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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
 
Pittsburgh (9-5) at Cleveland (5-9) Back to top
Playoff Picture: PIT - Playing for wildcard  
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger (P) X

After a bad stretch Roethlisberger is taking better care of the ball and has not thrown an interception in two games. But more importantly to the fantasy world he's only thrown 35 passes in those two games as well, completing only 23. The injured thumb is clearly a factor and the Steelers will continue to protect Big Ben with the running game.

RB Willie Parker  S2 Easy prediction of the week. Parker will get 20 carries, crack 100 yards and break off a long score. That would be his best outing in two months. But hey, it's the Browns.
RB Jerome Bettis X

Bettis wasn't needed last week and was banged up the week prior. Look for a bit more action in this cold weather game.

WR Hines Ward S2

The Browns will have to commit extra bodies to the line of scrimmage if they have any hope of slowing down the running game. That will leave Ward mostly in single coverage. Bad for Cleveland, good for fantasy owners. Now if the Steelers can only pass more than 15 times.

WR Antwaan Randle El X Randle El has been fairly consistent this season. That rarely translates into a starting role on most fantasy teams however. This week will be no different. Look for a typical 3-for-40 performance.
TE Heath Miller S2

As expected, Miller was involved in the passing game more last week after a week off to help block. It only resulted in two catches, but he led all receivers with 58 yards. The Browns provide little QB pressure so Miller will again be free to get quickly into his routes and find the openings in Cleveland's coverage.

Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye (P) B

The rookie is showing some promise, but went scoreless last week and with the Steelers coming to town odds are good this will make it two weeks in a row.

RB Reuben Droughns X

Droughns has seen his rushing numbers fall off each week since his 100-yard game a month ago. He did have five catches last week though, his first significant usage since Frye took over at QB. Frye would be smart to keep him involved again this week as the Steelers will give him little running room.

WR Antonio Bryant X

Bryant is by far the top receiving threat in the Browns offense. That translates into only moderate production most weeks.

WR Dennis Northcutt X

Has returned to the starting lineup with Edwards out and in two weeks he's caught five balls for 54 yards. Not much of an improvement over his production when he wasn't starting.

TE Steve Heiden (P)
Aaron Shea (P)
B

Shea should return this week and share the load with Heiden. Since Frye took over the rookie has had little use for his tight ends.

 
San Diego (9-5) at Kansas City (8-6) Back to top
Playoff Picture: SD - Playing for wildcard/division, KC - Playing for wildcard  
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

As teams start to focus on stopping LT and the running game, Brees' numbers improve. This week however it really shouldn't matter either way. Brees torched the Chiefs for 324 yards and 3 TD's earlier in the season and since then the Kansas City defense seems to be falling apart.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson (Q) S2

The last three games (all against marginal run defenses) have resulted in 86, 75 and 76 yard efforts. The injured ribs seem to be a problem and Tomlinson couldn't finish last week's game when he aggravated the injury. He'll play for sure this week though. And while the risk may be higher than most would like, you can't sit your stud RB now. He's gotten you this far.

WR Keenan McCardell S2

With Parker expected to be out this week due to a foot injury, McCardell makes a great play against a Chiefs secondary that just can't get it together.

WR Reche Caldwell U Caldwell makes a nice sleeper pick this week. He will start for the injured Parker this week and should have some chances against the Chiefs terrible secondary. He's big and athletic and will work the middle of the field with Gates as McCardell stretches them vertically.
TE Antonio Gates S1 Gates disappointed last week in the big game with Indy. But this week brings the Chiefs. The same Chiefs team that he exploded on in week eight for 145 yards and three TD's.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green S2 This will be a high scoring game and the Chiefs will be forced to move the ball through the air by the stifling Chargers run defense. Good thing their pass defense is about as bad as their run defense is good.
RB Larry Johnson (P) S2

Stud, period. But his amazing run of big games started AFTER the San Diego game in week eight. In that matchup the Chiefs were limited to just 93 yards rushing by both Johnson and Holmes. The best anyone's done against the Chargers was Julius Jones and his 93 yards and a TD in week one. Since then San Diego has seen them all and handled them - Barber, Dillon, Parker, Jordan twice, Portis, James.

