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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 15
Whitney Walters
December 15, 2005
Saturday Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM  
TB at NE ARI at HOU PIT at MIN CIN at DET ATL at CHI  
KC at NYG CAR at NO SD at IND CLE at OAK Mon 9 PM  
DEN at BUF NYJ at MIA SEA at TEN DAL at WAS GB at BAL  
  PHI at STL SF at JAC   (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
 
Tampa Bay (9-4) at New England (8-5) Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Simms X

Simms and the passing game are struggling. Over the past month he has just one game where he's thrown for more than 140 yards and has connected on just a single touchdown. The Pats are still running with a makeshift secondary so Simms has a chance for some upside this week. But it's not likely going to be enough to warrant him starting for your fantasy team.

RB Carnell Williams S2

The Patriots are no pushover when it comes to stopping the run, but the plan of action is set and Tampa is going to run the ball. That means Williams will get his 20-plus carries and can produce regardless of opponent, as last week's matchup with Carolina showed.

RB Mike Alstott X

Has had few opportunities for goal-line carries in the last two games. Without those he has no fantasy value.

WR Michael Clayton B

Made a 12 yard catch last week, his first in three games. There may be some matchup upside this week against the Patriots, but now is not the time to play one of the biggest fantasy busts of the season.

WR Joey Galloway S2

Galloway was held in check last week by the tough Carolina secondary. The words tough and secondary don't go together when discussing the Patriots. The Bucs are running a more conservative passing attack lately, but Galloway will get at least a couple of shots at big gains Sunday.

TE Alex Smith B

Smith is a great young talent, but the Bucs are utilizing his blocking skills more than his receiving skills. Good for a couple of short catches a week.

New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (Q) X

Brady bounced back nicely last week against the struggling Bills. This week's task is much more difficult. The Bucs are playing stingy defense and only one team has allowed fewer passing touchdowns this season (only 9 in 13 games). Seeing him hobble around the field last week isn't instilling much confidence either. He may not play due to the leg injury and is not a good bet this week for your fantasy team.

RB Corey Dillon (Q) S2

Dillon appears to be getting stronger. He posted only his second 100-yard game last week and has scored twice since returning from the calf injury. It'll be tough going this week against the Bucs. Tampa has allowed only three 100-yard games since week 8 and each took 30-plus carries to get it done.

RB Kevin Faulk (Q) X

Faulk is healthy now and back to his primary role as 3rd-down/change-of-pace back for New England. That has resulted in 10 catches for 117 yards over the past two games. If you are in a bind at RB and are in a league that awards points for receptions, Faulk could be a nice fill-in most weeks.

WR

Deion Branch

X

Branch has been the most consistent option for Brady due to all the WR injuries. But he rarely has a big game and hasn't had more than five catches since week six. He will surely be the focus of the tough Bucs secondary and with a healthier WR corps Brady has more options now.

WR

David Givens
Troy Brown

X

With Givens healthy again some stability has returned to the New England WR corps. Both he and Brown are getting a good amount of looks in the passing game. Look for the ball to continue to be spread around this week against what has become a smothering Tampa secondary. Both Givens and Brown will produce, but not much.

TE Ben Watson (Q) X With Graham's injury problems, Watson has produced fairly consistent numbers over the past month but Fauria stole his TD last week.
 
Kansas City (8-5) at New York Giants (9-4) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green S2 Green is in a stretch of games that present very similar defensive matchups. The Giants are no different. They have a so-so secondary and apply good pressure. Look for another moderately successful game for Green throwing the ball.
RB Larry Johnson S1 Stud, stud, stud. One for each touchdown last week. Could see a repeat this Saturday as the loss of playmaking LB Antonio Pierce is a big blow to the Giants defense.
WR Eddie Kennison S2 This has been one of Kennison's most consistent fantasy seasons. The massive success in the running game sets him up nicely to get open deep on sideline patterns, his primary skill.
WR Samie Parker X Consistent but limited production is all Parker's produced since his return from injury. Expect more of the same this week in New York.
TE Tony Gonzalez S2 After just one catch the previous week, the Chiefs leading receiver got back on track last week for fantasy owners. Look for more of the same against the Giants Saturday thanks to a running game that's killing opponents.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning X

The Chiefs love to come after opposing quarterbacks. You can bet they'll dial up the pressure this week on the young Manning who could be without his two starting offensive tackles, Luke Petitgout and Kareem McKenzie.

RB Tiki Barber S2

In the last two Giants wins Barber has carried the ball 62 times for 239 yards. Add to that the 80 receiving yards and he's currently one of the top performing fantasy backs. The Chiefs haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season and that streak may continue through this week due to the injuries on the offensive line. Barber may end the game with more receiving yards than rushing yards for the second time this season.

WR Plaxico Burress X

Manning will be under intense pressure, but Burress is no match for the Giants secondary. Double coverage will be needed to limit him and the Chiefs may just take that approach. When Manning struggles it impacts Burress the most.

WR Amani Toomer X

Manning-to-Toomer reconnected last week and Toomer now has six catches in four of the last five games. His production however topped out at 62 yards and a score two weeks ago and will be up and down most weeks due to being the third, or even fourth, option in the offense.

