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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)    
 
New York Jets (1-1) at Buffalo (1-1) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington (P) S2

Pennington has started his 2006 campaign with a bang - and the first back-to-back 300-yard passing games of his career. Don't count on a third game this weekend. The Buffalo secondary is raw and inexperienced but the defensive front is playing very well and sacked Culpepper seven times last week. The Jets start two rookies on the O-line and Pennington will be under stiff pressure all afternoon. Still, he makes starter status... barely.

RB Kevan Barlow B

Blaylock started last week but Barlow ended up more than doubling his carries. Look for Barlow to get the bulk of the work from this point forward. The running game is averaging only 2.4 YPC so there's lots of work to do here. Don't expect much out of Barlow this weekend even though Buffalo is not great at stopping the run. The Jets' running game just isn't getting it done. His longest run last week was eight yards.

WR Laveranues Coles (Q) S2

Coles is tearing it up right now, leading the league in receiving yardage with 253 through two games. If Pennington can get the time in the pocket, both Coles and ...

WR Jerricho Cotchery S2 ... new receiving sensation Cotchery should have their way with an inexperienced Buffalo secondary that's starting two rookies.
TE Chris Baker B

Baker will have his moments, but he's not a great receiver and is valued more for his blocking skills. It's unlikely Baker will be a regular producer in the Jets passing attack.

Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman B

Losman looked solid week one but lost week two. His decision making has improved - no interceptions yet - but the passing game is struggling to say the least. The Jets are not a very good defensive unit so Losman should get back into the "solid" category this week. That's not enough to warrant a fantasy start however.

RB Willis McGahee S2

With Losman and the passing game continuing to develop and struggle, McGahee is the driving force of this offense. He'll touch the ball 25+ times a game and will dominate the suspect Jets' run defense.

WR Lee Evans B

As goes Losman, so goes Evans. When your QB is throwing for just 123 yards a game it's hard to make a fantasy impact. His chances should improve some this weekend as Losman will play better. Look for the Jets to stick top CB Andre Dyson on Evans however, limiting his fantasy potential.

WR Peerless Price
Josh Reed
B

No real #2 WR has emerged yet and it's unclear if Price, Reed or even Parrish will ever take hold of that spot. With Evans pulling the primary coverage from most opponents one of these two will likely sneak a nice game or touchdown in some weeks. Not exactly what you are looking for in a starting fantasy receiver.

 
Tennessee (0-2) at Miami (0-2) Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kerry Collins
Vince Young
B

Collins played badly last week (a passer rating of 1.3) but gets the start again against Miami. How long he'll remain the starter is the big question in Tennessee. Rookie Vince Young is not ready to be an NFL starter, but he's nipping at Collins' heals and outperformed him last week. For the fantasy player it really doesn't matter at this point. Collins is a non-starter regardless of opponent. Until he proves otherwise, same goes for Young.

RB Chris Brown B

The running game was nonexistent last week against San Diego. Brown had a whopping NINE yards on six carries. Miami is actually a favorable running matchup but this team is in a tailspin and the rookie LenDale White looked much better last week and will continue to take at least half the carries from Brown.

RB LenDale White U

White got his first NFL action last week and didn't do half bad against a stingy San Diego defense. He looks close to 100% back from his injury and will continue to share carries with starter Brown with Travis Henry still on the shelf due to a turf-toe injury. Miami's only an average defense against the run and White's physical style may have some success Sunday. If the Titans can get the ball inside the 5-yard line look for White to score his first NFL touchdown.

WR Drew Bennett B

Couldn't duplicate his week one outburst but did score the Titans only passing touchdown. His height and great hands make him a favorite red-zone target regardless of who's under center. That's enough to make him a borderline starter some weeks. This just isn't one of those.

WR David Givens B

Givens has made zero fantasy impact so far in Tennessee. Through two games he has 5 catches for 54 yards. He seems to be over his hamstring problems, but this passing game just isn't going to provide much fantasy play for its receivers. The limited production is being spread to thin with the tight ends in the mix.

TE Ben Troupe
Bo Scaife
B

The tight end has a productive role in the Titans' passing game and it's likely this position will get the single Tennessee passing touchdown this weekend. Unfortunately the production is going to both Troupe and Scaife, and Kinney will be returning soon.

Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Dante Culpepper S2

There's nothing better for a struggling quarterback that seems to have lost his confidence then having one of the worst defenses in the league come to town.

RB

Ronnie Brown

S1

Brown has only 30 carries through two games and while he's running well and catching balls out of the backfield, his lack of use in the running game is hurting his fantasy studness. That all ends this weekend. The Titans are giving up 166 YPG on the ground and a league leading four touchdowns. You can bet Miami will feed Brown all day to ease the load on the struggling Culpepper.

WR Chris Chambers S1

Chambers is struggle a bit along with his QB. But he's the big stick on the Miami passing game and he'll get plenty of opportunities when they can get him lined up facing struggling CB Reynaldo Hill. The last time Chambers played the Titans (week 16 last year) he scored twice.

