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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 3
Whitney Walters
September 21, 2006
Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night Bye Weeks   Player List by Position  
CAR at TB JAC at IND BAL at CLE DEN at NE DAL, KC,   Early Injury Status  
CHI at MIN NYJ at BUF NYG at SEA Monday Night OAK, SD   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
CIN at PIT TEN at MIA PHI at SF ATL at NO     (Q): Questionable  
GB at DET WAS at HOU STL at ARI       (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)    
 
Carolina (0-2) at Tampa Bay (0-2) Back to top
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B

Can one player make that much difference? Through two weeks it's sure looking that way. Delhomme and the Carolina passing game continue to struggle without WR Smith. Only about 180 YPG and still no touchdowns. The first back-to-back no-TD games for Delhomme with the Panthers. Without Smith again this weekend means another down performance. The Bucs have enough talent on the D-line to pressure Delhomme and the secondary can limit a Smith-less, and now maybe Carter-less WR corps.

RB Deshaun Foster X

Foster's YPC went down to 2.0 last week and he didn't look as strong on his 13 carries. With the offensive line depleted by injury, Foster's production will rest more heavily on his talent and abilities. Both have taken a hit due to all the injuries. The Panthers will always be looking to establish the running game, but last week may be a glimpse of what's to come with the emergence of the rookie Williams.

RB DeAngelo Williams S2

After being virtually unused in week one, Williams showed last week what all the excitement is about. He's young, strong, explosive and tripled Fosters rushing production on the same number of carries. He also scored on a short-yardage touchdown. The Bucs have been gashed for 288 rushing yards by opposing backs in week's 1 and 2. Look for more of the same this weekend and for Williams to get the lion's share.

WR Steve Smith (Q) B

Until Smith has a couple of good practices under his belt he should be avoided. Early indications are that he's still not healthy enough to practice or play.

WR Keyshawn Johnson S2

Johnson got into the flow of the passing game last week, as he should have without Smith in the lineup. With Carter an injury liability now look for Johnson to remain a solid start for your fantasy team. Even though he'll be battling the physical Ronde Barber, the Panthers will throw and someone has to catch the ball.

WR Drew Carter (Q) B Carter would be a nice play with Smith out again, but he fractured his finger last week and may not play. If he plays it will be with a soft cast on his hand. Never a good thing for a receiver.
WR Keary Colbert B

Even with Smith out Delhomme only looked Colbert's way once last week. Even with the possibility of both Smith and Carter being out this week, Colbert remains a fringe fantasy value at best. After a very solid pre-season, he just hasn't stepped up.

TE Kris Mangum B Thrown to once last week. Remains on the "never start" TE list.
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Simms B

Simms did manage 313 yards last week but he also tossed another three interceptions. Carolina may be a shadow of themselves right now, but no way should you be handing the starting spot on your fantasy team to Simms.

RB Carnell Williams S2

Ouch. This one is starting to hurt. Two weeks. Two top run defenses. 84 total yards. No touchdowns. The O-line isn't playing well and Simms isn't stretching defenses. Thankfully for Caddy owners the Panthers don't seem to be able to stop the run this year and have surrendered 340 yards to opposing backs through two weeks. This is no time to get nervous and bench your #1 pick. Stick with him. He continues to state that his back "is not a problem." The last time he faced the Panthers he went for 112 yards and two scores.

WR Michael Clayton U

Thanks to the big passing numbers by Simms last week Clayton posted a respectable game (5-62). Despite the poor play by the Bucs to this point, this is a nice matchup for Clayton. He's healthy now and should have a physical advantage over struggling CB Chris Gamble.

WR Joey Galloway B

Was able to get the deep ball going last week, which is what Galloway's fantasy value relies on. Playing from behind in the second half helped. That won't likely be the case Sunday. The emphasis will be on the running game against the Panthers, but you can bet Galloway will pull in a long strike or two.

TE Alex Smith B

At this point the highly talented Smith is being out-performed by fellow tight end Anthony Becht. That about says it all.

