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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 8
Whitney Walters
October 26, 2006
Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night Bye Weeks   Player List by Position  
ARI at GB JAC at PHI STL at SD DAL at CAR BUF, DET,   Early Injury Status  
ATL at CIN SEA at KC IND at DEN Monday Night MIA, WAS   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
BAL at NO SF at CHI NYJ at CLE NE at MIN     (Q): Questionable  
HOU at TEN TB at NYG PIT at OAK       (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)  
 
Seattle (4-2) at Kansas City (3-3) Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Seneca Wallace B

Gets the start for Seattle with Hasselbeck down for at least two weeks. The 4-year pro has just 52 pro pass attempts to his name, including last week's 25. This week he has to lead the Seahawks in one of the most difficult places to play (Arrowhead Stadium) without all-world Shawn Alexander behind him. This isn't shaping up to be a situation for your fantasy team to exploit. But over the past three games the Chiefs have allowed over 250 yards per game and two touchdowns passing. Not all hope is lost.

RB Maurice Morris   S3

Since Alexander went down the Seattle running game has faltered. The only time Morris had some success was against the Rams in week 6. The other two games were against two of the top run defenses in the league. The Chiefs resemble the Rams much more than they do a top run defense.

WR Darrell Jackson S3

Jackson continues to make big plays, like his 72-yard touchdown catch last week, and is benefiting from Branch beginning to draw coverage on the other side of the field. Regardless of who's playing quarterback, the Seahawks will have to air it out some in order to move the ball. Both Jackson and ...

WR Deion Branch S3

... Branch maintain some fantasy value this week - but it's minimal.

WR D. J. Hackett B

With Engram out and Burleson invisible, Hackett has stepped up the past two games with seven catches for 103 yards. Not enough to warrant a fantasy start. Especially with the inexperienced Wallace at quarterback.

TE Jerramy Stevens B

Stevens did return to action last week but did not catch a pass. He'll start for here on out and could be a nice outlet for his inexperienced quarterback.

Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Damon Huard S3

With the exception of the nightmare game with Pittsburgh two weeks ago, Huard has been a serviceable fantasy quarterback since taking over for Green. He's averaging well over 200 yards a game and has thrown two touchdowns in three of his four starts. Seattle's pass defense is their weak spot and Huard should continue his average fantasy production this weekend.

RB Larry Johnson S1

Johnson was simply a beast last week against San Diego, one of the top run defenses in the league. He'll need to be again facing another of the league's top run stoppers. Look for another game with a heavy workload for LJ.

WR Eddie Kennison
Samie Parker
B

With both Gonzalez and LJ taking a good chunk of the passing game, there is rarely enough left for the wide receivers to have much of a fantasy impact. Kennison did catch a touchdown last week, his second of the season, and Parker has one as well. But the pair combined for just three catches last week, their lowest combined total since week one. Of the two Parker has been the more consistent so far.

TE Tony Gonzalez S2

Gonzo still hasn't scored since week one, but he finally got it going last week with his biggest game since 2004, going 6-138. That's 22 more yards than his previous four games combined. He'll remain very active over the middle this week where he has a big height advantage over Seattle MLB Lofa Tatupu.

 
San Francisco (2-4) at Chicago (6-0) Back to top
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith is playing well and has shown great improvement in his second season. Enough to make him a consideration for your fantasy team this week on the road in Chicago? Not even close.

RB Frank Gore S3

Gore put up only 55 yards on San Diego before the bye week and hasn't scored since week two. It doesn't get much easier this week going into Chicago. Only two backs have rushed for more than 55 yards against the Bears this season. Making this an even tougher matchup is the real possibility that the Niners will fall behind and Gore will see few carries later in the game. The expected return of Larry Allen to the o-line and Gore's ability to produce fantasy points in the passing game keep him a borderline starter.

WR Antonio Bryant B

Since putting up 114 and 134 yards in weeks one and two respectively, Bryant has struggled to have an impact. Those struggles will continue against the Bears.

WR Arnaz Battle B

Battle was able to pull in two touchdowns in week five, but he's topped 40 yards receiving only once all season.

TE Eric Johnson B Johnson has failed to live up to expectations since he started filling in for the injured Vernon Davis. He's averaging just 3 catches for 33 yards in his three starts. Not much will be working for the Niners this week in Chicago, especially Johnson who will be spending most of his time trying to protect his quarterback.
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman S2

The Niners spent the off week tweaking the personnel in their beleaguered defense. A defense that's allowing a league worst 32.3 points per game. Grossman struggled against the Cardinals before the bye week but should get back on track in this very favorable matchup.

RB Thomas Jones S2

Jones remains the unquestioned starter. The entire Chicago offense fell flat in the Monday night matchup with Arizona before the off week and Jones had a season low 11 carries for 39 yards. Look for him to get back on track against a Niners defense that's allowing almost 120 rushing yards per game and has surrendered nine touchdowns on the ground.

