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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
 
Tampa Bay (5-7) at New Orleans (6-6)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Superdome Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson B

The best way to attack the Saints defense is to spread it out as they lack depth in coverage options. Problem is the Bucs now have no depth at WR. In fact, they are just doing good to field a basic 2-WR offense. Don't expect much from Johnson this week.

RB Michael Pittman S2

The Saints struggle to stop the run and Pittman's value increases even more this week as he will spend a lot of time split out as a receiver. May not see as many carries, but should have a 100 total yard performance this week.

RB Thomas Jones U Has scored in each of the past two weeks and has some upside in this matchup since he may see a few more carries and can do something with them against a Saints defense that's giving up over 140 YPG on the ground.
WR Keenan McCardell (P) S2 The Bucs most consistent wideout this season must feel like the last man standing on a sinking ship of receivers. Tampa will be stuck in basic sets due to their lack of depth, but those sets should be productive enough against the Saints for McCardell to be a borderline starter this week.
WR Charles Lee B A talented but raw receiver that is now thrust into the starting lineup due to the injury to Jurevicius. Will be locked up in a matchup with CB Ashley Ambrose, a matchup he will not likely win.
TE Ken Dilger  B It's past time to write off the Tampa tight ends.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks X Typically performs well against the Bucs as they have to break their standard cover-2 schemes in order to attempt to stop Deuce. But a WR corps that can't stay healthy or effective hurts Brooks' chances to succeed.
RB Deuce McAllister S1 NINE straight 100-yard games and counting. It would be a shock for him to miss #10 against a Buc team he typically runs over.
WR Joe Horn S2 Horn has been very disappointing of late, but this week may change that. Due to the injury to CB Wansley, Horn will be matched up at times against the very beatable Dwight Smith, a safety forced to play corner. Brooks should be looking to get the ball to Horn in those one-on-one situations.
WR Donte Stallworth (Q) B Still battling injuries and should be avoided.
WR Jerome Pathon B

Has had all kinds of opportunities with the injuries to starter Stallworth, but continues to fritter them away each week.

TE Boo Williams S2 Taking up the slack for a banged up and ineffective WR corps, scoring in each of the last two games. The TE is a key part of the Saints offense and Williams will continue to produce.
 
Washington (4-8) at N. Y. Giants (4-8)  
Sun, Dec 7, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Giants Stadium Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Patrick Ramsey (D)
Tim Hasselbeck
X

There's talk that Ramsey may get back on the field this week. But a setback in practice Wednesday makes that iffy. If Hasselbeck gets his second start he has a decent matchup against an injury depleted and defeated Giant defense.

RB Trung Canidate X Has won the feature back role by attrition and last week put up the first 100-yard game by a Redskin RB this season. As long as they insist on getting Cartwright, Betts and Morton carries Canidate's potential is limited. Only a one week bump however as both Cartwright and Betts should return to action this week.
RB Rock Cartwright (P)
Ladell Betts (P)
Chad Morton (P)
B All this committee does is keep the starter from reaching consistent fantasy potential.
WR Laveranues Coles S2 Coles continues to struggle along with the Redskin passing game, with it's lack of WR depth and subpar quarterback play. Threw it all he has maintained decent fantasy value, scoring three touchdowns in the last five games.
WR Rod Gardner (P) B Has had his brief moments in weeks two, six and ten. But for the most part Gardner is a fantasy dud.
TE Whoever B Four different Redskin tight ends have totaled fourteen catches this year.
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins B

The Giants' offensive line continues to be decimated by injury, losing two more members last week. What may save him this week is the fact that the Redskins do not pressure the QB well. Only one team has fewer sacks on the season. Still, it's hard to rely on a QB that looks shell-shocked by a league high 36 sacks. Especially if Shockey misses another week.

RB Tiki Barber S2

Has been a disappointment over the past two weeks but catches a break Sunday against a Redskin defense that struggles to stop the run, allowing over 130 YPG. The continued depletion of the offensive line by injury doesn't strengthen his cause however.

WR Amani Toomer S2

Still dropping way to many passes but managed his third 100-yard/TD game last week. Toomer is typically sure-handed, so he should snap out of this trend soon. His size and strength match up well against the physical play of the Washington corners, Bailey and Smoot. Collins should be able to stay upright enough to help Toomer put up some decent numbers.

WR Ike Hilliard B

Just seems unable to get it done against tough, physical man coverage. He'll get another dose of just that this week matched up against Bailey and Smoot.

TE Jeremy Shockey (Q) X May play this week, may not. Likely a game-time decision. If you can wait then great. If you can't then you should plug in your backup again.
 
