Start & SitSeptember 21, 2007

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Week 3

By Nick Hopkins

I hope everyone started Derek Anderson last week! No? Well, that’s fantasy football for you… you can never really know. I don’t even think Derek’s mom would have predicted the Browns putting up 51 points on their division rivals. To his credit, Bengals’ QB Carson Palmer threw six touchdowns of his own in the game. I’m betting a lot more people had him starting (I was one of the lucky ones). Week 2 was unpredictable all around, as the Texans handled Carolina and Tampa Bay thumped the Saints. Fantasy owners of players like Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Steven Jackson, and yes, even the great LT, are left wondering when their stars are going to pick it up. Here is our weekly Start and Sit, to help you get a handle on the third week of the NFL season.

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 HOU18.31.339.58
Tom Brady – NEvs BUF17.81.429.25
Carson Palmer – CINat SEA16.42.508.92
Marc Bulger – STLat TB15.23.088.25
Matt Hasselbeck – SEAvs CIN14.33.177.50
Ben Roethlisberger – PITvs SF13.93.427.33
Jake Delhomme – CARat ATL13.83.427.25
Jon Kitna – DETat PHI13.84.007.75
Drew Brees – NOvs TEN13.84.087.83
Donovan McNabb – PHIvs DET12.84.257.08
Vince Young – TENat NO12.74.176.83
Tony Romo – DALat CHI12.64.677.25
Jay Cutler – DENvs JAC12.24.086.25
Jason Campbell – WASvs NYG11.74.426.08
Eli Manning – NYGat WAS11.74.926.58
Jeff Garcia – TBvs STL11.54.425.92
Philip Rivers – SDat GB11.24.836.00
Matt Schaub – HOUvs IND10.85.005.75
Brett Favre – GBvs SD10.65.335.92
Rex Grossman – CHIvs DAL10.45.425.83
Derek Anderson – CLEat OAK10.35.585.83
David Garrard – JACat DEN9.65.505.08
Josh McCown – OAKvs CLE9.55.585.08
Matt Leinart – ARIat BAL9.36.425.67
Trent Green – MIAat NYJ9.15.674.75
Steve McNair – BALvs ARI9.16.255.33
Alex Smith – SFat PIT8.76.254.92
Chad Pennington – NYJvs MIA8.56.004.50
JP Losman – BUFat NE7.87.084.92
Damon Huard – KCvs MIN7.76.504.17
Kelly Holcomb – MINat KC7.16.753.83
Joey Harrington – ATLvs CAR6.47.503.92

Jake Delhomme, CAR (13.8 rating): There were rumblings that Delhomme would not even be the starting quarterback in Carolina for long – that the poster-boy of the Texans’ struggles since expansion, David Carr, had been brought in to take his job. I think Jake should be feeling secure in his job at the moment. Through two games he is ninth in the league in passing yards, and tied for second with six touchdown passes. He has only thrown one interception, giving him a QB rating of 112.2. He’s getting plenty of help from his dynamic wide receiver Steve Smith, who made a couple of a amazing plays to record touchdowns against the Texans.

Phillip Rivers, SD (11.2 rating): San Diego’s offense isn’t clicking like Norv Turner hoped it would in his first year as head coach. The Chargers have scored only 14 points in each of their first two games. Rivers has two touchdowns and three interceptions. To be fair, they have played two good defenses in Chicago and New England, but I don’t think it gets too much easier with a trip up to Green Bay to play the Packers. Keep Rivers on your bench for now.

