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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
St. Louis (4-2) at Pittsburgh (2-4)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Heinz Field Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S2 Look for the Rams to attack the primary weakness of the Steeler defense - poor coverage skills - by spreading out the offense and emphasizing the passing attack. Should complete many passes against the soft zones played by Pittsburgh.
RB Arlen Harris S2 Harris showed his versatility last seek subbing for the injured Gordon. Will get his first start this week and should perform well. But look for the Rams to throw the ball often in this one and for them to not ask too much of Harris.
RB Lamar Gordon (Q) B Not expected to play due to the ankle injury, and if he does he will not be 100%.
WR Torry Holt (P) S1 On a tear. Start him.
WR Isaac Bruce S1 Bruce's sharp route running enables him to excel against zone coverage schemes. He should ring up big numbers this week against the very soft Steeler zones.
WR Dane Looker B

The team has gained some confidence in Looker but his playing time will now start to shrink as Shaun McDonald has returned to action.

TE Brandon Manumaleuna B The TE seems to be a bigger part of the game plan lately. Manu has seven catches in the past two games. His first duty remains pass protection however as the Rams continue to send multiple receivers and the back into pass routes.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tommy Maddox S2 The line should be healthier after the off week and the power running game should be back with Bettis. This will mean better protection and a more balanced attack, both of which should mean more success for Maddox and the passing game.
RB Amos Zereoue X Just didn't provide the impact to the running game the Steelers thought his speed and quickness would bring. So it's back to the 3rd-down / change-of-pace role for Zereoue.
RB Jerome Bettis U Okay, everyone bring their best Steven Tyler impression. I'm BAAAAAAAACK! I'm back in the saddle again! The Steelers should attack the Rams' undersized front with a pounding running attack lead by Bettis' fresh legs.
WR Plaxico Burress S2

Burress should produce this week, but he is best against man coverage, which he will not be seeing against the Rams. He's also been hindered by Maddox's lack of time in the pocket, but that may improve this week.

WR Hines Ward S1 Great start this week as he is best suited at finding the soft spots in zone coverages.
WR Antwaan Randle El B Randle El can create matchup problems for opponents when the Steelers spread the offense. Look for a few of those mismatches to pay off this week as the Rams will bring a rookie out in nickel coverage.
TE Jerame Tuman B Likely starter with Riemersma injured. Non-factor.
San Francisco (3-4) at Arizona (1-5)  
Sun, Oct 26, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at Sun Devil Stadium Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S2

The emphasis on the running game will surely hurt Garcia's fantasy production. But he'll remain effective and may just make it through the entire season now. Arizona has a league low four sacks through six games.

RB Garrison Hearst S2 Expect last week to be just the beginning of a more deliberate running attack by the Niners as they attempt to move the ball without relying on a very banged up Garcia. With that in place Hearst becomes close to an every week start with ...
RB Kevan Barlow X ... Barlow close behind. But as history indicates he will remain behind Hearst's production.
WR Terrell Owens (P) S1 Continues to lead all receivers in passes thrown his way... Oh whatever. Just start him. It's Arizona for crying out loud.
WR Tai Streets (P) S2 Streets too.
WR Cedrick Wilson B

The Cardinal love stops here.

TE Jed Weaver B Not only is the TE an afterthought in the Niner passing attack, but Weaver is proving to be very ineffective.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Blake B Still mistake prone under pressure, Blake continues to be a hit-n-miss fantasy QB. This week expect more miss than hit against a Niner defense that leads the league in sacks.
RB Marcel Shipp  U Shipp will lead the league's worst running game against one of the league's best run defense. However, the Cardinal offensive line outweighs the Niners defensive line by an average of 55 pounds. If Arizona chooses to run the ball (which they have yet to do) they should find some success. Shipp could also have an impact as a dump-off target for Blake.
WR Anquan Boldin S2 Continues to draw bracket coverage from opponents as he remains the only WR target Blake looks to. Despite that he also continues to produce decent fantasy numbers, but has not crossed the goal-line since week one.
WR Bryan Gilmore (P)
Bryant Johnson (P)
B Gilmore and Johnson make up the other two pieces in the Cardinals' rookie receiving trio. Both are dealing with injuries and have yet to be a factor in the passing game.
TE Freddie Jones U Jones has the talent to be a threat in the passing game. Blake should be looking his way this week as a dump-off target under pressure.
Tennessee (5-2) at Jacksonville (1-5)  
Sun, Oct 26, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at ALLTEL Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S1 This one will be all "Air" McNair as the Jags will have little trouble stopping the weak Titan running game. McNair could also end up being the leading rusher this week.
RB Eddie George B The Jags team strength is their solid run defense. Don't expect the Titans to push the issue given their inability to run this season. On top of that George is likely to split carries again this week with Holcombe.
RB Robert Holcombe  B With rookie Chris Brown likely out with the hamstring injury, Holcombe once again is George's backup. Last week that meant 16 carries. But he was unable to generate any more production than George.
WR Derrick Mason S2 Look for the Titans to spread the field to create single coverage matchups for Mason. Since those will come against either a dinged up corner (Craft or Thomas) or a rookie (Mathis), Mason will produce.
WR Drew Bennett (Q) S2

The Titans are working the ball around the WR corps but this week Bennett is the best bet outside of Mason. The Jags simply don't have a DB to handle his size. He has half a foot on any of them.

