The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Start/Bench List - Week 7
John Tuvey
Updated: October 23, 2009
  Print this page Print 
Sunday Early
Sunday Early
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
Sunday Night
Bye Week
Monday Night
  Upgrade       Downgrade  
  Update Only  
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)
Minnesota (6-0) at Pittsburgh (4-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Favre has not only given the Vikings an alternative if/when the running game struggles, he's quietly taking the reins of the offense out of Adrian Peterson's hands. While he's been much productive at home (283 yards per game to just 165 on the road), he's completed 76% of his passes away from Metrodome. Pittsburgh has surrendered yardage (four of six have topped 235 yards) but not scores (only two of six have thrown multiple TDs), and they certainly have the defense to give Peterson fits and put the onus on Favre.

RB Adrian Peterson S2

You're not going to sit AP; you didn't sit him last week against the Ravens, and he rewarded you with 143 yards on 22 carries. The going will be even tougher against a Steel Curtain that is allowing 3.3 yards per carry, has given up only one RB rushing TD, and has allowed just one feature back (Cedric Benson) to top four yards per carry. Then again, if Benson can get 76 yards and a score you have to like Peterson's chances.

RB Chester Taylor B

There won't be enough touches or yardage to go around this week.

WR Sidney Rice
Bernard Berrian


The Steelers have yet to allow a 100-yard receiver, but plenty of wideouts have had decent outings against them; five have scored, and a similar number have topped 70 yards, but only twice has an opposing receiver done both. That means a split not unlike last week, when Rice went for 176 yards but Berrian counted a touchdown amongst his 18 yards, could be in the offing.

WR Percy Harvin

Harvin aggravated his shoulder injury in last week's win, was limited all week in practice, and is officially listed as questionable for this one. He's already seeing somewhat limited reps as the third receiver, so you should look elsewhere for help this week.

TE Vishante Shiancoe S3

Big Shank seems to have more success when Harvin isn't in the lineup; essentially, both are playing out of the slot area and finding the same kinds of matchups. So with Harvin dinged, Shiancoe would be in line for a decent afternoon.

DT Vikings S2

This isn't a great play by any stretch, but there are opportunities here. Ben Roethlisberger likes to hold on to the ball and has been known to take a sack, so the relentless Vikings pressure should tally up some sacks and maybe even a strip/sack/score. And don't forget, this is an offense that fumbled three times in five offensive plays just last week.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2

The Vikings have allowed 1,066 passing yards the past three games alone, with both Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco topping 380. As if that weren't bad enough, Minnesota will in all likelihood be without its top cornerback, Antoine Winfield. If you saw Flacco carve up Minnesota's backup corners in the fourth quarter last week, you have an idea of what kind of afternoon Big Ben might enjoy.

RB Rashard Mendenhall


Mendenhall is a different back than Rice, so it's tough to expect similar success. But while opposing backs haven't put up gaudy numbers on the ground against Minnesota, the ones who have stuck with it have posted adequate numbers. It's a thin week with six teams on the bye, so 60-70 yards and the thin possibility of a score might be enough to crack lineups.

RB Willie Parker


Not only were Parker's touches limited by his toe injury and Mendenhall's success, he wasn't all that productive when he did play. No reason to expect an uptick in either opportunities or production here.

RB Mewelde Moore


Take the revenge factor (Mewelde is a former Viking), add in the possibility that Pittsburgh plays the bulk of this game in its two-minute offense, and see how Ray Rice gouged the Vikings as a receiver last week (10 catches, 117 yards) and you have a recipe for Moore making an intriguing plug-in play this week.

WR Santonio Holmes
Hines Ward

Both Holmes and Ward topped 100 yards last week, and the prospect of a secondary without Antoine Winfield (who didn't practice all week and is listed as doubtful) has to have both Steeler wideouts thinking about a repeat performance. Mix in a pair of shaky safeties and there isn't an element of the Steeler passing game not to like this week.

WR Mike Wallace

Wallace has 47, 52, and 50 yards the last three weeks, so he's not being ignored. The Vikings have given up 48 and 42 to third receivers the past two weeks, and their secondary will be taxed further with Winfield out. Wallace is a sneaky plug-in play this week.

