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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  
 
Dallas (0-0) at Jacksonville (0-0) Back to top
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe S

Protection is the key for the stationary, pocket passing Bledsoe. The O-line hopes to be improved from last season's poor effort, allowing 50 sacks. Early indications are mixed. Even against the stout Jags defensive line, Bledsoe should work enough of the passing game to Glenn and Owens to warrant starter status.

RB Julius Jones X

If the pre-season is any indication, Jones will be losing touches to the improved and powerful running Barber this season. Less than full-time touches against a very good Jacksonville defense isn't a formula for fantasy success.

RB Marion Barber B

Barber has looked great all pre-season and has a lock on the primary backup / 3rd-down back role behind Jones. He'll see action each week but won't have much fantasy value until Jones struggles and Barber takes on a larger role.

WR Terrell Owens S

As expected, the mysterious hamstring injury is now mysteriously healed and Owens is practicing full speed. He'll play in the opener and he'll start to pay off immediately for his fantasy owners.

WR Terry Glenn S

Glenn and Bledsoe looked in mid-season form from day one this pre-season. With Owens now on the other side Glenn will see plenty of single coverage that he can exploit.

TE Jason Witten X

The season of 2-TE sets begins, as does Witten's decreasing fantasy value.

Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich B

This will be a tough way to start the season for Leftwich. He'll be under pressure all day as his O-line will be overmatched by the strong pass-rushing Cowboys defensive front. Look for lots of shotgun and a short passing game.

RB Fred Taylor S

Taylor has looked great this pre-season and appears primed for a fast start in 2006. His workload will increase now that rising backup Greg Jones is out for the season. Music to the ears of Taylor owners. Enjoy him while he's healthy.

WR Matt Jones X

The former college QB looks to have improved and should provide Leftwich with a great down field target.

WR Ernest Wilford S

Same goes for this third-year receiver. He get the edge over Jones due to his chemistry with Leftwich and his value in the red-zone.

TE Kyle Brady B

The aging 12-year veteran hasn't had more than 30 catches and a single touchdown in a season since 2002. Likely to be pushed out by rookie Marcedes Lewis when he's healthy.

 
San Francisco (0-0) at Arizona (0-0) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith has shown some improvement this pre-season and looks more comfortable running the offense. Not hard to do actually after last season. Until further notice he's not a fantasy option however.

RB Frank Gore   S

Week one of the new Norv Turner power-running game featuring full-time back Frank Gore behind a revamped and improved offensive line. Grab the popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.

WR Antonio Bryant X

Bryant is coming off his best season as a pro (his first 1000 yard season) and seems to be adjusting just fine to his new surroundings on the left coast. Arizona will surely focus on stopping the running game, forcing Smith and the passing attack to beat them. So there will be some opportunity for plays to be made.

WR Arnaz Battle B

Battle has secured the #2 WR spot. If rookie TE Davis develops quickly he'll be the third option on most passing downs.

TE Vernon Davis B Hopes are high for the ultra-talented young tight end. While Alex Smith will welcome a big, reliable target over the middle, the fact is that rookie tight ends don't develop to the NFL level quickly. Davis may work into a fantasy option later in the season, but until proven he should stay on your bench.
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S

Hopes are high in the desert and it all rests on the fragile shoulders of Warner. The Cardinals put up 739 passing yards in two games against what was then the worst pass defense in the league, San Francisco. Look for more of the same in the season opener at the new Cardinals Stadium.

RB Edgerrin James S

The big free agent acquisition hasn't put many at ease with his pre-season rushing stats of 7 carries for ONE yard. Spin that all you want, it's still not good. All Arizona backs averaged just 2.8 YPC in the pre-season. The changes on the O-line do not look like they are taking hold yet. Thankfully the Cardinals get a soft season opener with the Niners coming to town. So there's hope for James this week. But it's tempered at best.

WR Anquan Boldin S

What really needs to be said here. Boldin and ...

WR Larry Fitzgerald S ... Fitzgerald were top 10 wide receivers on most fantasy draft boards for a reason. Add in the weak Niner pass defense and you have week 1 fantasy gold.
TE Leonard Pope B The rookie put together an impressive pre-season, but there's only so much production to go around. Pope will always be at the bottom of the fantasy food chain in Arizona.
 
Indianapolis (0-0) at New York Giants (0-0) Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S

Manning Brother Battle I. Should be fun.

RB Dominic Rhodes X Rhodes begins the season as the starter in the backfield but will share the load with rookie Addai. That, along with the tough and improved Giant defense, makes this a very iffy starting spot for Rhodes. Oh yeah, then there's this whole Manning vs. Manning thing. Look for quite a bit of passing in this one.
RB Joseph Addai B Will be getting the short end of the shared backfield for now.
WR Marvin Harrison S

It's Marvin Harrison. You know the drill.

WR Reggie Wayne S Remember you read it hear first. Wayne will outscore Harrison this season.
WR Brandon Stokley (Q) B

Still banged up and may not play.

TE Dallas Clark X

Clark is a hit and miss fantasy starter now, with more misses than hits.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S

This is a tough spot for the younger Manning. He'll face a solid cover-two scheme secondary and an aggressive pass rush. Look for the Giants to work hard on establishing the run in the hopes of opening the passing game up for Eli.

RB Tiki Barber S

Barber will be all over this matchup. Not only running the ball but catching flare-outs and screens out of the backfield. His only down side is the anticipated increased use of backup Brandon Jacobs at the goal-line and in a relief role.

