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Four Quarters: Fantasy is a 50/50 proposition

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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I keep saying to myself, "50 percent. 50 percent."

No, I haven't lost my mind. This doesn't have to do Shaquille O' Neal's lifetime free-throw percentage in the NBA, which isn't far off from his substandard 52.7 percent success rate. And this doesn't have to do with President Barack Obama's approval rate, which is way south of the 50 percent barrier heading into the New Year.

No, I'm babbling like a mad man because 50 percent is the number of Fantasy owners in CBSSports.com Fantasy Football leagues that passed on the opportunity to start Cardinals running back Beanie Wells in Week 12, which includes yours truly.

In a 14-team league, I chose to start Arian Foster and Cedric Benson as my two running backs and used Willis McGahee as my flex option. All three players had double-digit Fantasy performances, but none measured up to Wells' career day.

In case you were forced to travel on Sunday following the holiday weekend or were wrangled into some bargain-hunting shopping with the wife, then you missed Wells thrashing the Rams defense for 228 rushing yards and one touchdown.

"That is what we have been striving to get Beanie to do for a couple of years now, and it's great to see him do that," coach Ken Whisenhunt said following his team's 23-20 victory.

Failed potential is only part of the reason Wells was benched in half of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. Another key component was the fact Wells' performance lately has been unnerving because of a lingering right knee injury, which he aggravated Sunday but was able to finish out the game after missing a few plays.

And yet here we are again at a crossroads with Wells heading into Week 13. Undoubtedly, his Week 12 performance is going to send Wells' Fantasy starting percentage skyrocketing. But the December road won't be easy.

Ahead on the Cardinals schedule in December are games with Dallas, San Francisco, Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Browns are the only favorable matchup on paper as the remaining three teams are yielding 15.1 Fantasy points or less per week to running backs.

It all comes back to 50 percent, which also happens to be the odds you get when flipping a coin, which is similar to the feeling you have when faced with starting Wells on a weekly basis.

First Quarter -- Surprises of the Week

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez entered their Week 12 showdown with a combined four touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in November. The duo combined for seven touchdown passes and one interception Sunday ... Congrats to the 18 percent of Fantasy owners that started Redskins running back Roy Helu, who totaled 163 yards and one touchdown against the Seahawks. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan doesn't make this easy for us ... There was a report Ryan Mathews was going to be limited Week 12 because of injury. He didn't seem very hobbled as he showed great burst on his way to a season-high 137 rushing yards against Denver ... It's not hard to see who could become Caleb Hanie's favorite target while replacing the injured Jay Cutler, as Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox had his best performance of the season Week 12 ... Deion Branch had nine catches for 98 yards in his first three November games. He torched Philadelphia's vaunted secondary for six catches for 125 yards in Week 12 ... Leave it to Browns rookie Greg Little to score his first career touchdown against a Bengals secondary yielding 0.8 receiving touchdowns per game to receivers ... Bengals rookie A.J. Green became the first receiver to break 100 yards against the Browns this season, proving in the process that he has earned your trust as a must-start Fantasy option regardless of the matchup ... Jets tight end Dustin Keller had his first two scores in Week 12 since he scored in consecutive games to open the season ... Bears tight end Kellen Davis has scored in consecutive games and has scored on 33 percent of his receptions this season (4 for 12).