TE Heath Miller

No team has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than the Vikings, and no tight end is hotter than Miller. The technical term for this confluence is "Yahtzee!"

DT Steelers S2 This is still the Steel Curtain, and this is still Brett Favre.
San Francisco (3-2) at Houston (3-3) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Shaun Hill B

Here's hoping you aren't forced to dig this deep. Nothing against Hill, but he's overseeing a run-first offense and has the stats to show for it. Best-case you're looking at something right around 200 yards, and a Houston defense that's allowed similar yardage and just one passing touchdown in three home games doesn't project to serve up a whole lot more.

RB Frank Gore S2

Gore is slated to return to action after missing essentially the past month with an ankle injury, and he'll do so under favorable circumstances. The Texans allowed three 100-yard rushers through the first three games and have allowed 10 RB TDs already this season. You shouldn't need to wait for a sign that Gore is good to go; if he practices this week, plug him back into your fantasy lineup.

RB Glen Coffee B

Coffee was underwhelming despite voluminous touches with Gore out of the lineup. Now that Frank is back, don't expect the Niners to go out of their way to give Coffee more carries.

WR Michael Crabtree
B A 49ers receiver has yet to reach 80 yards in a game this season, and only Josh Morgan has found the end zone. Houston has let great wideouts like Larry Fitzgerald (79 and 2) and Chad Ochocinco (103 yards) do some damage, so if you think Crabtree—after missing all the OTAs and all of training camp and the first month of the season—is of that ilk, go ahead and start him. The more prudent move would be to exercise caution.
WR Isaac Bruce B

Secondary receivers have fared well the past two games vs. the Texans, but then Arizona (Anquan Boldin, 81 yards) and Cincinnati (Andre Caldwell, 57) throw it around a bit more liberally than the Niners. Bruce hasn't topped 40 yards since Week 1 and was shut out in the 49ers game prior to the bye; it's unlikely he's gotten any younger in the past two weeks, and even less likely Mike Singletary has abandon his run-first (and second, and third) mentality.

WR Josh Morgan
B Despite being his team's most productive receiver—not to mention spending his bye week mentoring Crabtree—Morgan is apparently being relegated to the back burner in the 49ers passing game. Not that there was much of a passing game to begin with, so dropping from first to third in queue does little for his fantasy prospects.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Davis leads the 49ers in targets, receptions, yardage, and touchdowns so if you must use a member of the San Francisco passing game he's your best bet. That said, after allowing 94 yards to Dustin Keller in Week 1 the Texans have held every tight end they've faced under 50 yards, and they have yet to cede a TE TD. Gaudy numbers are not to be expected, but with six teams on the bye Davis still has value in TE-mandatory leagues.

DT 49ers S3 No compelling trends jump to the fore, but Singletary's charges are playing some fine D and will throw some playmakers at a Houston team that can light up a scoreboard but has had issues taking care of the football.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Schaub S2 Something about 763 yards and six touchdowns over the past two games suggests that Schaub is on a roll; it's also worth noting he has four 300-yard games (three of them with 350-plus) and four multiple-touchdown games as well. The Niners have shut down backup quarterbacks like Seneca Wallace and Kyle Boller, but starters like Brett Favre (301 and 2) and Matt Ryan (329 and 2) have lit them up. No reason not to expect similar stats from Schaub here.
RB Steve Slaton
S2 Slaton's a combo yardage guy, and he should once again be working both ends of the spectrum. The last three feature backs to face the 49ers have posted at least 79 rushing yards, and three backs have already put up 57 or more receiving yards as well. Slaton has just 82 rushing yards over the past two weeks, but he's augmented that with 12 catches for 161 yards. Don't forget, this is the defense that overplayed the deep ball against Arizona so much that Tim Hightower caught 12 balls for 121 yards.
RB Chris Brown
B Brown continues to get touches, but against a 49ers defense that has allowed only Michael Turner to score against them on the ground his value this week is limited.
WR Andre Johnson S2 Houston fans deserve better. Johnson has been targeted twice as frequently on the road as at home, with more catches (26-10), yardage (385-187), and touchdowns (4-0) while wearing road whites. The Niners had early success limiting Larry Fitzgerald (7-71-1), but Roddy White (8-210-2) blew them out of the water. You're not going to bench Johnson, and if Schaub brings some of that road success home you'll be handsomely rewarded for your faith.
WR Kevin Walter
Jacoby Jones

No. 2 receivers are averaging just 44 yards per game against the Niners, so there isn't likely to be enough to go around. Jones does have three touchdowns this year, but the only TD San Francisco has surrendered to a secondary target came with no time on the clock against Minnesota. Expect Houston to use its other options—namely Slaton and Daniels.

