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Start/Bench List - Week 14
By Whitney Walters
December 4, 2003
 
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CHI at GB IND at TEN TB at NO ARI at SF CAR at ATL
CIN at BAL OAK at PIT WAS at NYG KC at DEN Mon 9 PM
DAL at PHI SD at DET   MIA at NE STL at CLE
HOU at JAC SEA at MIN   NYJ at BUF (times ET)
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
 
Chicago (5-7) at Green Bay (6-6)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Lambeau Field Back to top
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kordell Stewart X Surprised many last week. Can't play Arizona every week though and the Pack will provide a tougher challenge Sunday at Lambeau.
RB Anthony Thomas (P) S2 Killed a great matchup for fantasy owners last week, but should return to full strength Sunday. May have a slight downside now since he might lose a few carries to the up-and-coming Brock Forsey and goal-line opportunities to Stewart.
WR Marty Booker X Putting up mediocre numbers since his return from injury four weeks ago, but did score last week. But in this offense, with that quarterback, on a cold and possibly snowy day in Green Bay, Booker can not be relied on.
WR Dez White X

Has scored twice in the last three weeks. Has also totaled more than 60 receiving yards only twice this season. At best White is a borderline starting option in leagues that start more than 2 WRs.

WR Justin Gage B

Put up the first 100 yard receiving game by a Bear this season. His size makes him a good target, but he lacks top-notch speed and suffers from typical rookie inconsistency.

TE Desmond Clark X Hasn't been the breakout season many expected this year, but he remains just consistent enough to frustrate you into not starting him on a regular basis.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre (P) S2 Should have plenty of time in the pocket Sunday against a Bears team with a league low 14 sacks. Maybe he won't hurt his fantasy owners this week by throwing more interceptions than touchdowns again.
RB Ahman Green S1

Last time these two teams met Green rushed for 176 yards and 2 TDs.

WR Donald Driver X

Continues to get the most attention in the Pack's limited passing game. With the dominance of the Packer running game Driver is getting few chances to produce and hasn't crossed the goal-line since week five.

WR Robert Ferguson B

Continues to be a non-factor, unless his 3 catch for 30 yard average is to your liking.

WR Javon Walker B

Walker's only value the past two weeks has been two long TD catches. That's not something you want to rely on each week.

TE Bubba Franks B Scored his first TD since week six on Sunday.
 
Cincinnati (7-5) at Baltimore (7-5)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at M&T Band Stadium Back to top
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna X

Kitna is one of the hottest fantasy QBs right now, but with only a few exceptions the Ravens defense has forced sub-par games out of each of it's opponents. Fortunately one of those exceptions was Kitna's 274 yard, 3 TD effort in week seven.

RB Corey Dillon B Since his quiet return he's split carries with Rudi almost right down the middle. He has however been the more effective runner, averaging 5.6 YPC to Rudi's 3.6. But against a very tough Raven defense, that average is sure to take a dive.
RB Rudi Johnson B Has not been as effective with the shared role since Dillon's return. That effectiveness surely won't improve this week against the stingy Ravens.
WR Chad Johnson S2 Getting it done each and every week. On the road against the Ravens is a challenge, but he met that challenge successfully in week seven.
WR Peter Warrick X Since his big game in week 11 Warrick has caught only 7 balls for 68 yards and has been outperformed by Washington. His underneath route running will be called upon against the aggressive 3-4 schemes of the Ravens.
WR Kelly Washington B Has moved to the forefront scoring two TDs in the past two weeks. But the rookie's receiving only limited looks and his inexperience will not serve him well in this critical matchup.
TE Whoever B Over the past three weeks three different TEs have caught passes for the Bengals, and only one of those with more than a single catch.
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Anthony Wright X Well, he proved that week 12 was no fluke with another solid performance last week. Week 13 is more likely going to be the norm for Wright however (177 yards and 2 TDs), which doesn't exactly make him a late season savior for your team.
RB Jamal Lewis S2 His numbers are slipping as he's only scored twice in the past five games and is averaging only about 90 yards rushing. But he remains a fantasy force and the Bengals are only average at stopping the run.
WR Marcus Robinson X Looks to be the only Raven receiving option outside of Heap that warrants any fantasy attention. No real matchup advantage in this one as the Bengal corners are playing solid right now.
WR Travis Taylor B The Raven passing game has really stepped it up since Wright took over at QB. Taylor's contribution -- 6 catches for 78 yards. Steer clear.
TE Todd Heap S2 Terry Jones?!? Give me a break. Get those scrub tight ends outta there coach.
 
