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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 14
Whitney Walters
December 9, 2004
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
NYG at BAL IND at HOU MIA at DEN SF at ARI PHI at WAS
OAK at ATL CHI at JAC NYJ at PIT STL at CAR Mon 9 PM
CLE at BUF SEA at MIN DET at GB TB at SD KC at TEN
NO at DAL CIN at NE     (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
 
Miami (2-10) at Denver (7-5) Back to top
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB A. J. Feeley (P) B

Surprised most by getting into a shootout against the tough Bills defense. Don't look for a repeat on the road against an equally tough Denver defense.

RB Travis Minor X Minor gets the call again with Morris sidelined. The Dolphins showed some fortitude last week with their ability to run effectively on the Bills' #4 run defense. They will need to equal that effort this week on the road against Denver's #5 run defense.
WR Chris Chambers (P)
Marty Booker
B The best bet between these two remains Chambers but neither should be relied on this week against the Bronco's top notch pass defense.
TE Randy McMichael X McMichael is grumbling in Miami again as he's seen his role in the offense lessen. He's getting just 2-3 catches for 25 yards a game over the last four, way below his pace from the previous eight games. He remains a great asset to the passing game with his size and speed creating matchup problems for most defenses. A lessening role against a defense that is accustomed to dealing with great tight ends isn't a great starting spot for McMichael.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer X Put up the yards last week but the interceptions were a killer. The challenge presented this week will be even tougher as the Dolphin secondary is a solid unit, allowing only 161 passing yards and a touchdown each game. Plummer will see a lot of man coverage on the perimeter as the Dolphins will surely bring safety help up in run support. But he's shown nothing lately that should make you believe he can consistently exploit that coverage.
RB Reuben Droughns (P) S2 The Broncos will always want to establish the run to feed the play action passing game. Last week Droughns and the running game could not get it going. That won't be the case this week as the Dolphins are as bad stopping the run as they are good stopping the pass.
WR Rod Smith S2 The passing game will struggle this week, but Smith has enough talent and experience to beat his man coverage enough for some decent production. Borderline starter this week.
WR Ashley Lelie S2

Same goes for Lelie except substitute speed for experience.

TE Jeb Putzier X Can be a threat to score but his overall production is sporadic and hurt by the presence of Carswell.
 
NY Jets (9-3) at Pittsburgh (11-1) Back to top
New York Jets
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington B Pennington returned last week and played good enough for the Jets to win but not good enough for his fantasy owners to feel confident. His past four games have been sub-200 yard efforts but he has scored at least once in each. This is a tough game on the road against the top defense in the league. It's best to keep Pennington on your bench for another week.
RB Curtis Martin S2 Seemed to have a burst of life back in those legs last week with Pennington back. He'll need it this week facing the top run defense in the league on the road. Has struggled against some tough defenses this season, but it'll be cold and maybe wet in Pittsburgh so he'll get the opportunities. Maintains starter status this week, just barely.
RB LaMont Jordan B Jordan has been getting chances lately (about 10 a game) and is playing much better. He will continue to spell Martin during games, but not enough to warrant a starting spot on your fantasy team.
WR Santana Moss B Moss "exploited" the horrible Houston secondary for a whopping SIX yards on a single catch last week. Moss continues his disappointing season. He's had fantasy starter numbers only twice all season, only one of those with Pennington at QB.
WR Justin McCareins   X

McCareins pulled in more than three catches for only the fourth time last week. The Jets passing game just doesn't match up well with the Steelers this week, but McCareins has a shot at producing thanks to his size advantage.

WR Wayne Chrebet U

The Jets will begin running more 3-WR sets with Pennington back, increasing Chrebet's potential. With the play-action passing game limited this week, look for Chrebet to get some chances on underneath routes that may open up with the deep attention Moss and McCareins will warrant.

Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger (P) B Last week against the Jags was his best fantasy game since week five. That was just a 220 yard, two TD effort however, speaking to his limited fantasy value on a week-to-week basis. He may get Burress back this week which will help, but he's just not a fantasy starter.
RB Duce Staley X Got back on the field last week and finished the game with 17 carries and no setbacks for his hamstring. This will be another stiff challenge for Staley as the Jets run defense can dominate at times. There's also a good chance Bettis will get more than his three carries last week. Expect only average numbers from Staley Sunday.
RB Jerome Bettis X The Bus got put up on blocks last week and the running game suffered. Don't expect the Steelers to repeat that against the Jets. Bettis will get more carries and will take the ball across the goal-line if given the chance.
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) X

Burress is expected back this week but the odds of a vertical receiver being effective with a hamstring that's less than 100% are not good. He's a risky start.