TE Jeremy Shockey S2

The attention given Burress by the Eagles secondary last week resulted in a season high 10 catches last week for Shockey. Regardless of whether the Chiefs employ a similar strategy, Shockey will have another big game Saturday as KC is the worst fantasy defense against tight ends.

 
Denver (10-3) at Buffalo (4-9) Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer X Plummer returned to his mistake-free ways last week but maintained his marginally productive output. Since the week four shellacking of Philly, Plummer has averaged 220 yards and a touchdown per game.
RB Mike Anderson X

The Ravens stacked the line to take away the run last week and it worked for the most part. But Anderson's struggles are not new. He's averaged less than 3 YPC over the past three games. He should turn things around this week against the lowly Bills defense, but hasn't seen more than 13 carries in a month and Bell was the primary ball carrier last week.

RB Tatum Bell X Bell is now three weeks removed from his chest injury and ran strong last week. He remains the game-breaking speed back in the Denver backfield rotation and last week out-carried Anderson 16 to 8. There is no way to predict if that will continue as it's likely the coaches will go with whatever back best fits the game situations. Because of that it's hard to rely on Bell as a fantasy starter.
RB Ron Dayne B Played sparingly last week and had a fumble. Unreliable fantasy option.
WR Rod Smith S2 Smith has been solid and consistent all season and Plummer seems to find him regardless of situation or matchup. He's had between 50-80 yards in each of the last seven games and caught 3 TD's in that span. A reliable fantasy WR can be valuable in the playoffs.
WR Ashley Lelie X Each week Lelie looks more and more like a one-trick pony. That one trick being going deep and hoping Plummer can hit him. Unfortunately that's not happening often and last week Lelie was out-caught by #3 WR Charlie Adams.
TE Jeb Putzier X Putzier has had more room to work lately as opponents continue to load up to stop the Denver running game. Only had one catch last week but had four catches in each of the previous games.
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kelly Holcomb X

Buffalo is not playing well and will get a new starting QB this week as Losman is too banged up to go. Holcomb has proven to be the better passer and he catches a bit of a break with the Broncos being down one starting cornerback. That only makes him moderately of interest this weekend as this will likely be another bad weather game which limits the ability to pass.

RB Willis McGahee X

McGahee's 100-yard game drought continues. A blow to the head knocked him out of last week's game and he ended with just three yards rushing on eight carries. He should return and get 20-plus carries in another cold weather game at Buffalo, just don't expect much from him against the Broncos.

WR Eric Moulds X

Moulds will return from his one game suspension this week, but with his days in Buffalo now numbered it's best to stay away from this situation since there is no guarantee as to how much action he'll see. He has performed better for fantasy owners with Holcomb at QB, so if he plays most of the game there's a chance he can produce.

WR Lee Evans U

Evans led the way last week with Moulds out and you should expect that to continue this week. The Broncos are not strong against the pass and have allowed a 100-yard game seven times this season. With Moulds back Evans won't be forced to face Champ Bailey all evening and should have a nice game.

WR Josh Reed X

If the Bills are able to spread the field with some 3-WR sets it looks good for Reed to surprise this week. Denver lost their #2 CB Darrent Williams last week and they are very thin behind him. That will leave Reed with a matchup advantage out of the slot.

 

Arizona (4-9) at Houston (1-12)

Back to top
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner U

Amazingly Houston hasn't given up a passing touchdown in two weeks. That will change this week as that's the only way the Cardinals can score. Warner should get back to his 300-yard ways against the Texans.

RB J.J. Arrington
Marcel Shipp
B

Arrington will likely remain the starter but both he and Shipp split the workload. It's hard to imagine but even against the worst run defense in the league, you can't recommend either one. May have something to do with the Cardinals running offense being the NFL's worst by a landslide.

WR Anquan Boldin
Larry Fitzgerald
S2

Fitzgerald took a production dip last week, but that shouldn't sway you from getting both he and Boldin into your fantasy lineups every week. Especially against Houston Sunday.

WR Bryant Johnson X Has been solid since his return three weeks ago from the shoulder injury. The no. 3 option in a passing game with dominant no. 1 and no. 2 options is no place to look for receiver help for your fantasy team.
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr X The Texans keep finding ways to lose and Carr keeps finding ways to be only moderately productive each week. If 150 yards and a touchdown is what your fantasy team needs then Carr is your man.
RB Domanick Davis (Q) S2

Davis is the only fantasy weapon wearing a Texans uniform. He's averaged over 130 total yards a game over the last six he's played and has scored four touchdowns (half the team's total).

WR Andre Johnson X

Johnson has been up and down since his return from injury with only twice having a fantasy game worthy of a #1 WR. He may have all the talent in the world, but as long as the Houston passing game is at the bottom of the rankings (#31) there just isn't going to be much fantasy production regardless of matchup.

WR Jabar Gaffney (P)
Corey Bradford
B

Beyond Johnson there's not a fantasy factor at wide receiver.

