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Start/Bench List: Week 11
John Tuvey
Updated: November 18, 2011
NYJ at DEN TBB at GBP SEA at STL PHI at NYG 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)
NY Jets at Denver Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Sanchez S2

The Denver secondary has been schizophrenic; the only consistency is that they’ve followed each of their two previous best performances by allowing 260-plus yards and multiple touchdown passes. Last week they held the Chiefs to 140 yards and one TD, which qualifies as one of their better efforts. Sanchize rolls in on the heels of a 306-yard outing against the Patriots, and he’ll likely shoulder the offensive load once again. That’s good news for his fantasy numbers.

RB Shonn Greene S3

Don’t look for a touchdown here; the Broncos have allowed only one RB rushing score this season and Greene has hardly demonstrated a nose for the stripe. However, with LaDainian Tomlinson sidelined with a knee injury Greene will get the vast majority of the carries against a defense that lets opponents rush for an average of 134 yards per game (at 4.7 yards per carry) in their house.

RB Joe McKnight U

Greene couldn’t catch a cold, which would leave Joe McKnight as LT’s replacement in the passing game. Denver has allowed three RB receiving scores and 141 RB receiving yards in the past two games, suggesting there’s an opportunity here.

WR Santonio Holmes


The initial reaction is to fear Champ Bailey, who’ll likely be lined up across from Holmes most of the evening. But two of the last right-side receivers—Jacoby Ford (105 & 1) and Calvin Johnson (125 & 1)—have found success against Champ, and Holmes has scored or topped 90 yards in four of the last five games.

WR Plaxico Burress


Plax has been a go-to red zone guy with four touchdowns in the last three games. Even if Champ switches to him Burress has a significant physical advantage in the end zone so there should be no Baily factor here, either.

TE Dustin Keller B

Just like last year Keller started fast and has slowed to a crawl since. His targets were down last week and aren’t likely to increase against a Denver defense that’s allowed the fewest TE receptions in the league—29 in nine games.

DT Jets S2 Tim Tebow’s struggles in the passing game essentially negate the Jets’ defensive strength. However, they’ll have to earn everything on the ground and that’s likely to keep the score down.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Tebow S3 He’s not going to throw for much, especially against the Jets. And he’ll find the running equally difficult, as the Jets have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards to quarterbacks. Working in Tebow’s favor is the short week, as Rex Ryan won’t have a ton of time to scheme for Denver’s unique offense. Tebow’s past rushing success—he’s third among quarterbacks in rushing yards despite starting just four games—and the short week are enough to give Tebow a starting nod.
RB Willis McGahee B

We can’t give McGahee an X because it’s a Thursday night game. But he’s been limited in practice all week and won’t know until just prior to kickoff if his balky hamstring will allow him to play. It’s a favorable matchup if he can go, but given his tenuous status I can’t in good conscience recommend him here.

RB Lance Ball S2

Operating under the assumption that McGahee will be at best limited, Ball stands to be in line for another ginormous workload. Since Tebow took over the Broncos have run the ball 30 times a game—and that’s just the running backs, not Tebow—for 153 yards a game at better than five yards a carry. The Jets defense doesn’t travel well, either; they’re allowing 138 RB rushing yards per game in four road tilts, at 4.6 yards a pop, with six RB rushing scores over that span. Pick him up and plug him in; he’ll ride the Tebow read option to another fantasy helper.

WR Demaryius Thomas
Eric Decker
Eddie Royal

You could try to guess which Bronco will hoard the largest share of the 131 passing yards Tebow has averaged since taking over—but then you’d have to assume that receiver will draw the attention of Darrelle Revis and cut that number in half. There’s just not enough reward to assume this risk.

DT Broncos S3 The Jets have served up defensive touchdowns in two of their last three games, and on the road in a short week the Broncos could capitalize on that trend despite having failed to force a turnover in two of the last three games. Von Miller single-handedly gives Denver a shot.
Buffalo at Miami Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick S3

Miami gave up 468 yards to Matt Cassel and Rex Grossman the past two weeks, though they held both without touchdowns. Fitz threw for 223 and 2 in the back end of last season’s series, and between his struggles of late and the competency of Buffalo’s running game those feel like top-end numbers again this time around.

