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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 2
Whitney Walters
September 14, 2006
Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night   Player List by Position  
BUF at MIA HOU at IND TB at ATL KC at DEN WAS at DAL   Early Injury Status  
CAR at MIN NO at GB Sunday Late NE at NYJ Monday Night   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
CLE at CIN NYG at PHI ARI at SEA TEN at SD PIT at JAC   (Q): Questionable  
DET at CHI OAK at BAL STL at SF       (P): Probable  
     
Start/Bench Codes (SBC)  
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) X: No matchup advantage or disadvantage  
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Good matchup) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)  
U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)    
 
New York Giants (0-1) at Philadelphia (1-0) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Manning looked poised and improved last week and played well against the Eagles last season. But the Eagles defense is much improved this season and will pose problems.

RB Tiki Barber S1

Barber may be on the back side of 30 years old, but he still shows no signs of slowing down. If anything he seems to be getting better with each passing season. Philly only allowed 70 yards rushing last week, but that was against Houston. In his last four games against the Eagles Barber has averaged 162 total yards and scored twice.

RB Brandon Jacobs B Jacobs has greatly improved over last season and is running like a beast. He may end up being the biggest fantasy TD vulture in the league this season. He's a must start in TD-only leagues and may be a decent bye week fill in if he can continue to get around 50 yards and a score per game.
WR Plaxico Burress S2

Burress seems to be really coming into his own now. His large frame causes matchup problems for any opposing secondary. If Manning can cut down on the over-throws to his 6-5 receiver (it's amazing how often that happens for such a tall receiver), Burress has a chance to have a huge fantasy season.

WR Amani Toomer U

Solid possession receiver that will get you a productive 4-6 catches each week with little upside due to all the other weapons in the passing game. Has a bit of upside this week since the Eagles are down one key cornerback in Lito Sheppard. His replacement Rod Hood is not much of a downgrade, but now the nickel packages have a weakness.

TE Jeremy Shockey (P) S1

Shockey limped his way to a 5-59, 1 TD performance last Sunday. The sprained ankle (again) is a concern, but he's expected to be fine and should have a big game this weekend in Philly.

Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1

Too many weapons now in the passing game and looking as sharp as ever.

RB Brian Westbrook S2

First the good news. Westbrook had 17 carries last week. A total he hit only twice last season. And his 24 total touches was a level he'd hit only nine other times in his career. Also, his skills as a receiver make him the key running back in the Eagles' offense. Now the not so good news. Backup Buckhalter is running strong and will continue to cut into Westbrook's carries. Keep an eye on the carry distribution, beginning this week.

WR Donte' Stallworth S1 Wow, what a Philly coming out party for Stallworth. Look for more of the same this weekend. With safeties Wilson and Demps pre-occupied with Westbrook and L. J. Smith, there will be plenty of one-on-one coverage to be exploited in this cornerback matchup with the aging Madison and inexperienced Webster.
WR Reggie Brown U

The newly acquired Stallworth will provide the down field fireworks, but Brown remains an improving possession receiver and red-zone target for McNabb.

TE L.J. Smith S1

McNabb threw him the ball six times last week and he caught every one of them. This week it's time for his first TD of the season.

 
Oakland (0-1) at Baltimore (1-0) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks (P) B

For those that didn't stay up late to watch the Oakland beat down suffered at the hands of the Chargers, it was a pitiful sight. And it only gets worse for Brooks and crew this week on the road in Baltimore.

RB Lamont Jordan B

10 carries for 20 yards. That was Jordan's stat line from last week's massacre in Oakland. It's hard to imagine him not improving on that this week. How much so is the question. Call it a hunch, but I don't think it'll be all that much against the Ravens on the road. The Ravens that held Cadillac Williams to 22 yards rushing last week. Yeah, those Ravens.

WR Randy Moss B

If you missed the end of the late Monday nighter you missed a nice moment for Moss and his new QB, Brooks. On a third down with their backs to the end-zone, Moss completely quit on a route and didn't even try to catch a somewhat high pass from Brooks on the sideline just beyond the first down marker. Not that Moss quitting is a big surprise, but it sure is early in the season for it to happen.

WR Jerry Porter
Alvis Whitted
Ronald Curry
B

The #2 WR spot in Oakland remains a mess. Porter, the Raiders most talented WR outside of Moss, was inactive for the Charger game. Whitted started and Curry played. Both were terrible. Will Porter emerge from the Shell doghouse this week? Who knows. The only certainty is fantasy owners should stay far away from this situation.

TE Courtney Anderson
Randal Williams
B

Both Anderson and Williams received four looks against San Diego. Second only to Moss' six. With the #2 WR position in a complete state of chaos, these two will see a good number of passes from Brooks. But as is the case with any two-headed TE, the result is neither are of much fantasy value.

Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S2

McNair got his Raven career off to a solid start last week. It's only the beginning. He has a full assortment of receiving talent around him, a solid o-line in front of him and a power running game to balance the offense. The Raiders' defense doesn't stand a chance in this matchup. Look for McNair's play to improve over time as he becomes more comfortable with the offense and they open up more of the playbook.

RB Jamal Lewis (Q) S1 Lewis showed no lingering affects from the hip injury that sidelined him for the final two weeks of the pre-season. He ran strong and with power on his way to 78 yards and a score last week. The only downside was his backups getting one-third of the carries on the day. A trend you will likely see continue. Regardless, the Raiders had no answer for the Chargers running game and they won't have an answer for Lewis and the Ravens this week.
RB Mike Anderson
Musa Smith
B

As expected both Anderson and Smith saw action behind Lewis. They carried the ball one-third of the time and you can expect that to continue this season as the Ravens don't want to wear down the aging Lewis. It'll never be enough to make either a fantasy value however.

WR Derrick Mason S1 McNair to Mason has looked good since training camp. Look for this duo to hook up on a few deep strikes this week as the Raiders will likely commit some extra bodies to the box in an effort to stop the running attack.
WR Mark Clayton B

Clayton is a great young talent, but he's third in the progression most plays behind Mason and Heap. In an offense that focuses on the running game and a ball-control passing attack, that leaves little fantasy value for the second-year receiver.

TE

Todd Heap (Q)

S1 Don't sweat the catches and touchdown by fellow TE Wilcox. Heap is the man and will always be the primary TE option in this offense. He lead the team last week in catches (5), targets (9) and targets inside the 10-yard line (2).
 
Tampa Bay (0-1) at Atlanta (1-0) Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Simms B

Simms was battered by the Ravens last week and managed just 133 yards and threw three interceptions. Don't expect much improvement on the road in Atlanta Sunday. The Falcons put a hurtn' on the Panthers' passing game last weekend and are likely to do the same here. But if Atlanta ends up without their two injured star DE's Kerney and Abraham, Simms will have a more secure pocket for sure.

RB Carnell Williams S2

This is a tough call after watching the Ravens stuff the Tampa Bay running game and limiting Cadillac to just 22 yards on eight carries. But the Bucs' success this week hinges on the running game. Look for them to establish it early and often. Last season's matchups with Atlanta produced two of Williams' biggest games. Even though the Falcons are much improved on defense, he should be able to get it going this week as one of the two injured guards last week should return to action.

WR Michael Clayton B

Clayton was the only wideout to catch a ball last week for the Bucs. Don't expect much from him this week matched up against a secondary that included outstanding corner DeAngelo Hall.

WR Joey Galloway B

When your forte is the deep ball, having a quarterback with little time to set up in the pocket severely limits your effectiveness - and fantasy value.

TE Alex Smith B

Smith was out-caught by fellow TE Becht last week. That was not the plan. The 2-TE sets employed by the Bucs is designed to feature the more talented and athletic Smith. That should correct itself starting this week, but it's not going to be enough to warrant moving Smith into your starting lineup.

Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S2

Vick has had success against the Bucs in the past. Last season he tossed four touchdowns in their two meetings and recorded a rare 300-yards passing in one. Based on those past performances, his solid outing last week and his ability to pad his fantasy numbers with rushing - Vick squeezes out a borderline starter rating this week.

RB Warrick Dunn S1

Dunn looked great last week and is the unsung hero of this offense. Has been for a while now. His 29 carries was a high point he hasn't surpassed since early 2002. Even more important to fantasy players was the fact that he carried the ball once the team was down near the goal-line.

RB Jerious Norwood B

The speedy rookie got 10 carries last week and averaged 6.6 yards on each. An impressive debut. Due to Norwood's spotty protection skills, that 10 carry effort may be a high point. Don't expect much more than that until he develops better blitz pickup skills.

WR Michael Jenkins U Well if week one told us anything about the Falcons' passing attack, it's that Vick has gained confidence in his talented third-year receiver and will be looking his way as much as he looks Crumpler's. Could this finally be the year of a fantasy relevant Falcon wide receiver? Too early to tell. But the week one signs were at least positive.
TE Alge Crumpler S1 Crumpler showed no ill effects in week one from his off-season shoulder and knee surgeries. He remains a primary target for Vick and a solid fantasy starter every week. The more Atlanta utilizes Vick's run-pass options the more the down field seams open up for their big tight end.
 

Arizona (1-0) at Seattle (1-0)

Back to top
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S2

Yeah it was only the Niners, but Warner looked sharp and had flashes of his old league MVP self. The challenge is greater this week on the road against a very formidable Seattle defense. Look for more of a short-passing game this week to limit Warner's time in what will be a quickly closing pocket.

RB Edgerrin James S2

2.8 YPC against the Niners at home. Not exactly what fantasy owners wanted when they drafted James to their squad in the first round. But not all that surprising given the state of the Arizona offensive line. Thankfully he scored a touchdown on a 1-yard plunge. Until the o-line improves and starting RT Oliver Ross returns that's about what you should expect from James against a solid defense - 60-80 yards and hopefully a score.

