Start & SitDecember 7, 2006

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Week 14

By Nick Hopkins

So, how about those Thursday night games? I’m sure most fans can’t complain about getting to see an extra game (that is, if you get the NFL Network) but the weekly early games sure aren’t making things any easier on fantasy players. Lineup submissions, waiver pickups and deadlines, and yes, even Start & Sit compilations, get a little trickier to deal with when you have a game being played three days before normal. And during the stretch run of the fantasy season and playoffs? Ouch. Well, it looks like we will have to get used to it, as the Thursday night game will be the norm from here on out. Good luck, and don’t forget to check your lineups early! Once again, I present to you the Fantasy Football Cafe’s Start & Sit.

Our system is based on two separate rankings: Risk and Reward. Each player or defense was given a statistical ranking for each of the two categories.

Risk is determined by anything that could negatively affect the player in question’s performance. This includes such things as matchup, situation, and injuries.

Reward is determined by anything that could positively affect the player in question’s performance. This includes such things as talent, matchup, and situation.

The Ranking for the two categories is as follows:

Risk: Score of 0 being the lowest risk, 10 being the highest risk.
Reward: Score of 0 being lowest reward, 10 being the highest reward.


Peyton Manning – INDat JAC15.03.08.0
Carson Palmer – CINvs OAK14.63.27.8
Tony Romo – DALvs NO13.04.07.0
Matt Hasselbeck – SEAat ARI12.83.86.6
Tom Brady – NEat MIA12.64.26.8
Drew Brees – NOat DAL12.64.47.0
Brett Favre – GBat SF11.85.06.8
Matt Leinart – ARIvs SEA11.45.26.6
Alex Smith – SFvs GB11.24.86.0
Vince Young – TENat HOU11.25.06.2
Michael Vick – ATLat TB11.25.66.8
Steve McNair – BALat KC11.05.46.4
Jon Kitna – DETvs MIN10.85.05.8
Philip Rivers – SDvs DEN10.85.05.8
David Garrard – JACvs IND10.65.46.0
Eli Manning – NYGat CAR10.65.46.0
Ben Roethlisberger – PITvs CLE10.45.45.8
Chad Pennington – NYJvs BUF10.25.25.4
David Carr – HOUvs TEN10.05.45.4
Jeff Garcia – PHIat WAS9.85.85.6
Marc Bulger – STLvs CHI9.86.46.2
Trent Green – KCvs BAL9.66.05.6
Brad Johnson – MINat DET9.46.05.4
JP Losman – BUFat NYJ9.26.25.4
Jason Campbell – WASvs PHI8.86.25.0
Joey Harrington – MIAvs NE8.66.24.8
Bruce Gradkowski – TBvs ATL8.46.04.4
Rex Grossman – CHIat STL8.26.64.8
Aaron Brooks – OAKat CIN7.66.84.4
Jay Cutler – DENat SD7.46.64.0
Derek Anderson – CLEat PIT7.26.63.8

Jeff Garcia, PHI (9.8 rating): I don’t think anyone expected the former Pro Bowler turned journeyman quarterback to perform as well as Garcia has over his three starts this season. The veteran has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions since taking over as the Eagles QB, including a three touchdown outing last week against Carolina. Garcia should be available in pretty much every league this week, so if you are a little weak at quarterback, Garcia could be a very sneaky play. The Eagles play a Redskins secondary that has been awful against the pass. The Skins are tied for worst in the league with 23 touchdown passes given up, and have recorded a league-low five interceptions.

Marc Bulger, STL (9.8 rating): There is no doubt that Bulger is a talented quarterback with plenty of viable targets, but things just have not been going his way the past three weeks. The Rams’ quarterback has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions during this time, and that’s against defenses like San Francisco and Arizona. This week, he will play the vaunted Chicago defense, which has given up only eight touchdowns through the air over the course of the season, while pulling down 21 interceptions. Leaving Bulger on the bench this week, for a quarterback with a better matchup, would not be a bad idea.