RB Cedric Benson B

Despite looking great the previous week, scoring his first two career touchdowns, Benson received only a single carry in the Monday nighter against Arizona.

WR Muhsin Muhammad S2

Muhammad's production has dropped off the past three games but he'll bounce back in this matchup. The Niners pass defense is near the bottom of the rankings in just about every category.

WR Bernard Berrian S1

Berrian had his first bad fantasy game of the season in the Monday night stinker prior to the off week. There's really no way that will repeat in this matchup with San Francisco.

TE Desmond Clark

S2

Clark is no longer slowed by the ankle injury and he got back into the passing attack against Arizona before the bye week. He led the team with four catches for 61 yards. The San Francisco pass defense has enough holes to allow a nice game from the tight end.

 
Tampa Bay (2-4) at N. Y. Giants (4-2) Back to top
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Bruce Gradkowski U

After two promising games the rookie looked very rookie-like last week against Philly. The Giants defense continues to improve but their secondary remains a weak link. Once the Bucs establish the ground game look for them to work over the Giants' struggling secondary with the play-action, short-passing game Gruden loves to run. If you are in need of a startable fantasy QB this week due to byes or injury, this rookie could fill in for you.

RB Carnell Williams S2

Last week against Philly Cadillac had his second 20-plus carry game in three weeks. Over that span he's averaging more than 100 total yards a game. Now if he can just start getting into the end-zone. He hasn't scored since week three. The game plan Sunday will be very similar to last week. Run Cadillac as much as possible to control the tempo of the game and keep the Giants' offense off the field as much as possible.

WR Joey Galloway S3

After four productive games Galloway went catchless last week as the entire passing game went in the tank. Don't expect a repeat this weekend. The Giants' secondary is beatable and Galloway should bounce back with a nice game.

WR Michael Clayton S3

Clayton followed up his biggest game of the season with a 3-30 performance last week. It wasn't much but it did lead the team on a very unproductive day for the Tampa passing game. As Gradkowski grows and gains confidence in his play he's looking Clayton's way more. As the Bucs turn to the air later in this matchup Clayton should produce just enough to warrant some fantasy attention.

TE Alex Smith U

The yardage just isn't there with Smith. In six of the season's seven games he has fewer than 20 yards receiving. He has found the end-zone in two of the last three games, but that's hard for a fantasy team to rely on. But the odds increase this week against a Giants defense that ranks 28th in fantasy defense against the tight end position.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

The past three weeks have not been real productive for Manning. After a fast start the passing game has slowed a bit. He's thrown for under 190 yards and three interceptions in his last two games. Tampa Bay presents his best matchup in a while. The Bucs' secondary is struggling and banged up. Look for the Giants to get on top of Tampa early by airing it out and building an early lead.

RB Tiki Barber S1

Barber has yet to score a touchdown in 2006, but he's shredding opposing defenses. Some (ATL and DAL) being the better run stopping units in the league. He's averaging 170 total yards a game over the past three weeks and is an every week fantasy starter.

WR Plaxico Burress (P) S2

Burress has struggled a bit lately, catching only six of the 16 passes that have come his way in the past two games. But he remains Manning's prime target and big play receiver down field. He should have a very good game this weekend facing the banged up Tampa Bay secondary.

WR Amani Toomer B

Toomer is a nice complementary receiver to Burress. But with Barber and Shockey in the mix there just isn't enough left over for Toomer to be an effective fantasy option. He has just five catches for 44 yards in the past two games.

TE Jeremy Shockey S1

Only had two catches last week, but one was for his fourth score of the season. The ankle and foot problems seem to be behind him for now and he's become very active in the red-zone.

 

St. Louis (4-2) at San Diego (4-2)

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S3

With each game running the new passing attack, Bulger's production has improved. He had a season high 360 yards and 3 touchdowns before the bye. Protection against the aggressive Chargers' pass rush will be an issue this week. There may not be as many down field chances for the passing game. Also, the Rams do not typically play up to par when on the road. Bulger remains a fantasy starter this week, but just barely.

RB Steven Jackson S3

Before the bye Jackson was held in check by the tough Seattle run defense, gaining only 56 yards on 20 carries. But he added 7-40 in receiving and scored. This week presents another difficult matchup. Until last week's pounding by LJ the Chargers were allowing just 53 yards a game to opposing backs and had been scored on just once. This is a very tough matchup for Jackson, but his production in the short passing game and the continued injury depletion of the San Diego LB corps helps.

WR Torry Holt S2

Holt has scored at least once in each of the last five games and has over 100 yards receiving in three of the last four games. He's just getting it done week in and week out. This matchup with San Diego's stellar pass defense is tough, but you shouldn't bet against Holt.

WR Isaac Bruce S3

After his season high 100-yard game in week 4, Bruce's numbers have suffered even as the passing game improves. He's accounted for just 68 yards in the past two games. He remains a reliable and steady target for Bulger, especially on third downs. With the Chargers' likely to bring extra coverage to Holt's side of the field, look for Bruce to have success in single coverage if Bulger gets enough time in the pocket to check down to him.

