Week 3 Live BlogSunday, September 25, 2011
Welcome to Week 3. The story of the week is the massive amount of big-name injuries, so be sure to stay tuned to the News Page for the latest updates.
Meanwhile, a Rotoworld staffer will be watching every game today, keeping an eye out for in-game injuries, depth chart changes and potential breakout players. If you have a specific question about something going on in a specific game, ask me on Twitter (@adamlevitan) and we will try to get you an answer in this space.
So check back often as we'll constantly be updating this page through the late games. You can also hang out with other fans in the Rotoworld Forums.
1 P.M. GAMES
* Arian Foster (hamstring) and Derrick Ward (ankle) are out. Ben Tate is set for a monster day.
* Mario Manningham (concussion) is out. Victor Cruz gets the start in a tough spot.
* Peyton Hillis (illness) showed up to the stadium and then was sent home. Montario Hardesty has a big chance here.
* Michael Vick (concussion) is ready to go.
* Jerome Simpson is active despite his marijuana situation, but Andre Caldwell is starting.
* Note that in the late games, Antonio Gates (foot) will be inactive.
FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* The Browns opened with three straight pass plays. We'll have to see how much faith they have in Montario Hardesty.
* Wes Welker is off to a hot start as he's matched up with Bills' CB Aaron Williams in the slot. Could be a very long day for the rookie.
* Adrian Peterson dropped a red-zone screen pass on third down during the Vikes' first drive. He can't seem to get over the hump with those passing-down duties.
* Chad Ochocinco started for the Pats, but wasn't on the field too much during the first drive. He's splitting No. 3 reps with Julian Edelman as the game moves on.
* On Blaine Gabbert's first drive, he starts off backed up in his own zone and takes a safety. Should have thrown ball away. Steep learning curve for this rookie.
* Percy Harvin had a walk-in TD but dropped a bubble screen. UPDATE: Harvin has already played 24 snaps with three minutes left in the first half.
* Rob Gronkowski is going to be the No. 1 fantasy tight end while Aaron Hernandez is out. Yes, we said it before today.
* Willis McGahee has dominated the Broncos' backfield in the first quarter. It even looks like Lance Ball is playing ahead of Knowshon Moreno.
* The Lions have started poorly. Two 3-and-outs and the line is not protecting Matthew Stafford. Before today, they were the only team that hadn't allowed a sack.
* Daniel Thomas is running hard between the tackles and Reggie Bush just fumbled one as he tried to split the B gap. Miami is finding out why no one else wanted Bush as a feature back.
* Andre Caldwell has five catches on six targets in the first quarter. Jerome Simpson has no catches on two targets.
* Victor Cruz partied like it was the 2010 preseason on that play. Can't question the guys athleticism and ability after the catch. Regardless, expect Mario Manningham back next week, pushing Cruz back to the No. 3 WR gig.
* Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi are the primary receivers in two-wide sets, leaving Greg Little out in the cold. Cribbs has a pretty touchdown on a jump ball.
* Cam Newton has been WILDLY inaccurate in the first half. Missing wide open receivers even when he has time in the pocket.
* Every time I watch the Panthers, I have the same thought: Jonathan Stewart is better than DeAngelo Williams. That D-Willy contract has to be among the silliest ever.
* Andre Johnson is turning Saints CB Jabari Greer into his personal whipping boy. Impressive.
* Kenny Britt is being carted off the field with a right knee injury after losing a fumble. Very, very scary. Damien Williams will come on across from Nate Washington. Lavelle Hawkins will also see an increased role.
* Note that Matthew Stafford hit his throwing hand on a helmet. He's playing through it, but something to watch.
* The conditions in Carolina have turned absurd. Puddles everywhere, extremely heavy rain. Going to be really hard for either team to get anything going offensively.
* Michael Crabtree played 25-of-28 offensive snaps in the first half. He had two catches for 16 yards.
SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Joe Haden is doing a really nice job on Brandon Marshall. Chad Henne is picking on Shelden Brown.
* I haven't been showing Scott Chandler any respect. Defenes aren't either. Couldn't have been more open onhis latest score.
* I'd say some panic is now acceptable on Chris Johnson. Has made some lazy plays today and Denver's run defense is awful. Very weird.