Dallas (8-4) at Philadelphia (9-3)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Lincoln Financial Field Back to top
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Quincy Carter B

Carter has obviously improved this season, but as the Cowboys are in the midst of their toughest stretch he's shown he still struggles with the blitz. The Eagles are one of the league's best at applying pressure through the blitz. Don't look for Carter to be your starter this week.

RB Troy Hambrick U

The Eagles are surprisingly weak against the run (160 YPG over the last six), especially up the middle where Hambrick is the most effective. While Hambrick has been just awful the past month, look for him to get over 20 carries and have a solid game this week.

WR Joey Galloway B

With Carter struggling to beat the blitz and the Philly secondary improving each week, this isn't a week you want to rely on the emerging Galloway, or ...

WR Terry Glenn B

... the inconsistent Glenn.

WR Antonio Bryant U

With Galloway and Glenn likely to struggle, Bryant's matchup with nickel corner Terrell Buckley may give Carter his best receiving option outside of his TE.

TE Jason Witten S2 14 catches in the last two games. Looks like the rookie is healthy and finally coming on. With the wideouts battling very difficult matchups all day Witten could easily lead the team in receptions, as he did on Thanksgiving.
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb B His play in improving each week and he's doing what it takes to push the Eagles to victories. But he's at best only an average fantasy QB this season. That isn't likely to change this week against Dallas' #1 defense. Only one other QB that has played every game this season (Bledsoe) has fewer than his nine TDs.
RB Brian Westbrook X It's hard to imagine that a player in a 3-man RBBC that has had double digit carries only four times this season is a top 20 fantasy back. But his production will likely be limited this week against a Dallas defense that held him to only 37 rushing yards in week six.
RB Duce Staley B The occasional TD on anywhere from three to eight carries a game. Not exactly what you want your team relying on each week.
RB Correll Buckhalter B The most ineffective of the three Philly backs and is a non-factor in the short passing game (only four catches on the season). But he keeps finding his way into the end-zone. His only value is in TD-only leagues.
WR James Thrash (P) X In one of his better matchups of late Thrash found the end-zone last week for the first time this season. Thrash remains an average receiver with little down field speed however and has a difficult matchup this week with a very tough Dallas secondary.
WR Todd Pinkston
Freddie Mitchell
B The ball is being spread around to as many as 10 receivers each week and Pinkston and Mitchell play only bit roles in passing game.
TE L.J. Smith
Chad Lewis
B These two continue to split the tight end production, making both of little fantasy value.
 
Houston (5-7) at Jacksonville (3-9)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at ALLTEL Stadium Back to top
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr (Q) B Expected to return to action due to the season ending injury to Banks. It's unlikely that Carr's shoulder will be 100% and the Jags have one of the most underrated defenses in the league this season.
RB Domanick Davis (Q) B

Will be leaned on heavily as Carr will not be 100%. Unfortunately neither will Davis. He'll be battling a quad bruise and mild ankle sprain this week. Throw in facing the league's #2 run defense and it's likely time to move Davis to your bench for a week.

WR Andre Johnson X Don't expect much from the Houston passing game in this one as the Jags will have little trouble dealing with this talented rookie, ...
WR Corey Bradford B ... the disappearing Bradford, and ...
WR Jabar Gaffney B

... the ineffective Gaffney.

TE Billy Miller (P) X Has scored in three of the last six games and lead the team in receiving last week. If you just have to get a Texan in your lineup this week, Miller is your best bet.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich U They stuck with the rookie last week and were rewarded with one of his best performances of the season. A great matchup this week against a terrible Houston secondary. If you're in a bind at QB this week, Leftwich might not be a bad option.
RB Fred Taylor S1 Should have a big day against the injury riddled Texan defensive front.
WR Jimmy Smith S2

Pulled in a season high 10 passes last week and that trend should continue as Leftwich is learning to rely on his elite receiver and the Houston secondary will struggle all day to keep up with this old-timer.