Running BacksOpponentRatingRiskReward
LaDainian Tomlinson – SDat GB16.42.69.0
Shaun Alexander – SEAvs CIN15.92.58.4
Joseph Addai – INDat HOU15.82.48.3
Willie Parker – PITvs SF15.42.78.1
LaMont Jordan – OAKvs CLE14.92.87.8
Rudi Johnson – CINat SEA14.82.87.5
Steven Jackson – STLat TB14.53.88.3
Brian Westbrook – PHIvs DET14.43.37.8
Adrian Peterson – MINat KC14.33.57.8
Travis Henry – DENvs JAC14.33.47.7
Clinton Portis – WASvs NYG14.03.77.7
Frank Gore – SFat PIT13.93.97.8
Willis McGahee – BALvs ARI13.83.67.3
Larry Johnson – KCvs MIN13.74.68.3
Reggie Bush – NOvs TEN13.44.17.5
Laurence Maroney – NEvs BUF12.94.37.2
Derrick Ward – NYGat WAS12.44.36.8
Deuce McAllister – NOvs TEN12.44.46.8
Thomas Jones – NYJvs MIA12.34.36.6
Jamal Lewis – CLEat OAK12.24.36.5
Marion Barber – DALat CHI12.15.17.2
DeAngelo Williams – CARat ATL12.14.56.6
Cadillac Williams – TBvs STL11.94.86.8
DeShaun Foster – CARat ATL11.94.46.3
Cedric Benson – CHIvs DAL11.84.76.5
LenDale White – TENat NO11.44.86.3
Ahman Green – HOUvs IND11.34.86.2
Ronnie Brown – MIAat NYJ11.34.86.2
Edgerrin James – ARIat BAL11.25.36.5
Jerious Norwood – ATLvs CAR11.15.26.3
Fred Taylor – JACat DEN10.94.95.8
Maurice Jones-Drew – JACat DEN10.85.76.5
Ladell Betts – WASvs NYG10.84.55.3
Chris Brown – TENat NO10.75.05.7
Marshawn Lynch – BUFat NE10.35.86.1
Warrick Dunn – ATLvs CAR10.15.35.4
Tatum Bell – DETat PHI10.05.85.8
Sammy Morris – NEvs BUF9.35.85.2
Julius Jones – DALat CHI9.36.35.5
Michael Turner – SDat GB8.95.64.5
DeShawn Wynn – GBvs SD8.66.34.9
Ron Dayne – HOUvs IND8.65.94.5
Brandon Jackson – GBvs SD8.36.64.9
Adrian Peterson – CHIvs DAL8.26.24.3
Leon Washington – NYJvs MIA8.16.14.2
Jesse Chatman – MIAat NYJ8.16.34.3
Najeh Davenport – PITvs SF7.96.03.9
Maurice Morris – SEAvs CIN7.76.03.7
Selvin Young – DENvs JAC7.56.33.8
Michael Pittman – TBvs STL7.36.63.9
Musa Smith – BALvs ARI7.06.73.7
Correll Buckhalter – PHIvs DET6.96.63.5
Kevin Faulk – NEvs BUF6.76.83.4
Chester Taylor – MINat KC6.77.03.7
Kenton Keith – INDat HOU6.66.53.1
Brian Leonard – STLat TB6.66.83.4
Michael Robinson – SFat PIT6.46.83.2
Anthony Thomas – BUFat NE6.37.33.5
Reuben Droughns – NYGat WAS6.17.03.1
Chris Henry – TENat NO6.07.33.3
Tony Hunt – PHIvs DET5.87.02.8
Marcel Shipp – ARIat BAL5.87.33.0
Mike Anderson – BALvs ARI5.56.92.4
Jerome Harrison – CLEat OAK5.37.32.7
Greg Jones – JACat DEN5.37.42.8
TJ Duckett – DETat PHI4.97.92.8
Vernand Morency – GBvs SD4.87.62.4

Lamont Jordan, OAK (14.9 rating): Jordan looks like he’s back to his 2005 form through the first two weeks of the 2007 season. He’s averaging a whopping 5.7 yards per carry so far. He did it through the air in Week 1, with nine catches for 89 yards, which he followed by racking up 159 yards on the ground in Week 2. Jordan should be able to keep it up this week against the Browns, who don’t play much defense, as evidenced by the shoot-out they won against Cincinnati last week. Cleveland ranks 29th in the NFL against the run, giving up 171.5 yards per game on the ground.

Brandon Jackson, GB (8.3 rating): Fantasy owners had big plans for the rookie, who was supposedly walking into the starting job in Green Bay. Jackson has certainly gotten the chance to win the job outright, but through two weeks he has only managed a meager 2.3 yards per carry average. Backfield-mate Deshawn Wynn out shined Jackson last week, as he rushed for two touchdowns. Neither is a great play against the perennially strong Chargers run defense.

