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RB Jacob Hester - Denver Broncos

5-10, 226Born: 5-8-1985College: LSUDrafted: Round 3

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Week 21: vs Carolina Panthers

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Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. The Broncos have relied on their running backs heavily during the playoffs - between C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, the two players have handled 64 touches on the football, while Peyton Manning has thrown 69 passes in those two contests. Anderson scored the only offensive TD of the game against Pittsburgh, with 15/72/1 rushing and 2/11/0 receiving, while Hillman managed 16/38/0 rushing in his chances. Against the Patriots, Anderson recorded 16/72/0 rushing and 3/18/0 receiving, while Hillman handled 11/16/0 rushing and 1/7/0 receiving. Lately, Anderson has been much more effective with his chances - it would be no surprise to see him handling most of the work on Super Bowl Sunday. Carolina comes into this game with injuries to some key defensive players - defensive end Jared Allen is working hard to overcome his fractured foot and play in Super Bowl 50, but he simply may not be healthy enough to play on Sunday - outside linebacker Thomas Davis broke his arm in the NFC Championship game, had surgery to put a plate to strengthen the fracture, and will have to wear some combination of cast/soft-cast/brace if he is well enough to play in the contest against Denver. Davis said on Monday, February 1 that he could be limited in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, but he has every intention of playing in the game. He returned to practice and used a cast Monday. The practice status of each defender warrants attention during the late-week practices leading up to the Super Bowl. The Panthers closed out regular season ranked fourth in the NFL averaging 88.4 rushing yards allowed per game, with 11 rushing scores handed out. Over the final four weeks of regular season, the Panthers averaged 19.1 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs (in the middle of the NFL range for that time span at 15th in the NFL). The Panthers stayed right on their usual pace during the Divisional Round, allowing just 12/78/0 rushing to the Seahawks, and followed up with 16/60/1 rushing allowed to the Cardinals during their 15-49 drubbing at the hands of Carolina. David Johnson recorded 15/60/1 rushing and 9/68/0 receiving during the game, indicating that Anderson could enjoy some production as a receiver in the upcoming contest. Anyway you slice it, this is a tough matchup for the Broncos' backs, even if Thomas Davis is a part-time player on Sunday.

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