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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 16
Whitney Walters
December 23, 2004
Friday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
GB at MIN CHI at DET ATL at NO NE at NYJ CLE at MIA
Saturday NYG at CIN BAL at PIT BUF at SF Mon 9 PM
OAK at KC HOU at JAC Sun 4 PM WAS at DAL PHI at STL
DEN at TEN SD at IND CAR at TB ARI at SEA (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
 
Green Bay (8-6) at Minnesota (8-6) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Green Bay - Division title.
Minnesota - Division title or wildcard playoff spot.
 
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2 The interceptions are hard to stomach but Favre keeps putting up the numbers and that should change against a Vikings secondary that has played poorly against the pass.
RB Ahman Green S2 Hasn't had a 100 yard rushing day since week 10 against -- you guessed it -- the Vikings. Green will need to get more than last week's 17 carries to keep the Minnesota defense on it's heels.
WR Javon Walker
Donald Driver
S2 With Ferguson out Walker and Driver will carry a heavier load. With Vikings CB Antoine Winfield back in the lineup the matchups will not be easy ones for Green Bay. Winfield will likely take Driver one-on-one, allowing safety help with Walker. Don't expect that to keep Favre and the Packers from working the vertical game on the perimeter.
WR Antonio Chatman U With Walker and Driver taking most of the attention, look for Chatman to surprise again as the Vikings secondary lacks depth.
TE Bubba Franks B Franks continues to play a role in the passing game but has been sporadic lately. Favre still looks for his big tight end when the perimeter is covered but the presence of fellow TE Ben Steele hurts his fantasy value.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Daunte Culpepper S1 The running game continues to struggle but with Moss close to 100% back now the passing game will do it's typical damage against the Packers this week.
RB Onterrio Smith (P) B

Rode the pine much of last week's matchup and watched Bennett shine. May find himself a backup again this week. If he doesn't start for Minnesota he shouldn't be starting for your fantasy team.

RB Michael Bennett S2 After touching the ball all of six times in the previous three games the Vikings gave it to him 16 times last week and the result was a 100 yard effort. Early indications are that he may have earned himself a starting job this Friday but the final word won't likely come until closer to game day.
WR Randy Moss S1 Moss is looking stronger each week and always causes problems for the Packers.
WR Nate Burleson
Marcus Robinson
S2 With CB Al Harris likely taking a shot at covering Moss, Burleson and Robinson will be matched up against rookie corners in some single coverage. One or both of these guys is going to make that pay off for some fantasy owners.
TE Jermaine Wiggins S2

Wiggins doesn't score touchdowns like a top tier tight end, but he can rack up catches and yardage like one. Culpepper has favored him in the red-zone in the past, but that is Moss' domain now.

 
Oakland (5-9) at Kansas City (6-8) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Oakland - Out of the playoff race.
Kansas City - Barely alive for a wildcard playoff spot.
 
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins (P) S2 Collins is very good at exploiting favorable matchups. Playing the worst pass defense in the league this week surely qualifies as favorable.
RB Amos Zereoue
Justin Fargas
Zack Crockett
B All three are getting touches and for the most part are ineffective. You should avoid this mess.
WR Jerry Porter S2

Porter should keep the good times rolling this week against another terrible secondary.

WR Doug Gabriel S2

Gabriel scored last week for the first time since week one, but he still only had his season average of two catches. He gets a chance to improve on that Saturday against a KC team the Raiders torched just three weeks ago.

TE Doug Jolley
Teyo Johnson
B

Johnson may have gotten some love last weekend but that rarely happens for these two and isn't likely to happen with all the attention going down field to the wide receivers this week.

Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green (P) S1

Gets to face a pass defense almost as bad as his own.

RB Derrick Blaylock (Q) B

Will not be the starter even if healthy.

RB Larry Johnson S2 Paying off big for fantasy owners in their playoffs. That payoff will remain big for those in their championship games this week. The Raiders are done and playing little defense.
WR Eddie Kennison S2 With Morton slowed by injury Kennison is Green's best vertical option. He's had a strong second half of the season and that should continue Saturday against an Oakland team he torched for 149 yards and a score just three weeks ago.
WR Johnnie Morton (D) B The Chiefs won't likely rush him back into action.
WR Samie Parker U Got a chance last week thanks to Morton being out with a bad knee. With the season winding down look for the Chiefs to continue to take a look at this young speedster.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 Continues to lead all tight ends in catches and yards but hasn't scored since week nine. I'd say he's way overdue.
 