Second Quarter -- Busts of the Week

Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko has no touchdowns and six interceptions in two starts since replacing the injured Matt Cassel (hand). It's only going to be a matter of time before it's the Kyle Orton show ... John Skelton has been just as bad in his last two starts, throwing five interceptions and no touchdowns. It appears Kevin Kolb's job is waiting for him ... I couldn't save this for the injury report section because I think it deserves to be here. A week after bursting back onto the Fantasy scene, Lions running back Kevin Smith is once again battling an injury (ankle) and many frustrated owners had to witness the heartbreak on Thanksgiving Day ... Colts running back Joseph Addai returned from a hamstring injury in Week 12 and drew the start in a very favorable matchup against the Panthers. Sadly, he averaged 3.3 yards per carry and was eventually replaced by Donald Brown as the Colts' lead back ... Jackie Battle capped a disappointing November with 20 rushing yards on nine attempts against the Steelers and is no longer a hot Fantasy commodity ... With a one-catch, 5-yard performance against Oakland, we saw Sunday how much Earl Bennett is going to miss Jay Cutler ... Jerome Simpson followed up his career performance in Week 11 with two catches for 15 yards in Week 12 ... Vincent Jackson is just as inconsistent, frustrating Fantasy owners with another poor performance on Sunday following a great outing in Week 11 ... Mike Wallace saved his worst performance of the season with Fantasy playoff berths and seeding on the line ... Andre Johnson returned from a hamstring injury to deal with two backup quarterbacks and finished with just 22 yards on two catches.

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Third Quarter -- Injury Report

Matt Leinart is likely about to join fellow Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on injured reserve after suffering a reported collarbone injury Week 12 ... Packers running back James Starks came into his team's short Week 12 turnaround battling ankle and knee injuries and couldn't finish the Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions after tweaking his ankle ... Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice suffered another head injury Sunday, which is likely to put his Week 13 status in serious doubt.

Fourth Quarter -- Early Look Ahead

Indianapolis at New England clearly doesn't have the same allure sans Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who is still out with a neck injury ... Cincinnati at Pittsburgh is a rematch of their Week 10 slugfest, which saw Pittsburgh escape with a 24-17 win ... Atlanta at Houston was a bigger matchup a few weeks ago when Matt Schaub was healthy. With T.J. Yates now at the helm for Houston, we might see a lot of Arian Foster and Ben Tate in Week 13 ... The Tim Tebow show makes its next stop in Minnesota ... Cleveland is 4-7, but would be in a lot worse of shape if not for its defense. Therefore, their Week 13 showdown with AFC North foe Baltimore could be a low-scoring affair ... Green Bay at N.Y. Giants will feature two of the best passing offenses in the NFL ... Detroit at New Orleans is another matchup of top 10 passing offenses.

Overtime -- Q & A

Where was Julio Jones in Week 12? -- Charan Sidhu (@CBSFantasyFB)

MH: I was one of many frustrated Jones owners on Sunday. The talented rookie returned from his latest hamstring injury and didn't even record a catch. Jones was on the field plenty against the Vikings. It's just that Atlanta saw other ways to beat the Vikings defense and didn't need to expose the rookie receiver to potentially another setback. The emergence of Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez still drawing coverage in the middle of the field should help open up favorable matchups for Jones moving forward. It's not time to give up on him.

I'm commissioner of a league that uses a team quarterback. One of the owners is complaining about getting torched by the Bills team quarterback this weekend because Brad Smith's stats went to that position. Clearly, Smith is playing wide receiver now. What is your take on what is fair? --Joel Mollhagen

MH: That owner is just mad he lost. What happened if Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a receiving touchdown on a trick play? Would you take that touchdown away from him? Smith is still listed as a quarterback by the Bills, and his ability to play multiple positions is part of the strategy that goes into using the Bills team quarterback. It's just sour grapes. If the shoe was on the other foot, that owner wouldn't have a problem taking Smith's points.

