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Start/Bench List - Week 5
By Whitney Walters
October 2, 2003
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
CIN at BUF NO at CAR Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM  Byes:
MIA at NYG SEA at GB DET at SF (times ET) NYJ, STL
Player List by Position
Start/Bench Codes (SBC)
S1: Must start, 1st string.
S2: Solid starter, 2nd string.
X: No start or bench indications / Could go either way.
B: Bench 'em / Too much risk.
U: Upside player / Possible sleeper.
Early Injury Status  (O): Out  (D): Doubtful  (Q): Questionable  (P): Probable
Seattle (3-0) at Green Bay (2-2)  
Sun, Oct 5, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Lambeau Field Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2 Playing mistake-free football but hasn't put up the numbers many owners expected. This week could change that as the Packers need to blitz to get any pressure, and if they do Hasselbeck has too many weapons at his disposal not to succeed.
RB Shaun Alexander S1 Look for Seattle to pound the ball against Green Bay's 23rd ranked run defense. Alexander has the strength to pick up the tough yards as they look to wear down the middle of the defense.
RB Maurice Morris B Only the backup but may see an increase in carries this week.
WR Koren Robinson S2 Will make cornerback Al Harris pay for his overaggressive tendencies.
WR Darrell Jackson X This will not likely be Jackson's week given his almost dead even matchup with cornerback Mike McKenzie.
WR Bobby Engram U

Beyond the starters at cornerback the Packers lack solid talent. Engram will have the advantage in this matchup. If the Seahawks give him some looks he will produce.

TE Itula Mili B To hit-and-miss to make him a viable fantasy starter.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2 The lack of a pass rush (only 4 sacks in 3 games) and inexperience in the secondary (starting 2 rookies) will provide Favre the elements he needs to have a solid fantasy day.
RB Ahman Green S1 There's just something about playing against your old team, especially one that sent you packing.
RB Tony Fisher B Has replaced Najeh Davenport as the backup for now. Isn't the power runner that Davenport is, but is a much better receiver.
WR Donald Driver S2 Because of the run support that will be needed to deal with Green, Driver will get plenty of single-coverage with cornerback Ken Lucas. Lucas doesn’t have the speed to stay with Driver downfield and lacks the aggressiveness needed to challenge him for the ball.
WR Robert Ferguson X Should return to action this week but isn't likely to be 100%. Owners may need to stay away for at least one more week.
WR Javon Walker B

Will be hurt this week by the likely return of Ferguson.

TE Bubba Franks S2 Even though teams are paying more attention to the TD-scoring tight end he leads all of them in passes in the end-zone.
Tennessee (3-1) at New England (2-2)  
Sun, Oct 5, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at Gillette Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair (Q) S2 The starting wideouts may be limited this week on the parameter, but McNair always finds a way to produce. The tight ends will play a key role this week.
RB Eddie George X The Titans are one of only three teams that average under 3 YPC (2.6 to be exact). The Pats are undersized up the middle and normally that would mean an advantage to the opposing runner. But George just doesn't have the wheels anymore to make them pay.
RB Chris Brown X As George fades look for Brown to get more and more carries.
WR Derrick Mason X Continues to pull constant double coverage and his stats are showing it (only 5 catches since week 2). As McCareins and Bennett improve, Mason will benefit.
WR Drew Bennett (Q) S2 Matched against the undersized CB Tyrone Poole, Bennett at 6' - 5" has a huge advantage this week. Look for the Titans to take advantage.
WR Justin McCareins X

Has stepped up lately. Doesn't matchup as well as Bennett with Tyrone Poole, but still has the potential to do some damage opposite Mason.

TE Erron Kinney
Shad Meier
U With Mason double-covered and the No. 2 WR likely in a struggle against Ty Law, the tight ends will play bigger roles up the middle of the field. Too bad there are two good ones getting looks. Kinney may emerge this week due to his huge size advantage.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) B A sporadic run game and an injury depleted offensive line are not making it easy on Brady this season. The Titans aren't a scary pass defense, but they bring a serious pass rush and their two corners will hold there own against the tiny New England receivers.
RB Antowain Smith X With Faulk dinged up Smith will get his chance this week as the Pats will look to establish the run against the physical Titan front. But that front will likely prove too physical.
RB Kevin Faulk (Q) B An injured scat-back isn't the answer against Tennessee. Faulk will take a back seat to Smith this week.
WR Troy Brown X

Cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson typically have matchup problems due to their size disadvantage. That won't be an issue this week against the smurfish Brown and ...