 
Chicago (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0) Back to top
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman X

Blew up last week, tossing 4 touchdowns. That matches his career total. Don't expect a repeat any time soon. The Vikings present a tougher defensive challenge and Grossman will be under more pressure this weekend on the road. Still, through two weeks Grossman has proved himself worthy of a place on any fantasy roster. Now that the bye weeks have begun he may even find some starting spots.

RB Thomas Jones X

Jones continues to get the bulk of the carries, but the Bears' running game just isn't getting it done. Jones is averaging just 3.0 YPC and has yet to find the end-zone. Benson is healthy now but isn't producing any better. But he is taking 10+ carries from Jones each week and that's not going to stop. Grossman's success may eventually open up the running game more, but it will take more than one great week for opposing teams to pull back from stopping the Bears' running game.

RB Cedric Benson B

Benson is reporting that his shoulder is pain free now and his carries may start to increase. But he's averaging just 2.8 YPC on the 10-12 he's getting. Not exactly fantasy starter material. His chance may come, until then it's pine time.

WR Muhsin Muhammad S2

The highlights and touchdowns went to the tight ends and the surprising Berrian last week, but Muhammad is still Grossman's prime target and is a serviceable fantasy starter most weeks. He's a veteran receiver that will have a size advantage most weeks over opposing corners, and knows how to use it.

WR Bernard Berrian B

Had another long TD strike last week. More importantly added another four catches to the effort. The Bears needed someone to step up and take hold of the #2 WR spot opposite Muhammad this season and the speedy Berrian is making a strong case for it to be him. There's still a lot of football to be played however and the Bears are not going to turn into the Colts any time soon and start throwing the ball all over the place. There are also other WR's coming into the mix (Bradley and Gage) and Grossman is going to his TE's a lot.

TE Desmond Clark

S2

The secret is now out. The tight end is going to get some action in the Chicago passing game this season. Clark will be the benefactor. He has good pass-catching skills and size and speed. Right now his 10 catches for 162 yards are neck-and-neck with #1 WR Muhammad.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson B

Johnson has been efficient running the Vikings' passing game, averaging 230 yards and throwing one touchdown through two games. That production alone doesn't bring the term "fantasy starter" to mind. Especially not during the week he faces the Chicago defense.

RB Chester Taylor S2

The Bears did give up 110 yards to Ahman Green in week one, so not all hope is lost here. Look for Taylor to squeeze out a borderline fantasy starter performance thanks to his production in the passing game.

WR Travis Taylor B

Taylor found his way back into the flow of the passing game last week with Johnson looking his way as much as Williamson. He's a better red-zone option that the speedy Williamson and with Robinson possibly out or slowed by a hamstring injury he'll get most of those looks. Too bad it's against the Bears this week.

WR Marcus Robinson (Q) B

Robinson will be a solid possession receiver for the Vikings. That's a fine role for the new spread it around west coast offense in Minnesota, but not for your fantasy team.

WR Troy Williamson (Q) B Williamson has been the Vikings' go-to receiver so far this season and is a big play waiting to happen thanks to his blazing speed. Look for Chicago to stick their top corner, Nathan Vasher, on him Sunday. Vasher has shut down many a better WR.
TE Jermaine Wiggins B

Wiggins remains a great pass-catching tight end. But he's losing playing time to the other tight ends on the team. When teams play the Bears and their aggressive front seven the tight ends tend to spend more time blocking than running pass patterns.

 
Cincinnati (2-0) at Pittsburgh (1-1) Back to top
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

Palmer got it going last week, but it was just the Browns. It won't come so easily this week on the road in Pittsburgh. He may get Houshmandzadeh back which will help, but Chris Henry and Kelly Washington filled in nicely last week. With all four WR's in the mix now and with the balance of a good running game, Palmer should be just fine this Sunday. Not spectacular, but good enough to keep in your fantasy lineup.

RB Rudi Johnson S2

The Steeler defense was not up to its stellar level against Jacksonville Monday night and allowed Fred Taylor to gain 92 yards on the ground. This is a tough spot for Johnson. He's on the road against what will be a fired up Pittsburgh defense and will be without his starting center. Rudi has had success against Pittsburgh in the past so he falls just to the positive side of the starter line this week.

