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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 13
John Tuvey
Updated: December 4, 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)
 
 
New York Jets (5-6) at Buffalo (4-7) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez B

The last time Sanchez faced the Bills he threw five picks. With the exchange rate that means he'll only throw four in Toronto, right? The rookie has had more picks than TDs in each of his last three games, and his prospects don't look to improve against a defense that has allowed just three touchdown tosses in the last seven games.

RB Thomas Jones S1

The Bills haven't changed so much under Perry Fewell that they're stopping the run. They're still the most RB-friendly fantasy defense, they've allowed RB TDs in six straight games, and they served up 210 and a touch to Jones in the earlier meeting. Jones, by the way, has touchdowns in six of the last eight games—and 100-plus rushing yards in the two games he didn't score. Trends don't get much better than this.

RB Shonn Greene U

Greene has done little since gouging the Raiders after Leon Washington broke his leg, but maybe he gets his shot here. Greene saw 10 carries against a statistically similar (read: bad) Carolina run D last week, which gives hope that he could do something here akin to the 15-99 Leon had in the earlier meeting.

WR Jerricho Cotchery


B

Cotchery's mini-fun run ended with a one-catch showing last week against Carolina, and it's unlikley to get kick-started against a Buffalo secondary that has allowed a total of four WR TDs all year.

WR Braylon Edwards


B

Edwards had three catches for 40 yards in the previous meeting with Buffalo, and that was the entirety of the Jets' wideout production. As noted above, the Bills are stingy in the secondary and unless Edwards is wearing a Bills' jersey he's not likely to get his hands on many of Sanchez's passes.

TE Dustin Keller
S3

The Bills haven't allowed a TE TD since Week 2, but they've given up back-to-back 70-yard games to the position. Keller has 58 or better in three of his last four and is the best bet amongst Gang Green pass catchers to provide any meaningful statistics.

DT Jets S3 The Jets D got on the board with a pick-six last week, and seeing as the Bills have thrown seven INTs in the past four games they have a decent shot at making it two in a row.
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick B

Perry Fewell has loosened the restraints a bit, at least yardage-wise; Fitzpatrick has thrown for twice as much yardage in each of his two games under the new regime than he did in any of his three previous games this season. He's still looking at just one TD, especially against a Jets' secondary  that's allowed multiples only once this season, and the yardage won't be easy to come by either as Gang Green has held seven of 11 opposing QBs under 200 yards.

RB Fred Jackson S3

The Bills churned out 113 yards on the ground against the Jets in the earlier meeting, but it took a combined 34 carries from Jackson and Marshawn Lynch to do so. Jackson has emerged as the lead dog in the Buffalo backfield, and his 116 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns last week against Miami certainly provide cause for optimism. Guarded optimism, as Lynch could still siphon carries and the Jets are no cupcake, but optimism nonetheless.

RB Marshawn Lynch B

Why wouldn't the interim coach go with the former Division III/Arena League/undrafted free agent over the former first-round pick? It's unlikely that Marshawn will be all that disappointed if his stay in Buffalo is abbreviated.

WR Terrell Owens
B

While it's not impossible to score on Darrelle Revis—over the past three weeks both Randy Moss and Mike Sims-Walker have turned the trick and last week Steve Smith had a TD grab overturned—it's certainly not easy. Owens has been hot of late, but you'd be fighting an uphill battle expecting anything from him here.

WR Lee Evans
B

Conventional wisdom suggests you start the receiver Revis isn't covering, but with so little to go around for the Bills the even smarter play might be to sit them both.

DT Bills S2 The Bills picked Sanchez five times in the last meeting; nothing in the seven INTs he's thrown in the past three games suggests we should expect much different this time around.
 
Philadelphia (7-4) at Atlanta (6-5) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb
S2

Atlanta has allowed multiple TD tosses in three straight and six of seven, and it's not as if the Eagles don't like to throw the football around a little bit. McNabb has 227 passing yards or better in five straight and multiple TDs in two of three and three of five, so he's well-positioned to take advantage of this oportunity.

RB LeSean McCoy S2

McCoy has been okay since taking over full-time duties from Brian Westbrook, though losing a touchdown to Eldra Buckley last week was a bit disconcerting. That said, the Falcons have allowed at least one RB TD in five straight games, including RB receiving scores in each of the last two, and that plays directly into McCoy's game.

