Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

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One More For The Road

Friday, December 30, 2011


What we said Thursday still goes. Week 17 is a harsh and mysterious place ill-suited for fantasy football. Playoff-bound superstars who have carried your team all season are benched in the interest of good health, while a number of other stalwarts simply aren’t used the same way in games that are devoid of meaning.

But if you've reached Week 17 with something still on the line, you are not alone. Yesterday we took a look at who you can trust in such a tricky landscape (while Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling provided an even more in depth look), but were stuck with incomplete information on a number of critical players. With another day of practice in the books, the status of most has clarified.

In: Ryan Mathews (calf). At least as far as we can tell. The San Diego media seems to believe Mathews’ Wednesday absence was purely precautionary, and there would have been little reason for Mathews to return yesterday were he not planning to suit up against the Raiders. Rotoworld is confident enough Mathews will play that we’ve ranked him third amongst running backs for Week 17. Going up against a Raiders’ run defense allowing a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry, San Diego’s breakout second-year back has a dream matchup. .

Out: Mike Tolbert (hamstring). Again, this is as far as we can tell. The Chargers would love to play spoiler Sunday, but there’s no reason to push their battering ram change-of-pace back if he’s not 100 percent. Tolbert could return to practice this afternoon and be listed as questionable on the injury report, but even if he’s active, he’s is going to be a dicey flex play in all formats.

In/out: Vincent Jackson (groin). We called this one “out” on Thursday, but apparently Jackson and the Chargers have other ideas. Coach Norv Turner has said he’s "as hopeful (this week) as he was last week" that his No. 1 receiver will take the field, and believes Jackson himself wants to suit up. That’s surprising since San Diego has been eliminated from playoff contention and V-Jax is gearing up for what figures to be another nasty contract negotiation, but he should now be considered (slightly) better than 50-50 to play. Turner has maintained the fact that the Bolts have nothing to play for will not factor into whether or not Jackson gives it a go.

Out: Mark Ingram (toe). Ingram insisted his case of turf toe was a minor one upon coming down with it in Week 14, but it seemed like wishful thinking. Despite its nonthreatening name, even minor cases of turf toe can linger for weeks, if not months. Ingram found this out the hard way Thursday, where he was unable to practice after his toe responded poorly to the limited session he turned in on Wednesday. Certain to be out for Week 17, Ingram is now in danger of missing the entire postseason. Chris Ivory will continue to take Ingram’s snaps in the Saints’ backfield.

In: Mike Wallace (ankle). Wallace got in a full practice Thursday, confirming that his limited Wednesday session was only precautionary. Even with Ben Roethlisberger unlikely to play more than 25-30 snaps, Wallace is Rotoworld’s 11th ranked receiver for Week 17.

In/Out: Reggie Bush (knee). The local media is split on whether or not Bush will play Sunday after he missed his second straight practice Thursday. Unless he returns today and personally assures that his Wednesday/Thursday no-shows were no big deal, Bush will be too risky to rely on for Week 17.

In: Jacoby Ford (foot). Ford practiced for the second straight day Thursday, and is finally over the hump with the mid-foot sprain that’s sidelined him since Week 10. He’s unlikely to be ready to make much of an impact in Oakland’s must-win game against the Chargers, however.

Out: Kevin Kolb (concussion). Kolb actually practiced Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday, but NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reports he’s already been ruled out for Week 17. If true, it would mean Kolb ended up attempting only 26 passes in Arizona’s final nine games. Quite a disappointment for someone who fetched an enormous haul for the Eagles and is making approximately $10 million. Although Kolb is due an unseemly $7 million option bonus this offseason, he’s expected back in the desert in 2012.

BIZARRE/ULTIMATELY MEANINGLESS STATS OF THE WEEK
Now 26, Reggie Bush entered 2011 averaging 34.8 rushing yards per game and four yards per carry for his career. Also 26, Chris Johnson — “CJ2K” if you will — entered 2011 averaging 97.8 rushing yards per game and five yards per carry for his career. With one week left to go, Bush is averaging 72.4 yards per game and five yards per carry, while CJwhateverK is averaging 65.7/4.0.

Victor Cruz’s 1,358 receiving yards are a Giants’ franchise record, and just 957 fewer than Mario Manningham has posted in his entire four-year career.

59/1,101/12 and 58/1,077/8. The second line belongs to Vincent Jackson. The first? Jordy Nelson.

Dez Bryant is averaging 61.3 receiving yards per game, tying him with teammate Laurent Robinson and Jabar Gaffney for 31st in the NFL. Bryant’s 858 receiving yards give him a 13-yard edge over Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Mike Williams has eight fewer receiving yards than Doug Baldwin on 16 more catches.    

Although he’s often de-emphasized after his lost cause of a team gets down big early, LeGarrette Blount has actually rushed for 71 more yards in the second half this season than in the first.

In three December games, John Skelton has passed for more yards than Tony Romo, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. Romo has made four appearances, while Vick and Roethlisberger have each made three.  

FOUR PICKS FOR WEEK 17
Big game: Giants 27, Cowboys 24
In an all-or-nothing battle between two gaffe-prone teams, the Giants make fewer mistakes as they narrowly edge their hated rival for the second time in four weeks.

Big game II: Bengals 21, Ravens 14
In a “win and in” scenario, the Bengals flat out want it more than the Ravens, who turn in one more road dud heading into the postseason.

Luck Bowl: Jaguars 17, Colts 6
The Colts stay winless on the road, ensuring the right to select whiz kid Stanford QB Andrew Luck No. 1 overall in next spring’s draft.

The I really don’t have a clue but will pretend I do game: Eagles 34, Redskins 7
The Eagles complete their strong finish while the Redskins go out in typically bitter fashion.


Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty



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