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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 4
Whitney Walters
September 30, 2004
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Mon 9 PM
NE at BUF IND at JAC NO at ARI TEN at SD KC at BAL
PHI at CHI OAK at HOU ATL at CAR Sun 8:30 PM Open Date:
NYG at GB CIN at PIT NYJ at MIA STL at SF DAL, DET,
WAS at CLE   DEN at TB (times ET) MIN, SEA
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
 
New England (2-0) at Buffalo (0-2) Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) S2 Look for New England to come out firing in this one to jump on a solid Buffalo defense and get them back on their heels.
RB Corey Dillon S2 15 carries week 1, 32 week 2. Which do we get this week? With the solid defensive front of the Bills look for the passing game and spread formations to take center stage again. Dillon's carries will likely fall closer to week 1 than week 2.
RB Kevin Faulk (Q) B Has returned to the team and will see his first action of the season. Look for him to slide into the 3rd-down back role the Pats have been without so far this season.
WR Deion Branch (D) B

Not expected to play this week due to the knee injury.

WR David Patten S2

Both Patten and ...

WR David Givens S2 ... Givens will see more balls come their way with Branch out, making both solid fantasy starters this week.
TE Daniel Graham S2 Graham has had a great start to the season and is leading all tight ends with 3 touchdowns in just two games.
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe B The New England defense has not looked good so far this season, but neither has Bledsoe behind an O-line that gave up 7 sacks in week 2. It won't get any easier this week as the Pats will bring the blitz from all corners.
RB Travis Henry S2 The Patriots defense has not proven the ability to stop the run through two games. The Bills will surely test them with Henry this week in the hopes of relieving some of the pressure on Bledsoe.
RB Willis McGahee B On your bench until he proves worthy.
WR Eric Moulds S2 Moulds showed up this season ready to make an impact again after an injury plagued 2003. Too bad the rest of the offense, in particular the O-line, hasn't shown the same. Only a borderline starter this week.
WR Josh Reed B Outside of Moulds there just isn't much happening in the Buffalo passing game.
WR Lee Evans B

With Bledsoe's limited time in the pocket this season the Bills have yet to utilize their rookie speedster. That won't likely change this week.

TE Mark Campbell B Good for a couple of catches a game but that's about it.
 
Philadelphia (3-0) at Chicago (1-2) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1 Are you kidding? The #1 fantasy QB against one of the worst pass defenses in the league now that they've lost 3/4 of their starters in the secondary.
RB Brian Westbrook S2 This is a passing team that has now lost it's blocking fullback. Westbrook will remain very active in the passing game this week but you will never get a 20-carry game from him.
WR Terrell Owens (P) S1 As close to a guarantee as you can get this week at the WR position.
WR Todd Pinkston (P) X The Philly passing game is focused on a single WR, Owens. After that comes the tight end and running back. Then the leftovers go to Pinkston and ...
WR Freddie Mitchell X ... Mitchell. Neither are a solid fantasy option, but both may see a bit more production this week due to the depleted Chicago secondary.
TE L.J. Smith (Q) S2 Has developed into a true #2 option in the Eagles' passing game. McNabb shows great confidence in him, often looking his way on big third downs and close to the end-zone.
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jonathan Quinn B With Grossman done for the year the Bears turn to Quinn. This could be very ugly.
RB Thomas Jones S2 The Bears will be turning to Jones more than ever now. Opposing teams will also gear up to stop the run more than ever now. The Chicago O-line should be able to get enough push against an average Philly run defense to keep Jones productive.
WR David Terrell
Bobby Wade
Justin Gage
B

Until further notice the Chicago passing game is off limits.

TE Desmond Clark (P)

B

Out last week due to injury and should return Sunday... but who really cares at this point?
 
New York Giants (2-1) at Green Bay (1-2) Back to top
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner U

Warner has been given some better protection in the pocket and has silenced many of his critics with solid performances in weeks 2 and 3. He remains only an iffy fantasy starter, having thrown only a single TD. To his advantage this week however is the struggling Packer pass defense, ranked 28th and giving up a league worst eight touchdowns.

RB Tiki Barber S2 Averaging an impressive 5.5 YPC rushing and remains very active in the passing game ranking third in the league among backs in receiving yards with 150. This is a good matchup for Barber and he should have another solid fantasy performance.
RB Mike Cloud   B Punched over a TD on Sunday and has as many shots at the goal-line as Barber. Cloud is a truer short-yardage back than Dayne and may hold on to that job.
WR Amani Toomer S2

The Packers' secondary is suspect and Toomer could see some one-on-one matchups thanks to the emergence of slot receiver Tim Carter.

