Adam Levitan

Last Minute Decisions

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Week 9 Injury Questions

Saturday, November 05, 2011


You can’t win your league in August. With all the injuries and bye week blues coming to a head over the last couple weeks, the active owner is the successful one.

Over the last few days, I’ve heard from people considering names such as D.J. Ware, Taiwan Jones, Curtis Brinkley, Kevin Faulk, Javon Ringer and Chris Ogbonnaya for their starting lineups. No one could have predicted that when we drafted a couple months ago. You can gain an edge on your league just by grinding as hard as you can.

You can also gain an edge in Week 9 by using our tools to get a read on these third-stringers.

Of course, the Rotoworld News Page will be humming all Sunday morning to bring you official word on all your injured players ahead of kickoff. And to make sure you’re prepared, read every word of these rankings from Gregg Rosenthal/Chris Weaseling in combination Evan Silva’s mind-blowing Matchup Column.

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
JETS at BILLS
* Plaxico Burress (back) is no lock to play. Owners should be aiming higher anyway.
* Donald Jones (ankle) is set to return, but the deep threat isn’t an option against this secondary.

BROWNS at TEXANS
* Peyton Hillis (hamstring) and Montario Hardesty (calf) have both been ruled out. Chris Ogbonnaya gets the start and Thomas Clayton will get some reps.
* Mohamed Massaquoi (concussion) is ready to go as a WR5.
* Andre Johnson (hamstring) is still out. Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones remain viable desperation plays.

DOLPHINS at CHIEFS
* Daniel Thomas (hamstring) will be a game-time call. If he can’t go, Reggie Bush gets the start again.

SEAHAWKS at COWBOYS
* Tarvaris Jackson (chest) is nowhere near 100 percent, but will start as a high-risk QB2.
* Sidney Rice (foot) is fine despite taking Thursday off.
* Mike Williams (hamstring) is ready to go and might limit the snaps of Ben Obomanu.
* Felix Jones (ankle) remains out and Tashard Choice is in Washington. It’s the DeMarco Murray show.

49ERS at REDSKINS
* Fred Davis (ankle) is tentatively expected to play after a limited practice on Thursday and Friday.
* Braylon Edwards (knee) is a full go opposite Michael Crabtree.
* Santana Moss (hand) is out indefinitely.

BUCS at SAINTS
* LeGarrette Blount (knee) will return and is expected to gain some extra snaps on third downs with Earnest Graham done for the year.
* Josh Freeman’s mild thumb injury is not a concern.
* Mark Ingram (heel) remains out. Last week, Darren Sproles had 12 touches, Pierre Thomas had 11 and Chris Ivory got six.
 
FALCONS at COLTS
* Julio Jones (hamstring) makes his return in a plus matchup.
* Joseph Addai (knee, hamstring) is tentatively expected to play. If he does, it will be as part of a committee with Delone Carter and maybe Donald Brown.
* Dallas Clark (knee) practiced in full Friday despite a questionable tag. He should be fine.
* Tony Gonzalez (back) will start.

4PM GAMES
BRONCOS at RAIDERS
* Willis McGhee (hand) is expected to play, but it’s unclear if he can catch the ball or block. He’s a high-risk, high-reward kind of option.
* Darren McFadden (foot) is out. Michael Bush gets the nod, with Taiwan Jones available as a change-of-pace option.
* Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring) is questionable. Owners are better off playing it safe and looking elsewhere.

BENGALS at TITANS
* Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) is not ready. Donald Lee gets another start.  

GIANTS at PATRIOTS
*Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is listed as doubtful, meaning he is almost certainly out. Brandon Jacobs will carry the load and D.J. Ware/Da’Rel Scott will be change-of-pace options. Bradshaw’s long-term status remains unclear.
* Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) is also doubtful. He’ll target Week 10 for his return, leaving Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz as strong WR2 options.
* Wes Welker (neck) will play through a questionable tag.
* Kevin Faulk (knee) is tentatively expected to play after making his 2011 debut last week.
* Aaron Hernandez (knee) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) should be fine despite being listed as questionable.

PACKERS at CHARGERS
* Ryan Mathews (groin) and Malcom Floyd (hip) are not expected to play, but will test their injuries in pre-game warmups. It will be almost impossible for owners to wait on this late start.
* Mike Tolbert (hamstring) is a full go and will likely be spelled by Curtis Brinkley, who has been cleared from his concussion.

RAMS at CARDINALS
* Sam Bradford (ankle) will be a true game-time call. If he can’t go, A.J. Feeley gets the nod again.
* Kevin Kolb (toe, foot) is not going to play. Erratic John Skelton gets the nod.
* Danario Alexander (hamstring) is out. The top targets for the Rams figure to be Brandon Lloyd and Greg Salas.
* Beanie Wells (knee) is fully expected to play again. He’s a RB1 in this matchup.
* Todd heap (hamstring) is a game-time call and Rob Housler (groin) is out. Yawn.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
RAVENS at STEELERS
* Lee Evans (ankle) remains out. Torrey Smith gets another start.
* Emmanuel Sanders (knee) is out. Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace will be outside, with Hines Ward (ankle) ready to go in the slot.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
BEARS at EAGLES
* Brent Celek (hip) is fine as a fast-rising TE option.

SURVIVOR PICK OF THE WEEK
We barely hit last week with the Ravens and also recommended the Titans. We also said that the Rams had “no shot” against the Saints. Oops. It’s a reminder that any NFL team at home is dangerous, even the fighting A.J. Feeleys. Or maybe even the fighting Curtis Painters this week.

This week’s most likely winner is the Texans. The have turned into a team that can grind out wins with a running game and a defense whenever they want. They’ll have no trouble stopping a Browns team with crumbling pass protection and a hamstrung running game.

Some spots to avoid include the Packers, who will have much better spots later in the year. The Niners are also due for a clunker while the Redskins will be motivated off last weeks humiliation.

MY TOUGHEST DECISION OF THE WEEK
It’s a brutal week for me all around. The majority of my squads were built around Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Darren McFadden. None are available this week. So we get some upside guys into our lineups and hope for the best.

In a 10-team non-PPR league with bloated starting lineups, my flex spot came down to Pierre Thomas vs. Jackie Battle vs. Santonio Holmes vs. Antonio Brown. A ton to consider here and I’m embarrassed to say I spent more than 30 minutes thinking about it. In the end, I decided to ride with Battle.

Santonio is out for me until the Jets prove they will use him. Over Holmes’ last 16 games (including playoffs), he has just 56 catches for 737 yards with eight touchdowns. It’s a classic case of an offense not using their most talented offensive player.

Next, I threw out Pierre simply because of concerns about his usage. Even with Mark Ingram sidelined last week, Thomas saw just 11 touches. Chris Ivory’s role can only grow. So despite a very nice matchup against a weak Bucs’ front seven, Thomas takes a seat.

I really like Antonio Brown, especially with Emmanuel Sanders not around to steal targets. But some words from Mike Tomlin stuck with me this week.

"We're not going to drop back and throw the ball 50 times against the Baltimore Ravens because you're going to get sacked and intercepted," Tomlin said. "It's naive to think we'll take that formula to each and every stadium."

So Battle, who has established himself as a lock for 15-plus touches and goal-line work, gets the call.



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.
Email :Adam Levitan



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