WR Chad Johnson S2

We got to see him dance last week, and then got to see him get his block knocked off. He received a mild concussion but will play. Despite the difficult matchup this week you have to stick with Johnson.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Q) S2

The Bengals held T. J. out last week even though he could have played. Same thing happened last year with his hand injury. Then the next week he went 7-75 against Pittsburgh. It's deja vu all over again this Sunday.

WR Chris Henry (P) B Henry was nonexistent in week one but took full advantage of Houshmandzadeh's absence last week with a career high 113 yards receiving. Henry has great talent, but he'll return to his #3 WR role this week.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B

Roethlisberger's first start of the season was not a good one. He looked uncomfortable at times, the passing game was out of sync and he threw two bad interceptions. Look for the Bengals to blitz Big Ben often and for their ball-hawking secondary to make his second start of the season a struggle. The Steelers will lean on their running game in this matchup.

RB Willie Parker  S2

For the Steelers offense to work they have to get better production out of Parker than the 11 carry, 20 yard effort Monday night. The loss of Bengals LB Pollack and SS Jackson should help in that effort. Cincinnati has allowed only 100 rushing yards to backs over two weeks. Parker should hit that total this weekend.

WR Hines Ward (P) S2

If his QB struggles, so does he. That trend will likely continue this week. Ward's value increases as the team nears the red-zone. He's a master at finding openings in the secondary, especially in the end-zone. Look for that skill to net him a TD catch this weekend and a starter status here.

WR Cedrick Wilson
Nate Washington
B Wilson has yet to emerge and lock down the #2 WR role and Washington's play is making that task even harder. Wilson did make his first catch of the season last week, but that was it. Washington seems to be the stronger of the two right now, but with both seeing time opposite Ward and with rookie Holmes' role likely to increase, don't look for a fantasy starter here.
TE Heath Miller U

Miller is a size and speed mismatch with most opposing linebackers and safeties. But his role in the passing game isn't looking much different than last year - when he averaged just over two catches a game. Without the week one 80-yard touchdown that wasn't he's gone just 3-for-32 through two games. That said, the Bengals seem to struggle against good tight ends and Miller makes a nice bye week starter.

 

Green Bay (0-2) at Detroit (0-2)

Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre U

Okay, I was way off on this one. Favre did indeed bounce back from his horrible week one performance... in a big way. He doesn't have the talent around him that Rex Grossman does, but if Grossman can light up the Detroit defense, Favre should have a nice game. But let's not go overboard. Don't forget that before Favre's 3-TD game last week he had tossed only two TD's in his previous seven games.

RB Ahman Green S2

Green didn't produce on the ground last week, but the Packers weren't really trying to run the ball that much as Favre put up 55 passes and Green got just 16 carries. He made up for that by catching 6 balls for 48 yards. Only Jennings was targeted more in the passing game last week. Detroit has actually held up well against the run through their first two games, allowing just 83 yards per. Green hasn't tasted the end-zone since week 16 of 2004. Look for the O-line's play to improve this week and for Green to break his scoring drought.

WR Donald Driver S2 Driver was the big beneficiary of last week's Favre explosion, pulling in 8 balls for 153 yards. There will be more of a balanced attack this week as the Packers will want to establish the run. Driver will produce however. He typically does well against the Lions, averaging 6 catches for 70 yards and a score in their last four meetings.
WR Greg Jennings U

The rookie struggled in his NFL debut but showed his skills last week - catching his first NFL touchdown and going 6-for-67. Jennings was actually targeted more by Favre then Driver. That's not going to be the case often, but Jennings is a real talent and the Packers will get him the ball.

TE Bubba Franks B

Things looked up just a bit last week for Franks. He was targeted by Favre seven times. Unfortunately he dropped a few and looked old and slow trying to do anything with the three passes he caught. Bubba will get the looks again this week as the tight end position is key to breaking the cover-2 schemes used by Detroit (as Chicago showed last week). But Franks has been out caught by another TE on the roster each week. Martin and Lee will split up the TE production enough to make none of them fantasy worthy.

Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna U

Through two games Kitna and the new high-flying passing game are still on the ground awaiting takeoff. Kitna has yet to throw a touchdown and is averaging just 230 YPG. That will surely improve this week. The Packers have allowed 615 yards and three scores passing in two weeks. Look for Green Bay to play to stuff the run and make Detroit beat them through the air. Kitna will deliver.

