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Risers and Fallers – Week 12

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears –
Can the Bears offensive line keep Jay Cutler upright and on the field?

Things are looking good for the Bears signal caller this week as he distances himself from his concussion. While that’s great news, we can’t help but wonder how long he’ll be able to last until his next injury. The Bears’ offensive line is one of the worst in the league. On top of that, Cutler has the ability to extend plays with his legs in the same manner as Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick. Seeing a trend here? Bad offensive lines and quarterbacks that scramble tend to equate to multiple injuries. We need to see improved offensive line play here as Cutler remains one of the most likely quarterbacks to leave the game due to injury. He needs to be allowed to step up in the pocket as opposed to rolling out in order to avoid further injuries.

Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals

Has Carson Palmer reestablished himself as an elite fantasy quarterback?

Fantasy owners have found themselves in quite the predicament over the last three weeks. Do we go with the bigger name quarterback as our starter or turn to the surprisingly effective Palmer? Over this time frame, in most cases, Palmer has proven to be the better option. Looking at the league leaders in the passing categories, after the usual suspects of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, we see that the Raiders’ quarterback is tagging along. This week he gets matched up against his former team. This is the same team that benched him to begin the year last season and then traded him to perhaps the worst team in the league as a middle finger gesture. You know that Palmer will be looking to prove that Cincinnati was wrong in moving him as the chip on his shoulder will be larger than Ted Washington. Four games of stellar performances should be enough for owners to finally view him as a must-start as we head into the fantasy playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Going from bad to worse, can any offensive option from Pittsburgh produce?

Every time we say that things couldn’t possibly get any worse in Pittsburgh, by gosh they go out and find a way to do just that. The Steelers have more injured players than stadium occupancy at this point. On the offensive side of the ball, two wide receivers are banged up, their running backs are dropping like flies, and to top it all off, they are on their third quarterback in two weeks! Veteran backup Charlie Batch gets the nod this week as he attempts to drive the Steelers offense. Will Batch be effective enough for us to be able to rely upon such options as Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall and Heath Miller in our lineups?

Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts –
With Fred Jackson back, does C.J. Spiller remain the No. 1 option?

The Bills franchise is one of the most confusing in the league. They are right up there with the likes of the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders in regards to personnel decisions. The season after they lock Fred Jackson up with a long-term contract indicative of a starting running back, they give him the back seat to Spiller. The latest news this week is that even though Jackson is healthy and ready to return to action he’ll serve as the backup to Spiller. Why extend the contract if you’re going to go with another option anyway? But I digress, Jackson’s role could have a huge impact in the same manner that Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants did with new comer Andre Brown. Both Buffalo runners will see their fair share of open lanes as the Colts are one of the easier teams against whom to run. This will set a precedent moving forward on how we use Spiller and Jackson for the rest of the season.

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