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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)    
 
Tampa Bay (0-3) at New Orleans (3-1) Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Bruce Gradkowski B

With Simms out for the year the rookie from Toledo will take over running the Bucs' offense for now. Gradkowski is considered an accurate quarterback with a quick release and decent arm strength. This week he'll see every blitz and every coverage the Saints can throw at him while he stands in the pocket behind a suspect offensive line.

RB Carnell Williams S2

Through three games the Cadillac has yet to crack 50 yards rushing but has at least found the end-zone once. The offensive line just isn't getting it done and now the Bucs need their running game even more with a rookie under center. They will surely try to establish the run in this matchup, but the Saints have been whipped into shape by new DC Gary Gibbs and will make the going difficult. Until Carolina ran over them for 170 yards last week they had held their previous three opponents to just 50 YPG.

WR Michael Clayton
Joey Galloway
B

Both Galloway and Clayton have fantasy potential. But the Tampa Bay passing schemes will be completely retooled for the rookie right-hander and until this situation shakes out it's best to keep these two on your bench.

TE Alex Smith B

If anyone has the potential to succeed this weekend in the passing game its Smith. He possesses the size and speed to split the seams in the Saints' coverage schemes. He may be too busy helping protect Gradkowski however to be much of a target for him.

New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees U

Brees will take a back seat this week to the running game but will still have his fun throwing short to Bush and long to Horn and Colston.

RB Deuce McAllister
Reggie Bush
S2

Both McAllister and Bush struggled last week after three games of very solid production. Struggling won't be an issue this week as they return home to face one of the worst run defenses in the league - #31 in fact. Bush may even find that illusive first touchdown Sunday.

WR Joe Horn U

Horn has a very nice matchup this week with either the slowed-by-injury Brian Kelly or his overmatched replacement Juran Bolden.

WR Marques Colston   S2

Colston's production has increased each week of the season. That may not happen again since he put up 132 yards last week, but the big rookie has a size and speed advantage over most safeties. That will come in real handy against the Bucs' cover-2 zone schemes Sunday as the Saints will likely use him down the middle of the field, right at safeties Allen and Phillips.

TE Ernie Conwell  B

Finally showed up in the box score last week, catching his first pass of the season, and then four more for good measure. Conwell is a solid tight end with the skills to be a good pass receiver. Like Colston he'll come in handy this weekend against the Tampa Bay zone coverage schemes.

 
Tennessee (0-4) at Indianapolis (4-0) Back to top
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young B

Time to find out just what this talented rookie can do. Early indications are that it will involve a lot of running around, short passes and interceptions. Just about what most would expect.

RB Chris Brown
LenDale White
Travis Henry
S2
U
B

Okay, here's the current running back situation in Tennessee. When all three backs are healthy (as they are now) the team will designate one as the starter, one as the backup and deactivate the other. Who falls into what category is completely up in the air for this game - with a final decision not coming until late in the week. When you have the third worst rushing attack in the league anything can happen. The deactivation of a healthy Henry last week was an indication that the Titans may finally be ready to put White into the mix on a weekly basis. It appears likely Brown will be the starter this week with White backing him up. If that's the case then Brown could squeeze out a startable performance against an Indy defense that's allowing 155 YPG and a league worst 4.8 YPC on the ground. Also, if given the chance White may get his first NFL touchdown.

WR Drew Bennett (Q) B

New quarterback. New favorite receiver? Bennett went just 2-10 last week with Young under center. Throwing to Bennett on deep and sideline patterns isn't going to be a strength for the rookie. Bennett's fantasy value just took a nose-dive.

WR Bobby Wade
Brandon Jones
B With Givens out this week with a hand injury, Wade and Jones will be relied on to fill the void at receiver. Neither will be worth starting.
TE Ben Troupe
Bo Scaife
S2

In keeping with the current offensive game plan, Young went to his tight ends 9 times last week in his first start. That trend will likely continue. Over the past two weeks Troupe is 5-80 and a touchdown, Scaife is 6-93 and a touchdown. Not bad numbers for a fantasy tight end. At this point both make a borderline fantasy starter each week.

Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

Manning has had only one monster game this season - week two against Houston. Here comes number two.

RB Dominic Rhodes S2

The Colts' veteran back isn't turning his starting job over without a fight. Rhodes had his best game of the season last week and you should expect a repeat against the lowly Titans on Sunday.

RB Joseph Addai S2

As expected the rookie looked good last week against a suspect Jets defense. He logged his best game so far with 99 total yards and another touchdown. He's also staying active in the passing game. This week brings an opponent that's even worse against the run. The last place Titans.

