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Beanie Wells is coming off a career game against the St. Louis Rams, where he, in many cases, single handedly won the game for those owners who started him, and left those fans who kept him on their benches reeling.
Wells has been limited throughout the season by a knee injury, and his performance, like that of his team, has been hit and miss.
Wells has posted more than 30 points—in most formats—at his best, and just one tenth of that, there points, at his worst. He has definitely frustrated owners, so much so, that less than 65% of owners started him against the Rams.
Wells comes into the game against the Cowboys having set a Cardinals rushing record in the previous game, and hoping to continue his recent run of form.
The Cowboys defense is significantly better than the Rams, but with Kolb coming off an injury, and neither Chester Taylor or LaRod Stephens-Howling doing anything to establish a running back committee in Arizona, Wells is likely to see a significant number of carries.
Though Wells has once again been limited in practice throughout the week, he should not be too adversely affected come game time.
Wells has struggled with ball security in the past, especially on botched hand-offs. Receiving the ball from Kolb shouldn't be too much of a change for him—both Skelton and Kolb are similarly sized quarterbacks, at 6' 5" and 6' 3" respectively.
Wells is best when he is able to hit the hole hard, and run north and south, and when forces to dance around in the pocket, has been much less successful. If Wells can run right up the Cowboys gut, and the Cardinals do not abandon the run too soon, then Wells could have a good game.
A change at quarterback could be a mixed blessing and curse for Wells, depending on how the game unfolds. The blessing is that a quarterback, coming off a four game injury may be likely to lean more heavily on his running back as he looks to ease himself back into the swing of things, the curse could be that Kolb may now be playing for his job and, win or lose, will need to post some significant numbers of his own to quiet his critics, who are calling for his job to be handed to John Skelton.
The Cowboys fierce rush defense early in the season has looked much more anaemic in the past five weeks, and have given up numerous 100+ yard rushing games
Wells will look to ride the momentum of his 228 yard game against St. Louis, and the Cardinals play callers will likely give him a chance to do so.
There is a problem, however. Although the Cowboys have given up plenty of yards recently, they have been much more stingy in the red zone, and have not given up very many touchdowns at all. The Cardinals have struggled themselves in the red zone, and Wells lacks the elite speed to make long rushes for touchdowns—as demonstrated twice against the Rams, when he was eventually caught, and tackled short of the end-zone.
Wells should be set for double digit points against the Cowboys, but fans hoping for similar numbers to those he posted against the Rams will likely be disappointed. He should be started in most formats, but does not have quite as much upside as he did last week.