1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
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 
Sun 1 PM HOU at MIA NE at BUF CHI at SF Mon 9 PM
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 England at Buffalo  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Ralph Wilson Stadium Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady X A more balanced attack this season will mean fewer throws but more efficiency. Against this familiar opponent expect his typical 200 yards and a TD or two.
RB Antowain Smith X The Bills have upgraded what was a very poor run defense. That, along with the yet undefined role of Kevin Faulk make Smith a risky start this week. His one edge is he will get all goal-line carries.
RB Kevin Faulk  B/R May split carries with Smith, may only be used as a 3rd-down back.
WR Troy Brown X Against the CB tandem of Winfield and Clements last season totaled only six catches for 65 yards.
WR David Patten X If the running game can succeed Patten will use his speed to get behind the coverage and get some long gains.
WR Deion Branch B/R

His talent and physical ability it tops of the receivers, but until he breaks into the starting lineup he shouldn't be in yours.

TE Christian Fauria
Daniel Graham
B/R Graham will likely emerge as the season progresses, but for now these two will split the TE production.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe S/U Ended last season poorly but should rebound. Had success throwing the ball against the Pats last year.
RB Travis Henry X Last year against this defense Henry struggled, having two of his poorest games. This season the task is more daunting given the Pats' defensive improvements focused on stopping the run.
RB Sammy Morris B/R Just the backup.
WR Eric Moulds S/U Stud, start him.
WR Josh Reed X Is reliable and will complement Moulds well, but will not stretch the field vertically like Peerless Price did.
WR Bobby Shaw B/R

Has pushed Reed this pre-season but didn't crack the starting lineup.

TE Dave Moore B/R Moore is just one of three tight ends that will via at replacing the released Riemersma. Mark Campbell and Brady McDonnell are the others.
San Diego at Kansas City  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on CBS at Arrowhead Stadium Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees B/R This will always be a run first offense and Brees remains only a fantasy backup. The KC defense is still a liability so he may perform well this week.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S/U Stud, start him.
RB Jesse Chatman  B/R Won't see the field unless LT goes down.
WR David Boston X A monster athlete and healthy. The only viable fantasy WR in the Chargers offense.
WR Reche Caldwell B/R Just won't get enough opportunities for fantasy owners.
WR Tim Dwight B/R


TE Stephen Alexander (Q) B/R His groin injury may keep him out but will slow him for sure.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green S/U Should be able to exploit the Chargers' secondary which has four new starters this year.
RB Priest Holmes S/U Stud, start him.
RB Larry Johnson B/R Only if Priest is hurt.
WR Eddie Kennison B/R Gets you the occasional good game, but that's it. Last season had two 100 yard games but nine with under 50 yards. His two TDs came in one game.
WR Johnnie Morton S/U Healthy and should be the #1 fantasy WR on this team.
WR Marc Boerigter X Has made just about everyone's pre-season sleeper list. Eight TDs in 20 catches will do that to a guy. Good size and hands but is still raw. Will improve as the season progresses.


TE Tony Gonzalez (P) S/U Stud, start him.
St. Louis at New York Giants  
Sun, Sep 7, 1:00 PM on FOX at Giants Stadium Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S/U Stud, start him.
RB Marshall Faulk S/U Stud, start him.
RB Lamar Gordon  B/R Just a backup.
WR Torry Holt S/U Stud, start him.
WR Isaac Bruce S/U Loses a bit of a step each year now but remains a solid fantasy option as the #2 WR in the high octane Rams attack.
WR Shaun MacDonald B/R

The #3 WR is needed to cause matchup problems as the Rams seek to stretch opponent's nickel and dime coverages. The rookie will get his shot in this role. Could surprise this year as he matures.

TE Cam Cleeland B/R The TE plays a very small role in this offense.
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins S/U Likely forced to throw to keep pace offensively Collins will put up good numbers against a banged up and inexperienced Rams' secondary. His line must give him the time he needs in the pocket however.
RB Tiki Barber S/U Remains the Giants' workhorse on offense in both the running and short passing game.
RB Delvin Joyce B/R Will get only the occasional series in a relief role.
WR Amani Toomer S/U Will use his size and strength to take advantage of the Rams' suspect coverage this week.
WR Ike Hilliard S/U Has had a great pre-season and his speed and quickness will serve him will this Sunday.
WR Tim Carter B/R

Gets a chance with Dixon out. The #3 WR has little value in this offense.