WR Eddie Kennison (Q) B

Kennison would have been a great play this week except for his health. He injured his knee last week and isn't expected to play Saturday. The short week doesn't help.

WR Samie Parker S2 Parker provides consistent but limited production and hasn't scored since week 11. But with Kennison expected to be out, look for Green to go Parker's way a lot more in this matchup with the very suspect San Diego secondary.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 Gonzalez's biggest game of this season - his week eight showdown with Gates. With a limited running game he could top that this week.
 
San Francisco (2-12) at St. Louis (5-9) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith threw for over 100 yards for the second time last week. He still doesn't have his first career TD. That should come this weekend against the Rams.

RB Kevan Barlow (Q) B

Barlow may return to action this week, but the Niners are taking a good look at Gore now and he may not get many carries. Unless of course, Gore is limited.

RB Frank Gore (Q) U

Gore got the start last week and the rookie was the only offensive player of note in the game against Jacksonville. He gained 79 yards on 19 carries and added 57 yards receiving, leading the team in all categories. He did come out of the game with a shoulder injury however that has him questionable for this week's nice matchup with the porous Rams defense. If he's healthy enough to start he makes a nice sleeper pick this week.

WR Brandon Lloyd X

Smith is going to throw a touchdown this week. Really... he is. If anyone has a shot at catching it it's Lloyd. I wouldn't want to bet my fantasy team's success this week on it though.

St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jamie Martin
B/X

Fitzpatrick has struggled in his three starts and was pulled in last week's loss to Philly. Former starter Martin came in and produced just as much offense in the final two possessions as Fitzpatrick did in the previous three quarters. A starter for this week has not been named. Martin has a bit of upside against the lowly Niners, but Fitzpatrick is strictly off limits.

RB Steven Jackson (P) S2

Jackson disappointed again last week with limited action due to a hip pointer injury. That makes three weeks in a row, and even when healthy he's just not getting the job done. He's expected to play this weekend and this is an obvious good matchup with the Niners defense. Use caution however as it may be just another tease.

WR Torry Holt S2

Fitzpatrick's poor play is dragging down Holt's fantasy value. Last week was with a paltry 3-for-16, his lowest production in years. Thankfully one of the catches was for a touchdown. Holt remains the primary weapon in the passing game however and it would be real hard to sit him against the terrible San Fran secondary. A secondary he torches on a regular basis.

WR Isaac Bruce (P) X

Since Fitzpatrick took over as the starter, Bruce hasn't scored and is averaging just 38 yards per game. If Martin returns to the starting role then Bruce has some promise this week. Otherwise forget it.

WR Kevin Curtis B

Curtis has fallen completely off the map since Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback (5 catches for 26 yards in three games). Like everyone else in the passing game, will get a bump if Martin starts this week. But it's not enough for you to consider him.

 
Tennessee (4-10) at Miami (7-7) Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S2

This matchup with Miami is very similar to last week's with Seattle, with two key differences. First the Titans are on the road. Second, this will not be a high scoring game that will require McNair to pass often to keep pace. Look for his numbers to drop off this week but he remains a borderline starter.

RB Chris Brown (Q) X

Brown wasn't very effective with his 20 carries last week, but that's not too surprising given the opponent. This week he catches a bit of a break with Miami. They are no pushovers, but are not real strong against the run either. Two downsides this week are the shoulder injury that will limit his practice time and the probable return of backup Travis Henry. All tolled, not a real good spot for Brown this week.

RB Travis Henry (Q) B Henry was getting significant playing time prior to missing last week's game with an ankle injury. May return to action this weekend. Not a fantasy factor but a limiter to Brown's value.
WR Drew Bennett (Q) S2

Bennett rebounded big time last week with his first 2-TD effort since last season. May finally start clicking again with McNair. Too bad it's too late for most fantasy owners to take advantage of. This week's matchup is pretty good against struggling CB's Daniels and Howard.