WR Justin McCareins X

His speed will cause problems all afternoon for the Jacksonville secondary.

WR Tyrone Calico B Incredible upside and the team is looking to him for the future. But he's still a very raw rookie that will have flashes of potential, then fade away.
TE Erron Kinney B Remains the starter while Wycheck is out, but in the wide open Titan offense that's good for only a catch or two a week.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich U If his line can give him the time in the pocket against the lethal Titan pass rush, the rookie could make some noise this week. Jimmy Smith is back and the Titans are still missing their best cornerback, Samari Rolle, and allowing over 250 passing YPG.
RB Fred Taylor X Tennessee will likely play strong safety Tank Williams in the box often to force the Jags to turn to the passing game. The Titans can stuff the run and held Taylor to only 76 total rushing yards in their two meetings last season. Taylor's ability to generate production out of the passing game keep him a borderline starter this week.
WR Jimmy Smith X

Doesn't have the down field speed he used to, but he still has the skill and strength to do some damage against the inexperienced Tennessee corners.

WR Troy Edwards U Has emerged as the #2 WR alongside Smith. With the attention Smith garners that's not a bad spot to be in.
TE Kyle Brady B Has not clicked yet with rookie Leftwich and will likely spend most of this game in pass protection.
Houston (2-4) at Indianapolis (5-1)  
Sun, Oct 26, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at RCA Dome Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr X This game will be all about establishing the run and keeping the Colt offense off the field. Carr won't be asked to do much unless the Texans fall way behind and have to play catchup, which isn't that unlikely a scenario.
RB Stacey Mack B

Only had four carries last week as Davis took over as the feature back. But he made them big ones, scoring two touchdowns. That's great, but goal-line backs are only valuable on teams that get into scoring position often. That isn't the case with Houston, especially this weekend against Indy.

RB Domanick Davis S2

First back in team history to rush for over 100 yards. If the Texans can keep the score close there's a good chance Davis can repeat that feat against a Colt defense that allows over 130 YPG on the ground.

WR Andre Johnson X Johnson's abilities are better suited to exploit man coverage, not the zone schemes he'll face in Indy on Sunday. He remains the top Texan receiving option, but will struggle this week.
WR Corey Bradford X Only a single game this season with more than two catches. Has a firm grip on the #2 WR spot, but that has been worth little so far this season.
WR Jabar Gaffney B

Started the season somewhat consistently but has only four catches over the last three games. Also seeing Jabari Holloway take some of the snaps as the #3 WR.

TE Billy Miller B Rarely pulls in more than two catches a game this year and has yet to score.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1 Let's see, Manning against one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Hmm... tough call.
RB Edgerrin James (P) S2 All signs point to James returning to the starting lineup this week. Should get plenty of carries late as the Colts put away a big win.
RB Ricky Williams (D)
Dominic Rhodes (P)
B With The Edge back the backups return to being just that... backups.
WR Marvin Harrison S1 Will scorch the Texans' secondary.
WR Reggie Wayne S2 Should be plenty to go around this week in the passing game.
WR Troy Walters  B

The #3 WR will have little impact in this offense that primarily runs 2-TE, 2-WR sets.

TE Marcus Pollard
Dallas Clark (P)
X Both tight ends are used in the flow of the passing game and both have produced this season. The problem is that they rarely are both productive in the same game, and predicting who it will be each week is virtually impossible.
New York Jets (2-4) at Philadelphia (3-3)  
Sun, Oct 26, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Lincoln Financial Field Back to top
New York Jets
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vinny Testaverde
Chad Pennington
B Vinny will start and Chad will come off the bench. With such uncertain playing time for each, both should be avoided this week.
RB Curtis Martin B While the Eagles defense against the run has been suspect of late, the Jets sport one of the worst running games in the league and have scored only two rushing TDs this season and Martin has had neither of those.
RB LaMont Jordan (P) B Getting 10 touches a game since the bye week and has scored the Jets' only two rushing TDs. Potential, but only if he takes over for Martin.
WR Curtis Conway X With the injury to Chrebet, Conway's demotion to #3 WR didn't last long as he is back starting opposite Moss. #1, #3, or #2, hasn't really mattered much as he's been unproductive in all three spots.
WR Wayne Chrebet (Q) B Being slowed by the back injury, but wasn't of much value prior to it.
WR Santana Moss X

Moss is the go-to guy now and he and Vinny have worked will together since he moved into the starting lineup. Problem this week is that Vinny will not play the entire game and Pennington-to-Moss is a big unknown right now.