WR DeSean Jackson

B Looks as if Jackson will miss this one due to a concussion suffered last week.
WR Jeremy Maclin
Jason Avant
S2 With Jackson out, both Maclin and Avant can take advantage of an Atlanta secondary that has allowed seven WR TDs over the past six games. There's been adequate yardage as well, with the Falcons ceding a 90-yard receiver in each of the past three games, so nothing in the matchup suggests Philly's passing game will run into problems this week.
TE Brent Celek

S3 While still heavily targeted, catches may be tougher for Celek to come by due to the torn ligaments in his hand. Assuming the drops won't be an issue, Celek is set up for a nice day against an Atlanta defense that has given up three TE TDs in the past four games and 163 yards to the position over the past two games alone.
DT Eagles B Philly's defense is slumping—just three turnovers and four sacks over the past three games—and their special teams haven't been all that special of late.
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Ryan B

Turf toe will knock Ryan out of this week's tilt.

QB Chris Redman S3

Redman stepped in for Ryan and there was little if any dropoff; of course, that was against the Bucs, and this one isn't. Not that Philly is that great a hurdle; they've allowed at least 222 passing yards in seven of the last eight and multiple touchdowns in two of three and six times overall. Depending on what elements of his running game are at his disposal, Redman may be asked to do even a little bit more this week.

RB Michael Turner
B

Turner aggravated his high ankle sprain in last week's game; officially, he's listed as questionable but he didn't practice all week and it is unlikely he will play. If he does, he won't be at full speed and it's not a good match-up. Look elsewhere for help this week..

RB Jason Snelling
Jerious Norwood
B

It remains to be seen how the Falcons will divvy up carries this week, but against the Eagles it may not matter. Philly has shut out backs in back-to-back games, and no back has topped 40 yards on the ground or 30 yards as a receiver. Turner would have been a tough start against this defense; some sort of split work between his backups renders both of them virtually unusable.

WR Roddy White S3

Since Philly's Week 4 bye, they've allowed just four WR TDs in eight games and no receiver to top 75 yards against them. So if you do roll with White this week, you're doing so because he'll be heavily targeted and is an elite receiver, not because of a favorable match-up. Making matters worse, White is listed as questionable and was limited in practice all week.

WR Michael Jenkins B

Jenkins is seeing an uptick in looks (26 over the past three games), culminating with seven catches for 80 yards last week. However, with the Eagles secondary playing well enough to make even White a tough start it's extremely difficult to recommend his backup for a fantasy start. Compounding the issue, Jenkins did not practice at all this week because of an ankle injury and is listed as questionable.

TE

Tony Gonzalez

S1

Gonzo has been targeted 37 times the past three games, so his meeting with the most tight end-friendly fantasy defense in the league will provide copious opportunities for him to pile up good yardage (Philly has ceded 50-plus TE yards in three straight and seven of eight) and reach the end zone (the Eagles have allowed TDs in back-to-back games and seven TE TDs on the year, second-most in the NFL).

DT Falcons B Atlanta's defense isn't doing enough to warrant attention here.
 

Tampa Bay (1-10) at Carolina (4-7)

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Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

The rookie has had a couple nice games, but a third is unlikely to come against Carolina secondary that's allowed multiple touchdown passes in just one of the last nine games and held five opponents under 200 passing yards.

RB Carnell Williams



S2

Caddy produced a solid 16-77-1 in the earlier meeting, but that was without Derrick Ward or Earnest Graham stealing any carries. While Caddy got the score last week Ward handled the ball more. Fortunately Carolina is giving up both yardage and touchdowns, so you have to like Caddy's chances against a Panthers defense that has allowed at least one RB TD in every game this year.

RB Derrick Ward


B

Ward saw a season-high 13 carries last week, but his ineffectiveness (just 29 yards) with that workload renders him unusable even with the soft opponent.

WR Antonio Bryant

S3

Buccaneer receivers combined for just six catches in the earlier meeting with Carolina. Freeman has been leaning more heavily on his WRs than his predecessors at the position did, as there's been a Tampa Bay WR TD in each of his four starts. However, the Panthers have allowed just three WR TDs all season. It's a tepid at best argument for Bryant as he narrowly falls on the plus side of the start/bench fence.

WR Sammie Stroughter
Maurice Stovall

B

With so little to go around, there's no reason to reach beyond Bryant for fantasy help.

