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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  
 
New Orleans (0-0) at Cleveland (0-0) Back to top
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees X

Brees hasn't looked comfortable in the New Orleans offense so far. He'll need to get comfortable quickly if he's to remain a slightly viable fantasy starter. The only thing keeping him from a "B" rating this week is the opponent - who may be one of the teams that actually have more problems than the Saints.

RB Deuce McAllister S

Lost in all the Bush hype is this simple fact - Deuce is healthy and the starter. He'll get the majority of the carries and all of them at the goal-line. The Browns may prove to be improved on defense this season, but this unit has a long way to go since they ranked 30th against the run last year.

RB Reggie Bush U Qualifies as a possible sleeper this week only because it's still unclear as to his role in the offense and the opponent is the Browns.
WR Joe Horn X

Horn just isn't what he used to be. Age is catching up to him and he seems to be constantly bothered by nagging injuries - especially with his back. Not a good sign. Also not a good sign is the fact that the Saints have no proven #2 WR. Horn will draw all the primary coverage each week, so expect him to struggle at times.

WR Marques Colston   B Well someone has to be the #2 WR in New Orleans, and it looks like this seventh-round rookie out of Hofstra is it. He was considered a raw talent in need of development when drafted. Now that development will come in the form of on-the-job training.
TE Mark Campbell B

The Saints' tight end position is a mess, with neither Campbell nor Conwell taking charge of the starting role this pre-season. It looks like Campbell will begin the season as the starter, but Conwell remains in the picture.

Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye B

Frye was barely serviceable while closing out the season last year as a rookie. He averaged just 190 YPG and tossed four touchdowns in five games. Will be the starter from game one this season and is playing behind what is hoped to be an improved O-line. Still, Frye isn't likely to be a fantasy option this year.

RB Reuben Droughns S

Droughns is a solid and dependable back that averaged 80 YPG last year behind a terrible O-line. That line looks to have made some improvements and the Saints' defense is looking a lot like last year's version that was terrible at stopping the run. Look for Droughns to get plenty of carries in this matchup and work his way to a borderline fantasy starter.

WR Braylon Edwards U

Edwards has been a nice surprise this pre-season. Not talent-wise, but health-wise. He's looked great in camp and in the game action he's seen. This offense and the young Frye will need him in 2006. Look for the Browns to take advantage of Edwards height and athleticism against the 5-9 CB Fred Thomas.

WR Joe Jurevicius X

Jurevicius has the same height advantage as Edwards, but not close to the upside. Yes, Jurevicius had 10 touchdowns last year. But that was in the high-powered Seattle offense and prior to last year his career high mark was 4 TDs in 2002.

TE Kellen Winslow Jr. U

Winslow has had a solid pre-season and it looks like we will finally see what this young talent has on the NFL field. With the Saints likely bringing an extra defender into the box in run support, look for Frye to lean in his TE in the underneath passing attack.

 
New York Jets (0-0) at Tennessee (0-0) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington U

Health will be the key for Pennington this season. He'll be setting up behind an O-line with two rookies. They catch a break this week as the Titans' defensive line is riddled with injuries. Look for Pennington to perform well in his season debut with a short passing attack and an occasional long strike to Coles.

RB Blaylock / Barlow /
Houston / Washington
B

This running back situation smells as bad as... Well, you can fill i the blank. Stay away. Stay very far away. For whatever it's worth, it looks like Blaylock will get the start this week.

WR Laveranues Coles   X

Coles still has what it takes to beat average corners. Average is about as good as it gets with the Titans. Look for him to get deep on Reynaldo Hill on a few occasions.

WR Jerricho Cotchery
Justin McCariens
B Cotchery has been named the #2 WR for the Jets but McCareins will see plenty of playing time as well. Neither are viable fantasy options at this early stage of the season.
TE Chris Baker B

Baker's 124 yard - 1 TD week one performance last season made him a fantasy waiver darling. Then he proceeded to amass 145 total yards the rest of the season. It's yet to be seen how active the TE is in the Jets' new offense. Until then it's off limits.

Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins B

Officially the Titans won't announce their starting QB until Sunday morning. The odds are in Collins favor at this time. Given this uncertainty it's best to look elsewhere this week. As if you were looking to the Titans' quarterback for you team in the first place.

RB Chris Brown S

The Titans are committed to a ball-control offense this season, and it will all start with the running game. Look for a heavy dose of Brown up the middle behind new all-pro center Mawae.

RB LenDale White (Q) B Travis Henry is the named backup behind Brown and it's unclear as to White's role in the offense week one. There's even a chance he'll be inactive.
WR Drew Bennett X

By default Bennett will be the likely to fantasy WR for the Titans this week as both Givens and Jones are dealing with pre-season injuries.

WR David Givens (Q)
Brandon Jones
B Givens has the most fantasy potential this season, but he's still not 100% recovered from off-season ankle surgery and pre-season hamstring problems. Jones will not be 100% this week due to his knee injury.
TE Ben Troupe S

Kinney remains a health problem so Troupe is the man. And he should be. He's the team's most dynamic pass catching option and is a solid start regardless of who the QB is.

 
Philadelphia (0-0) at Houston (0-0) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S

Healthy and ready to roll. Houston provides a tasty week one fantasy matchup.

RB Brian Westbrook S

Westbrook remains the key to the Eagles' offense. He'll continue to get a healthy dose of touches both on the ground and through the air. Houston was the league's worst run defense last year. Nice way to start the season for those who drafted Westbrook.

WR Donte Stallworth S Stallworth will get the start Sunday for his new team and immediately becomes McNabb's most talented WR target.
WR Reggie Brown U

Brown really came into his own late last season and the Eagles are counting on continued improvement even with the acquisition of Stallworth. Brown should get enough opportunities to shine this week against the Texans since Stallworth doesn't yet have a full grasp of the offense.

