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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)    
 
Philadelphia (1-1) at San Francisco (1-1) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1

McNabb is getting great protection this season, only being sacked twice so far. That's allowing him plenty of time to find his many weapons down field. The Niners won't pose much of a defensive threat this week, but the shoulder injury to stud TE Smith may hurt.

RB Brian Westbrook (Q) S2

Reports are still not good about Westbrook's knee and the team will likely hold him out of some practices each week until it heals. Despite that he had 28 touches last week, one of the highest totals of his career. Buckhalter was ineffective backing him up so it's a good bet that the Eagles will ride Westbrook until the wheels fall off.

WR Donte' Stallworth S2

Stallworth followed up his week one explosion with a solid performance against the Giants last week. This Sunday look for the Niners to stick CB Walt Harris on Stallworth. Harris has good cover skills and doesn't give up the big play often. Donovan-to-Donte' has their work cut out for them this week.

WR Reggie Brown X

Stallworth's big play ability is starting to open the underneath routes up for Brown. He only has three catches this season but two are for touchdowns. He's a nice possession receiver and red-zone target for McNabb.

TE L.J. Smith (Q) S2

Smith is off to a monster year pace. His downgrade to an S2 this week is due to the shoulder injury he'll be playing with, not the matchup.

San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith and the passing game catch a few breaks this week with the tough Eagles coming to town. Philly lost pass rush specialist Jevon Kearse and corner Rod Hood last week. Hood was already a replacement for the injured Lito Sheppard. So the protection behind the banged up O-line has a better shot of holding up and his down field options have a better chance of being open. Does that move him to starter status? No way. But he should be able to match his season average of 250 yards and a score.

RB Frank Gore   S2

And after two weeks the top fantasy back is? That's right. Mr. Gore. Depending on your scoring system of course. In true Norv Turner style the Niners fed Gore the ball 29 times last week in their win. Philly is tough against the run and they have yet to give up a rushing touchdown. Gore will get his carries however and should produce. The only downside is the possibility of San Francisco falling way behind and having to pass playing catch-up.

WR Antonio Bryant S2

Bryant may be a bit of a loose cannon out there but after two weeks he's a top 5 fantasy receiver and third in the league in receiving yards with 245. This is a nice spot for him at home this week. The Eagles are down two cornerbacks now and Bryant should have little trouble taking advantage of the suspect replacements.

WR Arnaz Battle B

Battle was actually targeted more than Bryant last week. So maybe there's still hope for him to produce for the Niners. He'll likely not produce enough for your fantasy team however. Even though there are some matchup advantages this week against the injury depleted Eagles secondary, he's not worthy of a lineup spot.

TE Vernon Davis B And so it goes for a rookie tight end. Five catches and a TD week one, a big donut week two. Look for Davis to be closer to week two this week as he's turned out to be a solid blocker for a rookie and his services will be needed in pass protection this week.
 
St. Louis (1-1) at Arizona (1-1) Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger X

Last year we would have seen this game come up on the schedule and expect a shootout. Not so this season. The Rams are now a run-first, ball-control offense and that's shown up in Bulger's numbers thus far. Just 200 yards a game and only a single passing touchdown. The O-line also may be without two starters. C McCollum is lost for the season and LT Pace may not play due to a concussion. This just doesn't look like a good spot for Bulger and the new passing offense is still a few weeks away from taking off.

RB Steven Jackson S2 Has looked great so far and is averaging 5.1 YPC. The Cardinals are allowing 4.7 YPC and have given up a league leading four rushing touchdowns to date. The injuries on the offensive line are a concern, hence the S2 rating when this matchup would typically scream S1.
WR Torry Holt S1 Even though the Rams' passing game has turned conservative and isn't clicking yet, the Cardinals are always a good matchup for Holt. In his last two meetings with Arizona he's averaged 100 yards and a score.
WR Isaac Bruce S2

Bruce has actually out produced Holt in yardage thus far. With the Rams running a lot more 2-WR sets Bruce remains a key component to the passing game and is having much less production siphoned off by #3 WR Kevin Curtis.

TE Joe Klopfenstein B The talented rookie got his first NFL catch last week, and his second. That's about as good as it's going to get for a while. The Linehan offense does utilize the tight end as a down field option but Klop is a rookie with a big learning curve. By mid-season his production will start to increase. But for now he's not a fantasy option.
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S2

Warner's protection broke down last week in Seattle and he was sacked five times. A stable pocket it key for Warner's success. The O-line does get RT Ross back this week and you can bet they will be pounding the running game at the Rams' suspect run defense. That will help open the passing game back up.

RB Edgerrin James S2

Edge and the running game have been a disappointment so far, averaging just 3.1 YPC. They catch a good matchup this week and the O-line is healthy again. Both Denver and San Francisco pounded the Rams for an average of 144 yards each. Arizona will look to get James going in this favorable matchup.

WR Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin
S1 Fitzgerald and Boldin have been thrown to 42 times between them. That's second only to the two receivers on the other side of the field this week, Holt and Bruce. Both should be in your starting lineup with no hesitation.
TE Leonard Pope B The rookie is a good receiver but his poor blocking is keeping him off the field more than on it.
 
Denver (1-1) at New England (2-0) Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer B

Plummer has started the season poorly, averaging just 150 yards a game and throwing four interceptions. There was improvement however from week one to week two, and that trend is likely to continue. Pennington put up one of his rare 300-yard games on the Patriots last week. It's tempting to rate the Snake a starter this week, but until he proves it on the field it's best to keep him on your bench.