WR Deion Branch X

... Branch.

WR David Patten (Q) B Not likely to play due to the leg injury.
TE Christian Fauria X As the young Graham emerges Fauria's role in the passing game will shrink.
TE Daniel Graham (Q) U This young talented tight end may finally be coming on. He brings much more to the table than the veteran Fauria and could develop into Brady's favorite target due to his size and receiving ability.
San Diego (0-4) at Jacksonville (0-4)  
Sun, Oct 5, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at ALLTEL Stadium Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees U Brees' best games this short season are those with Boston in the lineup. Look for him to use Boston, TE Peelle and LT to his advantage this week.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson (P) S1 The Jags pose a test this week as they are ranked 7th in rush defense.
RB Jesse Chatman  B Won't see the field unless LT goes down.
WR David Boston S2 After last week's disappointing suspension, this is a put up or shut up game for Boston. This is a huge mismatch in the secondary and if Boston is half the receiver he thinks he is, he will dominate.
WR Eric Parker X With all the attention given to Boston, Parker's speed and run-after-the-catch ability make him a decent option for Brees.
WR Tim Dwight (Q) B

Still battling injuries and remains a minor fantasy factor in this offense.

TE Justin Peelle U Peelle has been a nice option while filling in for the injured Stephen Alexander and Josh Norman. The ball will be in the air a bit more this week and he should benefit as an outlet option in the ball-control Charger offense.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich B It looks like Leftwich may get his second start. San Diego is no real threat in the secondary and Jimmy Smith will return. Regardless it's best to steer clear of the rookie.
RB Fred Taylor S1 The Chargers are giving up 5 YPC and 150 YPG on the ground. 'Nuf said. Okay, one more thing. The return of Jimmy Smith will only help to open up the running game more.
RB Brandon Toefield B Only a rare carry or two for now.
WR Jimmy Smith U May not be in top form or shape but it won't matter. The Jags passing game needs Smith and they should go after rookie CB Sammy Davis, who is coming off a back injury, all afternoon.
WR J.J. Stokes B May get a few catches opposite the attention Smith will garner as Leftwich showed the ability to spread the ball last week.
WR Troy Edwards B

Showed his stuff last week and could emerge as the #2 WR in this offense over the ever-underachieving Stokes and Hatchette.

TE Kyle Brady B Non-existent last week with the rookie Leftwich under center.
Detroit (1-3) at San Francisco (1-3)  
Sun, Oct 5, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at 3Com Park at Candlestick Point Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington U The blitz will be coming. But this is a huge game for his coach and Harrington will be ready. Arizona blitzed him heavily in week one and he had a 4 TD performance.
RB Shawn Bryson X San Francisco is a top 5 run defense but they didn't look like it last week. Denver was a top 5 run defense before Bryson and the Lions ran through them for 144 yards last week. That being said, I wouldn't expect much more out of Bryson that you got last week.
RB Olandis Gary B It looks like Bryson has earned his lead role in the running game and Gary will take a back seat for now.
WR Charles Rogers U Rogers isn't Randy Moss, but the Niner secondary looked completely lost last week. Rogers has the speed to get behind that weak coverage so look for a few big plays as Harrington has a radar lock on him.
WR Bill Schroeder B Still looks to be slowed by the knee injury and continues his inconsistent play.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim X

With safety help rolling to Rogers side of the field, Hakim must start getting open for the passing game to really open up for the Lions.

