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Start/Bench List - Week 7
Whitney Walters
October 20, 2005
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Bye Week
GB at MIN NO at STL SF at WAS BAL at CHI Mon 9 PM NE, TB
      DEN at NYG   (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
Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cincinnati (5-1) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger (D) B Slated to return to the starting lineup for this key division matchup. The Steelers are still a run oriented team and the Bengals sport an adequate defense. Don't expect more than Roethlisberger's normal 200-yard, 2 TD performance.
RB Willie Parker S2

Parker has not played well since week two, averaging only 2.8 YPC in the last three games. The Steelers show no signs of putting him on the shelf, and they shouldn't. He's loaded with speed and is the offenses prime big play weapon. The Bengals haven't held an opposing RB in check all season so Parker remains a good play this week. I do believe it's time for another long score.

RB Jerome Bettis X

The Bus was inexcusably absent from the game last week. There were key moments late in the game that were taylor made for the bruising, reliable back. But on the sideline he stood, and HC Cower is taking heat for that decision. It's not likely Bettis will be under used in this critical matchup with the Bengals.

WR Hines Ward (Q) S2

Ward missed the first game of his career last week due to the hamstring injury. Don't expect a repeat this week. Big time players step up in big games.

WR Antwaan Randle El (Q) X

Each week he's been getting more looks (12 last week), but each week it's still the same ol' 2-3 catches. And they haven't even been long ones lately.

TE Heath Miller X

Okay... rub eyes... look at the box score again... Yep. That's what it says. For the second week in a row a Pittsburgh tight end had four catches and a touchdown. Is it happening? Are we witnessing what many said could never happen - the rebirth of the tight end in Pittsburgh? Only time will tell. Rookie tight ends take a while to get it together and Miller seems to be well on his way. Before you make Miller your every week starter you should wait and see how he performs this week with Big Ben and Ward back in the offense.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

Played a similarly tough, physical defense in week 5 in the form of the Jaguars. Passed that test. Pittsburgh now presents another challenge. Look for the running game to be limited and for more of the offense to fall on Palmer's shoulders this week. He's used to pocket time as only two QB's have been sacked less. The Steelers lead the league with 3.6 sacks a game and blitz on almost every down. Protection will be the key to Palmer's success.

RB Rudi Johnson (P) S2

The die is cast. Since his week one 126-yard, 1 TD performance, Johnson has averaged 20 carries for 84 yards and scored once. Don't expect much more than that on any given week. But also don't expect much less than that, which helps fantasy owners. He may not be a stud, but he's consistent week-to-week. Perry is a more talented and dynamic back and will continue to limit Johnson's upside. The yardage will be a bit tougher to come by this week against the staunch Pittsburgh defense.

RB Chris Perry X

Outplayed Johnson last week and had ANOTHER touchdown called back on a penalty. Is Perry going to become the starter this year in CIN, no. Is he going to play a key role in the offense every week, you bet. He's more talented that Johnson and don't forget - Marvin Lewis inherited Rudi, he used a first round draft pick on Perry last year for a reason. If you are in a league that awards points for receptions then Perry makes a nice flex position start.

WR Chad Johnson S2 If the Bengals can have some success running the ball it will help Johnson get some favorable single coverage down field. If they can accomplish that, Johnson should have little trouble beating the average at best Steeler corners.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Q) S2

T.J. was just starting to blossom in this offense when the wrist injury put a stop to his progress. Early indications are that he will return to action Sunday for this critical game. A risky start due to the unclear injury status.

WR Chris Henry B Henry is a talented rookie that for a while seemed to have a lock on the #3 WR spot. But the improved play of both Kelly Washington and Kevin Walter make this spot very crowded.
San Diego (3-3) at Philadelphia (3-2) Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees X

Now that the Chargers have Tomlinson cranking on all cylinders, Brees is going to be more of a game manager and less of a fantasy option for most teams. The Eagles defense is aggressive but in their last game there were major breakdowns in the secondary. The Chargers would be wise to test that secondary Sunday, but they don't really have the talent at WR to take any advantages there. Brees will also be playing behind a makeshift offensive line due to a rash of injuries.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 Philly will be a tough challenge at home, but they have shown this season that they can be run on. And this just in... this LT dude is a pretty good runner... and receiver... and passer...
WR Keenan McCardell X

Six weeks into the season McCardell has become almost invisible in the Chargers' passing attack. He started the season strong but the last three games have netted only 4 catches for 36 yards. His last TD was three weeks ago. Will draw CB Lito Sheppard this week who has yet to play at his Pro-Bowl level this season.

WR Eric Parker (Q) X

As McCardell has faded of late, Parker's role in the passing game has increased. But this is the LT & Gates show, and that increase has resulted in a max performance of 5 catches for 75 yards. Has yet to score this season.

