The Rotoexperts.com staff reviews the Week 12 action from fantasy perspectives.
There were a lot of other predominant storylines from the pure football perspective on Monday Night, but the one that jumped out most at many fantasy players was the fact that Lee Evans was shut out. There must have been countless Evans owners who confidently headed into Monday Night needing just a few points for a victory -- and didn't get it!
Evans delivered another stinker, after catching only two passes for 22 yards in Week 10. He has not scored in four consecutive games. One can easily link Evans' lack of production to quarterback Trent Edwards, who may have played his worst game of the season in terms of throwing the ball. He threw three interceptions, often struggling to locate open receivers and to make decisions quickly. Edwards threw one TD pass and rushed for another, but it was apparent that he was having problems going through his progressions and anticipating throws. Edwards hasn't thrown more than one TD pass in a game this season and should not be on fantasy rosters for the playoff push.
Evans owners might actually be pining for the return of J.P. Losman, and there were times Monday that you had to wonder if Edwards was going to get pulled in favor of the erratic former "future franchise QB." Losman has great skills but lacks on-field smarts. Yet, the one thing he does right is get the deep ball to Evans. If the Bills don't make a switch, though, you can't start Evans with any regular confidence. Josh Reed has not been worth much in fantasy leagues, but he has been a dependable target for Edwards on key downs. His loss only makes the Bills easier to defend in the passing game. With Reed sidelined, Evans has no real help to draw even a bit of defensive attention away from him.
While Edwards had possibly his worst game of the season, Marshawn Lynch came through with his best performance of 2008. He rushed for 119 yards and a score, catching 10 passes for 58 yards, including an 18-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. Lynch is versatile and tough, and he runs equally well in short and open spaces. He hasn't played up to expectations this season, but there is no way you can bench him if you have fantasy playoff aspirations. Fred Jackson rushed for a career-best 60 yards on 12 carries, and he remains a must-have handcuff for Lynch's owners. Jackson has good vision and hits holes quickly before taking off for extra yards.
It was a night for reserve running backs to showcase their talents, as Cleveland's Jerome Harrison scored on a 72-yard run. Some fantasy leaguers may be moved to add Harrison, but I would resist the urge unless you need him as a handcuff to Jamal Lewis. Harrison simply isn't going to get enough touches to consistently post quality numbers, as he had not rushed for more than 48 yards in a game prior to this week. Even if Lewis were to go down, Harrison might struggle to provide anything more than adequate fantasy totals as a regular ball-carrier.
Brady Quinn managed the game well overall for Cleveland. He didn't make costly mistakes despite being pressured often, especially by a blitzing Kawika Mitchell. Quinn finished with 185 passing yards, no TD passes, and no interceptions. Even though Quinn helped them win by not hurting the team, such performances indicate that you are better off with a more productive backup QB on your fantasy roster for the playoffs.
The best thing Quinn did was firmly establish a better on-field relationship with Braylon Edwards, who caught eight passes for 104 yards. Quinn did a nice job of threading the ball to Edwards, sometimes in tight windows. While the ultra-talented WR has been inconsistent this season, it's now apparent he'll have some good outings in the weeks ahead, even though he is working with a young QB. Edwards will have some off games, but you don't want to miss out on the quality outings, so keep him active as a WR3. Kellen Winslow Jr. caught three passes for 40 yards, but at this point of the season, you should expect anything most tight ends produce to be bonus additions to the output of your true core players.
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You would've thought Brett Favre had his way with the Patriots defense, as he completed 78.8 percent of his passes. However, Favre had only one completion for more than 20 yards, as the Patriots gave him the short routes, hoping to contain his receivers. Favre did finish with 258 yards and two touchdowns. The receivers were paced by Jerricho Cotchery, who nabbed five balls for 87 yards and one touchdown. Laveranues Coles was held to 38 yards on five receptions. Dustin Keller grabbed eight balls for 87 yards, and now has 14 receptions, 194 yards and one touchdown over the past two games. He only had 13 receptions in the first eight games. If you need tight end help, Keller is finally getting some looks, and depending on your depth, is a decent start. Thomas Jones now has four 100-yard games this season. Jones finished with 119 total yards and one touchdown, and has scored in four straight games. Leon Washington totaled 35 yards, and scored one touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Favre. Washington's only value is as a handcuff to Jones, as his production is too inconsistent to be in your lineup.