TE Jeremy Shockey (P) S/U Stud, start him. (The ribs may hurt but won't slow him down)
Atlanta at Dallas  
Sun, Sep 7, 4:15 PM on FOX at Texas Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Doug Johnson X Should get the protection needed to do some damage through the air.
RB Warrick Dunn S/U Will play a huge role in the offense now that Vick is out.
RB T.J. Duckett  X Will be called upon to share the load with Dunn and pound the undersized Dallas front seven.
WR Peerless Price S/U We'll see right off the bat how Price does now that he will draw double coverage from opponents.
WR Brian Finneran S/U With the Cowboys likely sliding help to Price's side Finneran will take advantage of the single coverage.
WR Quentin McCord B/R


TE Alge Crumpler S/U The true #3 receiver in this offense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Quincy Carter B/R Has looked good since being announced as the starter, but still not a good fantasy option.
RB Troy Hambrick X Should get plenty of carries as Dallas seeks to grind it out. The suspect offensive line however will prevent Hambrick from having a big game.
RB Aveion Cason B/R Change of pace back.
WR Joey Galloway X Had a solid pre-season and looks to have some of that pre-injury spring back in his step. Look for a big play or two as Galloway will get behind the Falcon coverage and "Q" has the arm to get him the ball.
WR Terry Glenn B/R Has turned into a vertical receiver that won't go over the middle. Has become pretty frail also. Will give way to Bryant when he returns from injury.
WR Antonio Bryant (P) B/R

The quad injury may keep him out for week one.

TE Dan Campbell
Jason Witten
B/R Carter is not a dump-off quarterback, he's a runner. Don't expect much from the Dallas TE.
Chicago at San Francisco  
Sun, Sep 7, 4:15 PM on FOX at 3Com Park at Candlestick Point Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kordell Stewart X New uniform, same Kordell. But the weak and depleted Niner secondary give him a chance to produce this week if OC John Shoop can learn how to call a few passing plays that go beyond 5-10 yards.
RB Anthony Thomas X Will benefit from a healthy offensive line that should improve his chances to be a fantasy factor this year. The Niners will provide a good early test.
RB Adrian Peterson  B/R Will see some action but not enough to warrant fantasy attention, yet.
WR Marty Booker S/U Without a doubt the best offensive weapon on the Bears roster. Will make the suspect Niner coverage pay all afternoon. Stewart is all that will hold him back.
WR Dez White X blah, blah, blah
WR David Terrell B/R

Had three TDs in five games last season before going down with a foot injury. Could surprise this year if he bounces back, but not this week.

TE Desmond Clark X Team is excited about the addition of Clark and the Bear tight ends caught 49 balls, 5 for TDs, last season.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S/U Took all of 15 snaps this pre-season. Thankfully for fantasy owners you can be a little rusty and still get it done against the Bears' terrible corner coverage.
RB Garrison Hearst X Gets the start in week one. Will spit carries with Barlow, which will drive fantasy owners nuts all season.
RB Kevan Barlow (P) X Younger and stronger than Hearst. Like him he will cause fantasy owners fits all year as the RBBC continues in San Francisco.
WR Terrell Owens S/U Stud, start him.
WR Tai Streets (P) X Will be a better #2 WR option than Stokes ever was.
WR Cedrick Wilson B/R

When has the #3 WR in the Niner offense ever had fantasy value?

TE Jed Weaver B/R A serious step down from the injured Eric Johnson and will share time with Aaron Walker.
New Orleans at Seattle  
Sun, Sep 7, 4:15 PM on FOX at Seahawks Stadium Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks S/U The Seahawks have shuffled the secondary again and have lost their top corner (Spring) and will be starting a rookie.
RB Deuce McAllister S/U Stud, start him.
RB James Fenderson  B/R Never see the field. Well, almost never.
WR Joe Horn S/U With the less than adequate Ken Lucas and rookie Marcus Turfant manning the Seattle corners Horn should blow up this weekend.
WR Donte Stallworth (P) S/U Have I mentioned the problems with the Seattle secondary?
WR Jerome Pathon X

Will be used often in the Saints' 3-WR sets and may surprise on occasion.