Running BacksOpponentRatingRiskReward
LaDainian Tomlinson – SDvs DEN15.03.08.0
Shaun Alexander – SEAat ARI13.83.87.6
Rudi Johnson – CINvs OAK13.64.07.6
Larry Johnson – KCvs BAL13.23.87.0
Brian Westbrook – PHIat WAS13.23.87.0
Willie Parker – PITvs CLE12.84.47.2
Willis McGahee – BUFat NYJ12.24.46.6
Frank Gore – SFvs GB12.24.66.8
Corey Dillon – NEat MIA11.84.46.2
Marion Barber – DALvs NO11.84.66.4
Ahman Green – GBat SF11.84.66.4
Joseph Addai – INDat JAC11.64.66.2
Tiki Barber – NYGat CAR11.24.86.0
Chester Taylor – MINat DET11.25.26.4
Jamal Lewis – BALat KC11.05.06.0
Kevin Jones – DETvs MIN11.05.06.0
Reggie Bush – NOat DAL11.05.06.0
Steven Jackson – STLvs CHI11.05.26.2
DeAngelo Williams – CARvs NYG11.05.66.6
Deuce McAllister – NOat DAL10.65.25.8
Brandon Jacobs – NYGat CAR10.65.25.8
Travis Henry – TENat HOU10.65.46.0
Fred Taylor – JACvs IND10.45.25.6
Laurence Maroney – NEat MIA10.45.45.8
Maurice Jones-Drew – JACvs IND10.25.45.6
Thomas Jones – CHIat STL10.25.65.8
Edgerrin James – ARIvs SEA9.85.85.6
Warrick Dunn – ATLat TB9.85.85.6
Jerious Norwood – ATLat TB9.85.85.6
Ladell Betts – WASvs PHI9.65.85.4
Cedric Houston – NYJvs BUF9.25.85.0
Julius Jones – DALvs NO9.26.25.4
Cedric Benson – CHIat STL9.05.84.8
Cadillac Williams – TBvs ATL9.06.05.0
Mike Bell – DENat SD8.86.45.2
Wali Lundy – HOUvs TEN8.66.04.6
Sammy Morris – MIAvs NE8.66.04.6
Reuben Droughns – CLEat PIT8.46.24.6
Tatum Bell – DENat SD8.46.44.8
Leon Washington – NYJvs BUF8.26.24.4
Dominic Rhodes – INDat JAC8.26.44.6
Justin Fargas – OAKat CIN7.86.44.2
Ron Dayne – HOUvs TEN7.46.23.6
LenDale White – TENat HOU7.26.63.8
Vernand Morency – GBat SF7.06.43.4
DeShaun Foster – CARvs NYG6.67.44.0
Jerome Harrison – CLEat PIT6.47.23.6
Michael Turner – SDvs DEN6.47.23.6
Correll Buckhalter – PHIat WAS6.27.03.2
Kevan Barlow – NYJvs BUF6.27.23.4
Najeh Davenport – PITvs CLE6.07.23.2
Arlen Harris – DETvs MIN6.07.43.4
Samkon Gado – HOUvs TEN5.87.23.0
TJ Duckett – WASvs PHI5.87.23.0
Maurice Morris – SEAat ARI5.87.43.2
Michael Robinson – SFvs GB5.47.22.6
Noah Herron – GBat SF5.47.63.0
Musa Smith – BALat KC4.87.82.6
Mike Anderson – BALat KC4.68.02.6

Ahman Green, GB (11.8 rating): Green is on pace for a solid comeback season despite missing a couple games with an injury. Last week against the Jets, Ahman notched his fifth 100-yard game of the season, and has a great opportunity to do just that again this week against the 49ers. Also, San Francisco has surrendered more touchdowns on the ground this year than any of team in the NFL.

Tatum Bell, DEN (8.4 rating): Tatum Bell had a great game last week after being riddled by injury and ineffectiveness since Week 7. However, the streaking Chargers will be ready to bottle Bell up in San Diego. The Chargers are sixth in the NFL against the run, and held Willis McGahee to only 26 yards on 16 carries last week, for a miniscule 1.6 yards per carry average.