WR Antwaan Randle El B With Burress likely back Randle El becomes an afterthought again in the Steelers passing game.
 
Detroit (5-7) at Green Bay (7-5) Back to top
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington X

The Packers have had major breakdowns in pass coverage over the past two games, allowing 912 yards and seven touchdowns. Unfortunately the Lions don't possess the talent in the passing game to match those two Packers opponents, STL and PHI. Harrington has failed to take advantage of favorable matchups recently so you shouldn't bet on him doing so this week.

RB Kevin Jones S2 After a couple of weeks toying with it, the rookie finally broke out last week. He should get another chance to shine Sunday against a Packers defense that's allowing nearly four and a half yards per carry. Jones will get plenty of carries as the Lions will need an established running game to keep the Packer offense off the field and open up their own play-action passing game.
WR Roy Williams X

Only a shadow of what he could be thanks to the ankle injury that will be with him the remainder of the season. Still the top downfield option for Harrington but that equates to only slight fantasy value on most weeks.

WR Az-Zahir Hakim U Suited up but didn't play last week due to dislocating a finger while warming up before the game. If Hakim can get on the field at close to 100% on Sunday he could surprise. Williams still gets quite a bit of attention and the Packers don't have the depth at corner to handle slot receivers well.
TE Stephen Alexander X Things seem to be opening up for the talented tight end. Alexander had nine catches and a touchdown in the two games prior to last week's 1-for-5 effort. He continues to be a great outlet for Harrington, especially around the end-zone.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2 Favre fell flat last week but should bounce back nicely against a Detroit team he typically plays well against at home.
RB Ahman Green X Returned from the rib injury with an unproductive 11 carries in the major team breakdown against the Eagles. Green will continue to play with extra protection for his rib injury. Since rib injuries are tough to gauge for a running back he has risk this week. But the overall matchup is good against the Lions below average run defense.
RB Najeh Davenport B Like Green, Davenport will play through the pain of his fractured ribs. Will spell Green, but not enough to help your fantasy team.
WR Javon Walker
Donald Driver
S2 Both Walker and Driver have the size and speed to create mismatches with the struggling Detroit 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 X Franks continues to have a role in the passing game but is being slowed by back problems. If he can stay on the field Favre will keep looking to his big tight end when the perimeter is covered.
 
San Francisco (1-11) at Arizona (4-8) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ken Dorsey B

And back to Dorsey we go. Okay, all together now... a collective yawn. Dorsey has started three games for the Niners this year, and he didn't throw a touchdown in any of them and averaged just 160 passing yards.

RB Kevan Barlow (O) B Barlow will sit this one out due to the concussion he suffered last week.
RB Maurice Hicks S2 Has been effective in replacement for Barlow over the past few weeks. He gets his first career start Sunday and has the talent and speed to do some damage against the 30th ranked Arizona run defense despite the problems in the Niners' running game.
WR Cedrick Wilson
Brandon Lloyd
B Both Wilson and Lloyd are playing well right now and are decent downfield options. But with an inexperienced and struggling quarterback they are of little use to your fantasy team.
TE Eric Johnson X Still holds some potential as the best option in the pathetic San Francisco passing attack, but with the rotating quarterbacks it's difficult to rely on Johnson. Two of his last three games have produced a 1-for-9 and 2-for-15 effort.
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh McCown X And the QB shuffle in Arizona continues. This week the fantasy world gets Josh McCown once again, the former starter. Should the fantasy world even care anymore? Well... maybe. McCown's best game of the year came against the Niners in week five prior to him getting benched. Hey, it's not much, but it's something.
RB Emmitt Smith (D) B Smith is expected to be out again this week due to the toe injury. His replacements, a combination of Croom and Scobey, aren't worth considering, not even against the Niners.
WR Anquan Boldin U The passing game has been in a shambles but the return of McCown should improve things and Boldin is too talented to be held down. The Niners secondary lacks any depth or real playmakers so Boldin could surprise this weekend with his first touchdown of the season.
WR Larry Fitzgerald U The Niners couldn't handle Fitzgerald's talent and size earlier in the year and they are less equipped to handle it now.
TE Freddie Jones X Jones has been more active the past three weeks in the passing game plan then he's been all season. Only Boldin had more passes go his way last week. McCown should look to Jones to keep drives going and around the goal-line.
 
