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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)  
 
New England (10-4) at Jacksonville (8-6) Back to top
Playoff Picture: NE - Playing for division and playoff spot.   JAC - Playing for a spot.  
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) S3

Brady struggled on the road two weeks ago against a tough Miami defense that always seems to give him trouble. This week he faces an even tougher Jacksonville defense, also on the road.

RB Corey Dillon S3

With Maroney likely to remain out, Dillon will continue to carry the load in the backfield. His 25 touches last week (with his five catches) was a season high. It'll be tough sledding this week however playing a Jacksonville defense that has held the past eight backs its faced to 67 rushing yards or fewer.

RB Laurence Maroney (Q) B

The back injury kept Maroney sidelined for a second week and there is no word as to when he will return to action. Even if he practices this week and is declared fit for game time, he's an iffy start against the very stout Jags run defense.

RB Kevin Faulk (Q) B With Maroney out the Patriots have turned back the clock a bit and are working Faulk into the game plan more. While his two touchdowns last week might seem to make him a fantasy option, his total of just 13 touches in the past two games puts the breaks on that thinking.
WR Reche Caldwell S3

Caldwell remains Brady's most reliable down field target and again led all New England receivers last week. He's not a good option this week in Jacksonville as his matchup in the secondary isn't favorable.

WR Troy Brown B

Brown stays active in the passing game but rarely will produce fantasy worthy numbers. The ball is spread around too much in this offense.

TE Ben Watson (Q) B

Watson's leg injury had him deactivated last week and there is no word, or will there be any word, as to his playing status for Sunday.

TE Daniel Graham B Graham was hurt but active last week and didn't see a single pass come his way.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S3

Garrard's numbers were okay last week, but his four turnovers cost the Jags a win. This week he faces a New England defense very adapt at creating problems for opposing quarterbacks. No defense has allowed fewer passing touchdowns and only two have generated more interceptions than the Patriots' 20. Garrard will get his chances however as the running game will be limited.

RB Fred Taylor (Q) B

Taylor pulled up lame on his second carry last week when he aggravated his lingering hamstring injury. Don't be surprised if he sees little to no action Sunday.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (P)

S2

MJD carried the load last week after Taylor went down early, ending the game with a season high 25 carries and his seventh touchdown in the past six games. He also ended the game with a "jammed" knee that isn't expected to be serious. This matchup is not a good one against the Patriots' #4 run defense. But with the explosive Jones-Drew getting the full load this weekend, you have to role with him. Just with lower expectations.

WR Matt Jones S3

Jones may have three touchdowns in the past four games, but three of those four games have also been 2-8, 1-7 and 3-12. Both Jones and ...

WR Reggie Williams S3

... Williams have obvious size advantages over the New England secondary, but they have limited upside in the conservative Garrard-run passing attack.

WR Ernest Wilford B Since his two touchdowns in week nine, Wilford has been only a bit player in the passing game, catching more than two balls only once. The passing game is just too limited to support a #3 WR. It barely supports a fantasy viable #1 WR.
 
New Orleans (9-5) at N.Y. Giants (7-7) Back to top
Playoff Picture: NO - Clinched division, playing for home field.   NYG - Playing for division and playoff spot.  
New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S1

Last week was only the second time all season Brees was held without a touchdown. And that came against the defense that had allowed the most passing touchdowns this season. Go figure. This week brings another very favorable matchup for Brees. Statistically the Giants give up the most QB fantasy points per game.

RB Deuce McAllister S2

In a reversal of matchups from last week, this week McAllister faces a defense that's pretty good against the run overall, allowing 105 YPG. But the Giants they have also surrendered 16 rushing touchdowns on the season. Only two shy of league leader Indy. If there's one thing Deuce can be counted on this year it's scoring touchdowns.

RB Reggie Bush S3

Bush was shut down by the Redskins last week and his shoulder injury appears to be causing him quite a bit of discomfort. His fantasy production still relies too heavily on his pass catching to elevate him to a weekly solid fantasy starter.

WR Joe Horn (Q) B Horn is expected to sit out the remainder of the regular season.
WR Marques Colston S1

With Horn down for the count, Colston is the primary weapon in this passing attack. He'll face off with the suspect Giants' secondary this week and pay off big for his fantasy owners.

