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Start/Bench List - Week 1
By Whitney Walters
September 4, 2003
 
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM 
NYJ at WAS DEN at CIN MIN at GB ATL at DAL OAK at TEN
Sun 1 PM HOU at MIA NE at BUF CHI at SF Mon 9 PM
ARZ at DET IND at CLE SD at KC NO at SEA TB at PHI
BAL at PIT JAX at CAR STL at NYG (times EST) No Byes
Player List by Code
Start/Bench Codes (SBC)  S/U: Start/Upside  X: Could go either way/Average  B/R: Bench/Risk
Early Injury Status  (O): Out  (D): Doubtful  (Q): Questionable  (P): Probable
 
New York Jets at Washington  
Thu, Sep 4, 9:00 PM on ABC at FedEx Field Back to top
New York Jets
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vinny Testaverde B/R Did not look good in his limited pre-season action. Until he proves he can go out and still get it done he has no place in your starting lineup.
RB Curtis Martin X The Jets will look to establish the run early, but with Vinny under center you can bet the Skins will load the box with 8 or 9 defenders to stuff the run against a suspect offensive line.
RB LaMont Jordan  B/R May see some limited carries while the Jets rest CuMar, but that's it.
WR Curtis Conway X Will be the man for New York, but the strength of the Washington secondary are it's corner backs.
WR Wayne Chrebet X Won't get much against the solid corner coverage.
WR Santana Moss S/U

Has some upside this week due to the Skins' weak safety help. Look for Moss to find open running lanes deep and for Vinny to hit him on a couple.

TE Anthony Becht B/R His career average of 2 catches a game leave a lot to be desired.
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Patrick Ramsey X Must keep his composure against a strong Jets pass rush in order to succeed this week.
RB Trung Canidate X A much better fit at RB in the Spurrier system. He must prove himself capable of carrying the load without fumbling. If that happens he could surprise this season. This week will be his first test.
RB Ladell Betts B/R Not likely to get the carries needed to help your team as this will be Canidate's coming out party.
WR Laveranues Coles S/U Opening night against his old team. Should put on a nice show.
WR Rod Gardner X Is this the year that Gardner's great physical tools push him to the next level? Or will the inconsistency continue? This game should give us a good indication.
WR Taylor Jacobs
Darnerian McCants
B/R

Beyond Coles and Gardner, don't expect much production.

TE Robert Royal B/R Redskin tight ends combined for only 20 catches last season, 2nd worst in the NFL.
 
Arizona at Detroit  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on FOX at Ford Field Back to top
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Blake X Will have chances to make some big plays through the passing game and may make the run-stopping oriented Cardinals' defense pay.
RB Emmitt Smith X Will get the bulk of the carries in week 1 but will face a defensive front stacked to stop the run.
RB Marcel Shipp  B/R His opportunities will increase as the season wears on. This week however, it's all Emmitt.
WR Bryan Gilmore X His great speed and solid hands this pre-season have earned him the starting slot to start the season. Could surprise.
WR Larry Foster B/R Small and may not hold on to his starting spot for long. Best suited in the slot.
WR Anquan Boldin
Jason McAddley
B/R

Both have had a nice pre-season, but it takes a better offense to make the #3 WR a viable fantasy factor.

TE Freddie Jones X Will be relied on more with the inexperience at WR.
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington S/U Gets one of the league's worst secondaries without it's best player, CB Duane Starks. Nice way to start the season.
RB Shawn Bryson X This will be a pass heavy attack and Bryson will share the load with Cobourne, Denson and maybe even newly acquired Olandis Gary
RB Cobourne, Denson, Gary B/R Too many backs, too few carries.
WR Charles Rogers S/U The Cardinals' secondary is the weakest link in the defense and Rogers should have a nice game in his NFL debut.
WR Bill Schroeder X Could have a nice game against the suspect Cardinal secondary, but this will be Rogers' coming out party and Schroeder must prove himself after a very disappointing 2002 season.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim (Q) X

Ditto for Hakim, and will be slowed by the knee injury.

TE Mikhael Ricks B/R Trivia -- Over the past four years what coach's tight ends have caught the lowest percentage of their team's touchdowns? Yep, Mariucci.
 
