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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)
Cincinnati (6-2) at Pittsburgh (6-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S3

This isn't the same Cincy team, so we can't expect the same 225 and two Palmer used to have to put up just to keep the Bengals around. He threw for 183 and 1 in the earlier meeting this year—a Bengals win—and is a bit more of a game manager than he used to be. He still gets his yardage, 224 or more in five straight outings, but his road touchdowns have been declining (from 3 to 2 to 1) and he's been held to just one touchdown in three of his last four. The Steelers offer similar stats: they've given up at least 221 yards in four of the past five but have gone four straight without allowing multiple touchdown passes and have shut out the last two quarterbacks they've faced. It's shaping up to be a 225 and one kind of game, which puts Palmer on the fringe of fantasy relevance.

RB Cedric Benson

Benson's touchdown against the Steelers in Week 3 was his first step towards convincing us he was a legitimate top-10 back. However, that came at home; moreover, his 76 and 1 outing is the gaudiest game the Steel Curtain has surrendered to an opposing back. So... how much do you really trust him? His 120 and 1 in Baltimore suggests he's deserving of your faith, but you do need to approach this match-up with caution.

WR Chad Ochocinco


The Steelers haven't allowed a wide receiver touchdown since Week 5, but they have given up a couple of 100-yard outings since then. That should work for Chad, who has at least 89 yards in five of eight this year, including a pair of 100-yard efforts. By contrast, Ochocinco has scored in only three of eight this year, and he's still looking for his first TD hookup with Palmer against Pittsburgh since the 2004 season. Settle for yardage, with any potential score viewed as a bonus.

WR Andre Caldwell
Laveranues Coles
B Both Caldwell and Coles have emerged as solid targets for the Bengals, but there doesn't project to be much available in the passing game and Ochocinco has first dibs. The Broncos on Monday night were the first team since Cincy in Week 3 to have a second receiver top 50 yards, and neither Coles nor Caldwell has managed 50 yards in back-to-back games. Under that theorem Caldwell would be the better play here since he had 15 yards (and a touchdown) last week while Coles had 72. But the better play would be to leave both on your fantasy bench. If you are thinking of using Caldwell, however, note that he missed Friday's practice due to illness. He's listed as probable, but in case whatever he has stretches into the weekend you'd best be ready with a backup plan.
TE John Paul Foschi
B How long has it been since the Bengals had a fantasy-relevant tight end? Not that Foschi is all that fantasy-relevant, especially this week against a Steelers defense that hasn't allowed a TE TD—or a tight end to top 30 yards—since Week 4.
DT Bengals S3 What did Crash Davis say? Don't mess with a streak? The Steelers have allowed a D/ST touchdown in six straight games (four defensive scores, two kick returns); that certainly puts the Bengals into play this week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2

Big Ben has multiple TD tosses in four of his last five, dating back to a one-touchdown outing in Cincinnati. The Bengals have surrendered multiple scoring strikes just once this season, so it's tough to bank on more than one from Roethlisberger here. Yardage, however, shouldn't be a problem: the Bengals have given up at least 243 yards to every quarterback they've faced except Joe Flacco, while Big Ben has 221 or better in every game except one and 333 or more in three of four at home.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


The last time the Steelers played Cincy Willie Parker rushed for 93 yards; since then, the Bengals' defense has shown at least a little susceptibility to running backs, giving up 121 rushing yards to Jerome Harrison and big combo-yardage games to Ray Rice (143 and 1), Steve Slaton (145 and 1), and Rice again (135). Mendenhall isn't much of a pass catcher, but he's been a solid rusher since taking over for Parker with two 150-yard games and four touchdowns. The numbers might not be as gaudy as the 155 he just dropped on the Broncos, but Mendenhall has played his way into every-week consideration.

WR Hines Ward

Ward has scored in three of the last four and has three 100-yard efforts already this season. He had 82 yards in the previous meeting with Cincy and has been Roethlisberger's primary target in five of the last six games. That's enough opportunity to make him the best play among Pittsburgh's wideouts this week.

WR Santonio Holmes
Mike Wallace

The Steelers are the only passing game to produce a second receiver with more than 48 yards against the Bengals this year, so it's possible there is some fantasy help to be found here. Cincy held Holmes to just one catch with bracket coverage in the earlier meeting and has used that approach to keep the likes of Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, and Derrick Mason (twice) out of the end zone. The Bengals have allowed four 100-yard receivers (including Wallace' 102 in Week 3), so there's definitely a chance. But Ward is likely to take his share off the top, leaving Holmes and Wallace to fight with Heath Miller for fantasy scraps.