WR Hank Baskett B

A pre-season darling that will likely fade into a seldom used #3 WR role for the Eagles.

TE L.J. Smith S

Smith is a prime target for McNabb and his size and speed make him a difficult matchup for any defense.

Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr B Carr's first "improved" test is a doosy. Don't expect much. We know for sure the Philly defense is improved, and that's not a good thing for Carr or the Texans.
RB Wali Lundy X

The addition of Ron Dayne may muddy the water in the Houston backfield for some. But answer this. How many times did Denver trot out Dayne in goal-line and short yardage situations last season? Exactly. Until further notice Lundy is the man with the rock. Too bad his debut matchup is against what will be one of the top defenses this year.

RB Vernand Morency B Improved his zone-blocking running throughout the pre-season and will be worked into the running game as Lundy's backup. Very doubtful that will be enough to warrant any fantasy attention for now.
WR Andre Johnson X

Johnson will find mismatches at the corners against the Eagles' smaller defenders. Philly will counter with bracket coverage help from their athletic safeties, Dawkins and Lewis. With little help from a tight end or #3 WR, the Eagles will hold up well in pass defense.

WR Eric Moulds X

Ditto for Moulds.

TE Jeb Putzier
Mark Bruener
B Putzier is a tough pass catcher but not much of a blocker. Bruener is a tough blocker but not much of a receiver. Both add up to a fantasy no-show.
 

Seattle (0-0) at Detroit (0-0)

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Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S

This is pretty much a no-brainer fantasy starter-fest for anyone in a Seahawk uniform this week.

RB Shaun Alexander S

Starter-fest.

WR Darrell Jackson (P) X

Starter-fe... Oh, wait a minute. Not so fast. All indications are that Jackson will play this week. Problem is no one's seen him take a live snap yet. If he starts and is close to 100% then he's a solid starter this week. If not then he isn't. Too much risk here for most fantasy players week one.

WR Nate Burleson S

Starter-fest continues. Could have a big day against the familiar and overmatched CB Fernando Bryant.

WR Bobby Engram X

No Jackson = starter-fest. Jackson = not so fast. Engram has looked good this pre-season but will not get the looks as a #3 WR fantasy players grew accustomed to him getting as a #2 or #1 last season.

TE Itula Mili B

Starter-fest ends with the banged up Mili.

Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna B

Kitna is not a mobile QB and needs a stable pocket to have success. Detroit has an experienced O-line, but it will be overmatched by the aggressive Seattle rush that lead the league in sacks last season.

RB Kevin Jones X

Lost in all the talk of Alexander and the sack happy defense was the fact that Seattle ended the season with a top five run defense and allowed only 5 rushing TDs all year (second lowest in the league). It'll be tough going for Jones in the season opener.

WR Roy Williams S

The Seattle corners Herndon and Trufant can handle most receivers in the league, but a healthy Williams will be a challenge. The WR position beyond Williams is a mess, so Kitna will surely be looking Williams' way all day.

WR Corey Bradford B

Free agent pickup Bradford has risen above the WR mess in Detroit to claim the #2 WR spot opposite ultra-talented Roy Williams. So after four seasons of high hopes and low delivery in Houston it looks like we get at least another year of the same in Detroit.

TE Marcus Pollard B Pollard was not a viable fantasy tight end last year after leaving the Colts' offense. Don't look for that to change in the Mike Martz run 2006 Lions. He'll likely lose his starting spot as soon as Casey Fitzsimmons returns from his broken wrist.
 
Chicago (0-0) at Green Bay (0-0) Back to top
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman B

All indications are that the Bears will go with Grossman in the season opener despite his dismal pre-season play. No fantasy team out there should be doing the same.

RB Thomas Jones X

Jones will be the starter this week. He carries some serious downside however. He has not looked at all recovered from his pre-season hamstring injury, and Benson is expected to be ready to play. Look for a shared backfield this week, hurting his fantasy value.

RB Cedric Benson (Q) B

Benson has declared himself healthy and ready to go for this game. He'll see action in the backfield for sure and if he stays healthy it's only a matter of time before they give the starting job to their million dollar #1 draft pick.

WR Muhsin Muhammad X

If anyone is going to succeed this week in the Chicago passing game it will be Muhammad. Cornerback is one area the Packers look to improve with the addition of Charles Woodson, but Muhammad's talent will win out.

WR Bernard Berrian B

Berrian is basically holding down the #2 WR spot until the talented Mark Bradley is 100%.

TE Desmond Clark

B

Clark is a good pass-catching tight end with size and speed. But he's only good for a catch or two a game in this offense.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre X

Favre threw six interceptions and lost two fumbles in two games against the Bears last season. But he did average almost 300 yards passing in those two games. So far there's no indication this matchup will be much different.

RB Ahman Green B

The Bears could actually be run on a bit last year and Green has looked very good in the pre-season. He seems close to fully recovered from ruptured quad tendon he suffered last season. But don't look for much fantasy help from Green this week as he'll be trying it behind an O-line starting two rookies. That's no match for the Bears front seven.

WR Donald Driver X Driver, along with Favre, is one of the last men standing in Packerland. He's the unquestioned #1 and will be Favre's main target all season. If any Packer has a chance to put up some fantasy numbers this week it's Driver. He was able to last season, totaling 14 catches for 171 yards.
WR Greg Jennings U The rookie receiver has been impressive all pre-season and has earned the starting spot opposite Driver. With the extra attention Driver will be getting it's possible Jennings could sneak a long score in this weekend. But it won't come easy.
TE Bubba Franks X

Always a favorite target of Favre's around the end-zone but never much of a yardage producer. He'll mostly be a blocker this Sunday matched up against the powerhouse Chicago defense.

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