Adam Levitan

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Week 5 Live Blog

Sunday, October 09, 2011


Welcome to Week 5, where the men are separated from the boys. With six teams on a bye, we're getting questions on guys like Stevan Ridley, Jackie Battle and Ben Obomanu.

We'll have a Rotoworld staffer 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 throughout the late games. You can also hang out with other fans in the Rotoworld Forums.

1 P.M. GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Bernard Berrian was a surprise scratch, apparently due to an ugly spat on Twitter with a Minnesota lawmaker. The Vikings' top three receivers today will be Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. This could be a chance for Aromashodu to run with the job.
* Mario Manningham is getting another chance to save his job. He starts opposite Hakeem Nicks as a high-risk, high-reward WR3 play.
* Beanie Wells (hamstring) is a full go. Todd Heap (hamstring) is inactive.
* Vikings top corner Antoine Winfield (neck) is inactive. So is Seahawks top corner Marcus Trufant (back).
* Vince Young is locked in as the Eagles' backup quarterback. Mike Kafka is inactive today.
* Rashard Mendenhall, but is only expected to be used in case of emergency. The safe play is to bench Mendy and start Isaac Redman.
* Brandon Jacobs (knee) is inactive, as expected. Danny Ware will serve as Ahmad Bradshaw's backup.

FIRST-HALF OBSERVATIONS
* The Seahawks are running a hurry-up offense on their first drive. Ben Obomanu has two quick catches out of the gate.
* Marshawn Lynch appeared to hurt his leg at the end of a catch-and-run. He walked off quickly under his own power though. Looks like he'll be OK to come back, perhaps after Justin Forsett finishes out this drive. UPDATE: Lynch is back.
* Donovan McNabb is out of the gate in ugly fashion. Two inaccurate throws, one that should have been pick-sixed. Christian Ponder can't be worse, can he?
* Goal-line usage from New Orleans: Pierre Thomas gets the call from the 3-yard line and takes it to the one-foot mark. Then they bring in Mark Ingram, but run Jed Collins on an unsuccessful fullback dive. Collins scores on next play off play action. UPDATE: On a second-quarter goal-line chance, Ingram punches it in from the 1-yard line. Jimmy Graham has come up just short of two scores.
* Jake Ballard is doing his best Kevin Boss impression for the Giants. Dragging defenders to end zone. Now has a touchdown in two straight games. Extreme deep leaguers take note, coach Tom Coughlin is reportedly high on this kid.
* Adrian Peterson is serving notice today to all those (me) that have been calling Darren McFadden the best back in the NFL. Peterson is juking and stiff-arming Cardinals' defenders. Embarassing them. Three touchdowns in the first quarter.
* Joseph Addai is limping off the field very slowly. Looks like a right leg issue. Delone Carter and "Dammit" Donald Brown are the backups. UPDATE: Addai has a hamstring injury and is doubtful to return. Carter acting as the primary back now.
* Mario Manningham is running as the primary receiver opposite Hakeem Nicks in all two-wide sets. Victor Cruz is working the slot.
* Percy Harvin picked up a bruised rib while blocking for Adrian Peterson. His return is probable. Update: Harvin is back.
* Donald Jones left with an ankle injury and will not return.
* I'm really impressed by Ben Obomanu. With Corey Webster locking up Sidney Rice on other side, Obomanu is running really crisp routes. Showing nice hands. Obomanu a better long-term option than Mike Williams, who is out with a concussion today.
* Owen Daniels has clearly taken over as the No. 1 receiver in Houston with Andre Johnson (hamstring) out. Daniels has five targets midway through the second quarter.
* Ben Roethlisberger is clearly in a ton of pain, but has three first-half touchdown passes. Isaac Redman got a goal-line carry from the 1-yard line but didn't execute.
* Not sure what's going on with Jonathan Stewart. We haven't seen him even on the field through a quarter-plus.
* I consider Darrius Heyward-Bey a three-time guy. Meaning, he'll have to have three good games in a row before I believe he's turned a corner. Today marks his second straight good game.
* Well, Todd Haley wasn't lying about his Jackie Battle usage. First half carries: Battle 6, Thomas Jones 4, Dexter McCluster 3. Battle has been impressive, picking up 38 yards on his six carries.
* Darren McFadden is getting killed by penalties. He's lost at least 40 yards out there in the first half.
* I thought Curtis Painter looked good Monday night and he's doing it again today. The key is that he knows the hurry-up scheme and the playbook. Big arm. Still, he's played the Bucs last week and the Chiefs this week. Only those in two-QB leagues should be getting excited.

