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Start/Bench List - Week 6
John Tuvey
Updated: October 15, 2010
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MIA at GBP KCC at HOU NOS at TBB IND at WAS Start/Bench List by Position
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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)
Miami at Green Bay Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne S3

Green Bay has given up 688 yards of passing the last two weeks to B-list quarterbacks (Shaun Hill, Donovan McNabb), but it’s taken 103 attempts between them to reach such gaudy numbers and they still combined for just three TDs. Expect the Dolphins to run a little more than either Detroit or Washington, but they’ll given Henne enough opportunities to put up useable fantasy numbers this week.


Ronnie Brown


Teams still aren’t running on the Packers, in part because nobody is trying and in part because Green Bay hasn’t seem much in the way of elite backs; Jahvid Best was nicked when posted 84 yards on 17 touches against them, and LeSean McCoy only saw the ball a dozen times yet still managed 82 yards and a score. Trouble is, the Dolphins aren’t giving Brown a gaudy workload either; though he’s had double-digit touches in every game this year his high water mark thus far is 13 carries. He should turn a similar workload into decent fantasy digits, but without the opportunities he can’t be projected for anything bigger.


Ricky Williams


Williams is seeing a slightly smaller workload than Brown, giving him a slightly smaller chance of helping your fantasy team.


Brandon Marshall


You know Charles Woodson will have a handful of Marshall’s jersey for most of the afternoon; the over/under on interference penalties called in this matchup is 2.5 (one for each party; if you take the over, you decide who gets flagged twice) while the line on uncalled muggins is approaching double digits. Can Marshall shake himself free to make some plays? Calvin Johnson (6-86-2) did, providing hope Marshall will do so as well.


Davonne Bess

S3 Speed guys have given the Packers trouble thus far this season (Jeremy Maclin and Anthony Armstrong scored, Santana Moss and Johnny Knox put up 118 and 94 yards, respectively), and heading into their bye the Dolphins showed no qualms about throwing to Bess as he racked up 9-93-1. At minimum Bess is a PPR helper, and as the Dolphins demonstrated in Week 4 if too much attention is paid to Marshall Bess can make you pay.
TE Anthony Fasano

You could do worse for a bye-week plug-in than Fasano, especially against a Green Bay defense that’s allowed four TEs to top 60 yards in the last three weeks. However, that’s a level Fasano has seen just once in the last eight games dating back to Week 13 of last year so you’d have to be pretty desperate to resort to using him here.

DT Dolphins B The Dolphins haven’t generated a turnover since Week 2 so unless Matt Flynn gets the call at quarterback for Green Bay this week there’s no reason to reach for the Phins’ D.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S2

How will Rodgers adjust to life without Jermichael Finley? He may have to throw downfield a bit more than usual, and the Miami secondary isn’t exactly Swiss cheese, so his numbers might be dampened slightly here. Still, with no ground game to speak of and plenty of targets looking for more attention, a slightly off day for Rodgers is a better day than a good day for most other QBs.


Brandon Jackson


You see Jackson’s big numbers from last week and you see three straight backs have scored and topped 70 yards against the Dolphins; great chance to start him, right? Meh. The backs that have had success against Miami have all done so on 15-plus carries; Jackson is averaging less than 14 touches per game and simply isn’t an integral part of the Green Bay offense.


John Kuhn


The Dolphins have given up RB rushing scores in three straight, so there’s a chance Green Bay’s goal line guy could see a money shot. However, with Kuhn averaging less than seven touches per game it’s too slim a chance on which to hang your fantasy hopes.

WR Greg Jennings


The Packers have made it known they want to get the ball to Jennings more, and with Finley out that sounds like a prudent plan indeed. He won’t be ignored like Moss was; in fact, he has a good chance of spinning Jason Allen much like Braylon Edwards (2-87-1) in his abbreviated turn against the Phins.