Matt Cassel had his best game, passing for 400 yards, rushing for 62 yards and throwing three touchdown passes. While his stock will rise after this effort, you should wait for another impressive performance before inserting him in your lineup. Wes Welker continues to catch balls at a prolific rate, as he had seven more receptions, which accounted for 108 yards. Randy Moss was reined in, and grabbed only three balls for 26 yards and one touchdown. The biggest beneficiaries of Cassel's big day were Ben Watson, who hauled in eight balls for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Jabar Gaffney, who reeled in seven balls for 86 yards and a touchdown. Neither of them are worthy of your starting lineup, although they may be worth a bench spot depending on your depth. Four different New England running backs received at least two carries. Kevin Faulk paced them with eight carries for 38 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished with nine yards, and saw his consecutive touchdown streak end. Green-Ellis' value takes a hit if the Patriots will be rotating running backs. -- Matt Wirkiwoski
JaMarcus Russell finished with 156 passing yards. With Oakland's offense on life support, Russell has no fantasy value. Ronald Curry led the team with six receptions for 73 yards. Coming into the game, Curry had eight receptions in eight games. Javon Walker did not play due to an ankle injury, and was quoted as saying "I'm done for the season". With Walker out for the year, Curry may be worth a flier to add to your bench. Zach Miller added four receptions for 67 yards. Although Johnnie Lee Higgins didn't catch a pass, he did score the Raiders only touchdown on a 93-yard punt return. Justin Fargas led the Raiders with 17 carries for 57 yards, while Darren McFadden returned to action for the first time in four weeks, but ran the ball only three times for 13 yards. No Raider should be in your starting lineup.
Chad Pennington was 16-of-22, but only threw for 174 yards. Pennington has three touchdown passes in the past five games, and remains a backup quarterback for fantasy purposes. Ted Ginn Jr. had four catches for 51 yards, but really dazzled on an end-around that went for a 40-yard touchdown. Davone Bess pitched in with three catches for 50 yards, while Greg Camarillo finished with 34 yards on two receptions. Camarillo has only had two games in which he has scored or had 100 yards receiving. The Dolphins ran their Wildcat formation 10 times in 60 plays, which helped the running game amass 222 yards. Ronnie Brown ran for 101 yards, while Ricky Williams totaled 49 yards. Patrick Cobbs scored the Dolphins other touchdown, and finished with 39 total yards. -- M.W.
Daunte Culpepper looked better in his second game, but it was apparent he's still learning the system and the players. Culpepper finished with 207 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, and added a rushing touchdown. Calvin Johnson caught a 29-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but was double-teamed often the rest of the game, and finished with six catches for 65 yards. Shaun McDonald chipped in with three catches for 30 yards. John Standeford had his first career reception, and finished with two catches for 48 yards. Standeford has no fantasy value. Kevin Smith ran the ball 24 times for 112 yards and now has back-to-back games of at least 90 rushing yards. He's had at least 10 carries in three of the last four games. Smith is a good play at your flex position, as it looks like the Lions have committed to getting him the ball.
Jake Delhomme failed to reach 100 passing yards in the second consecutive game, although he did throw one touchdown pass. While last week's dearth of passing yards could be blamed on his four interceptions, this week's lack of passing yards was a result of the game plan, as the Lions could not contain DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart. Stewart had 130 rushing yards and one touchdown, while Williams had 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Stewart is a good flex play depending on the matchup, but Williams is a must-start. Steve Smith had six receptions for 59 yards, while Muhsin Muhammad had one catch for 16 yards. Jeff King had two receptions, including the lone touchdown through the air. Even though Smith has had consecutive poor outings, he should remain in your lineup. Muhammad should not be in your lineup. -- M.W.
The running game continues to be a problem for the Cardinals. The Cardinals turned to J.J. Arrington, and he responded with 40 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Arrington also added 21 yards through the air and one receiving touchdown. If you have room to stash Arrington on your bench, do so. While he hasn't been guaranteed consistent playing time, the Cardinals aren't getting enough from Tim Hightower and could turn to Arrington. While Hightower has been good around the goal line, he has rushed for more than 40 yards only once this season. The Cardinals are a passing team, and you can't expect any of their running backs to put up consistent, meaningful fantasy points. Kurt Warner threw for 395 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The usual suspects were on the receiving end of Warner's throws, as Anquan Boldin caught a season-high 13 balls for 186 yards and Larry Fitzgerald caught a season-high 10 balls for 151 yards. The only disappointment in the passing game was Steve Breaston, who had two receptions for 15 yards.
