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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 15
Whitney Walters
December 14, 2006
Thursday Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Night   Player List by Position  
SF at SEA CLE at BAL NYJ at MIN DEN at ARI KC at SD   Early Injury Status  
Saturday DET at GB PIT at CAR PHI at NYG Monday Night   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
DAL at ATL HOU at NE TB at CHI STL at OAL CIN at IND   (Q): Questionable  
  JAC at TEN WAS at NO       (P): Probable  
  MIA at BUF            
     
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)  
 
Miami (6-7) at Buffalo (6-7) Back to top
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joey Harrington (P) S3

Harrington is a borderline startable fantasy quarterback this season. Nothing about this matchup with the Bills' strong pass defense should lead you to believe this game will be any different.

RB

Sammy Morris

S2

Morris filled in admirably for the injured Brown last week against the Patriots' #3 run defense - gaining 123 yards and scoring a TD. Look for him to pick up right where he left off when facing the #27 run defense of the Bills. They've given up 188 YPG on the ground over the past four games.

WR Chris Chambers (Q) S3

Chambers hasn't scored since week nine and has averaged just 53 YPG since then. And that's inflated by his 121 yarder two weeks ago. He did okay in week two against the Bills, but left last week's game with a tweaked knee and ankle. He's also taken a back seat to the surprising Booker.

WR Marty Booker S2 Booker's the only wideout getting the love from Harrington. In the past three games he's gone 20-279 with four touchdowns. This matchup with the strong CB duo of Clements and McGee won't be a cakewalk, but you can't ignore his production of late.
WR Wes Welker B

With the emergence of Booker, Welker is too far down the food chain to matter for any fantasy team.

TE Randy McMichael B

This is just not McMichael's year. He's averaging just 3-4 catches, 38 YPG and has just a single TD catch. Harrington just doesn't look McMichael' way consistently. Without that he's of little fantasy use even though he typically presents a difficult matchup for secondaries due to his size and speed.

Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman B

It's taken three long strikes to Evans to give Losman respectable numbers over the past month. You can't count on those bombs most weeks, especially not against a very tough Miami defense that's ranked 4th against the pass.

RB Willis McGahee S3

McGahee was limited by his bad ankle last week and split carries with backup Thomas. He should be close to 100% Sunday but will be limited by another force this week - the Miami defense. No back has over 80 yards against the Dolphins in the past six games and they've given up just six rushing touchdowns on the season. Third lowest total in the NFL.

RB Anthony Thomas B The A-Train got half the carries last week as McGahee was slowed by the ankle injury. He wasn't very productive however and will slide back to his 5-8 touches a game backup role this week.
WR Lee Evans B

With the passing game limited this week against Miami, so will Evens' chances for any fantasy impact. In week two at Miami he went just 2-19.

WR Peerless Price
Roscoe Parrish
Josh Reed
B Beyond primary target Evans the remaining limited production is split randomly amongst these three receivers. Only twice all season has any one of them caught more than four balls.
 
N.Y. Jets (7-6) at Minnesota (6-7) Back to top
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington (P) S2

Pennington has looked sharp the past three weeks and should do just fine in this matchup. As good as the Minnesota run defense is, their pass defense may be as bad. If you ignore the Grossman meltdown in week 13, the Vikings are allowing 325 YPG passing in four of the last five games. Look for the Jets to put the ball in the air often.

RB Cedric Houston B

The Jets seem to have settled on Houston as their primary ball carrier for the moment. Doesn't really matter this week. The Vikings' run defense is for real. They haven't allowed a back to gain over 60 yards since week four.

RB Leon Washington B Washington has been fairly productive with his touches lately, but has only received 19 carries in the past three games. He made up for that limited action last week with seven catches out of the backfield, but that's five more than he's gotten in any game this season. So it's not the norm.
WR Laveranues Coles S2 Coles' production has been up and down this season due to injuries and the general inconsistent play of the offense. He's healthy now and the passing game has shown some promise lately, with Coles scoring touchdowns in two of the past three weeks.
WR Jerricho Cotchery S2

As is the case many weeks, Cotchery gets to utilize his great combination of size and speed against an overmatched cornerback. This week it's the struggling Antoine Winfield. Look for another solid game from this talented young receiver.

TE Chris Baker B

If he catches more than a single pass it's a big game for Baker.

Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brad Johnson B

Johnson likely saved his starting job for the rest of the season with an improved performance last week. That "improved" play added up to just 159 yards and no touchdowns passing. That says all you need to know about Johnson's fantasy value.

RB Chester Taylor (Q) B-S2

As with most rib injuries, Taylor will play if he can deal with the pain. That makes him a risky proposition since he didn't even try to play last week. If he does go out there and give it a try, he's just one good shot in the mid-section from spend the rest of the game on the sidelines. Could be a waste of a very good matchup for his fantasy owners.