Arizona (3-9) at San Francisco (5-7)  
Sun, Dec 7, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at 3Com Park at Candlestick Point Back to top
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Blake B May have seen his last opportunity for fantasy production pass with last week's Chicago game. This week's matchup with the Niners is a tough one defensively and there's talk of working the young and athletic Josh McCown into the mix as the season comes to an end.
RB Marcel Shipp  X Shipp's carries and production has been erratic over the last month. With Smith back that will only further cloud the Arizona running back situation. Against these same Niners in week nine Shipp put up his best game of the year with 165 yards. That's a distant memory now.
WR Anquan Boldin S2 Last week became only the 12th rookie WR to gain 1000 yards in a season. But it came on one of his worst performances this year, 4-33. Boldin remains the only consistent down field option and there should be enough offense in this matchup for him to put up decent numbers.
WR Bryant Johnson  B Johnson is sharing time with Bryan Gilmore as the Cards try to find a complementary receiver for Boldin. So far it isn't working.
TE Freddie Jones (P) S2 Has become a solid second tier TE and is getting as many looks as any other receiver on the team other than Boldin.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB

Jeff Garcia

X

Didn't stand a chance last week against the Ravens, but gets a chance to redeem himself against the terrible Cardinal secondary Sunday. Don't get too excited though. Garcia was very inconsistent before the injury and there's no reason to think that will change now.

RB Garrison Hearst (D) B Will sit this one out after getting his knee scoped this week.
RB Kevan Barlow S2 After splitting carries with Hearst for what seems like forever, Barlow gets his shot this week. The Cardinals are no pushover against the run, but they lost their second leading tackler this week, Ray Thompson, so Barlow should do okay.
WR Terrell Owens (P) S2 The Cardinals' secondary is way overmatched with Owens' physical skills. This matchup looses some of it's luster when you think back on all the times Owens has disappointed this season, most of them with Garcia running the show.
WR Tai Streets (P) B Streets continues to be slowed by nagging quad and knee injuries that seems to be zapping him of what little speed and quickness he had.
TE Jed Weaver B Stay away from the Niner tight ends.
 
Kansas City (11-1) at Denver (7-5)  
Sun, Dec 7, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Invesco Field at Mile High Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green X Green struggled somewhat last week in a very favorable matchup with the Chargers. This week he draws the #2 pass defense on their home turf. The Broncos have some holes on defense that can be taken advantage of, but they will have to exploit those for Green to get it done for your fantasy team.
RB Priest Holmes (P) S1 The Bronco run defense is not what it used to be before all the injuries.
WR Eddie Kennison B In typical Kennison fashion, he strings together a few decent games only to disappear against an inferior opponent like last week's Chargers.
WR Johnnie Morton X The Broncos have secondary deficiencies in the areas of skill and experience. Morton only gets what crumbs fall from the Priest/Gonzo table, but this week his matchup advantage shouldn't be ignored by the Chiefs.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 Has scored eight TDs in the last nine games. It doesn't get much better than that for a tight end. Heck, that's better than most WRs.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S2 Don't worry about last week's rain-soaked performance in Oakland. The Chiefs defense may be very opportunistic (21 interceptions) but they are also very beatable. Won't be asked to do too much as the running game will carry the show this week, but he should do enough to be a borderline starter if you need a QB fill in this week.
RB Clinton Portis S1 The Chiefs just can't seem to stop the run lately.
WR Rod Smith S2 Had put up his best numbers of the season since Plummer's return until he was quieted by the down pour in Oakland last week. Should bounce back nicely Sunday against a Chiefs' secondary that seems to regress more each week.
WR Ashley Lelie B

Lelie hasn't scored or caught more than three passes since week four. Lately it's been its worse, only a single catch for two yards in the last two weeks.

WR Ed McCaffrey (P) U With Lelie continuing to disappoint, more is being asked of Easy Ed. He has the ability do deliver this week as he still has what it takes to find the soft spots in the Chiefs' cover-2 zones.
TE Shannon Sharpe (P) S1 No tight end is hotter right now.
 
Miami (8-4) at New England (10-2)  
Sun, Dec 7, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Gillette Stadium Back to top
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Fiedler X

Has had a hot five quarters, but can he keep it up against the troublesome Patriots? He won't see the man coverage this week and will have to prove his effectiveness against New England's aggressive zone schemes.

RB Ricky Williams (P) S2

Since the return of nose tackle Ted Washington the Pats have been stingy against the run. But overall they are undersized and remain vulnerable if pounded for long periods. There's no better pounder than Williams.