TE Heath Miller

Miller remains a key cog in Pittsburgh's passing game, but he's laid a couple fantasy eggs in a row and now faces a Cincy defense that let Owen Daniels take them for a couple touchdowns but other than that has allowed one TE TD and is giving up around 50 yards per game to the position. Heath has one touchdown in his last eight against the Bengals and likely falls behind all three wideouts in the passing game pecking order this week.

DT Steelers S2 Pittsburgh has three defensive touchdowns in the past two games; you wanna bench 'em?
New Orleans (8-0) at St. Louis (1-7) Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

Reasons Brees isn't an S1 this week: he's been held without multiple touchdown passes in two of three road games this season; only David Garrard has thrown for more than 300 yards against them this year; and there's a chance the running game will eat into Brees' numbers. None of them, of course, are cause enough for you to consider Brees anything but a great start this week.

RB Pierre Thomas

Thomas continues to be the more productive back, and he's not only scored in back-to-back games but has also carried at least 13 times in three of the past four. So you're not just hoping for production; now you're reasonably confident he'll get enough touches to give you that production. And against a Rams defense that ranks fourth in fantasy friendliness towards running backs, you can remove the qualifier "reasonably".

RB Mike Bell

Not only have the Saints demonstrated they're more than willing to run the ball and grind clock once their offense gives them a healthy lead, the Rams have shown they're willing to give up touchdowns and yardage to secondary backs. Over the past month St. Louis has allowed two secondary backs to score and three to amass 58 or more yards from scrimmage. Bell has at least a dozen carries in five of the six games in which he's played; he's also scored or rushed for 80 yards (or both) in four of those five. In other words, he should see ample opportunity against a bad defense to put up helpful fantasy numbers.

RB Reggie Bush

Bush is a trickier fantasy proposition. Yes, he's scored in three of the last four. Yes, those in PPR leagues had to like his seven catches last week. But the fact remains that he hasn't had double-digit touches since Week 3, and subsequently hasn't had more than 53 yards since Week 3 either. Can he turned limited touches into fantasy help against the Lambs? Probably. Would you rather use a back that's bound to have more opportunities? Probably.

WR Marques Colston

Aside from two dropped touchdowns last week, there's no reason not to like Colston's chances against a Rams defense that has already allowed five of seven No. 1 receivers to either score or top 100 yards.


Devery Henderson
Robert Meachem


The Rams are providing fantasy help for secondary receivers—over the past six games they've allowed multiple WR TDs, multiple 100-yard games, multiple 60-yard games, and a game where one wideout scored while the other topped 100 yards. Clearly the Saints have the depth to take advantage; over the past month they've had games with two 90-yard receivers, two 70-yard receivers, three 70-yard receivers, and three different wideouts scoring touchdowns. No need to differentiate; start 'em if you got 'em.

TE Jeremy Shockey S3 Hard to exclude Shockey from the party—not against a defense that's allowed TE TDs in three of the last five, including two straight at home. None of Shockey's touchdowns have come on the road, but he does have a 100-yard game in road whites and has 14 catches in three games away from the Superdome.
DT Saints S1 The Saints' defense has as many touchdowns as the Rams' offense. Just sayin'.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger

Bulger missed his chance to snap a string of games with one or zero touchdowns (now at 15) against Detroit last week. Tough to see him all of a sudden going where the six previous quarterbacks the Saints have faced have failed to go.

RB Steven Jackson

Jackson has hit the century mark in two straight, while the Saints have allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers. Don't bank on a touchdown, but Jackson should reach triple digits on the ground or at minimum in combo yards.

WR Donnie Avery
Keenan Burton


The Saints have allowed at least one opposing receiver to reach 60 yards against them in every game this week. Avery should be the guy to hit that mildstone, but Burton has been seeing almost as many targets and is in the mix just enough to upset the apple cart for both.

TE Randy McMichael

New Orleans hasn't allowed a TE TD all season, and it's unlikely McMike will be the first.

DT Rams B Asking the Rams defense to generate fantasy points against the Saints is like asking wet single-ply tissue to stop an oncoming train.

Buffalo (3-5) at Tennessee (2-6)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Edwards S3

Edwards is slated to return to this game after taking time off due to a concussion, but unless someone planted a post-knockout suggestion that he's Jim Kelly you can't expect big numbers here. Adequate numbers, however, are within reach; Edwards owns the only two multiple-TD, 200-plus yard games by a Bills quarterback this season (Weeks 1 and 2, sure, but work with us here), while the Titans have allowed multiple TDs in six of the last seven and given up five 300-yard games already this season. While Tennessee's secondary is getting healthy and playing significantly better, there is still fantasy hay to be made here.

