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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 5
Whitney Walters
October 5, 2006
Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night Bye Weeks   Player List by Position  
BUF at CHI STL at GB KC at ARI PIT at SD ATL, CIN,   Early Injury Status  
CLE at CAR TB at NO NYJ at JAC Monday Night HOU, SEA   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
DET at MIN TEN at IND OAK at SF BAL at DEN     (Q): Questionable  
MIA at NE WAS at NYG DAL at PHI       (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)    
 
Buffalo (2-2) at Chicago (4-0) Back to top
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman B

Losman's play continues to improve, but only one quarterback has passed for over 200 yards against the Bears and they have yet to be scored on through the air. Don't bank on Losman being the first.

RB Willis McGahee S2

McGahee is the league's leading rusher at 389 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season last week. The Bears may be giving up some yards on the ground (81 per game) but no running back has crossed the goal-line against them. McGahee's speed and power will give Buffalo the confidence to run him right at the Chicago defense. It'll be tough sledding but McGahee may eek out a startable performance Sunday. One down side is that McGahee doesn't bring the advantage many backs with tough matchups have of involvement in the passing game.

WR Lee Evans B

Things finally seem to be getting into gear with Evans and Losman. Over the past two weeks Evans has been Losman's main target and has 15 catches for 197 yards. The best anyone's done against the Chicago defense has been a week one 7-96 effort by Donald Driver. So that's the high you Evans owners are shooting for. If he can get close to that you should feel fortunate. Look for the ball to be spread around a bit too much for that to happen.

WR Peerless Price
Josh Reed
Roscoe Parrish
B

No real #2 WR that has emerged in the Buffalo offense. Reed led the way in week's one and two, Parrish came out of nowhere week three with a 4-for-104 effort and Price got a touchdown last week. The limited production in the passing game and the inconsistency from week to week make all three of these receivers hands off for fantasy purposes.

Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman S2

Week after week Grossman continues to shine. He's a top 5 fantasy quarterback in most leagues right now. The doubters keep saying it has to end sometime but the indicators for continued success grow stronger with each passing week. The Bills present his third difficult defensive challenge in a row. But he has three great weapons in the passing game and an improving running game for balance. With only some hesitation it's time to hitch up to the Grossman bandwagon.

RB Thomas Jones S2

The Chicago running game finally got going last week. Jones had a season high 24 carries for 98 yards and scored his first two touchdowns. Seattle had shown itself to be one of the top run defenses in the league up to that point. Since the week one thumping by New England (180 yards rushing) the Bills have given up just 63 YPG on the ground. This will be another tough matchup for Jones and he'll likely continue to lose around 10 carries a game to Benson.

RB Cedric Benson B

Pull out the odd week three no-show and Benson is getting a consistent 11 carries for 33 yards each game. Not exactly fantasy starter material.

WR Muhsin Muhammad S2

Muhammad didn't get another 100-yard game last week but he did pull in his first touchdown of the season. The Grossman to Muhammad connection is sound and with the other talents emerging in the passing attack (Berrian and Clark) it just means better matchups to exploit.

WR Bernard Berrian X

Berrian had his first 100-yard game last week and another touchdown, his third. He's finding success each week as Grossman's deep threat. He has three 40-plus yard plays already this season. Buffalo's CB Terrence McGee may have the wheels to stay with Berrian down field and tends to keep receivers in front to prevent big plays. Berrian's long strikes may not come this week.

TE Desmond Clark (Q)

S2

Clark pushed through his ankle injury last week and played, going 3-for-39. The Bears continue to use the speedy Clark well, running two back sets with Clark in tight with the tackle. This typically gets him matched up with a linebacker for a speed advantage that is paying off.
 
Cleveland (1-3) at Carolina (2-2) Back to top
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye B

Frye looked solid again last week bringing the Browns back and tossing three touchdowns. His continued interceptions (another two last week) are a concern however. Getting back another prime target in Jurevicius will help his production. There will be some matchup opportunities down field with his big receivers for him to exploit this week. But he'll still struggle in this game due to the pressure from the Carolina blitz.