WR Marty Booker (Q) X Booker will have limited fantasy starter potential most weeks. He's a solid possession receiver that will fall in the 2-5 catch, 30-60 yard range. He may hit the high end of his average this week against a weak opponent but he's still not starter worthy.
WR Wes Welker B Has benefited from the struggles at QB since Welker runs the shorter routes in the offense and Culpepper can find him open quickly while under pressure (which happened a lot last week). Welker won't be of much use this weekend however.
TE Randy McMichael S2

McMichael was much more active in the passing game last week and was targeted six times - behind only Chambers. Tennessee wasn't able to slow Gates down last week and they won't have much better luck against McMichael.

 
Washington (0-2) at Houston (0-2) Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell S2

The "bench Brunell" voices are getting loud in Washington. With no viable backup that's not going to happen. This team will succeed or sink with Brunell at the helm. Thankfully for the Skins and for fantasy players things are looking up for the Washington offense this week. Portis will play and they make a trip to Houston and their dead last pass defense. This matchup is still risky as Brunell has not played well. But it may be too good to pass up if your starter is on bye or has a bad matchup.

RB Clinton Portis (P) S2

Okay, he fell to you in your draft and you couldn't pass on him. And so far that pick has been hurting your fantasy team. Well this is the week it finally pays off. There is no way that the 0-2 Redskins will go without their stud back. Portis will start this week. Book it. And he'll have his way with the terrible Houston defense.

WR Santana Moss (P) S1

Moss is just flat out faster and better than any member of the Houston secondary. It's that simple. Look for new OC Al Saunders to open the passing game up more in this matchup.

WR Brandon Lloyd B

Lloyd has big play abilities but has only one catch for six yards through the first two games. He's just not getting the looks out of his #3 WR spot since TE Cooley is higher in the progressions on most passing plays.

WR Antwaan Randle El B

Until the passing game works through its struggles - if it ever does - no receiver beyond Moss has much starting potential for fantasy players.

TE Chris Cooley S2

Through two games the Texans have been hit by the tight ends for 12 catches, 123 yards and a touchdown. Their linebackers struggle in coverage and will have a tough time with Cooley. Look for him to be more involved in the passing attack this weekend.

Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr B

Take away Carr's garbage time stats from last week's blowout loss and it's been a rough start to the season. Granted they've played Philly and Indy, but the early returns are not good for the new offense. Now add the loss of two offensive linemen and the prospects of improvement are not good. Carr's sack level is already at last year's league leading pace.

RB Lundy/Dayne/Gado B

The Texans' backfield is a three-headed mess. Any RBBC whose production leader is Ron Dayne should be avoided by fantasy players at all costs.

WR Andre Johnson S2

Thanks to having a solid #2 WR option now Johnson is off to a good start to the 2006 season. He leads the team with 10 catches for 157 yards and a TD. With the Redskins' top cover corner, Shawn Springs, still out, look for Johnson to find plenty of mismatches in the secondary to take advantage of.

WR Eric Moulds U

Has been a nice addition to the Texans' passing attack and is producing well opposite all the coverage attention Johnson draws. The Texans will of course want to run the ball first and foremost, but we all know how much success that will bring. Houston will turn to the air once again and Moulds will remain a nice fantasy play if you run a #3 WR in your league.

TE Putzier/Bruener/Daniels B Starter Putzier has just two catches so far. Blocker Bruener got into the action last week with a garbage time 1-yard TD. Rookie Daniels leads all Houston tight ends now thanks to his 4-45, 1 TD performance last week. The big rookie from Wisconsin it worth keeping an eye on. He has the skills to be a good H-back style player for the Texans.
 

Baltimore (2-0) at Cleveland (0-2)

Back to top
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S2

Baltimore is 2-0, but McNair and the passing game rank 28th in the league and they are lacking in big pass plays despite their talent at WR and TE. Facing a pass defense that's giving up over 240 yards and a touchdown a game will likely cure what's ailing the Ravens' passing attack.

RB Jamal Lewis (Q) S2

The Browns have been gashed for 307 rushing yards in two games. Normally that would mean an S1 for what ever back faced them. Lewis however has yet to top 20 carries and his backups are getting a third of the action each week. He also gets almost none of the 3rd-down snaps. That's not likely to change as the Ravens will not overwork their aging starter. You should expect the running game to generate well over 30 carries against the sieve like Cleveland run defense, meaning Lewis should top 20 carries this week and work his way to fantasy starter status.

RB Mike Anderson
Musa Smith (Q)
B

Anderson got the sole rushing touchdown last week but that was his only carry of the game. Smith looks to be the primary backup and 3rd-down back now and should see 8-12 touches a week. Neither has any fantasy value other than Lewis insurance.