WR Donald Driver


Miami’s numbers against wideouts look rock-solid; after all, they shut out Randy Moss in Week 4, right? But the Pats had no motivation to throw, while that’s all Green Bay does is throw. Driver would be the wideout most likely to replace the injured Jermichael Finley as an underneath guy; being without their talented tight end certainly isn’t going to make Driver’s looks go down.

WR James Jones


Yes, Green Bay prefers to travel by air. Yes, they’ll be without Jermichael Finley and his seven targets and 70 yards per game. But it’s tough enough for lead targets to get theirs against Miami; don’t reach for secondary receivers.

TE Andrew Quarless
Donald Lee
B Packer tight ends tend to be fantasy factors, but until one of these guys emerges as the collector of most, if not all, of the numbers vacated by Finley you can’t really trust either with a fantasy start. Lee very nearly did fantasy owners a favor by missing this game with a chest injury, but he practiced fully on Friday and as such will likely see enough action to render both he and Quarless fantasy nonfactors.
DT Packers S2 The Fins have had an extra week to fix the breakdowns that cost them against New England, but those four INTs loom—especially against a defense with as many playmakers in the secondary as the Packers.
San Diego at St. Louis Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

The Rams just gave up a hat trick to Shaun Hill; how are they going to stop Rivers, who has multiple touchdowns in every game this season and is averaging 352 yards per game? Trick question; they aren’t going to be able to stop him. Heck, containing him may be out of the question as well.

RB Ryan Mathews S2 Mathews has been limited to nine carries each of the past two games, but Mike Tolbert’s fumblitis and 0.9 yards per carry effort last week should ensure that the rookie is back atop the San Diego backfield pecking order here—just in time to face a Rams defense that’s given up the 10th most yardage to running backs despite having faced virtually no one of note. After sitting out Thursday's session Mathews ran at full speed both Thursday and Friday and should continue to ramp up his touches.
RB Mike Tolbert S3 This might feel like a matchup where you could start both backs, but while the Rams are surrendering plenty of RB yardage they haven’t allowed a running back TD since Week 1. With Tolbert’s touches digressing to primarily a goal line role, he’s a bigger risk this week.
WR Malcolm Floyd S1 Frequent target Floyd should have little trouble getting off with another big game again. He’s been targeted double-digit times thrice already; give him that many opportunities against a secondary that’s already allowed big games to Louis Murphy (6-91-1) and Santana Moss (6-124-1) and surrendered TDs to both Detroit wideouts last week and the sky’s the limit.
WR Legedu Naanee B Naanee’s looks have dropped dramatically; Patrick Crayton and Craig Davis are taking a few, but for the most part Rivers is sticking with Floyd and Gates. No need to dip this far into the well this week.
TE Antonio Gates S1

The most targeted entity on a team that’s rolling up 350-plus passing yards a game is a no-brainer.

DT Chargers S3

Not a huge option, especially given some of their special teams issues, but the Rams did just serve up defensive and kick return TDs to the Lions last week.

St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford B

Was Bradford’s success tied so tightly to his favorite receiver that Mark Clayton’s injury will sabotage the rookie’s numbers the rest of the way? Perhaps not, but give him the week off from your fantasy team to figure out who his new go-to guy is; this matchup against a San Diego secondary that’s allowing 180 passing yards per game and has yet to surrender multiple TD tosses offers no consolation.

RB Steven Jackson S2

The Bolts can be had on the ground, especially on the road where they’ve surrendered both of their rushing TDs this year and allowed 100 combo yards to Jamaal Charles, 94 to Justin Forsett, and 135 to Michael Bush. Especially if Bradford struggles sans Clayton, Jackson will be there to pick up the slack.

WR Danny Amendola

San Diego has surrendered only one WR TD this year and only one game of more than 61 yards—and both went to Mike Sims-Walker back in Week 2. On the plus side, Amendola will unquestionably be Bradford’s go-to guy; he was targeted a whopping 19 times (compared to 16 for all other Rams wideouts) last week after Mark Clayton went down. He’ll at least get an opportunity to help you out in PPR and performance leagues.