My trade deadline is on Wednesday. I have Brandon Lloyd, Andre Johnson, Mike Wallace and Santana Moss at wide receiver. I have Ray Rice, Roy Helu, Peyton Hillis and a concussed Jahvid Best at running back. I am thinking of trading a receiver for a running back, as I am still hesitant about Helu because of Mike Shanahan's shenanigans. I'm thinking Lloyd is the man to ship as he has been very consistent in St. Louis and has a very tough schedule ahead of him. Should I trade someone else? -- Josh Perusse

MH: Perhaps it is a little late right now to get full value for Johnson because we saw in Week 12 what his future holds without Matt Schaub at quarterback. But I think on name alone you could probably still land a pretty good running back for the veteran receiver. If you're not interested in trading Johnson, then Lloyd is your best bet. His remaining schedule is not the concern for me since he clearly thrives in offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' system. He just has the most trade value for what you seek and his loss won't cripple your lineup.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow us on Facebook. You can also follow Michael via Twitter @CBSHurc

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Player News
Tony Romo's back not an issue for Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expected to play without limitations in Week 3 against the Rams, despite sitting out earlier in the week of practice to rest his back. Romo practiced in full Thursday and Friday and is officially probable for Sunday's game.

Rams rule two defenders out for Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:47 pm ET) Rams defensive backs Trumaine Johnson (knee) and Brandon McGee have both been ruled out for Week 3 against the Cowboys, after their injuries kept them out of action during practice.

They are the only players on the defensive side of the ball listed on the injury report for Week 3's game. 


Broncos issue Friday injury report
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:46 pm ET) Linebacker Danny Trevathan (knee) is the lone questionable player on the Friday injury report released Friday by the Broncos for their Sunday game against Seattle.

Fellow linebacker Lerentee McCray (knee) is the lone Bronco ruled out. Listed as probable are cornerback Chris Harris (knee), kicker Brandon McManus (groin), linebacker Von Miller (groin) and guard Ben Garland (ankle).


Cory Harkey questionable for Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:43 pm ET) Rams tight end Cory Harkey was a limited participant in practice Friday, and is officially questionable for Week 3 against the Cowboys with a knee injury. 

Tavon Austin returns to practice, still questionable for Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin is officially questionable for Week 3 against the Cowboys, as he made it into practice on a limited basis just one day during the week.

Austin was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday before returning Friday, but it is not at all clear if he will play Sunday. He is likely to be a game-time decision. 


Titans fairly healthy heading into Sunday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:37 pm ET) The Titans are quite healthy heading into their Week 3 game Sunday in Cincinnati. They have four players on their Friday injury report - and three are probable. The lone exception is cornerback Jason McCourty (groin), who is questionable.

The probables are running back Dexter McCluster (foot), quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (finger) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (ankle).


Rams offensive line missing one for Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:34 pm ET) The Rams listed three offensive linemen on the injury report for Week 3 against the Cowboys, though only one is expected to be sidelined Sunday.

Barrett Jones (back) has been ruled out for the game, while Rodger Saffold (illness) is probable after sitting out Thursday's practice session. Scott Wells is also probable, though his absence from practice was not related to any injuries. 


Jaguars issue Friday injury report
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) The Friday injury report issued Friday by the Jaguars is dominated by probables.

Included among them are cornerbacks Alan Ball (abdomen) and Jeremy Harris (illness), defensive end Chris Clemons (illness), safety Johnathan Cyprien (concussion), running backs Storm Johnson (ankle) and Toby Gerhart (foot), safety Guy Winston (illness), wide receivers Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and Allen Hurns (ankle), offensive lineman Austin Pasztor (hand), tight end Mickey Shuler (heel) and linebacker Paul Posluszny (knee).

The team has ruled out wideout Marqise Lee (hamstring) and deemed tight end Clay Harbor as questionable.


Shaun Hill officially questionable for Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Rams quarterback Shaun Hill was a limited participant for the third day in a row Friday, as he continues to work his way back from a thigh injury.

Hill is officially listed as questionable on the injury report for Week 3 against the Cowboys, after sitting out the team's last week as a result of the injury. If he cannot play Sunday, Austin Davis will get the start again. 


Arian Foster questionable for game against Giants
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:55 pm ET) A hamstring injury has Texans featured back Arian Foster listed as questionable for Week 3 against the host Giants.

Foster is off to a brilliant start with successive 100-yard performances. He has 55 carries for 241 yards and one touchdown.


 
 
 
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