TE Ernie Conwell B/R Conwell is a solid player but the TE has virtually disappeared in the Saints' offensive scheme.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S/U The New Orleans pass defense ranked at the bottom of the heap last year and there are few signs of improvement. Look for Hasselbeck to pick up where he left off last season.
RB Shaun Alexander S/U Stud, start him.
RB Maurice Morris B/R Only the backup.
WR Koren Robinson S/U Youth and speed wins out over age in this matchup with a Seattle secondary that got older and slower over the off-season.
WR Darrell Jackson S/U Ditto for Jackson.
WR Bobby Engram B/R

A solid #3 WR but won't be a consistent fantasy producer in an offense with too many weapons.

TE Itula Mili
Jerramy Stevens
B/R Mili will start this week as Stevens is banged up. Both will see action however and Stevens will be the starter soon.
Oakland at Tennessee  
Sun, Sep 7, 8:30 PM on ESPN at The Coliseum Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rich Gannon S/U Stud, start him.
RB Charlie Garner (P) X If the knee is truly no problem (as the Raiders keep saying) then Garner will get you good yardage this week in both the running and passing game.
RB Tyrone Wheatley
Justin Fargas 
B/R Both may see action this week depending on the game situations and Garner's health. Can't be counted on however.
WR Jerry Rice S/U What can you say, the man's a legend.
WR Tim Brown B/R After a stellar career Brown will have to prove himself as a viable fantasy factor this season.
WR Jerry Porter (P) S/U

Should have a field day against the inexperienced Titan nickel and dime cover corners.

TE Doug Jolley
Teyo Johnson
B/R Jolley's ankle is supposedly okay. If not then the rookie Johnson will get a few extra looks.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S/U Stud, start him.
RB Eddie George X Will find the going very tough up the middle against the strong Raider tackles and middle linebacker stud Napoleon Harris.
RB Robert Holcombe B/R Backup material only.
WR Derrick Mason X The only true WR threat on this team and the only one capable of some success against the Raider corners.
WR Drew Bennett X May be best suited for the slot as his size would cause matchup problems, but for now he'll start opposite Mason.
WR Justin McCareins B/R

Put in a great pre-season but must step up for the Titans' passing attack to get to the next level.

TE Frank Wycheck (Q) X Had his lowest production since 1995 last season. May not bounce back this year as age and injuries are taking a toll.
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia  
Mon, Sep 8, 9:00 PM on ABC at Lincoln Financial Field Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson B/R Will be under heavy blitz pressure all night.
RB Michael Pittman X Will be used heavily early in an attempt to establish balance in the offensive attack, but don't expect much on the ground against the Philly front seven. More success will come in the short passing game.
RB Mike Alstott  X If the Bucs have a lead look for Alstott to take over late.
WR Keyshawn Johnson X Won't be much production in the passing game but what there is will go primarily to Johnson.
WR Keenan McCardell B/R Losing a step with each passing season.
WR Joe Jurevicius B/R

May outperform McCardell this season but this week it's strictly hands off.

TE Ken Dilger X Like PIttman, will be active in the short passing game due to the blitz.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S/U Stud, start him. (Yes, even against Tampa)
RB Duce Staley B/R Will not get a full load of carries and won't get much with those against what will again be the elite defensive unit in the NFL.
RB Correll Buckhalter B/R Will share carries with Staley. Won't amount to much against the Bucs.
WR James Thrash X Against the Bucs cover-2 schemes look for the Eagles to try and spread the coverage with 3-WR sets and multiple tight ends. This will result in a committee approach that will limit the fantasy value of Thrash ...
WR Todd Pinkston B/R ... Pinkston ...
WR Freddie Mitchell B/R

... and Mitchell.

TE Chad Lewis S/U McNabb's best option this week as the short passing game will rule.

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