RB Brandon Jacobs B Will likely never be a fantasy starter while Tiki is healthy except in TD-only scoring leagues.
WR Plaxico Burress S

Burress may always be a bit of a head case and disrespectful to his coaches and quarterback at times, but his size and skill make him a prime target for the young Manning.

WR Amani Toomer X

Solid possession receiver that will get you a productive 4-6 catches each week with little upside.

TE Jeremy Shockey S

Shockey wasn't the most consistent tight end last season, but it was his best year since his rookie season and he's primed to have a career year in 2006.

 

Minnesota (0-0) at Washington (0-0)

Back to top
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson X

No one will ever confuse Johnson's game for Culpepper's, that much we know. However, he has the skills necessary to run the West Coast style offense being installed by the new HC Brad Childress. Quick drops will be the key in this matchup as the Redskins will apply lots of pressure up front.

RB Chester Taylor S

Taylor makes his feature back debut in Washington. His skill set is a great fit for the new West Coast offense in Minnesota, and he should be very active in both the running and short passing games.

WR Travis Taylor X Taylor is the receiver that slid right into the starting lineup when Koren Robinson was lost for the season. He's better suited to a possession receiver role, so while he'll pull in a fairly consistent number of catches he doesn't have much upside.
WR Marcus Robinson B

Robinson is still a talent and a good possession receiver. But the #3 WR in this offense isn't going to warrant much fantasy attention this season.

WR Troy Williamson U With success running Taylor will come opportunities for Williamson to use his explosive speed to get over the top of the Redskin corners. Expect a big gain or two Monday night.
TE Jermaine Wiggins X

Wiggins had his second 70-catch season in a row last year but was somewhat forgotten due to his single touchdown scored. His role in the new offense has yet to be clearly defined but the tight end typically plays a key role at times in the West Coast offense.

Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell U

Brunell struggled closing out the 2005 season. This year should see some improvements however. The addition of new OC Al Saunders and some wide receiver talent to go with Santana Moss will help greatly. Look for Brunell to bounce back nicely in this season opener on Monday night.

RB Clinton Portis (Q) X

Word last week was the Portis' shoulder rehab was on schedule for him to be ready week one. Now the Redskins are hedging and listing him as questionable. My gut says they are blowing smoke and Portis will start in this Monday night matchup and do well. But a gut hunch is a risky thing to rely on. If I'm wrong you'll see Ladell Betts get the start and T.J. Duckett get work as well.

WR Santana Moss S

This one's easy. Big game. Book it.

WR Brandon Lloyd X Lloyd will be the starter opposite Moss, but the Redskins will use frequent 3-WR sets this year, pulling Randle El into the mix. Then there's the heavily used TE Cooley. Bottom line, Lloyd will have the occasional fantasy outburst, but most weeks he'll be just so-so.
WR Antwaan Randle El B

Same goes for Randle El, only less so. He will at least get a chance for a reverse each game.

TE Chris Cooley S

Cooley is looking at a season of great matchups and a shift to a more traditional TE role as opposed to the H-Back role he's had in the past. If there's one thing new OC Al Saunders knows how to do it's feed his talented tight end (see Gonzalez in KC).

 
San Diego (0-0) at Oakland (0-0) Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers B

Rivers may be a 3rd year veteran, this will be his first NFL start and it's under the Monday night lights on the road against a heated division rival. No thanks.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S LT will touch the ball a TON in this matchup. He put up 290 total yards and two touchdowns last season in his two games against Oakland.
WR Keenan McCardell X

As goes Rivers, so goes the passing game and the fantasy value of both McCardell and ...

WR Eric Parker X

... Parker. There are some single coverage matchup advantages to exploit here against the shaky Raider secondary. But it likely won't be enough to make the Charger receivers fantasy options.

TE Antonio Gates S Gates remains one of the biggest matchup nightmares in the NFL. Now his fantasy fate rests in the hands of his young and inexperienced quarterback.
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks S

After a very sluggish start to the pre-season, Brooks and the Raiders' passing game began to show some signs of life by games 4 and 5. With Porter slowly working his way out of the doghouse and Curry working his way back from injury, there are options beyond Moss. You'll always have to be willing to take the bad with the occasional good with Brooks. This week should be some of that good.

RB Lamont Jordan S

Jordan proved last season that he's up to the task of a feature back. This week presents a difficult challenge facing a Charger defense that was outstanding against the run last year. Jordan averaged only 45 YPG on the ground last season against San Diego. But he was able to score twice and add some receiving yards. A borderline starter this week.

WR Randy Moss S

Moss remains an elite talent, but is now two years removed from his last big season. Moss will be 30 come the end of this season and time is running out for him to return to his old Viking form. The Chargers will surely focus on taking Moss away early with tight, aggressive coverage from CB Jammer. It won't work.

WR Jerry Porter
Alvis Whitted
B

The #2 WR spot in Oakland is a big mess. Some reports have Porter improving his standing with his new coach. Other reports have Alvis Whitted as the starter this week opposite Moss. Either way it's best to steer clear of this situation for now.

TE Courtney Anderson
Randal Williams
B These two serviceable tight ends return in 2006 after totaling just 37 catches last year. Both will continue to be utilized as they bring different skills to bear. Anderson is a huge target but slow. Williams is a smaller converted WR. Neither will be of much fantasy value.

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