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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)    
 
Oakland (0-3) at San Francisco (1-3) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Andrew Walter   B

Walter completed just 9 of his 23 throws last week for a pitiful 68 yards. He may get a slightly better matchup defensively this week going to San Francisco, but it shouldn't matter. The Raiders are a sinking ship and the rats are beginning to jump overboard.

RB Lamont Jordan S2

As expected Jordan got off the schneid last week against the terrible Cleveland run defense. He even caught his first two passes of the season. Good going Mr. B&B. The Niners are reeling after last week's blowout and have now given up a 100-yard game to their last three opponent's starting running backs. Jordan remains a solid start this week.

WR Randy Moss S2

Week one of the Walter-to-Moss connection - one catch for five yards. At least it was for a touchdown. The off the field fallout - Moss stating publicly that he doesn't care any more since his teammates don't. Porter may find some company in Art's doghouse this week. With the season going down the drain why mess with another disgruntled diva receiver? Unfortunately most fantasy teams can't stick Moss in their sidelines. They need him to produce. And if the fallout is minimal and Moss plays he should be able to do barely enough to warrant you playing him.

WR Jerry Porter B Another week and another Porter deactivation. That doghouse of Art Shell's is a difficult place to get out of apparently. Until Porter sees the light of day he's off limits.
WR Alvis Whitted
Ronald Curry
B

Whitted is the #2 WR and Curry is currently running out of the slot, where he's best suited. Both have been terrible along with the rest of the passing game. Neither are fantasy options.

TE Courtney Anderson
Randal Williams
B

You would think that a pressured, young quarterback would buddy up with the big tight ends on his roster. Through one week that's not happening. Both Anderson and Williams had just a single catch last week for eight yards each. Both should be avoided.

San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith U

The running game was stymied last week, the team fell way behind and the offense then fell apart when it had to turn to the passing attack to carry it. A definite step back in Smith's maturation process. What he needs is an easy matchup against a Bay Area rival. Oakland Raiders come on down.

RB Frank Gore S2

Gore's production has fallen off the past two weeks and the fumbles are a growing concern. After two very productive games teams began to focus on stopping the Niners running game, forcing the offense onto the shoulders of QB Smith. Good thing the Raiders have yet to stop a running game this season. In addition to this favorable defensive matchup the running game will get a boost this week with the expected return of G Larry Allen.

WR Antonio Bryant S2

Bryant has cooled off after his torrid two week pace. Look for him to warm up again this week as the Raiders will be without starting CB Fabian Washington.

WR Arnaz Battle B

Battle is only a serviceable #2 WR and is below Bryant, Gore and now Johnson in the pecking order. He'll get you 2-4 catches a week and will rarely be a fantasy option.

TE Eric Johnson S2 Johnson failed to live up to expectations last week when he took over the starting tight end job from injured Vernon Davis. But the whole offense failed last week. Look for Johnson to bounce back with a very good game against a Raiders team that will be geared up to stop the run.
 
Dallas (2-1) at Philadelphia (3-1) Back to top
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Bledsoe S2

Through three weeks the Philly secondary had been a nightmare, but stepped up its play last week against Green Bay. Improvement is on the way with the expected return of CB Lito Sheppard this week. The pass rush has never been a problem as they've recorded 16 sacks this season, just one behind league leading Baltimore. This is a tough spot for Bledsoe. He did put up 485 yards and four TD's on Philly last season, and that was without Owens.

RB Julius Jones S2

Jones continued his fine play last week with his first 100-yard game of the season and another touchdown. He also received a season high 23 carries which was good to see. Keep in mind however that will be a likely high point this season. The team wants to keep him around 20 carries a game and he's rarely on the field for third downs.

RB Marion Barber B

Barber is getting just 8-10 touches a game but has been able to produce thanks to two touchdown runs in the last two games. Still, he's nothing more than Jones insurance as your fantasy team can't rely on a back that just touches the ball 10 times in a game.

WR Terrell Owens S1

This one doesn't need a lot of analysis. The hand is fine and he's returning to the scene of the crime in Philly. This one should be very entertaining and productive for his fantasy owners.

