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Start/Bench List - Week 8
By Whitney Walters
October 23, 2003
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
CLE at NE NYG at MIN Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Byes:
DEN at BAL STL at PIT HOU at IND (times ET) OAK, WAS
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
Carolina (5-1) at New Orleans (3-4)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Superdome Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B Carolina was forced to put up almost 50 passes last week as they played from behind the entire game. Don't expect a repeat against the Saints.
RB Stephen Davis S1 Last week was a huge letdown for Davis owners. Don't expect the Panthers to quickly fall behind and have to abandon the run this week however. Davis put up a season high 159 yards on the Saints just three weeks ago.
RB DeShaun Foster (P) B The Panthers are Davis' team. While Foster showed great potential two weeks ago he will only see some carries in relief of Davis and some looks in the passing game.
WR Muhsin Muhammad (Q) B Muhammad is questionable due to a concussion suffered last week and he will also draw the best coverage the Saints have to offer in Dale Carter.
WR Steve Smith X If Muhammad doesn't play look for Smith to lose this matchup with CB Dale Carter. Smith does not perform well against tough press coverage and gives up four inches to Carter. However, if Muhammad can take the field look for Smith to do well against the smaller CB Fred Thomas.
WR Ricky Proehl B

May see a few extra passes if Muhammad doesn't play, but mostly a non-factor in a run oriented offense.

TE Kris Mangum B Only a minor role in the passing game.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks U Don't expect another season high by halftime like last week, but the Panthers rank only 26th in pass defense and Brooks should find some success through the air if the pass protection holds up. One downside may be the loss of the speedy Stallworth.
RB Deuce McAllister S2 Even tough Carolina will pose a challenge to the Saints' running game, McAllister should find some success running on the outside. While the Panthers' front is stout, they can be worn down over the course of a game.
WR Joe Horn S2 Came up huge last week and has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games. The knee appears 100% now and he has the talent to win most matchups he faces.
WR Donte Stallworth (Q) B May not play and only averaging a catch a game of late when he does.
WR Jerome Pathon X

May see some extra looks as the Saints will run more 2-WR sets with the likely absence of Stallworth.

TE Ernie Conwell (P) S2 Due to a game injury took a back seat to the fantasy production of #2 TE Williams last week. Conwell however remains the top TE target for the Saints.
Cleveland (3-4) at New England (5-2)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at Gillette Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kelly Holcomb X

Couch is likely back to the bench and Holcomb returns as the starter. Before anyone gets too excited lets not forget that prior to the injury Holcomb was fairly ineffective. Starting decision won't be made official until game-time.

RB William Green (P) X Left the game last week after two fumbles and the Browns in catch-up mode. The Browns continue to run the ball with only moderate success and have a league low two rushing touchdowns this season. The Pats allow only 90 rushing YPG and the offensive line injuries are taking a toll.
RB Jamel White B Locked into the 3rd-down back role but not consistently used.
WR Kevin Johnson X Inconsistent passing game thanks to a spotty offensive line and shuffling quarterbacks continues to limit KJ's potential.
WR Dennis Northcutt X

Scored his first touchdown of the season last week and has joined KJ as a receiver at least somewhat reliable to fantasy owners. He's a tough start however as the Browns continue to spread the ball in the passing game.

WR Andre' Davis B As the #4 WR in this spread offense, consistently gets far fewer looks than the other three wide receivers. Only a single catch in the past two games.
WR Quincy Morgan X Showing improvement as he returns from the knee injury, but remains the #3 option for whoever's tossing the ball for the Browns.
TE Steve Heiden B The Cleveland tight end position is typically a non-factor.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) X The Patriot running game is in no shape to exploit their advantage there, so look for Brady to continue his attack through the air as he did last week against the Dolphins. The Browns are not as tough against the pass as their #1 statistical ranking indicates.
RB Antowain Smith (Q) B If Smith is healthy this week the plan should be to run the bruiser right at the weak Brown interior defense. But the Pats impatience with the running game and Smith's injury make him a bench player this week.
RB Kevin Faulk  U The likely starter if Smith can't go. A good matchup for Faulk this week as the Browns allow a league worst 5.1 YPC on the ground. His downside is the still uncertain usage of Cloud.
RB Mike Cloud B Since coming off the bench and onto the waiver wire "hot" list, there has been no silver lining on this Cloud. He's carried the ball only 14 times in the last two games and is averaging 2.2 YPC.
WR Troy Brown S2

His speed will serve him well this week as the Browns' CB Anthony Henry has trouble staying with quick receivers in the open field.

WR Deion Branch (Q) X

Returned strong from his injury last week. Look for more of the same against the Browns.

WR David Patten (Q)
David Givens
B When the Patriots want to spread the offense that tends to involve the tight ends as much as an extra wide receiver. This position has also be hurt by injury.
TE Christian Fauria B Remains a viable target when the team approaches the goal-line, but very few looks outside of that.
TE Daniel Graham (Q) B Returning to health and working his way back into the passing attack.
Dallas (5-1) at Tampa Bay (3-3)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Raymond James Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Quincy Carter B

Despite the Bucs defensive slide, the wheels could fall off the Carter bandwagon this week. The line, running game and receivers just don't matchup well with the Bucs style of play. Look for Carter to struggle with his reads against the zone coverages and blitz.