SECOND-HALF OBSERVATIONS
* First goal-line chance for Arizona: They go shotgun, four-wide and then slip the ball to Beanie Wells for the score.
* Jonathan Stewart lives! He had zero touches in the first half and wasn't even seen on the field. He then was the primary back on a third-quarter drive. Weird.
* Tarvaris Jackson hurt his right (throwing) shoulder early in the third quarter. He went to the locker room and Charlie Whitehurst has come on.
* Denarius Moore is getting locked up by top Texans corner Johnathan Jospeh. Darrius Heyward-Bey is running wild on the other side.
* Isaac Redman, who was getting outplayed by Jonathan Dwyer anyway, has left with an unknown injury. UPDATE: Redman just has cramps.
* Yet another 1-yard touchdown run for Cam Newton. Every week I say it -- Newton is not a fluke. He's Carolina's goal-line back.|
* Victor Cruz just made the catch of the day -- maybe the catch of the year. Runs an out-and-up from the slot, catches tipped ball between defenders with one hand. I would say it's a fluke, but this guy consistently makes plays like that. He's going to be a viable WR3 even with Manningham playing well today. Cruz is useful as a slot receiver.
* No, I'm not buying Matt Cassel's big day. Dwayne Bowe is a nightmare matchup for the tiny Colts' secondary. The Chiefs were trailing big early and took to the air.
* Jackie Battle looks like the best runner in the Chiefs' backfield. Showing decent size and speed. Predicting Todd Haley's thoughts are difficult, but it will be hard to sit Battle going forward. UPDATE: Battle looks like he hurt his head or neck. Trainers looking at him on sideline.

4 P.M. GAMES

INACTIVE NEWS
* Aaron Hernandez is active but his role is unclear. High-risk play.
* Vincent Jackson (hamstring, abdomen) is active. The Chargers are expecting him to play at least the 22 snaps he played last week.
* Antonio Gates is inactive, as expected. Randy McMichael gets another start.

OBSERVATIONS
* The first two carries for the Broncos go to Willis McGahee. It's clear who the starter is here.
* Vincent Jackson started and got a deep target on the first drive. Looked to be running well.
* Darrelle Revis is trying to get physical with Wes Welker at the line of scrimmage. Looks like they'll try to get Welker on the island on all thrid downs.
* With seven minutes left in the first quarter, Kyle Orton throws a really bad pick. Just careless. John Fox has to consider Tim Tebow sooner rather than later.
* Update from the Titans: Chris Johnson didn't play late in the game due to hamstring tightness. Something to monitor.
* First quarter snap count: Frank Gore nine, Kendall Hunter two.
* Ryan Mathews hurt his calf at the tail end of an impressive 36-yard run. He went to the locker room but has since returned to the sideline with his helmet and pads on. UPDATE: Mathews is back in the game and breaks off a 17-yard run on his first carry back. It's scary how good this kid is.
* Aaron Hernandez has been on-and-off the field with that knee injury. Not really sure why the Pats rushed him back here.
* Shonn Greene is having his best game of the season, predictably against the Patriots' awful defense. The time to sell will be this week.
* MAJOR news out of Denver: Tim Tebow has replaced an ineffective Kyle Orton for the second half. As we've been saying, Tebow should be on a fantasy roster. In three starts last season, Tebow averaged 217.0 yards passing per game, 66.3 yards rushing and scored seven total touchdowns.
* More big news: Mike Tolbert has a concussion and will not return. Ryan Mathews is a top-5, if not top-3, fantasy option anytime Tolbert sits. Mathews neer gets tackled by the first guy, has elite speed and power. Special, special player.
* Frank Gore is running well once again. Still, he's doing it in two favorable spots: Against the Eagles' miserable run defense and against a Bucs team on the road after a short week.
* LeGarrette Blount appeared to take a shot to his left knee and hasn't returned. When you run to contact, you get hurt.
* Vincent Jackson is playing a full complement of snaps today and looks healthy. But he's getting shadowed by Champ Bailey and the Broncos' safeties are paying extra attention to him.
* I'm getting questions on Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker. Kyle Orton was inept and Tim Tebow has been just as bad. Whole game plan will need to be redone with Tebow now the starter and Broncos heading into a bye. I'd downgrade both wideouts with Tebow starting.



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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