WR Derrick Mason S1 The Browns gave up big numbers to any receiver in a Bengal uniform last week. The McNair to Mason connection has yet to live up to its promise. We won't be saying that after this week's matchup. Leigh Bodden is developing into a fine cover corner but will struggle with Mason's burst off the line, enabling the WR to get open up-field. It's time for someone other than a TE to catch a touchdown.
WR Mark Clayton B

Clayton has all the talent to take the short pass and turn it into a big play. The problem is he's the third option in a ball control passing attack. The result - three catches in two games.

TE

Todd Heap

S1 Heap leads the team with 10 catches and remains a prime target for McNair.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye B

Frye has shown some fantasy spunk thanks to his two rushing touchdowns. He'll be running against the Ravens, but for a completely different reason. This week it will be for his life.

RB Reuben Droughns (Q) B

Droughns is averaging just 2.4 YPC and took a serious shot to his shoulder last week. Even at 100% he's a no-brainer bench this week against the Ravens defense.

WR Braylon Edwards B

Last week was an up and down performance for Edwards. He dropped some catchable passes but hauled in a nice 75-yarder on his way to a 110-yard game. Don't expect nearly that much from him Sunday facing the #1 NFL defense.

WR Dennis Northcutt B

Still filling in for the injured Jurevicius.

TE Kellen Winslow Jr. (P) U

Here's a tip big guy. Your team is a bad 0-2 and you have 12 NFL catches on your career stat sheet. Quick disrespecting your coaches. Shut up and play! This week he should do just that. Winslow isn't going to light up the Ravens' defense, but Frye zeros in on him in the red-zone. Odds of a score this week are good.

 
New York Giants (1-1) at Seattle (2-0) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Manning came through with the big comeback last week in a tough road win in Philly. Week 3 brings an equally tough road opponent in Seattle. There could be a let down. Eli's last trip to the Pacific Northwest resulted in one of his biggest games last year - a 344-yard, two touchdown effort in week 12. Despite the challenge this weekend Manning has immense talent around him at the skill positions and should hold his own with Hasselbeck.

RB Tiki Barber S1

Seattle may rank #2 in run defense but their opponents so far (ARI and DET) have suspect running games. The Giants' running game is anything but suspect. Whether it's on the ground or through the air, Tiki will get his yards.

RB Brandon Jacobs B Jacobs is still nothing more than a backup to a stud running back that steals the goal-line touchdowns. He is great Barber insurance though.
WR Plaxico Burress S2

Burress and Manning are really starting to click and the QB is doing a better job of getting Burress the ball at a catchable height. Both Seattle corners, Trufant and Herndon, are solid but will barely come to Burress' chin when standing next to him. That's an advantage that won't be lost on the Giants and Manning.

WR Amani Toomer S2

Toomer was simply amazing last week, catching all 12 passes that came his way for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He continues to be a solid possession-style receiving option to the big play option in Burress. He'll likely see single coverage on most downs with Burress and Shockey pulling the safety help. He has almost the same size advantage in this matchup as Burress.

TE Jeremy Shockey (P) S2

Is it just me or has Shockey been limping on a bum ankle for over a season? He tweaked his ankle AGAIN last week and sat out the overtime. There's no doubt he'll play through the injury like he always does. But he loses his S1 status. Not only because of the ankle but because in LB Julian Peterson and SS Michael Boulware the Seahawks have the physical talent to limit the stud tight end.

Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2

Hasselbeck and the passing game are struggling to find a rhythm behind an offensive line that's not providing the protection he's accustomed to. The lack of a big TE target is hurting as well. Help in the form of Deion Branch is on the way however and it will be up to the Seahawk offensive brain trust to adjust to the lack of TE talent and the abundance it now has at WR.

RB Shaun Alexander (P) S2

Last year's MVP has yet to crack 90 yards rushing. Something that happened only four times all of last season. It's not likely that will happen for a third week in a row but it won't be easy. The Giants are allowing just 65 rushing YPG to opposing backs through two games and the Seahawks' O-line is struggling and lost LG Floyd Womack last week. He'll be replaced by rookie Chris Spencer.

WR Darrell Jackson S2

The knee concerns seem to be behind him and he showed that big game potential last week, going 5-for-127 and a score. The addition of the talented and speedy Branch into the mix will only help. The Giants' defense has given up big receiving days to both the Colts and Eagles so far this season.

WR Deion Branch X Will make his Seattle debut this weekend and the team can sure use him. The jury's still out on how much action he'll really see this week, but all indications are that he'll split time with Burleson at the flanker position. It would be a bit risky to stick him in your starting lineup this soon. If you are in a bye week jam he could come through for you as he's probably the best you have available on your bench.
WR Nate Burleson B

Has been a big disappointment so far with only two catches. It won't take long for the newly acquired Branch to steal his playing time. Maybe all of it.

WR Bobby Engram X

Engram is second on the team behind Jackson with nine catches. His role as the slot receiver will be unchanged by the addition of Branch. He's one of the better slot receivers in the league and has a great rapport with Hasselbeck.

TE Itula Mili (Q) B

May end up sitting this one out.

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