RB Fred Jackson S2

Miami had Jackson’s number last year, holding him to 54 yards on 23 touches in the two-game series. Jackson has been running significantly better this season, but he’ll be without top blocker Andy Levitre and facing a Dolphins D that hasn’t allowed a back to top 81 rushing yards since Week 2 or reach triple-digit yards from scrimmage since Week 4. Jackson should still get his, but it won’t come as easily.

WR Steve Johnson S2

Johnson is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, but he's expected to play. Miami hasn't done much to stop opposing passing games, but Johnson is no longer Ryan Fitzpatrick's overwhelmingly go-to guy. He's startable, but David Nelson has just as good a shot of putting up big numbers.

WR David Nelson S2

Regardless of Johnson’s availability, Nelson makes a solid play against a secondary that’s allowed back-to-back 100-yard receivers and six different wideouts to top 60 yards in just the past three games.

WR Donald Jones U

Jones gets downgraded from S3 due to Johnson's expected availability, but you don't necessarily have to relegate him to your bench. He's useable in larger leaguesl based on Fitzpatrick’s ability to work all his receivers into the mix as well as Miami’s difficulties in coverage, and if Johnson is a late scratch you can bump Jones back up again.

TE Scott Chandler B

Chandler hasn’t scored on the road since Week 1, and he’s too infrequently targeted and inconsistently productive to be trusted with a fantasy start.

DT Bills B We’ve bet the farm on defenses facing Matt Moore before... and now we’re farmless. The Bills, after a midseason surge, have done little of fantasy note over the past month, save for the 10-sack aberration against the Redskins in Week 8. That’s unlikely to happen here, and there’s little else to suggest the Bills should be in your fantasy lineup.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore S2

Each of the last eight quarterbacks to face the Bills has thrown for at least 200 yards; seven of them have thrown for at least 230, six for at least 270, five for at least 290… you get the idea. Moore’s TD output has been sporadic, but he’s been consistently around or above 200 yards; this provides an opportunity for him to go beyond.


Reggie Bush


Buffalo has served up 100-yard rushing games on each of their three previous road trips, and while Bush may not be the classic feature back he’s seeing enough touches in that role to be a productive fantasy play.


Daniel Thomas


Thomas gutted out 17 carries on his tender hammy last week; maybe that means this three-month lingering injury is behind him? Bush has become the go-to guy in Miami, but Buffalo’s run D is soft enough that there’s an opportunity for Thomas to put up fantasy points here as well.


Brandon Marshall


Moore has consistently been finding Marshall since taking the reins, and when he hangs on to the football Marshall has turned those targets into fantasy production. Against a defense that’s allowed four WR TDs and three different wideouts to top 70 yards against them in just the past two weeks, you have to like Marshall’s chances of another solid outing here.


Davonne Bess


With Marshall housing most of the looks there isn’t enough consistently left over to make either of the Dolphins’ secondary targets a fantasy option.


Anthony Fasano


The Bills haven’t given up a tight end touchdown since Week 4, and Fasano isn’t targeted regularly enough to be trusted to buck that trend

DT Dolphins B Miami has generated just six turnovers on the season, making it tough to generate defensive fantasy points.

Dallas at Washington

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

Romo has had five straight ordinary games against the Redskins, failing to throw multiple touchdowns in each—though he’s topped 250 yards in each of the last three. He’s been on a roll of late with multiple scores in two straight and three of four, but Washington won’t roll over: they’ve allowed multiple scoring strikes just once in the past seven games. Romo and his receivers are too talented to banish to S3, but consider him a low-end S2.

RB DeMarco Murray S2

The Redskins have allowed four 100-yard rushers in the past seven games, including Felix Jones’ 14-115 back in Week 3. Since Murray’s three 130-plus yard efforts in the past month have established that Murray > Jones, you have to like Murray’s chances here.

RB Felix Jones B

Jones is expected to return to action after missing a month with an ankle sprain, but what he's returning to isn't exactly clear. It wasn't like he was consistently tearing it up when he was the Cowboys' feature back, and with Murray playing so well the expectations bar is even lower for Felix.

WR Dez Bryant S2

Dez has a couple of decent yardage games against the Redskins but has yet to score against them. With Miles Austin out he’ll draw most of the defensive attention, but that shouldn’t prevent him from a solid outing—and with Dez there’s always the tangy zip of upside.

WR Laurent Robinson S2

Robinson has stepped comfortably into Miles Austin’s role with four TDs and 208 yards the past three games. And seeing as Austin has scored in each of his past two against the Redskins, that’s a good role to be in this week.