DT Rams S3 The Chargers have given up defensive scores in back-to-back games, so you could do worse than plugging in the Rams as bye week filler here.

Baltimore at New England

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S2

There wasn’t much need for Flacco to throw in last year’s playoff meeting between these clubs, as Baltimore raced out to a 24-point lead in the first quarter and sat on the ball the rest of the way. But that’s par for the course for the Ravens; if they can run they will, and if they can’t then Flacco airs it out. With New England susceptible in the secondary (they’ve allowed multiple passing TDs in every game this year) and focused on preventing a repeat of last year’s ground assault, Flacco should dramatically improve on that 4-10-34 from the playoff win.

RB Ray Rice S2

What’s nice about Rice is that if Baltimore runs it down the Patriots’ throats again it will be behind Rice; and if they’re forced to throw... well, then, Rice is a potent part of the Ravens' passing game as well. It’s also a soft spot for the Pats, who have allowed twice as many RB receiving TDs as they have rushing scores. One way or another, Rice is gonna getcha.

RB Willis McGahee B

The Pats haven’t allowed a running back rushing score since Week 1, and since that’s McGahee’s bit it’s an off week for him.

WR Anquan Boldin

The Broncos Champed down on Boldin last week, limiting him to just one catch. But if the Baltimore passing game is called upon this week it will be Boldin leading the charge. Against a New England secondary that’s allowed at least one WR TD in every game this season, there’s at least some fantasy value in that charge.

WR Derrick Mason

The Mary Ann of Ravens receivers has been a consistent low-end fantasy producer thus far this season. In a week where the talent pool is thinned by the bye week and the Ravens face a softer secondary, that low end should be high enough to help in most fantasy leagues.


Todd Heap

B Heap’s role in this offense has trended downward since the start of the season. He’ll probably have a big fantasy game at some point this season, but it’s like saying you’ll get a flat tire at some point: it’s almost impossible to plan for it.
DT Ravens S3 Few defenses have been more disappointing fantasy-wise than the Ravens. It’s reached the point where you can’t really trot them out there any more, at least not until Ed Reed returns.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

The Ravens picked Brady three times in last year’s playoff game and enter this game giving up the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks—and that’s after surrendering 314 and two to Kyle Orton last week. Brady didn’t have Wes Welker in the postseason meeting a year ago, but he did hit his understudy Julian Edleman for a pair of scores. Now he’ll have no Randy Moss; can Deion Branch approximate his deep threat? The Ravens are pretty good against the run as well, so given the choice between loading up BenJarvus Green-Ellis with carries or asking Brady to find a way to win, the Pats are far more likely to let Brady battle Baltimore’s secondary—and quite likely come away with another fantasy helper.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis


It still looks as if Green-Ellis is the lead dog in Bill Belichick’s backfield committee—16 carries and a touchdown in each of the past two games indicates as much—but that could change at any moment. Baltimore is giving up more than four yards a carry and has allowed three RB TDs in the past three games, so it’s not a lost cause for BJGE; it is, however, an uphill battle.


Danny Woodhead


Woodhead’s bit is as a change-of-pace and third-down back, but at an average of six touches per game he’s just not seeing enough of an opportunity to warrant starting here. Doesn’t help that only five teams have allowed fewer RB receptions than the Ravens, only three teams have surrendered fewer RB receiving yards, and no team has given up fewer RB receiving TDs than Baltimore.

