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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 13
Whitney Walters
December 2, 2004
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CIN at BAL BUF at MIA ATL at TB DEN at SD PIT at JAC
MIN at CHI TEN at IND SF at STL KC at OAK Mon 9 PM
ARI at DET CAR at NO   GB at PHI DAL at SEA
NE at CLE HOU at NYJ   NYG at WAS (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
 
Atlanta (9-2) at Tampa Bay (4-7) Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick   X

Over the last four games Vick has put up three nice fantasy efforts. The one game that wasn't? Tampa Bay three weeks ago. The Falcons offense has made some strides since that meeting, but the passing game remains limited by a group of underachieving wide receivers. Expect Vick to struggle through the air but to make up for some of that on the ground.

RB Warrick Dunn S2 The Falcons may have the top run offense in the league, but Vick accounts for 40% of the production with Dunn and Duckett splitting the rest. That may help Vick's fantasy value but not the backs. Dunn continues to lead in carries and is active in the passing game, so his value remains higher than Duckett's. The Bucs run defense has improved over that past month so the Falcon running game will be limited. Dunn is a borderline starter this week at best and ...
RB T.J. Duckett  X ... Duckett is probably best left on your bench. The only thing that can save Duckett's value this week is a score, which he had two of in the last meeting with Tampa Bay.
WR Peerless Price
Dez White
Brian Finneran (Q)
B There's not really much more that can be said about this group of receivers. As a group they have struggled with injuries and have been major disappointments. None can be recommended as fantasy starter and only Price is even worth taking up a spot on your roster.
TE Alge Crumpler S1 Continues to get it done each week and is the only thing that allows the Falcons to even glimpse a passing attack of any merit.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brian Griese (P) S2 Griese is expected to play this week despite the hip injury. He struggled against the Falcons in week 10 but Atlanta's weakness is their pass defense and the Bucs will play better at home this week. He's not going to put up huge numbers but will be serviceable if you need that.
RB Michael Pittman S2

The Bucs running game has improved but still has problems. They were limited to just 53 yards last week and Pittman was held to just 62 yards against the Falcons three weeks ago. His ability to stay active in the short passing game helps make him a borderline fantasy starter this week.

WR Michael Clayton S2 Clayton has been Griese's go-to receiver but with Jurevicius back that role has been reduced. The Bucs will continue to throw the ball and the rookie will still be a big part of the air attack. The Falcons provide another nice matchup for him this week.
WR Joe Jurevicius S2

Jurevicius' has shown that his knee injury is behind him. With the ever improving Clayton on the other side Jurevicius has the ability to win most of his matchups. This week against the suspect Falcons corners is no different.

WR Joey Galloway (P) B Galloway has been reduced to just a vertical receiver, a deep threat. His lingering groin and now ankle injury limit his ability to fill that role for the Bucs.
TE Ken Dilger B Dilger has shown promise since Griese took over at quarterback but he's had two single catch games in a row, showing the kind of inconsistency that can hurt a fantasy team. Having fellow TE Will Heller in the mix doesn't help either.
 
San Francisco (1-10) at St. Louis (5-6) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Rattay S2

Has faced the top two pass defenses in the past two weeks and his numbers reflect that. He should improve this week against the struggling Rams. Rattay put up nearly 300 yards and two scores in week four against them.

RB Kevan Barlow B Barlow was benched last week in the second half and was outperformed by Hicks. He keeps his starting spot for another week but even against the terrible Rams run defense I wouldn't use him.
RB Maurice Hicks U Replaced the ineffective Barlow last week and did okay. He remains the backup but it's becoming clear that he may be a better fit for the more disciplined running schemes the Niners are using this season. If he gets significant carries this weekend he'll have a good day against the second worse run defense in the NFL.
WR Cedrick Wilson
Brandon Lloyd
X Both Wilson and Lloyd are playing at a solid level right now and they catch a break with a much better matchup this week. The Rams will surely focus on the underneath routes that dominate the Niner attack, leaving openings down field for the receivers to take advantage of.
TE Eric Johnson S2 The big games are a distant memory but he lead all Niner receivers last week with seven catches. He should produce again this week as the Rams struggle covering tight ends (four TDs allowed in the past two games).
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S2

The Rams aren't even pretending to want to run the ball any more. Bulger has put up almost 45 passes a game over the last three. His only sub-200 yard game was against the Niners earlier this season and there's a chance the Rams may actually run the ball more this week. But they are at home and the matchups in the secondary will be too juicy to pass up. They'll still throw the ball enough to warrant Bulger's fantasy starter status.

