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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)  
Atlanta (7-8) at Philadelphia (9-6) Back to top
Playoff Picture: ATL - Playing for a spot.   PHI - Clinched spot, playing for division.  
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Michael Vick S3

This is not a good matchup for Vick. The Eagles have the talent in the secondary to lock down his deep targets and the push up front to apply constant pressure. He also didn't look 100% running the ball last week, which was a death blow to his fantasy value.

RB Warrick Dunn (P) S3

Overall the Philly defense has performed well of late. But their run defense struggles almost weekly. Look for the Falcons to run both Dunn and ...

RB Jerious Norwood S3

... Norwood at the Eagles front until they prove they can stop them. That likely won't happen.

WR Michael Jenkins S3 Jenkins took last week off with the rest of the Falcons offense. But he's still their most consistent wideout this season and has an astonishing seven touchdowns on the season. He hasn't topped 53 yards receiving since week one and will never rate more than a borderline status in this offense.
WR Roddy White B With Lelie out White moves into the #2 WR spot. As if anyone cares.
TE Alge Crumpler S3

Crumpler is in a scoring drought and his value hinges greatly on the play of Vick in the passing game. He's scored just once in the past seven weeks. Teams are able to double cover him due to the lack of talent at wide receiver.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jeff Garcia S3

Garcia continues his fine play and the Falcons offer nothing defensively that should prevent him from carrying that forward into the playoffs.

RB Brian Westbrook (P) S1

Regardless of matchup Westbrook remains the driving force behind this offense. Look for Philly to continue to work him heavily in both the running and short passing game.

WR Donte' Stallworth S3

Stallworth is healthy but his new quarterback isn't looking his way as often as the Garcia run passing attack is more about the short ball and spreading it around to multiple receivers. He maintains a borderline starter status due to his big play ability however.


Reggie Brown


Brown has been the more consistent wideout since Garcia took over. He's not a big game threat, but he's had three 70-yard games and scored a touchdown in three of the past five games. He has little upside, but if you need some consistent points at WR you could do a lot worse.

TE L.J. Smith (P) S2

Smith isn't the focus in the passing game he was under McNabb, but he still plays a key role. He's only scored once in the past four games but makes big-time catches.

Buffalo (7-8) at Baltimore (12-3) Back to top
Playoff Picture: BAL - Clinched division, playing for bye and home field.  
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman B

Losman's fortunate to have decent games against inferior opponents. Don't expect much from him on the road against the top defense in the league that's still playing for playoff position.

RB Willis McGahee S3

McGahee has had a very good year considering the team around him and the injuries. But this week against the Ravens will not be a good one. Chances are he'll barely produce startable fantasy numbers. Very few RB's that go to Baltimore do.

WR Lee Evans B

The Buffalo passing game is going to be very limited this week, so don't expect much from Evans or ...

WR Peerless Price
Roscoe Parrish
Josh Reed
B ... the rest of the WR corps.
TE Robert Royal B Royal came out of nowhere to be a fantasy factor in December. That came to an end last week when he failed to stay inbounds on an easy touchdown catch. But he did get the red-zone look on the play. He remains a factor in the Bills passing game but odds are slim he'll remain a fantasy factor.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair S2

McNair's hand looked just fine last week as he tossed three touchdowns, tying a season high. The Bills have been a solid pass defense of late, but it's hard to predict how a team will come out in a meaningless game, especially on the road. Count on McNair to get startable numbers Sunday as they play for a first round bye and possibly home field advantage.

RB Jamal Lewis S2

Lewis may not be the impact player he was once, but he's had a consistently productive season, scoring in six of the past eight games. He closes out the regular season with a great matchup with the 29th ranked Buffalo run defense.

WR Derrick Mason S3

For some reason McNair's comfortable target has virtually disappeared in the past two games, going 2-20 and 2-10. Don't expect that unusual trend to continue.

WR Mark Clayton (P) S3

Clayton's hit-or-miss season makes predicting a good performance difficult. His matchup this week isn't necessarily good, so he'll probably do just fine.

WR Demetrius Williams B May have scored in each of the past two games but has also only caught two passes in each. In fact, Williams has had more than two catches in a game only once all season.

Todd Heap


Still banged up and still producing for his fantasy owners. Heap has yet to score a touchdown this month and it would be unlikely that he'll end December without one.

Miami (6-9) at Indianapolis (11-4) Back to top
Playoff Picture: IND - Clinched division, playing for bye.  
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Cleo Lemon B

Lemon may have looked okay in relief, but it's a different story for these young, inexperienced quarterbacks in their first starts. Don't expect much.


Ronnie Brown (P)


Brown returned to action last week and looked his usual strong, explosive self. A good sign going into Indy to face what is still the worst run defense in the league.

WR Chris Chambers B

Chambers has had a very disappointing season and should be avoided, just like all the other Miami wideouts in this matchup. The Indy pass defense is solid and all bets are off in the passing game with Lemon under center.

WR Marty Booker (Q) B Booker is back to limited practice this week, but why rush him into playing in this meaningless game for Miami?
WR Wes Welker B

Welker has been a consistent 3-5 catch performer most of the season but as with Chambers, don't look to any Miami wideout this week due to the switch at QB.

TE Randy McMichael U

About the only thing we can say with some confidence about new QB Lemon is that he seems to favor going to his big, talented tight end.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S1

Miami's pass defense is one of the top in the league. But this is a meaningless road game and there could be a letdown. Besides, it's Manning at home in a very meaningful game for Indy.

RB Dominic Rhodes (Q) B

Rhodes is banged up and only got two carries last week. His work may be limited again this week as the Colts will seek to keep him healthy for the playoffs and they have a young back with fresher legs to run this week.