WR Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
S1

Harrison and Wayne haven't hit 100 yards in a couple of weeks. They both could Sunday.

TE Dallas Clark
Bryan Fletcher
Ben Utecht (Q)
U
U
B

Through a quarter of the season all three tight ends continue to produce each week - limiting their fantasy value. The most consistent from week to week is Clark, who is 9-109 and two touchdowns on the season and the only Colt tight end to produce fantasy points each week. Fletcher has only produced in two games, but he scored in both. Utecht has yet to score and is more of a blocker that gets the occasional receiving opportunity. He's likely out with a back injury this week.

 
Washington (2-2) at New York Giants (1-2) Back to top
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Mark Brunell S2

Putting up 329 yards and three touchdowns on Jacksonville is no small feat. The Redskins offense seems to be finally clicking. The Giants secondary is horrible and the defensive front is generating no pressure - they have a league low two sacks on the season.

RB Clinton Portis S1

After two weeks it's clear that Portis is healthy and strong. He carried the ball 27 times last week against the stingy Jaguars' defense and gained 112 tough yards a touchdown (his fourth).

WR Santana Moss S1

Wow. That was some game last week for Moss owners. And it came against a tough opponent with a solid secondary. The Giants have the first part of that down, but not the second. Cornerbacks Madison and Webster have been getting burned in man coverage all season.

WR Antwaan Randle El
Brandon Lloyd
U

Both Lloyd and Randle El are getting some looks each week, but Moss is the playmaker and these two will remain little more than 2-5 catches a game players. So far this season Randle El has been more consistent but Lloyd out performed him for the first time last week. Against this leaky secondary odds are good one will have a good game and likely score. I'm feeln' Lloyd this week, but you can't go wrong plugging either into your lineup if you are in need of some bye week help.

TE Chris Cooley S2

Just when the time seems right to give up on the potential stud tight end he gives you his best game of the year, more than doubling his season to date yardage total with a 4-70 performance. The Giants have given up a 100-yard game and two single touchdown games to tight ends through three games. Cooley should be able to keep his production going this week.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S1

Manning has been as advertised so far this season, averaging nearly 300 yards and 3 touchdowns a game. The Redskins won't pose much of a challenge to the Giants' passing attack this week. They are still playing without their best cornerback and only one team has allowed more passing touchdowns. This is another good matchup for the younger Manning.

RB Tiki Barber S1

Barber has failed to make much of an impact in the last two games. He's only rushed for 115 yards since week one and has yet to score a touchdown this season. Look for him to be involved heavily in this critical division game with Washington.

WR Plaxico Burress S2

Burress and Manning are showing a better chemistry and the QB is doing a better job of getting Burress the ball at a more catchable height. The Redskins are struggling against the pass without their top cover corner Shawn Springs. Look for Burress to take full advantage.

WR Amani Toomer X

Pull Toomer's week two explosion out of the mix and you have your standard possession type fantasy receiver. 3-5 catches for 30-60 yards. With Shockey getting into the flow more this week Toomer isn't likely to be more then that.

TE Jeremy Shockey S1

The week off will do wonders for Shockey and his bum ankle. A healthy Shockey will be more involved in the passing attack, starting this Sunday.

 

Kansas City (1-2) at Arizona (1-3)

Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Damon Huard U As expected Huard improved last week following the bye and against a favorable matchup, San Francisco. He's been efficient so far and the Chiefs aren't asking him to do much. The Cardinals present another favorable matchup so if you need a fill-in quarterback this week, Huard may fit that bill.
RB Larry Johnson S1

The offense begins and ends with Johnson. In the two games since Green went down he's carried the ball 57 times and had nine catches. It'll be more of the same this week.

WR Eddie Kennison S2 Kennison more than doubled his receiving output last week with his 6-86, 1 TD performance. He seems to be working well with QB Huard and this week's favorable matchup with the Cardinals secondary gives you a good spot to plug him into your starting lineup if you are in need of a bye week fill-in.
WR Samie Parker B Parker is a good, young talent. But the passing game is limited this season and he's behind TE Gonzalez in the pecking order.
TE Tony Gonzalez S1 Gonzo got back on track last week going 5-59. He hasn't scored since week one so he's due to find the end-zone again.
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Leinart B

Arizona's Leinart era officially begins this week. Unfortunately he'll be playing behind the same porous offensive line that's kept Kurt Warner fearing for his life all season. The Cardinals are expected to make even more changes along line for this week's game. You can bet the Chiefs will put those changes and Leinart to the test with a never ending blitz this weekend.

