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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 1
Whitney Walters
September 8, 2004
Thu 9 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
IND at NE JAC at BUF BAL at CLE ATL at SF KC at DEN
Sun 1 PM SD at HOU SEA at NO DAL at MIN Mon 9 PM
TEN at MIA CIN at NYJ OAK at PIT NYG at PHI GB at CAR
ARI at STL TB at WAS DET at CHI   (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 (0-0) at New Orleans (0-0) Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2 First shot at redemption since last year's season ending interception against the Packers. The Saints hope to have improved their pass rush and early indications are that they have. The Seattle OL is the key in this matchup.
RB Shaun Alexander S1 Stud, start him.
WR Koren Robinson S2 The Saints' secondary is suspect and if Hasselbeck has the time the passing game will prosper this week.
WR Darrell Jackson S2 Ditto.
WR Bobby Engram B

Proved to be a very productive #3 WR last year. But he's still at the bottom of the available options list, especially with the emergence of TE Stevens.

TE Jerramy Stevens U Has had a strong pre-season but until he proves himself he holds some risk. Could surprise this week.
TE Itula Mili X With Stevens coming on his touches will decrease.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks S2 Jury is still out on whether the Seahawks improved last year's poor performing pass defense. Brooks will surely test them but the strained quad he nursed through the pre-season is still a slight concern.
RB Deuce McAllister S1 Stud, start him.
WR Joe Horn S1 Stud, start him.
WR Donte Stallworth S2 If Stallworth can put his health (hamstring) problems and inconsistent play behind him he could be a quickly emerging star this year.
WR Jerome Pathon B

Too many other options.

TE Boo Williams S2 Breakout year for Boo. Could easily crack the "Big-3" tight ends this season.
 
Oakland (0-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rich Gannon X So will this be a repeat of 2002 or 2003? A lot of questions surround the Raiders this season. One of the bigger ones is who's the QB. Well at least for this week it's Gannon.
RB Tyrone Wheatley  X Is Wheatley the feature back or is he a part of a RBBC? If your gut tells you, like mine, that for at least week one he's the man -- they start Wheatley. If not then sit him on your bench and find a better option.
RB Justin Fargas B Could emerge as the season progresses, but for week one he rides the pine on your fantasy team.
WR Jerry Rice X

Slower for sure, but can still get it done occasionally.

WR Jerry Porter S2

Healthy again and will be Gannon's most effective weapon this week.

TE Teyo Johnson
Doug Jolley
Roland Williams
B

If the Raiders don't even know who their feature TE is then you should steer clear.

Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tommy Maddox S2 Line improvements and the more balanced attack should help Maddox be more comfortable in the pocket and should lead to greater success this season.
RB Duce Staley S2 The Raiders feel they've made improvements in what was a poor run defense, but Staley should have a great day behind that Steelers line.
RB Jerome Bettis B The plan is to have Bettis be a change-of-pace relief for Staley and the short-yardage guy. Unless the Steelers show otherwise and use him more Bettis is not a fantasy starter.
WR Hines Ward S1 Stud with a great matchup against CB Phillip Buchanon, start him.
WR Plaxico Burress S2

Should rebound nicely from his lackluster 2003, and that will start this weekend.

WR Antwaan Randle El X In the simplified, run oriented Steelers offense this year Randle El may have more of an impact as a returner than a receiver.
TE Jay Riemersma B A fantasy rule that won't change this year. Never start a Pittsburgh TE.
 
Detroit (0-0) at Chicago (0-0) Back to top
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington S2

The key to this matchup is the protection. If the Lions can give Harrington time in the pocket he'll have great success against a suspect Chicago secondary.

RB Kevin Jones S2

Pro debut for the rookie is a great challenge against the Urlacher lead Bears defense. But a hobbled Urlacher (hamstring) may give the edge to this highly talented rookie.

WR Charles Rogers S2 Rare physical talent that is ready to rock after a solid pre-season. Should win his matchup with CB Charles Tillman.
WR Roy Williams X

Inconsistent and has been bothered by a nagging leg injury, but he could be productive this week against a Viking secondary that has played terribly lately.

WR Az-Zahir Hakim
Tai Streets
B Whoever ends up as the #3 WR in Detroit is a non-fantasy factor, just as the #3 WR was a non-factor with the Mariucci lead Niners.
TE Stephen Alexander B Perennial under-achiever and will likely give way to the improving Casey Fitzsimmons.
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman B Won't be asked to do much, so don't expect much.
RB Thomas Jones S2 Jones will be asked to carry the load, helping to ease the pressure (physical and mental) on QB Grossman. TJ will be up to the challenge.
WR David Terrell   X The odds on favorite to assume the #1 WR role in the Bears new offense. Has all the tools to win his matchup with Detroit's top CB, but has been an underachiever in his first three seasons.
WR Bobby Wade B

Will be the #2 WR for now, but won't have much of an impact this week.