RB Marshall Faulk (P) X Faulk's short TD catch saved his fantasy effort Monday night but his pathetic THIRTEEN yards rushing in the past two games can not be ignored. In that same span his backup has had fewer carries and five times the yards. Faulk's fantasy value is at an all-time low. The Rams ran all over the Niners in week four, with Faulk accounting for 121 yards. That was also the last time he got more than 20 carries and hasn't been close since. Sure, the Rams could suddenly turn back to the run this week, but do you really want to count on that?
RB Steven Jackson X Has outperformed Faulk in the past two games but has touched the ball only 18 times. The Rams could decide to do the improbable and run the ball this week as they did in week four against the Niners. And if they do Jackson could have a nice game. Too many ifs for most fantasy owners at this point in the season.
WR Torry Holt S2

Dealing with a lingering knee injury that appears to be at least somewhat limiting his route running abilities. As a result the timing between he and Bulger is a bit off and they don't seem to be in sync with each other as in the past. But this is still the Niners and their suspect secondary.

WR Isaac Bruce (P) S2 Banged up Monday night but should play this week. Bruce is having a great season and if he's on the field he should be in your starting lineup.
WR Shaun McDonald B

May see a bit more action this week as the Rams should run more spread formations to stretch the Niners secondary.

 
Denver (7-4) at San Diego (8-3) Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S2 A huge game for the Broncos and a tough spot for Plummer as he has yet to show an ability to run a consistent passing attack. The Chargers present a good matchup and a chance to prove himself in a big game. If the game plan has to turn from a struggling run game Plummer could shine.
RB Reuben Droughns (P) X Droughns is getting close to 30 carries a week and the Broncos will surely want to establish the run to feed the play action passing game. It will be difficult for Droughns to produce against the Chargers who are allowing under 80 YPG on the ground. The Broncos managed only 37 rushing yards in week three against the Chargers, but that was in the pre-Droughns era.
WR Rod Smith (P) S2 The Chargers lost a starting cornerback to injury last week and that means Smith will be matched up with the normal nickel back, the inexperienced Drayton Florence. Can you say mismatch? I knew you could.
WR Ashley Lelie (P) S2

Lelie continues to fly under the fantasy radar but has scored a touchdown in five of the last seven games and has been below 80 yards only once in the last five. He's not likely to get you a ton of catches but he is a great vertical threat that the Broncos go to several times a game. Against the suspect and injury depleted Charger secondary they could step it up this week.

TE Jeb Putzier X Always a threat to score but his overall production is sporadic and hurt by the presence of Carswell.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2 Brees just keeps on clicking. He's only truly struggled a couple of times this season and one of those times was in week three against the Broncos. However, what was once one of the league's top pass stopping units has turned mediocre of late as the Broncos are getting burned often.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 Tomlinson was held down in the running game last week but found the end-zone twice and lead the team with ten catches. That's the exactly what you look for in a fantasy stud.
WR Eric Parker U With all the attention given to Tomlinson, Gates and McCardell, Parker could surprise this week. He'll be working on the side of the field opposite Champ Bailey. A side that will be without the other starting corner, Lenny Walls.
WR Keenan McCardell X Has adapted quickly to the Charger offense and Brees, but has only a single score and that came five weeks ago. Don't expect much given he'll likely be the one covered by Bailey.
TE Antonio Gates S2 Gates is simply unstoppable right now. He will get a good challenge from John Lynch and crew however and may see his production actually take a dip this week.
 
Kansas City (3-8) at Oakland (4-7) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green (Q) S2

Green is playing well and is a great matchup against the Raiders this week. He did suffer a rib injury last week that has him questionable to play however. If he has a good week of practice and is declared ready to go Sunday don't hesitate to plug him into your starting lineup.

RB Derrick Blaylock S2 Only saw eight carries last week but did a lot with them. He'll continue to carry the load in the Chiefs running game and should keep producing against the Raiders this week. The sudden use of fellow back Larry Johnson is cause for concern however.
WR Eddie Kennison X The schizophrenic Kennison is at it again. Follows up a nice three game stretch with a 1-for-9 stinker last week. The Raiders secondary matches up well with both Kennison and ...
WR Johnnie Morton S2 ... Morton so don't expect much out of either, but Morton is probably good for an average game. He's a borderline starter this week.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 The young guns are making some noise this year but "old-timer" Gonzo is still on pace for one of his best seasons and again leads the team in most receiving categories.
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins S2 Collins seems to have hit his stride in the two games since the off week. He's totaled 566 yards and five touchdowns in the past two weeks. If Wheatley is out this week the lack of a power running game may hurt, but the matchups don't get much better than the Kansas City pass defense.
RB Justin Fargas
Amos Zereoue
Zack Crockett
B Wheatley is out this week so the load is expected to be split between Fargas and Zereoue with the goal-line work going to Crockett. Overall this is a situation that you should avoid this week.
WR Jerry Porter S2

Last week's monster game reminded everyone of Porter's great potential. It also reminded everyone of what a huge disappointment he's been this year. This is a great matchup for Porter as the Chiefs won't be able to handle him vertically and Collins has the arm to get him the ball downfield.