St. Louis (6-6) at Carolina (5-7) Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Chandler X

Chandler steps in for the injured Bulger. Chandler is a capable backup but will lack the timing with his receivers that the Rams offense relies on, something Bulger has actually struggled with this season. Chandler may put up some decent numbers but I wouldn't be turning to him during this critical time of the fantasy season.

RB Marshall Faulk (P) B Faulk didn't take the field last week and isn't expected to this Sunday either as his knee continues to be a problem. His playing status will be a game-time decision.
RB Steven Jackson (Q) X Jackson sprained his knee on his final carry last week but early indications are that he'll be back in the starting lineup Sunday against the Panthers. But final word won't likely come until late in the week or even game-time, so Jackson carries a ton of risk this week as a possible fantasy starter.
WR Torry Holt S2

Who do you turn to the most if you are the backup quarterback in his first start of the season in an important game? You can bet it will be the team's top receiver, Holt.

WR Isaac Bruce X Still banged up and disappeared last week when Chandler came into the game. But unless you are stacked at WR you don't have the luxury of benching Bruce until things shake out with Chandler.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme (P) S2

Delhomme continued his solid play last week. Given time in the pocket and a reliable running game he should have little trouble extending his fine play against the Rams.

RB Nick Goings S2

The new Carolina feature back is on a serious roll and the Rams terrible run defense provide a great opportunity to keep it "Goings." Hey, here's another one. He's like that little pink bunny. He just keeps Goings, and Goings, and Goings...

WR Muhsin Muhammad S2

Muhammad has quietly been one of the more consistent fantasy receivers this season and remains Delhomme's best option in the passing game. Five of the past six games have been solid fantasy efforts. The Rams provide a good opportunity to make it six of seven.

WR Keary Colbert X Aside from a couple of big weeks Colbert has had a typical rookie season at wide receiver, inconsistent and struggles with route running and getting open. Don't look for that to change this season.
TE Kris Mangum B Mangum is a dependable receiver but is being asked to mostly block.
 
Tampa Bay (5-7) at San Diego (9-3) Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brian Griese S2 Griese struggled as expected last week but that shouldn't repeat against the Chargers. The Bucs offensive schemes are designed to supplement the running game using the pass. With San Diego limiting the running game the Bucs will be able to move the ball through the air against their suspect and banged up secondary.
RB Michael Pittman (P) S2

Pittman and the Bucs running game have performed well most weeks since he took over as the feature back. They will get little opportunity to keep that going this week against one of the toughest run defenses in the league. Pittman's ability to stay active in the short passing game helps keep him a borderline fantasy starter this week. Very borderline.

RB Mike Alstott B Since his return three weeks ago Alstott has been getting his typical 6-10 touches, but he did vulture a short touchdown from Pittman last week. Look for this level of activity to continue and for there to be little room for success this week at San Diego.
WR Michael Clayton S2

Before last week's 1-for-15 performance Clayton had been held under 50 yards only once, back in week three. Clayton has been Griese's go-to receiver all season and that shouldn't change. This week provides a nice matchup against a hobbled Chargers secondary with a good chance Griese will be throwing a lot thanks to a limited running game.

WR Joe Jurevicius S2

Jurevicius went catchless last week as Galloway took a rare turn as the feature receiver. The fact still remains however that with the ever improving Clayton on the other side Jurevicius has the ability to win most of his matchups due to his size.

WR Joey Galloway B Galloway continues to be bothered by a groin injury that some doctors have told him to rest the remainder of the season. So don't be drawn in by his 63 yard, one TD performance last week. He's not 100% and has only a limited role in the Bucs passing game.
TE Ken Dilger B Dilger has shown promise since Griese took over at quarterback but as long as he keeps putting up single catch games (five so far) he's too inconsistent to rely on.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees X Brees is having a truly amazing season but has struggled against tough defenses. The Bucs are in that category so don't expect much.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 If you are on your way to the fantasy playoffs Tomlinson couldn't have picked a better time to put his injury behind him and start paying off for his owners.
WR Eric Parker X With all the attention given to Tomlinson, Gates and McCardell, Parker has the potential to surprise most weeks. He may slip under the Bucs radar this weekend, but it's not likely.
WR Keenan McCardell X Has cooled off of late, catching only 6 balls for 63 yards in the past two games. Won't likely recover against the top pass defenders in the league this week.
TE Antonio Gates X After feasting on the likes of OAK, KC and NO Gates was limited against Denver last week, as he was against them earlier in the season along with the Jets, another good pass defending team. This week he draws the league's best, and they happen to have the athletes at linebacker and safety to cause him problems. It's likely you can't bench Gates since options at TE are limited this season, but don't expect much.
 
