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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)    
 
Kansas City (0-1) at Denver (0-1) Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Damon Huard B The Chiefs can spin this any way they wish. It's a disaster. The drop-off from Trent Green to Huard is huge.
RB Larry Johnson S2 Week one did little to belay the concerns about the Chiefs' offensive line. LJ was held to 68 yards on 17 carries, a 4 YPC average. Well below last year's average of 5.2. Now comes the injury to Green and any threat of a passing game is gone. The Broncos can stack the box and dare the Chiefs to beat them through the air. It'll be tough going for LJ but he'll stay active in the scaled down passing game, so he remains a fantasy starter.
WR Eddie Kennison B Kennison primary skill of going deep will have little use now with Green out. Look for the passing game to be scaled down for Huard, with little need for the deep ball.
WR Samie Parker B Parker will be better utilized this week, but until Green returns to the lineup all bets are off for the Kansas City wide receivers. Especially this week against a solid Bronco secondary lead by Champ Bailey.
TE Tony Gonzalez S2 If anything will continue to work with Huard under center it will be Gonzo. He received 12 looks last week and that will continue this Sunday in Denver. Huard will need a big, reliable target when he gets into trouble - which will be a lot.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer B Plummer flat out stunk last week. He threw for only 138 yards and turned the ball over four times, three by interception. Interestingly now, three of Plummer's worst games as a Bronco have come on season openers. At home against a Chiefs team in trouble is a nice spot for a bounce back. But until he proves it on the field it's best to steer clear of Jake the Snake as your starter.
RB

Mike Bell (P)
Tatum Bell

S2

Mike Bell, the undrafted rookie, had an up and down NFL debut. He did average almost 6 yards a carry and scored his first TD, but he broke his finger and proved to be a liability in pass protection. Tatum Bell ran well, putting up 103 yards on just 15 carries. Tatum will continue to start the games, but Mike will be worked in on every other series - then the Broncos will go with the hot hand. Against the Chiefs run defense that will likely be both of them. Look for Tatum to get the most carries and production, but for both he and Mike to produce enough to be fantasy starters this week.

WR Rod Smith S2 Smith struggled last week thanks to Plummer's poor play. Plummer should bounce back this week and Smith typically has big games against the Chiefs.
WR Javon Walker S2 Walker didn't have much of a Bronco debut last week. He finished with just three catches for a team leading 41 yards, but had several uncharacteristic drops. He should regain his focus this week against an unimpressive Kansas City secondary that will be forced to commit one defender to the line of scrimmage in run support.
TE Tony Scheffler B Scheffler has loads of talent but a lot to learn about the pro game. He'll likely surprise some weeks with a fantasy worthy effort, but for the most part he'll struggle. The upside is that Denver looks committed to the rookie and he'll get looks each week.
 
New England (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0) Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) X

The holes in the passing game left by Givens and Branch are big. And week one did little to make us think will be easy. Last week New England dressed just three WR's - Caldwell, Brown and practice squader Bam Childress. That's not going to create fear in even the worst NFL secondary. Help will come soon in the form of Gabriel and rookie Jackson. Gabriel may see action this week but Jackson will be out longer. Regardless, this is a tough spot for Brady owners as he was likely drafted to be your #1 QB. If you have a solid backup with a good matchup it may be time to use them.

RB Corey Dillon S2

Dillon silenced those "he's done" voices for at least a week. He ran hard against the Bills and pushed out a very respectable 4.6 YPC on 16 carries. The bad news is that rookie Maroney looked even better and got 17 carries. While Maroney may out rush him, Dillon will add a few catches each week to even things out.

RB Laurence Maroney S2

Showed no lingering effects from the pre-season knee injury and looked great Sunday against the Bills. He's not going to get a full load, but will get at least have of the carries each week. With his quickness and elusiveness against the Jets' defensive front, half will be enough.

WR

Reche Caldwell
Troy Brown
Doug Gabriel (P)

B

Until this situation works itself out, if it ever does, the Patriots' wide receivers are off limits for fantasy players.

TE Ben Watson S2 With Branch officially gone, Watson now becomes the official favorite target of QB Brady. He lead all receivers last week with 3 catches for 50 yards. I doubt that will be the last time I write that this season.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington S2

Pennington's 319 yards last week was the second highest yardage total of his career. His passes were sharp and the Jets showed more spunk and creativity in the passing attack. With the development of WR Cotchery there are now multiple targets. All good signs. Pennington should keep the fine play going this week in their first home game.

RB Derrick Blaylock
Kevan Barlow
B

Well if week one is an indicator the Jets' backfield has been pared down from four to two - Blaylock and Barlow. Neither did much last week as the New York running game could only muster 2.4 YPC on the ground against the struggling Titans. With the Jets' very inexperienced offensive line, look for Barlow to start getting more carries and possibly take over the starting spot soon. He's a better runner than Blaylock and bigger, so he needs less of a hole to hit and gain positive yardage.