WR Doug Gabriel (P) B

Gabriel is the third option at WR and could be slowed by a hip injury this week.

WR Ronald Curry S2

Curry remains a favorite option for Collins in third-down and red-zone situations. Matches up well against most nickel corners and has totaled 231 yards and scored twice in the past three games.

TE Whoever B

With three tight ends getting looks now in Oakland none are worth your time.

 
Green Bay (7-4) at Philadelphia (10-1) Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2 Favre continues to impress and perform for his fantasy owners. This will be a tough matchup for Favre this week as Philly has strong corner coverage and an aggressive and successful pass rush. Favre is all about big games though and he stays just over the line between starter and not this week.
RB Ahman Green (P)
Najeh Davenport (Q)
X This situation will warrant a late week decision by owners. Early word is that Green will play but that was the plan last week as well. A rib injury is tough to gauge for a running back. So if he plays there is a big risk that he will not get a full load and Davenport will get some of the action - making both iffy starts. On the other hand, if Green sits this one out Davenport will get the start and work the Packer mismatch over the Philly run defense to the advantage of his fantasy owners. If Davenport gets the start he moves to S2 status.
WR Javon Walker
Donald Driver
S2 Both Walker and Driver have the size and speed to create mismatches with the Eagle's corners. Favre and the Packers love working the vertical game on the perimeter so look for both these receivers to get their chances to get you fantasy points.
TE Bubba Franks S2 Franks role in the passing game has seen an uptick of late. There's no reason to think that will change this week as Favre will surely look to his big tight end when the perimeter is covered.
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S2 McNabb has averaged a low of only 17 completions a game over the past five week but has held his fantasy value with a big yardage game and 10 touchdowns in those games. Look for that to change this week and for the Eagles to use spread formations to stretch a Packer secondary that lacks the talent and depth to match up.
RB Brian Westbrook S2 Westbrook looks like he back to full health. He's topped 100 total yards in his last three games and has five touchdowns in that span. The Packers are clogging the middle well but Westbrook can be productive on the edges with his speed and his role in the passing game keep him in starter status this week.
WR Terrell Owens S1 Weeks 11 and 12 saw his worst two game stretch of the season. The Packers don't have the guns in the secondary to expand that to a worst three game stretch.
WR Todd Pinkston S2 Pinkston may be finally paying off for both the Eagles and fantasy owners working with McNabb opposite Owens. He's actually out produced Owens for the past two weeks. That won't continue of course and Pinkston isn't going to be much of a red-zone threat. But he seems primed for another good yardage game this week against the Packers very suspect secondary.
TE L.J. Smith (P) U The tight ends continue to play a role in the Eagles' passing game and Smith is running at full health for the first time in several weeks. As a result expect to see him used as a split receiver in spread formations this week and work his matchup advantage to some decent production.
 
NY Giants (5-6) at Washington (3-8) Back to top
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning B

The rookies tough baptism into the NFL game continues this week with his third difficult matchup in a row. Washington has the horses to stop both the passing and running game. Manning isn't going to be a fantasy starter this season and could see his worst performance of his short career this Sunday. Although last week's is going to be hard to undercut.

RB Tiki Barber (P) S2 The Giants must establish the run to keep the pressure off their prized rookie QB. That will be a very tough task this week. The Redskins defense is one of the top run stopping units in the league and they have very few lapses in performance. Barber has had too much success this season to bench him, but lower your expectations this week. Barber's lowest yardage total of the season (69 yards) came in week two against Washington. That was also the only week he didn't score a touchdown prior to the switch to Manning.
WR Amani Toomer B

The passing game is in the tank under the guidance of Manning and this week neither Toomer or ...

WR Ike Hilliard B ... Hilliard have what it takes to win their one-on-one matchups with the stellar Redskins corners.
TE Jeremy Shockey S2 With the wide receivers locked down and the running game struggling, Shockey will be Manning's best friend this weekend.
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Patrick Ramsey B The offense hasn't been that much more effective under Ramsey's guidance since he took over two weeks ago. The Giants aren't a great defense, but you don't really need one to prevent Ramsey and this offense from being productive.
RB Clinton Portis X The Washington offense is simply terrible and Portis' value is in the tank. He's averaged a paltry 2.3 YPC in the past two games and hasn't scored since week four. Last week he spent most of the second half on the sidelines watching his backup get the work. This is a favorable matchup with the Giants run defense but the overall ineptness of the offense kills Portis' fantasy starter status.
WR Lavernues Coles (P) X

Ramsey does look Coles way and he's still the best vertical option the Redskins have. The Ramsey-to-Coles connection will be the teams most productive but it won't generate enough to warrant a starter status for Coles.