* Michael Vick is headed to the locker room to get X-rays on his right (non-throwing) hand. Mike Kafka has come on. Vick has taken a ton of hits both in and out of pocket today, as usual. UPDATE: Vick is back.
* We have to be even more worried about Frank Gore than we are about Chris Johnson. Declining talent, inept passing game and an underperforming line. Another miserable day with a bad drop and a costly fumble so far.
* Stevan Ridley is getting more playing time than BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the second half. Verrryyy interesting. We know BJGE isn't a special talent.
* UPDATE ON VICK: He has broken his right (non-throwing) hand.
* I mentioned Lance Moore in Last Minute Decisions as a sneaky play. His snap count is on the rise big time and he's producing.
* David Nelson drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone to set up a Fred Jackson TD plunge.
* Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and Riley Cooper (concussion) are on the sidelines. The Eagles got battered today.
* With the Panthers sitting on a lead, it's Jonathan Stewart -- not DeAngelo Williams -- running out the clock.
* Frank Gore has been playing behind Kendall Hunter since his fumble. See above for more on Gore -- it's not pretty.
4 P.M. GAMES
* Beanie Wells is a late scratch. Get him out of lineups. Chester Taylor is starting and Larod Stephens-Howling is also inactive.
* Steven Jackson is going to give it a go. We doubt he'll be able to handle a full load.
* Again, Antonio Gates (foot) is not going to play. Major concern here.
* Malcom Floyd (groin) is active despite a doubtful tag. He'll get a boost in targets with Gates out.
* Greg Salas is a healthy scratch after his nightmare performance on Monday night last week.
* Marion Barber (calf) is inactive once again. Can't shake it.
FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Dexter McCluster returned the opening kickoff for the Chiefs. Thomas Jones got the first two carries, the McCluster with a catch on third down.
* Denarius Moore gets the first two targets for the Raiders. Can't hold down talent.
* Patrick Crayton, not Malcom Floyd, starts for the Chargers.
* Ryan Mathews is getting EVERY rep so far -- even third downs. No sign of Mike Tolbert anywhere. UPDATE: Tolbert is in at the tail end of the first quarter. But make no mistake -- Mathews is becoming the man here. The talent disparity is wide. Mathews is getting goal-line AND third-down work. This could be huge.
* UPDATE ON BRITT: He's headed for an MRI. When asked about his status, he said "I'm limping." Sounds like they'll test for ligament damage.
* This Chiefs' RBBC is really, really ugly. Even Jackie Battle and Le'Ron McClain getting carries. McCluster just a third-down back, KO returner.
* UPDATE on Frank Gore: He played through an ankle injury in the second half. Already questionable for next week. Add Kendall Hunter.
* Torrey Smith is going off with Lee Evans (ankle) out. Note that Evans is not expected to miss more than a week. Ravens may turn No. 2 receiver spot into a rotation.
* We said last week that Jermichael Finley was on the verge of a breakout. It's coming today -- two touchdowns already as Craig Steltz can't cover him.
* The Seahawks are trying to give Brandon Browner help on Larry Fitzgerald. Doesn't matter. Browner is one to pick on weekly.
SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* UPDATE ON BRITT: The Titans reportedly fear he tore both the MCL and ACL. It's a worst-case scenario. Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins will see more reps and Nate Washington will get a ton of targets. Yikes.
* Philip Rivers has taken a ton of hits today and been inaccurate with throwns downfield. Really strange performance. He's been wincing all day.
* Alfonso Smith is playing ahead of Chester Taylor in the second half. Yeah, Taylor is that bad.
* Ryan Mathews was used as the goal-line back AGAIN in the second half. Beast.
* I believe Darren McFadden is the best running back in the NFL. Yes, better than Adrian Peterson.
* I'm pretty impressed by Dexter McCluster. He's just 160 pounds at most, but runs north/south and knows how to take a hit. Really quick through the hole. Chiefs are going to be losing a lot this year, so he'll play a ton in passing situations. Nice PPR option.
* Ryan Grant is getting looked at on the sideline by trainers. He's outplayed James Starks badly today. UDPATE: It's a "face" injury.
* I'm absolutely stunned at Sidney Rice's 100-yard day and would sell now if I had him. Arizona's defense and secondary may be the worst in the league.