WR Justin Gage B

Ditto for projected #3, the unimpressive Gage.

TE Desmond Clark (P) B Hamstring problems have limited his effectiveness this pre-season.
 
Atlanta (0-0) at San Francisco (0-0) Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick   S2

This will be the first we truly see of Vick since his injury last pre-season since he sat out most of this pre-season to nurse a bothersome hamstring. He's a starter for sure, but does carry some risk this week.

RB Warrick Dunn X Not much of a change from last season. Dunn will get you the yardage and good production out of the passing game ...
RB T.J. Duckett  S2 ... and Duckett will get yardage on the ground and the touchdowns. Look for Duckett to pull ahead of Dunn fantasy-wise this season as he's improved his agility and pass catching abilities.
WR Peerless Price X Touch matchup this week against the strong coverage of CB Ahmed Plummer.
WR Dez White B Has the speed to be a factor, but not enough this week against the strong Niner coverage.
WR Michael Jenkins U Could surprise this week if the Falcons utilize the rookies speed against San Francisco's nickel and dime coverages.
TE Alge Crumpler S2 Still slowed by his hamstring problems, but will have an impact just the same as he's improved his route recognition and ability to find the soft spots over the middle. Could be a huge goal-line threat this season.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Rattay  U

Looked good in his limited late pre-season action and if given the time in the pocket this week he should find some success against the banged up and weak Falcon secondary.

RB Kevan Barlow S1 Will be heavily used to take the pressure off the very inexperienced passing game.
WR Brandon Lloyd U What he lacks in experience he makes up for in toughness and athleticism. Could surprise this week.
WR Cedrick Wilson B A nice young talent, but not fantasy worthy yet.
WR Curtis Conway   B Old and barely worked his way into the #3 WR spot for the Niners.
TE Eric Johnson B May sneak up on you since he missed all of last season. A solid TE but may lack the opportunities to be a fantasy factor.
 
Dallas (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0) Back to top
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vinny Testaverde B

The only chance for a Cowboy victory is to ball control. Look for a lot of short routes and handoffs from Vinny this week.

RB Eddie George U Gets the starting nod and may surprise his many critics on Sunday. George has a lot to prove and with Jones banged up will receive the majority of the carries this week.
RB Julius Jones   X Will eventually overtake the aging George, but he's still nursing his late pre-season rib injury and may not be 100% effective this week.
WR Keyshawn Johnson S2

Won't get you many long gains or 40-yard TDs, but Johnson showed a flash of old chemistry with Testaverde during the pre-season and is a solid fantasy option this week.

WR Terry Glenn B

The deep speed guy that's now stuck with a QB that will struggle to get the ball deep.

WR Antonio Bryant X

Could find some success this week against the nickel and dime Viking coverage.

TE Jason Witten S2 Everyone's "sleeper" TE will be a big part of the ball control offense this week. Witten has the size and speed to win most linebacker matchups. Will cause problems for the Vikings all afternoon.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Daunte Culpepper S1 Stud, start him.
RB Moe Williams X Gets the starting nod only because HC Tice wouldn't disrespect him by pulling him once they learned of Smith's availability. He'll get some carries, especially around the goal-line. But look for Smith to out perform him this week.
RB Onterrio Smith   U Will get to see him for one week before he begins his expected 4-week drug suspension. Williams will get the start this week but look for Smith to see plenty of action and reward those owners that plug him into their lineup.
WR Randy Moss S1 Stud, start him.
WR Nate Burleson S2

This is the year that the #2 WR in Minnesota becomes a fantasy factor... right?

WR Marcus Robinson (Q) B

Sat out the pre-season and is in HC Tice's doghouse. Was brought in to be the #2 WR opposite Moss, but for now he should be avoided.

TE Jim Kleinsasser B

Sometimes a fantasy factor, sometimes not. Until he proves he's in the offensive game plan consistently there are stronger options at TE this week.

 
New York Giants (0-0) at Philadelphia (0-0) Back to top
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner B

The only way Warner even survives this game is if the Giants' offensive line can give him some time in the pocket. With the current poor state of the line and the content Eagle blitz he will see -- that's a BIG if.

RB Tiki Barber S2 About the only sure thing with the Giants offense is that Barber will carry the load both running and receiving out of the backfield. Will be tough going this week against the Eagles front, but he's still a borderline starter.
RB Ron Dayne B Here we go again. Another season opener with great promise for a Dayne "rebirth". If you want to bank on that happening I've got this great piece of swamp land down south for ...
WR Amani Toomer X

If the Giants can give Warner some pocket protection both Toomer ...