TE Kellen Winslow
S3

K2 has been averaging more than nine targets per game under Freeman, with 269 yards and a touchdown in the rookie's four starts. The Panthers have been okay against tight ends, holding Winslow to 29 yards in the earlier meeting, but over the past five games they've given up two TE TDs and a pair of 65-plus yardage games. That's enough to suggest the heavily targeted Winslow should remain in your fantasy mix.

DT Buccaneers B The Bucs gave up 28 at home to the Panthers earlier this year and 38 in Carolina the last time they visited. With no Jake Delhomme to throw picks to them, the Bucs' D is an iffy start at best.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B Moore threw for 174 yards and a pair of scores in a win over the Bucs in the 2007 season finale, and now he'll start for the injured/struggling Jake Delhomme. The Bucs won't present a formidable foe, having allowed multiple TD tosses in four of their last five, but the expectation is that Moore will be asked merely to hand off to his backs and throw the occasional pass towards Steve Smith to keep him happy. Your fantasy team can do better.
RB

DeAngelo Williams

S2 Williams has 338 yards and four touchdowns in his last two against the Bucs, so after last week's struggles against the Jets expect him to hop right back in the saddle against a defense that has allowed RB TDs in seven straight games—assuming, of course, that he's healthy enough to go. Williams didn't practice all week due to an ankle injury and is officially listed as questionable. If he plays, use him; if not, be prepared for a monster day from Jonathan Stewart.
RB

Jonathan Stewart

S2 Stewart has 225 yards and three touchdowns in his last two against the Bucs, so after last week's struggles against the Jets expect him to hop right back in the saddle against a defense that... sounds familiar, doesn't it? Stewart practiced fully each of the past two days, and with Williams gimpy he could see an uptick in workload. Better still, at least for Stewart's fantasy owners, if Williams doesn't go then it will be all Stewart, all the time.
WR Steve Smith B

One week after being blanketed by Darrelle Revis, Smith gets a rematch with Aqib Talib—who held him to one catch for five yards in the earlier meeting, his first game against Tampa Bay with Jake Delhomme at QB since 2003 where he didn't have 100 yards or a touchdown. And now he gets a backup quarterback? I gave him the benefit of the doubt last week against Revis and he failed me; with the fantasy playoffs looming this is no time for second chances.

WR Muhsin Muhammed
Dwayne Jarrett
B

Since Smith is the entirety of the Carolina passing game, and since said passing game will be helmed by a backup, the recommendation is to look elsewhere for fantasy help.

TE Dante Rosario

S3

Here's your sneaky tight end play of the week. In addition to young and inexperienced quarterbacks leaning on their tight ends, in addition to Talib shutting down Smith, note that Rosario has been targeted seven times in each of the past two games and the Bucs have given up 214 yards and two TDs to tight ends over the past three games.

DT Panthers B The Bucs are averaging two turnovers per game with Freeman at the helm, but Carolina has done little with all their defensive talent to warrant giving their D/ST a fantasy start here.
 

St. Louis (1-10) at Chicago (4-7)

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Boller
B

Boller hasn't been awful in relief of the oft-injured Marc Bulger, and the Bears haven't exactly conjured up memories of 1985 in allowing multiple TD passes in three of the last four games. But it's Week 13, the fantasy playoffs are on the line, and... Kyle Boller? Really?

RB Steven Jackson
S2

Despite the bad back, despite that the Rams have absolutely nothing else going offensively, Jackson got his touchdown and triple-digit combo yardage last week. A Bears defense that has allowed similar productivity to Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, and Frank Gore over the past month is unlikely to do much to keep Jackson from his appointed rounds. Jackson didn't practice at all for the second straight week, however, so you'll have to track his status right up until kickoff to ensure he'll be available.

WR Donnie Avery


S2

Over the past six games the Bears have allowed four 100-yard games to wideouts and a total of 10 WR TDs in that span. Avery is the go-to guy regardless of quarterback, and if any element of the St. Louis passing game is worthy of fantasy attention this week it's Donnie.

WR

Danny Amendola

U

New QB, new secondary target. Maybe Boller was as tired of Brandon Gibson's shenanigans as the rest of us, because he went to Amendola 11 times last week (compared to Gibson's seven targets). Against a defense that has allowed eight different receivers to score over the past six games, along with four 100-yard wideouts and another four with at least 64 yards, there's at least a modicum of upside here.

DT Rams B Only three of Cutler's 20 picks have come at home, so this isn't the week to bank on a sudden bout of defensive acumen on behalf of the Rams.
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S2

Cutler comes off a pair of lousy games against good defenses to the welcome respite of an NFC West foe. In three previous outings against the division Jay has averaged 307 yards and two TDs, so pencil him in for a nice bounceback game here.

