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2009 Start/Bench List Week 15

Can Chris
Johnson continue his dominance? Will the Colts and Saints continue to top the
passing charts? Yes and yes. The Broncos join the Titans as the top rushing
teams this week as the Colts, Saints and Eagles dominate in the air.

When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:

1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players
that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of
needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the
shark tank assist you in your decisions.

2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than
others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make
such a move.



Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Dallas

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Pittsburgh

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Tom Brady, New England at Buffalo

Matt Schaub, Houston at St. Louis

Brett Favre, Minnesota at Carolina

Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Cincinnati


Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. San Francisco: McNabb made it look easy
against the Giants throwing and completing deep pass after deep pass. It helped
that the Giants forgot to cover DeSean Jackson for most of the game. The

San Francisco defense will try and defend

Jackson this week, but they won’t have much
success. McNabb will spread the ball around and find open receivers all day

Tony Romo, Dallas at

: Granted, most of Romo’s stats last week came
in garbage time as a meaningless score on a 86-yard drive at the end of the
fourth quarter salvaged a below-average performance. This week, the Cowboys won’t
have as much success in the running game and they’ll need to pass early and
often to keep pace with the dynamic Saints offense. Look for Romo to surpass
300 yards passing with at least one score as

Dallas tries to cure its December blues.


Ben Roethlisberger,

Pittsburgh vs.

Green Bay: Talk about a
fall from grace. Roethlisberger and has lost two straight games since returning
from a concussion against the Raiders and the Browns. Big Ben was sacked eight
times and held to only 201 yards passing against the Browns defense that is
ranked 25th in the NFL in passing yards allowed. This week, Roethlisberger
faces a

Green Bay
defense that is ranked third in the NFL in fewest pass yards allowed and has 23
interceptions on the season. Look for more struggles from Big Ben and the
Steelers offense as the defending champs continue to limp to the finish line.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle vs.


Bay: Hasselbeck had to
leave last Sunday’s game temporarily with a shoulder injury to his throwing arm
which is still lingering. He will likely be without Nate Burleson which
depletes an already under-producing corps of wide receivers. Look for

Seattle to run Justin
Forsett and Julius Jones all day against the Buccaneers, who have more trouble
defending the run than the pass. Hasselbeck’s chances will be limited and his
stats will be on the low side.

Running Backs


Chris Johnson, Tennessee vs. Miami

Ray Rice, Baltimore vs. Chicago

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota at Carolina

Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Houston

Frank Gore, San Francisco at Philadelphia

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina vs. Minnesota


Knowshon Moreno, Denver vs. Oakland: Moreno carried the ball 23 times
last week after Correll Buckhalter left the game with an ankle injury against
the Colts in the first quarter. Look for

to carry the full load again this week and he’ll have plenty of success against
a Raiders defense ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.

Moreno had 21 carries for
90 yards and a score the last time he faced the Raiders back in Week 3. Expect
those numbers and then some this week.

Laurence Maroney, New England at

Maroney rushed for 94 yards on 22 carries last week against the Panthers and
those numbers should only increase against the Bills, who have allowed the most
rushing yards in the NFL this season. You never know what kind of weather you’ll
get playing in

in December, so look for the Patriots to minimize the elements by feeding
Maroney the rock until the Bills prove they can stop him.

Thomas Jones, N.Y. Jets vs.

Jones continues to help his owners advance in the playoffs with two scores last
week and 99 yards rushing (although that extra one yard would’ve been sweet!).
This week, Jones gets to feast on the Falcons run defense, who haven’t faced a
run-oriented offense in quite some time and are still ranked 23rd in
the NFL in rushing yards allowed. Look for Jones to eclipse the 100-yard
rushing mark as he continues to shape the strategy of owners for next season by
using Weeks 14-16 as an important component of a player’s value.


LaDainian Tomlinson,

San Diego vs.

Cincinnati: Tomlinson has
scored a touchdown in each of the past five games, but he hasn’t rushed for
over 100 yards in any of those games and only ran for more than 75 yards once
in that time frame. Tomlinson will struggle this week as the Bengals look to
get back on track after getting knocked down by the Vikings last week.

Rashard Mendenhall,

Pittsburgh vs.

Green Bay: All Steelers offensive players should be
avoided this week against a tough

defense – including Mendenhall, who rushed for only
53 yards on 16 carries last week against the Browns. The Packers run defense
has allowed an average of only 85 rushing yards per game this season and will
be ready to shut down Mendenhall and the Steelers in

Pittsburgh this week.

Ryan Grant,

Green Bay at

Pittsburgh: The only team that has allowed
fewer rushing yards than the Packers this season is the Steelers. In his last
two games, Grant feasted on a weaker run defenses (

137 yards, 6.9 yards per carry), but struggled against a solid run defense (

Baltimore: 41 yards, 2.3
yards per carry). Sometimes the numbers are just that easy. Another rough day
on tap for Grant, as the Packers find more success in the passing game than the
running game this week.