WR Laveranues Coles   S1

Pennington to Coles looked in mid-season form last week with Coles getting 153 yards on 8 catches, the third highest yardage total of his career. Look for more of the same this week against New England CB Asante Samuel. Samuel has a tendency to bite on a receiver's first move, which will be his undoing against the deep speed of Coles.

WR Jerricho Cotchery S2 Coles had the huge yardage day last week, but it was new #2 WR Cotchery that pulled in the touchdown. Even more telling is that Cotchery got 11 looks from Pennington to Coles' 9. Cotchery was pegged as a deep sleeper in many fantasy drafts and the early returns are looking good. With teams focusing on taking Coles out of the mix, Cotchery will get plenty of chances to step up, starting this week.
TE Chris Baker X

Baker quickly faded away last season after Pennington went down. But with Pennington back in the lineup last week, Baker caught all four passes that came his way, including one in the end-zone. He's not a great receiver and is valued more for his blocking skills. The jury's still out on whether this kind of production will be a regular occurrence for Baker and the Jets' passing game.

 
Tennessee (0-1) at San Diego (1-0) Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins B

Collins got the nod last week as the starter and it looks like for now that's going to stick. He completed just 45% of his passes against the Jets and threw two interceptions. With only two weeks of practice under his belt that's not a big shock. He'll improve as time goes, but against the swarming San Diego pass rush that improvement is at least one week away.

RB Chris Brown B

Brown is the unquestioned starter in the Titans' backfield, but he left last week's game with a mild turf-toe injury (sound familiar?) and backup Travis Henry vultured two touchdowns. Brown will get the start this week, but with Henry in the mix and possibly rookie LenDale White, don't expect much against the very tenacious San Diego defense.

RB LenDale White (Q)
Travis Henry (Q)
B Henry took the touchdowns from Brown last week but caught the same Titan turf-toe disease that has plagued Tennessee players for years. White may be active this week and see action, further muddying the backfield. Stay away this week.
WR Drew Bennett S2

There were a lot of dropped balls last week by the Titan receivers, but when you get 16 passing coming your way it's hard not to produce. And Bennett did with 8 catches for 106 yards. By default Bennett will get the only Titan starter rating this week. Hey, someone has to produce something. Right? Bennett remains the best bet to do that and he and Collins are obviously in sync.

WR David Givens B Givens looks to be almost recovered from his hamstring problems and you can expect his production to increase this week. It still won't be enough to warrant any fantasy attention as Collins will be under siege all afternoon.
TE Ben Troupe B

So how much of Troupe's success last year was due to the offense scheme and how much was due to McNair running the show? The early returns indicate McNair. With Collins under center Troupe saw just three passes come his way and only caught one. Most don't expect that to continue, but until it shows itself on the field it's best to bench Troupe.

San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers B

Rivers played well in his debut but was only asked to throw the ball 11 times. But he completed eight, one for his first of what will be many touchdowns. Oakland turned out to be a nice place to start his playing career. Now he gets a team with it's own set of troubles on defense for his home debut. He'll likely play well again, but won't be asked to do a lot.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 LT touched the ball more than any back on the league last week. That's going to happen often this season.
WR Keenan McCardell B

When your young quarterback puts up just 11 pass attempts, there's just not a lot of fantasy value at the wide receiver position. Both McCardell and ...

WR Eric Parker B

... Parker are quality receivers, with Parker having some nice upside potential. But until the San Diego passing game increases they are not fantasy starters. Even this week against the very vulnerable Titan CB Reynaldo Hill. Which is a shame.

TE Antonio Gates S2 So... you nervous yet? You should be. But don't panic. If anyone's going to produce fantasy points in the San Diego passing game it's Gates. The Chargers are not going to be able to consistently win with Rivers throwing just 11 passes. The passing game will expand as he gains experience. But those 8 catch 100-plus yards games are not coming any time soon.
 

Washington (0-1) at Dallas (0-1)

Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell B

Brunell continues to struggle with the new offense. He looked uncomfortable Monday night and ended the game with just 163 yards and no touchdowns. He's facing a tougher opponent this week in a highly hostile Texas Stadium. This matchup is shaping up to be another difficult one for Brunell.

RB Clinton Portis (Q) S2

Despite the injured shoulder Portis played last week in the opener. He only carried the ball 10 times, but looked stronger as the game progressed and he gained confidence. Look for him to start and be a force in this key early division matchup. If he was 100% healthy he'd rate stud status. But for now he'll just settle in as a second tier fantasy starter.

WR Santana Moss S2

Moss is the Redskins only legitimate deep threat and he embarrassed the Cowboys last year at home. Look for them to attempt to take him out of the game with CB Terence Newman and safety help. They will have some success.

WR Brandon Lloyd B

Lloyd came up with a big donut last week despite Brunell looking his way six times, second most on the team behind Cooley. With all the attention Moss is going to draw someone will get the chance to make a big play or two. My money's on the quicker and more explosive Randle El.