RB Matt Forte
S2

For the first time since Forte faced the Browns in Week 8 we can say "Start Matt Forte? Sure!" without a hint of sarcasm. The Rams have allowed at least 150 combo yards to backs in seven straight games, with touchdowns in six of those contests and multiple RB scores in four of them. The average game for opposing backfields over that span is 180 and two, so even if Khalil Bell steals a few carries Forte will be the fantasy stud you hoped for when you drafted him far too early back in August.

WR

Devin Hester

S3 Teams have been so busy running on the Rams they've barely needed to pass; in fact, the Rams rank in the bottom half of the league in fantasy friendliness towards wideouts. Despite just one catch last week Hester has tended to be the more targeted Bear wide receiver, and with plenty of yardage expected to be available thanks to Chicago's pass-happiness he should be in your fantasy lineup.
WR

Johnny Knox
Earl Bennett

B Despite Knox scoring the Bears' lone touchdown last week, despite Bennett being the most targeted Chicago wideout, you're taking a bigger risk than you might think by digging this far down the Bears' passing game pecking order.
TE Greg Olsen

S2

It only seems like every pass Jay Cutler throws is directed at Olsen; truth be told, he's only been targeted 30 times over the past three games. Okay, so that's a lot. The Rams have shut out four straight tight ends, but with Olsen such a bright blip on Cutler's radar he's worth a play despite what appears to be an unfavorable match-up.

DT Bears S2 The Monsters of the Midway they ain't, but five of the six defensive TDs the Rams have given up have come with Boller at the helm and both of Chicago's D/ST TDs have come at home.
 

Tennessee (5-6) at Indianapolis (11-0)

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Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young B

Indy's pass defense has been softer of late, allowing 300-yard efforts and multiple TD games to the likes of Tom Brady and Matt Schaub. For all of his 387 passing yards last week, Vince is not yet a thrower of that caliber. He's had one (and only one) touchdown in each of his five starts (four passing, one rushing), and if you rushed out to pick him up after last week's performance at least save him for a more favorable matchup.

RB Chris Johnson S2

Johnson's last bad game came against the Colts, who held him to 34 yards on nine carries. Since then he's rushed for at least 128 yards in six consecutive games, while the Colts have allowed an average of 150 combo yards and one RB TD to opposing backfields. And if there's anything Johnson is not, it's "average".

RB LenDale White B

LenDale was actually more productive than Johnson in the Titans' last game against Indy, with 51 yards on 10 carries. The odds of that happening again are slightly greater than White celebrating his next touchdown with a rendition of Pee Wee Herman's "Tequila" dance. Though that would be really cool if he did.

WR Nate Washington
Kenny Britt
B On the one hand, all four of Vince Young's TD passes this year have gone to wideouts. On the other, Indy has allowed a total of five WR TDs this year and three of them came in the win over New England. Washington had 3-37 and Britt 2-18 in the previous meeting; even if their numbers are doubled they're fringe fantasy contributors at best.
TE Bo Scaife
B Smith has seen an uptick in targets—17 the last two games, a total of 30 in the five games Young has started. However, Indy has allowed just one TE TD this year and the Titans haven't scored any so it's tough to bank on anything more than adequate yardage here.
DT Titans B Manning has been more prone to picks of late and the Titans' defense is certainly playing better. However, that's like saying the electric chair is well padded and the voltage has been dialed back; despite the tweaks you don't want to be sitting there.
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

Thanks to a home shutout of Matt Leinart (wow, congratulations), the Titans are no longer the most QB-friendly fantasy defense; they trail the Lions by one-tenth of a point per game. Manning took them for 309 and three in the earlier match-up and there's nothing to suggest he'll fare significantly worse at home in the rematch.

RB Joseph Addai S3 Addai scored in the earlier meeting, with 53 of his 80 combo yards coming on 10 receptions. He's still the lead dog in Indy's RBBC, and if the Titans again focus on the downfield receivers he'll contribute as a pass-catcher. Though his three-game scoring streak ended last week, it's tough to sit a guy who has more touchdowns than all but three other running backs.
RB Donald Brown B Brown is gradually seeing an uptick in playing time, but he's still the minority shareholder of Indy's backfield touches. Worse, Chad Simpson is horning in on his garbage-time action. It won't help Brown's status this week or the rest of the way that he'll miss this game with a chest injury.
WR Reggie Wayne
S2

Tennessee "held" Wayne to 6-60-1 in the previous meeting while letting Austin Collie take them for 97 and two. What poison will the Titans pick this time around? The nice thing is, Manning almost always finds a way to include Wayne; only twice all year has he been held under six catches, and in one of those games he still scored.

