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Start/Bench List - Week 15
By Whitney Walters
December 11, 2003
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at TEN MIN at CHI Sun 4 PM CAR at ARI Mon 9 PM
HOU at TB SF at CIN CLE at DEN   (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
Seattle (8-5) at St. Louis (10-3)  
Sun, Dec 14, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Edward Jones Dome Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2 The hot streak ended last week in of all places, Minnesota. The Rams pose a much stiffer challenge this week but when running on all cylinders the Seattle passing game can work against any defense (i.e. Baltimore three weeks ago).
RB Shaun Alexander S2 Even with the offensive struggles last week Alexander was able to produce the Seahawks only score. He has scored in all but three games this season. This could turn into a barn-burner but look for Seattle to get Alexander 22-25 carries in an attempt to wear down the Rams' undersized defensive front.
WR Koren Robinson S2 Possesses the size and speed to stretch the Rams' cover-2 zone schemes. Put up 95 yards and a TD on them in week three.
WR Darrell Jackson (P) S2 Jackson, like Robinson, has a size advantage on the Ram corners. With his precise route running and quickness after the catch he should be able to make enough plays to warrant a start this week.
WR Bobby Engram (P) B

Has been on a nice run and bounced back last week from his only bad game in the past five weeks. But he suffered a concussion last week and the Rams have the ability to limit Engram out of the slot as they use FS Aeneas Williams in coverage of those underneath routes.

TE Itula Mili U Has been inconsistent all season but may play a bigger role in the short passing game as his good route running and ability to find soft spots in zone coverages will be in high demand Sunday against the Rams.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S2 Good but not great. Bulger has thrown for more than a single TD only once in the past seven weeks. It's another borderline recommendation this week, but this should be a high scoring affair and the explosiveness of this offense keep Bulger in starter status.
RB Marshall Faulk S1 Four straight 100 yard games and almost a lock for 20+ carries in December. Keep him in your lineup and this week with no worries.
WR Torry Holt S1 Last week's 31 yards was a season low. Who cares, start him.
WR Isaac Bruce S2 Won't get you the big 100+ yard receiving efforts, but remains one of the most consistent #2 WRs in the league and has a TD in each of the past three games.
TE Brandon Manumaleuna B Another one of the many "2-catches-a-game, if that" tight ends.
Baltimore (8-5) at Oakland (3-10)  
Sun, Dec 14, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Network Associates Coliseum Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Anthony Wright B Since his monster game four weeks ago Wright's stats have decreased each week as the running game grows stronger. Look for more of the same this week against an Oakland defense ranked 31st in the league against the run.
RB Jamal Lewis (Q) S1 The Raiders run defense continue to sleepwalk their way through games. They gave up The Bus' first 100 yard game of the year last week and could give up Lewis' first ever 2000 yard season this week. Heck, all he needs is 378 yards. It could happen.
WR Marcus Robinson X Wright's go-to receiver and is the only real downfield threat. The Oakland corners, Buchanon and Woodson, are great athletes and have the speed to stay with Robinson, but he has a size advantage. This will likely play to a draw as the focus will be on watching Jamal run, run and then run some more.
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 Wright is not throwing to Heap as much as Boller was on a week-to-week basis, but with the Raiders having to focus on stopping the run there should be plenty of opportunities over the middle on Sunday.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rick Mirer B Why bother? I mean, the Raiders' offense just flat out can't get it done. To make things worse this week Ray and the boys are coming to town. It makes no sense recommending any Raider player this week for fantasy purposes. This may be a first for me. Benching an entire team.
RB Charlie Garner B See above.
RB Tyrone Wheatley B See above.
WR Jerry Rice B

See above.

WR Tim Brown B

See above.

WR Jerry Porter B

See above.

TE Whoever B

See above.

Cleveland (4-9) at Denver (8-5)  
Sun, Dec 14, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Invesco Field at Mile High Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Couch B

Here we go again. Back to Couch. It's playoff time in most leagues so steer clear of this situation. You never know. Couch could easily stink up the joint and be replaced by Holcomb.