Wide ReceiversOpponentRatingRiskReward
Steve Smith – CARat ATL18.31.59.8
Randy Moss – NEvs BUF17.81.49.2
Chad Johnson – CINat SEA17.61.89.4
Marvin Harrison – INDat HOU17.31.68.9
Reggie Wayne – INDat HOU16.91.88.8
Torry Holt – STLat TB16.32.18.4
TJ Houshmandzadeh – CINat SEA15.82.58.3
Terrell Owens – DALat CHI15.83.39.0
Roy Williams – DETat PHI15.42.78.1
Javon Walker – DENvs JAC14.72.97.6
Plaxico Burress – NYGat WAS14.63.27.8
Marques Colston – NOvs TEN14.53.37.8
Joey Galloway – TBvs STL14.33.17.4
Laveranues Coles – NYJvs MIA14.33.37.6
Santana Moss – WASvs NYG14.23.37.4
Donald Driver – GBvs SD14.13.37.3
Chris Chambers – MIAat NYJ13.93.37.2
Hines Ward – PITvs SF13.63.36.8
Jerricho Cotchery – NYJvs MIA13.63.57.1
Santonio Holmes – PITvs SF13.43.56.9
Ronald Curry – OAKvs CLE13.23.76.8
Deion Branch – SEAvs CIN13.14.37.3
Braylon Edwards – CLEat OAK12.84.16.9
Larry Fitzgerald – ARIat BAL12.84.57.3
Isaac Bruce – STLat TB12.53.86.3
Wes Welker – NEvs BUF12.44.16.5
Anquan Boldin – ARIat BAL12.44.67.0
Calvin Johnson – DETat PHI12.34.36.7
Bernard Berrian – CHIvs DAL12.34.36.6
Darrell Jackson – SFat PIT11.74.66.3
Derrick Mason – BALvs ARI11.54.35.8
Kevin Curtis – PHIvs DET11.34.45.7
Reggie Brown – PHIvs DET11.34.65.8
Antwaan Randle El – WASvs NYG11.34.86.1
Brandon Marshall – DENvs JAC11.04.65.6
Vincent Jackson – SDat GB10.95.05.9
Lee Evans – BUFat NE10.85.86.7
Bobby Engram – SEAvs CIN10.74.85.5
Mike Furrey – DETat PHI10.54.95.4
Jacoby Jones – HOUvs IND10.55.35.8
Marty Booker – MIAat NYJ10.15.25.3
Nate Burleson – SEAvs CIN10.05.15.1
Jerry Porter – OAKvs CLE10.05.35.3
Donte Stallworth – NEvs BUF10.05.55.5
Brandon Jones – TENat NO9.85.35.0
Joe Jurevicius – CLEat OAK9.85.45.2
Mark Clayton – BALvs ARI9.65.75.3
Amani Toomer – NYGat WAS9.55.34.8
Anthony Gonzalez – INDat HOU9.55.65.1
Devery Henderson – NOvs TEN9.46.15.5
Shaun McDonald – DETat PHI9.45.75.1
Roydell Williams – TENat NO9.35.44.7
Drew Carter – CARat ATL9.05.34.3
Arnaz Battle – SFat PIT9.05.84.8
James Jones – GBvs SD8.95.94.8
Muhsin Muhammad – CHIvs DAL8.85.94.7
Troy Williamson – MINat KC8.86.04.8
Drew Bennett – STLat TB8.75.44.1
Brandon Stokely – DENvs JAC8.55.74.2
Patrick Crayton – DALat CHI8.36.34.6
Eric Moulds – TENat NO8.16.24.3
Demetrius Williams – BALvs ARI7.96.03.9
Roddy White – ATLvs CAR7.86.24.0
DJ Hackett – SEAvs CIN7.86.54.3
Nate Washington – PITvs SF7.86.34.0
Michael Jenkins – ATLvs CAR7.86.44.2
Dwayne Bowe – KCvs MIN7.86.54.3
Bobby Wade – MINat KC7.36.84.1
Michael Clayton – TBvs STL7.36.53.8
Joe Horn – ATLvs CAR7.36.63.8
Kevin Walter – HOUvs IND7.16.83.8
Sammie Parker – KCvs MIN6.86.83.7
Reggie Williams – JACat DEN6.87.13.9
Greg Jennings – GBvs SD6.87.54.3
Roscoe Parrish – BUFat NE6.87.13.8
Derek Hagan – MIAat NYJ6.66.83.4
Brandon Lloyd – WASvs NYG6.56.73.2
Craig Davis – SDat GB6.56.93.4
Matt Jones – JACat DEN6.57.33.8
Rashied Davis – CHIvs DAL6.07.03.0
Tab Perry – CINat SEA5.97.23.1
Terrance Copper – NOvs TEN5.87.43.3
Ernest Wilford – JACat DEN5.67.63.2
Sidney Rice – MINat KC5.67.83.3
Bryant Johnson – ARIat BAL5.57.32.8
Cedrick Wilson – PITvs SF5.57.32.8
Jabar Gaffney – NEvs BUF5.47.42.8
Robert Meachum – NOvs TEN5.17.82.8
Maurice Stovall – TBvs STL5.17.42.5
Steve Smith – NYGat WAS4.87.82.6
Dwayne Jarrett – CARat ATL4.87.72.5
Sam Aiken – BUFat NE3.88.22.0

Braylon Edwards, CLE (12.8 rating): One thing last week’s shoot out between the Browns and Bengals proved is that the Browns have not forgotten about Braylon Edwards. Obviously, that kind of offensive output is not going to happen every week, but the Browns have another chance to put up some nice numbers through the air this week, as they face a Raiders’ defense that is 29th in the league against the pass. Edwards might be able to ride the hot arm of Derek Anderson to another nice game. I’m not saying to start him over your best receiver, but his 23rd ranking in this week’s Start and Sit would make him a starter in 12 team leagues.

