Fantasy Football
Lock of the Week  |  Players You Should Start
Players You Should Bench  |  Gene's Team


By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, Sept. 7, 2006; Page E12

Personnel Department
Lock of the Week
WR Larry Fitzgerald | Cardinals | Opp: 49ers
1,409 yards, 10 touchdowns (last season)
Fitzgerald will have his way with a flimsy 49ers defense that almost must contend with WR Anquan Boldin and RB Edgerrin James.

Players You Should Start

Quarterbacks | Opp | Yards | TD | INT
(All stats are from last season)
Donovan McNabb, Eagles | HOU | 2,507 | 16 | 9
Appears back in Pro Bowl form and Texans can't cover.

Tom Brady, Patriots | BUF | 4,110 | 26 | 14
Top reality QB has favorable fantasy matchup in opener.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks | DET | 3,459 | 24 | 9
Expect huge numbers against overmatched Lions defense.

Running backs | Opp | Att. | Yards | TD
Edgerrin James, Cardinals | SF | 360 | 1,506 | 13
Newest member of potentially high-scoring offense.

Brian Westbrook, Eagles | HOU | 156 | 617 | 3
Versatile back will get it done rushing, receiving.

Reggie Bush, Saints | CLE | 200 | 1,740 | 16 (College stats)
Pro debut is against one of last season's worst run defenses.

Wide receivers | Opp | Rec. | Yards | TD
Reggie Wayne, Colts | NYG | 83 | 1,055 | 5
Should face single coverage with attention on Marvin Harrison.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals | KC | 78 | 956 | 7
Healthy Carson Palmer means plenty of chances.

Santana Moss | MIN | 84 | 1,483 | 9
Remains first receiving option in Al Saunders's offense.

Players You Should Bench
Quarterbacks | Opp | Yards | TD | INT
Michael Vick, Falcons | CAR | 2,412 | 15 | 13
Last season vs. Panthers: 0 TD, 3 INT.

David Carr, Texans | PHI | 2,488 | 14 | 11
Eagles' defense too much to handle.

Running backs | Opp | Att. | Yards | TD
Kevin Jones, Lions | SEA | 186 | 664 | 5
Lions will be forced to throw to catch up.

Jamal Lewis, Ravens | TB | 269 | 906 | 3
Too much of a risk after last season.

Wide Receivers | Opp | Yards | TD
Robert Ferguson, Packers | CHI | 27 | 366 | 3
Rookie Jennings overtakes Ferguson on depth chart.

Muhsin Muhammad, Bears | GB | 64 | 750 | 4
Don't trust QB Rex Grossman yet.

Gene's Team
Each week, Washington Post staff writer Gene Wang gives updates on his fantasy football team -- its successes and failures. See what he's worried about this weekend.

Week 1 Starters
Pos. | Player,Team | Opp.
QB | Eli Manning, Giants | IND
RB | Rudi Johnson, Bengals | KC
RB | Brian Westbrook, Eagles | HOU
WR | Santana Moss, Redskins | MIN
WR | Matt Jones, Jaguars | DAL
TE | Alge Crumpler, Falcons | CAR
K | Shayne Graham, Bengals | KC
D | Cowboys | JAC

Week 1 Opponent
Pos. | Player,Team | Opp.
QB | Peyton Manning, Colts | NYG
RB | DeShaun Foster, Panthers | ATL
RB | Fred Taylor, Jaguars | DAL
WR | Anquan Boldin, Cardinals | SF
WR | T. Houshmandzadeh, Cin. | KC
TE | Dallas Clark, Colts | NYG
K | Jay Feely, Giants | IND
D | Steelers | MIA

The League
Season record: 0-0
Scoring: TD, six points; FG, three points (plus 1 for 40-49 yds; plus 2 for 50 or longer); each 10-yard increment rushing or receiving, one point (plus 3 for 100 yds. rushing, receiving); each 25-yard increment passing, one point (plus 3 for 300 yds; interceptions minus 2 points); Defensive shutout, 6 points (increments increase to minus 5 for 43 points or more allowed; INT, 2 points; sack, 1 point).

INSIDE THE MATCHUP
QB Eli Manning, Giants (below): Too bad for Tony Kornheiser the Mannings play their first head-to-head game on Sunday night rather than Monday night. Peyton Manning is well established as being among the best passers of his generation, and Eli has this game to prove to a national television audience that's every bit as savvy and poised as his older brother. No place better to do so than New York, er, New Jersey.

RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles: One of the league's oft-hurt players faces his principal adversaries for most appearances on the injury report. Foster has had three trips to the injured reserve, and Taylor has played 16 games twice in eight seasons. Last season, Taylor played in 11 games.

RB Rudi Johnson, Bengals: He was ranked No. 5 on my running back draft board, so getting him with the seventh pick felt like an exceptional value. Consider that Shaun Alexander made the largest statistical leap os his career from season four to season five. Johnson had 1,458 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, his fourth in the league.

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