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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 5
Whitney Walters
October 6, 2005
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week
BAL at DET NE at ATL TB at NYJ IND at SF CIN at JAC KC, MIN,
CHI at CLE NO at GB TEN at HOU CAR at ARI Mon 9 PM NYG, OAK
MIA at BUF SEA at STL   PHI at DAL PIT at SD  
      WAS at DEN   (times ET)
    Player List by Position
Start/Bench Codes (SBC) Early Injury Status
S1: Must start, 1st string. X: No start or bench indications / Could go either way. (O): Out    (D): Doubtful
S2: Solid starter, 2nd string. B: Bench 'em / Too much risk. (Q): Questionable
U: Upside player / Possible sleeper. (P): Probable
 
Philadelphia (3-1) at Dallas (2-2) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb (P) S2

Despite the injuries and playing in pain, McNabb put up his third 300-yard passing game last week. Will likely see more of the blitzing he's seen since his injury limited his mobility, but the suspect Dallas secondary provides a nice opportunity for 300-yard game number four.

RB Brian Westbrook S2

It makes for a bad day when your fantasy stud is being kept in to help block. That's exactly what happened last week to Westbrook against the Chiefs. It has also become increasingly hard to run on the blitzing schemes being used against the immobile McNabb. That's typically not a problem as most of Westbrook's fantasy production comes out of the passing game. But if his role in the passing game continues to include a lot of pass protection, his numbers are going to suffer.

RB Lamar Gordon X His role increases each week and he got a goal-line carry last week. Gordon was a talented pickup by the Eagles and he will provide valuable production in the passing game and in short yardage situations. His fantasy value is limited however.
WR Terrell Owens (P) S1 Each week Owens seems more and more uncoverable. Currently on pace for a 2000-yard, 16 touchdown season. The weak Dallas secondary doesn't stand a chance on Sunday. Just stay off that star Terrell.
WR Greg Lewis X Lewis has stepped up his game since becoming the starter this season and has provided some decent and consistent fantasy production. Unfortunately, in an offense with this many weapons the chance of him busting out with a big game is remote.
TE L.J. Smith S1 In his third season Smith has emerged as a big weapon in an already potent passing attack. Currently leading all tight ends in targets and receptions and only Gates has more yards.
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe X

The Dallas passing game has been in high gear under Bledsoe so far this season. Expect a downshift this week. The offensive line is struggling in pass protection, giving up four sacks last week. Philly will bring a lot more pressure than Oakland did. With less time in the pocket (a Bledsoe requirement) he'll be less effective.

RB Julius Jones S2

Jones is the offensive key in this game and it's time for him and his offensive line to get it going. With the success of the passing game and the extra attention TE Witten will garner, Jones should have some favorable running matchups to take advantage of this week.

WR Keyshawn Johnson S2

Keyshawn was limited to a single catch last week. It wasn't for lack of trying however as he led the team in looks from Bledsoe, including one in the end-zone. Should stay active enough for 5-6 catches this week, but a score would be pushing it. Borderline starter.

WR Terry Glenn S2 Glenn's big plays have him on top of the league's yards per catch list. He'll draw the physical CB Lito Sheppard this week. Once he breaks free from Sheppard's physical play within the first five yards he should be able to outrace him for some big gains.
WR Patrick Crayton B Crayton seems to have a lock on the #3 WR spot with his big play abilities. The occasional long TD isn't something you can typically use on your fantasy team however.
TE Jason Witten S2

Has led the team in receptions for two weeks now and appears to be getting back into the flow of the offense. That flow will not match last season given the greater run emphasis and a quarterback that can get the ball down field with ease. Had great success against the Eagles last season, but this year's Eagles shut down Gonzalez last week.

 
Washington (3-0) at Denver (3-1) Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell X Not only is Brunell resurrecting his career, but his fantasy value as well. In a season where several quarterbacks are down with injury or under-performing, Brunell has likely found his way onto a fantasy roster in most leagues. He'll serve as a nice bye week fill-in most weeks. This week however he may not. Whatever ailed the Bronco defense in week one has been corrected and they will pose problems for Brunell all afternoon at Mile High.
RB Clinton Portis X

Portis found the going tough last week and it won't get any easier in Denver. The Broncos have the beef up front and the speed at linebacker to keep Portis in check.

RB Ladell Betts B Betts is just serving as a between the tackles change-of-pace to Portis.
WR Santana Moss S2

With Denver CB Champ Bailey likely to be out or at least slowed by his strained hamstring, this turns into a favorable matchup for Moss as he will likely be staring across the line of scrimmage at a rookie corner.

WR David Patten
James Thrash
B Both Patten and Thrash are seeing time opposite Moss. Neither are a fantasy option regardless of matchup.
TE Chris Cooley U The Brunell-to-Cooley hookup finally got going last week. Cooley had 4 catches for 61 yards and played a critical role at times keeping drives going late in the game. There are several top tight ends off this week and you could do a lot worse than plugging Cooley into your lineup.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer X Looks like a season of modest fantasy games from Plummer this year as the Broncos aren't pushing the ball down field with the passing game. If Plummer is your backup and you just need him to fill in then you are probably okay with that. If he's your starter you are likely not. Plummer usually plays better at home but the tough Redskin defense will be a challenge.
RB Mike Anderson S2

It's clear now that Anderson will be the feature back for Denver. He's running hard and has averaged 5 YPC in the past two games against tough opponents (KC and JAC). Washington brings with it a much more difficult task with it's 5th ranked run defense. Look for Anderson to struggle but remain a borderline starter this week.

