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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 1
Whitney Walters
September 7, 2006
Thursday Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night   Player List by Position  
MIA at PIT BUF at NE NYJ at TEN CHI at GB IND at NYG   Early Injury Status  
Sunday Early CIN at KC PHI at HOU DAL at JAC Monday Night   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
ATL at CAR DEN at STL SEA at DET SF at ARI MIN at WAS   (Q): Questionable  
BAL at TB NO at CLE     SD at OAK   (P): Probable  
     
Start/Bench Codes (SBC)  
S: Start 'em / Stud / Good Matchup X: No start or bench indications / Could go either way  
U: Upside player / Possible sleeper B: Bench 'em / Bad Matchup / Too much risk  
 
Miami (0-0) at Pittsburgh (0-0) Back to top
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Dante Culpepper B

Culpepper has looked great during the pre-season and the knee appears to be around 80% of normal. This is not a good spot for you to give him a fantasy start however. The Steelers will be at home and the defense fired up because they know they will be leaned on with no Big Ben under center. Look for them to pressure CPep all night.

RB

Ronnie Brown

S

Yeah it's the Steelers, but are you really going to sit your #1 draft pick week one? Just don't expect a big game. He'll struggle running at the tough interior of the Pittsburgh defense, but his speed on the perimeter will allow some success.

WR Chris Chambers S

Chambers had a highly productive final six games last year, averaging 7 catches for 103 yards and a score per game. He's also had a fantastic pre-season. Look for the passing game to struggle some on the road in Steel Town, but for Chambers to produce enough to warrant a start this week.

WR Marty Booker X With all the attention Chambers and McMichael will draw, Booker will be a nice spot starter this season given the right matchup. This isn't one of those times.
TE Randy McMichael X The Dolphins will surely try and find some soft spots along the seam between the linebackers and safeties for McMichael to exploit. Those spots won't come easy.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Batch B

With Big Ben out this week Batch gets the start. Not a fantasy option... period.

RB Willie Parker  S Parker is the unquestioned feature back now in Pittsburgh. Miami's defense is showing some improvement, but with the extra carries, including at the goal-line, Parker is a solid starter this week.
WR Hines Ward (P) X

After nursing a tweaked hamstring all pre-season, Ward is expected to start Thursday night in the season opener. With Big Ben sidelined look for a ball-control passing attack that features plenty of short drops and throws from Batch. Not exactly a recipe for a big night.

WR Cedrick Wilson X Wilson will make his debut as the #2 WR for the Steelers Thursday night. As with Ward, the production from the passing game will be limited. Don't look for much here.
TE Heath Miller U

Miller may be the one facet of the passing game that can benefit from the Batch start this week. The expected ball-control passing game will likely feature plenty of Miller as he has the speed and size to create matchup problems for the Dolphin linebackers and safeties.

 
Atlanta (0-0) at Carolina (0-0) Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick B

Averaged 156 total yards and no touchdowns in two games against the Panthers last season. No early indications that this year will be any different.

RB Warrick Dunn X

Dunn will see more goal-line action with Duckett in Washington, but don't expect to see many games where he gets more than 20 carries. The Falcons plan on working rookie Norwood into the mix. Dunn has averaged just 84 YPG in the last four against Carolina. Look for Atlanta to utilize 2-TE sets in the hopes of helping Dunn get to the corners.

RB Jerious Norwood B

The impressive rookie will surely see some carries, but you shouldn't pin your starting hopes on him until his role in the Falcon offense is better defined. Oh, and there's that whole playing the Panthers on the road thing.

WR Michael Jenkins
Roddy White
Ashley Lelie
B Until proven otherwise, the Falcon wide receivers remain off limits to fantasy players. With the Panthers likely keying on the running game, the most you'll see from this crew is an occasional strike down field.
TE Alge Crumpler X Crumpler is traditionally a key target for Vick, but he's still being slowed by the off-season shoulder and knee surgeries. This will result in matchup problems against Carolina.
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme S

Delhomme has looked sharp in the pre-season. With the running game cranking he should have the pocket protection to fine his much improved passing options. Look for about 250 yards and two scores.

RB Deshaun Foster S

Foster is the starter and has just completed a solid pre-season. Look for him to get the bulk of the carries this week as the Panthers will attack the weak interior run defense of the Falcons. He will loose touches to impressive rookie Williams however, so temper any high expectations for Foster.

RB DeAngelo Williams B

Before we get all excited about this talented rookie, remember that Foster is the starter. And until he's slowed by injury Williams isn't expected to get enough touches to make him a viable fantasy starter... yet.