WR Devery Henderson
S3

Henderson is now starting opposite Colston and provides the offense with a speedy down field target that Brees loves to hit. Look for them to connect for a big gain or two over the top of the weak New York secondary.

WR Terrance Copper B Copper has slid back into the #3 WR role. A role that's very limited in this offense. He has just five catches in the past three games.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Eli Manning S3

Manning continues his inconsistent play and this is not a very good matchup for him. The Saints have come on strong lately as they gel under the new system brought in by Gary Gibbs. They haven't allowed more than a single passing touchdown from an opposing QB in a month and their season average of 185 passing YPG allowed is fifth best in the league.

RB Tiki Barber S1

The Saints defense hasn't surrendered many rushing touchdowns this season - only nine. But they are run against on a regular basis. They give up 5.1 YPC, which is second worst in the league to the Colts. This is very likely Tiki's last game at Giants Stadium, so there's some extra motivation here for both him and his team.

RB Brandon Jacobs (Q) S3 Jacobs improved his short yardage effectiveness last week and found the end-zone again. If a short yardage touchdown is what you need, then you can do a lot worse than Mr. Jacobs.
WR Plaxico Burress S2

Burress continues his consistent play. He didn't score last week but had a season high 120 yards receiving. His size will be very difficult for CB's Thomas and McKenzie to handle.

TE Jeremy Shockey S1

Even with the struggles in the passing game, Shockey remains a primary weapon. Over the past five weeks he's leading the team in looks and has scored in two of the past three games.

 
Tampa Bay (3-11) at Cleveland (4-10) Back to top
Playoff Picture: None  
Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Rattay S2

The rookie experiment has come to an end and Rattay will finish out the season as the Bucs quarterback. After taking over last week Rattay was able to put up 268 yards and three touchdowns on Chicago. Odds are good he can get close to those numbers in Cleveland. The downside may be the weather since it could be snowing. Downgrade Rattay if it is.

RB Carnell Williams (Q) S3

The threat of a passing attack may open up a few running lanes for Cadillac, but the bottom line is the Bucs run blocking stinks. He hasn't rushed for more than 50 yards in three straight games. Thankfully the Browns run defense stinks about as bad as the Bucs blocking. His bum ankle may slow him, but a snowy day like expected could mean more carries. Call it a draw and a borderline start.

WR Joey Galloway S2

Galloway struggled last week, only catching three balls. But they were big catches and he was targeted a whopping 13 times, nearly a season high. He'll stay active in the passing game and has a quarterback that can deliver the ball more consistently. Look for him to exploit this favorable matchup with an under performing Cleveland secondary. Downgrade Galloway if it's snowing on game day.

WR Ike Hilliard B

Hilliard is the #2 WR now in Tampa and may see a bit more action with Rattay running the show. But it won't be enough to warrant a starting spot on your fantasy team. He does not match up nearly as well with the Browns cornerbacks as Galloway does.

TE Alex Smith U

Smith and Becht have been splitting what little tight end production there is in this offense. They saw an uptick in that production last week with Rattay at QB, who is more experienced with this style of offense that tends to utilize the TE position in the passing game. Smith is by far the more talented of the two and the more likely to have a fantasy impact this week.

Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson S3

This kid will never be confused with a scrambler, but so far he's getting it done in the pocket. If the weather isn't too bad the Bucs present another opportunity for the rookie to shine. They've allowed a league high 25 passing touchdowns this season and have generated a league low 21 sacks.

RB Reuben Droughns U

This is not a bad matchup for the Browns running game. The problem is the execution on the Cleveland side of the ball. Droughns has just 29 carries in the past four games and was seeing Wright take more with each passing week. With Wright placed on IR this week however, Droughns could surprise if given the carries against Tampa.

WR Braylon Edwards
Joe Jurevicius (Q)
S3

New QB Anderson is doing a good job of keeping both Edwards and Jurevicius involved in the passing game. Their catches are increasing and they are both scoring touchdowns. Their production may be limited this weekend if the forecasted snow storm hits Cleveland, but they warrant a borderline start if you are in need of help at the #3 or #4 WR position. Edwards more so than the banged up Jurevicius.

TE Kellen Winslow Jr. (Q) S2

Winslow isn't finding the end-zone. Not since week nine, so he's due. He remains an active part of the passing attack and the new rookie quarterback knows how to find him.

