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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
 
Indianapolis (13-1) at Seattle (12-2) Back to top
Playoff Picture: IND - Playing for nothing, SEA - Playing for home field  
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning (P) X

Wow, the dilemma of the season for Manning owners. The win streak is over and there's nothing left to play for. Add to that the swollen knee Manning has as a result of the beating he took from the Chargers. You can be sure he will start this game, but it would be a shock to see him finish it. No one but HC Dungy will likely know how much Manning will play this week. If he plays for 3 quarters then he remains a decent start. If he plays just a quarter then you may be better off with another option if you have one.

RB Edgerrin James X James is now out of the race for the rushing title and it's very likely he will not play more than a half in this game. Look for James to rest and for backup Rhodes to get extra work this week.
WR Marvin Harrison (Q) B

Not expected to play due to the non-displaced fracture he suffered to his hand.

WR Reggie Wayne S2 Wayne should play a good portion of this game since Harrison is out. Even if Manning gives way to backup Sorgi, Wayne remains a decent but not great start this week.
WR Brandon Stokley U

Stokley has not been a fantasy factor all season. But with the injury to Harrison he will get the start and is an excellent WR choice if you are in need of help at that position this week. The Seattle CB's are not that strong and Stokley will produce.

TE Dallas Clark
Fletcher
X

Neither tight end is a good play this week. Clark may see limited playing time and both will be called on more in pass protection after the poor showing last week. Seattle leads the league in sacks.

Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S1

Seattle is in an offensive groove and you can bet they don't want to mess that up. They are also playing for home field throughout the playoffs - no small advantage. Look for Hasselbeck to play a complete game and do well against what has become a very banged up Indy defense that will be resting many of its starters.

RB Shaun Alexander S1

This will likely be the last week you can rely on Alexander as a fantasy starter. He's an excellent play this week as the Seahawks are playing for home field and the Colts will be resting many of their defensive starters.

WR Darrell Jackson (Q) S2

Jackson ended up playing most of the game last week and looked very good, matching fellow starter Engram catch for catch. Don't expect a slow down. The Indy defense will be hard pressed to limit Seattle's production this week. Both Jackson and ...

WR Bobby Engram S2

... Engram are solid fantasy starts this week with Engram having a bit of a downside now since he's never been much of a touchdown producer with Jackson in the lineup.

WR Joe Jurevicius U

As expected, Jackson's return last week resulted in fewer looks for #3 WR Jurevicius. He remains a difficult matchup for nickel cornerbacks and Indy's Marlin Jackson will be no different.

TE Jerramy Stevens S2

After going two months with no touchdowns and limited action, Stevens has now scored in each of the past two games and looks more active in the passing game. He's a talented weapon for Hasselbeck in an offense loaded with them.

 
Oakland (4-10) at Denver (11-3) Back to top
Playoff Picture: DEN - Playing for division/home field  
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins X

Collins put up a season high 50 passes in week 10 against the Broncos and one of his two 300-yard games. Since that time his play has diminished and he was benched for a week. Back as the starter but was only able to muster 132 yards and a TD last week against the Browns at home. On the road in Denver doesn't look to be much better.

RB Zack Crockett X

Deja vu all over again. Crockett finished out the 2004 season as the Raiders lead back and thanks to Jordan's turf toe injury it may be happening again. Crockett can get the job done. He rushed for 166 yards and a score in the final two games last season. Don't expect that type of production this week however against the Denver defense. Jordan only put up 48 yards rushing in their week 10 meeting.

WR Randy Moss (P) S2

For the second time Moss had but a single catch last week for a touchdown. His best game since the injuries was the 87 yards and a score he put up on Denver earlier in the season. Also did well against the weak Chargers pass defense. So chances are good he can produce decent numbers this week.

WR Jerry Porter S2

Porter has struggled right along with the Oakland passing game for the past month. He still gets plenty of looks though and should get it done this weekend against a Bronco secondary that seriously drops off after CB Champ Bailey.

