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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 7
Whitney Walters
October 19, 2006
Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Monday Night Bye Weeks   Player List by Position  
CAR at CIN NE at BUF DEN at CLE NYG at DAL BAL, CHI,   Early Injury Status  
DET at NYJ PHI at TB ARI at OAK   NO, SF,   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
GB at MIA PIT at ATL MIN at SEA   STL, TEN   (Q): Questionable  
JAC at HOU SD at KC WAS at IND       (P): Probable  
     
Start/Bench Codes (SBC)  
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)  
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: No matchup advantage or disadvantage  
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)  
 
Philadelphia (4-2) at Tampa Bay (1-4) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S1

The only every week, no questions asked, S1 quarterback we have this season.

RB Brian Westbrook (P) S2

The knee continues to be a problem, but Westbrook remains committed to gutting it out each week and the Eagles are showing no signs of asking him to not. The bottom line with Westbrook is that if he's on the field then he produces. The Bucs' run defense did step up last week and stopped the bleeding, but one solid week isn't going to convince me. Before that game they were allowing over 160 YPG on the ground.

WR Donte' Stallworth (Q) B

Stallworth's playing status won't be known until late in the week. If he couldn't get on the field last week against his old team the odds are not good he will this week. It's been over a month since he's seen any meaningful game action.

WR

Reggie Brown (P)

S2

With or without Stallworth in the lineup Brown has been the most consistent Eagles' receiver. With him out he's been a great fantasy option. He's scored three touchdowns and has 369 receiving yards over the past four weeks. The Tampa cornerbacks are solid but aging. They can be beat deep.

WR Hank Baskett S3

Baskett got the start last week but failed to catch any of the seven passes McNabb sent his way. Going catchless is no way to instill fantasy confidence. He should be able to bounce back this week against the aging Bucs CB duo of Barber and Kelly, who have been susceptible to the deep throw.

WR Greg Lewis B Lewis may have made some fantasy noise in week four with his two touchdown grabs. But two catches for no touchdowns is what Lewis is producing every other week.
TE L.J. Smith (P) S1

Smith continues to get it done week in and week out. He leads all tight ends with 335 yards and remains a favorite target of McNabb's.

Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Bruce Gradkowski B

Looks like this kid can play. He's put up an average of 200 yards and two touchdowns in each of his two starts. Statistically Philly presents his most favorable defensive matchup so far. But neither of his past two opponents (NO and CIN) pressure the quarterback like the Eagles. He'll struggle and look much more rookie-like this weekend.

RB Carnell Williams S2

The Cadillac is starting to get warmed up. He followed his first 100-yard game in week five with a 94-yarder last week. He has had 58 carries in the past three games, but only once hit the 20-carry mark. It's a good bet that the Bucs will run Williams more this week in the hopes of keeping the high-powered Eagles offense off the field as much as possible. A 20-plus carry game is in the bag if Tampa can keep from falling way behind.

WR Joey Galloway S3

Galloway has proven to be a reliable fantasy option despite all the offensive troubles in Tampa and a switch to a rookie quarterback. That reliability may take a hit this week as his QB will be under a fearsome Philly pass rush. With little time in the pocket the deep routes to Galloway will be very limited unless Gradkowski can escape the pressure occasionally with his good mobility. Let's give him at least one long ball to Galloway Sunday.

WR Michael Clayton B

After virtually disappearing for two games Clayton returned to the fight last week with his biggest game of the season, both on the field and in fantasy. Gradkowski targeted him 12 times, connecting on half, one for the game winning score. Clayton may get into the action again this week, but his rookie QB is going to struggle in this matchup so don't count on much from Clayton.

TE Alex Smith B

The yardage hasn't been there with Gradkowski at the helm (26 yards in two games), but the touchdowns have been. Last week Smith pulled in his second score in as many weeks. With the rookie QB under a lot of pressure this weekend, Smith will be staying home to help in protection more than usual.

