Chris Wesseling

The Morning After

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Better Late Than Never

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Leg Up

With top playmakers Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore, and Jacoby Ford out of the lineup, the Raiders won a big game with playoff repercussions behind Sebastian Janikowski’s franchise-record and career-high six field goals. Those opportunities were provided by an offense that converted just 3-of-15 third downs. Sea Bass drilled field goals of 40, 47, 42, 19, 37 and 44 yards to break the team record he shared with Jeff Jaeger. Not to be outdone, Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler rendered Devin Hester a non-factor with team-record 80-yard punt while landing three of five kicks inside the 20-yard line.

"Our two kickers are fantastic," coach Hue Jackson said. "There's not another punter or kicker in the National Football League I would ever want to have on the football team. I said to the team when this was over, those were the two men who were here the last time this team was 7-4. Those guys have a lot to do with it. They did a tremendous job."

Committee Time

Chargers - Ryan Mathews (23 touches, 142 yards) / Mike Tolbert (14 touches, 63 yards)

Mathews’ 137 rushing yards are a career-high, and his three career 100-yard games have all come against the Broncos. The knee injury that kept him out of practice two days isn't a significant concern, as he regained feature-back duties with Tolbert playing primarily on passing downs.

Browns - Peyton Hillis (21 touches, 61 yards) / Chris Ogbonnaya (4 touches, 20 yards)

Montario Hardesty didn’t play after aggravating his calf injury in warmups. As a result, Hillis saw a bigger workload than expected -- and looked better than the boxscore would suggest. Hardesty hinted Sunday night that he should be good to go for Week 13. If Hillis isn’t a part of the Browns’ future plans, the team will keep Hardesty involved down the stretch. Expect closer to low-end RB2/flex production from Hillis the rest of the way.

Jets - Shonn Greene (16 touches, 90 yards) / Joe McKnight (7 touches, 40 yards)

McKnight’s strong Week 11 effort didn’t earn him more than LaDainian Tomlinson’s third-down role against the Bills. Greene was clear choice on early downs, averaging 6.0 yards per carry against a defense that lost NT Marcel Dareus early in the game. Greene is the one back with fantasy value here, and he’s just a low-end RB2 going forward.

Panthers - DeAngelo Williams (15 carries, 69 yards, 2 TDs) / Jonathan Stewart (13 touches, 82 yards)

For the second straight game, both backs played very well. Williams was actually giving Stewart a breather when he broke off a 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Panthers went back to Williams from two yards out in the fourth quarter even though Stewart had been the primary red-zone back of late. Williams’ 15 carries are a season-high, and it’s his first two-touchdown game since Week 9 of 2009. Expect both backs to continue to see roughly a dozen touches per game.

Colts - Donald Brown (15 touches, 97 yards) / Joseph Addai (7 rushes, 23 yards)

Addai started the game, but Brown dominated the workload over the final three quarters. Playing as well as he has since entering the league, Brown is simply Indy’s best back right now. The Colts owe it to themselves over the final month to find out if the former first-rounder can be a part of their future. Delone Carter didn’t even see the field.

Patriots - BenJarvus Green-Ellis (14 carries, 44 yards, 2 TDs) / Danny Woodhead (4 carries, 20 yards) / Shane Vereen (7 carries, 18 yards) / Stevan Ridley (4 carries, 4 yards)

Green-Ellis found the end zone for the first time since burning the Jets for a pair of scores back in Week 5. He appears to be the clear lead-dog for the final stretch of games against a soft schedule. The Patriots should be playing from ahead with plenty of chances for short touchdowns. Vereen and Ridley are the garbage-time backs while Woodhead plays ahead of Kevin Faulk on passing downs.

Chiefs - Thomas Jones (14 touches, 44 yards) / Dexter McCluster (11 touches, 39 yards) / Jackie Battle (9 carries, 20 yards)

This backfield is a hot mess. Battle hasn’t topped 10 rushing attempts in nearly a month, as Jones is now splitting early-down carries almost evenly. The Chiefs keep trying to get McCluster out in space, but he’s simply too easy to tackle. In a low-upside three-man rotation, none of the backs is particularly enticing in 12-team leagues.

Injury Ward

Matt Leinart, Texans - Collarbone
Kevin Smith, Lions - Ankle
James Starks, Packers - Ankle, Knee
Montario Hardesty, Browns - Calf
Sidney Rice, Seahawks - Concussion
Mike Williams, Seahawks - Shoulder
Eddie Royal, Broncos - Lower leg
Greg Olsen, Panthers - Ankle
Troy Polamalu, Steelers - Concussion

Check out Matt Stroup’s Andre - Leinart = Problem” for in-depth analysis of Sunday’s M*A*S*H unit fallout.

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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling

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