RB Tatum Bell B Gaining confidence and produced well with the 15 carries he received last week (about twice what he's been getting), gaining 60 yards for a 4 YPC average. May start to see more action as a nice change-up from starter Anderson.
WR Rod Smith S2 Smith had a rough week against Jacksonville (4-for-33) as Plummer's 19 completions were spread amongst 10 Broncos. Draws a touch matchup this week against the physical Washington cornerbacks. Borderline starter.
WR Ashley Lelie X

For whatever reason the Plummer-to-Lelie connection has hit a dead zone so far this season. He still has great deep speed, so if he can get by the physical Redskin cornerbacks he should have some opportunities for big plays down field... again.

TE Jeb Putzier B Well, as expected the Broncos targeted the TE more last week. Unfortunately backup Alexander out caught him and TE-turned-tackle Carswell was the end-zone hero. Putzier is officially an off-limits tight end.
 
Cincinnati (4-0) at Jacksonville (2-2) Back to top
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

Palmer continues to play extremely well each week regardless of opponent. This week brings another challenge as the Bengals visit the Jags and their #2 ranked pass defense. The way Cincinnati is playing I'd put my money on Palmer in almost any matchup.

RB Rudi Johnson (P) S2 As Denver's Mike Anderson showed last week the Jags are not adept at stopping the run when it comes in the form of a tough, strong runner. Sounds kind of like Johnson huh?
RB Chris Perry X Will continue to see action as a change-up to Rudi and on passing downs. Not enough to warrant a lineup spot however.
WR Chad Johnson S2 Johnson is an every week starter and should break a long one or two off this week as the Jags may be solid overall against the pass, but their corners can't run with Johnson down field. Chad gets another check on his list this week.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Q) X

For the second week in a row T.J. had a touchdown called back because of a penalty, frustrating fantasy owners everywhere. But he did lead the team in receiving as fellow WR Chad Johnson continues to draw almost constant double coverage. CB Kenny Wright will try to get physical with T.J. off the line this week to disrupt his precise route running. The hand injury might make it hard for Houshmandzadeh to get into his routes.

WR Chris Henry B Henry continues to get a couple of catches a week, which helps the Bengals out at the #3 WR spot, but won't help your fantasy team.
TE Whoever B The tight end just isn't a factor in the Cincinnati offense and the playing time is being split by up to three players each week.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich X

Few quarterbacks in the league are taking as much punishment as Leftwich. He's been sacked 13 times and hit at least twice that many times. Under that kind of pressure, Leftwich will have to be careful with the ball playing the very opportunistic Bengals secondary and their league leading 12 interceptions.

RB Fred Taylor S2

From 37 carries to EIGHT. Yeah, that's the kind of consistency we fantasy players love from our running backs. The Jags have to know they will never win a game giving their best offensive weapon only nine touches (he had one catch last week also). Look for that to change immediately and for Taylor to be a big part of the offensive flow this week.

WR Jimmy Smith S2 Smith has had two 100-yard games and scored 4 touchdowns this season. He's a solid fantasy starter regardless of opponent most weeks because Leftwich looks his way often and he still has the speed and talent to make big plays.
WR Reggie Williams X

Williams has 16 catches to Smith's 17, but his have resulted in just 155 total yards and no touchdowns. He's just not making plays with his opportunities. Until he does he's not much of a fantasy option.

WR Matt Jones B Just 10 catches through four games. The Jags are still experimenting with the various ways to use his skills, but he's a non-fantasy factor.
TE Whoever   B Multiple tight ends on a team that rarely throws to the tight end.
 
Pittsburgh (2-1) at San Diego (2-2) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2 Roethlisberger isn't going to light it up this year, but his play continues to improve and he's been a very consistent fantasy quarterback through three games. Nothing about this matchup with San Diego suggests that consistency won't continue. The Steelers will focus on the run as always, but the suspect Charger secondary is too tempting for them to ignore.
RB Willie Parker S2 The Willie Parker ride is likely coming to an end this week. Both Staley and Bettis are expected to return to action Monday night. Staley shouldn't be a big concern yet, but Bettis will start to take away the valuable goal-line carries. Parker remains a fantasy starter this week due to his big play ability.
RB Duce Staley (P) B It's looking like Staley will get some carries in this game.
RB Jerome Bettis (P) B The Bus may get off the blocks for the first time this season. If he does it will surely be in short-yardage or goal-line situations.
WR Hines Ward (Q) S2

Ward may be questionable due to the strained hammy he suffered against New England, but you can bet he'll be on the field after two weeks of rest. Will need to be close to 100% to win what will likely be a physical battle with CB Quentin Jammer. Ultimately Ward's experience and toughness will win this matchup for him.

WR Antwaan Randle El S2

Along with Ward, Randle El will see plenty of single man-to-man coverage as the Chargers will need to bring safety support against the potent Steeler running game. This will provide plenty of chances for the athletic Randle El to make plays down field.

TE Heath Miller B About a catch a game is going to the Steelers' tight ends. Some weeks it's Miller's, some weeks it's not.
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees X

The Steelers lead the league in sacks, averaging 7 per game. You can bet Pittsburgh will be coming at Brees all night in the hopes of disrupting his accuracy and forcing him into mistakes in the passing game. Brees faced constant pressure in the Chargers' first two games of the season. Games he played poorly in.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 He's back and on a fantasy roll.
WR Keenan McCardell X

With all the attention Tomlinson and Gates draw it's critical for both McCardell and ...

WR Eric Parker X ... Parker to make plays when given the opportunity. That won't be too easy this week against a solid group of Steeler cornerbacks.
TE Antonio Gates S1 Gates seems to be getting better each game. Put him in your lineup and don't worry about your tight end until week 10 (the Chargers' bye week).

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