RB Joseph Addai S3

Addai looked close to 100% last week as he rushed for his second 100-yard game of the season. He'll get another heavy workload this week as the banged up Rhodes will likely be limited. But the Miami defense us tough and his production will be of the barely fantasy startable sort.

WR Marvin Harrison
Reggie Wayne
S1 Harrison has taken a step ahead of Wayne in the past two games thanks to his five touchdowns to Wayne's one. But they tend to be more equally involved when facing tougher defenses. That will be the case with Miami's 4th ranked pass defense.
TE Ben Utecht
Bryan Fletcher

These two continue to split the TE production, making both of little fantasy value. Fletcher hasn't scored since week four and Utecht has yet to find the end-zone in 2006.


San Francisco (6-9) at Denver (9-6)

Back to top
Playoff Picture: DEN - Playing for a spot.  
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

Smith has improved and played well for the Niners but the results were not good for either the team or any of his fantasy owners. The Niners' passing offense will end the season ranked near the league bottom. Don't expect some sudden fantasy outburst this week on the road in Denver.

RB Frank Gore S2

The rushing title is out of reach, but Gore and the Niners will seek to end the season on a high note. The once stout Denver run defense will likely accommodate. If he gets his carries he'll produce.

WR Arnaz Battle B

With Bryant out of the picture the only wideout of any note in a Niner uniform is the promising, young Battle. He'll be no match however for the Champ Bailey led Denver secondary.

TE Vernon Davis S3

The short passing game has been the most successful part of the air attack lately and Davis is finally making some fantasy noise. He's scored in two of the past three games. The weakest part of the Denver secondary is their tight end coverage. Davis will be Smith's best option on Sunday.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jay Cutler S3

The talented rookie is improving each week and appears to be a lock for a two touchdown game. In his four game career he has yet to throw for fewer.

RB Tatum Bell S3

TBell has carried the ball 30 times in the past two games against average defenses and averaged just 2.6 YPC. He's no longer running with authority and there are rumblings of him losing his starting job to MBell again. Look for another week of splitting carries with the more effective MBell and limited fantasy potential.


Mike Bell


May get the starting job back but for this final regular season game he'll come off the bench again. What's good for fantasy owners is the fact that he comes off the bench when the offense gets close to the goal line. He's scored three touchdowns in the past two games.

WR Rod Smith B

With the emergence of rookie Marshall, Smith has sadly become a third or even fourth option in the passing game.

WR Javon Walker S2

Walker remains the big-play threat in the Denver passing game and the injury depleted San Francisco secondary is no match for what he brings to the table.

WR Brandon Marshall U Denver fans may be looking at the future as they watch this promising rookie emerge. Since Cutler took over Marshall has caught 12 balls for 213 yards and a touchdown. He's now being incorporated enough into the game plan to consider him a sleeper type fantasy pick against a very weak San Francisco secondary.

Tony Scheffler


This talented rookie may not be the starter in Denver yet, but he's the only tight end Cutler's throwing to. He's a big target and has scored three touchdowns in the past three games.


Green Bay (7-8) at Chicago (13-2)

Back to top
Playoff Picture: GB - Playing for a spot.   CHI - Clinched division, bye and home field.  
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S2

The Bears defense has been torched by the likes of Tim Rattay and Jon Kitna the past two weeks. I have a hunch Favre will go out with a bang this season against a fierce division rival on the road that has nothing to play for. He hasn't thrown a touchdown in two weeks. Three in a row just isn't going to happen. The Packers lead the league in pass attempts per game with nearly 40.

RB Ahman Green (P) S3

Green put up 110 yards on Chicago in their first meeting, but that was nearly a season ago (week one). Green has 12 more games on his aging legs and the Bears are playing very tough against the run. His production will be limited not only by the Bears this weekend, but also by the increased workload the Packers are giving backup Morency.

WR Donald Driver (P) S1

Driver may be banged up, but he's not going to miss this season finale against a division rival. He's been a consistent fantasy performer all season and he went 7-96 in week one against the Bears.

WR Greg Jennings B

What's even more astounding then Jennings catching only a single pass for two yards last week is the fact that he was targeted 11 times by Favre. That's a horrible production percentage for a young receiver that showed so much promise before his mid-season knee injury. Last week was the second straight single catch game for Jennings.

WR Ruvell Martin B Martin has come on a bit lately, scoring his only touchdown of the season two weeks ago. But he doesn't have Favre's confidence yet and is only a bit player in the Packers passing game.
TE Donald Lee
Bubba Franks
David Martin (Q)
B The tight end has been much more productive of late, but that production is being split between Franks and Lee. Also, Martin is expected back for this game.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Rex Grossman S3

Grossman's up-and-down fantasy season began with a strong performance in Green Bay week one. He'll have a chance to end on a strong note against the same struggling pass defense at home. The problem for fantasy owners is that this game means nothing for the Bears and is likely to be closed out by backup Griese.

RB Thomas Jones (P) S3

The transition to a full RBBC with Benson appears complete. Over the past four weeks Jones has carried the ball 52 times to Benson's 55 - both averaging over four YPC and both scoring twice. Look for the split workload to continue in this game, giving both Jones and ...

RB Cedric Benson S3

Benson limited fantasy value. There's a good chance you'll see both of them on the sidelines late in the game watching Adrian Peterson close out the regular season.

WR Muhsin Muhammad
Bernard Berrian

Muhammad is always reliable and always involved in the Chicago passing game. Berrian seems to have recovered some of his early season rhythm with Grossman and his numbers are improving. He's scored in two of the past three games. Both Chicago wideouts are borderline starters.

TE Desmond Clark


Clark took a step back last week. But that had to be expected given the monster game he had the week prior. The tight end position looks to be back in vogue for Chicago and as a result Clark maintains a starter status.

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