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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 16
Whitney Walters
December 20, 2007
Thursday Night
Sunday Early
Sunday Early
Sunday Late
Sunday Late
Sunday Night
Saturday Night
Monday Night
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: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
 
Pittsburgh (9-5) at St. Louis (3-11) Back to top
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger S2

The passing game hasn't returned to its mid-season form with Roethlisberger is averaging just 175 YPG over the last five weeks. But his six TD's in the past three games have helped maintain his fantasy value. He has a decent matchup this week with a below average St. Louis pass defense, and since Pittsburgh is on the road, the dome weather will be the best this team's seen in a month.

RB Willie Parker S2 Hasn't seen the end-zone since week eight, but Parker is a virtual lock for 100-plus yards each week. Which will be significant this week since no back has hit the century mark against the Rams all season.
WR Hines Ward S2

Never big numbers, but he remains a prime target for Roethlisberger in the red-zone. Favorable matchup this week with the average at best Rams secondary.

WR Santonio Holmes S2

Holmes saw significant action last week and appears to be close to 100%. He was targeted eight times (the same as Ward), with a few of those being deep balls Roethlisberger missed him on. All very positive signs. It's time to move him back into your starting lineup this week in this favorable matchup.

WR Nate Washington B

Washington did pull in a single 30-yard score last week, but with Holmes back in the starting lineup he's mostly a non-factor.

TE Heath Miller S2

Has his career high seventh touchdown last week and almost had number eight. The yardage numbers aren't great (averages just 3-40 per game), but his involvement in the red-zone passing game make him a prime scoring target every week.

St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marc Bulger B

Bulger got back on the field last week and made it through the game okay despite taking a shot to the head and absorbing four sacks. Protection is a constant issue for the Rams and the passing game will be limited this week by the aggressive Pittsburgh pass rush.

RB Steven Jackson S3

The Jags gashed the Pittsburgh defense last week for 216 rushing yards. Don't think this will be an easy matchup for Jackson however. The Steelers defense will be looking for redemption and they are playing for the division title. If the Rams can put up enough points to keep this one close, Jackson should still get enough carries for a successful day.

WR Torry Holt S2

Holt's 3-21 last week was a season low, but he still managed to find the end-zone. Not much upside this week against the aggressive Pittsburgh defense, but he's produced all season and you should keep rolling with him. Just lower your expectations again this week.

WR Isaac Bruce B With Bulger back at quarterback, Bruce was again very active in the passing game. He had a team high 10 looks last week. His 72 yards was his most since week two and he's just not consistent enough to rely on, and this is not a favorable matchup for him.
WR Drew Bennett B

Bennett showed up last week with his best game in over a month. He just hasn't been able to stay healthy and contribute consistently this season.

TE Randy McMichael B

McMichael hasn't had more than two catches in the past five games. Not a fantasy factor.

 
Dallas (12-2) at Carolina (6-8) Back to top
Dallas
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tony Romo S2

Taking a Simpson jab here would be too easy. Let's just say that a solid rebound game is in order here. But the Panthers are no bums on defense and have been putting up good fight most week. The thumb injury doesn't help either. Still a must start, but carries more risk than normal this week.

RB Julius Jones B

Jones just isn't getting it done for fantasy owners. He starts the games but gives way to the more productive Barber quickly. He's had single digit carries in four of the past five games and has topped 50 total yards only once in the past six games.

RB Marion Barber S2

Barber has scored four times in the past four games, but the Cowboys are just not running the ball well right now. With only seven carries in each of the past two games, the team seems to have forgotten how well they've run the ball this season. After last week's loss, look for them to remember and for Barber to post a nice game with double digit carries again.

WR Terrell Owens S1

Seems a bit out of sync with Romo right now and has only five catches in the past two games. But last week's 12 targets was a team high and he will remain the primary target for Romo in the air attack. The Carolina secondary doesn't have the talent to challenge him.

WR Patrick Crayton B

Crayton is too inconsistent to be much of a fantasy factor and is always behind Owens and Witten in the passing game. Also, with Glenn's likely return he'll start seeing even fewer looks.

WR Terry Glenn B Appears ready to return this week, but don't expect much. He'll get limited snaps as they work him back into game shape for the playoffs.
TE Jason Witten S1

Even when the Cowboys passing game goes south, Witten still produces. A must start every week.

Carolina
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Moore B Vinny and Carr are done and Moore will close out the season for Carolina. He may have looked okay throwing the ball last week, but don't look for much Sunday against Dallas.
RB DeShaun Foster B Foster looks to keep getting the carries as Carolina will run the ball as much as possible with rookie Moore at quarterback. But the production just isn't there, as he's averaging just 2.5 YPC over the past four games.
RB DeAngelo Williams S3

Received a season high 19 touches last week and was of course more productive than starter Foster. With the season winding down we may be able to expect more of this increased workload the the more talented Williams. But that's a hard thing to count on this time of the fantasy season and the Cowboys are very tough to run on.