Wide ReceiversOpponentRatingRiskReward
Steve Smith – CARvs NYG14.03.67.6
Chad Johnson – CINvs OAK13.63.67.2
Roy Williams – DETvs MIN13.43.67.0
Larry Fitzgerald – ARIvs SEA13.23.87.0
Reggie Wayne – INDat JAC13.03.86.8
Anquan Boldin – ARIvs SEA13.04.07.0
Donald Driver – GBat SF13.04.07.0
Andre Johnson – HOUvs TEN12.84.06.8
Marvin Harrison – INDat JAC12.84.27.0
TJ Houshmandzadeh – CINvs OAK12.64.06.6
Darrell Jackson – SEAat ARI12.44.26.6
Terrell Owens – DALvs NO12.44.46.8
Deion Branch – SEAat ARI12.24.26.4
Laveranues Coles – NYJvs BUF11.64.66.2
Marques Colston – NOat DAL11.65.47.0
Muhsin Muhammad – CHIat STL11.44.66.0
Mike Furrey – DETvs MIN11.44.86.2
Javon Walker – DENat SD11.45.06.4
Torry Holt – STLvs CHI11.45.06.4
Reche Caldwell – NEat MIA11.25.06.2
Jerricho Cotchery – NYJvs BUF11.04.65.6
Marty Booker – MIAvs NE11.04.85.8
Santana Moss – WASvs PHI11.05.06.0
Braylon Edwards – CLEat PIT10.85.05.8
Terry Glenn – DALvs NO10.85.05.8
Plaxico Burress – NYGat CAR10.85.05.8
Lee Evans – BUFat NYJ10.65.25.8
Greg Jennings – GBat SF10.45.05.4
Donte’ Stallworth – PHIat WAS10.45.45.8
Keyshawn Johnson – CARvs NYG10.24.85.0
Mark Clayton – BALat KC10.25.05.2
Derrick Mason – BALat KC10.25.25.4
Reggie Brown – PHIat WAS10.25.25.4
Joey Galloway – TBvs ATL10.25.86.0
Bernard Berrian – CHIat STL10.05.45.4
Chris Chambers – MIAvs NE10.05.65.6
Chris Henry – CINvs OAK9.85.65.4
Antonio Bryant – SFvs GB9.65.65.2
Matt Jones – JACvs IND9.45.65.0
Reggie Williams – JACvs IND9.05.84.8
Eddie Kennison – KCvs BAL9.06.05.0
Isaac Bruce – STLvs CHI9.06.05.0
Rod Smith – DENat SD8.85.44.2
Randy Moss – OAKat CIN8.86.25.0
Michael Jenkins – ATLat TB8.65.84.4
Joe Horn – NOat DAL8.66.04.6
Eric Parker – SDvs DEN8.66.04.6
Drew Bennett – TENat HOU8.66.04.6
Marcus Robinson – MINat DET8.66.24.8
Joe Jurevicius – CLEat PIT8.45.84.2
Bryant Johnson – ARIvs SEA8.26.04.2
Ernest Wilford – JACvs IND8.26.04.2
Eric Moulds – HOUvs TEN8.26.24.4
Troy Williamson – MINat DET8.26.44.6
Keenan McCardell – SDvs DEN8.26.44.6
Troy Brown – NEat MIA8.06.24.2
Nate Burleson – SEAat ARI8.06.44.4
Nate Washington – PITvs CLE8.06.64.6
Santonio Holmes – PITvs CLE7.86.64.4
Sammie Parker – KCvs BAL7.86.24.0
Brandon Stokely – INDat JAC7.86.44.2
Travis Taylor – MINat DET7.66.64.2
Kevin Curtis – STLvs CHI7.66.84.4
Wes Welker – MIAvs NE7.66.44.0
Chad Jackson – NEat MIA7.46.84.2
Tim Carter – NYGat CAR7.26.84.0
Arnaz Battle – SFvs GB7.26.43.6
Roddy White – ATLat TB7.06.43.4
Ashley Lelie – ATLat TB7.06.43.4
Doug Gabriel – NEat MIA7.06.83.8
Dennis Northcutt – CLEat PIT6.86.63.4
Josh Reed – BUFat NYJ6.86.83.6
Roscoe Parrish – BUFat NYJ6.66.83.4
Mark Bradley – CHIat STL6.66.83.4
Antwaan Randle El – WASvs PHI6.67.03.6
Justin McCareins – NYJvs BUF6.47.23.6
Hank Baskett – PHIat WAS6.47.23.6
Rashied Davis – CHIat STL6.27.03.2
Jerry Porter – OAKat CIN6.27.84.0
Mike Williams – DETvs MIN6.27.43.6
Brandon Lloyd – WASvs PHI5.67.63.2

Roy Williams, DET (13.4 rating): If there’s a bright spot in Detroit’s 2-10 season its their star wide receiver going over 1000 yards for the first time in his young career. The Lions are going to need to look to Roy Williams regularly if they want to hang with the Vikings this weekend. Minnesota is incredibly tough against the run, so Detroit is going to have to go to the air early and and often, especially if they fall behind. Jon Kitna should be chucking the ball all over the field, leading to good numbers for Williams and Mike Furrey.

