Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Not Super Mario

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mario Manningham should have hauled in an easy 60-yard touchdown pass at the end of the second quarter Monday night. Instead, he inexplicably bobbled the perfect throw and then slammed his head into the New Meadowlands turf while diving for it. Manningham’s night was over due to a concussion.

It’s a reminder of how thin the line between success and failure is in fantasy football. The league was ravaged by injuries in Week 2 and chances are your team was hit. See below for some fallout and be sure to check out Chris Wesseling’s Waiver Wired column Tuesday for recovery ideas.

As for the Giants, they are getting really thin at receiver. In addition to losing Manningham last night, Domenik Hixon dealt with cramps in his calf. That left Victor Cruz as the No. 2 receiver and newly acquired Brandon Stokley as the slot man. Remember that Kevin Boss is a Raider, opening up even more targets. Cruz has been wildly inconsistent and often drawn the ire of the coaching staff, but he is a talent. Desperate deep-leaguers can take a gander and see what develops. And if Hixon proves to be healthy, he'll be an option as well.

Mike Sims-Walker was the clear beneficiary of the Danny Amendola injury. He consistently got open and racked up 11 targets. MSW was on the field for all two-wide sets and plenty of single-wide formations as well. … Greg Salas did not impress. He filled in for Amendola in the slot, but muffed a punt, had a couple really bad drops and failed to separate. He finished with just four catches for 27 yards on eight targets. … Hakeem Nicks’ knee did not appear to be an issue. The Giants sat on a lead for much of the game and Bradley Fletcher did a surprisingly good job on him. … Steven Jackson (quad) appeared legitimately close to playing. He should be fine for Week 3. … Danario Alexander is someone to watch. He was used mostly in the red zone and has special talent when healthy. The snap count just isn't there yet.

Editor’s Note: For early rankings, projections, the Running Back report, the top-200 going forward list and much more, check out the Season Pass!

Disaster became official on Monday as the Chiefs placed Jamaal Charles (torn ACL) on injured reserve, ending his season. So what now for the backfield as Kansas City's season circles the toilet bowl? Well, it’s not going to be pretty.

Thomas Jones will start, but he’s 33 and has averaged 3.62 yards per carry over his last 18 games. Todd Haley was phasing him out of the offense for a reason. There won’t be much upside there. If I’m making an add here, it’s going to be Dexter McCluster. At a generously listed 5’8/170, McCluster can’t carry much of a load, but does have excellent receiving skills. He has wide receiver eligibility in most fantasy formats, making him worth a look in PPR formats. McCluster would have value with something around 7-9 carries and 4-6 catches per game.

 It was ecstasy and then agony for Miles Austin owners. Just as he was rounding into dominating form with his good buddy Tony Romo, he aggravated his hamstring on one of the final plays of regulation. Now, the Cowboys are reportedly going to sit him down through their Week 5 bye. It’s a smart move to get him back to 100 percent, but there is no great replacement here. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten will become target monsters, leaving Kevin Ogletree to pick up the scraps.

Aaron Hernandez owners are feeling similar to Austin owners. They had a gem and now they don’t. Hernandez sprained his MCL on Sunday and is out at least 1-2 weeks. One report out of Comcast SportsNet New England says Hernandez could cost him 4-6 weeks. Look for Rob Gronkowski to absolutely go off and Chad Ochocinco to actually get on the field. The Pats will have to scrap their wildly effective two-tight end sets in favor or three-wide sets that use Ocho.

If this was a few years ago, Michael Vick probably would have come back and finished out Sunday night’s loss to the Falcons. But we are in a heightened era of concussions, so Vick was held out.

Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said Monday that Vick barely even had a concussion according to baseline tests and medical standards. Still, he’ll have to go through the protocol this week before being cleared. The feeling in Philadelphia is that Vick will be able to play in Week 3, but we won’t know for sure until late in the week. Mike Kafka figures to practice with the first unit on Wednesday as Vince Young (hamstring) has fallen behind.  

Eddie Royal (groin) is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. When he gets back, he likely won’t have a starting job. I was assigned to the Bengals/Broncos game on Sunday and Eric Decker is a real player. He has excellent ball skills, is really physical and has the trust of Kyle Orton. Even with Brandon Lloyd (groin) likely to play in Week 3, Decker will be worth a look as a WR3.


Felix Jones (shoulder) is expected to play next week, but his role is in doubt. Given his history, the Cowboys may be inclined to sprinkle in Tashard Choice more. … Sidney Rice has a torn labrum but is going to try to play through it. Keep expectations low. … Tony Romo is expected to play in Week 3 despite a punctured lung. … Lee Evans (ankle) took plays off last week and may need to sit down this week. … Kevin Walter (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 3. … Brandon Lloyd (groin) was a last-minute scratch in Week 2. He should be fine.

Coach Hue Jackson confirmed that Denarius Moore has earned a larger role. If he doesn’t start over Darrius Heyward-Bey going forward, the Raiders are a joke. Add Moore. … Coach Gary Kubiak confirmed that Ben Tate will be the lead back until Arian Foster fully heals. Meanwhile, Derrick Ward (ankle) is not expected to play in Week 3. … Percy Harvin played on just 44.1 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 2. It’s unexplainable. … Coach Mike Munchak said he wants to increase Javon Ringer’s role. … Josh Cribbs has passed Brian Robiskie as the Browns’ starting No. 2 wideout. … The Jags are refusing to name a starting quarterback for Week 3. … Daniel Thomas played 33 snaps on Sunday compared to 25 for Reggie Bush. … James Starks played 37 snaps on Sunday compared to 16 for Ryan Grant.

Editor’s Note: Sick of your team already? Get a new one and win real cash with SnapDraft!

Adding a different defense/special teams each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Personally, I’m looking for one as the Texans were my unit in most spots and I’ll be sitting them against the Saints. Here are units that might be on waivers to consider this week for streaming purposes:

1. CHARGERS vs. Chiefs - San Diego is likely on waivers due to their matchup in New England last week. But now they get the reeling Chiefs at home without Jamaal Charles. Remember that the Chargers led the entire league in yards allowed per game at just 271.6.

2. LIONS at Vikings - At this point, Detroit should be owned in all formats as an every week kind of unit. But this is an especially nice spot against a Vikings team that is averaging just 120.0 passing yards per game through two weeks. The Lions’ secondary is susceptible to big plays, but the Vikings aren’t a threat.

3. PANTHERS vs. Jaguars - I’m not in love with this one as the Panthers have already lost Thomas Davis and Jon Beason to knee injuries this year. But Chris Gamble is back playing at a high level, they are home and the Jaguars have major quarterback issues. We could do worse. 

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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