WR Austin Collie
Pierre Garçon
S2 Maybe it's the additional attention Wayne and Dallas Clark require; maybe it's Manning get used to his new targets. Maybe it's just the same kind of overflow you get when hanging out at a bar with Derek Jeter. In any event, there should be plenty of seconds here. Collie had 8-97-2 in the earlier meeting, while Garcon has averaged 67 yards per game over the past five and scored twice in that span.
TE Dallas Clark S2

Clark had nine catches for 77 yards in the previous meeting, but he failed to score; that launched a string of seven straight games in which the Titans have held opposing tight ends out of the end zone. Don't let that scare you off; Clark has 65 yards or a touchdown (or both) in each of the last 10 games.

DT Colts B Indy's defense lets the offense handle most of the scoring, last week's pick six notwithstanding. You don't want to pin your hopes on lightning striking twice.
 

Denver (7-4) at Kansas City (3-8)

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Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2

Every competent visiting quarterback (we're excluding JaMarcus Russell) has thrown for at least 268 yards and multiple touchdowns in Arrowhead. If you think Orton is competent, then he's in line for something along the lines of 325 and two or three—or at least a significant portion of what opposing QBs have been hanging on the Chiefs in Kansas City.

RB

Knowshon Moreno


S2 Moreno has at least 80 yards in three straight, and the Chiefs have allowed at least one RB TD in each of the past five games. Yards, touchdowns... sounds like Moreno is all set.
RB

Correll Buckhalter


B Buckhalter is still seeing touches, though he's unquestionably second fiddle to Moreno. If you're in a pinch you could use him here, as secondary backs have scored in three of the last five against the Chiefs, but odds are you have a better option on your roster.
WR Brandon Marshall
S2

Marshall is still the go-to guy in this passing game, and against a Kansas City secondary that's allowed six 100-yard receivers already is chances of a very helpful fantasy game are quite good.

WR Eddie Royal
Brandon Stokley

B

There's a temptation to reach here given the opponent, especially after noting the success speed receivers have had against the Chiefs. But secondary targets simply aren't thrown to enough to be relied upon for fantasy help even given the soft match-up.

TE Tony Scheffler


B

The Chiefs went six games without allowing a TE TD before Heath Miller and Antonio Gates blew them up in consecutive weeks. Scheffler isn't targeted nearly as much as those two, so dial back your expectations. Scheffler could be considered as a long-shot play in TE-mandatory leagues, but that's about it.

DT Broncos B Denver's D/ST have done little to warrant fantasy consideration, and the Chiefs' special teams haven't allowed a return score so that portion of the game doesn't factor into the equation, either.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel
B

Cassel has thrown at least one touchdown in every home game and topped 240 yards in three of five at Arrowhead; however, his best game is 253 and two. If that's the top end, he's likely not worth the risk this week against a Denver defense that has given up multiple scores just twice and allowed only one opposing QB to top 255 yards against them.

RB Jamaal Charles

S3

That's touchdowns in two straight tough match-ups for Charles; while we're not ready to elevate him to every-week starter status just yet, there is definite upside here. The Broncos have given up RB TDs in each of their two previous road games and triple-digit yards from scrimmage to three straight feature backs on the road. Charles has averaged 110 combo yards and scored in each of his three starts, so at minimum he's usable as a yardage play with upside in larger leagues.

WR

Chris Chambers

S3

Chambers has four touchdowns in eight career games against the Broncos, though he's averaging just 44 yards per game in those tilts. Since he's the main (only?) option in KC's passing game he'll see plenty of Champ Bailey. While that doesn't mean he'll be shut out completely, it does significantly reduce his upside.

WR Bobby Wade
Lance Long

B

There won't be enough in the KC passing game for any secondary mouths to get fed.

TE Leonard Pope

B

Pope hasn't been targeted more than three times in a game this season; that's simply not enough opportunity against a defense that's given up just three TE TDs all year.

DT Chiefs B On a weekend where the Chiefs will retire Derrick Thomas' number, maybe they'll honor him with a sack or two.

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