WR Tyrone Calico B There isn't really a WR that matters in this offense beyond Bennett. The tight ends play a bigger role than the #2 WR.
TE Ben Troupe S2

With Kinney possibly out another week the tight end production will go to Troupe again. He doesn't find the end-zone often, but his season high 116 yards last week show how productive he can be in this tight end friendly offense.

TE Erron Kinney (Q) X Kinney has missed two weeks now due to a knee injury. He may return this week but shouldn't be relied on unless he's close to 100%.
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Gus Frerotte (Q)
Sage Rosenfels
X/U

For the third time in five weeks Frerotte's finger kept him from finishing a game. Since he injured the digit in week 11 he's had to leave two other games after aggravating the injury. The starter has not been named this week, but lately the offense seems to run well regardless of the QB. A healthy Rosenfels is a nice sleeper this week, an injured Frerotte is not.

RB

Ronnie Brown (Q)
Ricky Williams

X

Brown's and Williams' production continues to be similar each week, and they both even came out of last week's game banged up. Although it seems Brown got the worst of it with mild knee and ankle injuries. As usual, this is a good matchup and combined they'll likely put up good numbers. But you can't combine them so neither is a strong start unless the other is limited due to their injury. If Brown ends up not playing then Williams is a good start this week.

WR Chris Chambers S2

Chambers came back to earth last week with just 34 yards, but he did score his ninth touchdown of the season. Look for him to get back in his big game groove against a Titans secondary that will be no match for his strength and athleticism.

WR Marty Booker U

Since getting back from his calf injury, Booker has contributed to the Miami passing game with some nice long catches. In the last two games he's had 143 yards on just five catches, nearly a 30 YPC average. And he scored last week. A decent play this week as a #3 WR if you need help.

TE Randy McMichael S2 With Chambers and Booker stretching the field, McMichael continues to find success underneath the secondary coverage. He hasn't scored in four games so he's due.
 
Philadelphia (6-8) at Arizona (4-10) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mike McMahon (P) B

After his near 300-yard debut as starting QB in week 11, McMahon has thrown for over 100 yards only once and for only a single touchdown. Regardless of opponent he's not a fantasy option.

RB Ryan Moats U

Moats has carried the ball just 23 times in the last two games and his production is dominated by three long touchdown runs (40, 18 and 59 yards). Outside of those TD runs he's been fairly ineffective along with the rest of the Eagles offense. He will likely continue to struggle against Arizona's decent defense, but no team has allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Cardinals. Odds would say Moats has a good chance of keeping his TD scoring streak going this week.

RB Lamar Gordon (P) B Moats is getting most of the action. Not a fantasy factor.
WR Greg Lewis
Reggie Brown
B

Lewis had a banner day last week against the terrible Rams secondary, going 4-for-26, more than doubling his total for the previous three weeks. Brown couldn't even match that with his 2-for-21 performance. Needless to say the Philly passing game is off limits for all fantasy owners...

TE L.J. Smith B

... Sadly that goes for Smith as well.

Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh McCown U

With Warner out, McCown will finish out the season for the Cardinals. In his last stint as starter he started strong with two 380-yard plus games but ended with a thud and two sub 160-yard games. Should be motivated to play well since his future is not secure in Arizona. Could surprise this week at home. Philly's just playing out the season and if there's one thing you know the Cardinals will do it's throw the ball.

RB J.J. Arrington
Marcel Shipp
B

Against the league's worst run defense last week Arrington and Shipp split 39 total rushing yards. This may be the worst running attack in the recent history of the NFL.

WR Anquan Boldin
Larry Fitzgerald
S2

Boldin and Fitzgerald have been fantasy studs all season. How they close out will depend on McCown. They had no problem producing when he was the starter earlier in the season, and if he plays well these two receivers will have big games.

WR Bryant Johnson B McCown's not likely to look much beyond the starters, Boldin and Fitzgerald.

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