RB Marshawn Lynch S3

Lynch still appears to be the Bills' primary back, and assuming he gets the majority of the touches he makes a sneaky fantasy play against the once-stout Titans. Tennessee has allowed at least one running back touchdown in five straight games and a 100-yard rusher in two of the last three, but where you can really hurt the Titans is by throwing to the backs. Tennessee has allowed three 50-yard receivers out of the backfield over the past four games, and since Lynch has six catches to Fred Jackson's zero over the past month the assumption is that he's handling third-down looks as well.

WR Lee Evans
Terrell Owens

Cautious optimism abounds! Since Owens was shut out in Week 3 he's been targeted 37 times (to Evans' 33) and caught 18 balls (to Evans' 15). In other words, both are in play here against the most fantasy-friendly secondary in the league. Owens missed two practices during the week and was limited on Friday by a hip injury, but he's expected to play.

DT Bills B Sorry, no hidden gem here. They are who you thought they were
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young B

The Bills have held four straight and five of six without a touchdown toss. Seriously. And Young isn't that adept a passer to begin with. You could cross your fingers and hope he steals a touchdown at the stripe with his feet... or you could just go ahead and bench him.

RB Chris Johnson S1

Buffalo has allowed at least one running back touchdown in three straight and seven of eight; they've also surrendered five 100-yard rushing games and two more triple-digit combo yardage games. Seeing as Johnson rolls into this tilt with 491 rushing yards and four TDs over the past three games alone, he's gold to put up big fantasy numbers here.

RB LenDale White S3

White has fringe fantasy value for the dozen or so carries he's likely to pick up if the Titans build a big lead. He also has some value as the goal line guy, though Tennessee hasn't been shy about leaving Johnson in the game and Young is as likely as White to get whatever shorties Chris doesn't take. So it's not a glowing recommendation, but White's first fantasy-relevant effort since Week 3 is a distinct possibility.

WR Nate Washington
Justin Gage
B The Bills have allowed one WR TD on the year; the Titans have Vince Young at quarterback. See where we're goin' with this?
TE Bo Scaife
B Buffalo hasn't allowed a TE TD since Week 2; the Titans haven't scored one all year. See where we're goin' with this?.
DT Titans S3 The Titans appear to be healing up nicely, especially on defense. They're not a great play, but they're at home against a rusty quarterback and a shaky offense; you could do worse.
Denver (6-2) at Washington (2-6) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton B

Despite their many flaws, the Redskins can flat out play good pass defense. Orton enters this game with goose eggs in two straight, and it's unlikely he'll get healthy against a secondary that has yet to allow multiple scoring strikes in a game this season.


Knowshon Moreno
Correll Buckhalter

B Strike one: the Redskins have yet to allow a running back touchdown in FedEx Field this season. Strike two: Moreno and Buckhalter are still splitting carries; Moreno looked to be earning a larger share, but his inability to pass block leaves the door open for Buck to remain involved. Strike three: Denver has been all too quick to abandon the run the past two weeks, finishing with fewer than 20 rushes in both games. An unproductive split backfield with a tough matchup doesn't project to yield much in the way of fantasy assistance.
WR Brandon Marshall

After allowing WR TDs in four straight to open the season, the Skins have surrendered just one in the past month. Marshall is asserting himself as Denver's top target, but in four games at lower altitude his best effort is a five-catch, 67-yard showing in Oakland—also the site of his lone road touchdown this year. He's worked his way back to every-wee-starter status, but this week will test that theory.

WR Eddie Royal


As little as Washington is giving up to wideouts, the share that goes to secondary targets is miniscule. Royal has five catches in four road games, making him unstartable here.

TE Tony Scheffler


It's not enough that Scheffler is a forgotten part of the Broncos' offense; this week he faces a defense that ranks as the sixth least-fantasy friendly to tight ends

DT Broncos S3 The Broncos scored a defensive touchdown last week, while the Redskins have allowed defensive scores in their last two games. Hey, the points have to come from somewhere.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

Campbell has had five games against the 10 most quarterback-friendly fantasy defenses and has almost nothing to show for it; heck, he was yanked at home against the #4 defense. So you want to start him against a Denver defense that has given up fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than all but two other NFL teams? You're on your own.

RB Clinton Portis
Ladell Betts
B Portis has been ruled out due to the concussion he suffered last week while Betts is questionable with an ankle injury that kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday and limited him on Friday. We might be treated to Rock Cartwright or the freshly-signed Quinton Ganther here, or more likely some three-headed combination. Against a pretty good Denver run D and behind a pretty bad Washington offensive line, there's nothing worthy of fantasy consideration here.
WR Santana Moss
Antwaan Randle El
Devin Thomas

B The Steelers scored three WR TDs on Denver Monday night, doubling the Broncos' season total. While the fact that all six wide receiver scores have come in the past four games might be cause for optimism, there's little among the Redskins receivers to inspire much more than a desperation start for Moss in hopes of a long touchdown.
TE Fred Davis B

Raise your hand if you scooped up Davis off the waiver wire after he looked like the second coming of Kellen Winslow Sr. after taking over for the injured Chris Cooley? So, how did you like Davis being the Redskins' third-most productive tight end in your first opportunity to plug him into your fantasy lineup? Don't reward him with another start here—and it's not just spite; the Broncos have allowed just one TE TD all year, and Antonio Gates is the only opposing tight end to have topped 31 yards against them.

