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Start/Bench List – Week 8

The Bills, Lions, Dolphins, and Redskins get to kick back and watch the action in week eight. These teams need the rest as they have a combined record of 6-22. The Rams, Bears, and Saints should all perform well in their return from a bye week.

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. This list will change from week to week. The first week, the studs will consist of the preseason top “tier” at each position.

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.

Enough of the chit-chat, onto the list!!


Bye Weeks: J.P. Losman, Jon Kitna, Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, Mark Brunell


Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants vs. Tampa Bay
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. Atlanta
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Denver
Tom Brady, New England vs. Minnesota
Marc Bulger, St. Louis vs. San Diego

Removed from Studs list:
-Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle: knee


Rex Grossman, Chicago (vs. San Francisco): Returning from a bye week, Grossman will bounce back nicely from his disastrous four INTs two weeks ago. San Fran ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yards allowed which bodes well for Grossman as he gets back on track.

Matt Leinart, Arizona (vs. Green Bay): Leinart struggles last week, but the Packers are last in passing yards allowed. If Joey Harrington can surpass 400 yards in the air against Green Bay, you can bet Leinart will have success this week making him a must-start.


Alex Smith, San Francisco (vs. Chicago): Smith posted back-to-back solid games before his bye week in week seven. Unfortunately for Smith, he faces the Bears who had an entire week to replay the Arizona game. The Bears defense will be hungry and Smith will be the main course.

Chad Pennington, N.Y. Jets (vs. Cleveland): The Jets will find plenty of success with the running game which will keep Pennington in check using the short passing attack to set up the run. The INTs from Pennington haven’t helped his cause either (six INTs in seven games).


Running Backs

Bye Weeks: Willis McGahee, Kevin Jones, Ronnie Brown, Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts


LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. St. Louis
Tiki Barber, N.Y. Giants vs. Tampa Bay
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. Seattle
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Chicago
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. San Diego


Leon Washington, N.Y. Jets (vs. Cleveland): The rookie has his best day as a pro last week rushing for 129 yards and two TDs. Look for the Jets to give Washington the chance to be the #1 RB again this week and he won’t disappoint against a Browns defense that ranks 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.

Tatum Bell, Denver (vs. Indianapolis): Bell should start paying rent for as long as he’s been on the Start list! Another week, another solid matchup for Bell as the Colts rank just plain stink in stopping the run. The Denver passing game will keep the Colts off balance just enough for Bell to find the openings.

Travis Henry, Tennessee (vs. Houston): Henry returns from a bye week well rested with a very favorable matchup against the Texans. Henry has rushed for 301 yards combined in the past two games and the Texans won’t be able to stop Henry from cracking the 100-yard mark this week.


Edgerrin James, Arizona (vs. Green Bay): The Edge is quite dull these days. The offensive line is truly to blame, but that doesn’t help those fantasy owners who spent a high pick on James. James will see some action in the passing game, but he’ll struggle to post yards on the ground once again.

DeShaun Foster, Carolina (vs. Dallas): You would have thought that with Williams on the shelf, the Panthers would have loaded Foster up with 25-30 carries last week against the Bengals. Instead, his line was 14 carries for 59 yards. Dallas is much better than Cincy in stopping the run, so Foster’s struggles will continue for at least another week.

Reggie Bush, New Orleans (vs. Baltimore): Philly figured out how to slow down Bush in the passing game and other teams will follow suit. The Ravens will follow the blueprint that Philly laid out and Bush will have visions of #52 long after this game is over.


Wide Receivers

Bye Weeks: Lee Evans, Josh Reed, Peerless Price, Roscoe Parrish, Roy Williams, Mike Furrey, Az-Zahir Hakim, Chris Chambers, Wes Welker, Marty Booker, Derek Hagan, Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Brandon Lloyd, James Thrash

Studs (* = new addition to the list)

Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. Carolina
Anquan Boldin, Arizona vs. Green Bay
Laveranues Coles, N.Y. Jets vs. Cleveland
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Atlanta
Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Tennessee
Darrell Jackson, Seattle vs. Kansas City
Steve Smith, Carolina vs. Dallas
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis vs. Denver
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Denver
Reggie Brown, Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. San Diego
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati* vs. Atlanta


Bernard Berrian, Chicago (vs. San Francisco): Berrian will continue to be Grossman’s main target and he’s been a TD magnet having caught four TDs in the Bears first six games. This week, the yardage will there as well. Welcome back from the bye week Double B!

Donald Driver, Green Bay (vs. Arizona): With Greg Jennings dinged up, Driver took over the #1 WR spot catching ten passes for 93 yards and a TD. This week, Favre and the Packers will partake in an old-fashioned shoot out with Driver serving as Favre’s main target. Don’t miss out.

Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants (vs. Tampa Bay): Burress made his two catches count last week, one for 44 yards and the other for 50 yards and a TD. Look for Burress to see more action against Tampa who couldn’t stop Donovan McNabb from throwing for over 300 yards and three TDs last week.

Marques Colston, New Orleans (vs. Baltimore): Joe Horn returned to his former glory last week, but Colston will be the Saints receiver making noise this week against the Ravens. Look for Colston to continue to be a formidable red zone option and 80-90 yards receiving is not out of the question.


Rod Smith, Denver (vs. Indianapolis): Smith six catches for 69 yards last week practically doubled his season totals. Don’t mistake those numbers for anything other than a blip on what will continue to be an average year for the veteran.

Mark Clayton, Baltimore (vs. New Orleans): While Clayton’s numbers from two weeks ago seem impressive (5-101, 2 TDs), remember that both TDs came on tipped passes. Even with Boller at QB, don’t expect Clayton to repeat those numbers on the road in the Big Easy.

Antonio Bryant, San Francisco (vs. Chicago): The Niners offense will feel the wrath of an angry Bears defense. Bryant and every other 49er in the passing attack should get nothing but splinters this week in the fantasy world.

Jerricho Cotchery, N.Y. Jets (vs. Cleveland): Cotchery has been a pleasant surprise this season for the Jets, but Pennington will have limited success this week. Coles will see the bulk of the action in the passing attack, limiting Cotchery to third down possessions.


Tight Ends

Bye Weeks: Robert Royal, Dan Campbell, Marcus Pollard, Randy McMichael, Chris Cooley

Studs (* = new addition to the list)

Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. St. Louis
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Seattle
L.J. Smith, Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland vs. N.Y. Jets
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants vs. Tampa Bay
Todd Heap, Baltimore vs. New Orleans
Alge Crumpler, Atlanta* vs. Cincinnati


Desmond Clark, Chicago (vs. San Francisco): Fire up the grill Ditka, the Bears are back from a bye and are ready to dominate! Clark will make some serious noise this week matching or surpassing his best game of the season which took place back in week two when he caught five passes for 85 yards and a score.

Jason Witten, Dallas (vs. Carolina): With Romo at QB for Dallas, he’ll need to take advantage of his hot reads and short passes and Witten will be one of the main beneficiaries. Look for Witten to start to look like the fantasy TE stud he once was if Parcells has the stones to play the youngster over the fossilized Bledsoe.


Eric Johnson, San Francisco (vs. Chicago): Johnson will be needed to block, pass protect, and block some more on Sunday. Unfortunately, not too many fantasy leagues award points for blocking.

Jerramy Stevens, Seattle (vs. Kansas City): Stevens’ knee is healthy enough to see some extended playing time, but the loss of Hasselbeck will slow down the Seahawks passing attack dramatically. Look elsewhere for your diamond in the rough this week.

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