TE Jason Witten S2

Over the past six meetings with the Redskins Witten has averaged six catches for 80 yards, and there’s little reason to think he won’t be in that same neighborhood this time around.

DT Cowboys S2 The Redskins have turned the ball over at least twice in every game since Week 2; that’s multiple opportunities for the Cowboys to generate defensive fantasy points.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman
John Beck

Grossman or Beck? Beck or Grossman? Neither has made much fantasy noise since Week 2; against a Dallas secondary that’s held three of the past four QBs they’ve faced to one or fewer TD tosses, it doesn’t even matter.


Roy Helu
Ryan Torain
Tashard Choice

B If you’re thinking about starting a Redskins running back, here’s a suggestion: stick your hand in a blender; it’ll be less painful. The Cowboys havne’t been playing particularly good run defense of late, serving up three straight 100-yard rushing games, but they held the Skins to 56 as a team in the previous meeting and no single Washington back has rushed for more than 41 yards since Tim Hightower put up 88 in Week 7. You can gamble that Helu gets the touches he deserves, but keep in mind that Mike Shanahan not only marches to his own drummer, he has his own freakin’ marching band.
WR Jabar Gaffney

B Calvin Johnson is the only wideout to top 75 yards against the Cowboys, and they’ve allowed only five non-Megatron WR TDs in nine games. Gaffney will head up a receiving corps that’s down its top two players (Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson) and would be a desperation play at best.
TE Fred Davis

If you must start a Redskin, here’s your guy. Chris Cooley consistently killed the Cowboys; the duo split looks in the earlier meeting, and with Captain Chaos on the sidelines Davis has seen an uptick in production. Only one team has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Cowboys, making Davis a decent play regardless of quarterback this week—unless, of course, Mike Shanahan decides to start screwing with his tight ends, too.

DT Redskins B The Cowboys have turned the ball over just three times in four games, and the Redskins aren’t generating enough pressure to buck that trend.

Oakland at Minnesota

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Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S1

The Vikings already are allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and now they’ll finish the season without their best cornerback, Antoine Winfield. Palmer hits this game on a roll with 631 yards and five touchdowns in his past two games, and that roll should continue in Metrodome.

RB Darren McFadden

McFadden will miss another game with his sprained foot, leaving Michael Bush to inflict all the damage again this week.

RB Michael Bush

The Vikings are a tougher run D at home, but the versatile Bush has 118 receiving yards and one receiving score the past two games and no team has given up more RB receiving scores than the Vikings. Plus, you can almost guarantee the Raiders will run the ball more frequently than any other team the Vikings have seen; only two backs have seen more than 15 carries against them, and the Raiders have had a back top that number eight times in nine games.

WR Denarius Moore S1

The Vikings have allowed at least two wide receivers to score or top 50 yards—or, more likely, both—in each of the last eight games. WR1s have TDs in seven of those eight games and triple-digit yardage in four of the eight. The way Moore is being targeted it doesn’t matter if Jacoby Ford is healthy; big numbers are in store.


Jacoby Ford


While Ford could probably run routes on crutches and still put up 60 and a touch on this secondary, he's been ruled out due to his foot injury.


T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Darius Heyward-Bey


As noted above there are at least two starters in this receiving corps. With Ford out of the mix there's an opening; Housh has the inside track on DHB, who apparently broke up with the coach’s daughter or kicked his dog or something.

DT Raiders S3 The Vikings have trouble with team speed, and the Raiders have plenty of it. Mix in a rookie quarterback and the Raiders are a viable, if somewhat risky, defensive fantasy play.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Christian Ponder S3

The Raiders have allowed multiple TD tosses in two straight and seven of their last eight, setting Ponder up for a triumphant return home. He tossed a pair of scores in his only other home start and can use the play-action and Adrian Peterson to buy some room and work Oakland’s secondary.

RB Adrian Peterson S1

The Vikings may want a new stadium, but they’ll need to consult AP as to what it is about Metrodome he’d like to transfer because he’s flat-out money at home. Thus far this year he’s scored in all four home games (seven TDs in all) while averaging 24 carries for 124 yards with three 100-yard efforts. Oakland’s run D has been hit and miss, but two weeks removed from giving up 163 and 2 to Willis McGahee you have to love AP’s chances of making them miss.