TE Courtney Anderson (D) B Two catches in the last three games and now has a bum knee.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer S2

The "just manage the game" days seem to have finally passed as Plummer has gained more confidence from HC Shanahan. He's averaged over 250 YPG over the last three. Still doesn't have many multi-TD games as the offense get more grounded in the red-zone. Jake hasn't run one in since week three. Time for another one.

RB Mike Anderson S2

Anderson continues to get the bulk of the workload as he's a back that becomes more efficient the more carries he gets. His 21 carries last week were the most he'd seen in over a month. Look for more of the same against Oakland.

RB Tatum Bell X Bell remains the game-breaking speed back in a Denver backfield rotation that assures him of 10-14 carries a game. Unless he's able to break off a long touchdown (something he hasn't done since week 8) he's of limited fantasy value to owners.
WR Rod Smith S2

Smith has been solid and consistent all season and Plummer finds him regardless of situation or matchup, demonstrated by his season high 11-for-137 game last week.

WR Ashley Lelie X The sight of Lelie and Plummer failing to connect on yet another deep pass became too much to bare long ago for fantasy owners. There's always a chance that one of those deep routes will reach the end-zone, but since it hasn't happened all season the odds are not looking good.
TE Jeb Putzier X Putzier has had more room to work lately as opponents continue to load up in an attempt to stop the Denver running game. Rarely used around the end-zone but is good for 3-4 catches most weeks.
 
Chicago (10-4) at Green Bay (3-11) Back to top
Playoff Picture: CHI - Playing for division/home field  
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman U

Grossman returned to action last week and it took all of one offensive series to confirm it was the right call. He quickly moved the offense down the field for a touchdown. He wasn't perfect and still has a ways to go, but with the Bears still fighting for a division title and home field through the playoffs, he's a deep sleeper play this week against a Packer team that looked like they gave up last week.

RB Thomas Jones S2

With an actual down field threat now Jones gains in fantasy value. The Packers will have to respect the passing game now, opening up the running lanes. Look for Jones to get close to 25 carries and to do some damage.

WR Muhsin Muhammad (P) S2

Some of the happiest people at the sight of Grossman entering the game last week had to be Muhammad owners. He ended the game with only 3 catches and 40 yards, but the future looks much brighter now. And that future starts this week against a Green Bay team that's allowed 20 passing touchdowns this season.

WR Justin Gage
Bernard Berrian
B

Outside of Muhammad, Grossman played no favorites last week, spreading the ball around to both Gage, Berrian and ...

TE Desmond Clark

B

... Clark. Of these three other options only Clark holds much promise the rest of the way. None are startable.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre B

I'm not a Packer fan, but I'm a fan of the game. It's becoming increasingly hard to watch one of the greatest competitors in the history of the NFL go out like this. He will never be defined by this season, but his odds of going out on top are very long even if he returns next season.

WR Tony Fisher
Noah Herron
B Fisher has filled in before and will now be called on again with Gado out. He'll likely get the start but will give some carries to Noah Herron. Neither is an option for your team against Chicago.
WR Donald Driver
Robert Ferguson (Q)
Antonio Chatman
X Favre will be lucky to survive this game, let alone create some productive fantasy numbers for his wide receivers. Driver has the most potential and Chatman is a wildcard each week. Ferguson hasn't done squat since returning to the lineup.
TE Donald Lee
David Martin
X

With Franks out Martin and Lee continue to produce decent but non-startable numbers.

 
Minnesota (8-6) at Baltimore (5-9) Back to top
Playoff Picture: MIN - Playing for wildcard/division  
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson X

Johnson's best games have been against average at best pass defenses, and sometimes not even then. Baltimore on the road in the cold is not a good spot for Jonhson. For the third week in a row, don't expect much from Johnson.

RB Mewelde Moore B

Moore is still battling nagging ankle and quad injuries, but more importantly still seems to be in HC Tice's doghouse. He's had four carries in the last three games.

RB Michael Bennett X

Bennett is currently atop the RB heap in Minnesota. He's led the team in rushing for the past three weeks and that should continue. Unfortunately that's not likely to be enough to warrant fantasy owners starting him this week on the road against a Baltimore defense that's getting healthier.