WR Steve Smith (Q) X

The prime-time matchup that could have been. Last season's #1 WR against one of the games best cover corners, DeAngelo Hall. However, after a pre-season of hamstring problems and minor toe surgery, Smith tweaked his "other" hamstring in practice this week. Right now he's expected to play, but he's a big risk start.

WR Keyshawn Johnson X Great acquisition for the Panthers, giving the passing attack a solid possession receiver opposite all-world Smith. Johnson may be a spot starter for some fantasy teams, but he's rarely going to get you more than six catches for 60 yards and the occasional score.
WR Keary Colbert B

Colbert has had a fantastic pre-season and looks to be healthy and primed for a successful season. But he's still just a #3 WR in a run-first offense.

TE Kris Mangum B Mangum has the receiving skills to be a viable pass catcher. The tight end in Carolina hasn't been a fantasy factor for years however. In the past three years Mangum has averaged fewer than 2 catches per game and totaled only five TDs.
 
Baltimore (0-0) at Tampa Bay (0-0) Back to top
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S

You can feel the life being breathed into the Raven offense with the arrival of McNair. With a solid O-line and running game already in place and a talented receiving corps, look for the Ravens to "air" it out more this year. Beginning this week.

RB Jamal Lewis (Q) X Tampa Bay is always a difficult team to run on, and this season should be no different. Lewis will get his carries, but so will Mike Anderson and Musa Smith as well. Expect limited production from Lewis this week.
RB Mike Anderson
Musa Smith
B

Both Anderson and Smith will see action behind starter Lewis. But until shown otherwise that's not going to be enough to warrant fantasy starter consideration.

WR Derrick Mason (Q) S With a healthy and productive Heap taking the safety coverage down the middle, look for Mason to find some success on the outside routes.
WR Mark Clayton U

Clayton was limited by the terrible Raven passing attack last season. This is a new year and the talented second-year receiver will surprise most fantasy players with some decent production. Starting this week.

TE

Todd Heap

S Heap is a stud TE and you always start your stud TE's.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Simms B

Simms may indeed have a good 2006 season when it's all said and done. But this young quarterback will have the aggressive and improved Baltimore defense coming at him all afternoon on Sunday.

RB Carnell Williams S

The Ravens are a tough matchup for sure, but you didn't draft the Caddy in the first round to keep him parked week one.

WR Michael Clayton B

Clayton should have a nice bounce back year in 2006. But the passing game will struggle this week, so don't expect much from him or ...

WR Joey Galloway X

... Galloway this week. Although Galloway may break off a long gain or two.

TE Alex Smith B

Smith is a great young talent, but the Bucs are more likely this week to utilize his blocking skills against the Ravens defense.

 

Buffalo (0-0) at New England (0-0)

Back to top
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman U

Losman has had a solid pre-season and is showing improved play over last year. He has a nice stable of receivers and new OC Steve Fairchild is no stranger to a big passing game. He could surprise this weekend against a NE defense that ranked 31st against the pass last year. But he'll be under heavy attack all afternoon.

RB Willis McGahee S

McGahee is slimmer, quicker and looks primed for a good year after putting up a 4.9 YPC average in the pre-season. This will be a tough game for McGahee as the Bills don't match up real well against the Patriot defensive line. Look for a lot of work on the parameter.

WR Lee Evans U

Evans should be on tap for a productive year, but he has struggled in the past when facing the Patriots. In the last four games he's averaged just 51 YPG and hasn't scored. But he could steal a big play or two given the lack of elite cornerback talent in New England.

WR Peerless Price
Josh Reed
B

For now there's just not a lot of fantasy value beyond Evans at wide receiver.

TE Robert Royal B Not a fantasy factor.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) S

No Givens and no Branch. Say what you want about the "spread it around" passing game, but those two holes will not be easily filled. And Brady's numbers will pay the price. Thankfully he gets a good matchup against a young and unproven Buffalo secondary this week.

RB Corey Dillon S

With Maroney likely out this week, Dillon will carry close to the full load against a Buffalo defense that ranked second to last in 2005 against the run. He's slowing down but will be a solid fantasy starter until the rookie gets back on the field.

RB Laurence Maroney B

Suffered a knee injury late in the pre-season that no one will have the details on until kickoff Sunday... If even then. Stay away.

WR

Reche Caldwell

X

Caldwell has looked lost at times during the pre-season, but for now he's the Patriots' #1 WR. Look for New England to spread the young Buffalo secondary out with three and four wide receiver sets. As a result, neither Caldwell or ...

WR

Troy Brown
Doug Gabriel (P)

X

... any other wide receiver will have much fantasy impact this week.