TE Owen Daniels S3

The Niners haven't allowed a tight end touchdown this season, and even Tony Gonzalez could muster just 55 yards against them. However, Daniels is every bit as crucial to the Texans' offense as Gonzo and John Carlson are to Atlanta and Seattle, respectively, so he should se plenty of looks and a decent amount of yardage.

DT Texans S3 Houston has a defensive score and a kick return TD, so they're capable. The Niners have already allowed a kickoff return touchdown, so they can be willing from time to time. But this game doesn't project to yield the sacks or turnovers that generally lead to defensive scores.

San Diego (2-3) at Kansas City (1-5)

Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S1

It's a blank check game for Rivers, who threw for 316 and 2 and 346 and 2 against the Chiefs last year. His worst game this season is 252 and a touchdown; every legit NFL quarterback (excludes the moribund passing games of the Raiders and Redskins) has torched KC for at least 292 yards and multiple touchdowns. So, yeah, Rivers can just about name his stat line this week.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
S2 By now our LT expectations have been lowered to the same level as mere mortal backs. Last year he carved out 191 yards from scrimmage in the season series, and he's a safe bet to post 90 or so combo yards against a defense that's already let five backs put up similar numbers this year. A touchdown is also a decent bet against a KC D that has given up six scores to running backs this season.
RB Darren Sproles
B Sproles has two touches from scrimmage since LT returned to the lineup so unless you get credit for his return yards he's a tough start even against a relatively soft opponent.
WR Vincent Jackson

Jackson isn't quite an elite receiver yet, but he's certainly close. His yardage numbers have been down since his 100-yard games in Weeks 2 and 3, and he didn't top 90 in either of last year's meetings with the Chiefs—though 5-83 and 6-89-1 are nothing to sneeze at. Jackson has been scoring touchdowns, though, and is in line for at minimum another solid contribution this week.

WR Malcolm Floyd
S3 There should be plenty to go around here, and Floyd seems the most likely to be first in line for table scraps. He's been the Chargers' second-leading wideout in three of the past four games and scored in both match-ups with the Chiefs last year
TE Antonio Gates S1

Historically, Gates has owned the Chiefs; dating back to 2004, Gates is averaging 10 targets, six catches, 65 yards and a touchdown in every game against KC. The Chiefs are surrendering an average of 5-65 to tight ends this year, so pencil Gates in for the usual—and then some.

DT Chargers S3 We saw signs of life in the San Diego return game last week, but defensively they're still not providing the bang we anticipated heading into the season. But the Bolts are still loaded with playmakers, and maybe this is the week they actually decide to start making plays.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel

Cassel is back home, where he's thrown five of his seven touchdowns and topped 240 yards in two of three starts. The Chargers have already given up multiple touchdown games to Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, and Kyle Orton as well as 541 passing yards in two road games, so Cassel makes a decent start in a week where six teams are on the bye.

RB Larry Johnson


Johnson keeps grinding along at 20 or so carries per game, and the Chargers have been coughing up rushing yards—especially on the road—so go ahead and dust Larry off for a spot start this week. He only compiled 89 yards (on 27 carries) in last season's series, but he scored in both games Plus, he isn't likely to lose touches to Derrick Blaylock, who carried 11 times for 78 yards and two scores in the series.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

Bowe is Cassel's favorite receiver (24 targets the last two weeks alone) and just about all the Chiefs' passing game has going for it. He caught six balls in each end of last season's series, once for 72 yards and the other for 44 yards and a score. His production this year has been consistently similar, making him a reasonably safe bet to fight off Quentin Jammer and Antonio Cromartie for a helpful fantasy stat line.