RB Edgerrin James S2

Well it's not like they aren't trying. They just aren't getting it done. James has carried the ball 20 or more times in three of the four games this year but is averaging just 68 YPG and an almost league low 3.1 YPC. He has scored twice and adds production through the passing game each week, so not all hope is lost. Kansas City can be run on and the Cards will need to lean on James to take pressure off their rookie quarterback.

WR Larry Fitzgerald (P)
Anquan Boldin
S2

Both Fitzgerald and Boldin are getting a steady supply of looks this season but the struggles at quarterback have limited their potentially high production each week. Each has scored only once and reached 100 yards only once. This week it's a rookie under center and an opponent that has yet to allow a 100-yard game or a passing touchdown this season. This may be the most borderline S2 rating I've ever given these two.

TE Leonard Pope B Pope got his second and third career catches last week, one from Leinart. But the tight end is just not going to get the looks in this offense.
 
New York Jets (2-2) at Jacksonville (2-2) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington (P) B

After a torrid start to the season Pennington has cooled, averaging less than 200 yards and one touchdown a game over the past two weeks. Not having an effective running game isn't helping the cause. Before being torched by Washington last week the Jags were holding opponents to just 200 passing yards a game and had allowed just two scores through the air. You can bet they'll be looking to get back to that form this week at home.

RB Kevan Barlow B

Barlow has locked down the starting job in New York for now but the three-headed RBBC continues to be utilized. The injury to Cedric Houston will cut that to just two backs this week, unless the Jets decide to activate Blaylock again. On the plus side Barlow is showing a nose for the end-zone and has scored four times so far this season. Regardless of last week's letdown, Jacksonville has one of the top run defenses and you shouldn't expect much from Barlow.

WR Laveranues Coles (Q) S2

Coles is the prime target in the Jets' passing attack and a consistent producer so far this season. Look for the Jets to move him around a lot this week in order to create favorable matchups with the Jacksonville secondary.

WR Jerricho Cotchery S2

The surprising Cotchery continues to impress. He plays second fiddle to Coles but has caught a touchdown in three of the four games this season - a feat only a couple of receivers can claim. Look for him to continue to prosper on the other side of the coverage-drawing Coles this week as he'll draw the beatable CB Brian Williams on many downs.

TE Chris Baker B

It's been feast or famine with Baker so far. He either scores a touchdown or gets just a single catch. Last week was one of those single catches. Jacksonville has an aggressive set of linebackers that are decent in coverage. Don't expect Baker go get back to his touchdown scoring ways this week.

Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Byron Leftwich S2

Leftwich threw three touchdown passes last week, a total he has reached just once before since 2004. This week presents another good matchup for the passing game as the Jets continue to struggle against the pass. The power running game keeps teams on their heels and their size at WR creates mismatches in the secondary. The up and coming tight ends are a plus also.

RB Fred Taylor S2

Taylor and the Jacksonville running game were completely shut down last week. That won't be the case against the Jets. In the past three games New York has allowed 148, 151 and 159 yards on the ground.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew U The powerful and speedy rookie got his chance two weeks ago and blew up for 103 yards on just 13 carries. Last week he was used mostly in the passing game and turned three catches into 53 yards and a score. He'll remain a change-of-pace option to Taylor but against weaker opponents he could produce solid fantasy points. The Jets qualify.
WR Matt Jones (D) B

Jones has been dealing with a groin injury for a few weeks and left last week's game after pulling a hamstring. It's expected that he'll shut it down this week since the Jag's have a bye week next and that will give him a solid 2+ weeks of rest and recovery time.

WR Reggie Williams S2

Williams has always been an underachiever but is well on his way to shaking that label this year. He's the most productive Jacksonville receiver with two 90-yard games and the only one with a touchdown (he has three). The Jets do not have the talent in the secondary to deal with his size.

WR Ernest Wilford B Even with Matt Jones out or limited in the past two games Wilford was no more active in the passing attack than usual - catching three passes for 30 yards in each game.
TE George Wrighster B

Wrighster has seen his production increase each week. Even with highly touted rookie Marcedes Lewis on the field last week getting his first two career catches, Wrighster was still good for a 5-53 performance, behind only Williams on the day. The tight end typically gets little attention in the Jacksonville offense, but with Jones out it becomes a bigger part of the game plan. Lewis' presence however limits Wrighster's fantasy impact.

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