TE Mikhael Ricks B Ricks is a big, fast down field target. But one the Lions don't seem to utilize consistently.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia (P) X Garcia just doesn't look good throwing the ball. Is it the back? Is it the groin? Who knows. What we do know is that the Niner passing game is in a serious funk. Having the 30th ranked passing defense coming to town may be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe.
RB Garrison Hearst S2 Another week and another lost opportunity for fantasy owners of Hearst (and Barlow). Well, maybe not this week. The Niners will keep splitting the playing time between these two, but the Lions give up enough yardage that both Hearst and ...
RB Kevan Barlow S2 ... Barlow are decent plays this week.
WR Terrell Owens (P) S2 TO will surely be motivated this week to stick it to Mooch. He'll have to be because his effort last week stunk, regardless of his post-game comments. But all the motivation in the world won't improve the play calling or his QB's ability to get him the ball consistently.
WR Tai Streets X Taking advantage of the single-coverage opportunities he is getting opposite Owens and has become a solid fantasy option.
WR Cedrick Wilson (P) B

Running behind TO and Streets isn't going to provide you with much.

TE Jed Weaver B Remains not much more than an afterthought in the Niner passing game.
Washington (3-1) at Philadelphia (1-2)  
Sun, Oct 5, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at Lincoln Financial Field Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Patrick Ramsey S2 Look for the Redskins to spread the field with multi-receiver sets this week in order to create favorable matchups with a riddled Eagle secondary likely without three of it's four starters.
RB Trung Canidate X This two-headed tailback will likely be frustrating fantasy owners all season. Canidate is effective with his carries, but he's a liability on passing downs because he's poor at picking up the blitz and is not a good receiver. So he lacks the upside of Betts.
RB Ladell Betts X Will only get half the carries, but is a solid receiver and is the obvious choice to carry the ball at the goal-line. Don't expect too much this week however against the league's top run stopping defense.
WR Laveranues Coles S1 The most consistent fantasy receiver going right now. This should be a big week for Coles going against a Philly secondary without Vincent, Taylor or Dawkins.
WR Rod Gardner X Gardner may be the odd man out this week in the Redskin passing game. He doesn't have the speed to get separation quickly for Ramsey, who will be under blitz pressure often.
WR Darnerian McCants U

Will be more active this week as the #3 WR will be utilized more in the spread offense the Skins are likely to be running. With all the injuries to the Eagles' secondary, McCants will be matched up against Roderick Hood, an undrafted rookie nickel back.

TE Robert Royal B Redskin tight ends have only 5 catches in the first four games.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb (P) X When he stops trying to be something he's not (a pocket passer) and utilizes all his talent (i.e. his running ability) McNabb can be one of the better QBs in the league. And more importantly to us, a better fantasy QB.
RB Duce Staley B This has developed into a big mess, with Staley getting only four of the team's 24 RB carries last week. It may be best to stay away of Staley until this situation becomes clearer. Especially this week against a Redskin team that's more vulnerable to a power running game.
RB Correll Buckhalter U Was a complete non-factor until last week's 11 carries and a TD. May play a bigger role this week as the power running game he's better suited for is what the Redskins are most susceptible to.
RB Brian Westbrook X Last week's stats are inflated by a late game 62-yard TD run. As long as Westbrook can stay healthy his role in the offense may continue to grow.
WR James Thrash B Trash can break press coverage but can become frustrated with being pushed around by physical corners. Champ Bailey fits that description to a tee.
WR Todd Pinkston B Pinkston is also likely to struggle this week in his matchup with Fred Smoot. He has good speed and hands but will have a hard time shaking the press coverage.
WR Freddie Mitchell B

Again has a favorable matchup with an opponent's nickel corner. Unfortunately Mitchell keeps failing to live up to expectations.

TE Chad Lewis
L.J. Smith
B The Redskins do not have good cover safeties, but Lewis has lost a step and the rookie L.J. Smith is seeing minimal time because he is not improving as a blocker.
Cleveland (1-3) at Pittsburgh (2-2)  
Sun, Oct 5, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN at Heinz Field Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Couch B Gets another start as Holcomb rests his fractured leg. The going gets tough this week against the #2 pass defense in the league. A defense that disguises it's coverage well and will cause problems for Couch.
RB William Green B Cleveland is the only team yet to score a rushing touchdown and last week only ran for 69 yards against a Bengal team allowing over 150 at the time. There are problems with the running game and they won't be easily fixed against the #6 run defense this week.
RB Jamel White B Locked into the 3rd-down back role.
WR Kevin Johnson X Couch will spread the ball around more than Holcomb, but Johnson remains the main target. KJ will use his quickness to win his matchup with the bigger and more physical Pittsburgh corners.
WR Andre' Davis B Ennie ...
WR Dennis Northcutt (P) B

... Mennie ...