Lee Evans, BUF (10.8 rating): I like Lee Evans, I really do, but it’s been a tough start for the Bills’ passing game. I think that is due in large part to playing two very good defenses in Denver and Pittsburgh, but quarterback JP Losman has never looked comfortable, and as a result Evans has only four catches for 22 yards so far. That is definitely not what you want to see from a guy that was drafted as a second or third receiver in most fantasy leagues. I still think Losman and Evans will turn it around, but they get another unfortunate matchup this week in the form of a trip to New England to play the Patriots.

Tight EndsOpponentRatingRiskReward
Antonio Gates – SDat GB17.91.79.6
Todd Heap – BALvs ARI15.32.67.9
Kellen Winslow – CLEat OAK14.82.97.8
Jeremy Shockey – NYGat WAS14.72.97.6
Chris Cooley – WASvs NYG14.53.37.8
Tony Gonzalez – KCvs MIN14.13.37.4
Ben Watson – NEvs BUF13.73.26.8
Dallas Clark – INDat HOU13.33.66.8
Jason Witten – DALat CHI13.33.76.9
Heath Miller – PITvs SF12.43.86.2
Vernon Davis – SFat PIT12.35.07.3
Alge Crumpler – ATLvs CAR11.84.26.0
Owen Daniels – HOUvs IND11.84.56.3
Eric Johnson – NOvs TEN11.34.55.8
Desmond Clark – CHIvs DAL10.94.55.4
LJ Smith – PHIvs DET10.84.55.3
Randy McMichael – STLat TB10.74.95.6
Bo Scaife – TENat NO9.95.04.9
Chris Baker – NYJvs MIA9.35.14.4
Marcus Pollard – SEAvs CIN8.95.34.3
David Martin – MIAat NYJ8.35.74.0
Leonard Pope – ARIat BAL8.26.34.4
Zach Miller – OAKvs CLE8.25.83.9
Jeff King – CARat ATL8.15.83.8
Ben Troupe – TENat NO8.15.94.0
Daniel Graham – DENvs JAC8.06.14.1
Ben Utecht – INDat HOU8.06.34.3
Tony Scheffler – DENvs JAC7.96.14.0
Bubba Franks – GBvs SD7.86.34.0
Itula Mili – SEAvs CIN7.46.03.4
Visanthe Shiancoe – MINat KC7.46.23.6
David Lee – GBvs SD7.46.33.7
Marcedes Lewis – JACat DEN7.36.13.4
Reggie Kelly – CINat SEA7.06.33.3
Alex Smith – TBvs STL7.06.33.3
Greg Olsen – CHIvs DAL6.97.14.0
Matt Spaeth – PITvs SF6.76.33.0
Jeb Putzier – HOUvs IND6.76.43.1
George Wrighster – JACat DEN6.46.63.0
Dan Campbell – DETat PHI6.46.83.2
Anthony Becht – TBvs STL6.26.72.8
Robert Royal – BUFat NE6.16.72.8
Kyle Brady – NEvs BUF6.06.82.8
Matt Schobel – PHIvs DET5.87.02.8

Chris Cooley, WAS (14.5 rating): Cooley has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in 2007, but that seems to be common for him. He did catch his first touchdown of the year last week, thanks to a perfect pass from QB Jason Campbell. Campbell loves to target Cooley on third down and in the redzone. The Giants’ struggles against tight ends have been well documented. New York gave up 116 yards and a touchdown to Jason Witten in Week 1, and let Donald Lee and Bubba Franks each score in last week’s game.

LJ Smith, PHI (10.8 rating): The usually consistent Smith has struggled with injuries this year, limiting him to four catches for 26 yards in his first two games. He is still battling a groin injury this week, so while he will probably tough it out and play, you shouldn’t expect him to be 100%. His injury problems have been compounded by Donovan McNabb’s slow start, keeping him from being a viable fantasy start at this point.