WR Terry Glenn S2

Lost in all the attention Owens continues to draw is the fact that Glenn is playing at a very high level this season and producing every week for his fantasy owners. This week should be no different. With all the defensive focus on Owens you can bet Glenn will slip through the cracks on more than one occasion.

TE Jason Witten X

Witten's 2-19 performance last week was not what his owners were looking for. But it's not unusual for Witten. He had five such games last year. What is a bit unusual is his lack of touchdowns. He closed out last year with four scores in the final six games and hopes were high for that pace to carry into this year. So far it has not. The passing game is focusing more on the wide receivers thanks to Owens and his looks in scoring position have decreased thanks to the 2-TE sets that Dallas is running.

Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1

He will downplay it all week, but in the midst of this statement season - this is a big statement game for McNabb. The Dallas defense is no pushover, but don't bet against him this week. He's playing at an extremely high level and will have a big game.

RB Brian Westbrook (Q) S2

Westbrook was playing at a blazing pace through three weeks despite nursing a sore knee since the first week of pre-season. Last week it caught up to him and he was unable to play following a bad pre-game warm-up. This is obviously a situation that will need to be tracked up until game time, but as of now my hunch is that after a week off to rest he'll be ready to go in this important division matchup.

WR Donte' Stallworth (D) B

Stallworth tried to play last week but tweaked his hamstring again and left the game early with just a single catch. He's not expected to play this week. After a promising first two games in Philly it's looking like this is shaping up to be the typical Stallworth season. Lots of potential and lots of hamstring problems.

WR

Reggie Brown (Q)

X

Brown has been playing well with the absence of Stallworth but left last week's game with a shoulder injury. Early reports are that he'll be able to play against Dallas. He'll likely draw the Cowboys' top cover corner Terence Newman who has the skills to stay with Brown even on deep patterns.

WR Greg Lewis U Only has two passes thrown his way last week but made the most of them - scoring two long touchdowns. Look for the Eagles to work Lewis deep and for him to shake his coverage enough to produce.
TE L.J. Smith (P) S1

Through all the injury problems the Eagles' offense has faced so far this season there has been one constant - Smith. With Stallworth out again, Brown banged up and Westbrook hobbled, Smith will be a critical option in the passing game.

 
Pittsburgh (1-2) at San Diego (2-1) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B

No one can quite put their finger on it, but something just isn't right with Roethlisberger. He's playing poorly and the passing game is out of sync. He's thrown five interceptions in two games with no touchdowns and only a single completion over 30 yards. Even with the off week to work on his game, it will be difficult to get back on track against the Chargers and their fierce pass rush.

RB Willie Parker  S2

This will be a difficult matchup for Parker and the running game. The Chargers have yet to allow a back to gain more than 35 yards. But the Steelers know they have to have a balanced attack to succeed so look for them to attack the perimeter with Parker's speed and throw to him more to get him in the open field.

WR Hines Ward S2

If the quarterback is struggling then so are his receivers. Ward has just two catches in each of the last two games. It's hard to imagine that trend continuing, but if the Steelers can't protect Roethlisberger it will be very hard for Ward to produce this week.

WR Cedrick Wilson
Nate Washington
Santonio Holmes
B

Wilson seems to have a lock on the #2 WR role for now but Washington and rookie Holmes are right on his heels. Even if someone (likely Wilson) emerges as a full-time starter opposite Ward, until the passing game gets out of its current funk they have little fantasy value.

TE Heath Miller U

Miller is a size and speed mismatch with most opposing linebackers and safeties. When the Chargers blitz Miller will become a prime target in the passing game. If there's one weakness in the Chargers defense it's against tight ends. Both Tennessee and Baltimore have had success in that area.

San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers B

Rivers is a talent and has a future with San Diego. But he's a long way from helping out a fantasy team. This week brings his second big defensive opponent in as many weeks. The Steelers and all their confusing zone blitz packages will cause him problems all afternoon, but he may sneak a touchdown to Gates in.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1

Had limited production last week against the stingy Ravens defense, but still pounded out 97 yards on 27 carries. Look for more of the same this week as the Chargers will be hard pressed to move the ball through the air.