Baltimore at Pittsburgh  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Heinz Field Back to top
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Boller B/R Rookie in his first start, on the road at Heinz Field against what will be one of the top defenses in the NFL.
RB Jamal Lewis X One of the best power runners in the league faces one of the best front sevens in the league. Expect a draw.
RB Chester Taylor  B/R It's all Lewis, all the time.
WR Travis Taylor X Has all the physical skills but his inconsistency has kept him from taking that next step. May improve as his rookie QB grows later in the season, but expect a slow start.
WR Frank Sanders (D) B/R Solid #2 behind Taylor but isn't likely to play.
WR Marcus Robinson B/R

Has had a disappointing pre-season.

TE Todd Heap S/U Should have a nice deep game against the so-so Steeler safeties.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tommy Maddox X The Ravens' improved secondary and pass rush will cause problems for Maddox behind an offensive line that is not up to it's past level.
RB Amos Zereoue X The Raven defense should be improved this season, but Zereoue did have success against them last year in replacement of the injured Bettis. In fact, all four of his TDs last year were against Baltimore.
RB Jerome Bettis B/R May get some carries, maybe even at the goal-line. But until there is a clearer picture of how Bettis will be used this season the risk is too high.
WR Plaxico Burress S/U His big play ability make him a worthy start.
WR Hines Ward S/U His consistency makes him a worthy start.
WR Antwaan Randle El B/R

Likely to be the #4 receiver this season behind Zereoue.

TE Jay Riemersma B/R An improvement over Bruener but will have a tough time this week against the very active Baltimore linebackers.
 
Denver at Cincinnati  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Paul Brown Stadium Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S/U The "is Jake for real?" question starts to be answered. The Bengals' defense will be more aggressive this year, but the secondary still leaves a lot to be desired.
RB Clinton Portis S/U Stud, start him.
RB Mike Anderson  B/R Just the blocking back now, and the Portis backup.
WR Rod Smith S/U blah, blah, blah
WR Ed McCaffrey B/R Has really slowed down since the broken leg and just isn't the same. Will start to give way to Lelie.
WR Ashley Lelie S/U

Should be able to use his speed to get behind the Bengal coverage.

TE Shannon Sharpe X A bit older, a bit slower and five years removed from his last double-digit TD season, but he still gets it done each Sunday.
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna X If the Bengals spread the field they will find some success throwing the ball against a Bronco secondary that lacks depth.
RB Corey Dillon X Should benefit this season from an improved WR corps that can stretch the field. The Broncos however should remain one of the top run stopping units in the league this season.
RB Brandon Bennett B/R Dillon, Dillon and more Dillon.
WR Chad Johnson S/U Closed out 2002 with over 800 yards in 8 games. Should continue to improve and take advantage of Denver's inexperienced and inconsistent corner backs.
WR Peter Warrick X Same ol', same ol' for Warrick. Never enough to make him a consistent fantasy starter.
WR Kelly Washington
TJ Houshmandzadeh
B/R

Washington is a rookie, but brings increased talent to the #3 WR spot.

TE Reggie Kelly B/R Reports are that the Bengals want to get the ball to the TE more this season, which only had 28 catches last year. We'll see.
 
Houston at Miami  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Pro Player Stadium Back to top
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr B/R Protection will be the key for Carr this season. The first big test of their improved offensive line come this week. Odds are they will fail.
RB Stacey Mack B/R Could have a solid season, but not this week.
RB Jonathon Wells (P) B/R Won't see much action.
WR Andre Johnson B/R This elite rookie will likely learn a few thing this weekend from the stellar cornerback duo in Miami.
WR Corey Bradford B/R Started off strong last year but faded fast. This is the youngster's (Johnson/Gaffney) team now.
WR Jabar Gaffney B/R

May end up the most productive WR this week for Houston working out of the slot.

TE Billy Miller X Carr will be needing a dump-off target all day.
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Fiedler B/R See that big guy behind you with the 34 on his chest? Give him the ball. Miami passed for over 240 yards only once last year.
RB Ricky Williams S/U Stud, start him.
RB Travis Minor B/R VERY Minor in this offense.
WR Chris Chambers X Fiedler's best option and the most likely Dolphin WR to have fantasy value.
WR Derrius Thompson B/R Big and strong and could turn into a nice possession receiver for the Dolphins as Fiedler grows more comfortable with him.
WR James McKnight B/R

Fourth receiving option in a run oriented offense.