RB Artose Pinner U-B

The Vikings threw everyone a curve last week when they game Pinner 29 carries instead of splitting the action between him and Fason as they has stated all week. Pinner proved to be a force against the suspect Detroit run defense, and will be again against an equally suspect Jets run defense that gave up 174 yards to Buffalo last week. But only if Taylor doesn't play.

WR Marcus Robinson (P) U Robinson continues to be the most consistent fantasy receiver in a Vikings uniform. Due to the poor play of his quarterback and a struggling passing game, that consistent play only warrants fantasy attention on occasion. Sunday may be one of those occasions. His matchup with struggling CB Poteat is one he can win all day, giving Johnson a big target down field.
WR Travis Taylor B

Scored his only touchdown in week five and has had more than three catches only twice since then. Outside of Robinson the ball is being spread thinly in the passing game.

TE Jermaine Wiggins B

Wiggins is playing hurt. Since his season high 6-66 in week 11 his production has decreased each week. He had just a single catch last week.

 
Pittsburgh (6-7) at Carolina (6-7) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S3

Carolina is struggling in pass coverage due to a banged up secondary. They've surrendered eight passing touchdowns in the past three games. An opposing QB would be a very solid fantasy start right now. But this opposing QB has struggled all year and is running a very scaled down passing attack that's limited him to just 23 completions in the last two games. Look for the emphasis on the running game to continue and barely startable numbers from Roethlisberger.

RB Willie Parker  (P) S1

The Panthers have improved on defense over the past 4-6 weeks, but they still struggle to stop the run. They've given up 118 YPG on the ground over the past three games. The formula for offensive success remains the same for Pittsburgh. Give Parker the rock early and often.

WR Hines Ward S2 Expected back and should have little trouble producing against the banged up Panthers secondary.
WR Santonio Holmes U

The promising rookie is finally coming on and will make his second start this week. Holmes is very explosive and can make big plays after the catch. The passing game will likely remain scaled back, and having Ward back will limit his looks. But he'll likely turn at least one catch into a big gain against the poor tackling Carolina secondary.

WR Nate Washington B With Ward back Washington returns to his barely productive role as the Steelers' #3 WR.
TE Heath Miller B

Miller's limited role in the limited Pittsburgh passing attack just doesn't warrant any fantasy attention. Not even this week against a Carolina defense that gives up big games to tight ends on almost a weekly basis.

Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme (Q) S2

Since Jake Plummer put up three touchdowns on the Steelers in week nine they've allowed only three more in the five games since. This is no easy matchup for Delhomme and there's still a chance his injured thumb will keep him sidelined this week. Early reports are inconclusive. If he plays he'll need time in the pocket to find the always open Smith down field. But if the Cleveland rookie QB can put up 276 yards and a score last week, odds are good that Delhomme can match or beat that if healthy.

RB Deshaun Foster B

Foster returned last week and carried the rushing load, what little load there was in a game with just 12 total RB carries. The typical strong Carolina running game has struggled all season and now faces a surging Steelers defense that ranks #5 against the run. Foster's only chance at fantasy success this week is if he sneaks over for another score. Something he hasn't done since week eight.

RB DeAngelo Williams B

With Foster back in the lineup Williams returns to just a talented rookie with a ton of potential and little opportunity.

WR Steve Smith S1

Smith isn't putting up the monster numbers this season, but he has scored a touchdown in five of his last six games. Regardless of who's throwing the ball, Smith remains a solid fantasy start, and he has a favorable matchup this week with an average at best Pittsburgh secondary.

WR Keyshawn Johnson S3

Johnson is what he is. A solid complementary receiver to super-star Smith. He's good for 4-6 catches a week with a shot or two at a touchdown since he's a great asset in the red-zone.

WR Drew Carter B Don't go crazy over Carter's performance last week (8-144, TD). The Panthers put the ball in the air 61 times and prior to last week's game Carter wasn't even an afterthought in the passing attack.
 

Tampa Bay (3-10) at Chicago (11-2)

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Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Bruce Gradkowski B

The rookie struggled last week against one of the worst pass defenses in the league and was replaced by backup Rattay. This week he draws one of the league's best pass defenses on the road. Gradkowski may be heading to the bench permanently.

RB Carnell Williams B

The Bucs run blocking stinks, Caddy has had some recent fumble problems and backups Pittman and Alstott are starting to take carries away. Oh yeah, and they are on the road in Chicago. The Bears have given up almost 300 rushing yards in the past two games, so they can be run on. It would take a very poor run defense however for the Bucs terrible run game to gain any traction.

