Adam Levitan

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 5 Injury Questions

Saturday, October 08, 2011


These bloated bye weeks reward the active owner. Those of us that are grinding the waiver wire weekly, following the injuries closely and building deep benches have a major advantage. Heck, we might even come across some very viable plug-n-plays every now and then.

This week, injuries are providing help to owners with thin benches. Isaac Redman is going to get a ton of touches if Rashard Mendenhall sits. Jacoby Jones is ready to fill in for Andre Johnson. Stevan Ridley is set to continue his upward trend with Danny Woodhead sidelined.

As we get set for Week 5, Mendenhall is among the true game-time decisions. We’ll know his official status around Noon ET.

Each week in this space, we’ll bring you the latest line on all the hurt folks. Of course, the Rotoworld News Page will be humming all Sunday morning to bring you official word on all your players ahead of kickoff. To make sure you’re prepared, read every word of these rankings from Gregg Rosenthal/Chris Wesseling in combination with Evan Silva’s unprecedented Matchup Column.

And if you want to draft a new team just for this week, check out SnapDraft here.

OK, let’s get to the hurt folks:

1 P.M. GAMES
TITANS at STEELERS
* Rashard Mendenhall is a true game-time decision, but we’re tentatively expecting him to sit after putting in one limited practice all week. Isaac Redman will be a RB2 with upside if starting. Mewelde Moore (ankle) is also out.  
* Ben Roethlisberger (foot) may have limited mobility, but is a full go.
* Tennessee FB Ahmard Hall is back from suspension to pave the way for Chris Johnson.

RAIDERS at TEXANS
* Andre Johnson (hamstring) is out. Jacoby Jones gets the nod.
* Ben Tate (groin) and Derrick Ward (ankle) are both game-time calls. Regardless, Arian Foster is getting the monster workload.
* Louis Murphy (groin) is not expected back this week in Oakland’s crowded receiving corps.
* Michael Bush (ankle) is fine. Darren McFadden’s goal-line chances will have to wait.

CHIEFS at COLTS
* Jonathan Baldwin (thumb) is healthy, but it’s unclear if he’ll be active. He’ll likely have to earn his role on offense by playing on special teams first.
* Curtis Painter is starting even though Kerry Collins (concussion) returned to practice.

BENGALS at JAGUARS
* Zach Miller (shoulder) will not play.

SEAHAWKS at GIANTS
* Mike Williams (concussion) is out. Ben Obomanu gets the nod, leading to plenty of double teams on Sidney Rice.
* Brandon Jacobs (knee) popped up with an MCL sprain this week and is out. Ahmad Bradshaw will be backed up by Danny Ware.

CARDINALS at VIKINGS
* Beanie Wells (hamstring) was limited in practice all week. It’s only a mild concern though, as he looked 110 percent last week and isn’t known to have any setbacks. Beanie should be fine.
* Todd Heap (hamstring) is headed for a game-time call after pulling up lame in practice. Avoid.
 
SAINTS at PANTHERS
* David Thomas (concussion) is out. Jimmy Graham is set for another monster game.
* Devery Henderson (calf) is banged up and Marques Colston is back. Move along.
* Speaking of Colston, his role is expected to increase significantly this week. Best bet among Saints wideouts.
* Jeremy Shockey (concussion) is expected to play, but Greg Olsen is the tight end to roll with here.

EAGLES at BILLS
* C.J. Spiller (knee) is ready to play his returner role.
* Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) isn’t even on the injury report.

4 P.M. GAMES
BUCS at 49ERS
* Sammie Stroughter (knee) remains sidelined. Preston Parker will continue to man the slot job.  
* Braylon Edwards (knee) is still out. Michael Crabtree (foot), however, looks 100 percent.
* Frank Gore (ankle) is healthier this week than he was ahead of last week’s breakout.

JETS at PATRIOTS
* Danny Woodhead (ankle) is out. Stevan Ridley will pick up extra carries once again.
* Aaron Hernandez (knee) is expected to make his return. His exact role, however, is unknown.
* Nick Mangold (ankle) is ready to return. Big news for the entire Jets’ offense.
* Plaxico Burress (elbow) is a full go in a dream matchup.
 
CHARGERS at BRONCOS
* Vincent Jackson (hamstring) is going to try to fight through his injuries once again. He likely won’t play the whole game, but it’s hard, even impossible, to sit him.
* Antonio Gates (foot) is out, as expected, Randy McMichael gets another start.  
* Eddie Royal (groin) remains out, giving Eric Decker more leash.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
PACKERS at FALCONS
* Ryan Grant (kidney) practiced all week and is ready to share the load with James Starks.
* Jason Snelling (concussion) is ready to resume his third-down/change-of-pace role.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
BEARS at LIONS
* Earl Bennett (chest) remains sidelined, giving Dane Sanzenbacher a chance to bounce back.


SURVIVOR PICK OF THE WEEK
It wasn’t pretty, but we survived with the Bucs last Monday night. I have now used Houston, Detroit and San Diego and Tampa.

This week’s most likely winner is clearly the Giants. Seattle played a hard-fought home game against the Falcons last week and now has to go all the way across the country to face the Giants’ pass rush. I’d estimate that 80 percent off all entries remaining in Survivor leagues use the Giants this week.

I’d like to get tricky here and try to fade the Giants. But I just don’t see another choice I feel comfortable with. So we’ll try to make our move in the weeks ahead.

Some spots I would avoid include the Saints as the Panthers are on the verge of knocking someone off. We can also find a better spot for Green Bay than on the road in a Sunday Night Football game. Houston scares me in their first game without Andre Johnson.   

MY TOUGHEST DECISION OF THE WEEK
In a 10-team, half-PPR league with bloated starting lineups, my flex spot came down to Jonathan Stewart, Robert Meachem or Stevan Ridley.

Of course, I’ve been praying for  DeAngelo Williams injury all season long. If you watch Stewart play, you can see he’s a top-5 kind of running back when given opportunities. He’s also made major strides as a receiver out of the backfield.

Ridley is certainly a consideration with Danny Woodhead (ankle) sidelined. The rookie’s snap count is on the side, peaking at 19 last week as he flashes explosive ability. I ruled out Meachem with Marques Colston back. It’s not that Meachem won’t see as many snaps -- it’s that the red-zone chances are going to come down.

In the end, I decided to go with Ridley by a hair over Stewart. Against a suddenly weak Jets’ defense, Ridley should push for 10-14 touches. And with Carolina using Cam Newton as their goal-line back, Ridley is a better bet for a score than Stewart.



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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