WR Quincy Morgan X ... Minie ... hey, no Mo.
TE Steve Heiden B The Cleveland tight end position is typically a non-factor.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tommy Maddox S2 The Browns' may rank at the top of the league in pass defense, but they made Kitna look like an All-Pro last week. Odds are that Maddox will look like one this week as well.
RB Amos Zereoue S2 Isn't likely to break out of the "15 carries a game" category, but the Steelers need to keep getting him involved in the passing game. The Browns will have a hard time handling Zereoue as they allow a league leading 5.2 YPC on the ground.
RB Jerome Bettis U Only got three carries last week but that should change on Sunday. The Steelers are beginning to realize that Zereoue is an inconsistent runner and Bettis is needed to keep the ball moving down the field at times.
WR Plaxico Burress (Q) S2

As with most teams the Browns have no match for Burress' unique combination of size, speed and ability. The only thing keeping him from S1 status this week is the hip injury.

WR Hines Ward S1 Only one player in the league has had more passes thrown his way.
WR Antwaan Randle El B Randle El will typically create matchup problems for opponents but he just isn't getting the looks to make him a fantasy factor.
TE Jay Riemersma (Q) X Continues to be a productive target for Maddox over the middle due to all the attention given to the Steeler wideouts. Not 100% healthy so he can't be recommended as a starter.
Indianapolis (4-0) at Tampa Bay (2-1)  
Mon, Oct 6, 9:00 PM ET on ABC at Raymond James Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2 It's hard to say bench a guy that launched SIX touchdowns last week. But on the road against a pass defense that's allowing only 106 YPG and has yet to give up a TD, Manning is about as low as you can go on the starter list.
RB Edgerrin James (Q) X Early indications are that there is a possibility James will sit this one out. So your choice this week for the Colts' running game is a less than 100% Edge, or ...
RB James Mungro
Ricky Williams
Dominic Rhodes (P)
X ... a three-headed monster made up of Mungro, Williams and Rhodes.
WR Marvin Harrison S2 If the running game can force the Bucs to bring safety John Lynch up in the box and into some cover-3 zone coverages, Harrison should do alright. This is a brutal matchup for one of the league's premier wideouts.
WR Reggie Wayne B There won't be much to go around this week and most of it will likely flow Harrison's way.
WR Troy Walters  B

The #3 WR will never be an impact in this offense that primarily runs 2-TE, 2-WR sets.

TE Marcus Pollard B Finally! Pollard got back in the flow of the passing attack last week. Now the big question is will it last. Odds are it will, but not this week. Pollard's blocking skills will be needed to help protect Manning from the intense Tampa Bay pass rush.
TE Dallas Clark X Look for Clark to be used this week to stretch the middle of the field in an attempt to soften up the coverage. Might not amount to much however.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson X Johnson doesn't get enough credit for his ability to move an offense effectively through the air. Will be challenged by the up-and-coming Indy pass defense, but it's cover-2 schemes should be very familiar to him.
RB Michael Pittman U Regardless of how tough the Bucs defense is, they will want to eat up the clock to keep Manning & Co. off the field by attacking the Colts' interior defense. Expect a heavy dose of Pittman this week.
RB Mike Alstott  X With Pittman emerging Alstott is likely to fall back into the 7-9 carries a game, goal-line role. He'll remain a solid start in TD-only leagues.
WR Keyshawn Johnson U Johnson is not a deep threat but remains one of the NFL's best possession receivers. This week he will rely on his experience to find soft spots in the Colts' zone coverages and will cause matchup problems in the red-zone.
WR Keenan McCardell X With Jurevicius out, the most likely candidate to see an increase in production. But in this low-octane offense that doesn't often make him a viable fantasy starter.
WR Karl Williams
Reggie Barlow

Attempting to fill the void left by the injury to Jurevicius, and are not succeeding.

TE Ken Dilger B When one of your defensive linemen could be the team's most effective tight end, it's not a good sign.

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