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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)  
 
Denver (7-6) at Arizona (4-9) Back to top
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S3

Game one for the rookie was a disaster. Game two was better. Game three should bring continued improvement. In Arizona's last five games the defense has given up 277 YPG passing and surrendered 10 touchdowns. Expecting 275 yards and two scores is a bit much from the rookie. The Broncos just aren't going to throw the ball that much. But he should have a solid game with borderline startable numbers.

RB Tatum Bell S2

With a rookie under center opposing teams will continue to get a healthy dose of TBell and the Denver running game.

RB

Mike Bell

B

It's been two weeks now of MBell serving as the change-of-pace backup to TBell. That's about as good a trend as there's been this season in the Denver backfield.

WR Rod Smith (P) B

If the first two weeks of the Cutler era are an indication, the young gun slinger shows no deference to this wily veteran.

WR Javon Walker S2

As Cutler's play improves so do the chances of Walker having a bigger fantasy impact. He has a favorable matchup this week with a Cardinals secondary that's often left in one-on-one coverage due to a heavy blitzing tendency. Look for Walker to find the end-zone again after a four game absence.

TE Tony Scheffler B

The pre-season Cutler-to-Scheffler connection had a rebirth last week as Scheffler scored his first two pro touchdowns. A repeat performance is way too much to ask, but it's obvious that the rookie QB has a good rapport with his rookie TE. Alexander remains limited due to injury but will continue to start.

Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Leinart S2

As the play of the offensive line improves, so does the effectiveness of the offense. The improved running game is taking some of the pressure off of Leinart and his protection in the pocket has improved. The Denver defense is reeling and they run very basic schemes. Leinart should be comfortable in the pocket this week and be able to exploit some of the matchup advantages he has down field.

RB Edgerrin James S2

In an amazing turn of events, James has put up back-to-back 100-yard games. In fact, they are identical 26-115 efforts, with the most current adding his fourth touchdown of the season. The Denver run defense is not performing at near the level it was earlier in the season and the large and improving Arizona o-line will have an advantage against the smaller Broncos defensive front.

WR Anquan Boldin S2 Don't worry about trying to figure out which of the two Arizona receivers will be lined up opposite CB Champ Bailey. Look for the Cardinals to move Boldin and ...
WR Larry Fitzgerald S1 ... Fitzgerald around to get them both plenty of opportunities against the struggling CB Darrent Williams.
WR Bryant Johnson B

The Arizona offense just doesn't support a consistently productive #3 WR.

 
Philadelphia (7-6) at N.Y. Giants (7-6) Back to top
Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S2

Garcia is reaping the benefits of great protection, a solid running game and a healthy Stallworth. He also has a great understanding of the Philly offense from his years as a Niner. The Giants' pass defense continues to rank as one of the league's worst.

RB Brian Westbrook S1

Westbrook has been under 20 carries in each of the past two games, but remains very active in the short passing game. He put up 124 total yards and a touchdown on New York in week 2.

WR Donte' Stallworth S2 Stallworth is healthy and has a new quarterback looking to get him the ball. Garcia doesn't have McNabb's arm, so the big plays down field are limited. But Stallworth's speed and run-after-the-catch abilities can make up for that. The Giants' cornerbacks will be overmatched.
WR

Reggie Brown

S3

With Garcia under center Brown has remained very active in the passing game. For Brown that translates into a much more conservative fantasy output. Typically of the barely startable variety however.

TE L.J. Smith S2

The Giants are weak against the pass and Smith had his biggest yardage game of the season in week two against them, going for 111 yards on 7 catches. He's also scored a touchdown in three of the past four games.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S2

Manning's play has improved over the past two games and the Eagles pass defense has struggled some of late. They still present a difficult matchup for the younger Manning, but he did have his biggest game of the season in week two in Philly - throwing for 371 yards and three touchdowns.

RB Tiki Barber S1

The Philly defense continues to give up huge days to opposing backs at an alarming rate.

RB Brandon Jacobs S3 Jacobs was very ineffective with his 10 carries last week and was stuffed at the line of scrimmage on most of his short yardage attempts. He hasn't scored in two games so he's due.
WR Plaxico Burress S2

Burress continues his consistent play. He's scored a touchdown in six of his past seven games and is always a nightmare matchup due to his size. Burress' biggest game of the season came in week two against Philly when he put up 114 yards and a score.

TE Jeremy Shockey S1

Shockey remains a primary target in the Giants' passing game and a consistent target for Manning down near the goal-line. He's struggled against the Eagles in the past, but this is a big game at home and he'll be very active in the game plan.

 

St. Louis (5-8) at Oakland (2-11)

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St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger (P) S2

The Oakland pass defense has built up its league leading stats against a list of quarterbacks that you won't find on the top shelf of the NFL list. They had trouble stopping one of those top shelf QB's last week (Palmer) and face another one this week in Bulger.

RB Steven Jackson S1

The Raiders defense is getting carved up by opposing backs on a weekly basis now. It will be no different with the bruising Jackson.

WR Torry Holt S2

The young standout cornerback duo of Asomugha and Washington had their hands full last week with Cincinnati's Johnson and Houshmandzadeh. Their hands will be equally full Sunday with Holt and ...

