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Start/Bench List - Week 17
By Whitney Walters
December 24, 2003
 
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
BUF at NE CHI at KC JAC at ATL CAR at NYG PIT at BAL
SEA at SF CLE at CIN NYJ at MIA MIN at ARI END OF
PHI at WAS DAL at NO STL at DET DEN at GB REGULAR SEASON
  IND at HOU TB at TEN OAK at SD (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
 
N. Y. Jets (6-9) at Miami (9-6)  
Sun, Dec 28, 1:00 PM ET on CBS at Pro Player Stadium Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
NY Jets - Playing for pride.
Miami - Playing for pride and for their jobs next season.
 
New York Jets
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington B Hasn't thrown a TD in three weeks and had his worst passing game as a pro last week, tossing five interceptions.
RB Curtis Martin S2 Another touch run defense this week but Martin should be good for another 100-total-yard performance and maybe a score.
WR Curtis Conway B Just flat out hasn't got it done in his first season in a Jet uniform.
WR Santana Moss X

Moss has tailed off since his mid-season run of at least one TD in seven straight games. Remains a fantasy threat because of his explosive after-the-catch ability.

TE Anthony Becht B Has spent most of the season as a complete non-factor in the Jets' passing attack.
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Fiedler B

Outside the Dallas game a month ago Fiedler has been forgettable as a fantasy QB since his return, especially last week's 46-yard, yes 46-yard, performance. Keep him on your bench. Can't be relied on.

RB Ricky Williams S2

The Jets can't stop the run but Ricky's bum shoulder is a concern in this final meaningless game for him. Some risk in starting him this week.

WR Chris Chambers X Miami's only real threat at wide receiver and sole provider of big plays. Will be challenged this week by the Jets' zone coverages, which he does not typically match up well against.
WR James McKnight
Derrius Thompson
B Outside of Chambers there is no fantasy factor in the Miami passing attack.
TE Randy McMichael B

Has had only a single fantasy-worthy performance over the past seven weeks. You're better off looking elsewhere for TE points.

 
St. Louis (12-3) at Detroit (4-11)  
Sun, Dec 28, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at Ford Field Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
St. Louis - Win clinches home field throughout the playoffs.
Detroit - Playing for absolutely nothing. Please, make it stop.
 
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S2 Awesome matchup against the horrid Lions. But may take a seat on the bench early if they get out to a big lead, which is highly likely.
RB Marshall Faulk S2 Ditto for Faulk.
WR Torry Holt S2 And Ditto for Holt.
WR Isaac Bruce B Likely to sit out this meaningless game to rest up for the playoffs.
WR Mike Furrey
Dane Looker
B With Bruce likely out and with Holt likely to have an early exit, both Looker (the starter) and Furrey may get some decent garbage time numbers.
TE Brandon Manumaleuna B Continues to be a complete non-factor.
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington
Mike McMahon
B

Expect to see both QBs in this final and futile contest.

RB Shawn Bryson B

Will again split carries again with rookie Pinner.

RB Artose Pinner B Had his moments last week but for the most part was very ineffective. Look for his injury filled rookie campaign to end again splitting carries with Bryson.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim B

Only one Lion receiver had over 10 yards receiving last week, and it wasn't Hakim or ...

WR Bill Schroeder B

... Schroeder. Forget both.

TE Mikhael Ricks B Completely disappeared last week.
 
Tampa Bay (7-8) at Tennessee (11-4)  
Sun, Dec 28, 1:00 PM ET on FOX at The Coliseum Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Tampa Bay - Playing for pride.
Tennessee - May need to win to secure a first week bye in playoffs and possible AFC South title.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson X

Can scorch bad defenses for big games. The Titans don't qualify.

RB Michael Pittman X

Only 11 carries in the past three games but is still getting touches in the passing game. If you get points for receptions he could be worth plugging in if you need depth at RB this week.

RB Thomas Jones X Will surely get the carries, but against the Titan's #1 run defense there just won't be much to be had.
WR Keenan McCardell S2 The Bucs most consistent wideout this season. The Titan corners have their moments but can be beat. Look for McCardell to end the season on a positive note.
WR Charles Lee X Since being thrust into the starting lineup a few weeks back, Lee has held his own and occasionally surprised. The Bucs will have to throw the ball in this one so he could surprise again.
TE Ken Dilger
Ricky Dudley
B These two have seen more than one catch only a couple of times in the past two months.
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S2

Big game at home, will play through the pain again, start him.

RB Eddie George X The rookie Chris Brown has come along nicely and is taking significant carries from George. The Titans will be able to run the ball on the Bucs but with a divided workload George becomes a long shot fantasy starter. He does still get most of the carries inside the 10-yard line, so that is a plus.
WR Derrick Mason S2 Suffered a slightly cracked rib last week but played through it. He'll do the same this week and his speed will be needed. The emergence of Bennett will help open things up for Mason down field.
WR Justin McCareins
Drew Bennett
X

Drew Bennett seems to be back in the flow now and that will cut into what has been a nice season of consistent numbers from McCareins.