WR Troy Edwards B Not a factor now with the arrival of KJ.
WR Kevin Johnson U Faded just a bit last week after a successful debut two weeks ago. Should get back into the flow this week against a secondary that will be overmatched.
TE Kyle Brady B If you are looking for 2-3 catches and 20-30 yards, this guy MAY get you that.
 
Indianapolis (9-3) at Tennessee (9-3)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at The Coliseum Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1 Aside from the Bills game two weeks ago Manning has been on a roll since week three. That roll should work it's way down to Nashville this weekend against a Titan pass defense that struggles and is ranked 30th in the NFL.
RB Edgerrin James S2 Has been held under 100 yards rushing five times this season. Four of those games were against Miami, Jacksonville (twice) and New England. Three of the top five run defenses in the league. While this week he draws the #1 run defense, they suffered a big blow in losing MLB Rocky Calmus.
WR Marvin Harrison (P) S1

The Titans just don't have an answer for Harrison this week.

WR Reggie Wayne X With Harrison drawing the best Tennessee can offer (Samari Rolle) Wayne should have a matchup advantage on the other side of the field.
WR Troy Walters U With the lose of TE Clark the Colts will be forced into more traditional 3-WR sets, and the primary benefactor may be Walters as he receives more playing time. Walters was very productive in November, catching a TD in three of the four games he played. He will push the Titans' nickel coverage to it's limits this week.
TE Marcus Pollard S2 Has scored three TDs in the last four games he's played. Now he'll shoulder the entire TE production with Clark out.
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair (Q) S2 Gutted it out Monday night but with obvious limited mobility. Should be much improved this weekend, but not likely 100%. No matter. Could be the biggest game of the year for the Titans at home. Start him.
RB Eddie George S2 The Titans will surely look to limit the opportunities of the Colt offense by controlling the clock. The best way to do that is to commit to running the ball. George will have success against the forgiving Indy run defense if given 25+ carries, which is likely.
WR Derrick Mason S2 His precise route running and down field speed will provide him a matchup advantage against both the zone and man coverage schemes used by the Colts' secondary.
WR Justin McCareins X

Still only the #2 option at WR, but has scored a TD in four straight games.

TE Frank Wycheck S2 The Titans have increased their usage of the TE since Wycheck's return, especially around the goal-line. Some throws are still going Kinney's way, but Wycheck appears to be the primary focus.
 
Oakland (3-9) at Pittsburgh (4-8)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at Heinz Field Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rick Mirer B If they stick to the run as they want he has few opportunities. If they are forced to pass then he's completely ineffective.
RB Charlie Garner X Shouldn't be forced to throw in this matchup and will continue to give both Garner and ...
RB Tyrone Wheatley X ... Wheatley plenty of carries. Both should be effective, but neither enough to warrant you risking them in your starting lineup.
WR Jerry Rice X

The Steelers secondary has proven to be vulnerable all season, but with Rice now at an obvious physically disadvantage they can limit his effectiveness with bracket coverages using press coverage at the line and zone help over the top.

WR Tim Brown B

Ditto for Brown.

WR Jerry Porter X

Porter should have his usual advantage matched up against nickel coverage. Problem is, with Mirer under center there just isn't much passing going on. And when there is, it's not very good.

TE Whoever B

The tight end appears to be a forgotten position in the Oakland offense.

Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tommy Maddox (Q) S2 The knee checks out okay and he should be good to go Sunday. About all the Raiders have to offer is a decent set of corners, so Maddox and the passing game will be challenged. Just enough to make him only a borderline start.
RB Jerome Bettis (P) S2 Getting the carries he needs (20+ in each of the last two games) to be effective. He's also scored twice in the past three games. While not great fantasy numbers, he does have the honor of facing the new worst run defense in the NFL.
WR Plaxico Burress X

Hey, was that a Burress sighting on Sunday? I believe it was. He put up his first 100 yard game since week TWO, but still hasn't scored since then. Against the solid Oakland corners, Burress' huge size advantage should give Maddox some openings in the passing game.