 
Pittsburgh (2-3) at Atlanta (3-2) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B

Well that didn't take long. It took all of one game for Big Ben to play himself out of his slump. At least for a week. A struggling Kansas City defense just didn't show up in Pittsburgh last week. That won't likely repeat on the road Sunday in Atlanta. The Falcons defense is banged up but they present much more of a challenge than the Chiefs. Roethlisberger may have played well last week but he still fell two completions under his season average of 18. With that kind of limited passing game it's hard to rely on him as a fantasy starter, even if playing well.

RB Willie Parker  S1

In three of five games Parker has topped 100 yards rushing and he's piled up 327 total yards and five touchdowns in the past three games. The Falcons have been tough to run on occasionally but they gave up 134 yards to the Saints in week 3 and were gouged by the Giants last week for 238 yards. You can bet the banged up Atlanta defense will see a healthy dose of Mr. Parker Sunday.

WR Hines Ward S3

Interestingly, Ward was targeted a season low five times last week but had his best fantasy game of the season, catching all five for 59 yards and a score. As the three youngsters behind him improve you may see more of passing game being spread around like last week. Ward will have his work cut out for him this week against CB DeAngelo Hall.

WR Cedrick Wilson
Nate Washington
Santonio Holmes
B

Wilson and Washington are legitimate deep threats and the rookie Holmes is a playmaker. All three may start seeing a few more looks each week as the passing game will likely continue to improve. But until one emerges as a legit #2 receiver none are going to be consistent fantasy factors. Just the occasional big play.

TE Heath Miller B

With the vertical passing game finally working last week, Miller was even more of an afterthought then he's been since his big game in week one. He had just a single 16 yard catch last week, giving him just 7 catches for 83 yards in the last four games.

Atlanta
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick (P) S3

Vick finally found the end-zone again last week (with his legs of course). It was his first score in a month. Amazingly, starting Vick as your fantasy quarterback this season is like starting an extra #2 running back that happens to get you some passing yards as a bonus. His production won't come easy this weekend as the Steelers have the talent, speed and schemes on defense to limit him.

RB Warrick Dunn S3

Despite the gaudy team rushing numbers, Dunn had been struggling going into the Falcons' bye week. That all ended last week with a 146-yard effort that included a team record 90-yard touchdown run. The Steelers have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. In fact, only one back has put up more than 60 yards on them. Production won't come easy for Dunn this weekend.

RB Jerious Norwood B

An explosive rookie that has made some noise thanks to a big touchdown run. He's just Dunn's backup and only good for 6-10 touches a game.

WR Michael Jenkins
Ashley Lelie
Roddy White
B

It really doesn't matter how talented these receivers are. When you are running routes in the worst passing offense in the league you are of no help to any fantasy team.

TE Alge Crumpler S3

Crumpler hasn't scored since week one, but that's no real surprise given how inept the Falcon passing game is under Vick. But he remains his quarterback's favorite target and he should see a few extra looks this week. Vick will be under great pressure from the Steelers' pass rush and he'll be looking for his big tight end often.

 
San Diego (4-1) at Kansas City (2-3) Back to top
San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S2

It looks like all systems go for Rivers. The Chargers have turned their young quarterback loose. In three of the past four games Rivers has thrown 35-plus passes, completing over 70% of them for 811 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Chiefs pass defense has been lit up by Matt Leinart and Big Ben in the past two weeks and present a good opportunity for Rivers to keep his fine play going.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1

And the hits just keep on coming. Another week and another great matchup for LT.

WR Eric Parker S3

With the improved play of Rivers has come a definite uptick in Parker's production. He's put up two 80-plus yard games in the past two weeks and has been targeted more than both McCardell (by 5) and Gates (by 1). With the attention both LT and Gates garner there will continue to be chances for both Parker and ...

WR Keenan McCardell S3 ... McCardell to make plays down field.
TE Antonio Gates S1

The Rivers to Gates connection is warming up and he now leads the team with three touchdown grabs. He's averaged 7-96 and two touchdowns in his last three meetings with Kansas City.

Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Damon Huard B

After two weeks of solid play the wheels fell off the Huard cart last week in Pittsburgh. The going doesn't get any easier this weekend with the high-flying San Diego defense coming to town.

RB Larry Johnson S2

Johnson's receiving stats are helping to hide a troubling trend for fantasy players. In three of the Chiefs five games this season (two coming in the past two weeks) Johnson has carried the ball 17 times or fewer. His lowest total from the final eight games of last season was 26. The Chiefs can't win if they can't run and they have to know that. The problem is that even if they get him 25-plus carries this week his production will be limited by the Chargers stone wall of a run defense. But he will remain active in the passing game so he remains a fantasy starter.

WR Eddie Kennison
Samie Parker
B

As goes Huard, so goes his wide receivers.

TE Tony Gonzalez S2

Gonzo continues to struggle. He hasn't scored since week one and three of the last four games have been 3, 2 and one catch efforts. Statistically tight ends have done okay against the Chargers this season. Both Scaife and Heap have had good games. Gonzo should as well.

 

Denver (4-1) at Cleveland (1-4)

Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer B

The Denver offense is really being pulled back right now and Plummer's numbers are suffering. In the last two games he's thrown for 106 and 102 yards and just one touchdown. The Cleveland defense is terrible against the run so you can bet the Broncos will keep with the current trend of having Plummer hand off more than drop back to pass.

RB

Tatum Bell

S1

Another week of 20-plus carries against a suspect run defense.

WR Rod Smith B

Smith's single catch game last week was a rarity. But it has become obvious that Plummer has found a new favorite receiver in Walker. Smith has been a target just six times to Walker's 14 in the last two games. If the Broncos decide to start passing the ball more than 18-20 times a game then Smith will still produce some average fantasy numbers. But until that happens Smith's days as a fantasy starter are over.

WR Javon Walker S3

Walker is the go-to guy now in Denver. He's accounted for two-thirds of their passing yards in the past two weeks. But his fantasy value is going to be limited by the current lack of production in the passing game.

TE Stephen Alexander
Tony Scheffler
B Both Alexander and Scheffler had a single pass come their way last week and neither caught it.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye B

Frye has looked solid at times this season but is making too many mistakes. He's had a league high nine interceptions so far and Denver has four picks in the last two games. Also, thanks to allowing just a single passing touchdown this season the Broncos have the #1 fantasy defense against quarterbacks.

RB Reuben Droughns S3

The Browns running game is fourth worst in the league right now, but they seemed to solve some of their early season problems going into the bye week. In week's 4 and 5 Droughns ran for a total of 165 yards 43 carries, a very respectable 3.8 YPC average. He will surely be motivated facing his old team this week. But the task at hand is a difficult one. The Broncos have yet to surrender a rushing touchdown and Lamont Jordan's 60 yards last week was the most the Denver defense had allowed to an opposing back since it faced LJ in week two.

WR Braylon Edwards S3

Edwards' production has been on the decline since his big game in week three and the Panthers held him to just 3-27 before the bye. He and Winslow are the Browns best weapons and they will look to get him involved more this week. The matchup is tough, but the Broncos are a "bend, don't break" kind of pass defense and Edwards should be able to leverage his size advantage over the Denver corners for some success.

WR Joe Jurevicius B

Expected to return to the starting lineup after getting his ribs some good rest over the off week. The 6' 5" receiver will have a huge size advantage on 5' 8" CB Darrent Williams, but he hasn't worked a lot with Frye due to the injury and he'll be behind both Edwards and Winslow in the passing progressions.

TE Kellen Winslow Jr. (Q) S3

Winslow has quickly become a favorite target for Frye and he's cranking out consistent fantasy numbers. His chances are mixed this week however. The Broncos have held Gonzalez to just 7 yards and Heap to just 21. But they also allowed a 66 yard game to Watson.

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