TE Antonio Gates S1 Gates was limited last week (2-for-17), but so was the passing game due to the big lead they had over Oakland. Brees only threw 20 passes last week. SS Brian Dawkins will present Gates with a stiff challenge on Sunday, as Dawkins is very skilled in tight end coverage.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S2

Injuries and all, McNabb was on a serious roll prior to the stinker in Dallas before the bye. The Chargers' secondary is suspect, allowing 245 yards a game passing. But they apply great pressure, and pressure is something McNabb is seeing more and more of each week.

RB Brian Westbrook S2

The Eagles never saw a pass play they didn't like. They are last in the league, getting their backfield just 15 carries a game. Thankfully Westbrook continues to be one of the best backs in the NFL catching out of the backfield. 31% of his touches, 56% of his yardage and 75% of his touchdowns have been via the pass. Reports out of Philly would lead one to believe that coach Reid wants to run the ball more. A good thing since that would help reduce the pressure teams are putting on his prized QB. But it won't be easy with one of the top run stopping defenses coming to town.

RB Lamar Gordon B Getting only 5-6 touches a game. His only real fantasy value come from the likelihood he'll see the goal-line carries.
WR Terrell Owens S1 The Chargers don't have the skill in the secondary to deal with Owens. Not that that's news to anyone.
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. The chance of him busting out with a big game is remote since he has to get in line behind Westbrook, Owens and Smith.
TE L.J. Smith S1

Smith had just two catches against the Cowboys and suffered a mild ankle sprain. The off week allowed it to heal and he should be back into the flow that has made him a big-time target for McNabb and a top 5 fantasy tight end.

San Francisco (1-4) at Washington (3-2) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Washington is one of the top defenses in the league, but thankfully for Smith they average a league low one sack per game. Doesn't mean a hill of beans to his fantasy status - he's still a bench-warmer. But with some time in the pocket he may show some improvement this week.

RB Kevan Barlow X

Had a season high 18 carries before the bye and came one yard short of a hundred. Everyone keeps wanting to write Barlow off, but his play this season doesn't warrant such a prognostication. The Niners need a solid running attack to allow QB Smith the most success. They will keep working Gore into the mix, but Barlow should maintain his lead back status.

RB Frank Gore B

Has run hard but struggled all season. Gore is now the #2 in the Niners' 1-2 punch at running back. Has had as many as eight carries this season, but also has had just two once. It doesn't look right now that the Niners are going to turn 100% of the backfield over to rookies.

WR Brandon Lloyd X

Lloyd was all the Niner passing attack had going for it, but he has yet to catch a ball from it's new quarterback. Let's hope he gets at least one this week from him.

WR Johnnie Morton B Morton has the honor of being the only WR to catch a pass from new QB Alex Smith. Until Battle returns Morton is the only other option in the passing game other than Lloyd. Even with that going for him he warrants no fantasy attention whatsoever.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell S2 And the hits just keep on coming for Brunell. This week's chart topper comes to us from the bottom of the NFL pass defense rankings. Straight out of the left coast's left-most city, we present the San Francisco 49ers.
RB Clinton Portis (P) S2

With each week comes another week of frustration for Portis owners. Dating back to last season it's now been 8 straight games without a touchdown. There is hope however. The Niners' linebackers and secondary are decimated by injury. There's a good chance Portis will break off a long score this week as the opportunities will be many once he breaks through the defensive front.

WR Santana Moss S1

This one is pretty simple. Moss is tearing it up and the Niners are terrible.

WR David Patten
James Thrash
B Both Patten and Thrash are seeing time opposite Moss, with Patten seemingly taking the lead. Either way, neither are a fantasy option regardless of matchup.
TE Chris Cooley S2

Cooley is a great weapon out of his H-back position and the last three weeks show that the Redskins have figured out how to best utilize him. In three games he's had 18 catches for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Niners' lost another linebacker this week and just won't have an answer for Cooley.

Dallas (4-2) at Seattle (4-2) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe S2

Bledsoe's blind side just got exposed a bit. LT Flozell Adams has been lost for the season. This is no minor loss. Adams has played in every game since joining the Cowboys in 1998. If Seattle is able to get pressure on Bledsoe, a pocket passer that needs to step into the pocket to deliver the ball, his effectiveness will drop. And so will his fantasy value. A running game without Jones will hurt as well.

RB Julius Jones (Q) S2

The last time Jones visited Seattle he had the best game of his short career - 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns. After resting last week Jones is expected to return to the backfield for Dallas. If he does then he should return to your starting lineup as well.

WR Keyshawn Johnson S2

The Seahawks are no pushover on defense, but their CB duo of Trufant and Dyson present a tasty matchup for both Johnson and ...