RB Jamel White X

White will replace the injured Jackson for the remainder of the season. The battered OL lost another starter Monday night, continuing to take a 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 Broncos who, despite numerous injuries and lineup changes, remain a top 5 run defense.

WR Dennis Northcutt X

Northcutt remains dangerous due to his speed and is getting the most looks in the passing attack right now. Problem is that Couch isn't likely to have much time in the pocket this week behind an OL decimated by injury.

WR Andre' Davis B

The ball is being spread around too much for Davis or ...

WR Quincy Morgan B ... Morgan to have much value. Both have put up single catch games in the past few weeks.
TE Whoever  B A no-name TEBC.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S2 When your RB is ripping off 50-yard runs there isn't much for you to do. So last week's sub-par fantasy performance is understandable. The Browns continue to lose players to injury. This week they will be without DE Courtney Brown who lead the team in sacks. That should provide Plummer a bit more time in the pocket to make plays down field.
RB Clinton Portis S1 Do you really need a reason?
WR Rod Smith (P) S2 Has had his best games of the season by far since Plummer's return in week 11. Should be able to keep it going Sunday against a Browns team that just lost one of their pass rush specialists and a cornerbacks to injury.
WR Ashley Lelie U

With McCaffrey back Lelie has shifted into the slot, where he should find matchup advantages most weeks against nickel coverage. This is one of those weeks against a Cleveland secondary that lacks depth due to injury. Hasn't had more than two catches since the bye four weeks ago but could surprise Sunday with a big play or two.

WR Ed McCaffrey B Just not the tough, fearless receiver he used to be. Only three multi-catch games all season.
TE Shannon Sharpe (P) S1 On a serious fantasy roll and SS Robert Griffith is not good enough in coverage to slow him down.
Dallas (8-5) at Washington (5-8)  
Sun, Dec 14, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at FedEx Field Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Quincy Carter X

Despite Carter's improvements this season he has struggled of late due to the stiffer competition and his inability to make opponents pay for blitzing him. The Redskins have problems applying pressure and do turn to the blitz to help. It tends to be mostly ineffective however and Carter has a chance to bounce back a bit this week.

RB Troy Hambrick X

The Cowboys ran the ball 32 times last week. Unfortunately Hambrick only got 17 of those, the rest going to Anderson and the surprising Bickerstaff. This would be a great matchup against the Skins if Hambrick was "the man" in Dallas. But the more likely scenario is a continued sharing of the load.

RB Richie Anderson X In deeper leagues that award points for catches Anderson has been paying off for his owners most of the season. That shouldn't stop.
WR Joey Galloway B

As Carter's struggles grow so does the inconsistency of both Galloway and ...

WR Terry Glenn X

... Glenn. The solid corners for the Skins don't indicate that will change much this week. Glenn's last touchdown came against Washington in week nine, so maybe there's some hope in that.

WR Antonio Bryant U

Typically fairs well when both Galloway and Glenn are limited by solid coverage, like he did in his last meeting with the Redskins, one of his two five catch games this year.

TE Jason Witten S2 Saw his production take a dip last week. But so did the rest of the team against the tough Eagles. Look for him to bounce back this week against the overmatched Redskins SS Ifeanyi Ohalete.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Hasselbeck B

The "other" Hasselbeck gets the reins for the rest of the season. He's played well enough to keep the Skins competitive, but he offers little in the way of fantasy. This week he'll see an array of blitz and stunt looks from Dallas that will likely lead to a long day.


Trung Canidate (Q)
Rock Cartwright (P)
Ladell Betts (D)
Chad Morton (P)

