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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 16
Whitney Walters
December 22, 2005
Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 1 PM Sat 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM  
ATL at TB JAC at HOU SF at STL IND at SEA MIN at BAL  
BUF at CIN NYG at WAS TEN at MIA OAK at DEN Mon 9 PM  
DAL at CAR PIT at CLE Sat 4 PM Sun 5 PM NE at NYJ  
DET at NO SD at KC PHI at ARI CHI at GB (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
 
Atlanta (8-6) at Tampa Bay (9-5) Back to top
Playoff Picture: ATL - Playing for wildcard, TB - Playing for wildcard/division  
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick X

The Bucs have allowed just one 300-yard passing game this season. Amazingly it was to Vick in week 11. That's not likely to happen again. Vick won't have the cold or wind to deal with Saturday, but he will have to deal with a Bucs defense hungry to make amends for the week 11 lapse.

RB Warrick Dunn S2

Dunn suffered some hamstring problems last week but is expected to play at near full speed against Tampa. Hasn't scored since week 9, about the time Duckett returned from injury. Look for a typical 80-100 total yard effort this week.

RB T.J. Duckett X

Duckett is struggling, big time. He's rushed for just 15 yards on 22 carries in the past three games. His only value is at the goal-line.

WR Michael Jenkins
Roddy White
Brian Finneran
B Until Vick somehow acquires the ability to consistently get the ball down field to his wide receivers, they are off limits to fantasy owners.
TE Alge Crumpler S2 Came out of last week's game banged up, but Crumpler is a solid starter any week.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Simms X

Simms continues to struggle. He has just one 200-yard game in the last five and only a single score in that span. The Falcons are not a strong defense, but they do pressure the quarterback well. Simms was knocked around last week and will be a bit rush-shy on Saturday.

RB Carnell Williams S2

The Bucs had to give up on the run last week as they fell way behind the Patriots, so the Caddy didn't get too far down the road (14 carries, 23 yards). That won't be the case this week against a Falcons team that still struggles to stop the run. Williams put up a c-note and a TD in week 11 at Atlanta.

RB Mike Alstott B

Hasn't carried the ball more than four times in six games and hasn't scored a touchdown in a month. Without goal-line touches Alstott has little fantasy value.

WR Michael Clayton B

Barely getting any looks in the offense and continues to be out-caught by Hilliard.

WR Joey Galloway S2

Galloway is way off his early season pace and has had two sub-40 yard games in a row. Went catchless last time against Atlanta. The Bucs are running a more conservative passing attack lately, but Galloway will always get at least a couple of shots at big gains.

WR Ike Hilliard X Has become a consistent target for Simms lately. But in this offense that maxes out at about 5 catches and 40-50 yards.
TE Alex Smith B

With Becht picking up some of the blocking now, Smith is getting a few more opportunities in the passing game. Still only good for a couple of short catches a week though.

 
Buffalo (4-10) at Cincinnati (11-3) Back to top
Playoff Picture: CIN - Playing for first week bye  
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman (P)
Kelly Holcomb
X/X

It is expected that Losman will be healthy enough to play this week in Cincinnati, but there's a chance the Bills will stick with Holcomb. Aside from the nice game he had three weeks ago against the Dolphins, Losman has been a fantasy non-factor. Don't look for that to change this season. The only thing saving him from a bench rating this week is the likelihood of the Bills playing from behind. Holcomb is a slightly better fantasy option.

RB Willis McGahee X

McGahee had limited work last week (9 carries) and emerged from the Denver game with an assortment of bumps and bruises. With defenses loading up to stop the run each week, McGahee's fantasy value has pretty much run out for 2005. He looks to just be playing out this disappointing season. Don't expect much.

WR Eric Moulds X

Moulds had a great audition for his new team last week, putting up his second best receiving game of the year with 9 catches for 110 yards. Even if Losman is back under center, Moulds will see the ball come his way against the improving CB Duo of James and O'Neal. Look for a moderately productive day.

WR Lee Evans X

Last week's 2-for-5 was more evidence that Holcomb is much less likely to look Evans' way than Losman. Losman may be back and the Bills will be playing from behind most of the day.

WR Josh Reed U

Since the Bills are likely to be in more than the normal amount of 3-WR sets this week, Reed will see more action. Working out of the slot against CB Keiwan Ratliff isn't an ideal matchup, but Reed could surprise. Deep sleeper.

Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S1

He got you this far. Don't stop now.

RB Rudi Johnson S1

Nothing like tons of carries against the league worst run defense to make fantasy owners smile.

WR Chad Johnson S1

Another non-division opponent this week and another big game.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (P) S2

Houshmandzadeh has become one of the more consistent and reliable fantasy receivers. He doesn't put up 100-yard games very often (only two this season), but getting 60-80 yards and a score out of him has become almost automatic.

WR Chris Henry B

The rookie got arrested last week and was deactivated by the team. There is no indication from the team yet as to whether the deactivation was a one week punishment or if it will be longer. Until this mess is straightened out it's best to steer clear.