Matt Hasselbeck had a lot of rust to shake off after a six-week absence, and it showed, as he threw three interceptions, one touchdown pass and finished with 170 passing yards. Deion Branch led the way with four receptions for 54 yards, while Bobby Engram reeled in two balls for 30 yards. Koren Robinson had a pair of receptions for 11 total yards. Tight end John Carlson had three receptions for 39 yards. Expect Hasselbeck to continue to spread the ball around, limiting all of the receiver's fantasy numbers. Unless you are desperate, leave them on the free-agent list. After a good game against the Dolphins, Julius Jones regressed. Jones finished with only 14 total yards. T.J. Duckett had only five yards on five carries, but made them count, as he scored two touchdowns. Maurice Morris had 29 total yards, and his touchdown was on a reception. -- M.W.
Tony Romo returned to the lineup after missing the past three games, and like Hasselbeck, had some issues. Romo threw for 198 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Terrell Owens plucked five balls out of the air for 38 yards, while RoyWilliams finished with three receptions for 36 yards. Jason Witten chipped in with two receptions for 34 yards. Romo's lone touchdown throw went to backup tight end Martellus Bennett. Bennett finished with the one catch, for 25 yards. Marion Barber III was the Cowboys offense, as he led the team in rushing and receiving, totaling 153 yards and one touchdown.
Clinton Portis didn't have as much luck as Barber, and finished with 74 total yards. Chris Cooley led the Redskins in receiving, hauling in seven passes for 47 yards. Santana Moss was held in check, and finished with five receptions for 29 yards, and he dropped a pass that potentially could've been a touchdown. Moss has had less than 30 receiving yards in three of his past five games, and should be a WR3. Antwaan Randle El wasn't a factor at all, catching one pass for 24 yards. Mike Sellers was on the receiving end of Jason Campbell's one touchdown pass. Campbell passed for 162 yards, one interception, and that one touchdown. Campbell now has three touchdown passes in his past six games, and should be on your bench. -- M.W.
Kyle Orton returned after missing two games, but couldn't find a rhythm, as he threw for 133 yards on 50 percent passing. The Packers have a dominant pass defense, so Orton had a tough task in his return. He isn't a reliable starter, but he is worthy of a bench spot. The Bears didn't score a touchdown, but Matt Forte led the way, totaling 104 yards. Forte hasn't hit a rookie wall, and his receiving yards make up for any lack of rushing yards. Greg Olsen had 45 yards on four receptions. Olsen hasn't found the end zone on a regular basis, making him a low-end TE starter. Brandon Lloyd returned after missing five games and caught two passes for 17 yards. It should take some time for Lloyd to get back in full game condition, making him pretty useless in fantasy terms.
Aaron Rodgers took advantage of a weak Bears secondary and passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers had only two touchdowns in his three previous games, so this was a reassuring outing for his owners. Rodgers is a top-10 quarterback the rest of the way. Greg Jennings scored a touchdown and caught five passes for 64 yards. Jennings is a premier red zone threat, so his WR1 status won't change. Donald Driver caught four passes for 60 yards. With only three touchdowns, Driver is a WR3 play each week. Ryan Grant ripped through a previously impenetrable Bears defense and rushed for a season-high 145 yards and a touchdown. Grant has scored in three of the Packers last four games and seems to be hitting his stride as the fantasy playoffs approach. Grant is an ideal RB2. Donald Lee caught six balls for 33 yards and his third touchdown. Teams looking for tight end help can do worse than plugging in Lee. -- Brad Rysz
Tyler Thigpen continued his surprise season, as he passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Thigpen now has eight touchdowns and only one interception in the Chiefs last four games. With a slew of mediocre pass defenses coming up, Thigpen makes a nice start for those in need of a quarterback. Dwayne Bowe caught seven passes for 53 yards, including two touchdowns. Bowe is a premier wide receiver, and the emergence of Thigpen makes him a viable WR1. Mark Bradley confirmed he will remain a force, as he caught three passes for 54 yards. Bradley is a WR3 with upside. While Thigpen thrived, Larry Johnson rushed for only 67 yards on 19 carries. This was Johnson's first game since Week 5, so there may have been a rust factor. Johnson is a RB2 with limited upside.