 
Carolina (9-4) at New Orleans (3-10) Back to top
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme X

Delhomme was unimpressive last week and his numbers were aided by a meaningless last-game touchdown. The passing game has gone conservative and he hasn't thrown for more than 235 yards in six straight games. In that span he's connected on more than one touchdown only once. The Saints are running out of steam, but you just can't count on Delhomme and the Panthers passing game to get you the fantasy production you need.

RB Stephen Davis B

Even with Foster hurt last week Davis only had four carries. That's four games in a row with six or fewer carries. He seems to be completely out of the game plan now.

RB DeShaun Foster (P) S2

Foster was limited last week by the stout Tampa defense and a bruised shoulder. Look for him to bounce back in a big way this week against the reeling Saints.

WR Steve Smith S1

Teams are really trying to take Smith out of the offensive game plan, but few have been completely successful. The Saints will not be one of the teams going in the successful column this week.

WR Keary Colbert
Ricky Proehl
B

Even with opposing defenses focusing on Smith in the passing game, Colbert and Proehl have been unable to use that to their advantage. Delhomme has been looking their way a bit more lately, but it's just not going to be enough.

TE Kris Mangum
Michael Gaines (Q)
B Mangum has been a little more active lately with Gaines unable to play. That's meant 4 catches like last week or none like in week 13. Either way the Panther tight end is not a fantasy option.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Todd Bouman X

Well the look in Brooks' eyes and his body language late Monday night should have foretold this possibility. He's been benched in favor of backup Todd Bouman. Since returning from NFL Europe in 2000, Bouman has played in just 11 games. He started twice for the Vikings in 2001 and threw for 591 yards and six touchdowns. So the guy showed some skill ... four years ago. The Panthers will be coming into Baton Rouge hungry for a win and you shouldn't count on anything from Bouman against their very tough defense.

RB Antowain Smith
Aaron Stecker (Q)
B

Over the last month Smith and Stecker are averaging just 75 yards and have scored just once. They will be fortunate to combine for that type of production against the #3 ranked Carolina run defense Sunday.

WR Joe Horn X

Along with the rest of the New Orleans offense, Horn seems to be fading away. In the last three weeks he has just 11 catches for 141 yards. He also hasn't caught a TD pass since week two. It may be time to give up on the Saints offense since it seems the head coach has by inserting Bouman at QB.

WR Donte' Stallworth   X Stallworth hasn't done much in the yardage department this season, but he does have six touchdowns. He seems to benefit most weeks from opposing defenses staying focused on slowing Horn down. His size and speed presents problems for most opposing cornerbacks, but Gamble and Lucas are solid cover corners and don't surrender much of an advantage to Stallworth.
TE Zack Hilton X

Hilton can't be counted on for upper-tier production, but in the four games since he started filling in full time he's caught 17 passes for 196 yards. He's a huge target and Bouman would serve himself well to become acquainted with the big boy.

 
New York Jets (3-10) at Miami (6-7) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brooks Bollinger B

Since taking over in week seven Bollinger has averaged just 12 completions a game and has thrown only four touchdowns. Don't look for much improvement on those numbers this week on the road in Miami against the improving Dolphins.

RB Cedric Houston S2

Went from barely used rookie backup to starter in the span of one decision by Curtis Martin to have season-ending knee surgery. The result of having some fresh legs in the backfield - 28 carries and a score. That's only 2.6 YPC against a weak Raider defense, but any back that can get you that kind of action is worth a look. This week against the Dolphins isn't a great matchup, but it isn't a bad one either.

WR Laveranues Coles
Justin McCareins 
X

Since Bollinger took over at quarterback Coles has topped 36 yards only twice and has caught only one touchdown (five weeks ago). McCareins has topped 45 yards only twice and has scored twice as well. Bottom line - this passing game is off limits to all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.

TE Doug Jolley B

Jolley stays active in the passing game, but there just isn't much production to spread around to make him a viable fantasy option.

Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Gus Frerotte X

Lately Frerotte has been an every other week fantasy performer. Last week's 230 yard, 2 TD performance means a potential down game on Sunday. The Jets fine pass defense makes that a real possibility. But they don't pressure the QB well and with time Frerotte should be able to find his mismatches down field.

RB

Ronnie Brown
Ricky Williams

U

Last week pretty much sums up the running back situation in Miami. Both had 11 carries, both had three carries inside the 10-yard line, both had a fumble. Only two yards rushing separated their performances. This week against the woeful Jets rushing defense there should be enough split production to make both Brown and Williams a borderline starter.

WR Chris Chambers S2

Chambers is coming off the most productive three-game span in Dolphin history. He's caught 29 balls for 460 yards and three touchdowns in that stretch. The big question this week is do you bet for or against the streak with the Jets coming to down with their #3 ranked pass defense. Ty Law will have a lot to do with that answer. Law will have his moments, but overall the smart money will be for the streak.

WR Marty Booker X Booker returned from his calf injury last week and contributed a nice 58-yard catch to the winning effort. May sneak another long one in this week with all the attention Chambers will draw.
TE Randy McMichael S2 McMichael's best game of this season came in week two against the Jets. He could repeat this week as his matchup with the New York linebackers (not the strength of the Jets defense) is one he can win.

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