Adam Levitan

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Week 14 Live Blog

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Welcome to Week 14, where it's winning time in fantasy football.

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
* Adrian Peterson (ankle) is inactive. Toby Gerhart gets the nod again as a solid RB2.
* Christian Ponder (hip) is starting, but reportedly looked bad in warmups. Joe Webb is at the ready.
* Kevin Smith (ankle) is inactive. Maurice Morris is a PPR option as a guy Matthew Stafford loves to check down to.
* Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) is active despite his Saturday scare. Riley Cooper must be on all benches.
* Nate Washington (ankle) is active, but Damian Williams is really the No. 1 receiver for the Titans now. Avoid Washington.
* Dallas Clark (leg) is making his return and starting.
* Josh Freeman (shoulder) is active and starting.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* There's some late concern with Jimmy Graham. He wasn't warming up with the team and walked out of the tunnel instead of running. The Saints have said nothing and beat writers are suggesting Graham could be limited today.
* Jimmy Graham did not start, but played on passing situations on the Saints' first drive. However, he was hobbling badly and couldn't run at full speed. He did catch a pass on the first drive, but it was called back due to penalty. It looks like the Saints are planning on using Graham on a limited basis today.
* Brandon LaFell got the start ahead of Legedu Naanee. LaFell has a size/skill combo to watch.
* This Vikings' secondary is a disaster. Cedric Griffin is a shell of himself off his ACL injuries and just got blown past by Titus Young. The only way they'll slow Matthew Stafford is if the Lions get a huge lead. UPDATE: Griffin has been benched.
* UPDATE: Jimmy Graham is dealing with back spasms and is set to play limited snaps the rest of the way. The speed and cutting ability just isn't there, but he's gutting it out. Don't expect a big day.
* Rob Gronkowski now has the record for most touchdowns in a season by a tight end with 14. And he still has 3 3/4 games left. Gronked.
* The Titans are splitting Chris Johnson out wide much more than usual today. He's already caught a wide receiver screen and a nice swing pass.
* Matt Hasselbeck hurt his calf while leaping to try to knock down a batted ball. Jake Locker has come on. It's a reminder that old quarterbacks shouldn't be leaping for anything.
* No, Arian Foster is not hurt. Ben Tate got a goal-line chance and fumbled it away.
* The Vikings insist on calling out patterns with Christian Ponder. He doesn't have the arm strength for it and just got pick-sixed.
* Wow, DeAngelo Williams just exploded for a long touchdown. No one said he can't play, we only said Jonathan Stewart is better. Either one as a feature back in Carolina would be an easy top-8 option weekly.
* Shonn Greene is strangely playing behind LaDainian Tomlinson in terms of snaps. Early snap count is 18 for LT, 11 for Greene. Still, it's hard not to notice Greene's improved play of late in both the running and passing game. He's earning a reputation as a late-season runner.
* Aaron Hernandez's fluky lack of touchdowns continues. He just dropped one in the end zone.
* First half RB touches in Indy: Donald Brown 8, Joseph Addai 1, Delone Carter 2. Brown is the best talent here right now.
* Maurice Morris is dealing with a chest and is very limited. The Lions are down to Keiland Williams, who is brutal to watch.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* I know there are a lot of frustrated Calvin Johnson owners out there. The bottom line is that defenses are double- and triple-teaming him in the red zone. Not rolling a safety over -- actually doubling him at the line. Matthew Stafford is going the right thing by looking elsewhere.
* Jimmy Graham's back appears to be loosening up. He was targeted a team-high seven times in the first half and had a catch called back by penalty. He also had a third-quarter touchdown barely taken away by a toe on the sideline.
* Julio Jones continues to struggle with drops and near-misses. He was targeted five times in the first half and caught just one ball. And on one third-quarter drive, he had three near-touchdowns. Missed a jumpball, got a jumpball knocked out and then slipped at the goal-line.
* The more I watch Roy Helu, the more I'm convinced he's going to be an elite running back for the next few years. So fun to watch with his one-cut explosion and jump-cuts. Now, coach Mike Shanahan is buying in as well as Helu has barely come off the field in the last three weeks.
* Christian Ponder has been brutal today, as mentioned above. He's been replaced by scrambler Joe Webb, who promptly ran 65 yards for a touchdown.
* These Mark Sanchez rushing touchdowns aren't a fluke. He has the freedom to call designed QB draws at the goal line and uses that play often. He's an athlete.
* Jeremy Maclin's hamstring injury may be acting up in the second half. Riley Cooper is on as the X receiver in three-wide sets.
* Tough break for Matt Moore. He's got a head injury, aka a concussion, and won't return.
* I'm not overreacting to Chris Johnson's poor rushing numbers today. He still looked quick and got the the edge well. Just nowhere to run. Remember, Johnson gets the Colts and Jags the next two weeks.

4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Willis McGahee (knee) is active and starting.
* Eddie Royal (concussion) is out. Demaryius Thomas gets the nod.
* James Starks is out, meaning Ryan Grant and Brandon Saine will share the load.

OBSERVATIONS
* Antonio Gates is looking better and better as we move deep into the season. Running and separating with more ease. Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson being healthy certainly opens up the middle for him.
* Credit to Ryan Grant on that 47-yard touchdown run. I didn't think he could make it that far anymore with any kind of speed.
* Willis McGahee looks a little sluggish on that knee to start the game. Lance Ball is at the ready.
* Kevin Kolb is getting tested for a concussion in the locker room, bringing John Skelton on. Remember, Kolb had a concussion with the Eagles last year.
* CBS' Phil Simms said on the broadcast that Darren McFadden has a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Of course, that's much more serious than a mid-foot sprain. McFadden's long-term outlook is in doubt, and seeing him before the end of this season is far from a sure thing.
* No matter how well Ryan Mathews plays, the Chargers have no intention of using him at the goal line. Mike Tolbert is the ultimate vulture.
* Brandon Saine may have an injury as he walks to the locker room with trainers. With Grant playing so well, Saine's sleeper shine is wearing off.
* Tim Tebow's receivers are letting him down today. At least five drops already, with 1 1/2 quarters to go. Demaryius Thomas let a TD pass go right through his hands in the third quarter.
* I've tried to talk some about handcuffing your studs in the playoffs. Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson are two guys that can be handcuffed to James Jones. Jennings is down with a leg injury right now and it looks serious. He was carted off and his head is covered by a towel.
* Speaking of handcuffs: If I own Aaron Rodgers, I own Matt Flynn right now. And if I own Matthew Stafford, I own Shaun Hill.



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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