WR Ike Hilliard X Currently not even the #2 Giants' WR in production and doing less with his opportunities than the up and coming Carter.
WR Tim Carter B Has the only passing TD for the Giants this season and the team is starting to use his speed to stretch the field and opposing secondaries. But on a team with this kind of RB and TE talent Carter will rarely be a fantasy option.
TE Jeremy Shockey S2 Remains a fantasy starter on potential alone, but until Shockey becomes more involved in the red-zone he's going to leave his fantasy owners wanting. Has yet to see a red-zone pass come his way.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre (P) S2 Banged up, but when hasn't he been these last couple of years? Don't expect anything close to last week's passing explosion as the Packers will look to re-establish their balanced attack with plenty of Ahman Green.
RB Ahman Green S1 The Packer O-line should have little trouble handling the New York defensive front. Look for Green to get back to shouldering the offensive load this week.
WR Javon Walker (P) S2 Favre and Walker obviously hit it off last week against the zone coverages used by Indy. Walker won't find it quite so easy this week against a solid Giants' secondary that can play man-on-man.
WR Robert Ferguson X Ferguson has been slowed by injury but he should get back into the mix this week.
WR Donald Driver X

Driver is actually getting more looks this season than Walker. Unfortunately he's doing much less with his opportunities.

TE Bubba Franks (P) B Back to the bench goes Franks.
 
Washington (1-2) at Cleveland (1-2) Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell U Looked extremely sharp at times Monday night but at times was provided little protection by a struggling O-line. Look for the Browns to try and get to Brunell with blitz packages. If protected he will make their banged up secondary pay.
RB Clinton Portis S2 Has yet to be the fantasy boon many thought he'd be in Washington. He is getting the chances though as only one back has more touches so far this season. Cleveland's run defense was below average before the loss of LB Ben Taylor so Portis should be able to get it going this weekend.
WR Lavernues Coles (P) S2

Had 13 balls come his way Monday night but was outplayed by constant underachiever James Thrash. Don't expect that to repeat this week against a Cleveland secondary that may still be without it's starting corners.

WR Rod Gardner X Gardner has been consistently inconsistent his entire career. He shook off that tag Monday night with a stellar performance. If he can continue the solid play he makes a nice fantasy option as Coles draws extra attention on the other side of the field.
TE Chris Cooley B There are three TEs seeing action for Washington, but Cooley may be emerging as the tight end of choice. In an offense where the TE is primarily a blocker that won't amount to much.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia B

Suspect arm strength, poor pass protection, loss of star tight end... it's just not turning out well for Garcia in Cleveland. This week won't bring much improvement.

RB Lee Suggs (Q) B Suggs is expected to get the green light this week. But keep him in your fantasy bench. He will very likely split carries with Green and the Redskins are allowing only 47 rushing YPC, tops in the league.
RB William Green B What fantasy value Green has provided so far will take a hit now with the expected return to action of Suggs.
WR Andre' Davis X

Davis remains the focus of the passing game, but when your quarterback and passing offense are struggling that can amount to a lot of disappointments for fantasy owners.

WR Quincy Morgan B Only five catches in three games, but two are for touchdowns. Hard to rely on for your fantasy team except in the deepest of leagues.
WR Dennis Northcutt X

Leads the team in looks and receptions. Problem is that his role in the Cleveland offense limits him to mostly underneath routes that don't produce great fantasy numbers. He's averaging only 5.3 YPC.

TE Steve Heiden (Q) U Should return from injury this week and could be a nice fantasy surprise as one of Garcia's strengths is getting the ball to the backs and tight ends. If he can stay on the field Heiden could be a nice fill-in for the injured Winslow.
 
Indianapolis (2-1) at Jacksonville (3-0) Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2 Manning will likely struggle more this week than in the previous three, but he will surely put the Jags "dominant" defense to the test.
RB Edgerrin James (P) X James looked less than 100% last week but will keep plugging along until the hamstring fully heals. Throw in the fact that James averaged only 87 total yards a game last season against Jacksonville and didn't score, and you have the makings of one tough matchup.
RB Dominic Rhodes B Even with Edge not 100% Rhodes only touched the ball ONCE.
WR Marvin Harrison S2 So far this season teams are working hard on slowing Harrison down. To a degree it's worked, as he's not the dominant fantasy force he's been. He's actually the third Colt receiver in fantasy scoring through three weeks.
WR Reggie Wayne S2 Wayne is leading the way in the Colts' passing game thanks in no small part to his improved play and the extra attention teams are giving Harrison this season.
WR Brandon Stokley U The hit-or-miss #3 WR hit big last week. You can't rely on that weekly with Stokley, but there are matchup advantages for him again this week and the Colts may be forced to the air more as well.
TE Marcus Pollard
Dallas Clark
X Has the success of the 3-WR sets in Indy ended what used to be one of the top fantasy TE options going? It's looking that way, especially since Pollard and Clark are splitting playing time. Through 3 games Pollard has only 5 catches and Clark has only the single week one 64 yard grab.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich B The Colts' secondary is banged up and suspect. They've allowed a league worst 313 YPG and seven TDs. Does that mean you stick the leader of the NFL's worst passing offense in your fantasy starting lineup? No.
RB Fred Taylor S2

As they did last week, the Jags O-line has an advantage up front. Jacksonville wants to establish a strong running game in this matchup in the hopes of limiting the Colts' possessions. If they can keep from falling far behind Taylor should have a nice game.