TE Ben Watson S Fantasy stud TE in the making. For those who waited on a TE in their draft and snagged Watson late - your pay off begins this weekend.
 
Cincinnati (0-0) at Kansas City (0-0) Back to top
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S

The revamped Kansas City defense will get it's first bit test Sunday facing Palmer and the Bengal passing attack. Until "revamped" actually becomes "improved" there are no worries for opposing passing games against what was one of the worst pass defenses in the league last season.

RB Rudi Johnson S

Palmer and Johnson get all the pub, but Rudi is a vital element in the offense. A solid running game is key to keeping pressure off of Palmer. Look for the Bengals to establish the run early in this matchup.

WR Chad Johnson S

One of the premier receivers in the league.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (P) S

With Johnson drawing the top coverage of opponents last season, Houshmandzadeh became a fantasy mainstay. Expect a repeat this season, only better.

TE Reggie Kelly B The most you should expect out of a Cincinnati TE is a couple of catches a game, if that.
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green X Cincinnati is an opportunistic defense, but they don't produce a lot of sacks and do allow quite a bit of yards in the passing game. Even with that you shouldn't consider Green much of a fantasy starter. His protection will suffer and with the new coaching staff comes a new commitment to a plodding, ball-control offense. On the plus side, the Chiefs may be playing catchup most of the second half.
RB Larry Johnson S There are obvious concerns about the offensive line this season, having to replace both tackles and with it's premier guard (Will Shields) hobbled. But LJ is still LJ and he's a stud nonetheless.
WR Eddie Kennison X Kennison remains what he's always been. An average receiver whose primary skill is deep sideline routes. The strong KC running game typically makes for those routes to be available. The question this season is how often they will be utilized by the new offensive coaches.
WR Samie Parker X This is Parker's third NFL season and all indications are it will be his best. This week's matchup is nothing special.
TE Tony Gonzalez S Not the dominant force he used to be, but he still poses matchup problems for most linebacker corps. The problem is his role in the red-zone, which diminished greatly last season.
 
Denver (0-0) at St. Louis (0-0) Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer U Last season Plummer opened up on the road against a tough opponent and put up 250 yards and a score. Look for an extra touchdown in this season opening matchup against a not so tough opponent. The Rams' defense has several new faces and is still adjusting to a new scheme.
RB Mike Bell S

The undrafted rookie that came out of nowhere this pre-season will likely get his first NFL start on Sunday. But as is the case now in Denver, he'll share the workload with his "Bell Brother" Tatum. Against the struggling Rams run defense that should be enough to warrant a borderline fantasy start this week.

RB Tatum Bell X Until shown otherwise, look for this half of the "Bells" to get his usual 14-18 touches.
WR Rod Smith X The ageless wonder just keeps on going. This is a favorable matchup, but Smith may be a bit slower than usual due to the hamstring problems he's had this pre-season.
WR Javon Walker S In the Rams attempt to apply pressure on Plummer they will likely leave only a single safety back in coverage. Look for the Broncos to take advantage of this mismatch with the newly acquired Walker and for him to start his career off in Denver with a bang this weekend.
TE Tony Scheffler U Scheffler will surprise this season. He's a great talent and the Broncos have already shown a willingness to use him in single TE sets and go to him in the passing game. He creates mismatches at the position Denver hasn't had since Shannon Sharpe.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S

While many things changed for the Rams this year, Bulger and his talented WR corps remains the same. Outside of Champ Bailey the Broncos' secondary is still wet behind the ears. Talented but inexperienced. Bulger's a solid start this week.

RB Steven Jackson S The bruising Jackson finally gets his change to be a heavily used feature back. This will be a difficult matchup to show his stuff. Denver's defense ranked #2 against the run last season. The D-line saw some shuffling, but this remains a strong unit. Don't expect big numbers from Jackson on Sunday, but just enough to warrant a fantasy starter status.
WR Torry Holt S The bruised sternum is fine and Holt remains one of the most consistent fantasy starters at his position.
WR Isaac Bruce U

Like his fellow ageless wonder across the field, Rod Smith, Bruce continues to produce at an NFL level. The question remains however for this season if that production will be at a fantasy starter level. If he remains healthy he should serve fantasy players well as a spot starter. This may be one of those spots going up against the young Bronco corners.

WR Kevin Curtis B

Curtis will not get the snaps this week to warrant any fantasy attention. Look for the Rams to go with 2-TE sets most of the game to help them run the ball against the talented Denver linebacker corps.

TE Joe Klopfenstein B The talented rookie will get his first NFL start Sunday. Until he proves himself worthy of fantasy attention it's best to leave him be.

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