TE Frank Wycheck
Erron Kinney
X The TE usage dipped last week but that won't be the case on Sunday. Both Kinney and Wycheck will see the ball often against the cover-2 zone schemes run by the Bucs.
 
Carolina (10-5) at N. Y. Giants (4-11)  
Sun, Dec 28, 4:05 PM ET on FOX at Giants Stadium Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Carolina - No playoff position to be gained or lost, just momentum.
NY Giants - Absolutely nothing to play for.
 
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme U The Giants' secondary just can't get it done due to all the injuries. Delhomme should use this opportunity to go into the playoffs with some momentum in the passing game.
RB Stephen Davis B

Early word this week is that Davis will play Sunday. But with a playoff game coming next week I find it unlikely that he will get more than just a slight "knock the rust off" workout in this one.

RB DeShaun Foster S2 A healthy and rested DeShaun Foster should get a bulk of the work this weekend. Great matchup against the spiraling Giants. Will not get all the carries but is still a solid play.
WR Steve Smith S2 Smith continues to lead the way in the Panthers' passing attack. This week both he and ...
WR Muhsin Muhammad S2 ... Muhammad get another matchup with a weak secondary that they both can exploit.
TE Kris Mangum B The TE plays almost no role in the Panthers' passing game.
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jesse Palmer B

Don't kid yourself.

RB Tiki Barber X

After a season in which Barber was the only consistent fantasy option, even his numbers have taken a dive of late. Will get his touches but this offense just can't score.

WR Amani Toomer B

Toomer still has the ability to occasionally produce fantasy worthy numbers but he took a beating last week against the Dallas secondary and the effort won't likely be there in this final meaningless game.

WR Ike Hilliard B

After sitting out two weeks it's doubtful Hilliard will give it a go in this meaningless game.

TE Vishante Shiancoe X The rookie gets one final start as both Shockey and Rivers are done for the season. Should again catch a few balls with all the receiver injuries.
 
Minnesota (9-6) at Arizona (3-12)  
Sun, Dec 28, 4:05 PM ET on FOX at Sun Devil Stadium Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Minnesota - Must win to guarantee the NFC North title and make the playoffs.
Arizona - For their coach.
 
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Daunte Culpepper S1

It's the Cardinals, 'nuf said.

RB Onterrio Smith S2 Look for the Vikings to rest Bennett again and get another solid game out of their up-and-coming rookie.
RB Michael Bennett X Likely to get some more rest this weekend. Look for only about 10 touches.
RB Moe Williams B Of the three Viking RBs Williams seems to be the one that has been fazed out the most. Hasn't seen more than 8 carries in over a month and gets only 3-4 touches a week now in the passing game.
WR Randy Moss S1 What a way to close the season for the #1 fantasy WR. A meaningful game against a terrible secondary.
WR Nate Burleson
Kelly Campbell
D'wayne Bates
B

Remain only bit players in the Culpepper-to-Moss show.

TE Jim Kleinsasser S2 Third on the team in catches this season, ahead of all WRs except Moss.
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh McCown X The Cardinals may have found their starting QB for next season. Should close out this year with a solid effort against an opportunistic but burnable Viking secondary.
RB Marcel Shipp  S2 Shipp has seen more than 14 carries only once in the past month. If the Cards are smart they will run the powerful and shifty back all afternoon against a Viking run defense that's allowing five YPC. But with Emmitt around to steal carries the odds of that happening are not as strong as they could be.
WR Anquan Boldin S2

Boldin's combination of size and speed will cause problems for the Viking corners all day. Should easily get his 100-catch rookie season.

WR Bryant Johnson  U Since moving into the starting lineup Johnson has been emerging slowly as a complementary receiver to fellow rookie Boldin. Could surprise this week with a big play or two.
TE Freddie Jones X Usually the team's second best option in the passing game behind Boldin and good for 2-4 catches.
 
Denver (10-5) at Green Bay (9-6)  
Sun, Dec 28, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Lambeau Field Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Denver - Possible playoff positioning to play for, but not likely.
Green Bay - Must win to have a chance at the playoffs, the NFC North and a home playoff game.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer X

Hasn't thrown for more than a single TD since week 11. Did run for two TDs last week but you can't rely on that since they were his first since week three. Expect his typically average numbers in this matchup.

RB Clinton Portis B Expected to be recovered enough from the knee and ankle injuries to play Sunday. With the game not likely to mean much and two more than capable replacements, Portis should see only limited action, if that.
RB Mike Anderson X Will spend his afternoon going from halfback to fullback and getting most of his work between the tackles. The Packers can be tough up the middle but there will be enough good blocking and defensive breakdowns to allow decent numbers and a possible score for Anderson.
RB Quentin Griffin X Won't tear up the grass at Lambeau like to tore up the speedy turf in the dome last week. But his speed and quickness will allow him some success on the edges and in the short passing game.
WR Rod Smith S2 The Packers secondary has it's moments and can make the big stop on occasion. But their overall coverage is week, especially across the middle of the field.
WR Ashley Lelie X

Lelie suffered a slight AC sprain last week but he should be able to go this week. Lelie is at his best on a fast track against a corner who gives him cushion. That won't be the case this Sunday.