B The Redskins ran the ball an amazing 46 times last week. Usually that would be gold for fantasy owners. But all four backs touched the ball, none enough to make any of their owners happy. With the addition of Canidate to the injury list this week all are banged up and all could see action. Avoid this mess.
WR Laveranues Coles S2 Remains the primary target in the passing game but his numbers have suffered since Hasselbeck took over at QB. Coles could still be a good play this week as he'll likely draw single coverage all game from rookie CB Terence Newman.
WR Rod Gardner B Has had a few brief moments this season but his lack of consistency keeps him from being a viable fantasy option.
TE Whoever B Four different Redskin tight ends have totaled fourteen catches this season.
Carolina (8-5) at Arizona (3-10)  
Sun, Dec 14, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at Sun Devil Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme U For the last four weeks the Cardinals have been the "feel good tonic" for each opponent. That shouldn't change this week. Look for Delhomme to have one of this best statistical games of the season.
RB Stephen Davis S1 Arizona started the season playing pretty solid run defense. But like the rest of the Cardinal's season that has fallen apart lately. They are giving up almost 170 YPG on the ground in the past three weeks.
WR Muhsin Muhammad S2 With Smith continuing to draw double coverage each week, Muhammad will have an opportunity to work one-on-one against one of the league’s worst cornerback tandems.
WR Steve Smith S2 Being double covered by a terrible secondary shouldn't prove to be much of a deterrent for Smith this week.
TE Whoever B The team down to it's third TE due to injury.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh McCown B Blake goes to the bench as the Cards want to get a look at McCown. Don't expect much from the rookie, especially this week against the Panthers.
RB Marcel Shipp  X If the Cards can stay close enough in this contest Shipp MAY get enough carries to warrant fantasy consideration. That's a long-shot against the Panthers.
WR Anquan Boldin S2 The lone bright spot in a season that continues to spiral down the crapper for the Cardinals. Boldin's physical tools allow him an advantage in most matchups, regardless of opponent.
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) X With the QB switch last week Jones was an ineffective 3-14. Too much of an unknown this week with McCown taking over. Best find another option.
Green Bay (7-6) at San Diego (3-10)  
Sun, Dec 14, 4:15 PM ET on FOX at Qualcomm Stadium Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre (P) S2 The Chargers have allowed a whopping 29 passing TDs this season. Only one other team, Arizona, is even close with 25. Unlike most weeks for the Packers, when they stop handing the ball off to Green this week there will be many options available for Favre in the passing game.
RB Ahman Green S1

Interesting factoid: This season Green averages over 25 carries a game at home and only 19 a game on the road.

WR Donald Driver X

What has been a disappointing season for Driver owners took it's worst turn with last week's 1 catch - 4 yard performance.

WR Robert Ferguson U

Broke out of what has been a season long slump last week with a team leading seven catches. May finally get it going. A good thing given Driver's under performing each week.

WR Javon Walker B

Leads all receivers in touchdowns with seven but his catch totals leave a lot to be desired for fantasy owners. Over the past eight games he's averaging only two catches per. Too many options and too few passes to go around.

TE Bubba Franks
Wesley Walls
X The TE should get some extra work this week as the Chargers' coverage from the safeties and linebackers is a liability. Problem is that both Franks and Walls are being used about equally, with Franks getting the edge down by the goal-line.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Doug Flutie
Drew Brees
B With only a single down field option (Boston) the Charger passing game is highly ineffective most weeks. This week it's further complicated by the decision to not name the starter until late in the week. Odds are they go back to Brees to close out the season.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 The Packers are much better equipped to stop the run than earlier in the season, but with LT's ability to do damage in both the running and passing attack, he'll get his.
WR David Boston (Q) S2 A physical mismatch against any opposing cornerback and the Chargers' only legitimate weapon at receiver. Will be fighting press coverage all day and may have the ineffective Brees tossing him the ball again. A borderline starter this week.
WR Kassim Osgood B A promising undrafted rookie that is getting a chance to prove himself due to all the injuries to the Charger WRs this season. Will get looks opposite all the attention Boston gets, but it's not likely to amount to much.
TE Antonio Gates X The TE has been a part of the passing game plan all year. Now that it's boiled down to mostly Gates due to injury there's potential each week for fantasy production here. Problem is it's way too inconsistent to rely on during this critical part of the fantasy season.
N. Y. Giants (4-9) at New Orleans (6-7)  
Sun, Dec 14, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN at Superdome Back to top
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jesse Palmer B

Welcome my friend. Step on into the fire.