WR Percy Harvin


Minnesota goes out of their way to get the ball to Harvin: they’ll line him up in the basketball, throw short to him and let him run, and let him get down the field as well. It’ll be tough for the Raiders to shadow him with Stanford Routt, their top cover corner, so look for him to shake free and make a big play or two.

WR Michael Jenkins


Jenkins is Minnesota’s possession receiver with an occasional down-the-field shot, but aside from the one big play against Green Bay he hasn’t been a bright blip on Ponder’s radar with 7-111-1 in three games since the 79-yard near TD versus the Packers. You should be able to find better fantasy options elsewhere.

TE Vishante Shiancoe


Shank is sharing too many looks with up-and-coming rookie Kyle Rudolph to be banked on for fantasy production.

DT Vikings S3

The potential of Harvin in the return game, the furious pass rush of Jared Allen, and the prospect that Carson Palmer will continue to throw picks (seven in two and a half games since returning to the league) make Minnesota a viable fantasy starter at home.


Tampa Bay at Green Bay

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Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh Freeman B

The numbers say Freeman is a good start against a Green Bay defense that’s allowed the second-most passing yards in the league. But Freeman has just two games with multiple touchdowns and one north of 300 yards—and none of those came on the road. He’ll play from behind, but that didn’t work so well for Christian Ponder (190 yards, no TDs) last week so don’t go out of your way for Freeman.

RB LeGarrette Blount B

The Bucs haven’t exactly overworked Blount since he returned from his knee injury, with 13 and 10 carries for 106 yards. Since he’s not involved in the passing packages he’ll struggle for field time as the Bucs play catch-up against Green Bay, so you’ll have to cross your fingers and hope the Bucs get close enough for a touchdown for Blount to salvage fantasy value. Seeing as they haven’t scored a running back rushing TD since Week 4, that’s not very likely.

RB Kregg Lumpkin U

You could make a case for Lumpkin in PPR leagues. He has 15 catches for 98 yards in the past three games, 9-61 in the two since Blount returned to the lineup. Green Bay hasn’t allowed a running back receiving touchdown but they have surrendered four games of at least 59 RB receiving yards. It’s a stretch, but if you’re stuck for backs it’s at least an option.

WR Mike Williams
Arrelious Benn
Preston Parker

Tampa Bay wideouts have produced just four TDs and two individual games of more than 75 yards. Williams has been one of the season’s larger fantasy disappointments, while working out of the slot Parker might offer the most upside. You could throw Dezmon Briscoe into this mix as well, but it wouldn’t help produce a fantasy starter in the bunch.

TE Kellen Winslow S3

Winslow hasn’t been anything particularly special this season, but he’s scored in two of the last three games and the Packers have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends. And the Bucs will be throwing plenty in Green Bay.

DT Buccaneers B Would you step in front of an oncoming train? That’s what throwing the Bucs D into your fantasy lineup would be akin to this week. And that would be bad.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

Rodgers is actually on an upwards trend; not only does he have multiple touchdown tosses in every game this season he’s gone four straight with at least three and back-to-back with four. There’s really no limit here.


James Starks


The byproduct of all those passing touchdowns is that Green Bay hasn’t had a running back rushing score since Week 1 and John Kuhn has four of the team’s five RB TDs. But Starks is going to get his 13 carries; he’s had exactly that number in four straight and five of six. Against a Tampa Bay D that’s allowing almost five yards per carry that’s good for 60-plus yards, and with the Bucs having allowed 11 RB rushing scores this year maybe Starks can notch his second regular-season touchdown.

WR Greg Jennings


Maybe Aqib Talib can slow him down, but you know sooner or later Rodgers will find Jennings with that back-shoulder fade. No reason to fear Talib, not the way Rodgers is throwing.

WR Jordy Nelson


If Talib has Jennings, that leaves Jordy running free through the secondary. He’s scored in three of four and is every bit the threat Jennings is—maybe more so if Talib is spending all his time shadowing Jennings.

WR James Jones
Donald Driver


Look, anyone catching passes from Rodgers should be in your fantasy lineup.

TE Jermichael Finley


Finley had a two-game scoring streak snapped last week, but there’s a good chance the match-up problem starts another one here.

DT Packers S2 With Green Bay’s offense putting so much pressure on the opposition, the defense can take chances. And there are more than enough playmakers on that side of the ball to take advantage of any Josh Freeman mistakes.

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