Wide Receivers


Wes Welker, New England at Buffalo

Andre Johnson, Houston at St. Louis

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at Detroit

*Questionable for
Week 15*

Brandon Marshall, Denver vs. Oakland

Randy Moss, New England at Buffalo

Steve Smith, N.Y. Giants at Washington

Hines Ward, Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay

Vincent Jackson, San Diego vs. Cincinnati

Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati at San Diego

Marques Colston, New Orleans vs. Dallas


Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis at Jacksonville: Garcon had a quiet game
last week against the Broncos, catching just two passes for 39 yards as Dallas
Clark did all the damage. With the Colts likely to start resting some of their
starters, Reggie Wayne will be on the sidelines, allowing Garcon to take the
lead wide receiver role for this Colts offense. With the Jaguars’

 26th-ranked defense in passing
yards allowed on the docket, look for Peyton Manning to attack through the air
and Garcon to post his second 100-yard receiving game in the past three weeks.

Anquan Boldin,


Larry Fitzgerald is questionable this week with a knee injury and the Cardinals
should pile up the yardage against the Lions, who have allowed the most passing
yards in the NFL this season. You know the Cardinals want to forget last Monday
night’s performance as quickly as possible and the easiest way to forget a
turnover-filled game is to go out and crush your next opponent. Sorry

Detroit, bad timing for
you. Boldin should be the lead receiver this week and he’ll post huge numbers
against a porous Lions defense.

DeSean Jackson,

Philadelphia vs.

San Francisco:

just seemed to be running at a different speed than everyone else last Sunday
night. If he’s not catching deep passes, he’s returning punts for touchdowns.

Jackson’s big play
capabilities make him a very valuable commodity during this time of “win or go
home” in the fantasy world. Expect more big numbers from

Jackson as Jeremy Maclin will be out for this
week’s game and Jason Avant hasn’t been a factor.

Calvin Johnson,

Detroit vs.

Arizona: With Matthew
Stafford returning this week, Johnson will revert back to his five-catch,
98-yard, one-touchdown average he posted between Weeks 11-13 before Daunte Culpepper
stepped in.

Stafford will need to throw often
to keep pace with the Cardinals offense, and Johnson will be his primary


Mario Manningham, N.Y. Giants at

With Hakeem Nicks starting in his place, Manningham finished last week’s game
with just two catches for 16 yards. Expect more below-average numbers this week
as Nicks takes over the No. 2 wide receiver spot in

New York, leaving very few chances behind
for Manningham to make an impact.

Percy Harvin,

Minnesota at

Carolina: Harvin missed
last week’s game against the Bengals due to recurring migraines. With the
Vikings playoff hopes locked up, look for

Minnesota to proceed with caution with
Harvin. A matchup with the Panthers who shut down Randy Moss last week may not
be the best time to ease Harvin back into playing action. If Harvin plays,
expect very little from him this week.

T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Seattle vs.


With Nate Burleson out and Matt Hasselbeck likely to struggle, things don’t
look good for Houshmanzadeh, who got his clock cleaned last week against the
Texans. He may fall victim to alligator arms as he goes over the middle against
the Buccaneers this week which doesn’t bode well for his fantasy numbers. Just
ask Roy Williams.

Steve Smith,

Carolina vs.

Minnesota: The Vikings
held Chad Ochocinco to just three catches for 27 yards last week, the Panthers
still won’t have Jake Delhomme ready this week, and they lost their second
starting tackle to injury as Jeff Otah is done for the season. I’d say it’s not
exactly a bright forecast for Smith to post decent numbers this week against
the Vikings.

Tight Ends


Dallas Clark, Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Vernon Davis, San Francisco at Philadelphia

Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Cincinnati

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta at N.Y. Jets

Brent Celek, Philadelphia vs. San Francisco

Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay at Seattle


Jason Witten, Dallas at New Orleans: Witten returned back to earth after
a combined 19 catches for 263 yards in Weeks 12-13 by posting four catches for
49 yards against the Chargers last week. With

likely to throw the ball more often this week,

Witten’s chances will increase, and his totals
should revert back to the prolific stats from two weeks ago.

Jermichael Finley,

Green Bay at

Pittsburgh: Don’t look
now, but Finley has averaged six catches for 75 yards and a score over the past
two weeks. With the Steelers still reeling from their Thursday night loss to
the Browns, the Packer passing attack will be in full force, and Finley’s role
will continue to be large.


Zach Miller,

Oakland at

Denver: Not only does the Raiders and Miller
face one of the best pass defenses in the league this week in the Broncos,
Miller suffered a concussion last week and may not even play this week. Look

Todd Heap, Baltimore vs.

Heap caught just two passes for 28 yards last week against the Lions and he
suffered an ankle injury that has his status for this week’s game against the
Bears in question. Heap cannot be counted on this week for your starting lineup.

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