WR Mark Bradley
Bobby Wade


Bradley went for 9-81-1 against the Chargers in the first meeting last year; in the second, he failed to catch a pass. That's the kind of inconsistency you can expect from KC's secondary targets. Against a San Diego secondary that hasn't been ceding much to begin with, and even less to No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, there's no reason to reach this far for fantasy help.

TE Sean Ryan


Ryan has been a sneaky red zone contributor for the Chiefs, with two scores already this season. The Chargers have trouble defending the tight end—they shut out Miami's big fellas but allowed three others to score and Zach Miller to amass 96 yards—so don't be afraid to plug in Ryan in TE-mandatory leagues. Hey, somebody has to replace Gonzo's 16-175-3 from a year ago.

DT Chiefs B Eddie Royal took the Chargers for a pair of return touchdowns last week; neither Jamal Charles nor Bobby Wade are much of a threat to do the same.

Green Bay (3-2) at Cleveland (1-5)

Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S1

What's not to like? Rodgers has thrown for 742 yards and four touchdowns over the past two games, while the Browns are fresh off giving up 417 and two to Ben Roethlisberger.


Ryan Grant


While it would be nice to predict a breakout game for Grant, he staunchly refuses to serve one up. He's been adequate, with 99 yards against the Rams and 90 against the Lions, but given the foe expectations were higher. So despite the 137 yards per game the Browns are giving up on the ground, set your sights a little lower so you won't be disappointed.

WR Greg Jennings
Donald Driver


Assuming you haven't bailed on Jennings, who seems to have been usurped by Driver in the Packer passing game pecking order, both make solid starts this week. A look at the receivers who have abused the Browns the past month—Derrick Mason (118-1), Hines Ward (159-1), Chad Ochocinco (two TDs), Santonio Holmes (104 yards)—suggests that a crafty veteran like Driver might once again be the better play over the speedier Jennings. But with Cleveland giving up an average of 162 WR yards per game, there should be plenty to go around.

WR James Jones


Jones scored last week and Green Bay isn't afraid to spread the wealth; however, Mike Wallace's 50 yard outling last week was the first time a third receiver topped 35 yards against the Browns this year. With so many mouths to feed, tertiary targets are the most likely to go hungry.

TE Jermichael Finley
S2 Donald Lee is still seeing a few balls, but Finley is clearly the primary pass-catcher in this tandem. He's put up a couple of productive games and catches a Browns defense that just let Heath Miller take them for 5-80-1; no reason to sit him here.
DT Packers S1 The Browns have already served up 16 turnovers, and few teams know how to take one the other way like the Packers. Fresh off a shutout, against an offensively challenged squad like the Browns, Green Bay's D is one of the better D/ST plays of the week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson

Quality quarterbacks have put up decent numbers against the Pack, but Anderson is far from a quality quarterback. At least he's been better at home (26-48-269-1-1 in his lone home start) than on the road (22-60-237-1-5 in two and a half away games), but you still don't want any part of this offense sullying your fantasy squad.

RB Jamal Lewis


Teams haven't been shy about running at the Packers; four of the five feature backs to face them have logged at least 25 carries. However, of that group only Adrian Peterson scored, and as a collective they averaged a mere 3.4 yards per carry. Tough to get fired up about Lewis, who's slogging along at 3.5 ypc himself and has yet to find the end zone. The upside seems like 60-70 yards, suggesting you'd do best to look elsewhere for fantasy help.

RB Jerome Harrison


Harrison was more productive than Lewis last week, but not only did he receive fewer touches it was actually Lewis and not Harrison who was catching passes for the Browns. It's impossible to bank on such a secondary player for such a brutally unproductive offense.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi

In Anderson's three starts, Massaquoi has been targeted 29 times, resulting in 14 catches for 247 yards; all of Cleveland's other wideouts combined have seen 27 targets for six catches and 65 yards. So by comparison Massaquoi is a decent play against a Green Bay secondary that hasn't allowed a 100-yard receiver yet but has given up at least 66 yards to six different wideouts. And in a week with six teams on the bye, that just might be enough.

WR Joshua Cribbs

How sad is it that the Browns' two most productive offensive plays are running Cribbs out of the Mildcat (it's not as if he could be any worse at quarterback than either Anderson or Brady Quinn) or sending Cribbs back to return a kick. He's a solid play in leagues where his copious kickoff return yardage will come into play, but otherwise he's high risk without much prospect of a reward.