WR Chris Chambers S2 You typically want to shy away from receivers that face Ty Law, but Chambers is hot and Law is still recovering from the ankle injury. Look for most of Chambers' damage to be done underneath Law's cushion and after the catch. Expect fewer big plays.
WR James McKnight
Derrius Thompson (P)
B Outside of Chambers and McMichael there is no consistent force in the Miami passing attack.
TE Randy McMichael S2 McMichael, who had eight catches for 102 yards against New England week seven, could be the Fins' best weapon Sunday. The Patriots may again choose to give up yardage to the tight end in order to protect themselves from a vertical attack and to create 8-man fronts to stop Ricky.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady S2

The short drops, quick throws, draws and screens that the Pats utilize will not only help protect Brady against a very good Dolphin pass rush, but that type of attack usually results in solid numbers.

RB Antowain Smith B Could be called upon to help pound the ball against a very tough Miami run defense. Or he could be on the inactive list again this week.
RB Kevin Faulk  B Despite the Patriots' desire to make Faulk a feature back, he just isn't very good in that role. With only a few exceptions he performs much better as a change-of-pace/3rd-down back. The risk is just too high as Belichick may bring back Smith and turn to a power running attack this week.
WR David Givens B

Still struggling through the leg injury and the ball is being spread around too much for him to warrant any fantasy attention.

WR Bethel Johnson B Has been awesome on returns but only good for a couple of catches.
WR Deion Branch X

Has been the most consistent WR since Brown went down with the leg injury. But there isn't much upside with Branch this week. His strength is against zone coverages, not the press man-to-man the Dolphins play, and with the arrival of Dedric Ward and J.J. Stokes there are now four other WRs to spread the ball around to.

TE Daniel Graham X Graham's last four games have looked like this. 4-39/TD, 1-5, 4-53/TD, 0-0. So, you think he's due for another 4-catch, TD game? Your guess would be as good as mine. Last time they played Miami he went 2-9.
 
N. Y. Jets (5-7) at Buffalo (5-7)  
Sun, Dec 7, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Ralph Wilson Stadium Back to top
New York Jets
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington X Has put up some fairly decent fantasy numbers since returning from the wrist injury five weeks ago. This week may pose his toughest challenge however. The Bills defensive front is athletic and aggressive using blitzes and stunts and their secondary included two of the top cover corners in the league. Don't expect much this week on the road in Buffalo.
RB Curtis Martin X Hold on to your seat everyone, Martin scored a TD last week! His first of the year. Isn't likely to find much success this week against the Bills' aggressive eight-man fronts.
WR Curtis Conway X Has been a solid performer since taking over the Chrebet and scored his second TD in three weeks last Sunday. With Moss stretching the defenses vertically there are typically opportunities for Conway underneath in crossing patterns. Will find it very difficult to get open this week against one of the top CB tandems in the league.
WR Santana Moss X

Will be pressed at the line often by CB Winfield in order to take away the quick-hitting passes the Jets like to run for Moss. Against the last three tough opponents the Jets have turned to the controlled, short passing game they prefer. That hasn't provided Moss with many opportunities for big plays. That trend is likely to continue this week in Buffalo.

TE Anthony Becht B Leads the Jets in receiving yards one week then disappears for no real reason the next. Logic says Becht would become more valuable with Chrebet gone but he's had only a single catch or less three times in the past four weeks.
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe (P) B Bledsoe has been knocked loopy in each of the last two games. He will not be 100% there mentally on Sunday. The Jets pass defense is solid, allowing a league low 10 passing TDs and racking up 32 sacks, the second highest league total. Not a good situation for a QB that may be seeing odd colors again this week.
RB Travis Henry S2 The Bills best chance for success this week is to ride Henry until his cracked leg falls off. The Jets haven't stopped the run yet this season and they aren't going to start now.
WR Eric Moulds X Still not 100%, and it shows every week. Serves as more of a decoy on many downs with Reed and Shaw lined up on the other side of the formation, looking for favorable matchups in nickel coverage.
WR Josh Reed X Due to Reed's lack of speed but solid route running, he performs much better against zone coverages where he can find and exploit the seams. That should serve him will this week with the Jets in town.
WR Bobby Shaw B

The Jets have the depth at CB to matchup well against Shaw in the 3-WR sets Buffalo is running.

TE Dave Moore (P)
Mark Campbell
B The Bills simply don't feature a TE in their offense.
 