WR Larry Fitzgerald S1 Last season's final game against Seattle was Warner's return from injury and the start of Fitz's fantastic closing run. Cornerbacks Trufant and Herndon are solid, but no match for Fitzgerald and ...
WR Anquan Boldin S1

... Boldin. Both should be in your starting lineup with no hesitation.

TE Leonard Pope U The rookie looked okay but a bit overwhelmed last week in his first NFL start. Could surprise this week as Warner will need a few quick outlets against the Seattle pass rush. Pope is a huge target at 6-7, 256 and can be a real threat in the red-zone.
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S1

The Detroit defense showed themselves to be greatly improved and up to the task last week, virtually shutting down the high-powered Seattle offense. That was not the case in Arizona and you can bank on Hasselbeck and his crew getting back on track this week.

RB Shaun Alexander S1

Couldn't stop Gore. Won't stop Alexander.

WR Darrell Jackson S2

DJax played well week one and showed no ill effects of the knee injury. Good news for the Seahawks and his fantasy owners. Now the first game jitters are over with and it's time to get to work. Last time he faced the Cardinals Jackson went 8-125.

WR Nate Burleson X

Burleson has yet to distinguish himself in Seattle and didn't help in that regard last week with just a single catch. Now comes the arrival of Deion Branch. Things are not looking good for Burleson and his fantasy owners. As soon as Branch gets enough of the Seattle playbook digested he'll move into the #2 WR spot alongside Jackson.

WR Bobby Engram U

Due to his fine play and Hasselbeck's comfort level with him, there's a good chance Engram will hold onto his #3 WR role even after Branch moves into the starting lineup. It's a role he excels at and should do so again this week against the suspect Cardinal nickel corners.

TE Itula Mili B

The tight end is an important part in the passing game for Seattle. Mili is serviceable in that role and stayed healthy after week one. Until Stevens is back next month that's all you should expect out of the position.

 
St. Louis (1-0) at San Francisco (0-1) Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S1

The Niners showed little ability to slow down the Arizona passing attack last week. Bulger looked good last week but didn't find the end-zone. That won't be a problem Sunday against San Francisco.

RB Steven Jackson S2 Looked outstanding last week and is primed for a big year. The Rams plan on running the ball more this year and his 22 carries last week will be a low point. The Niners don't have the beef up front to slow Jackson down. The only negative with Jackson this week and beyond is the loss of long-time center Andy McCollum. Until that shakes out on the line Jackson is a tier two starter.
WR Torry Holt S1 Only had 7 catches for 80 yards last week, but was targeted 14 times (only two receivers had more). But that was while facing the formidable Champ Bailey. The Niners don't have anyone even close to that good in the secondary.
WR Isaac Bruce S2

Despite his age and diminishing speed, Bruce continues to produce and will be a solid fantasy starter most weeks as there is no #3 WR on the field to siphon off production. Always does well against the Niners.

WR Kevin Curtis B

If you were one of the subscribers to the "Curtis is a sleeper" theory, time to face reality. It was never going to happen. The Rams are a run first team now that employs mostly 2-WR, 2-TE sets. Unless you want to hang onto Curtis as Bruce insurance, you should replace him on your roster.

TE Joe Klopfenstein B The talented rookie got his first NFL start Sunday. Unfortunately he has yet to get his first NFL pass thrown to him.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith showed great improvement last week playing toe-to-toe with the high-powered Arizona offense. Let's not go overboard and start thinking Smith is a fantasy starter. But he is someone to keep an eye on and maybe even stash on your bench if you have room for a third QB. His weekly performances will be up and down as they are for most young QB's and can't be relied on for fantasy purposes.

RB Frank Gore   S2

After seeing what Gore did to the Cardinals last week both on the ground and through the air, you can bet the Rams will be game-planning for him. No matter. Gore is a strong runner and excellent receiver. He's the main cog in the Niner offense and he'll get his yards. However, the loss of one (maybe two) offensive linemen this week makes him a riskier start.

WR Antonio Bryant X

After a slow first half last week (zero catches), Bryant blew up in the second half going 4-for-114 and had a 52-yard touchdown called back on a holding penalty. He's the best down field option Smith has by a long shot and will produce decent fantasy numbers most weeks. But on those weeks his young QB struggles he'll come up short.

WR Arnaz Battle B

Battle may have secured the #2 WR spot, but if week one is any indication, that isn't going to amount to much fantasy-wise. With Gore, Bryant and Davis in the mix big time, Battle will be an afterthought most of the time.

TE Vernon Davis (P) S2 Week one grade for the rookie - B-minus. Looked great on the 31-yard TD but later fumbled and had a couple of drops. It's apparent that Davis will be a key part of the passing game. Smith looked his way 9 times. Look for OC Norv Turner to utilize Davis' size and speed to work mismatches with nickel cornerbacks.

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