WR Rod Gardner B Since his big week three effort Gardner hasn't topped three catches or 41 yards.
TE Chris Cooley X The H-back has been sporadically productive this season and broke out with a seven catch, one TD performance last week. He is becoming more reliable and can be effective around the goal-line.
 
Pittsburgh (10-1) at Jacksonville (6-5) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B Look for the Jags to challenge the Steelers pass protection which has broken down often over the past few weeks. Roethlisberger will struggle under the aggressive blitz packages he'll see without Burress.
RB Duce Staley (P) B After another failed attempt to get back on the field last week Staley is off limits until you see him actually play a game and play well.
RB Jerome Bettis (P) S2 The Bus just keeps on rolling. The Jags are a stingy defense but if Bettis gets another start for the Steelers then he should get another for your fantasy team.
WR Hines Ward X

Ward's numbers continue to hurt his fantasy owners. He just hasn't developed a strong chemistry with his rookie signal caller yet. The absence of Burress' ability to stretch the field vertically isn't helping either. In three halves of play without Burress, Ward has only four catches and is seeing constant double coverage.

WR Plaxico Burress (Q) B

Even if Burress tries to play this week the odds of a vertical receiver being effective with a hamstring that's less than 100% are not good.

WR Antwaan Randle El (P) X Will keep filling in for the injured Burress. Randle El may be explosive and dangerous after the catch but he's small and struggles against press coverage.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich B

Leftwich had an effective return to action last week. That won't likely be the case Sunday night against a Steelers defense that hasn't allowed a 200 yard passer since week eight.

RB Fred Taylor S2

Running on the aggressive Steelers defense will be no easy task. But the Jags will surely give it a try and run Taylor as much as possible. Taylor's ability to stay productive in the short passing game push him to a borderline starter this week.

WR Jimmy Smith X

Smith will suffer along with his quarterback this week. Being the only real threat in the passing game look for the Steelers to take him out of the picture with bracket coverage schemes.

WR Troy Edwards
Reggie Williams
B One of these receivers may pop for a nice gain or two as Leftwich will be forced to look beyond Smith in the passing game. But that won't be enough to make either fantasy worthy.
TE Kyle Brady (P)
Todd Yoder
B Both Brady and Yoder have been in the mix as the Jags are spreading the ball around in the passing game, and now you can throw in this Brian Jones guy. None are of consistent fantasy value.
 
Dallas (4-7) at Seattle (6-5) Back to top
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vinny Testaverde B

Vinny's back and his ailing body should have benefited from the brief time off. Despite the Seahawks' struggles on defense lately the Cowboys do not match up well with them in the passing game. It's best not to rely on Vinny this week. Besides, he'll be handing the ball off a LOT more than he was earlier in the season.

RB Julius Jones S2 30+ carries a game is enough to make any fantasy owner drool. The Seahawks are bigger and stronger up front but can be worn down over the course of a game. If the Cowboys can stay committed to the run and keep the score close Jones should have a nice game in his Monday night debut.
WR Keyshawn Johnson X

Johnson is still a main target in the passing game but he hasn't seen the end-zone since week eight and his production is mediocre at best. Not a great matchup this week with the strong Seattle secondary.

WR Quincy Morgan X

Morgan gives the Cowboys the speed and big-play ability they need to stretch defenses vertically. Maybe with Vinny back and settled in that may add up to something fantasy-wise. We'll see.

TE Jason Witten S2 A dismal 1-for-17 last week with the rookie at QB. Look for things to get back to normal for Witten with Vinny back. The Seahawks will look to blitz in this matchup because of their confidence at the corners. This will leave openings underneath for Vinny-to-Witten to exploit.
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck X Hasselbeck performed adequately last week hobbling around on his bum thigh. He should be close to 100% this week. The lose of Robinson's vertical threat has hampered the passing game and Hasselbeck is not yet in sync with new starter Rice. The Cowboys have troubles defending the pass as only two teams have allowed more touchdowns, but Seattle's deficiencies balance it out. Hasselbeck falls just under borderline starter status this week.
RB Shaun Alexander S1 As goes Alexander, so goes the Seahawks. Look for them to establish the run early and keep it going all night. Prior to last week's almost season low 13 carry effort Alexander was averaging over 27 totes and 150 yards in the previous four games.
WR Darrell Jackson S2 Jackson is the most consistent Seahawks WR and remains the key to them moving the ball through the air. Rice and Engram won't draw any extra coverage so he'll have to perform at a high level to shack the likely double coverage he'll get.
WR Jerry Rice U Has been decent since moving into the starting lineup. Isn't likely to get you much most weeks, but against the struggling Cowboys on Monday night he's worth a shot if you feel like plugging in a sleeper.
WR Bobby Engram B Back to #3 in the WR rotation now that Robinson is out, which is worth little more that his #4 spot in the rotation.
TE Itula Mili X May play a bigger role in the passing game now that he's healthy and getting more of the offensive snaps.

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