Philadelphia (11-1) at Washington (4-8) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S2 The Redskins may have the #3 pass defense in the league, but are you really going to let a little thing like that keep you from playing McNabb? Didn't think so. Three of his last four games have been 4+ TD efforts.
RB Brian Westbrook S2 The Redskins may have the #3 run defense in the league, but are you really going to let a little thing like that keep you from playing Westbrook? Didn't think so. Three of his last four games have been 2+ TD efforts. Is there an echo in here?
WR Terrell Owens (P) S2 The Redskins may just be confident enough to try man coverage on Owens with one of their top-notch corners. Even though they held him to just 2-for-24 and a TD three weeks ago, that strategy could be a mistake.
WR Todd Pinkston (P) X Pinkston has shown some promise lately, but whatever corner doesn't draw Owens can handle Pinkston. With Owens, Westbrook and Smith there is little chance Pinky will develop into much of a red-zone threat.
TE L.J. Smith (P) U The Redskins have the talent to match up with the Eagles perimeter receivers, but they will struggle to match up with Smith underneath.
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Patrick Ramsey B The passing game hasn't been that much more effective under Ramsey's guidance since he took over three weeks ago, but he did manage three scores last week. Don't expect that kind of production facing the aggressive Eagles defense.
RB Clinton Portis S2 Portis has rushed for over 100 yards four times this season. In each of those games the Redskins stayed committed to the run and fed him the ball 29 or more times. You'd think they could figure this one out by now. The Eagles have improved against the run in the past month but if Portis can get 25+ carries the Redskins should be able to wear down the Eagles' front seven enough for some success. The downside is that if they fall behind early Portis won't even approach 20 carries.
WR Lavernues Coles (P) X

Coles is being slowed by another one of those pesky toe injuries and Ramsey is just flat out ineffective.

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 but has become more reliable in the short passing game. He's scored in three of the past four games and is effective around the goal-line.
 
Kansas City (4-8) at Tennessee (4-8) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green (P) S2

The focus of the offense may turn back to Green this week as the Titan secondary has lost both starting cornerbacks now. Look for the Chiefs to move the ball at will Monday night and for Green to benefit.

RB Derrick Blaylock S2

The Titans' run defense has held up fairly well to a rash of injuries but will be pushed to it's limits by the strong running attack of the Chiefs. Whoever ends up carrying the load for Kansas City is likely to have a good game. Problem is for the past couple of weeks Blaylock has been dinged and Johnson either outproduced him or took a big chunk out of his numbers.

RB Larry Johnson X Johnson has two things going for him. First is the injury problems Blaylock is having almost weekly now, and second is the fact that with the season over for the Chiefs they are motivated to give their prized rookie from a few years back a good look. Those conditions resulted in a huge day for Johnson last week but there is no telling if those conditions will repeat Monday night.
WR Eddie Kennison S2 Kennison remains no more than a long-ball threat but that should be good for some decent fantasy action this week working against a pair of rookie cornerbacks pressed into duty because of injury.
WR Johnnie Morton S2 Morton's game is more versatile than Kennison's and this is a great matchup for Morton. He should shine facing the inexperienced Titans secondary.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 Gonzo has had occasional struggles this season but for the most part keeps getting it done for his fantasy owners.
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair (Q) X

Expect another week of McNair sternum talk and limited practice time, followed by another game-time decision. If McNair takes the field Monday night the Chiefs woeful pass coverage is a great matchup for him to exploit. Aaahhh, but that's a big "if".

RB Chris Brown (Q) X Brown gutted out another start last week after missing several. He managed 19 carries for 104 yards before the troublesome toe took him to the sideline late in the game. He won't practice this week but is expected to start Monday night. The Chiefs defense has improved against the run and Browns' tenuous injury status make him a risky start this week.
WR Derrick Mason S2 Mason isn't tearing it up this season but he's been a consistent source of fantasy points for his owners. That should continue on Monday night against a Kansas City secondary that's ripe for exploitation.
WR Drew Bennett S2

Mason is the playmaker and draws the extra coverage. As a result Bennett can do some damage on the other side, like we saw last week. Regardless of quarterback Bennett is a decent start vs. the Chiefs secondary.

TE Erron Kinney X

Kinney remains a solid target in the Titans' offense but seems to produce better with McNair pulling the trigger. The presence of fellow tight ends Meier and Troupe don't help either.

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