RB Reuben Droughns (Q) S2

Droughns put up his first 100-yard game of the season last week after gaining just 59 yards in the first two games. But clearly is being hindered by the injured shoulder and is playing hurt. The Panthers still rank in the bottom half in run defense, but are improving. Their last two opponents, Tampa Bay and New Orleans, gained just 63 and 61 yards on the ground respectively. Droughns is a risky start this week on the road.

WR Braylon Edwards S2

Edwards has put up two 100-yard games this season and the Panthers have allowed two through four games. So I guess the odds are about 50-50 that the up-and-coming receiver will get another one this week.

WR Joe Jurevicius (Q) B Returned last week after missing two with a rib injury. Pulled in three balls, one being a go-ahead touchdown. He's a great possession complement to the down-field abilities of Edwards. But so is TE Winslow. Don't expect big production out of him, but he will get you consistent points at the WR position.
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. (Q) S2

Winslow has quickly become a consistent fantasy start at tight end. He may struggle a bit in this matchup however if the Panthers' blitz can force the Browns to keep him back in pass protection.

Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme S2

Two weeks without Steve Smith - 367 passing yards and no scores. Two weeks with - 441 passing yards and three touchdowns. This week against Cleveland and their injury depleted secondary offers a great spot to keep the high production trend going.

RB Deshaun Foster S2

The addition of rookie DeAngelo Williams is turning out to be a good thing for Foster. It's enabling the Panthers to limit his carries. He's averaging 16 a game plus a few catches, allowing him to remain fresh, healthy and productive. The offensive line is still an issue due to injury, but the Browns just flat out can't stop the run.

RB DeAngelo Williams U

The rookie was involved in the running game again last week, for just the second time in four games. The kid's averaging 6.5 YPC, but until the wheel's fall off of Foster it's looking like he'll be nothing but a highly explosive and productive backup that gets 8-10 touches a game. Thankfully facing an opponent like Cleveland, with their inability to stop the run, presents a spot start chance for Williams.

WR Steve Smith S1

Two solid games under his belt and he's looking stronger with each passing week. The Browns are likely without their two starting cornerbacks this week. Nuf' said.

WR Keyshawn Johnson S2

Delhomme has become very comfortable with the reliable Johnson. He's not going to get you big game production, but if you need some average and consistent fantasy points - Keyshawn is your man. Has a bit of an upside this week due to the matchup with a Cleveland secondary that will be without their two starting cornerbacks.

 
Detroit (0-4) at Minnesota (2-2) Back to top
Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S2

The offense in Detroit is starting to come around. But after two very nice outings you can expect Kitna to come down in this matchup. The Vikings have allowed just two passing touchdowns this season and have the secondary to limit his down field options. He's still a startable option this week, but barely.

RB Kevin Jones X

Jones has yet to get 20+ carries in a game but saw his number increase to 19 last week and he got close to cracking the 100-yard barrier with 93 and two scores. OC Mike Martz knows the Lions' offense needs a productive running game and will continue to lean on Jones to carry that load. But without 20+ carries it will be difficult for Jones to be starter worthy this week against a tough Minnesota defense.

WR Roy Williams S2

Williams followed his 138-yard week 3 effort with a career high 9 catches for 139 last week. Williams is a rare talent and his lethal combination of size, speed and strength will give him a matchup advantage against most cornerbacks. Even the talented duo of Smoot and Winfield (who is banged up this week).

WR Mike Furrey X

Furrey has become a solid producer since his move to the #2 WR spot. Last week was the most productive of his career - 8 catches, 82 yards, 2 touchdowns. Furry is fast, has good size and was once the top receiver in Arena Football. With the coverage attention demanded by Roy Williams, he's capable of beating average #2 cornerbacks. Minnesota's Winfield or Smoot don't come close to being average.

Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson S2

Johnson had his best game of the season last week, throwing for 267 yards and a touchdown. He'll best that on Sunday. The Detroit defense is surrendering yards and touchdowns at an alarming rate. The past three quarterbacks to take the field against the Lions have accounted for a total of 957 yards and 10 touchdowns.

RB Chester Taylor S2

Taylor's touches and production have declined each week since his week one 131 total yard, one touchdown performance. He was stuffed last week by Buffalo, gaining just 23 yards on 10 carries. Taylor's versatility and strong running are key to the Vikings' offense. Look for them to emphasize the run early in this matchup in order to open up the passing game.

WR Travis Taylor X

Taylor, along with fellow starter Williamson, was overshadowed by #3 WR Robinson and TE Wiggins last week. Even with Taylor getting a decent amount of looks, this is going to happen in the spread-it-around passing game that QB Johnson operates.

WR Troy Williamson S2 Williamson has had two poor weeks in a row thanks to difficult matchups with Chicago and Buffalo. Three in a row isn't going to happen against the hapless Detroit secondary.
TE Jermaine Wiggins (Q) S2

The Vikings hadn't looked Wiggins' way much since week one. That changed last week as he led the team with six receptions. He's a great pass-catching tight end and fits the ball control passing game well. You can bet Minnesota won't be forgetting that again.

 

Miami (1-3) at New England (3-1)

Back to top
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Dante Culpepper B

Culpepper played within himself and his new limited athletic abilities last week and had his best game of the season. Pretty easy to do against the league's worst pass defense. Even given that he generated just an ordinary 250 yards and a score and the lowly Texans got in on the sack party. Culpepper has now been sacked 21 times in four games. New England is beginning to get their act together defensively. Don't expect much from the Miami quarterback.

RB

Ronnie Brown

S2

Brown had a season low 12 carries last week but made up for it with a career high 8 catches for 62 yards. If the Dolphins have any hope of going into Foxborough and winning this game they must feed Brown the ball and get the running game going. Only two teams in the league average fewer rushing attempts per game than Miami.

WR Chris Chambers S2

Thanks to the continued struggles of his quarterback, Chambers just can't get it going this season. His most productive game so far was his week one 5-for-59. That's about what he's averaged against the Patriots over the past two years, with three touchdowns thrown in. The New England secondary is still struggling with injury problems so odds are Chambers will improve on his average this weekend. He has also had as many touchdowns called back on penalties as he's scored - two.

WR Marty Booker B Booker is a solid possession receiver that will fall in the 2-5 catch, 30-60 yard range most weeks.
WR Wes Welker X

Welker has become a steady producer for the Dolphins out of the slot. He actually leads the team in catches and receiving yards. He and Culpepper have a nice little thing going and there are no indications that it will change any time soon. Welker isn't going to be a fantasy starter most weeks, but if you are in a bye week pinch you could do a lot worse than his consistent 10 fantasy points.

TE Randy McMichael B

McMichael has been a fantasy disappointment so far but he did have his best game last week, catching 4-for-54. He's typically done well against the Patriots in the past, but with all the offensive line problems the Dolphins are having and the variety of blitz packages New England is going to bring, look for McMichael to have another limited game - spending a lot of time helping out with protection.

New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) X

Get used to it. This year's Brady is not going to be the same Brady that led the NFL in passing last season. This team is going to run the ball and use a more ball-control passing attack that features a lot of 2-TE sets due to their limitations at WR. Miami is a solid defense so don't expect much more than 200 yards and a score this week.

RB Corey Dillon S2

The running game is carrying this offense and that's not going to change - at least not by design. Aside from his injury game against Denver in week three, Dillon is splitting the carries fairly evenly with Maroney and averaging 4.1 YPC. Don't expect Dillon to carry the ball more than 20 times very often and he's a non-factor in the passing game. But he's going to be good for 60-80 yards and a possible touchdown each week - making him a borderline starter for most fantasy teams.