WR Joey Galloway B

With Clayton done for the year, the passing game for Tampa goes through Galloway. Even though he's the top wideout for Tampa his upside is limited, especially this week in Chicago.

WR Ike Hilliard B

Hilliard may have slid up to the #2 WR spot for the Bucs, but he's of little use to your fantasy team.

TE Anthony Becht
Alex Smith
B

Smith and Becht have been splitting what little tight end production there is in this offense.

Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman S2

Grossman looked sharp and played his best game in a month Monday night. So for the time being he seems to have shaken the funk he was in. The Bucs have a solid secondary, but they've given up 23 passing touchdowns this year, second highest total in the league. Look for at least a pair this weekend. He should fair well facing a defense similar in style to the one he sees every week in practice.

RB Thomas Jones (Q) S3

The Tampa run defense has climbed out of the cellar and is now respectable. The most any back has gained on them in the past six weeks is 83 yards and that's one of only two times a back gained over 60. Jones tweaked his ankle Monday night and that opened the door for another fine performance from backup Benson. A more evenly split RBBC may start to form in the Chicago backfield, hurting Jones' fantasy value.

RB Cedric Benson S3

Thanks to Jones' ankle injury Monday night, Benson received a season high 16 carries and ran for a season high 64 yards. He's looking fresh and strong. There's a good chance his number of carries will continue to increase even if Jones is healthy. Until that transpires on the field, Benson is a high risk fantasy proposition.

WR Muhsin Muhammad S3

Always reliable and always involved in the Chicago passing game. Now that the passing attack has come back around, your fantasy team can rely more on Muhammad having an impact. Most times that will be a slight impact, but an impact all the same.

WR Bernard Berrian S2

Berrian is back to stretching the field vertically and with Grossman back on track that means better fantasy numbers.

TE Desmond Clark

B

Clark may pop up one more time with a nice game before the season ends, but fantasy teams should have moved on weeks ago. He has just six catches in the past five games.

 

Washington (4-9) at New Orleans (9-4)

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Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

About the best you can say about the inexperienced Campbell through his first four pro starts is that he hasn't stunk. His mobility has enabled better pass protection, but his decision making is lacking. This is a tough matchup with a solid Saints secondary. About the only positive is the possibility of late game garbage production with the game well in hand for New Orleans.

RB Ladell Betts S2

Betts just keep plugging along, and the Redskins seem sold on riding him. The Skins ran Portis more than 20 times only twice before his injury. Betts' last three games? 24, 28 and 33 carries. The Saints don't give up many rushing touchdowns (only nine) but they allow 132 YPG and are one of only two teams that allow more than five YPC on the ground. You can bet Washington would give Betts 50 carries this week if they could in an attempt to keep the high flying Saints offense off the field.

WR Santana Moss S3

Moss may be healthily now, but the passing game isn't. He can still get it done for your fantasy team this weekend however. His matchup with the average at best CB duo of Thomas and McKenzie is a good one. They give up a few big plays almost every game.

WR Brandon Lloyd
Antwaan Randle El
B Randle El's surprising six catch game last week was the first time in the past six weeks that either he or Lloyd had more than two catches in a game. The passing game remains focused primarily on Moss and Cooley.
TE Chris Cooley S2

Cooley is by far the most consistent fantasy option in the Redskins' passing game since Campbell took over at quarterback. That isn't likely to change much as he has the best matchups in the secondary this week.

New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Brees had a monster game last week against the very solid Dallas defense. You can't expect a game like that very often, but the Redskins present a very favorable matchup to take advantage of.

RB Deuce McAllister S2

McAllister has back-to-back 100-yard games and with the big lead the Saints are likely to have in this one, look for him to top 100 yards again as they feed him the ball in the second half. A league low four rushing touchdowns have been scored on the Redskins' defense, but they are giving up almost 140 YPG over the past month.

RB Reggie Bush S2

Bush may be one of the most explosive fantasy backs going that will rarely get you more than 50 yards rushing. That's a total he's surpassed only three times all season, topping out at 61 yards in week one. The Saints offense is hitting on all cylinders and he's scored five touchdowns and caught 256 yards worth of passes on the past two games.

WR Joe Horn (Q) B With the emergence of Henderson and Copper it's highly likely that Horn won't play again until the playoffs. His groin injury hasn't healed as expected.
WR Marques Colston S1

Colston is back and healthy. He went a respectable 5-48 last week but his seven looks were twice as many as any other receiver. With Horn down for the count, look for Colston to start coming up big as the primary weapon in the Saints passing attack.

WR Devery Henderson
S3

Henderson will now start on the other side of Colston and provide the offense with a speedy down field target that Brees loves to hit.

WR Terrance Copper B With Colston back to full speed Copper slides into the #3 WR role. A role that's very limited in this offense.

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