RB Troy Hambrick X The Bucs front isn't playing up to their "best ever" status. Unfortunately Hambrick lacks the the speed and elusiveness to make them pay. If he struggles (which is likely) he will lose carries to both Anderson and Cason.
RB Richie Anderson
Aveion Cason
B Anderson has found a niche in the Dallas offense with his 10-12 touches a game. Cason has been a non-factor since week one due to his tendency for negative yard plays.
WR Joey Galloway X

Falling out of favor in big-D? Maybe. Only four catches in the past three games. Galloway excels in the vertical routes, which the Tampa Bay zone schemes are best at taking away. Don't expect a bounce back this week.

WR Terry Glenn X

A more complete package than Galloway, who is mostly a burner. Emerging as the go-to receiver in the passing game. The most open part of the field when you play the Bucs is over the middle, Glenn's least favorite place to go.

WR Antonio Bryant B

The Cowboys won't run as many 3-WR sets this week against the aggressive Tampa Bay pass rush.

TE Jason Witten B May see a few extra looks over the middle this week, but don't expect much as the tight ends will be needed more in pass protection.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson S2 With the running game limited due to the Pittman injury, Johnson will have to carry the load this week. The Cowboys don't pressure the QB well so Johnson has a chance to shine this week.
RB Michael Pittman B

Carrying the load for Tampa now, but the running game just hasn't been the same since the loss of Alstott. Pittman will also be slowed by a hip pointer and the Cowboys bring the #2 rush defense to town, allowing only 75 YPG. Does remain very active in the passing attack.

RB Thomas Jones B Even with the loss of Alstott, Jones is only getting the occasional carry or catch.
WR Keyshawn Johnson S2 Will obviously be the focal point of the Cowboy coverage schemes. Because of lack of QB pressure, Johnson-to-Johnson should find success in the short passing game.
WR Keenan McCardell S2 Better suited to stretch the Cowboys' coverages deep than Johnson. Look for him to continue to find success doing just that this week as his QB will have plenty of time in the pocket for him to get deep separation.
WR Karl Williams
Reggie Barlow

Both Williams and Barlow will again be asked to step up this week due to the injuries in the WR corps. Don't expect much.

TE Whoever B Three different tight ends last week with one catch each.
Denver (5-2) at Baltimore (3-3)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at M&T Band Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Danny Kanell X One week you're the #3 QB, then the #2, now the starter. The opportunities will be there for Kanell as Baltimore will dare him to beat them deep as they concentrate on stopping the #3 rushing offense in the league.
RB Clinton Portis S2 The injuries to the QBs and the offensive line bring risk to Portis this week against a very aggressive Raven defense. If Kanell can't make plays down field then the Ravens could make it a long day for Portis by bringing up extra run support.
WR Rod Smith X Doesn't match up will with the Baltimore secondary, but he has the skills to find his openings in the coverage.
WR Ashley Lelie U

The Raven secondary can tend to give up big plays. Lelie has the opportunity for a few of those this week. One of Kanell's strengths is his arm. Look for a few deep balls.

WR Ed McCaffrey (Q) B May again be inactive due to the leg injury.
TE Shannon Sharpe (P) S2 Having a great season and will be highly motivated in his return to Baltimore.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Boller (Q) B Showed some promise last week when forced to throw from behind. Don't look for a repeat against the Broncos. Also suffered a mild sprained shoulder last week on his non-throwing side. Could limit his effectiveness.
RB Jamal Lewis (P) S2 Denver provide a challenge and Lewis is still bothered by the sprained shoulder. That said, Lewis is an every-week starter.
RB Chester Taylor  B Seeing a few more carries in relief of Lewis.
WR Travis Taylor B Even last week's monster game doesn't make Taylor a starter this, or any week.
WR Frank Sanders
Marcus Robinson (P)
B No fantasy value in this offense.
TE Todd Heap X Limited passing attack and faces one of the top cover linebackers in the league this week in John Mobley.
Detroit (1-5) at Chicago (1-5)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Soldier Field Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington (P) B Harrington has played progressively worse over the past few weeks and is in jeopardy of losing his starting job. With the poor performances and the brewing QB controversy it's best to stay away from Harrington, even if they are playing the lowly Bears.
RB Shawn Bryson X Look for Detroit to give it's struggling offense a boost by running a heavy dose of both Bryson ...
RB Olandis Gary X ... and Gary at the #31 run defense in the league.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim X Saw the most passes last week (8) and did the least with them (one catch for a pitiful 4 yards). Any receiver getting eight looks in a week should be worth considering, but Hakim is iffy.
WR Bill Schroeder B May be the knee, may just be age, but Schroeder isn't getting the needed separation to be a factor in the passing game.
WR Scotty Anderson B

Better suited to take advantage of nickel coverage than Schroeder was. For whatever that's worth.

