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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 16
Whitney Walters
December 21, 2006
Thursday Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Christmas Night   Player List by Position  
MIN at GB BAL at PIT NO at NYG ARI at SF PHI at DAL   Early Injury Status  
Saturday CAR at ATL TB at CLE CIN at DEN NYJ at MIA   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
KC at OAK CHI at DET TEN at BUF SD at SEA     (Q): Questionable  
  IND at HOU WAS at STL       (P): Probable  
  NE at JAC            
     
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)  
 
Minnesota (6-8) at Green Bay (6-8) Back to top
Playoff Picture: MIN - Playing for a spot.   GB - Playing for a spot.  
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson (P) B

With the Vikings' playoff hopes dwindling, they will give the rookie a look for the balance of the season. Jackson looked pretty good coming off the bench last week, his second fourth quarter stint in three games. The Packers have shown improvement over the past two games defensively, but have played two of the more anemic pass offenses in the league. The rookie will have a short week to prepare for Green Bay, and despite what may seem like a favorable matchup, he should be avoided in his first NFL start on the road.

RB Chester Taylor (P) S2

Taylor was able to finish out last week's game and should be even stronger this week. With a rookie under center look for an emphasis on the running game and plenty of dump-offs in the flat.

WR Marcus Robinson (P) B

Robinson was by far the most consistent fantasy receiver in a Vikings uniform, but last week he simply disappeared. Why? Because he was unexpectedly deactivated last week with only a minor injury. Not a first time occurrence this season. The season is virtually over for the Vikings and there's a chance Robinson may not play another down. He should be avoided.

WR Travis Taylor (P) U

With Robinson out Taylor pulled in six catches last week, only the third time this season he's hit that number. He's a risk with a rookie running the show now, but against the suspect Packer secondary, Taylor could surprise.

WR Troy Williamson U An interesting thing happened last week once Jackson took over at quarterback. Williamson became a target in the passing game again. He led the team with a season high 12 looks. Those conditions will repeat this weekend against a weak Green Bay pass defense.
TE Jermaine Wiggins B

Wiggins simply isn't a big part of the passing game this season. Since his season high 6-66 in week 11 his production has been minimal.

Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

Favre put up 347 yards and two touchdowns on the Vikings in week 10 and their pass defense is no better now. This could very well be Favre's last game at Lambeau Field. Look for a big game from a quarterback that has always had a flare for the dramatic.

RB Ahman Green (P) S3

Green continues to put up the numbers, but backup Morency took his two touchdowns last week. He was able to rush for 55 yards in week 10 against the Vikings - one of the highest amounts allowed by their very stingy run defense. He may get that again and sneak in a touchdown, but that's about the max you should hope for.

WR Donald Driver (P) S1

Another week and another favorable matchup for Driver against a struggling secondary.

WR Greg Jennings S2

Jennings has yet to put up a big game since his severe ankle injury. This could be a spot for him to return to his early season big play days. He seems to be running much better now and should be able to get over the top of the struggling Vikings' secondary with his speed. There should be plenty of passing to go around in this matchup.

TE David Martin (Q) B Martin played horribly last week and remains a complete fantasy non-factor.
 
Kansas City (7-7) at Oakland (2-12) Back to top
Playoff Picture: KC - Playing for a spot.  
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Green B

Pull out the big game he had in Cleveland a few weeks ago and Green is averaging only 156 yards a game and has thrown just one touchdown since his return. The passing game just isn't there for the Chiefs. This is a conservative offense that centers around the running of Johnson.

RB Larry Johnson S1

As expected, LJ struggled against the Chargers last week. No one struggles to run the ball on the Raiders. He put up 154 yards and two touchdowns on them in week 11.

WR Eddie Kennison
Samie Parker
B

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

TE Tony Gonzalez S1

Even with the passing game producing very little for the Chiefs lately, Gonzo will still get the lion's share.

Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks B

Brooks was actually benched for Andrew Walter last week. That pretty much says all you need to know about his NFL prospects in Oakland, let alone his fantasy prospects.

RB Justin Fargas   B

If Fargas had a chance it was last week against the league's second worst running defense. He totaled 53 yards on the day. About his average since taking over for the injured Jordan.

WR Randy Moss (Q) B

Deactivated last Sunday and may shut it down for the final two games of the season.

WR Ronald Curry U

Curry is the obvious target of choice right now. Well maybe not choice since he's probably the best they got now. Which isn't saying much. But hey, they have to throw the ball to someone. And for the past two weeks that someone has been Curry. He's gone 17-186 and a touchdown in that span. He had success against the Chiefs five weeks ago and may again.

WR Doug Gabriel B With Whitted done for the season, Gabriel may actually return to the Raiders starting lineup this weekend. And to that we all say, "so what".
TE Randal Williams
Courtney Anderson
B

Anderson has emerged again as the primary TE target over the past two games while Williams has put up two straight one-catch outings. As with all the other players in silver and black, they should be avoided.