RB Laurence Maroney S2

The rookie had shown bursts of his talent through the first three weeks of the season. But last week was his official break-out game. He stiff-armed his way to 125 yards on just 15 carries and scored twice. This kid is the real deal and with him averaging 5.6 yards every time he touches the ball you can bet the Patriots will figure out ways to get it to him.

WR

Reche Caldwell

B

Caldwell remains the starter for now but has topped 2 catches and 35 yards only once this season. Too much running and too much spreading the ball around for Caldwell to be of much fantasy value.

WR Doug Gabriel S2

Gabriel moved into the starting lineup last week and ended up leading all receivers with his 4-57, 1 TD performance. In his two weeks of action he's caught 10 balls and scored twice. In this offense that makes him the prime target in the passing game outside of the tight ends. He's the most physical WR the Patriots have and he should find success against the smallish Miami cornerbacks.

WR Chad Jackson (Q) B The rookie got back on the field last week after dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. If healthy he's too talented and fast to remain on the sidelines. He may even work his way into the starting lineup by late season. But for now he's the #3 WR, and New England is a run first team that likes to throw to its tight ends.
TE Ben Watson S2

A week after putting up the biggest passing day of any New England receiver this year, Watson gets just a single catch and takes a back seat to fellow TE Graham. He remains a vital piece of the passing attack and will bounce back this weekend.

 
St. Louis (3-1) at Green Bay (1-3) Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S1

Bulger got it going last week and the new-look passing attack is hitting on more cylinders each week. That'll likely keep going this weekend in Green Bay. The Packers' secondary is getting shredded each week.

RB Steven Jackson S2

What can you say? Jackson is getting his touches this season and he's producing, averaging over 130 total yards a game. He also found the end-zone last week for the first time in 2006. Look for him to get his second and maybe even third this Sunday in Green Bay. Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace is expected to return this week.

WR Torry Holt S1 The Rams' passing game is starting to click and Holt is an every week starter.
WR Isaac Bruce S2

Bruce may be old but he can still get it done on Sundays. He torched the #30 pass defense last week and will do the same against the #31 pass defense this week.

WR Kevin Curtis
Shaun McDonald
B Between them just 9 catches for 69 yards through four games. As the new Rams' passing attack improves you may see them use more 3 and 4-WR sets, allowing Bulger to spread it around a bit more. But it's likely that will never be to the level that makes either of these receivers' fantasy options.
TE Joe Klopfenstein B Seems to be settling into an every other week pattern. He's only caught passes in week's two and four, scoring his first NFL touchdown last week. The score was a good sign that as the passing game gets in sync that he'll have a bigger role in it. Until that actually happens however the big rookie is not a fantasy starter.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre (P) S2

Favre came crashing down (literally) Monday night after a great two game stretch. He should recover fully from the head injury and no doubt will be back in form at home this weekend. The Rams' defense doesn't pose nearly the challenge Philly did Monday night, but they do lead the league with 8 interceptions.

RB Ahman Green (Q)
- or -
Vernand Morency
S2

Green's hamstring problems kept him out against Philly and Morency got the start and produced 118 total yards of offense on 26 carries and six catches. It's unclear at this time who will be the starter this week. Whoever the Packers go with makes a decent start since the Rams are giving up 120 yards and a touchdown a game on the ground. Green Bay remains the only team without a rushing touchdown this season.

WR Donald Driver (Q) S2

Even with the emergence of the talented Jennings, Driver remains Favre's primary target and was the only receiver he threw to Monday night inside the 10-yard line.

WR Greg Jennings S2

The rookie continues to shine and gain Favre's confidence. Look for that to continue this week against a Rams secondary that has given up a 100-yard performance to a wide receiver in each of the last three games.

TE Bubba Franks B

Bubba keeps getting the looks in the passing game, but he also keeps doing little with them - topping out at 3-39 in week three.

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