Willie Parker broke his right fibula on his first carry last week, ending his season. At the time of the injury, Parker led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,316, but many fantasy owners will point to his two touchdowns and call the season a disappointment. Najeh Davenport, who rushed for 123 yards in relief of Parker last week, will take over with Carey Davis occasionally contributing.
Kevin Jones is done for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. No decision has been made on whether Jones will need surgery. T.J. Duckett will start at running back for Jones in the regular-season finale. Duckett filled in nicely last week, finishing with 102 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Thanks to an ill-timed rib injury, Willie McGahee left Sunday’s game after only five carries for 10 yards. Musa Smith and Mike Anderson carried the load in his stead, finishing with a combined 69 yards on 15 rushes. Although Anderson outplayed Smith on Sunday, Smith figures to get the start this week if McGahee can’t go.
Joseph Addai suffered minor back and shoulder injuries Sunday and did not play much beyond the first quarter. The Colts were already talking about sitting Addai for most of the game, so the abbreviated outing was not unexpected. Expect to see a lot of Kenton Keith and Clifton Dawson this week, and not so much (if any) of Addai.
Rudi Johnson sat out Sunday’s game with a sore hamstring. Kenny Watson took advantage of the opportunity, finishing with a whopping 30 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. Despite a costly fumble, Watson is the only Cincinnati back who will see significant time again this week if Johnson misses the Miami game as expected.
Selvin Young and Travis Henry split carries Monday, but both were victims of an ineffective Denver offense - only two of 11 drives went more than six plays, limiting their running opportunities. Young rushed just 10 times for 39 yards (half of his carries came in the first two drives). Henry was even less prodcutive than Young, however, managing just 2.8 yards per carry on four rushes. Yards might be tough to come by in Week 17, as well, as the Broncos play the Vikings, who are stout against the run.
DeAngelo Williams finally got the majority of carries for the Panthers last week, getting 10 to DeShaun Foster’s four. Williams rushed for 60 yards – including 39 on one carry – and continues to be a boom-or-bust running back. With the Panthers officially out of the playoff race, expect Williams to carry the ball a lot against Tampa Bay this week.
Despite Justin Fargas being done for the season with a sprained MCL, September star Lamont Jordan did not have a single touch Sunday and was targeted only once. Instead, Dominic Rhodes, who was expected to be in a timeshare with Jordan, had all 27 running back carries. Rhodes finished with 115 yards, and it looks like he’ll have the job all to himself in week 17.
On a wet and windy Sunday, the Giants passing game stalled; good thing the Giants had Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw leading the 291-yard rushing attack. The rookie Bradshaw – who had six career rushes coming into the game – had an 88-yard touchdown en route to a 151 yards on the day. Jacobs finished with 145 yards and two scores on 24 carries. Jacobs has been a bit beat up lately, and could be limited against the Patriots this week. Reuben Droughns only carried the ball three times Sunday, so if Jacobs misses the New England game, Bradshaw probably will start.
Jesse Chatman was back in action Sunday, but a gimpy ankle and an early deficit limited him to just 38 yards on nine carries. Lorenzo Booker finished with 56 yards on eight rushes, while Samkon Gado, who did some quality work during Chatman’s two-game absence, carried the ball only twice. Chatman should go back to being the workhorse this weekend against the Bengals.
Tampa Bay rested most of its key players Sunday, including Earnest Graham. Graham helped many fantasy teams reach the finals this season, so 21 rushing yards has to be considered a major disappointment. Michael Bennett and Michael Pittman didn’t do much with their extended playing time, but they should both see plenty of snaps in the finale this week.
Despite being active last week, Ron Dayne did not play against Indianapolis. Darius Walker received all 19 carries and finished with a modest 66 yards, adding six receptions for 44 yards. Dayne’s ankle should be good enough to play this week, but Walker will probably start and get the majority of playing time again.
You wouldn’t know it from the results, but it appears that the torch has finally been passed to JaMarcus Russell. Russell, who played part of the first half and the entire second half, only completed seven passes in 23 attempts and was picked off three times, but he also connected for his first career touchdown. Josh McCown started, but with the Raiders getting blown out, Russell saw his first extended action of the season. The Radisers are now 4-11 and face the Chargers this week. They have nothing to lose by giving Russell the start.
Rib and shoulder injuries prevented Kellen Clemens from getting into the game Sunday, so the Jets once again turned to Chad Pennington. Pennington was picked off twice, but he completed 81 percent of his passes and threw a nine-yard touchdown pass. Clemens has struggled throwing the ball in practice, so it seems unlikely he’ll play this weekend against Kansas City.
Jeff Garcia didn’t even make it to halftime Sunday before Tampa Bay took him out of the game as a precaution. The Bucs have a playoff spot locked up, and didn’t want to take the chance that Garcia would suffer yet another injury. Luke McCown backed him up, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see even more of McCown this weekend.
Kyle Boller’s Week 15 concussion was initially thought to be mild, but his symptoms lingered throughout the week, giving Troy Smith his first career start. Although Smith threw for 199 yards, he lost two fumbles and nearly all of those yards (including a 79-yard touchdown) came in the fourth quarter with Baltimore down 27-0. Smith could be back behind center this week, hoping to leave a good taste in the mouth heading into the offseason.
Damon Huard nearly rallied the Chiefs to victory in relief of Brodie Croyle, who suffered a hand injury in the second quarter Sunday. Huard threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns and looked better than he has all season. Kansas City faces the Jets this week, so if Huard gets all of the reps in practice this week, he could be a decent final-week fantasy option.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Terrell Owens suffered a high ankle sprain Saturday, making it unlikely he’ll see the field in week 17. Sam Hurd replaced him in the lineup, making three catches for 50 yards, but Patrick Crayton and Jason Witten are more likely to see a bump in productivity this week than Hurd. Even Terry Glenn, who has missed the entire season, could get into the action in the regular-season finale.
Anthony Gonzalez left Sunday’s game with a bruised foot in the second quarter, and with the Colts comfortably in front, he did not re-enter the game. Indianapolis is set as the second seed in the AFC playoffs, so expect Gonzalez and a lot of the other first-stringers to get a much-needed rest this week.
Drew Bennett and tight end Randy McMichael were targeted a bit more than usual last week, perhaps in an effort to determine if the Rams want either back next year. With Torry Holt seemingly at odds with his coach and Isaac Bruce not getting any younger, there could be a complete overhaul to the St. Louis receiving corps next year.
Marques Colston left in the second quarter Sunday with a chest contusion. With the Saints having little to play for this week, it would not be a surprise to see him sit out the finale, giving Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Terrance Copper a chance to join David Patten in the starting lineup.
Article first appeared 12/25/07