TE Randy McMichael S/U Should be able to take advantage of the safeties being preoccupied with run support.
 
Indianapolis at Cleveland  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Cleveland Browns Stadium Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S/U Stud, start him.
RB Edgerrin James S/U Stud, start him.
RB James Mungro (D) B/R Only if James goes down.
WR Marvin Harrison S/U Stud, start him.
WR Reggie Wayne X Could be the year we finally get a solid fantasy option at the #2 WR spot for Indy.
WR Brandon Stokley (Q) B/R

Just gets the table scraps left from Harrison, Wayne, James and Pollard.

TE Marcus Pollard S/U With rookie Clark available for the blocking in 2-TE sets look for Pollard to have an improved season.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kelly Holcomb X May have some success using the spread formations and finding some mismatches to take advantage of.
RB William Green S/U Will get the ball a lot this week and the Colts' run defense still lags behind their pass defense.
RB Jamel White B/R May only be used as a rare change of pace.
WR Kevin Johnson X At this point there is no way to know who will emerge as Holcomb's go-to receiver. But the early odds ...
WR Quincy Morgan X ... lean towards Morgan ...
WR Dennis Northcutt X

... with Northcutt and Johnson close behind.

TE Steve Heiden B/R Afterthought in this offense.
 
Jacksonville at Carolina  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Ericsson Stadium Back to top
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell B/R Has not looked good this pre-season and may must be keeping the seat warm for Leftwich.
RB Fred Taylor X With Brunell under blitz pressure all day, Taylor will be needed to keep the Panther defense honest. Don't expect great success however.
RB Brandon Toefield (P) B/R Only a rare carry or two for now.
WR J.J. Stokes B/R Brunell sliding, no Smith, the Carolina defense. No positive signs this week for the Jags passing game.
WR Matthew Hatchette B/R Ditto.
WR Micah Ross B/R

Worthless now, but keep an eye on this raw talent.

TE Kyle Brady S/U With Smith out Brady will be Brunell's most reliable target.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rodney Peete B/R Amazingly still a starter in the NFL. He shouldn't be for your fantasy team however.
RB Stephen Davis S/U There are some concerns along the Panther offensive line but Davis is going to get the ball early and often in this offense.
RB DeShaun Foster B/R Still not ready for prime-time.
WR Muhsin Muhammad X Likely to be Carolina's best fantasy option at WR, but that's not saying much.
WR Steve Smith X The long-baller that may get a few shots each game with Davis pounding the ball and bringing up the safeties in run support.
WR Ricky Proehl B/R

This guy's still in the league?

TE Kris Mangum B/R Only a few teams will use their TE less than Carolina this year.
 
Minnesota at Green Bay  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on FOX at Lambeau Field Back to top
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Daunte Culpepper S/U Stud, start him.
RB Moe Williams S/U Has been named the starter but will give away carries to the rookie Smith. Likely to continue to see most of the goal line action.
RB Onterrio Smith  B/R Will get some carries but his time is not this weekend.
WR Randy Moss S/U Stud, start him.
WR D'Wayne Bates B/R The #2 WR in Minnesota hasn't had fantasy value since the days of Cris Carter.
WR Kelly Campbell B/R

And the #3 WR, forget it.

TE Jim Kleinsasser X Will continue to get looks in the offense but remains a better blocker than receiver.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S/U No longer a stud, but hey... it's Bret Favre. Start him.
RB Ahman Green S/U Stud, start him.
RB Najeh Davenport (P) B/R Hasn't lived up to his pre-season hype.
WR Donald Driver S/U #1 now and liking it.
WR Robert Ferguson S/U Won the #2 WR spot with his fine pre-season play. Will become a solid target for Favre with his crisp route running and great hands.
WR Javon Walker B/R

Great size and strength but his inconsistency and sloppy catching have allowed Ferguson to get a strong hold on the starting spot.

TE Bubba Franks S/U Second on the team in touchdowns last season. Expect more of the same this year.

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