WR Wes Welker S2 Week 1 PM (post Moss) shouldn’t be dramatically different than New England’s last game; after all, Brady threw only one pass at the ex-Patriot. Assuming Deion Branch and Brandon Tate can stretch the field enough to allow Welker to do his thing underneath, it should be business as usual for Welker—maybe even with an uptick, seeing as Welker’s position produced two TDs for Julian Edelman in last year’s playoff meeting.
WR Brandon Tate S3 The Patriots were so sold on Tate that they traded for Branch—not exactly the vote of confidence you were looking for for one of the week’s hottest pickups. Still, with Branch still unpacking this should be an opportunity for Tate to shine. He was becoming borderline relevant opposite Moss prior to the trade, so whether he’s that much more relevant in a similar role or jumping into Randy’s shoes he should give you at least a little reward for your pickup.
WR Deion Branch B Yes, it’s essentially the same offense he left a few years back, but let’s give him a little time to get acclimated. It’s not as if the Pats are as desperate to throw to him as the Vikings were to Moss when he came to town.
TE Aaron Hernandez S2 The rookie is being targeted six times a game, a number that should only go up with Moss out of the picture. The only tight end thrown to that much against the Ravens was Ben Watson, who scored and put up the high-water yardage mark for TEs against Baltimore with 47. You have to believe something similar is in store for Hernandez.
DT Patriots S2 Not that the Ravens are turnover-prone, but neither were the Dolphins—and New England scored both defensive and return TDs against them. The Patriots’ defense may be young, but they’re making plays.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

Last year the Steelers gave up 212 yards and a touchdown to Browns quarterbacks—and that’s a two-game total, to a former Pro Bowler and a former first-round pick. All indications are McCoy will make his first NFL start here, and all indications are it won’t be pretty.

RB Peyton Hillis


Yeah, he’s scored in every game. Yeah, he took it to and through the impenetrable wall that is the Ravens D. You want to start him against a defense that held Michael Turner, Chris Johnson, and Ray Rice to a combined 96 yards with no TDs—especially in a week where he missed two days of practice and was limited on Friday—you’re on your own.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi B

An inconsistent fantasy bet at best, the quarterback situation and a matchup with a secondary that’s allowed only two WR TDs all year conspire to make Massaquoi unusable this week.

WR Joshua Cribbs B

The brightest upside here might be if McCoy and Brett Ratliff get benched and the Browns go all Wildcat all the time with Cribbs taking snaps. But that’s rather unlikely.

TE Ben Watson B

On the bright side, Watson has been the Browns’ most targeted receiver and will likely fall into that role again this week as inexperienced quarterbacks tend to lean on their tight ends rather than take a bunch of sacks. However, the Steelers haven’t allowed a TE TD this year and no opposing tight end has topped 35 yards against them—including Tony Gonzalez, Kellen Winslow, and Todd Heap.

DT Browns B Joshua Cribbs should see plenty of kickoff return opportunities.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2

Big Ben comes back to a favorable matchup against a team he took for 417 and 2 in the front end of last season's series. The Browns haven't changed much; they've allowed multiple TD passes in three straight road games and shouldn't give Roethlisberger much trouble as he shakes off the rust.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


Mendenhall's numbers were somewhat subdued against the Browns last season, but he's running significantly better this year. That said, Cleveland has yet to give up a running back rushing score. All fine and good, but the Browns also just surrendered 140 yards to a similarly bruising back in Michael Turner and with Mendenhall already sporting two 100-yard games and four rushing TDs he gets the upper hand in this matchup.

WR Hines Ward

The Browns have allowed three straight WR1s to top 100 yards and four of five to score this year. Ward is familiar with blowing up the Browns, having torched them for 8-159-1 in the front end of last season's series. He'll be a familiar target for Big Ben, not to mention one who's frequently open.

WR Mike Wallace

It might be a tad presumptuous to expect Wallace to walk into Santonio Holmes' numbers from this series last season (5-104, 6-93); then again, that's what he's here for. Most of what Cleveland has allowed to wideouts has gone to the primary target, but Wallace is enough of a 1A he's a viable fantasy play as well.

TE Heath Miller

Tight ends haven't done a thing against the Browns this season, but that's okay; Miller hasn't done a doggone thing this year, either. That should eventually change with Roethlisberger at the helm once again, but wait for a more favorable matchup before predicting Miller to bust out of his season-long slump.