WR Kevin Curtis B

As expected as the Rams new passing attack improves they are running more 3-WR sets. The result has been some increased activity from Curtis but little fantasy value. He's scored just once this season and has yet to catch more than three passes in a game.

TE Joe Klopfenstein B

The rookie continues to improve each week and there continues to be talk of getting the big guy more involved in what many believe to be a tight end friendly Linehan run offense. But that has yet to result in more than a couple of looks and catches each week.

San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S2

It's been all systems go for Rivers since the 145-yard effort in the week 4 loss to Baltimore. He's averaged 280 yards and tossed two touchdowns in each of the last three games. Nothing the St. Louis defense brings to the table suggests this matchup will prevent that production trend from continuing.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1

LT has topped 20 carries in only half of the games so far this season, but he's making up for the limited rushing work with receiving. He's on pace for an 80-plus catch season. Which will be second only to his career high 100 in 2003. The Rams defense has given up Edge's season high mark, 100-plus to GB's Herron and 74 yards to SEA's Morris last week. Backs and running games not exactly in the same league as LT and the Chargers.

WR Eric Parker
Keenan McCardell
S3

Parker and McCardell are solid possession receivers but aren't really considered down field play makers. They get the job done in an offense that features the running back and tight end, but that's about it. Neither have scored or had a 100-yard game this season. But both are capable of putting up consistent fantasy numbers and can serve as a #3 or #4 receiver in deep leagues. Parker more so than McCardell since he has a bigger upside.

TE Antonio Gates (P) S1

Gates is on a roll now. He caught a season high 9 passes last week and his third touchdown in as many games. No team defends the tight end as well as St. Louis. But a look at who they've faced reveals a forgettable bunch that includes names like Pope, Pollard, Franks and Mili.

 

Indianapolis (6-0) at Denver (5-1)

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Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

The Colts passing game has been a bit sporadic this season. Manning has had three sub-250 yard games and three single passing touchdown games. The Broncos are only allowing 7 points a game, so this will be a difficult game for Manning and the offense, especially on the road a mile above sea level. A downgrade this week for sure, but still an obvious fantasy start.

RB Dominic Rhodes B

A banged up Rhodes had his worst game of the season last week, gaining just 26 yards on 13 carries. He should be healthier Sunday but is a risk to start since his backup Addai is out performing him weekly and there isn't going to be much running room in Denver.

RB Joseph Addai S3 Addai continues to out perform starter Rhodes. Last week he had a season high 85 yards on just 11 carries. The third time in the last five games that he's topped the 80-yard mark. Hitting that mark again against the stout Denver defense while sharing carries isn't likely. But he is a better play than Rhodes at this point.
WR Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
S2

As with the rest of the Colts, Harrison and Wayne get a downgrade this week going into Denver. This should prove to be a very interesting and entertaining matchup. We all know what CB Champ Bailey brings to the table and second year CB Darrent Williams is an up-and-coming star. They will have their hands full with this dynamic pass-catching duo.

TE Dallas Clark
Ben Utecht (Q)
Bryan Fletcher
B

The tight end position is working great for Indy but horribly for fantasy owners. All three have produced multi-catch games, many times in the same game. Both Clark and Fletcher have scored multiple touchdowns on the season. With Stokley still out the Colts will continue to use their tight ends to spread the offense to create matchup problems with the Denver defense. It may very well work, but nailing down which of these three tight ends has the best chance of benefiting a fantasy team is impossible.

Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Plummer B

The Broncos took the cuffs off Plummer last week and allowed 41 pass attempts - 11 more than his previous high this season. The results were not good. He completed fewer than 50% and threw two interceptions. The cries for Cutler continue in Denver, but odds are Plummer will be given a chance to save his job against Indy this week and Pittsburgh the following week. Unfortunately he's showing only slight signs of snapping out of this funk he's in.

RB

Tatum Bell (P)

S2 Bell is averaging 23 carries a game in the last four and is now entrenched as the every-down starter for Denver. Backs facing the porous Indy run defense typically garner an easy S1 rating. But there are a few negatives to deal with. First is the turf toe that cost Bell some playing time in last week's game. He'll tough it out but that type of injury can take a toll on a back. Second is the improvement Indy showed last week on defense. For only the second time all season the Colts held the opposing backfield to just under 100 yards (Portis/Betts had 95).
WR Rod Smith B

Smith got back into the offensive flow last week with a season high 69 yards on six catches. A good sign for the offense but still not enough to warrant plugging him into most fantasy starting lineups. His previous high was just 44 yards and he's scored only once this year.

WR Javon Walker S3

Walker is the go-to guy now in Denver and their only big-play weapon down field. He had a season high nine catches last week in Cleveland and may get close to that again if the Broncos offense has to play some catch-up with the high-scoring Colts.

TE Stephen Alexander
Tony Scheffler
B Last week was another zero catch game for the Denver tight ends.

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