WR Kelley Washington X With Henry out last week Washington saw his first game action in two months. The result - he matched his week one effort with 48 yards and a touchdown. If Henry remains out Washington will be the #3 WR again. Don't expect enough production to make him a fantasy starter.
 
Dallas (8-6) at Carolina (10-4) Back to top
Playoff Picture: DAL - Playing for wildcard, CAR - Playing for division/wildcard  
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe X

As expected, Bledsoe went back to his mediocre ways against Washington last week. Carolina can get after the quarterback as well as anyone, and that is the blueprint for getting Bledsoe out of his game. Look for more of the same on the road in Carolina.

RB Julius Jones X

Jones out-paced Barber last week thanks to a 51-yard carry that accounted for two-thirds of his rushing yards. Other than that run he struggled and looked out of sorts at times. Don't expect much of an improvement this week against Carolina. He's a big risk as it's likely he will give way to Barber if he starts the game off slow.

RB Marion Barber U

Barber's getting consistent touches now in the offense (31 in the past two games). With Jones struggling you could see Barber out-carry him this weekend. Barber seems to be the stronger runner, a positive against the very stout Panthers' defense. It's also become common for Jones to carry the ball down to the red-zone and for Barber to take over when in scoring position.

WR Keyshawn Johnson X

Johnson's possession receiver role in the Dallas passing game is invaluable. But the fantasy facts are that he's rarely productive enough to be a starter. He averages less than 50 YPG and has topped 60 yards only three times, and those were all prior to week seven.

WR Terry Glenn X

When Stallworth snuck over 100 yards last week against Carolina, he became only the third receiver to hit that mark this season. The other two were back in week five. With Bledsoe under pressure this week, CB's Gamble and Lucas should be able to keep Glenn mostly in check.

TE Jason Witten S2

Played through a mild concussion last week to lead the team in receiving. He's expected to play this week and has scored three touchdowns in the last four games.

Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme X

Delhomme was unimpressive again against New Orleans and still hasn't passed for more than 235 yards in seven straight games. You just can't count on Delhomme and the Panthers passing game to get you the fantasy production you need regardless of opponent.

RB DeShaun Foster (P) S2

Just when you think it's safe to place your trust in Foster as a fantasy back, in walks an old fantasy friend from the past... Nick Goings. Foster is the starter and did get 21 carries last week, but he spent much of the fourth quarter on the sideline watching Goings finish off the game with 16 carries. Foster remains a decent start against Dallas, but it's obvious that the Panthers are going to split up their high-carry running game.

RB Nick Goings X With Stephen Davis out, Goings stepped up last week and nearly doubled his season carry total with 16. Most of his work came late in the game and he averaged just 3.3 YPC. So he's not going to become a late season fantasy star. But he will likely keep getting the rock and limit Foster's big game potential.
WR Steve Smith S1

Every week teams try to take Smith out of the offensive game plan, with rare success.

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. Both went catchless last week.

TE Kris Mangum
Michael Gaines
B Whether it's Mangum or Gaines if he returns from injury, the Carolina tight end position is a fantasy wasteland.
 

Detroit (4-10) at New Orleans (3-11)

Back to top
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington B

Garcia didn't finish last week's game and was replaced by Harrington. Neither played very well but it's Harrington that gets the nod as starter this week for Detroit. Don't even think about it. Not even against the Saints.

RB Pinner/Jones (Q) B

Pinner got the start last week as Jones missed another game due to injury. Jones may return this week. Either way it's best to avoid the Lions' running game. What a waste of a good defensive matchup with New Orleans.

WR Roy Williams X

The passing game is a mess, but at least you can count on Williams. Well maybe. He's scored six touchdowns since he returned in week 10, but his yardage production has been headed south for weeks. Now we have another possible switch at QB. With his team likely DOA in San Antonio it's best to look elsewhere. The only thing keeping him from a bench rating is that fact that the Saints may be DOA in San Antonio also.

WR Mike Williams
Scottie Vines
Charles Rogers
B

All three will make it into the box score, but none are worth your attention.

TE Marcus Pollard B Without knowing who will be throwing the ball for the Lions it's best to stay away from Pollard. Heck, even if you knew it's best to stay away.
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Todd Bouman B

One touchdown, four interceptions, one fumble. Not exactly a shining debut last week for Bouman. If you are looking for late season help at QB... keep looking.

RB Antowain Smith
Aaron Stecker
X

Over the last month Smith and Stecker are averaging about 80 yards and have scored just once. Stecker holds the most fantasy value right now because he's active in the passing game and Bouman looked his way often last week. Both will get you some production, but neither should be in your fantasy lineup.

WR Joe Horn X

Along with the rest of the New Orleans offense, Horn seems to be fading away. In the last four weeks he has just 12 catches for 147 yards. He also hasn't caught a TD pass since week two and aggravated his hamstring injury last week. Horn remains a quality WR so there's always a chance for some upside. But this season is winding down miserably for the Saints and it's best to stay away from both Horn and ...

WR Donte' Stallworth   X

... Stallworth unless you are in desperate need of WR production. And if you are, the better choice will be Stallworth. He's getting more looks than Horn and has scored seven touchdowns this season.