TE Mikhael Ricks U When the Lions do pass they will be looking for Ricks. Bears weak-side linebacker Joe Odom is a huge liability in pass coverage.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Chandler U A decent matchup for whoever gets the start this week against a Lions team that has allowed a league worst 13 passing touchdowns in six games.
RB Anthony Thomas (Q) B The sprained foot may keep him out another week. At best he will see only limited action.
RB Adrian Peterson (Q) U Looked solid (16 carries-55 yards) last week before the Bears had to turn to the air while playing catch-up. The Bears will look to run the ball against the Lions and their #25 run defense in an attempt to control the clock. With that game plan Peterson could surprise this week.
WR Marty Booker (Q) B Still slowed by the ankle injury.
WR Dez White B

White is a straight-line runner and struggles with his route running. The Lions' biggest surprise this year, CB Dre' Bly, will have little trouble shutting down the Bears' leading receiver.

WR David Terrell X

Much more active with Chandler at the helm and should again have his moments this week while White is tied up on the other side.

TE Desmond Clark (Q) S2 Regardless of who's at quarterback, Clark remains the best fantasy option in the Bears' passing attack. His questionable status makes him a risky start however this week.
New York Giants (2-4) at Minnesota (6-0)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Metrodome Back to top
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins X

The offensive line woes and turnovers continue to limit the Giants' offense and create inconsistency in Collins' production. Don't look for those problems to be solved this week in the fast and loud Metrodome as the Giants' line lost another starter last week.

RB Tiki Barber S2 Even with Levens taking over in the second half last week Barber was still able to put up over 110 total yards. Don't expect this to become a committee backfield. Barber will remain the driving force in the running game with Levens possibly taking 8-10 touches.
RB Dorsey Levens B His effort last week should have earned him weekly "active" status. However, he will never be more than a relief for Barber.
WR Amani Toomer X

The Vikings secondary doesn't match up all that well with either Toomer or ...

WR Ike Hilliard X ... Hilliard. But with Collins getting very little time to set up in the pocket, both will continue to struggle regardless of matchup.
TE Jeremy Shockey (P) S1 Solid production each week with constant big game potential. Can't ask for much more in a starting fantasy tight end.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Daunte Culpepper (P) S2 Wasn't slowed a bit last week by the back injury, but didn't run much. The Giants have only allowed a league low three passing TDs, but when you have Randy Moss to throw to who cares.
RB Moe Williams X The 20+ carry games from earlier in the season are long gone now. Williams owners now must be happy with 10-14 carries with hopefully a few of those coming at the goal-line.
RB Onterrio Smith  X His predicted emergence as the starter seems a bit premature now. He's averaging under 10 carries a game in his last three, but has scored two TDs in those three games. Has potential, but is an iffy start each week.
WR Randy Moss S1 Dominant fantasy receiver. Start him.
WR Nate Burleson B Gained the starting spot with Culpepper on the bench. They seem to have some work to do on getting comfortable with each other as Burleson went catchless last week.
WR Kelly Campbell (P) U

Giants nickel CB Ralph Brown has been a target in coverage all season. That will be the case again as he will be left in man coverage with Campbell thanks to the attention Moss will get.

TE Jim Kleinsasser B Having lost Kleinsasser and the tight end position to injury it seems that his role in the offense hasn't returned with his return to action.
Seattle (5-1) at Cincinnati (2-4)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Paul Brown Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2 The strong running game will draw safety help and provide very favorable matchups on the perimeter with the receiving corps. Expect a solid, but not huge, game from Hasselbeck.
RB Shaun Alexander S1 The Bengals allow over 120 YPG on the ground.
WR Koren Robinson S2 Maybe his pedestrian performance lately is due to not being 100% back from the hamstring injury. Let's hope so since that means there's improved production on the horizon. So-so matchup this week, but will get his chances.
WR Darrell Jackson (Q) S2 Decent matchup with the Bengal corners. Should continue with his consistent play and is due to find the end-zone. His questionable status make him a risky start this week however.
WR Bobby Engram (Q) B

Lead the way for all Seattle receivers last week which is a sign that they are beginning to open the offense up more with 3-WR sets. But with the typical advantage that Robinson and Jackson have on the outside, Engram isn't likely to duplicate that effort any time soon.

TE Itula Mili B Not your answer at TE. Only two catches in the past two games.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna X

Showing improvement. Has never gone two games without an interception, but has only one in the past three games. Also has six TDs in those games.

RB Corey Dillon (P) X Big risk this week thanks to his lingering groin injury and his big mouth. Hasn't had over 40 yards rushing since week 2 but did score last week. If the Bengals give Dillon 20-25 carries this week he could wear down the Seattle front and have some success.
RB Rudi Johnson B If Dillon gets the rock, Rudi sits. It's that simple.
WR Chad Johnson S2 Should have a big day against the young Seattle secondary.
WR Peter Warrick S2 In fantasy football consistency is king. Warrick is a viable target in the Bengal offense now and hasn't has fewer than four catches this season and is scoring once every two weeks.
TE Matt Schobel X With Schobel back from injury he provides a great target for Kitna over the middle as he has terrific hands.

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