DT Steelers S1 Perhaps the most potent fantasy defense going, at home facing a division rival giving a rookie quarterback his first taste of the NFL. S1 with a bullet, baby

Kansas City at Houston

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Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S2

We’ve seen glimpses of competence from Cassel, like his 250 and three against San Francisco earlier this year. Expect another glimpse this week against a Houston secondary that’s given up at least 278 yards in every game this year and multiple TDs in three straight and four of five.

RB Jamaal Charles

At first glance the Texans haven’t given up much on the ground, but a look at backs with speed similar to Charles suggests he’s in line for a nice outing here. That collective of Felix Jones (7-43), Darren McFadden (129 combo yards on 18 touches), and Ahmad Bradshaw (89 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches) combined to average nearly six yards per touch. And with Charles having rightfully taken over the majority share of Kansas City’s backfield workload, he’ll have ample opportunity to bust off a long gainer or two of his own.

RB Thomas Jones

While Jones appears to have (rightfully) lost his perch as chair of KC’s backfield committee, he can take solace in this matchup with a Houston defense that has let the bigger, more plodding junior members of their own respective committees (Oakland’s Michael Bush and the Giants’ Brandon Jacobs) find the end zone two weeks in a row.


Dwayne Bowe


Every team to visit Houston this season has left with at least two WR TDs, and with Bowe being the most reliable downfield target on the Chiefs’ roster he’s in line to benefit.


Chris Chambers


Yes, it’s a favorable matchup against a struggling secondary, but nothing in Chambers’ 7-76—those are season totals, mind you—suggest taking a shot on him here.


Tony Moeaki


The Texans are allowing almost 20 yards per game more to tight ends than any other club in the league. That bodes extremely well for Moeaki, who leads the Chiefs in touchdowns and receiving. In fact, you may pick him up for a bye week plug in and never let him go.

DT Chiefs S3 Plenty of talent in the return game and an underrated pass rush and secondary; this D/ST unit gives you a fighting chance at points every week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2 One week after being held in check at home by the Giants, it doesn’t get any easier for Schaub against a Chiefs secondary that just shut out Peyton Manning. On the bright side, KC still gives up some yards and Schaub should get his there. But if Manning can’t throw a TD toss against the Chiefs, Schaub will be hard-pressed to come up with some of his own.
RB Arian Foster
S2 The Chiefs have allowed fewer yards and touchdowns per game than the Giants defense that just held Foster in check; between that and Derrick Ward stealing his touchdown last week, there is definite cause for concern. Tough to bench the NFL’s leading rusher (though it didn’t stop Gary Kubiak), but you at least need to lower your expectations.
WR Andre Johnson S2 Reggie Wayne had to work to get every one of his six catches for 75 yards last week, and the fact that Pierre Garçon was targeted more than Wayne—along with a string of No. 1 receivers putting up lesser numbers than secondary targets against KC—suggests the Chiefs know how to hold top receivers in check. Johnson is unbenchable when healthy—which we're hopeful he is after being limited in practice all week; he's listed as probable—and 95 yards last week is a pretty good indicator he’s alright.
WR Kevin Walter S2

As noted above, secondary targets (Legedu Naanee’s 110 and 1, TDs from Josh Cribbs and Josh Morgan) have fared well against the Chiefs. If the defense swarms to AJ, Walter will be in line to improve on his typical 5-50 outing.

TE Owen Daniels B

We’re seeing flashes of the old pre-injury Daniels, but he’s clearly not all the way back yet. The Chiefs held Vernon Davis and Dallas Clark in check the past two weeks, so you can put those worries about keeping Daniels on your bench one week too long to rest; this won’t be the match-up where he returns to form.

DT Texans B The Chiefs have allowed three sacks and four turnovers, making it extremely difficult to take one the other way on them. And Houston has done nothing to indicate they’re the team to reverse that trend.

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