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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 4
Whitney Walters
September 28, 2006
Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night Bye Weeks   Player List by Position  
ARI at ATL MIN at BUF DET at STL SEA at CHI DEN, NYG,   Early Injury Status  
DAL at TEN NO at CAR CLE at OAK Monday Night PIT, TB   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
IND at NYJ SD at BAL JAC at WAS GB at PHI     (Q): Questionable  
MIA at HOU SF at KC NE at CIN       (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)    
 
Jacksonville (2-1) at Washington (1-2) Back to top
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich U

Leftwich's two rushing touchdowns boost his fantasy numbers, but his passing last week was bad. He never seemed to get control of the attack. Look for a bounce back Sunday in Washington. The Redskins' secondary will struggle to hold up against Jones, Williams and Wilford in man coverage and there will be matchups to exploit. Leftwich just has to deliver the ball more consistently.

RB Fred Taylor S2

Taylor has been better than expected so far and still runs with burst and quickness. The Jag's offense starts with the running game, so look for Taylor to get his 20+ carries with some catches thrown in. Taylor owners shouldn't sweat the Jones-Drew bust-out last week. This is still Taylor's show and the rookie will be used primarily as a change-of-pace back most games. Taylor hasn't tasted the end-zone since week one so look for his return to pay dirt Sunday.

WR Matt Jones (P) S2

Jones was listed as the starter last week but hardly played due to the groin injury. He's expected back. He likely won't be 100% but should be healthy enough to warrant sliding him back into your starting lineup. But just barely.

WR Reggie Williams S2

Williams' 2-for-8 performance last week came with the entire passing game out of sync. The previous two weeks are a much better indicator of things to come. Williams has always been an underachiever but is on his way to shaking that label this year. He's the only Jacksonville receiver with a touchdown this year and he'll add to that total this weekend.

WR Ernest Wilford B Wilford remains a good 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. His #3 WR role is producing a pretty consistent 3-for-40 each week. Not exactly fantasy starter material.
TE George Wrighster B

Highly touted rookie Marcedes Lewis has returned to action but it's still Wrighster that's getting the looks each week. The tight end in this offense will never get enough attention to warrant yours.

Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell (P) B

What a difference facing the league's worst defense with your stud running back behind you can make. Well at least one of those will remain the case this week. The Jacksonville defense has been playing lights-out so far and held the league's top passing attack to just 219 yards and a single TD last week. Expecting even that from Brunell is unlikely.

RB Clinton Portis S2

Looks fully recovered and tore up the lifeless Texans last week. Lifeless is not exactly a word being used to describe the Jacksonville defense this year. Especially their run defense, which is #3 in the league. Portis remains a stud and a fantasy starter. You just have to lower your expectations.

WR Santana Moss S2

Moss leads the team in receiving and has at least a rush per game. He has yet to cross the goal-line or find a good rhythm with Brunell in the new offense. Improvement will come over time but this is a very tough matchup with solid cover corners Rashean Mathis and Brian Williams.

WR Antwaan Randle El
Brandon Lloyd
B

Lloyd is getting a few more looks each week but is still just a bit player in the passing game. Randle El has been more consistent and did score last week. But he's topped out at just 34 yards through three games.

TE Chris Cooley B

If there was ever a spot for Cooley to get it going it was last week's matchup with the Texans. He did have a season high four catches, but for just 18 yards. It's just not happening yet for Cooley and his new role in the new offense. Sadly it's time to sit this potential stud TE and look for help elsewhere until things turn around.

 
New England (2-1) at Cincinnati (3-0) Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) X

With no running game last week the offense fell squarely on the shoulders of Brady and the new look passing game. They crumbled. Brady's stat line looked okay thanks to putting up 55 passes (a career high) playing catch-up. Don't expect to see that again any time soon. The Patriots know their passing game is a weakness and will continue to pound the ball on the ground. Before the Denver letdown the offense generated 74 carries and 52 pass attempts.

RB Corey Dillon B

Here we go again. A mysterious arm injury / neck stinger / whatever that we will know nothing about. He may be fine and play or he may be deactivated Sunday afternoon. And the fantasy world won't likely know until right before kickoff. Stay away from Dillon this week.

RB Laurence Maroney S2 The ground-churning running game came to a screeching halt last week. Maroney and Dillon accounted for just 34 rushing yards. They may have failed last week but you can be sure the Patriots will want to run the ball early and often in order to hang with the high-powered Bengals. Maroney will be a big part of that attack, and if Dillon sits this one out he'll have a big game.
WR

Reche Caldwell
Troy Brown

B

Caldwell and Brown may be the starting wide receivers for the Patriots, but now that Gabriel is in the mix they have even less fantasy value.