TE Zack Hilton X

Hilton did get as many looks last week as any WR except for Stallworth, but was able to do little with them. Bouman will surely keep looking the big TE's way, but his production can't be relied on.

 
Jacksonville (10-4) at Houston (2-12) Back to top
Playoff Picture: JAC - Playing for wildcard  
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S2

Garrard was only able to account for 200 yards passing and a rushing TD against the woeful Niners. This week it's the woeful Texans. If you get a bonus for QB rushing touchdowns then Garrard holds some value for you as three of his six scores since taking over have been on the ground.

RB Fred Taylor S2

The Jags have had four rushing touchdowns in the past month. Too bad three of them were by the quarterback. After carrying only 16 times for 11 yards in the previous five games, Taylor ran well last week gaining 61 yards on 17 carries. Look for him to continue to progress against a terrible Houston defense and get 20-plus carries as the Jags prepare for the playoffs.

RB Greg Jones (P) X

Jones did get 12 carries last week but left the game with a neck stinger. He's expected to play but will remain just a backup to Taylor.

WR Jimmy Smith S2

Since Garrard took over at QB, Smith has been getting the bulk of the looks, has scored twice and had a 100-yard game. Steady and reliable.

WR Ernest Wilford
Matt Jones
Reggie Williams
X

Outside of Smith the passing production is being spread thinly amongst the other wide receivers with no clear-cut leader. Not enough consistency to warrant any attention this week, even against Houston.

Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr X Any way you slice it Carr just isn't a fantasy factor. He may get you 150 yards and a score this week. Note that I said may.
RB Domanick Davis (Q) B

Davis continues to have swelling in his knee and was unable to play last week. The prospects are not good for a return Saturday. Why put your best offensive weapon out there hurt in a meaningless late season game? If the Texans do they are fools.

RB Jonathan Wells X Wells made his third start of the season and had a career high 28 carries last week. One of those starts was against these same tough Jaguars in week nine. That day he managed only 56 yards rushing, but did score and added 45 yards receiving. Expecting him to match that output on Saturday would be extremely optimistic.
WR Andre Johnson (P) U

Johnson's second most productive game was against Jacksonville in week nine, going 9-for-91. Give that he'll again be matched up with suspect corner Kenny Wright, odds are good for a repeat.

WR Jabar Gaffney
Corey Bradford
B

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

 
New York Giants (10-4) at Washington (8-6) Back to top
Playoff Picture: NYG - Playing for division/wildcard, WAS - Playing for wildcard  
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning X

Manning continues to struggle. He's not throwing the ball well and pressure is getting to him. You can bet the Redskins will come at him hard all day. Don't rely on the young Manning this week.

RB Tiki Barber S1

Flat out, there may not be a better running back to have on your fantasy team than Barber right now (except maybe LT). Banged up O-line... no problem. Tough opponent... no problem. At age 30 this could end up being Barber's best year. Plug him in and don't give it a second thought.

WR Plaxico Burress X

Manning will again be under intense pressure this weekend. That does not bode well for Burress. Despite his great height advantage, he and Manning don't appear to be in sync. Over the past few weeks Manning seems to be overthrowing Burress on almost every play. Which is pretty hard to do. If they can't get it back together it's going to be another long afternoon for Burress owners.

WR Amani Toomer U

The Manning-to-Toomer connection has been the most consistent part of the passing game for weeks. In five of the past six games Toomer has averaged six catches for 60 yards and has scored four touchdowns in that span. It seems Manning's not trying to force the ball high with Toomer like he does with Burress. His matchup with weak CB Carlos Rogers is a good one and he makes a nice #3 WR option this week for your fantasy team.

TE Jeremy Shockey S2

Shockey last four home games - 11 catches, 109 yards and a TD. His last two road games - 20 catches, 234 yards and a TD. Manning seems to rely on him much more on the road.

Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell X

After weeks of barely fantasy worthy games, Brunell blew up with four touchdowns last week. But before you get too excited, that was on just 12 completions. A third of his completions went for scores. Highly unusual and something that will not repeat itself any time soon. Brunell's worst game of the season by far came in week 8 against the Giants. He'll get some redemption this weekend, but not enough to warrant fantasy starter consideration.

RB Clinton Portis S1

Portis was a bit limited last week due to the slight back injury he suffered. But he'll play this week in this critical game. He may see a few extra carries go to his backup Betts, but get Portis in your lineups against a Giants defense that struggled mightily to stop the run last week without star LB Antonio Pierce.

WR Santana Moss S2

Moss just isn't going to post that big game without at least some help at the #2 WR spot. That's not to be expected, but Moss is Brunell's only down field option and that should be enough to warrant a place on most fantasy lineups this week.

WR Taylor Jacobs
James Thrash
B

Moss was the only WR last week to catch a pass.

TE Chris Cooley S2

WOW! So you think the Giants will pay a little attention to Mr. Cooley this weekend? I bet they do. And I bet he still puts up fantasy starter numbers.

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