Adam Vinatieri – INDat HOU16.81.68.3
Jeff Reed – PITvs SF15.32.57.8
Stephen Gostkowski – NEvs BUF15.02.77.7
Jeff Wilkins – STLat TB14.63.17.7
Jason Elam – DENvs JAC14.52.87.3
Josh Brown – SEAvs CIN14.52.87.3
Shayne Graham – CINat SEA14.43.37.7
Robbie Gould – CHIvs DAL13.53.36.8
David Akers – PHIvs DET13.43.46.8
Nate Kaeding – SDat GB13.43.56.9
Matt Stover – BALvs ARI13.33.66.8
Jason Hanson – DETat PHI12.93.66.5
John Kasay – CARat ATL12.73.76.3
Nick Folk – DALat CHI12.44.36.8
Neil Rackers – ARIat BAL12.24.66.8
Ryan Longwell – MINat KC12.24.26.3
Olindo Mare – NOvs TEN11.94.36.2
Shaun Suisham – WASvs NYG11.84.25.9
Sebastian Janikowski – OAKvs CLE11.34.86.2
Rob Bironas – TENat NO11.34.35.6
Phil Dawson – CLEat OAK11.34.75.9
Lawrence Tynes – NYGat WAS11.34.86.1
Mike Nugent – NYJvs MIA11.14.65.7
Jay Feely – MIAat NYJ11.14.45.5
Joe Nedney – SFat PIT11.04.55.5
Mason Crosby – GBvs SD10.94.75.6
John Carney – JACat DEN10.84.85.7
Matt Bryant – TBvs STL10.44.95.3
Kris Brown – HOUvs IND10.05.35.3
Dave Rayner – KCvs MIN8.35.63.9
Rian Lindell – BUFat NE7.96.24.1
Morten Andersen – ATLvs CAR6.76.83.5

Jeff Reed, PIT (15.3 rating): Reed kicked four field goals last week, giving him six on the season. The Steelers’ offense is clicking. They are at home this week against a mediocre team. What’s not to like?

Sebastian Janikowski, OAK (11.3 rating): Seabass is 1-5 on field goal attempts this year. That’s not good. Mike Shanahan successfully “froze” him last week on the potential game-winner in Denver. He’s just not an accurate kicker right now. Even though he plays the Browns this week, I would not want him in my starting lineup.

Team DefenseOpponentRatingRiskReward
New Englandvs BUF16.12.38.3
Baltimorevs ARI15.92.58.4
Pittsburghvs SF14.43.27.6
Minnesotaat KC13.73.36.9
Chicagovs DAL13.44.47.8
Carolinaat ATL13.33.46.7
San Diegoat GB13.23.97.1
Denvervs JAC12.54.16.6
Dallasat CHI12.34.56.8
Oaklandvs CLE11.54.56.0
Indianapolisat HOU11.24.75.8
Miamiat NYJ11.14.35.4
Philadelphiavs DET10.55.35.8
Washingtonvs NYG10.14.84.9
Jacksonvilleat DEN10.05.35.3
Kansas Cityvs MIN9.84.84.6
New York Jetsvs MIA9.85.04.8
Tampa Bayvs STL9.65.34.9
St. Louisat TB9.65.24.8
Detroitat PHI9.65.45.0
Tennesseeat NO9.35.85.0
San Franciscoat PIT9.35.95.2
Green Bayvs SD9.36.05.3
Arizonaat BAL9.05.84.8
New York Giantsat WAS8.95.84.7
New Orleansvs TEN8.55.94.4
Seattlevs CIN8.26.44.6
Clevelandat OAK7.76.03.7
Cincinnatiat SEA7.56.84.3
Atlantavs CAR7.06.23.2
Houstonvs IND6.67.33.9
Buffaloat NE5.57.83.3

Minnesota (13.7 rating): The Viking defense has rewarded its fantasy owners with three defensive touchdowns already this season. Their opponent this week, Kansas City, has thrown three picks, and given up seven sacks on the year. I think Minnesota matches up very well with the Chiefs. The Vikings’ strong run defense should be able to contain the Chiefs’ main weapon, Larry Johnson. If the Vikings can force Kansas City to pass, they should be able to capitalize on some mistakes by Damon Huard.

Tennessee (9.3 rating): I know what you’re thinking, “But the Saints have been awful!” That is true, but does anyone really expect that to last all season? I think at home in Week 3 could be the time that the Saints’ offense wakes up. Don’t test your luck by starting the Titans defense.

Special thanks to SwiperNoSwiping, joelamosobadiah, bobbing_headz, PMoneyTKE, SJNez46, MadDog36, madaslives911, m16a, knapplc, Jimboozie, MoDee, treat24, and Dan Lambskin 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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