WR Doug Gabriel (P) S2

Gabriel finally got into the action last week and led all receivers with 65 yards on 6 catches, one being the only New England touchdown. With Jackson still hampered by his hamstring injury Gabriel represents the hope of the Patriots passing game. He's the best down field option they have in the WR corps. The passing attack isn't going to produce much, but as Gabriel and Brady gel he'll be the top fantasy option most weeks.

WR Chad Jackson (Q) B Didn't take the field last week and is being slowed by the nagging hamstring injury. Don't be surprised if he sits this game out as well. Or maybe he'll play and score another touchdown. This is New England after all.
TE Ben Watson S2

Watson remains Brady's prime target while the new WR corps try to improve. The Bengals always provide a decent matchup for tight ends.

Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S1

Palmer had only 183 yards passing last week, only his third sub 200 yard day since week one of 2005. He did throw four touchdowns however, tying a career high. Bottom line this week - too many weapons for New England to stop.

RB Rudi Johnson S2

Rudi got a bit off track last week with only 19 carries. But that was the Steelers and you can bet he won't get fewer than 20 carries this week. Against the two teams that actually have a running game (the Jets in week 2 don't count) New England is giving up 117 yards a game on the ground.

WR Chad Johnson S2

Johnson ran his mouth all last week, which is nothing new. What was new was going 1-for-11 in a big game. In any game. That's by far Johnson's lowest output in the Palmer era. A sign of things to come? Not likely. But with Houshmandzadeh back and Henry emerging the need to lean on Johnson is going to decrease. Don't be surprised to find at the end of the season Johnson NOT leading the team in one of these categories - catches, yards or touchdowns.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (P) S2

T.J. is back, and with a vengeance. Nine catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns in his first game of the season. That's only the beginning. Is it just me or are there long stretches of time in games where Palmer favors T.J. over Johnson, dating back to last season.

WR Chris Henry X

Henry is going to be a hard nut to crack now. Yes he's a talented playmaker and the Bengals showed last week that the #3 WR in the Cincinnati offense can be a viable fantasy starter. But Chad Johnson isn't going to be shut out of the offense every week, if ever again this season. Can an offense with all these weapons and a strong running attack really support three WR's from game to game? I guess we'll find out.

 
Seattle (3-0) at Chicago (3-0) Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S2

The first week of the new look Seattle passing attack was a rousing success. Hasselbeck lit up the hapless Giants secondary for five touchdowns. At times they looked completely lost. That won't be the case this week in Chicago, but even the Bears will struggle to cover the 4-WR sets successfully. Dime coverage for Chicago means rookie CB Devin Hester will be on the field. An advantage to be exploited. The Bears will be tested Sunday night.

RB Maurice Morris   U

Call me crazy but I think this can work. Morris won't be asked to carry the ball 20 times this week while replacing the injured Shaun Alexander, but he will run the ball out of 4-WR sets which will spread the aggressive Chicago defense and give him some running lanes. He'll also catch the ball out of the backfield much more than Alexander because that's a strength of his game. So if you are in a PPR league and are in need of RB help this week, Morris is worth a shot.

WR Darrell Jackson S2

Healthy and still Hasselbeck's go-to guy. Through three games Jackson is the top fantasy WR in many leagues. He's one of only two receivers with three TD's. This is obviously a difficult matchup. But the Bears have allowed decent fantasy production from a receiver (or two) each week so far. Jackson will give cornerbacks Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman all they can handle.

WR Deion Branch S2

Branch looked good in his Seattle debut last week, catching a couple of balls. He'll really get into the action this week. Look for the Seahawks to run him out of the slot a lot, creating mismatches in nickel and dime coverage.

WR Nate Burleson X

Had his best game as a Seahawk last week, catching four passes, one for a score. A disappointment up until last week, the addition of Branch and the 3 and 4-WR sets will continue to help Burleson. His straight-line speed creates mismatches on the outside in the spread formations.

WR Bobby Engram X

Engram will now work almost exclusively out of the slot. This plays to his strengths as he excels in finding the open spaces in the middle of the field. Spaces that open up due to the success of Jackson and Burleson deep and on the perimeter. He also has a great rapport with Hasselbeck.

