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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 17
Whitney Walters
December 29, 2006
Saturday Sunday Early Sunday Early Sunday Late Sunday Late   Player List by Position  
NYG at WAS DET at DAL PIT at CIN ARI at SD MIA at IND   Early Injury Status  
Sunday Early JAC at KC STL at MIN ATL at PHI SF at DEN   (O): Out    (D): Doubtful  
CAR at NO NE at TEN SEA at TB BUF at BAL Sunday Night   (Q): Questionable  
CLE at HOU OAK at NYJ     GB at CHI   (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)  
 
Oakland (2-13) at N.Y. Jets (9-6) Back to top
Playoff Picture: NYJ - Playing for a spot.  
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Brooks (Q)
Andrew Walter
B

Brooks will be back in the lineup if his neck injury allows. If not it will be Walter again. Neither are worth considering.

RB Justin Fargas   U

Fargas is barely getting it done in the pathetic Oakland offense. If given the touches he can typically produce against weak opponents. He had 19 carries last week and if the Raiders can get him around 20 again this week he should do alright against a suspect Jets run defense that's allowing 133 YPG.

WR Randy Moss (Q) B

Expected to be deactivated again.

WR Ronald Curry S3

Curry is the obvious target of choice right now regardless of who's under center. He's the best option they have down field and matches up okay with the average Jets secondary.

TE Randal Williams
Courtney Anderson
B

Anderson seems to be the primary TE at the moment, having caught eight balls in the past two games. Williams is getting just a catch or two per game lately. Neither presents much fantasy wealth.

New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Pennington (P) S3

About the only thing you can count on with the Raiders this season is the fine play of their pass defense. The secondary is solid and they pressure the quarterback well. Pull Palmer out of the mix and in the past five games they've allowed just 110 YPG passing and only a single passing touchdown. I'm still giving Pennington a slight edge in this matchup however. The Jets have everything to play for and the Raiders are ending a wasted season with a cross country road trip.

RB Cedric Houston (Q) S3

Prior to sitting out last week's game due to his calf injury the Jets seemed to have settled on Houston as their primary ball carrier. He may return to action Sunday in this important game. Even if he does however he'll likely not carry a full load, giving carries to surprising rookie ...

RB Leon Washington S3 ... Washington. Look for both to share the load and to produce against the terrible Oakland run defense.
WR Laveranues Coles (Q) S2

Coles' production has been up and down this season due to injuries and he got banged around pretty good last week - ending the game with just two catches for nine yards. He's expected to be fine for this game and draws the better matchup with CB Washington while ...

WR Jerricho Cotchery S3

... Cotchery will draw the much more difficult CB Asomugha. Look for him to struggle.

TE Chris Baker B

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

 

Pittsburgh (7-8) at Cincinnati (8-7)

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Playoff Picture: CIN - Playing for a spot.  
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger (P) S3

Big Ben has struggled most of the season and the past month has been no different. He's averaging 180 yards and two touchdowns a game in the last four. Borderline startable numbers that should continue in this matchup with the poor Bengals' pass defense.

RB Willie Parker S2

Parker gashed the Bengals in week 3 for 133 yards and two scores. The Cincinnati run defense isn't bad but they do allow over 110 yards and a touchdown per game. The only thing keeping Parker from his typical stud rating is the fact that this game means nothing for the Steelers and they are on the road.

WR Hines Ward S2 When Roethlisberger drops back to pass, more times then not he's going to Ward. The last meeting with Cincinnati wasn't a good one for Ward. He had his worst game of the season, going just 2-17. The Bengals' pass defense has been in decline all season. Don't expect another stinker from Ward.
WR Santonio Holmes U

The athletic and explosive rookie may finally be starting, but with Ward back and both Wilson and Washington healthy his fantasy potential can be limited. The scaled back passing game isn't helping either. Look for a bit of a surprise this week however in this matchup with the very suspect Bengals' secondary and the always beatable CB James.