Chris Chambers, MIA (10.0 rating): Anyone still starting this guy? Maybe he generated a little interest with his 100-yard game last week, maybe not, but I still wouldn’t call it safe to plug this guy into your lineup. Not only has he been overshadowed by fellow wideout Marty Booker in recent weeks, but he draws one of the tougher matchups in the NFL for a wide receiver, the New England Patriots.

Tight EndsOpponentRatingRiskReward
Antonio Gates – SDvs DEN14.03.87.8
Alge Crumpler – ATLat TB13.63.87.4
Tony Gonzalez – KCvs BAL13.43.87.2
Todd Heap – BALat KC12.84.27.0
Kellen Winslow – CLEat PIT12.24.26.4
Jeremy Shockey – NYGat CAR12.04.66.6
Jason Witten – DALvs NO11.84.46.2
Chris Cooley – WASvs PHI11.24.86.0
LJ Smith – PHIat WAS11.25.06.2
Ben Watson – NEat MIA10.84.65.4
Jermaine Wiggins – MINat DET10.44.85.2
Desmond Clark – CHIat STL10.05.25.2
Heath Miller – PITvs CLE9.85.45.2
Owen Daniels – HOUvs TEN9.65.85.4
Stephen Alexander – DENat SD9.05.84.8
Randy McMichael – MIAvs NE9.05.84.8
Jeremy Stevens – SEAat ARI9.05.84.8
Steve Heiden – CLEat PIT8.85.84.6
Ben Utecht – INDat JAC8.66.24.8
David Martin – GBat SF8.06.44.4
Courtney Anderson – OAKat CIN7.86.44.2
Alex Smith – TBvs ATL7.66.23.8
Marcus Pollard – DETvs MIN7.66.44.0
Bubba Franks – GBat SF7.66.44.0
Bo Scaife – TENat HOU7.66.44.0
Kris Mangum – CARvs NYG7.46.64.0
George Wrighster – JACvs IND7.46.64.0
Daniel Graham – NEat MIA7.26.63.8
Chris Baker – NYJvs BUF7.26.63.8
Dan Campbell – DETvs MIN7.06.83.8
Itula Mili – SEAat ARI7.07.04.0
Bryan Fletcher – INDat JAC6.86.83.6
Jeb Putzier – HOUvs TEN6.67.03.6
Joe Klopfenstein – STLvs CHI6.67.03.6
Anthony Becht – TBvs ATL6.46.83.2
Adam Bergen – ARIvs SEA6.47.43.8
Reggie Kelly – CINvs OAK6.47.43.8
Jason Dunn – KCvs BAL6.27.23.4

Jason Witten, DAL (11.8 rating): Witten is the definition of dependable; he makes a great safety net for Tony Romo. This may be a gut feeling more than anything, but I think Romo will go to Witten a bit more often after he connected with the tight end on a long pass last week to set up the game winning field goal against the Giants. I think there is a good chance Witten scores a touchdown this week to go with his solid catch and yardage numbers.

Desmond Clark, CHI (10.0 rating): I realize the tight end well is only so deep, but it’s quite obvious that the Desmond Clark bandwagon has stopped in its tracks. Rex Grossman coming apart has not been good for the tight end, as he now has had only four catches in his past four games combined, including a goose egg last week. Don’t expect much from Clark the rest of the way unless Grossman gets his act together in a hurry.