Denver (8-6) at Tennessee (4-10) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Denver - Wildcard playoff spot.
Tennessee - Out of the playoff race.
 
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S2 Denver imploded last week but Plummer at least worked his way to an almost 300 yard game with a score. The interceptions, many in the red-zone, are just killing his team and his fantasy value. This week provides another prime matchup and if Plummer can shake off the interception blues he could have a very good fantasy game.
RB Reuben Droughns (P) B

The mid-season gold many found with Droughns has lost it's luster. He isn't nearly as effective as earlier in the season and the Broncos finally seem committed to getting a look at rookie Tatum Bell. Droughns will still see some carries but he's expected to be just a backup this week.

RB Tatum Bell (P) S2 If Bell can play through the pain of his separated shoulder he'll be the starter for Denver this week. The way the Titans are playing defense lately bodes well for Bell and he should have a productive day. The downside of course is the risk of a few good shots to the injured shoulder sending him to the sidelines.
WR Rod Smith S2 Just keeps plugging away. This one simply falls into the category of great matchup this week.
WR Ashley Lelie S2

Ditto for Lelie. Doesn't get the number of looks Smith does, but when he does they are big ones.

TE Jeb Putzier X Keeps getting the looks and can be a threat to score but his overall production is sporadic at best.
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Billy Volek S2

Volek is officially the man now for the 2004 Titans. He's on a serious fantasy roll right now and it's hard to go against him even against the strong Denver pass defense. On his side is the fact that the Broncos pass rush has been ineffective lately and the secondary is routinely burned.

RB Antowain Smith S2 With Chris Brown shut down for the season the rushing load falls on Smith's shoulders. He's looked impressive in his relief of Brown is will remain motivated to prove he can still get it done on the field. But the current emphasis on the passing game limits his fantasy value against the still solid Denver run defense.
WR Derrick Mason (Q) S2 Toughed out the ankle injury last week and was very productive. With the Titans likely to keep airing it out you should keep Mason in your fantasy lineups this week against what is now a shaky Denver secondary.
WR Drew Bennett S2

Bennett continues to use his size and good route running ability to his advantage. He's in the midst of a huge fantasy scoring streak that may not be as limited as you'd think against a Denver secondary that has been hit by injury and isn't performing even close to it's advertised prowess.

TE Ben Troupe
Shad Meier (Q)
X

With Kinney possibly out again Troupe and Meier may carry the load again. Even with their struggles on defense the Broncos have the linebacker and safety talent to slow most team's tight ends.

 
Chicago (5-9) at Detroit (5-9) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Chicago - Barely alive for a wildcard playoff spot.
Detroit - Barely alive for a wildcard playoff spot.
 
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Hutchinson B The Bears may be playing out the season with Hutchinson at quarterback but your fantasy team shouldn't be.
RB Thomas Jones X

Jones is a great talent and runs the ball with speed and power. But the Bears patchwork offensive line is barely giving him enough room to stay productive. The sorry state of the Chicago offense makes it hard to rely on Jones even in a decent matchup like this week's in Detroit. Anthony Thomas stealing carries each week isn't helping either.

WR David Terrell
Bobby Wade
Bernard Berrian
B

The Bears passing game has been only slightly effective under Hutchinson. The Detroit secondary can be beat but the lack of talent at WR for the Bears makes it unlikely that will happen enough to make any of these guys fantasy worthy.

TE Desmond Clark

X

Since Hutchinson took over the tight end has played a larger role in the passing game for Chicago, but that hasn't translated into consistent fantasy production.

Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington X

Probably saved his job with last week's fine performance with the flu. But even against Chicago this week at home I wouldn't want to rely on him as my fantasy starter.

