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Fantasy Football: All Wells for Beanie? Not so fast, say history, Hyphen
By Tim Heaney
Beanie Wells was a decent stash a few weeks ago while no one was looking. Keith says so here. Glass Joe - err, the Arizona Cardinals running back is expected to be activated from the new Injured Reserve list and is in line to start Week 12, per sideline czar Ken Whisenhunt.
If 'Zona decides that Ryan Lindley will continue taking snaps instead of John Skelton, establishing a palpable ground attack would take pressure off the rook. Wells, in theory, makes for the better carry Atlas than LaRod Stephens-Howling.
The St. Louis Rams, Wells' Week 12 opponents, just allowed Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell to trample them and have yielded the most fantasy points per game to this position in the last month. The New York Jets, who stand in Wells' way for Week 13, are a middling statistical matchup only because the Miami Dolphins' weak running work evened out the barrages from Marshawn Lynch and the Rams' Steven Jackson-Daryl Richardson twosome.
Looks good for Wells, right? Hmm ... I'm not as optimistic as Keith is.
After these next two weeks, the Cards get the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14, followed by the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers. Ouch. Hardly welcoming, especially for a RB that's regaining on-field force.
The stakes are much lower now, considering you probably scooped him off the wire with little resistance, but how often has Wells been a letdown? Do you have enough fingers and toes to count? Plus, it'll probably take Wells at least one game - more likely two or three - to get his game shape back, though he insists he's close already. Will that happen in time for him to take full advantage of the upcoming doormats?
I'm not ready to proclaim Stephens-Howling a bona fide NFL feature back, but he's surprised this year and is coming off a 22-127-1 party. Sure, that came on two big plays, but that's the pint-sized pitter-patterer's strength. He's gained valuable experience in becoming more than another gimmick player, and against defensive edges that can easily be controlled, he's shown more spunk. He's not paper; he can take more of a beating than most think.
With all the QB woes Arizona has faced, Wells will be facing stacked boxes and isn't as adept at escaping them as his fleet-footed teammate. Plus, creating space is a tall task for this wing-clipped offensive line, one of the worst run-blocking groups - especially for power situations - in the league. Neither has a distinct advantage in pass blocking, either.
Don't kid yourself. This will remain a time share.
Follow the patterns. In Week 5, the Rams stifled Ryan Williams, who, like Beanie is wont to do, looked muddy with his talents not yet fully recovered after his injury rehab. LSH wasn't even in the snaps conversation yet.
For the Jets, the quick, dart-like Powell looked a bit better against St. Louis the slower between-the-tackles option (Greene) on Sunday. Sound like a familiar setup to you?
For the near future in point-per-reception formats, I'm soundly sticking with The Hyphen over Wells.
Byes are over, so you might not be hurting as much for RB options anyway. Of course, given the crop's current M.A.S.H. unit, Beanie could be a season-saver, or at least a buoy. Worth a shot, right?
Just prepare for the ever-present possibility that he'll scuffle out of the gate, at minimum. Stephens-Howling could continue suppressing the starter's value, if not nearly erase it, if all's not Wells with the returning runner.
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