Adam Levitan

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Week 7 Live Blog

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Welcome to Week 7, where we are witnessing a new era in multiple spots around the league. The Christian Ponder era is on, the Tim Tebow era is underway and even the John Beck era is set to go.

We'll have a Rotoworld staffer watching every game today, keeping an eye on these new starting quarterbacks along with in-game injuries and depth chart changes. 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 PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Peyton Hillis (hamstring) is inactive. Montario Hardesty gets the start as a desperation fantasy play.
* Antonio Gates (foot) is active, as expected. Even if he just plays in red-zone packages, there's upside here.
* Charlie Whitehurst is starting in place of Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral). Should be a little boost for Doug Baldwin.
* We already knew that Julio Jones, Andre Johnson, LeGarrette Blount and Jahvid Best would be inactive.
* LaDainian Tomlinson is getting "ceremonial" start in place of Shonn Greene. Not a depth-chart change.
* Joe Haden (knee) is active. Bad news for Sidney Rice.
* One note for the late games: Kyle Boller is expected to start and Carson Palmer will merely get "some" reps. Look for an extremely run-heavy approach out of Oakland today.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Despite some rumors to the contrary, Eddie Royal -- not Demaryius Thomas -- is starting opposite Eric Decker.
* Marshawn Lynch injured his lower back while going through his normal warmup just prior to kickoff. He's not going to play today, leaving Justin Forsett and and Leon Washington to carry the load.
* Brandon Marshall with yet another bad drop. It's mind-boggling.
* Ben Obomanu is playing ahead of Mike Williams early on for Seattle. Not surprising -- Obomanu can get open and Big Mike can't.
* Tim Hightower started for the Redskins and played every single snap on the first drive. It looks like last week's shoulder injury was the sole reason Hightower didn't get a carry.
* Earnest Graham is down with what looks like a serious injury to his knee or leg. He's gone to the locker room. All the Bucs really have behind Graham is Kregg Lumpkin. UPDATE: Graham is done for the day with a right ankle injury.
* A 23-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes was called back due to a holding penalty.
* The Redskins are working an impressive Tim Hightower to the bone. Through one quarter, he has eight carries for 67 yards. Ryan Torain has no touches and Roy Helu has one.
* The first quarter was a good one for Antonio Gates. He played the majority of snaps and made his first catches since Week 2. Looks healthy for now. UPDATE: Gates is clearly at less than 100 percent, but he's unguardable. Just tallied a red-zone touchdown.
* Santana Moss went to the locker room with a hand injury. The Redskins are getting really thin at wideout and employing a run-heavy approach. Moss is on the bench now with a large wrap on his left hand.
* Ryan Mathews went to the locker room with a thumb injury as well and is questionable to return. Sound familiar? UPDATE: Ryan Mathews is back in the game. Sounds similar to the calf issue he had before the bye -- left for a little, then guts it out.
* Chris Johnson still looks average as the Titans come out of their bye. Hesitant, looks slow when he makes a cut. Very, very strange.
* Calvin Johnson is not injured. He's been in single coverage a couple times and the Lions haven't looked his way yet. Meanwhile, Titus Young appears to be losing some snaps to Maurice Stovall.
* Tim Tebow was absolutely terrible with his arm in the first half, completing 3-of-5 passes for 24 yards and taking two sacks. But he rushed six times for 38 yards, salvaging fantasy points.
* It appears the Redskins have no intention of using Ryan Torain. In the first half, Tim Hightower had 15 touches, Roy Helu had one and Torain had zero. Yes, Mike Shanahan strikes again.
* Ryan Mathews is healthy, but Mike Tolbert is the clear goal-line back. Just got three chances from the one-yard line and converted the final chance.
* Keiland Williams is gaining momentum as this game goes along. In the second quarter, he's been the feature back ahead of Maurice Morris.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Matt Ryan is down with what looks like a serious knee injury. Chris Redman is warming up. UPDATE: Matt Ryan is back -- just a scare.
* With the Titans trailing big, Jared Cook is getting tons of reps. he just got on the board with a touchdown.
* I'm no doctor, but it looked like Tim Hightower blew out his left knee in the third quarter. He went to cut on his left leg and his knee just buckled. He's on the cart with a towel over his head, leaving the backfield to Ryan Torain and Roy Helu.
* Ben Watson sustained a concussion in the second quarter. Could be big news for the highly-athletic Evan Moore.
* Michael Turner has a hand injury and is questionable to return. Jason Snelling is the add. The carnage today is out of control. UPDATE: Turner is back.
* The Broncos look like they are setting up Tim Tebow to fail. Traded away Brandon Lloyd, no screen passes today, more sacks than completions so far. Ugly.
* Willis McGahee is dealing wtih a hand injury. He was probable to return, but missed the whole third quarter.
* We mentioned above how bad Chris Johnson is playing. It looks like Javon Ringer has replaced him as the primary back for now. Yikes.
* Vincent Jackson is getting eaten up by Darrelle Revis. Badly.
* Steve Smith and Cam Newton have something special going on. As in, they are both elite, dominant players at their respective positions. Smith just got tackled at the one-inch line, leading to two unsuccessful goal-line runs for Jonathan Stewart. Yes, Stewart outplayed and outproduced DeAngelo Williams once again today.
* Plaxico Burress is destroying Antoine Cason in the red zone. Three scores.
* I know Tim Tebow has played as poorly as an NFL quarterback can play, but he still has 14.54 fantasy points in standard leagues. Have to ignore his real-life value. UPDATE: Tebow finished with 22.94 fantasy points.
* Fred Davis is racking up some major points with Carolina in a prevent. Still, he's their No. 1 receiver, especially with Santana Moss down.