TE Itula Mili B

Mili sat out last week but is expected to return to action Sunday night. Don't look for much from the tight end position this week.

Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman X

With the running game struggling the Bears are leaning more and more on Grossman. He threw a career high 41 passes last week. If the vaunted Chicago defense can't contain the high-powered Seattle offense, Grossman may be called on again to carry the load. He'll be down one weapon with TE Clark out and the Seahawks have the talent at CB to limit his other receiving options.

RB Thomas Jones B

Another week and another disappointing effort from Jones and the Chicago running game. 3.0 YPC in three games is just not getting it done. In the past two weeks the Seattle defense (ranked #2 against the run) has held both Edgerrin James and Tiki Barber to just 64 yards. What do you know, that's right around Jones' per game average. He'll be lucky to reach even that.

RB Cedric Benson B

Didn't get a single carry last week. In fact, didn't even get a snap. Just stood on the sidelines. The Bears have offered no real explanation and no indications of Benson's future in the offense.

WR Muhsin Muhammad S2

Grossman to Muhammad would be in mid-season form, if they ever had a mid-season together before. The QB's go-to receiver had his second 100-yard game of the year last week. He has yet to score however and barely makes starter status this week. Seattle will likely look to take him out of the game knowing he's the primary target. They'll stick CB Trufant on him with over the top help from S Boulware.

WR Bernard Berrian U

Berrian's production has remained consistent through three games and he's the team's only true deep threat. This is a difficult matchup for the Bears' passing attack, but if the Seahawks stick with CB Trufant on Muhammad all day there will be matchup opportunities for Berrian against the smaller CB Herndon.

TE Desmond Clark (Q)

B

There is no definitive word on Clark's playing status for this game. Speculation at this point is that he'll sit this one out.
TE John Gilmore
Gabe Reid
B No one is going to confuse Gilmore or Reid for Clark. You shouldn't either.
 

Green Bay (1-2) at Philadelphia (2-1)

Back to top
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Favre had his second big game in a row last week, throwing for another 340 yards and three touchdowns. He gets a mixed bag this week under the Monday night lights. The Eagles injury depleted secondary has been susceptible to the pass, allowing over 250 yards a game. Good for Favre. But they also lead the league in sacks with 16. Bad for Favre behind a struggling offensive line. It's a Monday nighter so let's give the edge to Favre.

RB Ahman Green (P) S2

Green continues to carry the full running load for the Packers. He's also very active in the passing game and looks as good as he has in a couple of years. Green currently ranks in the top three in both catches and receiving yards for running backs. No real advantage or disadvantage in this matchup. Philly is average against the run.

WR Donald Driver S2

Driver had a rare quiet game last week going just 3-for-20. Look for him to get it going again in this matchup with CB Sheldon Brown. Brown struggles with man coverage on good speed receivers.

WR Greg Jennings S2

The rookie has been everything promised by his stellar pre-season. This week should be no different. Jennings is inexperienced but has more than enough talent to work successfully against whatever healthy backup cornerback the Eagles have available this week.

TE Bubba Franks B

Bubba will keep getting some looks in this offense but that will rarely be enough to make him fantasy worthy as the other tight ends on the roster, Lee and Martin, are also getting attention from Favre.

Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1

Who has the #1 passing offense in the league? Yep, Philly. Tops in yards and touchdowns. Who has the #31 pass defense in the league? Yep, Green Bay.

RB Brian Westbrook (Q) S1

If this is what we are going to get each week while Westbrook battles his nagging knee injury, then my all means Brian, take it easy in practice every week. Just keep bringing it on game day. Westbrook leads all backs in touchdowns and total yards, making him the top fantasy back through three games. The Packers defense will pose little resistance.

WR Donte' Stallworth (Q) S2

Stallworth was a game-time scratch last week after suffering spasms in his injured hamstring in pre-game warm-ups - causing fantasy meltdowns across the nation. While still listed as questionable this week all indications are that he'll play Monday night. If he does he's going to have his way with the Packer secondary.

WR Reggie Brown (P) S2

Thanks to Stallworth being a last-minute scratch in last week's game, Brown followed up his touchdown a week performances with a 100-yarder, the first of his career. Even if Stallworth returns to the playing field Monday night, Brown is a solid start against a Green Bay secondary that getting toasted every week.

TE L.J. Smith (P) S2

Smith saw his production take a hit last week with just three catches for 19 yards. One was for a touchdown however. He continues to be bothered by the sprained shoulder but should be healthy enough to do some damage this week.

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