RB Kevin Jones S2 The rookie just keeps getting the job done and has another solid matchup this week with the Bears who give up over 130 YPG on the ground. The Lions will stay committed to the run to keep the pressure off of Harrington and the passing game.
WR Roy Williams X What do you know, a Williams sighting. Last week was his first 100 yard, multi-TD game since before the injury problems. Chicago is a good matchup for the talented rookie but he was in and out of last week's game with a hip injury, so it's tempered just a bit.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim X

Finally back from his injury and picked up right where he left off -- with a 100 yard effort. Duplicating that won't be easy this week as the Chicago secondary is back to full strength and playing well. They have the depth to stay with Hakim in the slot.

TE Stephen Alexander B After a brief moment of hope a few weeks back, this talented tight end is well on his way back to non-factor status.
 
N.Y. Giants (5-9) at Cincinnati (6-8) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
NY Giants - Barely alive for a wildcard playoff spot.
Cincinnati - Out of the playoff race.
 
New York Giants
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning B

Manning finally showed some promise last week, but no way was that enough to warrant any fantasy attention this season. Even against the Bengals.

RB Tiki Barber S2 Barber got it going last week against what was the end of a long streak of solid run defenses. If you've been hesitant to use Barber since the Manning era began, don't be this week. He catches a well deserved break against the Bengals on Sunday.
WR Amani Toomer
Ike Hilliard
B

Even with Manning's improvements last week the vertical passing game to Toomer and Hilliard was severely limited -- just five catches for 68 yards between them. That isn't likely to change this week even if the opponent is Cincinnati.

TE Jeremy Shockey S2 With the wide receivers limited most weeks, Shockey is currently Manning's best and most used option in the passing game.
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer (Q) U

Palmer is expected back in the lineup this week but his knee will not be 100%. Statistically the Giants defend the pass well, but they continue to show a weakness in deep coverage. If Palmer can stay on the field there is a good change he can exploit this advantage with the Bengals WR talent.

RB Rudi Johnson S2 The Giants are allowing 100 yard rushing games with regularity now. Johnson is a good bet to keep that trend going this week.
WR Chad Johnson S2 Johnson is showing a knack for coming up big against tough defenses. He gets another chance to do just that this week against the Giants.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh X Was on a serious roll when Palmer went down. Getting him back this week should improve T.J.'s chances to produce this week.
 
Houston (6-8) at Jacksonville (8-6) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Houston - Barely alive for a wildcard playoff spot.
Jacksonville - Wildcard playoff spot.
 
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr B After a great start Carr finds himself sliding to non-starter status most weeks and visiting the Jaguars this week puts him firmly in that category.
RB Domanick Davis S2

The rushing yards will be hard to come by on the road against the Jags. But as is usually the case for Davis, he can make up for that with production in the passing game. Borderline starter this week.

WR Andre Johnson S2 The Houston passing game is struggling and Johnson has produced just five catches for 65 yards in the past two games. Two games that were against opponents with average to poor secondary play. He remains the prime target for Carr however, regardless of opponent. This is a stretch this week but Johnson is a borderline starter.
WR Jabar Gaffney
Corey Bradford
B Occasionally one of these guys stands up and gets noticed, but for the most part they are bit players in the Carr-to-Johnson show.
TE Billy Miller B Making the zero catch game a habit this season.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich S2

Will play this week with the bruised left wrist he suffered last week. Shouldn't be much of a concern against a Houston team that continues to lead the league in allowed passing touchdowns.

RB Fred Taylor (Q) S2

Taylor is finding plenty of running room as the Jags spread the field with multi-WR sets. The Houston run defense had shown some improvements but won't have an answer for Taylor in this matchup.

WR Jimmy Smith S2

Even though Jacksonville spreads the ball around in the passing game, Smith remains the focus and a weekly fantasy starter. Has the bonus of facing the forgiving Houston secondary this weekend.

WR Troy Edwards
Reggie Williams
X Edwards or Williams could surprise this week but neither should be relied on, even facing a good passing matchup with the Texans. The ball is spread too thin.
TE Kyle Brady
Todd Yoder
B Both Brady and Yoder stay active as the Jags do spread the ball around in the passing game. Neither are of consistent fantasy value however.
 