DT Redskins B The Skins have generated just one turnover in the past three games, so a defensive touchdown seems unlikely.
Kansas City (1-7) at Oakland (2-6) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel

For all of the Raiders' many flaws, they still shut down opposing passing games. Cassel mustered 241 and one in the earlier meeting, and there's little reason to expect a dramatic increase in the Black Hole.

RB Jamaal Charles


The Chiefs couldn't score a running back touchdown against Oakland using Larry Johnson (24-78) and Dantrell Savage (3-26) in the earlier meeting, so they'll give it a go with a new cast of characters this time around. Charles hasn't had more than six carries in a game this season, but the upside he brings to the table is as a pass-catcher; the Raiders have allowed five RBs to amass at least 40 receiving yards this year, including both LJ and Savage in the earlier meeting. Charles is best in space, and what he should kick in as a receiver makes him valuable not only in PPR leagues but also in performance leagues.

RB Kolby Smith


Two years ago Smith took the Raiders for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. He's since had knee surgery and has only been on the active roster for a week. His four carries last week produced an underwhelming 17 yards, and it would take a ginormous leap of faith or sheer desperation to plug him into your fantasy lineup expecting anything like that outing two years ago.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

Bowe scored in the earlier matchup and remains the most consistent play in the Kansas City passing game. That's not saying much, however. Seeing as Bowe remains the most frequently targeted Chief, he gets the narrow nod as the lone passing game representative worthy of fantasy consideration.

WR Chris Chambers
Lance Long


This is Chambers' third crack at the Raiders; he was shut out in the opener and managed one catch in his last game as a Charger before getting the boot. Tough to see a two-catch game let alone a two-touchdown "look what I pulled out of my backside" like last week. Same for Long, who popped up on fantasy radars after being targeted 11 times last week. It's difficult to trust a rookie with three NFL games under his belt given the match-up and the anticipated production (or lack thereof) of the KC passing game.

TE Sean Ryan


Ryan hasn't done anything of note since a Week 4 touchdown; aside from a couple yardage games to Brent Celek and Antonio Gates the Raiders haven't allowed much of anything to tight ends. Sorry, no sleeper help here.

DT Chiefs S3 Any time JaMarcus Russell is the other team's quarterback, your fantasy defense has a chip and a chair.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB JaMarcus Russell B

Hopefully it hasn't come to this for you. Thirty-three quarterbacks have more passing touchdowns than Russell's two, while three running backs, a kicker, and a punter trail him by only one. Surely you can do better.

RB Justin Fargas
Darren McFadden


Not only will McFadden return to the lineup this week, the Raiders will also get back a pair of offensive line regulars. And while having three backs available borders on a fantasy nightmare, Tom Cable is excited. "You can fit in the toughness inside of that explosiveness," he said earlier this week in regards to McFadden's return. "The whole key is getting that explosiveness going. From there, once you get that started, the rest of it can fall into place." Not sure what exactly that means, but if it means the Raiders' two most productive ball carriers will each get double-digit touches then you can fit the toughness inside that explosiveness and tuck it into your fantasy lineup with at least a little bit of optimism: six times this season the Chiefs have allowed a touchdown or 50 yards or both to two backs from the same team in the same game.

RB Michael Bush


Of the four times all three Oakland backs have received carries in the same game, twice Bush has been on the short end of the stick and once he shared the short end with McFadden. Thus, we'll make him the odd man out of the one glimmer of fantasy hope the Raiders offense has to offer.


Louis Murphy
Chaz Schilens

B In three of the past four games the entire Raiders wide receiver corps has combined for two or fewer catches. Oakland hasn't had a WR TD since Week 1. Fantasy wise, you could have started Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel as your wideouts and gotten more out of it than inserting any Raiders into your lineup.
TE Zack Miller B

After leading the Raiders in receiving in both meetings with the Chiefs last year Miller was shut out in the front end of this season's series. Such is life with Russell at quarterback. The Chiefs haven't allowed a ton to opposing tight ends; if Miller offered any sort of consistency he'd be worth at least an S3 this week. But because any Oakland pass catcher is a threat to goose egg at any given moment, you'd best look elsewhere for help.

DT Raiders B The Chiefs have been turnover-free in three of their last four games, making it even more difficult for Oakland's defense to provide anything resembling fantasy assistance.

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