 
Baltimore (11-3) at Pittsburgh (7-7) Back to top
Playoff Picture: BAL - Clinched division, playing for home field.   PIT - Playing for a spot.  
Baltimore
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S3

A cut to McNair's throwing hand last week ruined what could have been a very nice fantasy day for the quarterback. He's expected to be fine for this weekend's matchup. McNair struggled against Pittsburgh last month and overall the Baltimore passing attack has been limited since its big performance against the Titans in week 10.

RB Jamal Lewis S2

Lewis topped 100 yards for the second time this season last week and scored his eighth touchdown. It remains pretty much the same story with Lewis each week. No big upside, but he'll get his 20-plus touches and a likely score.

WR Derrick Mason (Q) S3

With McNair back under center look for Mason to be the primary WR target again. On a good day that typically translates into a barely startable game.

WR Mark Clayton B

Clayton may get you a big play or two, or he may get you very little. He went 2-31 last month against the Steelers. Risk is too big. Sit him.

TE

Todd Heap (Q)

S2

Suffered a thigh injury last week so he'll play banged up in Pittsburgh. What's new? The problem for Heap owners is his scoring looks. Over the last seven games he's found the end-zone only once. That's a far cry from the five touchdowns he scored in the season's first seven games. But he remains a primary target in the Ravens' passing game, so he remains a fantasy starter.

Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger B

Big Ben went touchdown-less in the huge loss to Baltimore last month and in the three games since he's completed 12, 11 and 11 passes. His fantasy numbers have been boosted in that span by a couple of rushing touchdowns, but with 11-12 completions a game, the fantasy prospects are very limited. Even against a banged up Ravens secondary.

RB Willie Parker S3

Parker has been an explosive fantasy back this season, but has laid a good number of eggs as well. One of those eggs was his 22-yard outing against Baltimore in week 12. He'll better that at home this week - but not by a lot.

WR Hines Ward S3 Returned last week and as expected led the team in receiving. But when your passing game is very conservative and averaging around 190 YPG, the chances for big fantasy games are slim. Especially against the Ravens defense.
WR Santonio Holmes B

The athletic and explosive rookie may finally be starting, but with Ward and now Wilson back, and the passing game scaled down, his fantasy potential is very limited.

WR Cedrick Wilson B Wilson is expected back this week, meaning he'll be splitting time with Holmes opposite Ward. The starting #2 WR hasn't been named yet.
TE Heath Miller B

Miller's limited role in the limited Pittsburgh passing attack warrants little fantasy attention.

 

Carolina (6-8) at Atlanta (7-7)

Back to top
Playoff Picture: CAR - Playing for a spot.   ATL - Playing for a spot.  
Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chris Weinke   B

Delhomme is a gamer and is determined to play, but he's still unable to grip a football. So count him out until you hear definitive word from the team that he's returning to the starting lineup. And until he does, no Carolina quarterback should be in your starting lineup - period.

RB Deshaun Foster B

In the two games since Foster returned from injury he's carried the ball 8 and 7 times. The Panthers' offense is going nowhere. Foster can't be relied on this week facing another solid run defense in Atlanta.

RB DeAngelo Williams B

Since Foster returned from injury Williams has had a total of four carries in two games.

WR Steve Smith S2

Smith hasn't approached a 100-yard game in a month but had kept his fantasy value thanks to his touchdown production. That has dried up along with the rest of the Carolina offense lately. Still, Smith is a stud that always has big game potential. But his chances diminish with Weinke at quarterback.

WR Keyshawn Johnson S3

Johnson's numbers haven't taken much of a hit without Delhomme at QB. As bad as the Carolina offense has been playing that tells you a lot about his fantasy potential. It's limited at best. 4-6 catches is the max you can expect.

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

This matchup is a good one, but Vick still carries risk due to the overall ineptitude of the Falcons passing game and the poor play of his receivers. But the Carolina secondary is really struggling and the loss of DL Rucker will hamper their ability to pressure and/or contain Vick. The groin strain he suffered last week may slow him however, so he warrants just a borderline status in this favorable matchup.

RB Warrick Dunn (P) S3

The Carolina defense has had it's moments of late, but this defense can be run on. Parker put up 132 yards on them last week and Dunn put up the same 132 yards in their week one meeting. Dunn however was not close to 100% last week due to the calf injury and will likely be slowed again Sunday.

RB Jerious Norwood (P) S3

Norwood is expected to return from the knee injury this weekend and with Dunn still slowed by his calf strain, he'll likely split the workload with the starter.

WR Michael Jenkins B Jenkins has been the most consistent Falcons wideout this season and has an astonishing seven touchdowns on the season. But he hasn't topped 53 yards receiving since week one and will never rate more than a borderline status in this offense.
WR Ashley Lelie
Roddy White
B It took a rare deep catch from White and an even rarer touchdown from Lelie to register any attention on the fantasy meter.
TE Alge Crumpler S2

When Vick's play in the passing game improves, so do the fantasy number for Crumpler. He didn't get into the scoring parade last week, but led the team in catches as usual.

