Adam Levitan

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Week 8 Live Blog

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Welcome to Week 8, where backup running backs are taking center stage. A rash of injuries has resulted in big chances for the likes of Knowshon Moreno, Montario Hardesty, Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Maurice Morris, DeMarco Murray and more.

We'll have a Rotoworld staffer watching every game today, keeping an eye on all these backups 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.

1PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Joseph Addai (hamstring) is active, but Delone Carter will start. Look for a third-down/insurance role for Addai.
* Beanie Wells (knee) is active. Still, his workload is also uncertain and he's facing the Ravens. Bad spot.
* Brandon Jacobs (knee) is ready to go, as expected.
* Percy Harvin (ribs) is active, but we'd be surprised if he even sees half the offensive snaps.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Sean Smith is shadowing Hakeem Nicks, but getting eaten up. Nicks is too big, strong, fast.
* So far, so good for Beanie Wells. He looks quick and has three carries on the Cardinals' first seven plays from scrimmage.
* Interesting to note that Percy Harvin lined up as a traditional running back on his touchdown run -- just like Adrian Peterson would. Harvin essentially stole Peterson's touchdown.
* Asher Allen is shadowing Steve Smith all over the field. Interesting move, and a big mistmatch in favor of the Panthers.
* Strange happenings in the Miami backfield: Steve Slaton is being used as Reggie Bush's complement and got two straight goal-line carries midway through the first quarter. He converted the second chance.
* Blaine Gabbert took a shot to the ribs at the end of a scramble and left the game. But it looks like a mere bruise as he's probable to return. UPDATE: Gabbert is back in there after missing just three plays.
* As expected, the Ravens are force-feeding Ray Rice. He had seven carries in the first quarter today after having eight in the whole game Monday night.
* After one quarter in Tennessee: Chris Johnson five carries, one yard. Javon Ringer two carries, 13 yards. Boo birds raining down on CJ.
* Jonathan Stewart has completely passed DeAngelo Williams. He's getting more carries, more passing-down work and more goal-line work. Stewart got a chance from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter but didn't execute.
* No sign of Joseph Addai through the entire first quarter. Not even in a blitz pickup role. It's all Delone Carter and Donald Brown.
* Brandon Jacobs had a rough start in his first series back. Dropped a handoff from Eli Manning, then had a screen pass brick off his hands. Won't earn much more playing time that way.
* Jonathan Stewart looked like he tweaked an ankle late in the first half. Was getting it re-taped while DeAngelo Williams came on.
* First half touches/yards in Titans' backfield: Chris Johnson 9/18. Javon Ringer 9/43. The effort just doesn't look to be there for CJ2K.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Jonathan Stewart is back in the game. His ankle tweak was minor.
* Big concern for Ahmad Bradshaw owners. He's left the game with a foot injury and is getting X-rayed in the locker room. Remember, Bradshaw has a history of stress fractures and surgeries on both of his feet. Brandon Jacobs is on but has struggled, leaving Eli Manning to take to the air.
* UPDATE on Bradshaw: He came back out to the bench, sat on the sideline with his right leg up. Then doctors came, showed him some X-rays and took him back to locker room. This could be bad.
* Maurice Jones-Drew is struggling to get anything going as the Texans dare Blaine Gabbert to beat them. There's a safety in the box on almost every play.
* As I mentioned in Monday's Dose, Ray Rice is so good because he never comes off the field. Early downs, passing downs and goal-line. Has two 1-yard scores today. Anquan Boldin keeps setting him up by drawing interference calls in the end zone.
* With the Colts in comeback mode, they have turned to Donald Brown as their primary back. Delone Carter still thought of as a pounder.
* Percy Harvin is on the sideline while Stephen Burton acts as the No. 3 receiver. Can't trust Harvin's snap count.
* No, you're not mis-reading your box score. Javon Ringer is playing ahead of Chris Johnson in crucial drives for the Titans. Right now, Ringer is the better player. No other way to explain it.
* Beanie Wells is struggling with explosion on that knee. Give him credit for gutting it out, but he's never been effective at less than 100 percent.
* Hakeem Nicks sustained a hamstring strain late in the game and was quickly deemed done for the day. The impressive Victor Cruz, who always seems to be open and making things happen after the catch, has a major up arrow.

4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Matthew Stafford (ankle) is starting, as expected.
* Ryan Torain is starting for the Redskins. Roy Helu will be used on all passing downs and as the primary back if the 'Skins fall behind.
* Anthony Armstrong starts in place of Santana Moss (hand).
* Peyton Hillis (hamstring) is inactive. Montario Hardesty is set for another full workload in another brutal matchup.
* Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) is a surprising late scratch despite a probable tag.
* Ben Watson (concussion) is active. Downgrade Evan Moore's breakout chances a little.
* Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) is starting. Mike Williams looks like a healthy scratch.
* Braylon Edwards is active, but Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn are still listed as the Niners' starters.
* BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) is active.

OBSERVATIONS
* The Broncos are wisely going to the spread formation to take advantage of Tim Tebow's strengths. First play from scrimmage is an empty backfield shotgun draw.
* Bernard Scott is really quick to the edge. Big chance for him here to earn a bigger split of the carries even when Cedric Benson returns.
* Steelers' first drive: Nine passes, two runs. Yes, they are a pass-first team now.
* Surprising news in Seattle: Charlie Whitehurst, not Tarvaris Jackson, started for the Seahawks. Jackson's pectoral may have proven to be not strong enough in warmups.
* No worried on Matthew Stafford's ankle. He just broke off a 21-yard run and looked no worse for the wear.
* Vernon Davis looks like he sustained some kind of arm injury. He's on the sideline watching for now.
* Tarvaris Jackson is on now for an ineffectie Whitehurst, but he's getting the same treatment from Sidney Rice. The No. 1 wideout has two bad drops already.
* Montario Hardesty has a calf injury and is questionable to return. With Peyton Hillis already out, Chris Ogbonnaya is carrying the load. Yikes.
* We thought that Keiland Williams would be the Lions' goal-line back, but Maurice Morris just went over the pile for a score. Calvin Johnson brought them down to the 1-inch line.
* Strange that the Patriots are using Kevin Faulk so much in his first game active. He leads the Patriots' backfield in snaps in the first half.
* This Andy Dalton/A.J. Green combo is for real. Green just broke Earl Thomas' ankles on a double move and Dalton put it right on him for the bomb. Impressive.
* Greg Little is not hurt, but he's been getting roughed up by the 49ers' impressive secondary. Little will have better days ahead.
* I'm confused why the Seahawks didn't just start Tarvaris Jackson. He looks really strong, throwing the ball 50 yards downfield off his back foot.
* We talked a lot about the potential of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders leading up to today. And they are showing why. The Steelers must reduce Hines Ward's role -- even when he's healthy. The Packers have done it with Donald Driver and it paid off.
* There's not much to say on Tim Tebow other than he has played as poorly as a quarterback can possibly play for all but the final moments of last week's win. His leash is going to be short going forward as the coaching staff doesn't like him in the first place.
* The Steelers have used aggressive press coverage to keep Wes Welker in check. Give Ike Taylor some credit -- he's having a big year.



Adam Levitan is in his fifth 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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