RB Ciatrick Fason B

The Vikings' fascination with the rookie may have lasted just a week. Fason received three carries last week, all inside the 5-yard line. The result was three stuffs for zero yards.

WR Nate Burleson
Travis Taylor
Marcus Robinson
Koren Robinson
X

The passing game is not running as smoothly now as it was when QB Johnson took over seven weeks ago. As a result the ball is being spread thinly amongst the Vikings wide receivers. None have had more than three catches in the last two games. Johnson is likely to struggle again this week so don't expect much out of this crew.

TE Jermaine Wiggins (Q) X

The same goes for Wiggins, who may be slowed by an ankle injury this week.

Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Boller X Okay. So he made us all look like fools last week. I can take it. But now the big question in Baltimore is - can Boller have two good games in a row? He actually had a nice two game stretch last year, so there's precedence here. The Vikings are playing well against the pass now and you shouldn't place your fantasy hopes this week in Boller.
RB Jamal Lewis S2

Lewis goes from thumb injury and "I don't want to play" to 100-yard rusher in a single week. So in two of the last three games he's played, Lewis has 20-plus carries, over 100 yards and a touchdown. Despite a season of massive letdowns, that's a trend that can't be ignored.

RB Chester Taylor B

Taylor is a complete crap shoot now as to what amount of work he'll receive. Crap shoots are not what you need this time of the season.

WR Derrick Mason U Mason has been consistent but only moderately productive with Boller at quarterback. But things are looking up. He's had 11 catches in the last two games and is by far Boller's prime target outside of his tight end.
WR Mark Clayton X

The rookie playmaker didn't get many looks last week, but he did score for the second week in a row on a running play. Despite what they showed last week the passing game in Baltimore is limited and Clayton is the third option.

TE

Todd Heap

S2 Regardless of opponent or situation, Boller knows that getting the ball to his talented tight end is good for the offense.
 
New England (9-5) at New York Jets (3-11) Back to top
Playoff Picture: NE - Playing for first week bye/home field  
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) S2

It will be business as usual for the Patriots this week. Against the Jets that typically means a bit of a struggle for Brady, who didn't throw for a touchdown in their week 13 meeting. There shouldn't be any snow this time around, so look for Brady to continue his fine play of the past two weeks.

RB Corey Dillon S2

Dillon appears to be running at full speed now after a season of nagging injuries. He's scored in each of the last three games and there's nothing about this matchup with the Jets' 28th ranked run defense that indicates the trend won't continue.

WR

Deion Branch

X

Branch took a back seat to Givens last week. Branch taking a back seat to any other NE wide receiver is not a common occurrence. That's not likely to happen two weeks in a row, but Branch rarely has a big game and hasn't had more than five catches since week six. With a now healthy WR corps Brady has more options.

WR

David Givens
Troy Brown

X

With Givens healthy again some stability has returned to the New England WR corps and as last week showed, there are options for Brady beyond Branch now. Brown had an off game last week but both he and Givens getting a good amount of looks in the passing game. Look for the ball to continue to be spread around this week against a very stingy Jets pass defense.

TE Daniel Graham
Ben Watson
B Both Graham and Watson are battling injuries and neither played last week. One or both may return against the Jets but it's best to find a healthier option for your fantasy team.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brooks Bollinger B

Bollinger surprised with a career-high 327 yards last week and two touchdowns. Considering he put up an almost season low 135 yards and no touchdowns against New England just three weeks ago, it's best not to get too excited about his prospects for Monday night.

RB Cedric Houston X

The new Jets' starter ran well last week, totaling 124 yards thanks to 40 through the air. Since the Patriots allowed over 100 yards to Larry Johnson in week 12, they have held the last three opponents to a TOTAL of just 67 yards on the ground.

WR Laveranues Coles
Justin McCareins 
X

Coles finally found the end-zone last week, but it had been a long and painful drought. Expecting more than 50 yards and a possible touchdown out of these two receivers is asking a lot of the Jets passing game.

TE Doug Jolley X

After a season of only twice getting more than two catches, Jolley blew up last week with NINE for 109 yards that included a 60-yard touchdown. There's nowhere to go but down from here.

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