WR Ed McCaffrey B Has had a forgetful season but with Lelie possibly slowed by injury he may see a few more opportunities this weekend.
TE Shannon Sharpe S1 A stud and will be needed in this one.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2 While able to focus on Monday night, the reality of his personal situation will surely sink in this week and this is the game that will be the most challenging mentally. But Favre never met a challenge he hasn't taken head-on and this won't be any different and Denver lost half their starting secondary to injury last week.
RB Ahman Green S2

The Bronco defense is tough but you don't ever sit a back like Green.

WR Donald Driver B

His inconsistency has been a fantasy killer and has now taken a back seat to both Walker and Ferguson.

WR Robert Ferguson S2

Seems to be back in favor in the passing attack. Will see a lot of single man-coverage against an undermanned Bronco secondary. Has the skills to take the upper hand enough to warrant getting him in your lineup this week.

WR Javon Walker S2

Leads all receivers in touchdowns with nine and appears to have emerged as Favre's favorite deep target.

TE Bubba Franks
Wesley Walls
B The TE continues to get plenty of work in the Packers' passing game. Problem is it's split between these two and also Martin on occasion. All three will find a tough challenge against the Denver linebackers.
 
Oakland (4-11) at San Diego (3-12)  
Sun, Dec 28, 4:15 PM ET on CBS at Qualcomm Stadium Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Oakland - Absolutely nothing.
San Diego - Absolutely nothing.
 
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rick Mirer B Not even against the Chargers. No way.
RB Charlie Garner B Except for his TD run he looked lost and out-of-sync Monday night. Has had zero impact since coming back from injury six weeks ago.
RB Tyrone Wheatley U If given the carries Sunday he will tear up the paper thin run defense of the Chargers.
WR Jerry Rice U

Will have his way with the Charger secondary. If Mirer can find a way to get him the ball at lease somewhat consistently Rice could end a dismal season with a bang.

WR Tim Brown B

Not even against the Chargers.

WR Jerry Porter B

MIA last week due to a pre-game warmup injury. If he plays this week he should torch the Chargers secondary. But the way his, and the Raiders', season has gone I wouldn't count on it.

San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees U What do you do if you have only a single down field option (Boston), find your big play RB and TE. That seems to be working for Brees and the passing game. Against the Raiders this week that may be enough for him to surprise in his final attempt to keep his job for next season.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 Won't be stopped in the running OR passing game.
WR David Boston S2

Will have no trouble beating the "I give up" Raiders' secondary.

WR Kassim Osgood
Reche Caldwell
B Osgood made the most of last week's opportunity with Caldwell out. Caldwell will likely be back this week and the two will split whatever production there is opposite a big game from Boston.
TE Antonio Gates U Brees always did like going to the tight end, and he's learning to like going to this promising rookie. With no depth at WR Gates could again play a big role in helping the Chargers spread the field in multi-receiver sets.
 
Pittsburgh (6-9) at Baltimore (9-6)  
Sun, Dec 28, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN at M&T Band Stadium Back to top
WEEK 17 "WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Pittsburgh - Playing for pride and as spoiler against a division rival.
Baltimore - Will know if they need the win, but it likely won't matter. They will go 100% against PIT.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tommy Maddox X

Maddox's best game of the season was week one against the Ravens. The only time he's come even close to that week one performance were the games with Arizona and San Diego. Something tells me there won't be a repeat effort in the season's final week.

RB Jerome Bettis X

Bettis continues his impressive late season play. Will face a stiff challenge this week against a Ravens' defense that continues to improve and has allowed a league low six rushing TD this season.

WR Plaxico Burress S2

Has somewhat redeemed his fantasy season over the past month. This will be a difficult matchup against the very aggressive Raven secondary, but Burress' size give him an advantage against pretty much any corner in the league.

WR Hines Ward S2 Ward has quietly put up top-5 fantasy numbers this season. This is obviously a difficult matchup, but if anyone can be productive against the Ravens it's Ward.
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Anthony Wright B Has been ineffective as a fantasy QB since his huge week 12 game. This will be the Jamal Lewis show Sunday night.
RB Jamal Lewis S1 If they get it going early you can bet the Ravens will get Lewis the rushing record.
WR Marcus Robinson X The Pittsburgh secondary doesn't provide much of a threat, but with a passing game as ineffective as the Ravens' has been over the past month it's hard to expect much from any of the wideouts.
WR Travis Taylor B Hasn't scored or had more than a 3-catch game since week 7.
TE Todd Heap S2 This Terry Jones dude is really becoming quite annoying. Since Wright took over six games ago Heap has had only a single TD and half of the games have been 1-catch efforts. Jones has had two scores in that time.

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