4 PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Jonathan Baldwin is active for his NFL debut. Expect a limited package of plays.
* Bernard Berrian is inactive again. Looks like the Vikings have had enough and are finally ready to go to Devin Aromashodu.
* Sam Bradford (ankle) is inactive. A.J. Feeley gets the nod -- yikes.
* Mike Wallace (hamstring) is a full go.
* Brandon Gibson is the odd man out with Brandon Lloyd in town. Gibson is inactive.
* Tashard Choice, not DeMarco Murray is the official starter for Dallas. We're still expecting Murray to get more carries.
* Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring) is inactive. Dave Rayner will kick for Oakland.

OBSERVATIONS
* Kyle Boller, not Carson Palmer, is starting for the Raiders. Pretty amazing how coach Hue Jackson kept everyone guessing on this one right up until kickoff. Look for a ton of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.
* Welcome, Christian Ponder. Tossed a 72-yard bomb to Michael Jenkins off play action on his first play. Jenkins was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Again, Ponder is better than Donovan McNabb, period.
* Thomas Jones started for the Chiefs as Todd Haley strikes again. Still, expecting Jackie Battle to end up with the majority of work.
* Darren McFadden looks like he has some kind of ankle injury. He's headed to the locker room. UPDATE: McFadden has a foot sprain and is questionable to return. Michael Bush, along with Ben Tate, is the most important handcuff in the league.
* Late news from the 1pm games. Matthew Stafford is headed for an X-ray on his ankle. Consider me scared.
* Aaron Rodgers completed passes to six different receivers on his first TD drive. It's a reminder that we can't count on any one guy for consistent production until there is an injury.
* LeRon McClain just got the goal-line work for Kansas City. He fumbled on his way in but still got credit for the score -- for now.
* Update on Santana Moss -- broken hand. Likely out indefinitely.
* The Seahawks have lost CB Walter Thurmond (leg) for the season. With Marcus Trufant already on IR, they are down to a rookie fifth-rounder and Brandon Browner. They'll be a fantasy dream to play against.
* Beanie Wells is the latest to head to the locker room. He has a right knee strain -- never good for a guy that plays poorly at less than 100 percent. It's also the same knee Beanie had surgically repaired last year. Alfonso Smith has come on.
* Hines Ward looks to be hurt pretty seriously with a right ankle sprain. He needs to be replaced by Antonio Brown and/or Emmanuel Sanders anyway. Brown is busting out today and will rightfully be a hot waiver add.
* Percy Harvin aggravated his rib injury. The guy just doesn't play enough to be a reliable option.
* Darren McFadden still isn't back in the game. He's just watching from the sidelines with a long look on his face. Meanwhile, Carson Palmer has replaced a predictably brutal Kyle Boller.
* Tashard Choice is inept and injured again. He'll be replaced on the depth chart by Phillip Tanner shortly. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray is seizing control of this backfield while Felix Jones is out. Just remember he's playing the Rams.
* Rashard Mendenhall has not gotten hurt and has looked good when he got to the outside. But they Steelers have run a ton of spread offense today, using the speed of Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Mendy is falling out of "must-start" status.



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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