WR Steve Smith S3

Smith has settled into a consistent fantasy groove over the past five games. The 8-72 he posted last week was his best output since week six. With a rookie at quarterback and a tough Dallas defense coming to town you shouldn't expect anything better.

WR Drew Carter
Keary Colbert
B

The only Carolina wideout that should be taking up space on your roster is Smith. These two have accounted for just 15 catches in the past four games and Colbert went catchless last week.

TE Jeff King B

Two catches a game is about all you can expect from King at this point.

 
Oakland (4-10) at Jacksonville (10-4) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Josh McCown B

McCown will continue to start, but you will see Russell get more playing time this week.

RB Dominic Rhodes
LaMont Jordan
B

With Fargas gone the Raiders will turn to this duo to carry the load in the backfield. The favorite to get the bulk of the load is Rhodes since Jordan is not in the team's future plans. Jordan did get 11 carries two weeks ago but managed just 21 yards. Neither make an attractive start against the very tough Jacksonville defense on the road.

WR Ronald Curry
Jerry Porter
B With McCown starting and Russell seeing increased action, you shouldn't put your fantasy hopes in any part of the Oakland passing game.
TE Zack Miller B

The Jags are vulnerable to tight ends, but Miller has become a non-factor in the Raiders offense, with just a single catch in each of the past two games.

Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard S3

Last week's season high three touchdowns couldn't have come at a better time for fantasy owners. Oakland can be stingy against the pass, but over the past two games they've allowed 542 yards and three touchdowns. You should expect nothing less than another of a long string of consistent outings for Garrard.

RB Fred Taylor S2

Four straight 100-yard games with three touchdowns. How can you sit him now? The Raiders pathetic run defense provides Taylor with his best matchup of the season.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S2

With Taylor rolling, MJD hasn't been a fantasy force. He's averaging just 57 total YPG over the past month and has seen Taylor take the touchdowns in the past two games. Thankfully there will be plenty of rushing production to go around against the terrible Oakland run defense. Look for Jones-Drew to hit pay dirt again.

WR Reggie Williams S3 Williams had only one catch last week, but as is his style, it was for a touchdown - his fourth in the past five games. Garrard continues to spread the ball around quite a bit and the other wideouts seem to get more looks. But Williams is the preferred target in the red-zone and has the most upside due to his touchdown production and recent big play ability.
WR Dennis Northcutt
Ernest Wilford
B

Due to Garrard spreading the ball around to his receivers, it is hard to rely on any of them. Northcutt and Wilford do get looks in the passing game, but their fantasy potential is limited. Very limited this week against the strong corner play of the Raiders.

TE Marcedes Lewis B

Lewis maxed out at 5-57 four games ago and that will likely be his high mark for the season. Oakland has played strong against opposing tight ends all season.

 

Kansas City (4-10) at Detroit (6-8)

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Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brodie Croyle U

The youngster showed some improved play last week and draws a very favorable matchup with Detroit this week. A productive running game should make Croyle's job a bit easier, and if you are in need of a sleeper quarterback this week, he could be your guy.

RB Kolby Smith S2

Since his big debut as a starter, Smith has been fairly ordinary in a struggling Kansas City offense. He has some upside this week however, facing a Detroit defense that's getting gouged each week by opposing running backs. Look for him to get back on the plus side of 20 carries and to produce nice fantasy numbers.

WR Dwayne Bowe S3

Bowe continues to lead all KC wideouts in production and fantasy value. Gets a starting status this week against the spiraling Lions defense.

WR Eddie Kennison
Jeff Webb
Samie Parker
B Outside of Bowe and Gonzalez there is no fantasy value in the KC passing game. These three have combined for only 17 catches in the past month.
TE Tony Gonzalez S2

Most weeks with Croyle at the helm, Gonzo has struggled. That was the case again last week, but it had as much to do with the great play of the Tennessee linebackers than it did a lack of connection with his QB. Will continue to get the looks and is always a fantasy starter despite his struggles.

Detroit
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jon Kitna S3

Kitna continued his frustrating play last week, passing for 300 yards but also tossing five interceptions. There is nothing special about this matchup and the game is now meaningless, with Detroit eliminated from the playoffs. This team could easily just tank, leaving the always proud and hard-playing Kitna and his fantasy owners out to dry.

RB Kevin Jones S3

The Lions had to abandon the run last week after falling behind quickly. Jones' carry count over the past four games has been 20, 3, 23 and 5. Not exactly the consistency you are looking for in a fantasy back. When he gets 20-plus carries, Jones is very effective and averages over 95 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs do not have the offensive power to build a big league, so odds of a high carry game for Jones are good. But the way the Lions are folding down the stretch, he's a risky fantasy play even in this favorable matchup.

WR Mike Furrey B

Furrey had one of his most productive games of the season last week thanks to the Lions playing from behind all afternoon. Don't expect a repeat in what will be a closer contest.

WR Calvin Johnson S3

Johnson had his second straight productive game with Williams out, and has been targeted 18 times in the past two games. Look for him to remain very active in the Detroit passing attack, as he's the only "big" target Kitna has down field.