RB Kevin Jones S2

The Detroit running game just can't seem to get going. Playing Seattle and Chicago, two of the top run defenses, isn't making it easy however and Jones should find more running room at home against the Packers. If the Lions don't fall behind look for Jones to get 20+ carries and to have a nice game. His increased role in the passing game is a plus.

WR Roy Williams S2

Williams has struggled in the past with his matchups against Green Bay's CB All Harris. Look for the Lions to move him into more favorable matchups with Woodson or nickel back Carroll where Roy-Roy will flourish.

WR Mike Furrey U So far Furrey is making the most of his place as slot receiver. He leads all Lion receivers with 11 catches for 122 yards. He'll be on the field a lot this week as Detroit will want to stretch a Packer secondary that lacks depth and take advantage of Furrey's matchup advantages opposite the coverage attention drawn by Roy Williams.
TE Marcus Pollard B The tight end just isn't a part of the Lions' passing game. Unless Pollard blows up this weekend this will likely be the last time you see him listed here.
 
Jacksonville (2-0) at Indianapolis (2-0) Back to top
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich B

As expected Leftwich was effective but not productive from a fantasy perspective Monday night against Pittsburgh. Indy has given up 5 passing touchdowns already, but 3 of those were in garbage time last week. Leftwich has been up and down playing the Colts, averaging about 270 yards and a TD in the last three meetings. That sounds about right for this one also.

RB Fred Taylor S2

The Jags offense will need to be hitting on all cylinders Sunday if they want to keep pace with Indy. Taylor is the key. A strong running game keeps the Colt defense on its heels and the Indy offense off the field. Taylor hasn't scored against the Colts in the past four games but he has averaged almost 100 total yards in each meeting. Look for Taylor to keep the average up and for the scoring dry spell to end Sunday against a defense that so far is struggling to stop the run.

WR Matt Jones (Q) S2

Jones has improved greatly over last year and his freakish height and speed mixture is becoming a huge matchup headache for opponents. It will be no different this week for the pair of 5'-10" Indianapolis cornerbacks.

WR Reggie Williams S2

After a second solid performance Monday night it might be time to start believing in this talented but underachieving receiver. He's produced the only Jag passing touchdown and is out-catching Matt Jones to this point. Not blessed with much speed, but he's big and tall and a better route runner than Jones. A nice possession complement to Jones' down field speed.

WR Ernest Wilford B Wilford remains a great red-zone option for Leftwich, but needs 3-WR sets to get on the field now as Williams has taken over the #2 WR role.
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.

Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

This Jaguar defense is for real and they've limited Manning in the past. So the middle Manning boy loses his S1 rating for this matchup.

RB Dominic Rhodes B

Rhodes got another touchdown last week, but his 2.2 YPC average is going to eventually cost him his starting spot. Against the stout Jacksonville run defense this week it's highly unlikely he'll improve much on that average.

RB Joseph Addai B

For the second week in a row the rookie out-performed the starter. The Colts need a productive running game and it won't be long until they hand the starting job over to bigger and more talented Addai. Whether that happens this week or not doesn't really matter to fantasy owners. The Jags are allowing just 55 rushing YPG.

WR Marvin Harrison S2

On pace for another 100+ catch season but hasn't crossed the goal-line yet. His matchup this week with CB Rashean Mathis is no easy task. The last time these two met however, Marvin went off for 137 yards and two scores.

WR Reggie Wayne S2 The Jags acquired CB Brian Williams this off-season with wideouts like Wayne in mind. Williams is athletic and matches up well with more physical, stronger receivers. This will be fun to watch, but in the end Wayne is an elite WR and will get his.
WR Brandon Stokley (Q) B

Played and scored last week, but tweaked his injured ankle.

TE Dallas Clark
Ben Utecht (Q)
Bryan Fletcher
B

The Colts love to use 2-TE sets and they are using three players, Clark, Utecht and Fletcher in a rotation. There have been 12 catches by the position for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Through two games that would be a great fantasy tight end. But a three-headed one does you no good.

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