Adam Levitan

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Week 11 Live Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Welcome to Week 11, also known as the last time we'll have to deal with byes this season.

We'll have a Rotoworld staffer watching every game today, keeping an eye on 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 be constantly updating this page through the late games. You can also hang out with other fans in the Rotoworld Forums.

Editor's Note: Get the latest news from Rotoworld on your iPhone or iPad here.

1PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* A.J. Green (knee) is inactive. Andre Caldwell gets the start, but is playing out of position in a tough matchup.
* Stevie Johnson (shoulder) is ready to go as a WR2.
* Montario Hardesty (calf) remains out. It's the Chris Ogbonnaya show again.
* Felix Jones (ankle) is active, as expected. We're expecting a strict backup/change-of-pace role behind DeMarco Murray.


FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* As expected, DeMarco Murray starts. The first play of the game is a designed roll-out throw to him for nine yards. The second play of the game is a halfback dive to him.
* Inaccuracy continues to plague Matthew Stafford. If he doesn't get sharper as this game moves along, perhaps we can start blaming that fractured finger. He's still sporting the double-glove look and now has six interceptions in his last three quarters.
* Ryan Torain started for the Redskins, just like last week. But on the first two plays from scrimmage, they faked to Torain and ran reverses. We'd expect to see plenty of Roy Helu later and he'll be in for third downs.
* Anthony Armstrong started at wideout for the 'Skins. He was buried in the doghouse, but is now out thanks to Leonard Hankerson's season-ending hip injury.
* No change in the Dolphins' game plan out of the gate. They are pounding Reggie Bush into the middle of the line on their first drive and there's no sign of Daniel Thomas. UPDATE: The Dolphins continue to use Bush as their primary red-zone/goal-line runner. He got two chances from inside the 10-yard line at the end of the first quarter and converted the second one.
* Dez Bryant can't be stopped by any corner. Period. He's the next Calvin Johnson.
* Lee Evans is only playing in passing situations early. He'll need more time before pushing Torrey Smith for the No. 2 receiver job.
* Yes, that's NT B.J. Raji with the Packers' first touchdown. It's another reason not to trust James Starks/Ryan Grant. The Pack likes to use John Kuhn -- and now Raji -- in goal-line sets.
* Kevin Smith is getting reps over an ineffective Maurice Morris now. The Lions likely see Smith as a better option in the passing game. It's definitely something to monitor, especially with Jahvid Best (concussion) nowhere near returning. Smith certainly looks poised to take over as the starter and is worth an add in all formats.
* Tashard Choice acted as the feature back on the Redskins' final drive of the first quarter. For now, it looks like Shanny is planning on Ryan Torain and Choice as his early-down backs, with Roy Helu as the strict third-down back.
* Adrian Peterson is down with what looks like a left ankle sprain. He's getting carted off. Toby Gerhart is his backup.
* Both Donald Jones and Brad Smith are down with injuries for the Bills. Look for C.J. Spiller to get a lot of work at wideout the rest of the way. The Bills are down 21-3 midway through the second quarter.
* OK, let's take the panic button off Matthew Stafford. He's too talented to be held down, finger injury or not. Kevin Smith emerging in the passing game certainly helps -- Stafford lost a lot when he lost Jahvid Best.
* David Nelson, who came into the game with an illness, was spotted throwing up in a garbage can behind the bench late in the first half. He's not right and is missing snaps.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Adrian Peterson's ankle X-ray reportedly showed no break. So he has a sprain, the severity of which is unclear. He won't be back today, leaving Toby Gerhart as the feature back.
* Now Ryan Torain is back as the feature back to open the third quarter. Bottom line? Shanny strikes again. We can't trust anyone here.
* Kevin Smith opens the second half as the Lions' starting running back. Make the add here ASAP. His pass-catching ability fits well with what the Lions do, and he's fresh.
* It's not going well for Denarius Moore today. The Raiders are going run-heavy with a big lead and he just limped off after a punt return.
* Yeah, we can safely call of the dogs that were all over Matthew Stafford. He's up to four touchdowns today and there's still 1 1/2 quarters to go in a close game. Forget the finger/Michael Jackson glove look.
* Stevie Johnson's shoulder does not appear to be an issue. The problem is he's getting shadowed by Vontae Davis and Ryan Fitzpatrick is not very good. How silly was that contract they gave him? Bad timing.
* Don't fall into the trap of calling Laurent Robinson a journeyman. The guy can really play and even when Miles Austin (hamstring) gets back, Robinson will sustain value. Tony Romo really digs him.
* Lee Evans isn't going to take any snaps from Torrey Smith while the rookie is playing like this.
* Darrius Heyward-Bey is down with what looks like a scary, serious injury. He had been filling in for Jacoby Ford (foot). Chaz Schilens is next man up.
* Fred Jackson is down with a leg injury. He's officially doubtful to return and emerged from the locker room in full pads, but the Bills are getting ravaged. I wouldn't expect to see him again today. Owners can only hold their breath as C.J. Spiller comes on. It looks like a calf injury for F-Jax.
* James Starks is the latest to go down today. Limping off with what looks like an ankle injury. Ryan Grant is the add, but I'm not sure how effective he'd be at this point in his career. Spiller, Kevin Smith, maybe Gerhart would be better adds while we wait for all the injuries to shake out.
* Overtime for the Redskins: Donte Stallworth the No. 2 receiver and Ryan Torain/Roy Helu the running backs. Stallworth is rotating with Anthony Armstrong.


4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Julio Jones (hamstring) is inactive. Harry Douglas draws the start.
* Frank Gore (knee) is active and starting. He's hard to sit in a matchup with the Cardinals.
* Kevin Kolb (toe) is inactive, as expected. John Skelton gets another shot to put a stamp on this job. Color me skeptical.

OBSERVATIONS
* So far, so good for Frank Gore's knee/ankle. He's played almost every snap on the Niners' first drive.
* Brandon Lloyd is set up for a monster close to the year. He's in the right offense, has the right coordinator and his quarterback is due to get hot. He'll also avoid bad weather in the Dome.
* John Skelton hit his right (throwing) pinkie on a defender's helmet and looks to be in some pain. That certainly won't help in an already-brutal matchup.
* For the second straight week, the Niners are opening it up a little for Alex Smith. He's peppering Michael Crabtree, who is working over Patrick Peterson early.
* Chris Johnson looks really bad early. Again. Perhaps last week was a mirage because it came against the Panthers? After all, Kevin Smith shredded the Panthers last week. Still, Johnson's late-season schedule is really soft. And the Falcons came into today No. 3 in the league against the run.
* Vincent Jackson is eating up Charles Tillman. Looks like a boom day for V-Jax, who has been boom or bust all year long.
* Here's something I never thought I'd type: Marshawn Lynch has a touchdown in six straight games.
* Matt Hasselbeck has a right (throwing) elbow injury and Jake Locker is coming on. I really like what Locker can do with his legs, could be a two-QB league sleeper if Hasselbeck misses time.
* John Skelton has been benched in favor of Richard Bartel. Skelton palyed the position about as bad you can play it today -- Kevin Kolb is not losing his job.
* Frank Gore was just fine. In the first three quarters, he had 24 carries and Kendall Hunter had three.



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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