Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Panic on Peyton

Monday, September 05, 2011

The biggest news of the weekend was supposed to stem from rosters getting cut down to 53 men. It turned out that Peyton Manning’s stem stole the show.

The annual roster churn that is the NFL’s cutdown weekend came and went with little fanfare. When a 31-year-old career backup runner is the biggest offensive name to get the ax, we know it was a yawner.

However, there is reason to get excited: The Dose is back, baby! For the next 17 weeks, we will be bringing you a daily wrap of the day’s news with insight and analysis you can use for your squad. Let’s get the party started in Indy, where the aforementioned Manning has owners and Colts fans in a panic.

The rumblings started Sunday when an Indianapolis radio host said sources have told him that Peyton Manning needs another procedure on his neck and will remain out indefinitely. That provoked team president Bill Polian to say, “I don’t know anything about that. I honestly don’t.” Then ESPN’s Chris Mortensen chimed in, saying that no second surgery/procedure had been planned “as of now.” Mort did add that the team did not believe Manning would be ready for the opener when they signed Kerry Collins last week. And CBS’ Mike Freeman has a source inside the Colts saying Manning could potentially miss 4-5 weeks.

When there is a lot of smoke in situations like this, there is often a fire. So if you haven’t drafted yet, Manning is not worth the risk before Round 8 or so at the earliest. We’re also downgrading Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon. Without Manning, this team would need to change it’s entire philosophy and they are highly unlikely to do that successfully with Collins. A full-blown forest fire could erupt here as soon as Monday as the Colts will be under heavy pressure to officially update Manning’s status.

Update (Monday, 11:57am ET): The Colts announced Monday morning that Manning will stop practicing and he is considered doubtful for Week 1. There's reason to believe that he'll miss multiple games and the truth is that no one knows exactly how long he'll be out. Recovery from neck surgery has proven to be very complicated for Manning. This is turning into a situation to avoid for fantasy owners.

Editor's Note:
Haven't drafted yet? For updated rankings, projections, exclusive columns and much more, check out the 2011 Draft Guide!

The Bears predictably didn’t find a trade partner to dump Chester Taylor on, so they just cut him. It wasn’t hard to connect the dots to figure out where he would land -- Arizona was desperate for a backup after losing Ryan Williams and needed someone that has experience protecting the quarterback on third downs. Taylor fits the bill.

However, Taylor should not be seen as a threat to Beanie Wells’ breakout potential. Taylor failed miserably as a short-yardage back in Chicago and has averaged 2.93 yards per carry on his last 206 totes. He’s barely even worth rostering as a handcuff. Speaking of handcuffs, Marion Barber is now locked in as Chicago’s backup and potential goal-line vulture to Matt Forte. But like Taylor, Barber’s burst is gone. There wouldn’t be much upside, even if Forte were to get hurt.

There are plenty of reasons to believe the Chiefs will regress after last year’s 10-6 breakout. Preseason injuries aren’t going to silence the doubters.

The highly talented yet injury-prone Tony Moeaki is out for the year after tearing his ACL in the preseason finale. Other quality TE2 options possibly available on your waiver wire include Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks and Evan Moore.

Also, Matt Cassel apparently wasn’t being truthful when he said he just got the wind knocked out of him last week. It turns out that he has a rib injury and is in doubt for the opener. This is yet another reason not take Dwayne Bowe if you haven’t drafted yet. Here are some more reasons.

Well, it was a fun ride for Rashad Jennings. He earned the honor highly prestigious honor of No. 1 handcuff thanks to his talent level and Maurice Jones-Drew’s questionable knee health. It turns out that he hurt his own knee in the third preseason game and is done for the year.
Deji Karim takes over as Jones-Drew’s handcuff, but it’s not the same. He‘s really just a change-of-pace runner, not a feature back. Karim is a must-own for MJD owners, but more of a luxury for most owners as a standalone player.

Chris Johnson says he expects a full workload in Week 1 despite his month-long holdout. He should be in all lineups. … Kendall Hunter has officially won the backup job ahead of Anthony Dixon. Adjust accordingly, Hunter can play. … Donnie Avery was cut by the Rams, making Danario Alexander the No. 4 wideout for now. Rookies Austin Pettis and Greg Salas both made the team. … Ryan Torain made the Redskins’ roster, but has a long way to go to climb towards a major role. He will likely need a Tim Hightower injury to be relevant. … Cedric Benson is already out of jail after serving less than four full days. He will start and get the majority of carries in Week 1.

There was no new news on Arian Foster over the weekend. He remains day to day and could be headed for a game-time decision tag in Week 1. … Brandon Jackson (toe) is done for the year. It means extra work for Peyton Hillis as the third-down back. Meanwhile, Montario Hardesty is looking good in his comeback from his ACL tear. He should gradually earn more and more of a role as the season goes on. … Chris Ivory (foot, sports hernia) is on the reserve/PUP list, meaning he's out the first six weeks.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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