WR Isaac Bruce S3

... Bruce. Don't downgrade this veteran pair too much against Oakland.

WR Kevin Curtis U

Curtis got back into the mix Monday night and might in this matchup as well. With Holt and Bruce locked in a serious battle with the starting corners for Oakland, Curtis will be an attractive target matched up with the nickel defensive back.

Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks B

The offense has improved somewhat since Brooks returned and the play calling changed hands. But this is still a highly ineffective offense that isn't going to give Brooks enough opportunities to put up fantasy worthy numbers, regardless of matchup.

RB Justin Fargas   U

Okay, I hate to do it, but this matchup just can't be ignored. If you feel lucky go ahead and take a chance on Fargas this week. The Rams are terrible against the run. They give up 5.0 YPC, 155 YPG and have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns (second most in the league). The downside to this great matchup is that the Raiders have given him just 14, 14 and 13 carries in the three games he's started since Jordan's injury.

WR Randy Moss (Q) B

Moss isn't expected to play this week.

WR Alvis Whitted
Ronald Curry
B Whitted's five catches last week was a season high. Curry moves into the starting lineup with Moss out this week. Don't expect much from either of them. The strength of the Rams defense is the play of their secondary. They held the killer WR duo of Boldin and Fitzgerald to just 78 yards two weeks ago.
TE Randal Williams
Courtney Anderson
B

Williams had become a fairly consistent receiver until last week's single catch outing. Anderson keeps getting looks but hasn't had more than three catches all season. The tight end may play a bigger role in the new conservative passing game Oakland is running, but that isn't translating into viable fantasy options.

 

Kansas City (7-6) at San Diego (11-2)

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Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green B

Green has been back for a month now and some of his old rhythm has returned. But last week he looked terrible under intense pressure from the Ravens. It doesn't get any easier this week facing the Chargers, who lead the league with 48 sacks on the season.

RB Larry Johnson S1

Played the Chargers at their defensive peak in week seven and put up 161 total yards and two touchdowns on them.

WR Eddie Kennison
Samie Parker
B

Bottom line - this passing game begins and ends with Gonzalez. Since Green's return Kennison and Parker have each topped three catches only once and have combined to score only one touchdown.

TE Tony Gonzalez S2

As with last week, Gonzo loses his stud starter rating due to the protection problems the Chiefs will have against San Diego. He'll be forced to stay in to block more, cutting into his chances to make plays in the passing game. He did however put up a season high 138 yards on the Chargers in week seven. So he'll still be productive this week, just not studly.

San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S3

Rivers had hit a bit of a slump that he seemed to play his way out of last week. The fine play should continue against a Chiefs defense that poses little threat. But with an all-world running back playing behind him there's just not much of a chance for big fantasy numbers.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 Could end up setting a touchdown record that will never be broken.
WR Eric Parker
Keenan McCardell (Q)
B

Everyone in the passing game that lines up as a wide receiver is taking a back seat to both LT and Gates in the passing game.

TE Antonio Gates S1

Gates is on a major three game fantasy roll. Just keep riding him.

 

Cincinnati (8-5) at Indianapolis (10-3)

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Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

Palmer and the Bengals passing attack are hitting on all cylinders. This week's matchup will be a challenge, but a winnable one. Just like Oakland, the Colts are at the top of the league's pass defense rankings. But also like Oakland, it's more a function of bad run defense than anything. The Colts have the lowest pass attempts per game in the league with just 25. They also don't have much of a pass rush.

RB Rudi Johnson S1

The run defense for Indy is flat out embarrassing. A key part of the Bengals' offensive success lately has been a renewed commitment to the run. In three of their last four games Johnson has had 27, 25 and 30 carries. You can bet he'll get plenty in this matchup.

WR Chad Johnson
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
S2

CJ and TJ have equally favorable matchups in the Indy secondary and will continue their fantasy success.

WR Chris Henry B

Henry is a hit-or-miss fantasy prospect that'll fall on the miss side this week as the starting wideouts will dominate this prime-time matchup.

Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

The Colts' passing game has struggled a bit lately. Three of the past five games have been single touchdown affairs and they were kept out of the end-zone all together last week. This prime-time matchup with the league's worst pass defense is just what the doctor ordered.

RB Dominic Rhodes (Q) B

Rhodes has scored in each of the past two games but has been ineffective running the ball. He also suffered a wrist injury last week. It's not expected to be serious, but if it hinders his ability to carry the ball it may be a factor in his playing time.

RB Joseph Addai (Q) S2

The foot injury Addai suffered last week is rumored to be only minor and he'll be at full speed Monday night. With Rhodes banged up and struggling, look for good game from the rookie in this matchup. He'll get the bulk of the carries and his fresh legs and explosiveness will cause problems for the average Bengals run defense.

WR Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
S1

The matchups in the Bengals secondary are very good ones this week. Look for both Wayne and Harrison to have their typical studly success.

TE Ben Utecht
Bryan Fletcher
B

Same old story here. Limited production split between two tight ends. Fantasy death.

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