BENGALS RB: In the past few weeks, we’ve seen that Cincinnati’s offensive line is good enough to make Larry Johnson look good again and Bernard Scott look good for the first time. Well, Cedric Benson is back, so Johnson and Scott have gone back to irrelevancy. Benson had 110 yards on a whopping 36 carries after missing two games with a hip injury. Johnson had just two carries and Scott didn’t even play at all. It’s nice to have good backups, but as long as Benson is healthy, it appears that he’ll get nearly all of the carries.
BROWNS RB: It was a good career for Jamal Lewis, but the ending was probably not one of his highlights. He struggled on an awful team all year, and after suffering a severe concussion on Nov. 29, the Browns placed him on the IR. Jerome Harrison, who saw plenty of action earlier in the season when Lewis was out, was the main beneficiary of Lewis’ absence. Harrison caught two touchdown passes and finished with 35 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving. Chris Jennings also saw a little bit of action, but he should remain behind Harrison on the depth chart.
CARDINALS QB: Kurt Warner didn’t even look like he was gone. After missing one game with concussion-related symptoms, Warner returned Sunday and put on a clinic against Minnesota, throwing for 285 yards and three TDs. He suffered a minor hip injury on his last pass attempt of the game, but he doesn’t look like he’ll miss Monday night’s battle with San Francisco. Matt Leinart, who started in Week 12, went back to the bench.
EAGLES WR: Although it doesn’t seem like it, DeSean Jackson has been one of the best fantasy wide receivers in the league this year. Philadelphia didn’t seem to miss him in a 34-7 win over Atlanta, but Jason Avant was a popular waiver pickup this week nonetheless. Avant had just 36 yards on three catches, but rookie Jeremy Maclin continued his nice recent run with four catches for 83 yards. Jackson is expected to return this week, so it looks like Avant was unable to capitalize on his brief opportunity.
FALCONS RB: Jerious Norwood got the start Sunday in place of the injured Michael Turner, but he rushed for just 18 yards on 11 carries. Jason Snelling was a bit better, gaining 35 yards on 10 attempts, but he had three second-quarter carries at the goal line and couldn’t convert. The Falcons can’t get Turner back soon enough.
JETS QB: Mark Sanchez left Thursday night’s game with a sprained PCL in his knee, which was considered “encouraging news” by his coach. Sanchez should probably be able to play against the Bucs this weekend – and the rookie could use the confidence brought by an easy opponent – but if he can’t go, Kellen Clemens will get a shot.
LIONS QB: Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford aggravated his shoulder injury late in Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati and is considering sitting out a game or two to get it right. The Lions are 2-10 and have nothing to gain from throwing him out there when he’s at less than 100 percent. Expect Daunte Culpepper to start this weekend.
PANTHERS QB: The Panthers finally put Jake Delhomme out of his misery and named Matt Moore the starter. The official reason is that Delhomme had a broken finger, but he’s been so bad this year that a change was coming regardless. It’s possible that Delhomme is done for the season – there are rumors that once Carolina is eliminated from playoff contention he’ll be placed on the IR – so Moore, who was 14-for-20 for 161 yards Sunday, appears to have a bit of job security.
PANTHERS RB: Once he saw what Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton did to the Tampa Bay defense Sunday, DeAngelo Williams must have been disappointed he didn’t get a crack at them. With Williams out with a sprained ankle, Stewart rushed for a season-high 120 yards on 26 carries and Sutton was a nifty 6-for-38. Williams’ injury does not appear to be too serious, but the Panthers have to like what they see in that young duo.
SAINTS K: An easy miss on Monday Night Football was the last straw. The Saints deactivated veteran John Carney and replaced him with Garrett Hartley for Sunday’s game with Washington. Hartley didn’t do much – he just made four field goals and three extra points and kicked the game-winner in overtime. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see New Orleans cut Carney loose this week.
SEAHAWKS RB: Last week in this place, we anointed Justin Forsett the new Seattle starter. We were wrong. The Seahawks – as coach Jim Mora said – were going to have Julius Jones back in the starting lineup. Forsett got five carries for nine yards and also caught a touchdown pass, but fantasy owners have to be disappointed with his output one week after he rushed for 130 yards. Forsett’s sore quad might also have something to do with Jones getting 20 carries, but it looks like Jones' fantasy value isn’t dead yet.
STEELERS QB: After being called out by his teammates last week, there was no way that Ben Roethlisberger was going to miss Sunday’s game with Oakland. While his numbers were good (278 yards and two touchdowns), the final result was not. Pittsburgh lost its fourth game in a row, and while no one is crying for a return of last week’s starter Dennis Dixon, another concussion could finish the season for Big Ben and the Steelers.
TEXANS QB: Matt Schaub terrified his fantasy owners by leaving with a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury before he threw a single pass. Even though it was ultimately deemed a dislocated shoulder, Schaub somehow returned and threw for 207 yards and a touchdown. In the interim, backup Rex Grossman continued the work that made him so popular in Chicago, completing just three passes in nine attempts and adding an interception and a fumble for good measure. It looks like Schaub might miss this week’s game, though he still has a “good chance” of playing according to head coach Gary Kubiak. That said, you don’t want to bet your fantasy season on Grossman even if he’s announced as the starter.
TEXANS RB: Steve Slaton continued his disappointing year by missing Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. Chris Brown took over and did score a touchdown, but considering that he only had 15 yards on six carries and also threw an interception, it wasn’t exactly a productive week for Brown. Ryan Moats was a bit better (12 carries for 41 yards and three catches for 24 yards), but it was a pretty disappointing performance by both runners against a shaky Jacksonville defense. With Houston’s playoff hopes dwindling, they may not be in a rush to get Slaton back even with just Brown and Moats holding the fort.
Article first appeared 12/8/09