TE Anthony Becht B Still a great target over the middle as Moss is now stretching the defenses down field. But he's still only getting a few looks a game and the QB situation this week would make it difficult to rely on him as your starter.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb (P) B What more can be said about McNabb. He just flat out stinks this year. Until be has a breakout game (if he ever does) his only activity on your fantasy team should be picking splinters out of his arse.
RB Brian Westbrook S2 Over the past three games Westbrook has averaged 65 total yards and a touchdown. On a team that run three backs, that's not only amazing but it's about as good as you could hope for. Against a Jets defense that allows over 150 YPG on the ground, get Westbrook in your lineup.
RB Duce Staley X Odds are that against a terrible run defense like the Jets, someone other than Westbrook will produce. Staley has yet to carry the ball more than 9 times this season, but his abilities catching the ball out of the backfield give him an edge over Buckhalter.
RB Correll Buckhalter B Will see some carries but has been the least effective Eagle runner this season.
WR James Thrash B Thrash went catchless last week and over the past two games the Philly passing game has averaged 10 completions for 95 yards. Until further notice all Eagle receivers are off limits.
WR Todd Pinkston (P) B See above.
WR Freddie Mitchell B

See above.

TE L.J. Smith B See above.
Buffalo (4-3) at Kansas City (7-0)  
Sun, Oct 26, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN at Arrowhead Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe S2 After starting the season strong the KC defense has proven more vulnerable of late. If Moulds plays look for a balanced attack and a solid performance from Bledsoe. If Moulds remains sidelined look for more of an emphasis on the running game.
RB Travis Henry S2 The rib injury finally seems a thing of the past and Henry simply tore it up last week. Look for more of the same against a KC defense that's allowing 4.8 YPC rushing. Only Cleveland allows more.
WR Eric Moulds (Q) S2 The early indications are stronger this week that Moulds will indeed return to action. If he returns to the field and is close to 100% then he's a solid start this week.
WR Josh Reed U Finally broke out last week and flashed some of the potential the Bills expected when they signed him. With Moulds likely back this week his production should continue. Now if someone can just find some blackout for his other eye.
WR Bobby Shaw X

Shaw will likely move back to #3 this week and his chances decrease.

TE Mark Campbell B Good for a few catches a game but is not a breakaway threat (averages only 7 yards a catch) and has not scored this season. So he's either due or should be avoided. My vote, avoided.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green X Against the Bills' strong coverage on the perimeter most of Green's success this week will be to Gonzo and Holmes.
RB Priest Holmes (P) S1 Oh I don't know. How 'bout... they're home this week.
WR Eddie Kennison B A catch or two a game just doesn't cut it for fantasy owners. Both Kennison and ...
WR Johnnie Morton (P) B ... Morton will be taken out by the strong CB duo of Winfield and Clements.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 With the wide receivers locked down and safety support needed against the running attack look for Gonzo to have a big impact in the passing game.
Miami (4-2) at San Diego (1-5)  
Mon, Oct 27, 9:00 PM ET on ABC at Qualcomm Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Fiedler (Q) B Fiedler isn't asked to do much other than win. His play must improve for the team's success to continue and to keep backup Brian Griese on the bench.
RB Ricky Williams S1 Tons of carries against a bad run defense.
WR Chris Chambers X Chambers should produce against the very conservative coverage schemes utilized by the very young San Diego secondary.
WR Derrius Thompson B Got more looks last week as he'd been lobbying for. Still doesn't amount to enough to make him a viable fantasy starter.
TE Randy McMichael S2 McMichael should continue to play a key role in the passing attack as opposing defenses have no choice but to commit safety support to stop the Miami running attack.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees U Having Boston back in the lineup helps Brees be more productive. Most weeks that won't amount to him being a fantasy starter. But surprisingly the Dolphins rank at the bottom of the NFL in pass defense. With the running game likely to struggle Brees will be called upon to move the Chargers down the field in this one.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S2 Gets the Monday night lights at home, but draws the league's top run defense as the opponent.
WR David Boston S2 The strong man-to-man coverage of the Dolphins hasn't shown up so far this season as they rank only 29th in pass defense. That typical strong corner play may give way to the stronger receiver play of Boston.
WR Eric Parker
Tim Dwight
Reche Caldwell (Q)
B Injuries, poor play and a run oriented offense make any WR outside of Boston worth very little.
TE Justin Peelle
Josh Norman
B The tight end position is only an occasional producer in this offense. Norman is back to starting, but Peelle still sees significant playing time.

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