely Smith joins that rarified group.

WR Calvin Johnson S3

Megatron has scored each of the last four times he's faced the Vikings; who are we to argue with a track record like that? Johnson might be helped by a Minnesota secondary that will once again be without Winfield; he'll definitely be aided by a Vikings defense that, with or without Winfield, has allowed WR TDs in five straight.

WR Bryant Johnson
Dennis Northcutt
B

Secondary receivers have had some success against the Vikings, especially with the secondary stretched thin due to Winfield's injury. That said, there's no question Megatron will get the bulk of Stafford's attention and there's likely to be only so much passing yardage to go around—especially if the tight end is taking as large a bite as we anticipate.

TE Brandon Pettigrew S3

Pettigrew scored his first NFL touchdown last week as part of a career-best 7-70 outing, but you have to believe there's room for more—and not just because that success came even with Casey Fitzsimmons pilfering 11 targets, six catches, and 41 yards off of Pettigrew's plate. A date with a Vikings' defense that has allowed six TE TDs already this year, not to mention three 90-yard games to the position and three more 50-yard TE outings, should hasten Pettigrew's arrival onto the fantasy scene.

DT Lions B It's one thing to serve up a couple defensive TDs to the Steelers in Pittsburgh; it's another to cough anything up at home against the Lions.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

After giving up multiple TD passes in six straight to open the season, the Lions have regrouped since their Week 7 by and allowed just one touchdown toss in the past two games. That's nice, but the only thing that will prevent Favre from another multiple touchdown outing here is too many rushing scores from Adrian Peterson. Favre has multiple TDs and at least 271 yards in each of his three home starts; again, a dominant running game might keep him from reaching those numbers, but that's hardly reason to put Favre on your fantasy bench.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

Peterson has triple-digit combo yardage in each of his five career outings against the Lions, including 92-1 on the ground and 24 receiving in the earlier matchup. Oh, and AP is now more involved in the passing game, with 104 receiving yards in the past two games. Detroit has allowed three 100-yard rushers already this season and at least one RB TD in every game; in other words, everything Peterson owners hoped about this matchup is true.

WR Sidney Rice
Percy Harvin
Bernard Berrian

S2

No need to separate a receiver out for the Vikings, as they're all good plays against Detroit. Forced to pick a lead dog we'd go with Harvin, who scored in the previous meeting and can exploit the Lions defense from the slot a la Mike Wallace (52-1) and James Jones (55-1). But three No. 1s have scored against the Lions as well, with two of them putting up 100-yard games, so Rice is a solid play as well. And No. 2s can't be overlooked, not with two having already scored and three posting 50 or more yards against the Lions. The only question mark might be Berrian, whose problematic hamstring limited him in practice all week. Essentially, though, if you have a Vikings receiver on your roster they should be in your lineup.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S2

What, you thought we'd forget Big Shank? The Equipment Manager faces a Detroit defense that has allowed more TE TDs than any other; he also scored in the previous meeting with the Lions and has five touchdowns in the past five games. Can't leave him on the bench.

DT Vikings S2

Stafford is fresh off a five pick game, the Vikings have Harvin in the return game... tough to see any negatives here.

 

Jacksonville (4-4) at New York Jets (4-4)

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Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard B

This one's pretty easy: if there's an @ sign after "JAX" on the schedule, Garrard is bench fodder. He's averaging 165 passing yards per road game and halfway through the road slate is still looking for his first touchdown toss away from Jacksonville. It certainly doesn't help matters that the Jets have shut out four quarterbacks already this season—including Tom Brady and Drew Brees—and allowed only one to throw for multiple scores.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew
S2

The Jets are a formidable foe on the ground, especially at home where they've allowed just one RB TD through four games. And don't expect much help from MoJo as a receiver, as the Jets haven't allowed a back to catch more than four passes or score a receiving touchdown and only one has topped 46 yards. That said, Jones-Drew has scored in three of four road games this season (six TDs in all) and has at least 97 rushing yards and 123 combo yards in three of four as well. While expectations need to be reduced, there's little doubt MoJo is an every-week starter regardless of foe or venue.

WR

Mike Sims-Walker

B As Garrard goes on the road, so goes the fate of his favorite receiver. Sims-Walker has eight catches for 90 yards in the three road games in which he played; you may recall he was a scratch in Seattle earlier this year after allegedly missing curfew while... well, you know. If you're still not comfortable benching MSW, would it help to note that the Jets have allowed only three WR TDs all year and no opposing wideout has topped 98 yards?
WR

Torry Holt

B If Jacksonville's No. 1 is bench material, it stands to reason that the rest of the passing game follows right along.
TE

Marcedes Lewis

B Noticing a theme here? Lewis has eight catches for 74 yards in four road games and is unusable outside of Jacksonville. Besides, only Dolphin tight ends score against the Jets.
DT Jaguars B

The Jags have forced one turnover in the past four games; tough to generate any defensive scores that way.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S3

Both of Sanchez's multi-touchdown games have come at home, and a date with a Jacksonville defense that has allowed multiple TD outings to four of the five legit passing games it has faced makes him a viable fantasy play this week. Don't get too excited, as the ground game will get first dibs on gouging the Jaguars, but Sanchez seems like a solid bye week plug-in play for those sans Schaub or Eli this week.

RB Thomas Jones S1

In his past two home games Jones has carried 49 times for 312 yards. The Jaguars come in after giving up 275 rushing yards in their last road game. So, yeah, this looks like a pretty good opportunity for Jones to pile up some big fantasy numbers.

RB Shonn Greene S3

Greene's last outing wasn't particularly memorable as he turned eight carries into just 18 yards and a key fumble the Dolphins returned for a touchdown. This match-up is slightly better, though it's not nearly as soft as the Raiders game in which Greene burst onto the scene. Secondary backs are averaging about a dozen carries per home game, something similar to the 13 LenDale White received when the Jaguars visited Tennessee. Assuming Greene can turn those touches into more than the 47 yards White mustered, he's worth considering in deeper leagues.

WR Braylon Edwards
Jerricho Cotchery


S3

Edwards and Cotchery are being targeted enough to be considered for fantasy plays, if only against a Jacksonville defense that has allowed eight WR TDs in four road games including multiple scores to both the Texans' and Seahawks' wide receiver corps. David Clowney could steal a touchdown, but even with Chansi Stuckey out of the picture he's a distant third on the downfield pecking order.

TE Dustin Keller
S3

Jets' tight ends have touchdowns in three of four home games, and Keller has been targeted a whopping 23 times over the past two home dates. That most definitely puts him in line for a shot at a score, for while the Jags have allowed only one TE TD this year it did come on the road.

DT Jets S3 Gang Green is still looking for its first defensive touchdown of the season, but a date with a Jaguars outfit that obviously doesn't travel well might be just what the doctor ordered.

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