WR Ike Hilliard X ... and Hilliard can have success against the very inexperienced CB duo of Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard. But as I stated above, that if is about the size of Ted Washington after an all day visit to In-N-Out.
TE Jeremy Shockey (Q) X Says he's ready to go. But until he gets on the field for an effective and injury tweaking free game he's a risk.
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1 If he clicks with Owens McNabb will move into the fantasy elite with Culpepper and Manning this season.
RB Brian Westbrook S2 Well, everyone always wanted to see what a single running back could do in Philly. Now we get our chance to see. Look for Reno Mahe to steal some carries though as I doubt the Eagles want to take a chance on wearing down their only remaining quality back this season.
RB Reno Mahe B Only good for a few backup carries to spell Westbrook.
WR Terrell Owens (P) S1 Can Owens quickly move back into fantasy stud status in Philly? The answer comes this weekend.
WR Todd Pinkston B Has shown improvement and may indeed develop into a decent #2 WR opposite Owens. But until he shows it on the field he's best left on your bench.
WR Freddie Mitchell B Continues to disappoint and will fade away with the focus on Owens in the passing game.
TE L.J. Smith S2 Could easily end up as the Eagles' #2 receiver this season.
 
Kansas City (0-0) at Denver (0-0) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green S2 Again this season we will be left to wonder what kind of fantasy stud Green could be with a talented WR corps. His owners will just have to settle for great, not elite.
RB Priest Holmes S1 Stud, start him.
WR Eddie Kennison X The one-dimentional (vertical deep threat) receiver is back for another season of inconsistent performances. Enjoy.
WR Johnnie Morton (P) B No firm decision or indication as to whether or not Morton will be able to go this weekend due to his continued problems with his Achilles.
WR Dante Hall (P) U With the injuries and lack of talent at receiver Hall will prove to be Green's best downfield option this week and the returner turned receiver will likely surprise.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 Again this season the Chiefs have only average talent at WR so Gonzo will again the the prime option in the passing game.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S2 The running game will be in full force this week but Jake qualifies as a borderline starter in what could be a high scoring game Sunday night.
RB Quentin Griffin S1 The Chiefs were one of the worst run defenses in the league last year and made no significant personnel changes in the off-season. They must think that Gunther Cunningham dude is a wizard.
RB Tatum Bell B Bell may get his shot soon, but it won't be in this critical season opener against a bitter division rival. The finger injury has slowed his digestion of the offense and it's blocking schemes.
WR Rod Smith S2 Smith has lost his speed but is one of the more savvy receivers in the game. He'll have his moments and this week one matchup should be one of them.
WR Ashley Lelie X

Falling out of favor already? Many feel the rookie Watts outshined Lelie this pre-season. But he remains the starter and will be given another chance to deliver on his potential.

WR Darius Watts   B Keep an eye on this rookie. He had a great pre-season and the coaches love his abilities. He'll remain behind Lelie for now.
TE Dwayne Carswell
Jeb Putzier
B It's unclear who the Broncos feel is going to be the starting TE this season after cutting all the prime pre-season candidates. Stay away until the dust settles.
 
Green Bay (0-0) at Carolina (0-0) Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2 Normally Favre on a Monday night would be automatic. But the Carolina pass rush should temper his owners enthusiasm.
RB Ahman Green (P) S2 Yeah it's Carolina, but you have to start this stud no matter what.
WR Javon Walker S2 Odds on favorite to emerge as the Packers top receiver this year. Great speed and size and continues to improve. If Favre can deal with the Panthers pass rush Walker will have his way with the only so-so Carolina secondary.
WR Robert Ferguson
Donald Driver (P)
X Both Ferguson and Driver are solid but not spectacular receivers. One could show up with decent numbers in this matchup. Most would put there money on Ferguson, but it could just as easily be Driver.
TE Bubba Franks X Has the size and talent, but lacks the opportunity in this offense that has Favre spreading the ball around. Franks does the most damage close to the goal line with TD catches, but not much yardage.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme U Should surprise most on Monday night as the Panthers will likely spread the field with 3-WR sets to open up the running lanes. But against the unproven Packer cornerbacks it will also result in a nice fantasy game for Delhomme.
RB Stephen Davis S2 Still experiencing some soreness in his knee, but you can bet he'll get the rock early and often in this matchup against the mediocre run defense of Green Bay.
RB DeShaun Foster X Foster will surely see some action in this matchup, but until there is a consistent game plan that shows him overtaking Davis you run the risk of little production if you start him. May have a bit of an upside this week due to Davis' bothersome knee.
WR Steve Smith S2

The diminutive Smith may have some trouble with the tallish Green Bay secondary, but his lightning quick speed and agility will result in at least a couple big plays.

WR Muhsin Muhammad X Muhammad has developed into pretty much a possession type receiver. His size and ability to go after the ball make him a nice target but he is used surprisingly little around the end-zone.
TE Kris Mangum B Just not a factor in this offense.

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