Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Collateral Damage

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Peyton Manning situation is obviously devastating to his owners. The shrapnel will also slice into all the Colts’ pass-catchers.

Manning is the kind of player that an entire franchise revolves around. This isn’t like an Arian Foster situation, where the Texans would just plug-n-play their usual game. It’s not similar to the Titans missing Chris Johnson. Even teams like the Packers and Eagles would be okay without their starting quarterback.

But without Peyton, the Colts will be forced to change their entire scheme. They can no longer run a hurry-up offense and lead the league in pass attempts like they did last year. Kerry Collins, who has had all of two weeks to work with the offense, will be a statue behind a shaky offensive line. We know he won’t replicate Manning’s efficiency -- but the concern is that he won’t even get close.

That brings us to Austin Collie, who returned to practice Monday following a foot injury. If Manning was healthy, this would be big news as one of our favorite PPR breakout candidates appears to be peaking at the right time. Instead, Collie is a shaky WR3 at best. Reggie Wayne, who was already declining, is now facing a cliff. Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon get similar downgrades.

Right now, no one knows when Manning will return. That’s because Manning himself, his doctors and the Colts don’t even know. But considering he’s been pulled from practice and still doesn’t have his velocity back despite undergoing surgery way back on May 23, Manning’s return does not appear imminent. Adjust perceptions of all your Colts accordingly.

Editor's Note: Have a last-minute draft? Get the latest rankings and projections in the 2011 Draft Guide!

John McClain is the Texans’ beat writer for the Houston Chronicle. That means he spends more time around the team than any other member of the media. And this is what McClain had to say late Sunday night on the Arian Foster (hamstring) situation:

“Because it wasn't a serious hamstring injury, merely an aggravation of the injury that caused him to miss two weeks of camp, he'll be ready for the Colts. No one knows for sure about it being an issue this season, but fantasy football owners should take him and not look back.”

We won’t know for sure until Wednesday’s practice, but all signs point toward Foster being ready for Week 1.

Lance Moore (groin) did not practice Monday. That’s especially concerning because today was essentially Wednesday for the Saints, who open the season against the Packers on Thursday. Unless Moore can get back in a full practice Tuesday, he’ll be a weak play at less than 100 percent against an elite defense.

Matt Cassel may very well have a cracked rib as reported, but he’s a football player. He was able to practice in full on Monday and confirmed that he expects to start Sunday against the Bills. The risk of aggravation with this injury is high, but a thick flak jacket should protect him. It will be an issue of pain tolerance more than anything. Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe will remain strong plays against a leaky Bills’ defense.

This update comes from the Suck for Luck headquarters. In a mild surprise, the Redskins have decided to roll with Rex Grossman as their starter ahead of John Beck. From a fantasy perspective, this is a yawner. The ’Skins skill players wouldn’t have any different outlooks if Beck had won out.

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Coach Mike Munchak confirmed that Kenny Britt (hamstring) will be “turned loose” this week. Look out. … The hits keep coming for Sidney Rice. First he decided to join up with inept Tarvaris Jackson and now he’s questionable for Week 1 due to a shoulder injury. … Miles Austin’s hamstring injury is worth watching. He’s been in and out of practice for weeks now. … Kevin Boss (knee) is in doubt for Week 1 as well. We can do better for backup fantasy tight ends anyway. … The same can be said for Chris Cooley (knee), who appears headed for a game-time call. … Mohamed Massaquoi (foot) is ready to go and expected to start Sunday. … Lee Evans (ankle) practiced Monday, clearing him to start against the Steelers.

Chris Johnson will not be limited in terms of carries this week despite his holdout. Get him in all lineups. … Cedric Benson is a free man and ready for a full workload as well. … Donald Jones has won the Bills’ No. 2 wideout gig. … Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss are expected to rotate as the Ravens’ No. 3 receiver. … Maurice Morris appears to have his nose in front of Jerome Harrison for the backup job, but there’s no clear handcuff to Jahvid Best here. … Beanie Wells is going to be the Cardinals’ workhorse. The arrival of Chester Taylor does not change that.

Adding a different defense each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Each week in this space, I’ll give out defensive units that are likely available in your league to consider for streaming purposes:

1. TEXANS vs. Colts: Houston was a sleeper defense anyway based on the additions of coordinator Wade Phillips and corner Johnathan Joseph. Now they’ll get a Peyton Manning-less Colts team in Week 1.

2. 49ERS vs. Seahawks: Until Tarvaris Jackson proves us otherwise, we are betting against him in all ways, shapes and forms. That includes not drafting anyone on his offense and rolling out team defenses against him.

3. CHARGERS vs. Vikings: San Diego’s defense quietly led the league last year in yards allowed per game. They’ll have a field day against Minnesota’s atrocious offensive line. 

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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