WR Cedrick Wilson
Nate Washington
B Holmes is a solid #2 WR for Pittsburgh now so Wilson and Washington only get the occasional opportunities in the passing game.
TE Heath Miller B

Miller is still able to pull in the occasional touchdown, but his limited role in the limited Pittsburgh passing attack warrants little fantasy attention.

Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S1

Despite Palmer's misstep two weeks ago in Indy, he's getting it done every week for his fantasy owners. He put up four touchdowns on Pittsburgh in one of his best early season games.

RB Rudi Johnson S3

The Steelers continue to hold opposing backs in check, which they did with Johnson in their week three meeting (he rushed for only 47 yards). Odds are this rematch will produce a repeat performance.

WR Chad Johnson S2

The touchdowns may not be coming Johnson's way often enough, but his 1317 yards this season leads all receivers. Johnson was held to just a single catch for 11 yards in his week three meeting with Pittsburgh. He'll be looking to multiply that by 10 in this rematch with the banged up Steelers secondary.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh S2

TJ is one of the more consistent fantasy receivers. He produces week in and week out opposite the double-covered Johnson.

WR Chris Henry B

Henry is a hit-or-miss fantasy prospect. He hit last week but that won't likely repeat Sunday. Johnson and TJ won't have difficult matchups in the secondary and will be the focus of the passing attack down field.

 
St. Louis (7-8) at Minnesota (6-9) Back to top
Playoff Picture: STL - Playing for a spot.  
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger S1

The Rams may be eliminated from the playoffs by kickoff, but they are a veteran team and should still play hard if out of the post-season. Look for Bulger to follow up last week's monster game with another strong performance against the league's worst pass defense.

RB Steven Jackson S2

Jackson has had a fantastic year and thanks to his league leading 88 catches for 782 yards is the #2 fantasy back in many leagues. He'll end on a bit of a downer this week however when he faces a very formidable Minnesota run defense that's allowing a league low 55 YPG.

WR Torry Holt (P) S1

The running game will be slowed and this matchup with the 32nd ranked Vikings pass defense is a great one to exploit. Both for Holt and ...

WR Isaac Bruce S2

... Bruce owners.

WR Kevin Curtis B

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

Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson (P) B

Passed for 50 yards in his first pro start last week. That says about all you need to hear about this rookie's fantasy value.

RB Chester Taylor (P) S2

Taylor and the Vikings offense squandered a good matchup last week by running the ball just 15 times. They won't make that mistake again this week when facing the second worst run defense in the league. The only downside is the complete lack of a passing attack to keep the defense from staking the line of scrimmage.

WR Travis Taylor
Troy Williamson (P)
B

This is a bad matchup with the very solid St. Louis pass defense and a very raw rookie running the offense.

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.

 

Seattle (8-7) at Tampa Bay (4-11)

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Playoff Picture: SEA - Clinched division.  
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck S3

Since returning Hasselbeck has played three games with his #1 WR and two games without. With he averaged 190 YPG and threw six touchdowns. Without he's averaged 204 YPG and thrown only one touchdown. He needs the reliability of Jackson and will be without him for this meaningless regular season finale. Don't be surprised to see Hasselbeck go to the sidelines if they get a lead.

RB Shaun Alexander S2

The second half of the season has been a good one for the Tampa run defense. In the past eight games they are only allowing 92 YPG on the ground. Alexander has looked very good since his return and appears to be hitting on all cylinders. He's touched the ball nearly 30 times a game since coming back, but don't expect that kind of workload this week. Seattle has a very capable backup in Maurice Morris and you can bet he'll be carrying the ball later in this game.

WR Deion Branch S3

Branch is getting the looks from Hasselbeck, but that isn't translating into fantasy numbers on the field. He dropped four catchable balls last week. He was still the leading receiver and is Hasselbeck's best option in the passing game. Look for them to get it together better this weekend.

WR Bobby Engram U Engram returned last week after a long absence and it didn't take long at all for Hasselbeck to find his old reliable #3 WR.
WR D. J. Hackett B

With Engram back at the slot receiver spot, Hackett has moved into the starting lineup with Jackson still out. That role doesn't suit him nearly as well as the #3 WR role did. His matchups with starting CB's are not as favorable for him.