WR Shaun McDonald S2

McDonald just keeps getting it done week in and week out. He's Kitna's primary target on most passing plays and should be able to use his quickness and experience to get open on the solid but aging Kansas City corners.

 

Cleveland (9-5) at Cincinnati (5-9)

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Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Derek Anderson S2

Anderson started his big year off with a monster game against the Bengals in week two. Not much has changed since that meeting. The Browns passing attack is still cranking and the Cincy pass defense still stinks. Keep an eye on the weather as this may end up being another snowy and windy day in Ohio.

RB Jamal Lewis S1

In what will likely be another cold wintry day in the Great Lakes Region, look for the Browns to keep feeding the ball to Lewis against a Cincy defense that can't stop anything.

WR Braylon Edwards S2

A weekly must start with a great matchup against a reeling Bengals defense. The only downside this week will be the potential for another snow game.

WR Joe Jurevicius B

The only thing preventing Jurevicius from going a second week with only one short catch was a 25 yarder that bounced off Edwards and into his arms.

TE Kellen Winslow S2

In a three game production slump, but last week was understandable. Had his first 100-yard game of the season in week two against the Bengals, so this is a prime-time matchup for him.

Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S2

Palmer and the Cincy passing game are really out of sync and the offense is playing poorly overall. The only thing saving Palmer as a fantasy starter this week is his matchup with the very poor Cleveland defense. They allow over 260 yards and two touchdowns a game to opposing QB's. Watch for snowy and windy weather however.

RB Rudi Johnson S3

Johnson's season went downhill from the high of 118 yards he posted on Cleveland in week two. Conditions and matchup dictate Johnson receiving triple his 7 carries last week. With that being the case he's a borderline starter against the below average Cleveland run defense.

RB Kenny Watson B

Watson's 4-6 catches a game keep him alive in PPR leagues as a stop gap starter. Other than that he's of little value.

WR Chad Johnson S2

A rematch of Johnson's best game of the season, the 11-209-2TD performance in week two. The matchups in the Cleveland secondary are still great, but the overall poor play in the air attack should temper expectations. That and the possible bad weather.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh S2

TJ has only one touchdown in the past six games, but remains his vital role in the passing game.

WR Chris Henry B

Yeah, last week produced a 52-yard TD, but that single catch makes just seven Henry's pulled in over the past month. Chad and TJ are dominating the passing game and Henry just isn't a reliable fantasy option.

 

Philadelphia (6-8) at New Orleans (7-7)

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Philadelphia
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Donovan McNabb S2

McNabb looked healthier last week and his play improved. That trend should continue against the very suspect New Orleans defense. Look for more deep passes in this matchup and for McNabb to have a multi-TD game, something he has not done often this season.

RB Brian Westbrook S1

Westbrook suffered yet another knee contusion last week. Now with the Eagles eliminated from the playoffs there is no real need to push their offensive stud. Carries some added risk this week due to the knee problem, but you have to dance with the one that brung ya.

WR Kevin Curtis S2 Curtis hasn't been much more than a 3-5 catch, 50-70 yard receiver this season, but has had some big games. This could be another one. His speed and experience will cause problems for the suspect New Orleans secondary and the game plan will include more deep passing plays this week.
WR Reggie Brown S3

Brown gets a decent amount of looks in the passing game and he does score the occasional touchdown. The ball will be in the air more in this matchup, so there's a chance he can put up some decent fantasy numbers in this favorable matchup.

TE Brent Celek B

The rookie is the only healthy tight end left and will likely start Sunday. The Saints may be a nice matchup for the Eagles passing game, but you shouldn't be turning this direction for a starting tight end.

New Orleans
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Drew Brees S2

The Philly pass defense has been on and off all season, but seem to be in an "on" stretch right now thanks to the improved health and play of CB Sheppard. With Stecker's fine play in the running game, the New Orleans offense has been more balanced. That balance will be needed to keep the aggressive Eagles pass rush at bay. Not a real good matchup for Brees, but he should still be able to produce enough to warrant a fantasy start.

RB Aaron Stecker S3

Stecker's surprising big day last week likely carried many a fantasy team further into their playoffs. The Eagles defense is not nearly as forgiving as the Cardinals and Falcons (his last two opponents), so don't expect this high level of production to continue. There is also a chance Bush could return this week. If Stecker can't get his 20 touches he's going to be much less useful to fantasy owners.

RB Reggie Bush X There's an outside chance he plays Sunday, but we won't likely know until game time and even if he does he won't get a full workload.
WR Marques Colston S2

Back in form and a fantasy force once again. Tough matchup this week, but there are enough holes in the Eagles secondary to warrant his continued spot in your starting lineup.

WR David Patten S3

Patten remains a prime down field target for Brees in the air attack and has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games.

WR Devery Henderson
Lance Moore
B

Moore hasn't seen more than three catches since week five and Henderson is making an art of the single catch game this season.

TE Eric Johnson
Billy Miller
B Johnson is hurt and even with Miller getting the full workload at tight end, he's still not a fantasy option in any matchup.

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