RB Tiki Barber S2

The injury depleted offensive line and new QB don't help his case, but Barber remains the only Giant player worth any fantasy consideration. With Palmer at QB they will likely turn Barber's way a bit more this week and the Saints do not stop the run well at all.

WR Amani Toomer X

Still has the ability to occasionally produce fantasy worthy numbers. Has a chance to get it done this week as the New Orleans' corners are a liability in the red-zone due to Toomer's great size advantage.

WR Ike Hilliard (D) B

Very banged up and hasn't scored since week nine.

TE Jeremy Shockey (D)
Marcellus Rivers (D)
B Both Shockey and Rivers may be done for the year. Vishante Shiancoe isn't the answer.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks U It's never a good thing when your coach threatens to bench you if you continue to fumble. That shouldn't be much of a problem this week as he'll have plenty of time in the pocket as the Giants can't afford to blitz much given their injury problems in the secondary.
RB Deuce McAllister S1 Missed out on his tenth straight 100-yard game last week, but the way the Giants are playing defense now odds are good he'll get number ten this Sunday night.
WR Joe Horn S2 The Giants' depleted secondary provides another great opportunity for Horn and his owners this week. Even with Brooks' struggles Horn is a good play as he's his only consistent target outside of Boo.
WR Donte Stallworth (Q) B Still battling injuries and should be avoided.
WR Jerome Pathon B

Despite his opportunities with the injuries to starter Stallworth, Pathon is having a forgettable second half of the season.

TE Boo Williams S1 Since taking over as the starter three weeks ago Williams is the hottest fantasy TE out there. He has 16 catches and three TDs in that span. Never mess with a hot streak. Just ride it out.
Philadelphia (10-3) at Miami (8-5)  
Mon, Dec 15, 9:00 PM ET on ABC at Pro Player Stadium Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb X Impressed last week by putting up his best numbers of the season against the very tough Dallas defense. Gets another chance this week on the road against another of the league's finer defenses.
RB Brian Westbrook X Overshadowed by Buckhalter's blow up last week, but Westbrook remains the most consistent and fantasy starter worthy Eagles back. Has scored five touchdowns and leads all backs with 53 touches in the last four games.
RB Duce Staley B The occasional TD on anywhere from three to eight touches a game. While it's great when it happens, the risk of getting left with very little if he doesn't score is just too high to make him a starter.
RB Correll Buckhalter B Just when you're about to give up on him due to the decrease in production, BAM, he hits you with another 100 yard game. Go figure. Actually, I wouldn't suggest trying to figure out this three-headed monster as it will likely give your one head a sharpe pain right between the eyes.
WR James Thrash (P) X Thrash remains the only viable fantasy wide receiver for the Eagles, but he's rarely one you want to turn to as your starter due to the way this offense is spreading the ball around to as many as 10 targets each week.
WR Todd Pinkston
Freddie Mitchell
B Each has scored only once this season and has only a single game with at least 60 yards receiving.
TE L.J. Smith
Chad Lewis
B These two continue to split the tight end production, hurting the value of both. Smith did score his first NFL TD last week. It was also the first for an Eagle TE this season.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Fiedler (Q) X

Fiedler is a fairly mobile QB, but his re-injured knee will limit him this week. Against a blitz-crazed Eagle defense with excellent man coverage, that will likely either force hurried throws or cause him to hold on to the ball too long because of tight coverage. Don't expect a good night from Fiedler.

RB Ricky Williams S1

The Eagles continue to be soft against the run. You can expect a heavy dose of Run Ricky, Run Monday night.

WR Chris Chambers X Could prove to be a most intriguing matchup against the physical press coverage from CB's Vincent and Taylor. Can their physical play disrupt his timing with Fiedler, or will he be able to use his explosiveness and speed to get behind it for some big plays. Hmm...
WR James McKnight
Derrius Thompson
B Outside of Chambers and McMichael there is no consistent force in the Miami passing attack.
TE Randy McMichael X

McMichael has not put up the numbers his owners were expecting upon Fiedler's return to the starting lineup even though matchups have been to his advantage. He hasn't scored since week eight and has only five catches with Fiedler back.

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