Carolina (8-4) at Atlanta (2-10)  
Sun, Dec 7, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN at Georgia Dome Back to top
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme X With the "V-Factor" back for the Falcons, Carolina may actually need to keep pace with their offense. If that ends up being the case you couldn't ask for a better defense to throw the ball against. Well, maybe you could, but lets not nit-pick. Delhomme could surprise this week but it will require the right game conditions to make it happen.
RB Stephen Davis S1 The formula remains the same for the Panthers; run the ball, control the clock and wear down opponents. What's great for fantasy owners is this week Davis gets to do that against the league's worst run defense.
WR Muhsin Muhammad S2 Should continue to provide a great down field and red-zone option for Delhomme. More and more teams are choosing to bring safety help up to stop the Panthers' killer running attack. This leaves more man coverage for the WRs, which brings the best out in Muhammad. He'll see even more of that this week and has a big advantage in the man matchups.
WR Steve Smith S2 Has been amazingly solid in a run oriented offense. Has scored in five of the last eight games. His numbers however have taken a dip with the emergence of Muhammad three weeks ago. Should excel this week in turning the short crossing and underneath patterns into big gains with his incredible quickness.
TE Whoever B The team's top two TEs, Mike Seidman and Kris Mangum, are now out.
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick X

The Vickster is back. What that means against a very tough and athletic Carolina defense is anyone's guess. There's obviously potential here as Vick can buy time with the scramble to allow his receivers to get open down field against a very suspect secondary. But if you made it into your playoffs without him, or are on the border, do you really want to rely on him now? You probably have a safer option at QB this week.

RB T.J. Duckett  X

A tackle-to-tackle runner with little horizontal speed or cut-back ability. Well guess what? The Panthers' strength in run defense is right up the middle. Being able to spread the offense with Vick may help, but you shouldn't expect much yardage from Duckett. However, he has scored six TDs in the past five games and his nose for the end-zone can help make up for his limited yardage numbers.

WR Peerless Price S2

Vick may struggle in his first start of the season, but one thing we know for sure is that he can get the ball deep and accurately to Price. The Panther corners can not hold up in coverage and if Vick works himself enough time we could get a glimpse of what Vick-to-Price could have been this season.

WR

Brian Finneran (Q) B As always, will have a physical advantage over smaller corners, but he has been terribly ineffective since returning from his early season broken hand. Now he's dealing with a broken thumb and knee injury. May show something with Vick's return, but you're better off waiting until he proves it.
TE Alge Crumpler U The Panthers run a lot of soft coverages in the secondary that leave open spaces in the short and intermediate field. These seams are ideal for a big target like Crumpler, who's mediocre season may finally take a turn for the better this week.
 
St. Louis (9-3) at Cleveland (4-8)  
Mon, Dec 8, 9:00 PM ET on ABC at Cleveland Browns Stadium Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S2 The Ram offense rolled last week, but Bulger remains in a bit of a fantasy slump. Although the rushing TD helped last week, he's had only one other multi-TD game in the past six weeks. The Browns run cover-2 schemes in the secondary that Bulger should be familiar with, but they run them very well. It's a borderline recommendation, but based on the explosiveness of this offense, Bulger's a starter this week.
RB Marshall Faulk S1 Three 100 yard games and six TDs since returning from injury four weeks ago. He's definitely back to "always play your studs" status.
WR Torry Holt S1 What was that about always playing your studs?
WR Isaac Bruce S2 Won't get you the big 100+ yard receiving efforts, but remains one of the most consistent #2 WRs and has scored the past two weeks.
TE Brandon Manumaleuna B Another one of those many "2-catchs-a-game, if that" tight ends.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kelly Holcomb B

Has had only one good fantasy game since returning from injury nearly two months ago, and that was against Arizona. It takes a bad pass defense to make Holcomb a viable fantasy starter. The Rams are not one.

RB James Jackson X

Jackson has been about the fantasy equal of Williams since replacing him five weeks ago. But the battered OL and ineffective passing attack is taking it's toll on the Browns' ability to run the ball with any consistency. They are near the bottom of the league in most rushing categories. Those struggles will likely continue this week against the quick and athletic Rams' defense.

WR Andre' Davis X

The passing game is struggling and continuing to spread the ball amongst all the WRs. Against a Rams' secondary that will use it's well developed and executed cover-2 schemes to limit the vertical attack, there just won't be enough production to spread around and give either Davis, ...

WR Dennis Northcutt X

... Northcutt or ...

WR Quincy Morgan (P) X ... Morgan much fantasy value.
TE Whoever  B Doesn't matter who they get to play each week.

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