TE Jerramy Stevens U

Stevens' production is highly inconsistent and sometimes nonexistent. But he continues to play a key role in the passing attack, even if at times he fails to capitalize on that role. Look for him to capitalize this week against a Tampa Bay defense that's struggled covering tight ends all season.

Tampa Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tim Rattay S3

Rattay didn't fair well in his first start for Tampa last week, throwing for just 212 yards and no touchdowns. This game means nothing for the Bucs, but Rattay and the offense should come out strong against the defending NFC champs.

RB Carnell Williams (Q) B

Was a late week scratch last week and is likely parked for the season. He still has a bum foot and there's no reason to push your franchise running back into action in a meaningless season finale.

RB Michael Pittman S2 Pittman filled in nicely for Cadillac last week and should again on Sunday. The Seahawks' run defense has fallen apart. They are allowing over 150 YPG to opposing backs over the past six weeks. Pittman is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield, further boosting his numbers.
WR Joey Galloway S3

Even with the limited passing attack last week Galloway remained the primary target. That isn't going to change. He's their only big play maker and can turn any catch into a long touchdown.

WR Ike Hilliard
Maurice Stovall
B

Stovall is the starting #2 WR now but Hilliard sees a lot of time at that spot also. They both are seeing a bit more action with Rattay running the show. But it isn't enough to warrant a starting spot on your fantasy team.

TE Alex Smith (D) B

Smith has caught nine balls with Rattay at quarterback, one for a touchdown. Rattay is more experienced with this style of offense that tends to utilize the TE position in the passing game. However, the back injury may keep him sidelined.

 
Arizona (5-10) at San Diego (13-2) Back to top
Playoff Picture: SD - Clinched division and bye, playing for home field.  
Arizona
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kurt Warner S3

Seems kind of fitting for Warner to close out the disappointing season for the Cardinals. When Warner was benched he was averaging 262 YPG and had thrown five touchdowns in three games. In Leinart's eleven starts he averaged 226 YPG and threw 11 touchdowns. This is a difficult matchup with a very tough San Diego defense that hasn't allowed more than 190 passing yards in six weeks and leads the league in sacks. But Warner should squeeze out startable numbers. Hard not to do when you have guys like Boldin and Fitzgerald roaming the opposing secondary.

RB Edgerrin James S3

Three of James' last four outings have been 100 yard affairs. At first glance you'd say this is not going to be #4. But the Chargers defense has fallen off a bit lately, allowing over 130 YPG on the ground over the past three weeks. Still, even with that and the improved play of the Cardinals' offensive line, James is a borderline starter in this meaningless road game for Arizona.

WR Anquan Boldin (P)
Larry Fitzgerald
S2

The San Diego secondary is very solid and benefits greatly from the pressure applied up front. But any secondary has their hands full dealing with Boldin and Fitzgerald. Both should do okay in this matchup.

San Diego
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Philip Rivers S3

As the regular season winds down, Rivers can't seem to shake his inconsistent play. He went just 10-of-30 last week. The Arizona pass defense presents a good opportunity for him to get it going again. Look for San Diego to throw the ball a bit more in this matchup in the hopes of getting Rivers' legs back under him going into the playoffs.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson S1 Will start and play until the Chargers have the game in hand. Which could be early in the second half.
RB Michael Turner U If the Chargers get a lead you could get some nice late game production out of Turner as he'll likely close out the game for LT.
WR Eric Parker (P)
Keenan McCardell
B

Parker is slow and better suited to a #3 WR role. McCardell is just slow and old. Both are spending a lot of time on the team's injury report lately.

WR Vincent Jackson (Q) U With the continued injuries to starters Parker and McCardell, this talented young receiver is getting more chances. He gives Rivers another big, athletic target down field - a la Gates.
TE Antonio Gates S1

Gates only has three catches in the past two games, but he remains a key part of the San Diego passing game.

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