 

Tennessee (7-7) at Buffalo (7-7)

Back to top
Playoff Picture: TEN - Playing for a spot.   BUF - Playing for a spot.  
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Vince Young S3

The passing game under Young has shown some improvement but is still unimpressive. Young's fantasy upside still comes from his ability to make plays running. The story line will be no different in this difficult matchup with the stingy Buffalo pass defense.

RB Travis Henry (Q) S2

Thanks to the Titans defense Henry was able to rest his sprained ankle last week, carrying the ball only 12 times. He'll be ready to go against his old team. You can count on a solid performance from Henry as the Bills allow 138 YPG on the ground, sixth worst in the league.

WR Drew Bennett (Q) S3

Bennett continues to be Young's best option down field. He has reliable hands and the height to be a matchup problem for most cornerbacks. He carries the most fantasy upside in this passing attack, being the only wideout with a 100-yard game to his credit (he has three) this season.

TE Bo Scaife (Q) B

Scaife reportedly will return to action this weekend but he will not be at full speed due to the ankle injury.

Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman S3

Losman's command of the Buffalo offense has shown good improvement over the past month and he's thrown seven touchdowns in the past three games. The suspect Titans pass defense presents a matchup opportunity for Losman to keep his good play going.

RB Willis McGahee S2

McGahee continues to tough out a series of injuries and carried the ball 28 times last week in a difficult matchup with the Miami defense. The Titans and their 30th ranked run defense won't pose near the challenge on Sunday.

WR Lee Evans S2

The Buffalo passing game remains limited, and Evans hasn't had more than five catches in a game for over a month. But he's scoring touchdowns regularly. Five in the past seven games. The Titans secondary may be adept at getting interceptions, but their overall ball defending skills are weak.

WR Peerless Price (Q)
Roscoe Parrish
Josh Reed
B Beyond Evans there isn't much to see with the rest of the Bills wideouts. TE Royal has been out producing this entire group over the past month.
TE Robert Royal U Well they say something becomes a trend when it happens three times in a row. For obscure fantasy tight ends that may or may not be true. What is true is that Royal has caught 1, 2 and 3 passes in the past three games respectively and a touchdown in each. Can the trend continue? A critical week 16 battle may not be the place to take that kind of chance. But with the depth at TE this year at a minimum, if you are desperate give him a shot.
 

Washington (5-9) at St. Louis (6-8)

Back to top
Playoff Picture: STL - Playing for a spot.  
Washington
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell B

This isn't necessarily a bad matchup for Campbell, but it's not a good one either. He's averaging just 200 yards and a touchdown over the past three games and that's about the best you could expect from him Sunday against the Rams.

RB Ladell Betts S1

Another weak run defense for the charging Mr. Betts. St. Louis gives up 148 YPG (second worst in the league) and 5.0 YPC (third worst in the league) on the ground.

WR Santana Moss S2

Moss' production has been limited, but he's developing a nice chemistry with the young Campbell, who looks his way often down field. The Rams have a solid secondary overall, but rookie CB Tye Hill has been picked on often this year with success. Look for the Redskins to do the same with Moss.

WR Brandon Lloyd
Antwaan Randle El
B Lloyd and Randle El play too limited a role in the Redskins' struggling passing game to be of any fantasy use.
TE Chris Cooley S3

Cooley has been Campbell's most consistent option outside of Moss in the passing attack. That isn't going to change. But Rams LB Chillar matches up well with Cooley physically and could pose him some problems in coverage.

St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S2

Bulger should bounce back in this matchup. The Washington defense does not pressure the quarterback well and has given up a league high 25 passing touchdowns this season.

RB Steven Jackson S1

The Redskins run defense is bolstered by them only allowing five rushing touchdowns on the season (a league low). But they also give up 125 YPG on the ground. Jackson will get it done on the ground this week, and if slowed at all he'll get it done in the short passing game.

WR Torry Holt (P) S2

Holt struggled along with the entire passing offense last week. Don't look for a repeat Sunday. The Redskins are solid but not without their weak points to attack. One of those points will be Holt's matchup with the inexperienced CB Carlos Rogers.

WR Isaac Bruce S3

Bruce has been an inconsistent fantasy producer all season and has just two touchdowns. He hasn't topped 75 yards since week eight and won't likely in this matchup against the strong cover skills of CB Shawn Springs.

WR Kevin Curtis B

Curtis failed to get in the mix last week and is too inconsistent to rely on.

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