San Diego (11-3) at Indianapolis (11-3) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
San Diego - First round bye and home field advantage.
Indianapolis - First round bye and home field advantage.
 
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2 Going from the blizzard conditions last week to the cozy confines of the RCA Dome will surely help get Brees back on track this week. Getting his usual solid pocket protection and facing a very suspect secondary will also help.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 Yeah the Indy defense is improving, but start Tomlinson with confidence anyway.
WR Eric Parker S2 Parker showed his potential prior to last week's snow game with his first 100-yard game of the season. He'll be called on again if McCardell can't go and could surprise against the suspect Colts secondary.
WR Keenan McCardell (Q) B With the division in hand the Chargers will likely rest McCardell tweaked hamstring another week.
WR Kassim Osgood X Should see more looks this week with McCardell out or slowed. The focus of the offense will likely be Tomlinson and Gates this week however with a little Parker thrown in for good measure.
TE Antonio Gates S2 Gates added just a single catch to his recent low total, but it was a 72 yard doosey. He may have only five catches in the last three games but he's likely to double that total this week against an Indy defense that can't come close to matching up with him.
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1 The Chargers secondary just doesn't have the horses to run with the Colts passing game. The record falls this week without a doubt.
RB Edgerrin James S2

San Diego presents a difficult matchup for James. That won't stop the Colts from trying to establish their typical running game to set up the lethal play-action passing attack. Expect James to be solid but limited this week.

WR Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
Brandon Stokley
S2 The Chargers secondary is their Achilles heel on defense and you can bet these three will be tearing them apart all afternoon. The only suspense this week will be waiting to find out who gets the record touchdown catch.
TE Marcus Pollard (Q)
Dallas Clark
X Pollard hasn't scored since week 11, Clark since week 10. Both are active in the Indy passing attack but are at the bottom of the receiving food chain, Pollard being the fifth option, Clark the sixth. Both have some fantasy potential but Pollard has more.
 
Atlanta (11-3) at New Orleans (6-8) Back to top
"WHAT TO PLAY FOR" FACTOR
Atlanta - Nothing. Can not improve their playoff positioning.
New Orleans - Wildcard playoff spot.
 
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick (Q) B

Vick had one of his infrequent good fantasy games last week but he came away with a slightly injured throwing shoulder. There's already talk of resting Vick this week since the Falcons can't improve their playoff position. Too bad since the Saints' defense is flat out terrible.

RB Warrick Dunn S1 With Duckett still out and the possibility of a limited Vick and no Crumpler, Dunn may be the last man standing for this game. With the Saints still firmly stuck at the bottom of just about every defensive category Dunn should have a huge game.
WR Peerless Price
Dez White
Brian Finneran
B Showed some life last week... Well at least White and Finneran did. The question mark hanging over Vick's playing status this weekend puts the kibosh on what could have been some nice sleeper matchups here.
TE Alge Crumpler (Q) B After three weeks of forgetful performances Crumpler suffered a slightly sprained knee last week, which means he's unlikely to play just when you need him the most.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks S2 Brooks is barely effective most weeks but shook off his interception woes last week against a tough secondary. This week the key to his success will be his pass protection. The Falcons aggressively attack the pocket in the hopes the pressure will make up for their weakness in the secondary. If Brooks can stand tall under this pressure he'll find plenty of matchups to exploit down field.
RB Deuce McAllister S2 McAllister's last 100 yard rushing game came against the very Falcons four weeks ago. The Atlanta defense is gradually sliding down the run defense rankings and the Saints will again give Deuce a heavy workload. Don't shy away from this matchup.
WR Joe Horn S2 Despite the Saints' struggles in the passing game Horn has remained one of the more consistent fantasy receivers. He's one of only eight receivers with double digit touchdowns already this season.
WR Donte' Stallworth S2 Stallworth seems to finally be recognizing some of his big game potential but still requires a good matchup to warrant fantasy starter status. This week presents one of those. The Falcons aggressive style in the secondary can leave them open to big plays if they don't get to the quarterback.
TE Boo Williams X Because of the Saints poor pass protection the tight ends are being asked to stay in and block more. The big games for Boo are a thing of the past.

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