TE Steve Heiden
Robert Royal


The Packers are allowing an average of three catches per game to tight ends; the Browns have just one TE grab the past two games, and what little productivity they've received from the position has been split between Heiden and Royal. Nothing in that last sentence suggests there's a fantasy start to be had here.

DT Browns B How many kickoff return opportunities you think Cribbs might get will determine whether or not you think the Browns' D/ST is a good fantasy play this week. Of course, to get all those kickoff return opportunities, Cleveland will have to give up a bunch of points, so it's a wash.

Indianapolis (5-0) at St. Louis (0-6)

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

Seriously? David Garrard threw for 335 against the Rams last week, and Manning brings a five-game string of 300-yard efforts into this tilt. The only concern fantasy owners should have is that we have a Jim Sorgi sighting in the third quarter.

RB Joseph Addai S2 The split is breaking down somewhere between 60/40 and two-thirds/one-third, both in touches and in productivity. With the Rams giving up about 150 combo yards per game to running backs and nine RB TDs through six games, that works out to about 100 yards and a score for Addai and 50.
RB Donald Brown S3 Using the logic above, Brown is in line for 50 yards and half a score. It's highly likely the Colts will go to the run early in this one and give Brown ample opportunity to increase those numbers, so in a week with six teams on the bye he's worth taking a chance on.
WR Reggie Wayne

There's been plenty of yardage to go around, especially among No. 1 receivers like Mike Sims-Walker (120) and Greg Jennings (103), but WR TDs have been tough to come by against the Rams. If there's one to be had, of course, Manning-to-Wayne is as good a bet as any to get it.

WR Pierre Garcon
Austin Collie
S3 There will be yards; oh yes, against a defense that gave up 244 yards to Green Bay wideouts and 273 to Jacksonville WRs, there will be yards. As noted above, a touchdown is a much iffier proposition, but there should be enough yards for both of Indy's secondary targets to put up numbers worthy of a bye week plug-in play.
TE Dallas Clark S1

Clark is really a WR2 you can play at TE, so expect him to blow up a St. Louis defense that's already allowed four TE touchdowns and ceded 95 and 83 yards to John Carlson and Chris Cooley, respectively.

DT Colts S3 The Indy defense isn't exactly tearing up the fantasy world, but they get Bob Sanders back and will put enough pressure on Marc Bulger to make a sack-strip-return or pick-six a very real possibility.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger

Indy's pass defense is allowing a shade over 200 yards a game and has surrendered just two passing scores thus far. Those are actually optimistic numbers for Bulger, whose 213 and one last week against Jacksonville marked his best fantasy game of the year.

RB Steven Jackson

You can run on the Colts, so long as you don't abandon the run when you (inevitably) fall behind. The Rams haven't abandon Jackson when they've fallen behind, as he's averaging 20 carries and 80-plus yards on the ground plus another 30 or so as a receiver. So he's more likely to put up a stat line like Maurice Jones-Drew (26 touches, 123 yards) or Ronnie Brown (24-136) or even Ricky Williams (20-72) than to be limited to the 14 or fewer touches all other opposing backs could muster.

WR Donnie Avery


Avery puts his two-game scoring streak on the line against an Indy secondary that has allowed just one WR TD all year and gets Bob Sanders back this week. Maybe he can collect some garbage-time yards; the Colts have already surrendered 75-yard games to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and three different Arizona receivers under similar circumstances.


Keenan Burton
Danny Amendola
Brandon Gibson


Sorry, there's only so much garbage time to go around.

TE Randy McMichael

Tight ends haven't scored or topped 45 yards against the Colts. Aside from two flukey Daniel Fells scores against Green Bay, the same can be said for Rams tight ends.

DT Rams B They're gonna get lit up like... okay, all the analogies I could come up with strayed far from political correctness. Let's just say they're gonna get lit up and leave it at thatl.

Go to page 2 >  |  Go to page 3 >

Other Features
Game Predictions
Projected Player Stats
Rest of the Season Cheat Sheet
Movin' Up
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
a d v e r t i s e m e n t