WR Hines Ward (P) S2 Banged up but will play. If Ward is able to be on the field he should be in your starting lineup.
TE Whoever  B Another season of worthless Steeler tight ends.
 
San Diego (2-10) at Detroit (4-8)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at Ford Field Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Doug Flutie U Outside of CB Dre' Bly, injuries have left the Lions with what many believe to be the worst secondary in the league. Flutie has been ineffective since his first start shocker a month ago, but against the Lions you have to believe there's an upside here.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 The Lions have been surprisingly solid against the run this season. No matter, gotta start LT.
WR David Boston S2 The best Detroit has to offer is 5'-9" Dre' Bly. Puuulease.
WR Kassim Osgood U The undrafted rookie got his first chance last week with some extended playing time. He made good with three catches for 62 yards. Against a terrible secondary preoccupied with Boston he could easily match or surpass those numbers this week.
TE Antonio Gates U Prior to last week's garbage-time TD he had only seven catches on the season and the Chargers were using three different TEs each week. If he remains the primary TE this week he could surprise again against a terrible set of safeties for the Lions.
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington S2

The Chargers have allowed a whopping 28 passing TDs this season, but it's likely that most fantasy teams have much surer options at QB that will prevent them from taking a chance on Harrington this week.

RB Shawn Bryson S2

Another good opportunity for Bryson to help fantasy owners. The Chargers can't stop anything and if Bryson can get the carries he can produce this week. The downside is the frustrating and unexpected lack of touches at times. But last week's 20 is a positive sign.

RB Olandis Gary B The only fantasy impact Gary is having this year is hurting the value of Bryson as he steals about 10 touches a week from him and does little with them.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim U

Averaging 6-60 over the last three games and has scored twice. Will see solid press coverage from CB Quentin Jammer but Hakim's quickness will help him do some damage underneath.

WR Bill Schroeder B

This may be one of Schroeder's last chances for success this season. But if you're looking to him for help you're in trouble.

TE Mikhael Ricks X As the wide receivers continue to be hit by injury and ineffective Ricks has been playing a larger role in the passing game. Since emerging from the doghouse three weeks ago he's averaged over 12 yards per catch.
 
Seattle (8-4) at Minnesota (7-5)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Metrodome Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S1 The man's been on fire the last two weeks. The Vikings will be just another log to burn Sunday.
RB Shaun Alexander (P) S1 The Vikings are the only team to allow more than 5 YPC and have given up a staggering 17 rushing TDs this season.
WR Koren Robinson S2 Coming off his best game of the season. His deep speed will cause problems for the Minnesota corners all day.
WR Darrell Jackson S2 There's not a hotter WR in the league right now than DJax. Always stick with the hot hand, especially against a weak Viking secondary.
WR Bobby Engram X

After scoring four TDs in three weeks Engram disappeared last week, getting lost as the starting WRs took center stage. Should bounce back this week as he's very adapt at finding the soft spots in zone coverages. Especially weak zone coverages like the Vikings'.

TE Itula Mili (P) B Should be able to play this week after suffering a concussion in last week's game. Has been inconsistent all season.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Daunte Culpepper S2

Has thrown for over 300 yards in three of the last four games. Too bad he's thrown for only a single or no touchdown in three of the past four games also. The opportunities may be limited this week, but they will be there if the running game is clicking.

RB Moe Williams X Williams received only six carries last week, but three were at the goal-line and resulted in him scoring the team's only rushing TD. He also remains very active in the passing game, averaging over seven catches a game in the past four weeks. Still, without a TD Williams is a difficult start.
RB Michael Bennett  S2 Getting about two-thirds of the carries now as expected and producing solid numbers. Should get his first 100 yard game this week as the Vikings look to run a bit more in an attempt to minimize the time the potent Seahawk offense is on the field.
WR Randy Moss S1 A monster game waiting to happen each and every week.
WR Nate Burleson
Kelly Campbell
B

For the most part Burleson and Campbell remain an afterthought in the Vikings passing game. The Seattle secondary has the depth and talent to shut these two down.

TE Jim Kleinsasser S2 Will play Sunday despite a hip pointer. Matched Moss catch for catch last week. He remains a key part of the passing game and a solid fantasy starter most weeks.

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