Patrick Daugherty

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Bradshaw's Bizarre Afternoon

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday at Giants park was essentially an episode of 24, packing an absurd amount of action and hourly intrigue into what should have been a normal afternoon.

Blink, and you missed a new development with Ahmad Bradshaw’s foot. One minute the Giants’ lead back was almost certainly done for the season. The next, he was possibly on track to play in Week 9. In between, he considered surgery before ultimately deciding against it for the time being. If it all seems confusing, it’s because it is. Constructed from Rotoworld blurbs and beat-writer tweets, here’s our best attempt at re-creating the afternoon’s events:

11:00-12:00 EST:Ahmad Bradshaw has a cracked bone in his foot and is out indefinitely, a source tells the Newark Star-Ledger.”

12:00-1:00 EST:Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) has been telling teammates he might only be out for two weeks, a source tells the Newark Star-Ledger.”

1:00-2:00 EST: “A ‘person familiar’ with Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) tells ESPN's Adam Schefter Bradshaw's injury is ‘not serious’ and he ‘should play’ Sunday.”

2:00-3:00 EST: “Giants coach Tom Coughlin says Ahmad Bradshaw has not decided if he will undergo surgery on his injured foot, and will likely get a second opinion. Coughlin also pointed out that Bradshaw has played through a similar injury in the past, and it’s possible he will this time, as well. He will not play against the Patriots, however.”

3:00-4:00 EST:Ahmad Bradshaw has told the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano it's ‘not out of the question’ he plays against the Patriots.”

(two hour break)

6:00-7:00 EST: “According to the New York Daily News, Ahmad Bradshaw has decided, ‘at least for now,’ against surgery to correct a cracked bone in his foot.”

So after seven hours and nearly as many updates, Bradshaw ended up back where he began his Thursday: doubtful for Week 9, and questionable for beyond.

If Bradshaw is active against the Patriots, it’s likely he’ll be only an emergency back or in line for a minimal amount of touches. Just now making his way back from an injury of his own, Brandon Jacobs will get his long sought chance to again be the man in the Giants backfield, carrying the load on early downs and near the goal-line. Seldom-used D.J. Ware will fill-in on third downs.

As for Bradshaw, he remains someone to hold onto in all formats, but if Thursday’s events have you questioning just what exactly his future holds, you’re not alone.

While Bradshaw’s status grew murkier Thursday, Peyton Hillis’ (hamstring) became clearer.

Cleveland’s embattled back says he plans to play in Week 9 after sitting out the past two weeks, and the news comes not a moment too soon for a Browns team that will be missing Montario Hardesty against Houston’s seventh-ranked run defense.

Despite carrying the ball just six times since Week 4, Hillis should be in for a big workload as the Browns look to jump-start an offense averaging 11 points the past three weeks.

Backup/third-down back Chris Ogbonnaya will be little more than a desperation play in PPR leagues.

As has become custom, the Chargers enter Week 9 as one of the league’s most banged up teams. With both Ryan Mathews (groin) and Curtis Brinkley (concussion) likely to be inactive, Mike Tolbert — who sat out in Week 8 with a hamstring injury — is expected to play an every-down role against the Packers. He’s averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, but the Packers’ 10th ranked run defense is actually 25th in yards per carry against at 4.6. That, coupled with the 5-6 passes Tolbert is almost certain to catch should make him an RB2 in most formats.  

In the passing game, Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and Antonio Gates are both expected to play, but the perpetually banged up Malcom Floyd (hip) could be in danger of sitting out after missing his second straight practice Thursday. He needs to practice this afternoon.  

Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) is not expected to play against the Patriots. … BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe), Kevin Faulk (knee) and Aaron Hernandez (knee) were all limited for the second straight day Thursday, but each is fully expected to be active Sunday. … Teammate Wes Welker (neck) is ready to go for Week 9 after returning to practice. … The Rams grew “a little more optimistic" Thursday that Sam Bradford (high-ankle sprain) will be able to return against the Cardinals. If he can participate in team drills today, he should be a go. … His Cardinals counterpart Kevin Kolb (foot), however, should be out barring a surprise return to practice this afternoon. … Daniel Thomas (hamstring) is "optimistic" he’ll suit up Sunday, but is trending toward being a game-time decision. … Andre Johnson (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, and has been deemed a game-time decision by coach Gary Kubiak. Respected Texans beat writer John McClain is expecting Johnson to sit out for the fifth straight game. … Fred Davis (ankle) returned to Redskins practice, and remains on track to play against the 49ers. … Willis McGahee (hand) is tentatively expected to play after turning in another limited practice. … Mark Ingram (heel) can be all but ruled out.

Four receivers enter Week 9 with at least 800 receiving yards, but zero running backs have reached the 800-yard rushing plateau. In case you needed any more proof, this is a passing league.

Between his demolition of the Rams and 74-yard first-half against the Eagles, DeMarco Murray rushed for 327 yards in six quarters before being shut out as the Cowboys played catch up in the second half last Sunday. Felix Jones has rushed for 253 yards in five games this season.

Santonio Holmes has 22 catches for 311 yards in seven games. Matt Forte has 38 catches for 419 yards in seven games.

Kyle Orton has not taken a snap since Week 5, but still has more touchdown passes (eight) than Philip Rivers (seven).  

Blaine Gabbert’s 5.24 yards per attempt is last in the league, and just .03 yards better than Jimmy Clausen's comically bad 5.21 YPA from 2010.

The league’s top three rushers, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew have combined for 20 rushing touchdowns. Three belong to Jones-Drew.

Chris Johnson has rushed for 58 percent fewer yards than Fred Jackson.

Cam Newton has rushed for 17 more yards than Chris Johnson.

Jordy Nelson, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eric Decker, Early Doucet, Heath Miller, Michael Jenkins and Darren Sproles all have more receiving yards than Johnson has rushing yards.

Johnson, who set the single season record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage in 2009, has 629 fewer yards from scrimmage than Matt Forte.

FANTASY GAME OF THE WEEK: New York Giants at New England
What do you get when you combine two middling pass defenses (one the league’s worst) with two quarterbacks averaging a combined 8.7 yards per attempt? One explosive game.

Throw in the fact that the Giants have a bottom-five run defense, and you have a game where points and big-time fantasy performances should be plentiful.  

Big game: Pittsburgh 27, Baltimore 13
Fresh off containing New England’s high-flying passing attack, the Steelers should have little trouble with Baltimore’s pop-gun aerial assault en route to avenging Baltimore’s Week 1 beatdown.  

Big game II: New England 38, New York Giants 24
The Patriots catch the Giants on one of their bad weeks, temporarily silencing the furor surrounding their highly-flawed roster.

Upset of the week: San Diego 24, Green Bay 17
Nobody’s perfect, and after back-to-back uninspiring performances (by their standards), the Packers fall from the ranks of the unbeaten as champagne is popped in South Florida.    

The I really don’t have a clue but will pretend I do game: New York Jets 21, Buffalo 13
The Jets continue to round into form as the Bills lose for the third time in five games.

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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