RB

Tatum Bell

S2

Denver is ranked fourth in run offense, averaging 153 YPG. Yet the running game struggles at times and seems out of sync. Some believe it's the every other series rotation between the Bells, which prevents the zone blocking offensive line from getting into a rhythm with a primary back. All indications are that Shanahan will continue this rotation however, so we'll see after another week. Tatum will remain the starter and is actually running harder this year and finishing his run with more power. He's the better fantasy start of the two Bells.

RB Mike Bell (P) X Mike Bell will continue to get his touches but is a riskier proposition as a fantasy starter. The every other series rotation isn't working as well for him and his new-fledged relationship with the Denver offensive line.
WR Rod Smith (P) B Despite his third concussion in a year, all indications are that Smith will play this week. His production has struggled along with Plummer, but there also comes a time when the 12-year veteran will start to lose a step. That may be starting this year and getting another concussion isn't going to help. It's best to sit Smith this week.
WR Javon Walker S2

Walker showed improvement in week two. He looked sharp and had no dropped passes. He's by far the team's best deep threat and has a favorable matchup with CB Asante Samuel who can struggle with bigger, faster receivers.

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 his looks will likely increase as the season progresses.
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) X

Brady's struggles in the passing game continued last week. Through two games he's completed just 50% of his passes, well below his career average of 62%. Getting Gabriel and Jackson up to speed will help in the long run but neither are healthy. Brady has always performed well against Denver and will be highly motivated after last year ended on such a sour note with his late interception in the playoffs. But all the motivation in the world won't cause a good receiving corps to appear at Gillette Stadium Sunday night.

RB Corey Dillon
Laurence Maroney
S2

Dillon's numbers through two games - 36 carries, 153 yards and a touchdown. Maroney's numbers though two games - 33 carries, 151 yards and a touchdown. That's pretty much the definition of RBBC. It also puts the Patriots as the #3 run offense in the league. With Denver struggling so far to stop the run (allowing 135 YPG) this is a matchup that makes both Dillon and Maroney solid fantasy starters.

WR

Reche Caldwell
Troy Brown

B

Ahhhh yes, Caldwell and Brown. The starting wide receivers for the Patriots. Between them just 10 catches for 116 yards. On every play Sunday night one of them will be locked in single coverage with Champ Bailey. The other may have a shot against Darrent Williams. Not a very good one, but a shot nonetheless.

WR Doug Gabriel (P) B Made his New England debut last week and didn't catch a ball. He could develop into the deep threat this offense sorely needs, but until there are some signs that he's 100% healthy and he actually catches multiple passes from Brady in a game he's off limits.
WR Chad Jackson (Q) B The Patriots needed a boost in the passing game and the pro debut of the speedster out of Florida seemed to provide just that. He caught the team's only touchdown last week. This week however he's shown up on the team's injury report with a hamstring injury. As with any Patriot on the injury report, it's best to stay away.
TE Ben Watson S2

Watson has not been the fantasy factor most expected. He does lead the team in receiving however, but with this group of receivers that's not saying much. He only has six catches for 89 yards. With the wide receivers posing little threat you may see Denver use CB Bailey on Watson at times to limit Brady's best receiving option.

 

Atlanta (2-0) at New Orleans (2-0)

Back to top
Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S2

Vick has completed just 20 passes through two games. Thanks to his running however he's paying off as a fantasy starter. This week will be no different. New Orleans' defense is showing improvement over last year but this is going to be a high scoring affair and Vick will be a big part of it under the Monday night lights in the Superdome.

RB Warrick Dunn S1

Dunn by himself would rank as the seventh best rushing offense in the league. He's looking better than ever and with this being his third year in the Falcon offense he's performing at a very high level.

RB Jerious Norwood B

The speedy rookie continues to impress but will be limited to about 10 touches a game until he develops better blitz pickup skills.

WR Michael Jenkins S2

Through two weeks it's clear that Vick has gained confidence in his talented third-year receiver and will be looking his way often this season. The Falcons' passing offense is currently the third worst in the league. But that will improve and Jenkins looks to be a key part of that.

TE Alge Crumpler S2

Crumpler caught just one ball last week as the passing game never got going. You can expect the Falcons to look his way more in this matchup. New Orleans lacks experience at the safety position and size at linebacker.

New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees X

Brees shook off a rough start last week and ended the day as one of the fantasy QB elite, throwing for 353 yards and two touchdowns. With the ultra-talented Bush, out-of-nowhere Colston and improving Henderson, Brees appears to have landed in a great spot. He'll be under an intense Falcon blitz Monday night and face one of the league's best cover corners in DeAngelo Hall. It won't be an easy night for the Brees and the Saints' passing game.

RB Deuce McAllister X

The Falcons boast the #3 run defense, so it will be tough sledding for Deuce this week. He'll do good to maintain his two game average of 70 yards on the ground. If the Saints get down near the goal line it will be McAllister getting the carries and potential score.

RB Reggie Bush X This could be a first. An opposing player with more hype than Vick. Bush earned that hype at USC but has yet to as a pro. He'll be limited in the running game against the stingy Falcon defense. Where Bush will do his damage is in the passing game. He leads the team in receiving with 16 catches for 126 yards. Brees will be looking for him often in the flats due to the blitz pressure he'll be under. Look for Atlanta to bring hard-hitting S Milloy up to help in coverage.
WR Joe Horn B

Horn may have lost a step but the 11-year veteran knows how to get open. Will struggle in his matchup with DeAngelo Hall and be ineffective. Expect limited production.

WR Marques Colston   U

Colston is a big wide receiver with a lot of upside. Brees has already targeted him more than any other Saints receiver and he's scored in each of his first two NFL games. With Bush drawing extra attention in this matchup and Horn dealing with Atlanta's top cornerback, look for Colston to find the end-zone one more time.

TE Mark Campbell B

The tight end position has just a single catch and it took last week's passing onslaught to produce that.

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