WR Keenan McCardell B

The hamstring injury is hampering McCardell and he ended last week with no catches, breaking his streak of 104 straight games with a reception. Regardless, with the current state of the San Diego passing game there is no Chargers receiver outside of Gates worth considering for your fantasy team.

WR Eric Parker B

With McCardell slowed last week Parker did get four catches instead of his usual one.

TE Antonio Gates S2

Four more catches last week but still no big game for Gates. Until the Chargers coaches take the rains off of Rivers that may not happen. But he's still going to be one of the more consistently productive fantasy tight ends with some serious upside.

 

Baltimore (4-0) at Denver (2-1)

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

McNair met the challenge of facing the league's #1 ranked pass defense last week with a 158 yard, two touchdown effort. Not bad. This week won't be nearly as tough. But it won't be easy either. The Broncos have a solid secondary and one of the league's fastest linebacker corps. They've only allowed a single passing touchdown this season and have had two weeks to prepare for the Ravens' visit.

RB Jamal Lewis S2

After three weeks of solid play, Lewis and the Ravens' running game went nowhere last week against San Diego. Going outside on the speedy Denver linebackers will be difficult. So look for Baltimore to establish Lewis and the power running game by attacking the Broncos' smaller interior defense with some success.

WR Derrick Mason B

Mason had his lowest output of the season last week (37 yards on four catches) but was still targeted 10 times by McNair. He won't be the main target in this game as offenses typically aren't throwing to the Champ Bailey side of the field.

WR Mark Clayton B

Clayton is a solid playmaker with excellent run after the catch skills. He's only had one fantasy worthy game this season but has become a clutch receiver when the team needs him. Great for the Ravens but not so great for fantasy teams.

TE

Todd Heap

S1 Heap is only averaging 40 yards a game so far this season, but he's been one of the most consistent tight ends and has scored a touchdown in each of the past three games. He will always be a big part of the passing game and is a fantasy starter regardless of opponent.
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer B

Plummer got back on track against New England before the off week, throwing for 256 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Cleveland's Charlie Frye did put up nearly 300 yards on the Ravens in week three, but it's risky to expect that kind of production from Plummer Monday night. The Ravens are a defensive force, leading the league with 8 interceptions and 17 sacks.

RB

Tatum Bell

S2

Looks like coach Shanahan has finally turned the keys to the running game over to the game-breaking Tatum Bell, giving him a career high 27 carries in their last game. He (along with Bell's fantasy owners) was rewarded with a 127 yard effort. Is it just me or does the whole Mike Bell thing smell of a ploy to finally get Tatum Bell to take his role as a hard-running, one-cut Denver running back seriously? Well so far it's working. This is a tough matchup this week, but if the Broncos are patient with the run, Bell's speed and breakaway ability will pay off - even against the Ravens.

RB Mike Bell B

Well the rotating backs experiment is over and Mike Bell will now function in more of a traditional backup role to Tatum Bell. In their last game that meant four carries. That role will mean a bit more this week as the Broncos will look to pound the ball at the Ravens defense.

WR Rod Smith B

Smith only has 11 catches for 94 yards through three games. The concussion in week two didn't help. Having the explosive Javon Walker on the field with him now only highlights how much of a step Smith has lost. This is his 12th year in the league after all. So far it looks like fantasy owners shouldn't rely on the aging WR, especially this week against Baltimore.

WR Javon Walker S2

Walker has shown improvement each week this season and had his breakout game in New England, catching two long touchdowns and ending with 130 yards receiving. The Ravens cornerbacks are very aggressive in man coverage and this won't be an easy matchup for the talented Walker. But the Broncos love taking timely changes down field and this game will be no different. Walker will have his opportunities for a big play or two.

TE Stephen Alexander
Tony Scheffler
B Starter Alexander will be utilized mostly for his fine blocking skills this week and the rookie Scheffler hasn't caught a pass since week one.

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