WR Jimmy Smith X

Smith continues to produce despite being stuck on the league's worst passing offense. But his fantasy production is limited and he remains only a borderline starter / bye week fill-in most weeks.

WR Troy Edwards
Reggie Williams
Ernest Wilford
B Outside of Smith there just isn't much for fantasy owners to get excited about with the Jaguar passing game.
TE George Wrighster B After two weeks of invisibility Wrighster showed up with 5 catches and a TD last week. Is he worth picking up? Maybe. Worth starting? Not until he and the Jags prove it wasn't a fluke.
 
Oakland (2-1) at Houston (1-2) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins S2 The long ball attack gets a boost now with Collins pulling the trigger. Look for the Raiders to go after a Houston secondary that has allowed a league leading eight touchdowns. Collins is a better fit for the new offense being employed in Oakland.
RB Tyrone Wheatley  S2 The Raiders have been in need of a big-play back, who would have thought that back was Wheatley. The Texans are not much better at stopping the run than the Bucs so Wheatley should continue his productive trend for another week.
RB Justin Fargas (Q) B Fargas saw some limited action in his return last week and averaged 4.7 yards on his six carries. Until he's worked into the offensive game plan more he remains a bench player.
WR Jerry Porter S2

Porter's size, speed and experience make him the prime down-field target in the Oakland passing attack. Look for his numbers to improve with Collins under center.

WR Ronald Curry
Doug Gabriel
B

Both youngsters have shined this season and give the new vertical passing game extra punch and options down field. Neither can be relied on as a fantasy starter yet, but an eye should be kept on them as there's potential for one to emerge as a surprise this season.

TE Doug Jolley B

Jolley has emerged as the tight end of choice, but is only good for a catch or two a game.

Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr B With a limited running game Carr will struggle against the talented Raider secondary.
RB Domanick Davis (Q) B

May not play this week. Late week or game-time decision.

RB Jonathan Wells
Tony Hollings (P)
X With Davis possibly sidelined it looks like both Wells and Hollings will see action. The Raiders new 3-4 defensive front is much improved this year and is allowing only 89 rushing YPG so far. Injuries along the Texans' O-line may make it a long day for whoever's carrying the ball.
WR Andre Johnson X The focal point of the Houston passing game. Oakland has the skill and speed in the secondary to handle Johnson and his production will be limited this week.
WR Corey Bradford (P)
Jabar Gaffney
B Both Bradford and Gaffney are averaging just a couple of catches a game. The only thing keeping them slightly in the fantasy mix is that each has scored.
TE Billy Miller U Miller showed up last week with his first three catches of the season. He'll be needed again this week to attack underneath the deep routes that will be covered well by the Oakland secondary.
 
Cincinnati (1-2) at Pittsburgh (2-1) Back to top
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer B

Palmer hasn't found the end-zone since week one. Finding it won't be any easier this week against a very stout Pittsburgh defense that will come at him with a variety of blitz packages.

RB Rudi Johnson X The Bengals will continue to try and establish a power running game with Johnson. The O-line is still suffering through some injuries that are hindering their effectiveness. Not a good thing when visiting a defense that's allowing only 3.1 YPC on the ground. Will still get the rock 20+ times though.
WR Chad Johnson S2 Continues to show he has the talent and speed to win most matchups he faces. This week should be no different against the Steelers CB Chad Scott.
WR Peter Warrick (Q) B Held without a catch last week for the first time in his career (65 games) after leaving the game early due to the calf injury. Won't play this week.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh X Exploded with a career day last week. Will again be asked to fill in for the injured Warrick, but will share some of that load with the improving Kelly Washington.
WR Kelly Washington B Will see some extra looks this week with Warrick out, but still not a fantasy option.
TE Matt Schobel (P) B Leading an unimpressive crew of tight ends. None fantasy worthy.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B The Bengals don't match up will with Pittsburgh's receivers so look for them to bring added pressure on the rookie with the blitz. Big Ben has looked okay in his limited action so far, but he's not a fantasy factor yet.
RB Duce Staley S2 Staley continues to look solid and carried the load in the muck and mire at Miami last week. The Bengals are allowing over 165 YPG on the ground and you can bet Pittsburgh will want to establish an active running game against them.
RB Jerome Bettis B Averaging 1 yard a carry and hasn't seen the end-zone since week one.
WR Hines Ward S2 If two weeks is any kind of trend then Ward is the man the rookie QB is looking for most often.
WR Plaxico Burress B

Burress still poses matchup problems for most secondaries. Until Roethlisberger learns to exploit these however, Burress will continue to frustrate fantasy owners. Has only five catches in three games.

WR Antwaan Randle El B Just not enough opportunities to have a fantasy impact.
TE Whoever B A fantasy rule that won't change this year. Never start a Pittsburgh TE.

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