Drew Brees passed for 266 yards and a touchdown. Brees is the top option at quarterback, but with games against Green Bay and Tampa Bay coming up, there may be a slight decline in his stats. Lance Moore led the Saints receivers with eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. Moore now has a touchdown in three straight games and has established himself as a WR2. Marques Colston was held to three catches and 30 yards. After a 140-yard Week 10, this was a disappointing game for Colston. With so many options at Brees' disposal, there seems to be games where Colston gives way to other playmakers. Colston is a WR2 with the potential to have a huge game here and there. Jeremy Shockey had six catches for 39 yards while Billy Miller was held without a catch. Miller didn't have a game with less than 53 yards since Week 4, so this came as a surprise. Shockey is slowly regaining his role as the team's top tight end option. Pierre Thomas filled in for an injured Reggie Bush and totaled 144 yards and a score. Thomas was expected to play a large role in the Saints' offense this season, but hadn't done much before this week. Deuce McAllister also scored and ran for 18 yards on eight attempts. With Bush returning shortly, neither Thomas nor McAllister are worth much more than a flex play. -- B.R.
Brandon Jacobs ran for two early touchdowns, and the Giants dismantled the Ravens. Jacobs rushed for 73 yards and now has 11 touchdowns, including four in his last two games. With the Giants clicking, Jacobs makes a great RB1 play each week. Eli Manning passed for 153 and a touchdown. Manning began the season with three straight 200-yard games, but hasn't had one since. Despite the lack of yardage, Manning has thrown for at least one touchdown in all but one game. Ahmad Bradshaw got nine carries in mop-up duty and rushed for a team-high 96 yards. Bradshaw still doesn't have much value unless Jacobs gets injured. Plaxico Burress caught three passes for 47 yards. Burress hasn't topped 58 receiving yards since Week 2, when he caught five passes for 81 yards. Burress hasn't totaled more than five receptions in a game since then. Burress is a WR2. Derrick Ward had 95 total yards and remains a strong flex play.
Joe Flacco threw for 164 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against a swarming Giants defense. Flacco added a team-high 57 rushing yards, but was otherwise ineffective. Flacco shouldn't be started. Down early, the Ravens didn't run much, as Ray Rice (eight carries, 19 yards) and Willis McGahee (nine carries, 18 yards) weren't significant parts of the game plan. McGahee and Rice are flex plays based on matchups. Le'Ron McClain caught a touchdown, but has taken a back seat to Rice and McGahee. Derrick Mason caught seven receptions for 82 yards and remains a top-notch PPR wide receiver. Mason is a WR3 in standard formats and a WR2 in PPR leagues. Todd Heap caught three passes for 16 yards, proving that last week's two-touchdown performance was, indeed a fluke. -- B.R.
In a cold, snowy Heinz Field, Ben Roethlisberger passed for 308 yards. Roethlisberger was sacked four times, but managed to complete 31 of 41 attempts. He isn't throwing touchdowns, so Roethlisberger is probably better used as a bench player. Willie Parker returned and rushed 25 times for 115 yards. Parker is a RB2. Hines Ward caught 11 passes for 124 yards. For those waiting on Santonio Holmes to overtake Ward as the team's primary wide receiver, it is going to take at least another year. Ward is Roethlisberger's top target and is a WR2. Holmes caught five passes for 63 yards. Holmes' inability to find the end zone makes him a WR3. Matt Spaeth filled in for the injured Heath Miller and caught six passes for 55 yards. As long as Miller is out, Spaeth is a pleasant tight end option. Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and passed for 159 yards against the league's top defense. Rivers has an inviting upcoming schedule, so he should be back in top form as early as next week. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 57 yards and a score while adding 40 receiving yards. Tomlinson should be started with confidence each week. The dominant Steelers defense stifled Vincent Jackson (25 yards), Chris Chambers (21 yards) and Antonio Gates (10 yards). The nasty weather played into the Steelers favor and the Chargers were unable to respond. -- B.R.