 
Chicago (12-2) at Detroit (2-12) Back to top
Playoff Picture: CHI - Clinched division, home field and bye.  
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman S2

Grossman's biggest game of the season came in week two against the Lions. There have been a lot of ups and downs since then, but Grossman is currently in one of those "up" times. The Lions on the other hand continue to play poorly on both sides of the ball.

RB Thomas Jones (Q) S3

Jones and Benson have each received 40 carries over the past three games as Jones continues to be slowed by some nagging injuries. He suffered another "minor" injury last week but is expected to play. With their playoff position secured, look for the Bears to start resting their starter a bit.

RB Cedric Benson S2

Benson has scored in three of the past four games and over the past three he has split the workload right down the middle with the banged up Jones. Each has 40 carries in that span with Jones rushing for 176 yards to Benson's 177. Jones was dinged again in last week's game. With their playoff position secured, look for Benson to take even more of the load starting this week against the porous Detroit run defense.

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

The long ball was not there for Berrian last week against the strong cornerback play of the Bucs. That won't be the case Sunday against the struggling Detroit secondary.

TE Desmond Clark

S3

Just when fantasy owners get comfortable with Clark on their bench, he explodes for his biggest game of the year. Now the big question. Will he have more success against the Lions' team he went 5-85 with a TD on in week two? Or will he return to the offensive obscurity that had him accounting for just six catches in the previous five games? The Bears' offense was at its best this season when Clark was heavily involved in the passing game. Someone calling the plays has surely noticed that.

Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S3

Kitna regressed last week. In week two he was sacked six times by the Bears and harassed far more times than that. While his offensive line is no better now, he catches a bit of a break with Chicago down two starting defensive linemen and a starting cornerback. I wouldn't want my fantasy fortune resting on Kitna's arm, but this banged up Bears defense did give up 268 yards and three touchdowns to Tim Rattay last week. At home.

RB Arlen Harris B

Harris' first start was a horrible one against the average Packers' run defense. Even without their two starting defensive linemen (Harris and Johnson) the Bears are much better than an average run stopping unit.

WR Roy Williams S2

When stud Roy Williams is out caught in a game by loser Mike Williams something just isn't right in fantasy land. Roy had a decent game against Chicago in week two and Kitna should have a bit more time in the pocket this time around. He also will see a lot more of the beatable CB's Tillman and Manning Jr. with Vasher likely to remain out.

WR Mike Furrey S2

Furrey remains a consistent part of the Lions' passing game and like fellow starter Williams, has a favorable matchup this week with a Vasher-less Chicago secondary. The same Vasher-less secondary that was smoked by a Bucs offense led by Tim Rattay.

 
Indianapolis (11-3) at Houston (4-10) Back to top
Playoff Picture: IND - Clinched division, playing for home field.  
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

Manning looked in top form Monday night. He's thrown for only one 400 yard game this season. In week two against Houston.

RB Dominic Rhodes S3

Rhodes is banged up but will likely carry the bulk of the load in this matchup due to the ankle sprain suffered by Addai. The Texans have given up 238 rushing yards in the past two games to the split backfields of the Titans and Patriots. Look for more of the same this week.

RB Joseph Addai (Q) B

Addai entered last week's game with a minor foot injury, but came out of it with a more serious ankle sprain. The team is stating that the injury is another "minor" one, but there are conflicting reports on that. Regardless, he will not be 100% this week and his risk of under performing is high.

WR Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
S1

Another week of great matchups for these fantasy studs.

TE Ben Utecht
Bryan Fletcher (Q)
B

Fletcher didn't get a ball his way last week and Utecht may start to see fewer looks as the team will try to work new signee Proehl and Moorehead into the #3 WR role more going into the playoffs.

Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr B

The song remains the same. Regardless of matchup Carr just isn't a fantasy option.

RB Ron Dayne S2

Dayne has been the man now for three games. He's rushed for 276 yards and scored three times in that span. A pretty amazing feat for disappointing runner. It pains me to do it, but this very favorable matchup just can't be ignored. If you are in need of a fill-in RB this week, your fantasy team can do a lot worse than Dayne facing the horrible Indy run defense.

WR Andre Johnson S2

Johnson's hot start to the season - where he had four 100-yard games and four touchdowns in the first seven games - is a distant memory for his owners. He still gets it done most weeks. But the past eight games have produced only two touchdowns and no 100-yarders. His matchups this week with the suspect Indy corners is a favorable one, but with Carr playing so poorly it's hard to get excited about any Johnson matchup these days.

WR Eric Moulds B

Moulds is good for 3-4 catches most weeks in his complementary receiver role. That's rarely enough for fantasy owners.

TE Owen Daniels (Q) B

Daniels has carved out a limited role in the Houston passing game, but he hasn't scored in seven weeks and without scores his 3-25 average isn't fantasy worthy.

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