WR Antwaan Randle El U

See above.

TE Chris Cooley S2

Cooley is off to a very slow start this season with a negative yard effort last week. That'll change on Sunday night. With the Dallas safeties working the deep zones to prevent long passes to Moss and Randle El, Cooley will find the middle seam open for business. And you better believe the struggling Brunell will be looking to connect.

Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe S2

Bledsoe preformed well in his week one matchup with the very good Jacksonville defense. He retains his starter rating this week on the strength of the huge Owens mismatch alone.

RB Julius Jones S2

The matchups in the running game are about as difficult as the ones in the passing game are good. The Washington front seven will be tough to run on. They held the Vikings to just 2.6 YPC on the ground last week. There is no doubt the Cowboys will come out wanting to establish the running game. The odds of them accomplishing that are not good, but Jones rates a borderline starter status this week on the good chance he'll score another TD.

RB Marion Barber B

After looking great all pre-season Barber received just three carries in the opener. Look for that to increase some in this matchup against the strong Redskin defensive front and for his role as third-down back to continue. It won't be enough to warrant any fantasy attention.

WR Terrell Owens S1

With top CB Shawn Springs out this matchup has monster game written all over it.

WR Terry Glenn S2

The Redskins will have to pick their poison in the Dallas passing game. Roll coverage to Owens and Glenn will burn you. Roll it to Glenn and Owens will dominate. Odds are good that they'll pick a little of both.

TE Jason Witten B

The Cowboys have shifted to running mostly 2-TE sets this season. Despite that it was Witten that received all the tight end looks last week. That should continue. This is not a favorable matchup for Witten. He'll be covered by hard-hitting safety Sean Taylor and intense LB Marcus Washington most of the evening.

 
Pittsburgh (1-0) at Jacksonville (1-0) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger (Q) B

Roethlisberger has returned to practice this week and is expected to play Monday night. There's little chance he'll be 100% following the surgery and this tough matchup in Jacksonville leaves fantasy owners little upside. The Jags will blitz a lot, forcing Big Ben to scramble and throw on the run.

RB Willie Parker  S2 Parker had a career high 29 carries last week and one of the first thing HC Bill Cower said following the game was that they will have to keep an eye on Parker's workload. With Davenport now in uniform that's not what Parker owners want to hear. Look for him to get fewer carries this week with Big Ben back under center and the yardage harder to come by.
WR Hines Ward (P) S2

The hamstring appeared fine last Thursday in the opener as Ward led all Steelers' receivers with five catches and a score. With a young and unproven WR corps along side him that's likely going to be the case every week. Ward will draw the best the Jags have to offer in CB Rashean Mathis. It won't be enough as Ward is a savvy veteran and will use his great route running to his advantage.

WR Cedrick Wilson B Don't give up on Wilson yet. With Roethlisberger back he'll be more active in the passing game. But with the possible emergence of nate Washington and rookie Santonio Holmes, his fantasy value may never reach starter status.
TE Heath Miller S2

Miller is a size and speed mismatch with most opposing linebackers and safeties. If Roethlisberger can beat what will be a constant Jaguar blitz there will be plenty of opportunities for him to hit Miller down the seam with plenty of room to run after the catch.

Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich B

Leftwich got off to a good start last week against Dallas, throwing for 237 yards and a touchdown and adding a rushing score. The road to a repeat of that performance is rocky. The Steelers are an elite defense with a physical secondary and with zone blitzes that can come from any point on the field. Look for the Jags to try and spread the defense out with 3-WR sets and by sending Taylor and the tight ends into short routes.

RB Fred Taylor S2

Taylor looked good in the opener, totaling 115 yards and scoring once. The production won't come nearly as easily this week facing the stingy Pittsburgh defense. They held Miami's Ronnie Brown to just 30 yards rushing last week. Taylor will get his touches however and will be active as a receiving target for the pressured Leftwich. So he pulls out a borderline starter status, but if you have a more reliable matchup elsewhere in your fantasy backfield, go with it.

WR Matt Jones
Ernest Wilford
X

Jones out-produced the other receivers last week but the receiver work was spread around as the Jaguars employed many 3-WR sets with both Wilford and Williams in the mix. This distribution may become the norm as Jones is more the deep threat so his yardage will surpass the other receiver's. But overall Jones won't have much of a fantasy advantage over Wilford, if any. Wilford is a better red-zone target and Leftwich zeros in on him often in those situations around the end-zone.

WR Reggie Williams B The highly touted receiver has been a bust so far in Jacksonville. But the early results this year look good as he led all receivers with six catches last week and pulled in the only touchdown. It is just one week however and Jones and Wilford are the unquestioned starters at WR. Let's not get too carried away just yet.
TE George Wrighster B

Will continue to get some looks each week until rookie Marcedes Lewis returns from injury. Doesn't warrant any fantasy attention however.

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