Donovan McNabb had four turnovers, in what turned out to be a miserable game for the Eagles. For fantasy purposes though, he did throw for 339 yards (on 58 attempts) and a touchdown. His two main targets continue to be Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson. Curtis is the better option of the two in point-per-reception leagues, while Jackson has more value in strictly yardage-based scoring systems. Brent Celek returned to the stat sheet with three catches for 25 yards, but it was L.J. Smith who caught McNabb's lone touchdown. Neither should be relied upon regularly.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 29-of-44 for 261 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals. It was a nice outing from "Harvard," but it was the first time that he's been over 200 yards, and with a tough closing schedule (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Washington), he's not worth a roster add. T.J. Housmandzadeh had his second 12-reception game of the season, scored his first touchdown since Week 5, and his 149 yards were a season-high. It remains to be seen if this was the breakout game Houshmandzadeh's owners have been hoping for, but it should at least reinforce the fact that he should never be out of your lineup. Chad Johnson, on the other hand, had just four catches for 34 yards. Johnson still hasn't eclipsed the 60-yard mark in a game this season, and should be considered no more than a decent WR3 option. Cedric Benson averaged just 1.8 yards-per-carry on 25 attempts, and with the aforementioned tough upcoming schedule, he's not worth much. -- Chris Ryan
Considering the Broncos were down to a converted fullback, a practice squad player and a recently signed free agent at the halfback position, their running game was surprisingly effective. Peyton Hillis ran the ball a team-high 10 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns, and chipped in three catches for 26 yards. The recently-acquired Tatum Bell played, and ran well, despite being in less than ideal shape. He finished with 34 yards on seven carries, while rookie P.J. Pope gained 35 yards on just four opportunities. As was the case with Michael Pittman, Selvin Young and Andre Hall earlier in the season, it looks like Mike Shanahan will stick to his three running back approach. Bell, and Young when he returns, are decent stash guys just in case, but Hillis, taking on Pittman's role, is the most valuable commodity.
Matt Ryan failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since Week 4, and had his share of rookie moments, such as an ill-advised, off his back foot, interception in the second half. It was a disappointing game against a decimated Broncos defense, but that's the danger of relying on a rookie quarterback. If you're counting on Ryan to lead your team through the playoffs, it would be wise to invest in a respectable second QB. Michael Jenkins had five catches for 55 yards, marking the fifth consecutive game in which he's been over 50 yards. He should remain a reliable WR3 from here on. -- C.R.
Earnest Graham limped off the field after his only carry of the game. He'd been dealing with ankle and knee injuries, and was seen wearing a protective boot after the game. His season may be over. In his absence, Warrick Dunn rushed 20 times for just 53 yards, but gained another 65 on four receptions. Carnell Williams did not play in the game, but could begin seeing action as early as next week. He's worth taking a flier on, but expectations should remain low. Antonio Bryant led all receivers with five catches for 59 yards, but it was tight end Jerramy Stevens who had the best day, with 84 yards on six receptions. Since Jeff Garcia has taken over the quarterback duties, Bryant has settled in nicely as a steady WR3. Stevens has had a few decent games this season, but he's also been held catchless in four contests. Don't buy into the big game; there are better tight end options out there.
Bernard Berrian made his way into the box score after being shut out last week, but the Buccaneers kept him underneath all day, limiting him to just three catches for 46 yards. The Vikings have some friendly matchups over the next few weeks, so expect Berrian to return to his previous WR2 status. Gus Frerotte didn't throw an interception for the first time in four games, but he only attempted 20 passes for 138 yards. He's really cooled off since his hot start, although he still has the capabilities to help your team when the matchup is ideal. With the exception of those in extremely deep leagues, neither Sidney Rice nor Bobby Wade has much value for owners. They combined for four catches and 34 yards. -- C.R.