WR Terry Glenn S2 ... Glenn this week. The sad loss of their free safety Ken Hamlin won't help either.
WR Peerless Price B With Crayton sidelined it looks like Price will finally get a chance... Maybe.
TE Jason Witten S1

After a slow start to the season, Witten has re-established himself as an elite fantasy tight end. SS Michael Boulware, who prefers run support to coverage duties, will have his hands full with Witten in this matchup.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2

Alexander stole the show last week and Hasselbeck wasn't needed to secure the blowout win over Houston. The matchups in the secondary are nothing to get excited about. Corners Henry, Newman and Glenn have shown a tendency to get beaten over the top, but Seattle doesn't have the speed at receiver now to take advantage. Hasselbeck will struggle to put up his average 250-yard, 1-2 TD game. Borderline starter that will likely under perform.

RB Shaun Alexander S1 Leads the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. Dallas hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in the past 16 games. Does that really matter? Nah. That streak will likely end this week anyway.
WR Joe Jurevicius X

Has scored in each of the games he's started and now leads the team in receiving touchdowns with four. Jurevicius is taking full advantage of being a starter in the league's most potent offense.

WR D.J. Hackett X

After a nice effort in his first career start week 5, the big and athletic rookie didn't see any action last week due to a hip injury late in the week. May contribute this week as either the starter again or the #3 receiver.

WR Peter Warrick X

Warrick was moved into the starting lineup last week and showed some flashes of being recovered from his knee injury. He had two catches for gains of 20 and 27 yards. Maybe there's something left in the tank after all. Will either start again this week or work out of the slot, where he's more effective.

TE Jerramy Stevens S2 Remains a consistent feature in the Seattle passing game. Tight ends have been fairly productive against the Cowboys this season, as they are allowing about 50 yards per game to the position.
Baltimore (2-3) at Chicago (2-3) Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Anthony Wright B Wright topped out at 230 yards and two touchdowns in week five. Chicago has yet to allow that kind of production to any opposing quarterback. Just in case you actually needed a reason not to use Wright as your fantasy quarterback this week.
RB Jamal Lewis S2

The Ravens are steadfast in their support of Lewis as he continues to get the bulk of the carries, averaging 24 per game over the last three. But while he gets 74% of the totes, he accounts for only 59% of the rushing yards and is averaging just 3.0 YPC. There's a back on this team that's performing at a much higher level. Don't expect the workload for Lewis to change however. But also don't expect his numbers to increase facing the staunch Bears defense.

RB Chester Taylor B Taylor has two of the Ravens' three longest runs this season and looks quicker and more explosive than the back he's playing behind. Don't expect him to receive more than 8-10 carries and 4 receptions he currently gets. Coach Billick is unwavering in his support for Lewis as the workhorse in the Raven offense.
WR Derrick Mason S2

Other Baltimore receivers may be getting some looks from Wright, but Mason is the only one doing anything with them. He's the leading wide receiver and the rest of the pack isn't even close. His matchup with CB Charles Tillman will be an interesting one. Tillman has the speed to cover Mason deep, but lacks the quickness to stay with him on shorter routes. The Baltimore passing game doesn't produce much, but he's the only option other than Heap and averaging seven catches a game.

WR Mark Clayton (Q) B

Talk about a bad day. Clayton had his first NFL touchdown called back on a penalty and then sprained his ankle. May not play this week.


Todd Heap


Heap's numbers have been getting better with each passing week and he's scored in each of the last two games. He's a great pass-catching tight end that's at his best downfield. In the past four games Heap has had a catch of 20 yards or more. Will have his hands full with LB's Urlacher and Briggs this week, but remains a solid fantasy starter.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton B Last week Orton had the first multi-touchdown game of his rookie campaign. But it was combined with his second straight 117 yard effort in passing yards.
RB Thomas Jones (P) X

Jones bounced off the injury list last week and carried the ball 23 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He should sprain his knee more often. This week brings a bit more of a challenge for the Chicago running game with Baltimore coming to town. His knee still isn't expected to be 100%, so don't expect a lot out of Julius' brother.

RB Cedric Benson B

Why is it the Bears seem to be the only team in the NFL with two talented backs that are unwilling to use both... even when one isn't 100% due to a knee injury? If anyone can answer that they will solve one of the mysteries of this fantasy season.

WR Muhsin Muhammad S2 Muhammad will continue to struggle along with the Chicago passing game, but he gets the looks every week as Orton's #1 option. His matchup with CB Chris McAlister will be fun to watch this week. McAlister is arguably the league's best corner and Muhammad has the size and strength to challenge him on short routes and jump-ball situations.
WR Mark Bradley B Bradley is a talented rookie with great speed. He's emerged as the starter and has some big play potential each week with all the attention Muhammad attracts. But in a passing game that averages just 122 yards and about half a TD per game, there's just not enough to spread around to make Bradley a fantasy factor.
TE Desmond Clark


Clark is a sure-handed and talented tight end that's been slowed by a neck injury most of the season. His production last week wasn't really above his norm, except that two of his four short catches went for scores. Now that he's back in the flow and Orton has some confidence in him, Clark will surely be a target for the rookie QB when under pressure... which will be often this week.

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