BENGALS RB: While Cedric Benson continues to sit out with a sore hip, a name left for dead just a few weeks ago emerged with a 107-yard effort against Cleveland Sunday. Larry Johnson led the Bengals with 22 carries, while Bernard Scott nearly matched him, gaining 87 yards on 18 totes. What little value Brian Leonard had last week is now gone, and the Bengals will have a three-headed monster in their backfield when Benson is healthy, which should be as early as this week against the Lions. While all three have shown they can put up good numbers if given the opportunity, the logjam – a nice problem for the Bengals – will make all three risky fantasy picks even against a weak defense like Detroit’s. Scott suffered a turf toe injury Sunday, so he might be the odd man out in Week 13.
BILLS RB: Although interim coach Perry Fewell may have been taking it easy on Marshawn Lynch’s injured shoulder, one can’t help but notice the discrepancy in touches between Lynch and Fred Jackson. While Lynch had just six yards on three carries, Jackson had 15 carries for 73 yards and another five catches for 43 yards. More importantly, Jackson found the end zone twice. Jackson has clearly passed Lynch in the eyes of most Buffalo fans these days, and it looks like the coaching staff may believe that as well.
CARDINALS QB: Kurt Warner didn’t feel good when he woke up Sunday morning, so the Cardinals did the right thing and sat him against the red-hot Titans. Matt Leinart, once destined for greatness, made his first start since 2007 and nearly led Arizona to victory over his old nemesis Vince Young. Leinart threw for 220 yards and did not commit a turnover, and will start again this week if Warner can’t go. As of Monday, Warner was still feeling some post-concussion symptoms, so even though he practiced most of last week, he may take another week off.
EAGLES WR: DeSean Jackson left Sunday’s game with a minor concussion, and with the Eagles wanting him to be healthy for the playoffs, expect him to get a week or two off. Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant will try to replace Jackson’s production if he sits out, but it should be noted that the nearly-invisible Reggie Brown saw a lot more playing time in the wake of Jackson’s injury. Brown didn’t catch any passes Sunday, so don’t rush out to pick him up just yet.
FALCONS QB: A toe injury forced Matt Ryan out of Sunday’s game after Ryan had thrown only three passes, a huge blow to the playoff aspirations of teams that were pinning their hopes to the young QB. Chris Redman threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns – including the game-winner with 23 seconds left – in relief of Ryan. Ryan has already been ruled out this weekend, so Redman will start against an Eagles defense that should pose a much tougher challenge than Tampa Bay did.
FALCONS RB: Jason Snelling played just fine in the absence of Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, but the two injured running backs were both back on Sunday, relegating Snelling to third-string status. Turner, however, aggravated his ankle injury and left the game in the third quarter. Norwood outplayed Snelling in the game, but with Turner’s Week 13 status in doubt, Snelling could be a good fantasy play again very soon.
LIONS TE: Brandon Pettigrew suffered a knee injury on Thanksgiving and is done for the season. Pettigrew’s rookie season was up-and-down, but ultimately it looks like he’ll be a decent fantasy tight end in 2010. Will Heller and Casey FitzSimmons, who combined for eight catches in the game, will each see a little more action in Pettigrew’s absence.
PANTHERS QB: Jake Delhomme hasn’t missed a game all season, but sometimes it feels like it. He was abysmal again Sunday, throwing four picks – including one that was returned for a touchdown – against the Jets. Carolina coach John Fox stated after the game that he’s considering making lineup changes, and that presumably includes replacing Delhomme with Matt Moore. Monday’s news that Delhomme broke a finger on his throwing hand will make the decision even easier.
RAMS QB: Kyle Boller wasn’t bad Sunday, throwing for 282 yards and a TD in a loss to Seattle. Marc Bulger is expected to miss three-to-six weeks with a fractured leg and could be done for the season. If you’re counting on Bulger or Boller on your fantasy team, it probably hasn’t been your year.
REDSKINS RB: So it’s come to this: Rock Cartwright is the starting running back for the Washington Redskins. Cartwright gained just 38 yards on 15 carries while backups Quinton Ganther and Marcus Mason combined for just eight carries. Clinton Portis should be back soon, but until then, Rock on.
SEAHAWKS RB: Ok, this one is over. Yes, Julius Jones (bruised lung) wasn’t healthy enough to play despite some optimism late in the week, but Justin Forsett took care of the overmatched St. Louis defense to the tune of 130 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Even when Jones is ready to return, it looks like he’ll be backing up Forsett.
STEELERS QB: Dennis Dixon did much better than expected Sunday night against a tough Baltimore defense – although he ultimately came up short in overtime – but the real news after the game was whether or not he should have been playing at all. Hines Ward questioned Ben Roethlisberger’s toughness and stated that plenty of his teammates felt likewise. While the Steelers are happy that they have a QB that can step up when Roethlisberger is on the shelf, it’s safe to say that headaches probably won’t keep Big Ben sidelined in Week 13.
Article first appeared 12/1/09