Marc Bulger threw for 295 yards and a touchdown, but he also turned the ball over three times, and his lone score came late in the fourth quarter, with the game completely out of reach. With both Orlando Pace and Richie Ingonito leaving with injuries, Bulger was under constant pressure and was sacked four times. Things look to be going downhill fast for the once-resurgent Rams, and owners should cut ties with Bulger immediately. Donnie Avery posted a career-high nine catches for 93 yards, while Torry Holt continued his fall from fantasy grace, catching five balls for 60 yards. Avery has clearly turned into the primary target in St. Louis, and has much more value than Holt at this point. With Steven Jackson still sidelined, Antonio Pittman rushed for 95 yards on 14 carries, and his backup, Kenneth Darby, had 109 total yards on seven rushes and eight catches. Unfortunately, with Jackson's eventual return both runners have a low ceiling overall.
The 49ers capitalized on Bulger's miscues to the tune of 35 first-half points. Frank Gore was his usual outstanding self, gaining 106 yards and scoring twice. He's rushed for over 90 yards with at least 18 carries in the three games since Mike Singletary took control of the team. Shaun Hill posted a quarterback rating of 142.3, going 15-of-20 for 213 yards and two scores. He also ran in a touchdown. While the strong numbers are enough to get owner's attention, Hill is still a "game-manager" quarterback with very limited fantasy value. Vernon Davis found the end zone for the second consecutive game, but it was his only reception. Until he shows the ability to integrate himself into the normal flow of the offense, Davis should remain un-owned. -- C.R.
With teams ganging up to stop the Titans rushing attack, Kerry Collins has begun airing it out more, with impressive results. Following up his first 200-yard effort of the season, Collins threw for 230 yards and three scores. After dealing with a knee injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of four weeks, Justin Gage burst back onto the scene with 147 yards on four grabs, including two long touchdown receptions. As long as defenses are daring the Titans to throw the ball, Collins and Gage should be in line for productive closing runs. Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 116 yards on 31 attempts, but were held out of the end zone as a duo for the first time all season. Even with all the attention directed their way, the pair still had serviceable afternoons, and remain top-tier options.
Maurice Jones-Drew was the only player to have anything resembling a productive fantasy day for the Jaguars, rushing 17 times for 66 yards, catching three balls for another 26 yards, and scoring twice. Jones-Drew has now scored eight touchdowns in his last five games, and while his yardage totals remain underwhelming (he's averaging just 49.9 yards-per-game), he's finally starting to perform at the level that owners expected heading into the season. Fred Taylor had his second straight decent outing (12 carries for 58 yards), but he has yet to score a touchdown and doesn't appear as explosive as in recent years. He's worth hanging onto in case Jones-Drew goes down, but he's no longer startable. With his favorite target, Matt Jones, out with a thigh injury, David Garrard ended his streak of consecutive 200-plus yard games at six. No receiver had more than two receptions, which is a bad sign for Garrard's owners, considering Jones' looming suspension. If you have better options available at the position, it may be time to make a switch for the stretch drive. -- C.R.
Peyton Manning had his second 300-yard game, and threw multiple touchdowns without an interception in his third straight outing. He's regained his rightful place among the elite fantasy quarterbacks, and his receivers are reaping the benefits. Reggie Wayne's mini-slump is officially over after his seven-catch, 90-yard day, and Marvin Harrison, perhaps responding to the mountain of criticism directed his way as of late, had nine catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. It was his highest catch total since the first game of the 2005 season, and may be a sign of things to come as the Colts enter the very fantasy-friendly portion of their schedule (San Diego, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit). Also promising was Joseph Addai's involvement, and effectiveness. He totaled a season-high 105 yards on the ground, and did it on 22 carries, the first time he's received more than 17 attempts in a game. He also had season-highs in catches (four), and receiving yards (48), scored once each on the ground and on a reception. Suffice it to say, this was the type of day that Addai's owners had been pining for all year, and their patience will be rewarded as Addai looks to be primed for a monster end run.
So much for Steve Slaton's "tired legs." The rookie compiled 156 yards rushing, including a 71-yard scoring scamper. The only disappointment came in the form of two vultured touchdowns by Ahman Green. Green was used primarily in short-yardage situations, and though he doesn't have much value himself, his presence cuts into Slaton's role fairly significantly. Sage Rosenfels failed to find the end zone through the air, and threw a late interception. He's now turned the ball over nine times in four games, and his struggles have hurt Andre Johnson's production. He finished the game with four catches for 55 yards, the third time in a row he's been held under 70 yards. Johnson is still a must-start in every league, but his ceiling has been capped slightly without Matt Schaub throwing him passes. -- C.R.