Shayne Graham – CINvs OAK13.43.67.0
Josh Brown – SEAat ARI13.04.07.0
Matt Stover – BALat KC12.44.46.8
Nate Kaeding – SDvs DEN12.04.26.2
Adam Vinatieri – INDat JAC11.84.66.4
Neil Rackers – ARIvs SEA11.84.86.6
Robbie Gould – CHIat STL11.85.06.8
John Kasay – CARvs NYG11.44.45.8
Jeff Reed – PITvs CLE11.24.65.8
Joe Nedney – SFvs GB11.24.65.8
David Akers – PHIat WAS11.04.45.4
John Carney – NOat DAL11.04.85.8
Lawrence Tynes – KCvs BAL11.05.06.0
Jeff Wilkins – STLvs CHI11.05.26.2
Josh Scobee – JACvs IND10.84.65.4
Martin Gramatica – DALvs NO10.85.26.0
Ryan Longwell – MINat DET10.45.66.0
Rob Bironas – TENat HOU10.25.05.2
Jay Feely – NYGat CAR10.05.05.0
Rian Lindell – BUFat NYJ10.05.25.2
Jason Hanson – DETvs MIN10.05.65.6
Stephen Gostkowski – NEat MIA9.85.45.2
Mike Nugent – NYJvs BUF9.85.65.4
Phil Dawson – CLEat PIT9.45.44.8
Dave Rayner – GBat SF9.45.65.0
Morten Andersen – ATLat TB9.25.85.0
Kris Brown – HOUvs TEN9.25.85.0
Olindo Mare – MIAvs NE9.25.85.0
Matt Bryant – TBvs ATL9.05.84.8
Shaun Suisham – WASvs PHI8.26.04.2
Sebastian Janikowski – OAKat CIN8.26.24.4
Jason Elam – DENat SD8.26.85.0

Neil Rackers, ARI (11.8 rating): Rackers has been beyond disappointing this year, following a magical season last year that had him as the #1 kicker on many draft sheets going into 2006. But there may be some hope for the Cardinals’ kicker, as he has scored 8 and 10 points in his last two games (the Cardinals have scored 34 and 31) including his first field goal of over 50 yards on the year. He is probably available as a free agent in many leagues, so he may be worth a look if you are unhappy with your current kicker.

Martin Gramatica, DAL (10.8 rating): Gramatica may have been the hero last week, and sure everything Parcells has touched this year seems to have turned to gold, but I doubt it lasts forever for the diminutive place kicker. He should come back down to earth this week against a New Orleans Saints defense that for some reason does not give up field goals (only nine on the entire year!)

Team DefenseOpponentRatingRiskReward
Cincinnativs OAK13.04.07.0
Chicagoat STL12.84.06.8
San Diegovs DEN12.63.66.2
Baltimoreat KC12.05.07.0
Pittsburghvs CLE11.84.26.0
New Englandat MIA11.64.25.8
Atlantaat TB11.64.66.2
Tennesseeat HOU10.84.65.4
New York Giantsat CAR10.84.85.6
Seattleat ARI10.84.85.6
St. Louisvs CHI10.85.46.2
Philadelphiaat WAS10.85.66.4
Detroitvs MIN10.65.05.6
Kansas Cityvs BAL10.25.25.4
New York Jetsvs BUF10.04.84.8
Buffaloat NYJ10.05.25.2
Minnesotaat DET10.05.65.6
San Franciscovs GB10.05.65.6
Carolinavs NYG9.85.25.0
Indianapolisat JAC9.85.45.2
New Orleansat DAL9.45.44.8
Clevelandat PIT8.85.84.6
Dallasvs NO8.85.84.6
Green Bayat SF8.86.04.8
Miamivs NE8.86.04.8
Washingtonvs PHI8.86.04.8
Tampa Bayvs ATL8.66.24.8
Denverat SD8.46.04.4
Houstonvs TEN8.26.04.2
Jacksonvillevs IND7.66.84.4
Arizonavs SEA6.86.83.6
Oaklandat CIN6.67.23.8

Cincinnati (13.0 rating): Cincinnati’s defense has to be riding high after only giving up seven points combined in their last two games, especially after all the criticism they heard earlier in the season. OK, so those two games were against the lowly Browns and the less-than-stellar Baltimore offense, but it’s still impressive. And who rolls into town next for the Bengals? That’s right, everyone’s favorite bumbling offense: the Oakland Raiders. The Bengals are certainly worth a start this week.

Dallas (8.8 rating): Dallas is one of a handful of defenses that is usually worth starting on a week-to-week basis, but I’m willling to make an exception for the Saints. With all the weapons on that offense clicking, the Saints offense is truly a force to be reckoned with. Even a good defense like Dallas will have trouble finding a way to stop, or even slow down, both Drew Brees and the passing game, and Deuce and Reggie on the ground.

Special thanks to black_hawk8888, dream_017, Leber, m16a, mattb47, NittanyLions, and SwiperNoSwiping for their rankings and involvement with this week's article. For more insights and additional fine-tuning, visit our Who to Start/Bench forum section or listen to The Coach's Voice on Fantasy Cafe Radio.
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