Week 15 Live BlogSunday, December 18, 2011
Welcome to Week 15, where it's semifinal weeks 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.
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* James Starks (ankle) and Brandon Saine (concussion) are both inactive. Ryan Grant and John Kuhn will carry the load.
* Nate Washington (ankle, back) is active as a high-risk option.
* Dallas Clark (neck) is inactive. Jacob Tamme gets the nod.
* Kellen Clemens is starting for the Rams and Sam Bradford (ankle) is likely done for the year. Yikes.
* Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the "vibe" is that Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) will be able to play Monday night.
FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Joseph Addai, who is signed for another two years, continues to start for the 0-13 Colts. They aren't ready to commit to youth in Donald Brown.
* It's snowing pretty hard in Buffalo, but not sticking. It's a major test for Ryan Fitzpatrick's questionable arm. Hard to see him excelling in these conditions.
* Something is up with Dwayne Bowe. He's on the sideline for this entire first drive. It's possible he hurt something in warmups -- he's limping around. UPDATE: Bowe came in for a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line at the end of the first drive. UPDATE 2: Bowe is out there for the first play of the second drive. He's all good.
* Scary situation for Johnny Knox, who got bent backward at his torso. He's getting carted off and taken right to an ambulance. Knox had emerged as Caleb Hanie's favorite target. Meanwhile, FOX's Jay Glazer reported that the Bears expect to have Jay Cutler back in Week 17, if they are still in playoff contention.
* Jordy Nelson and Donald Driver "started" for the Packers with Greg Jennings (knee) out. I'd still expect James Jones to play significantly more snaps than Driver.
* Holy cow. Hakeem Nicks just had a ridiculously embarrassing drop on a sure 54-yard touchdown. He was wide open and the ball hit him right in the face mask. One of the worst drops I've seen all year.
* Adrian Peterson (ankle) was used as the every-down back on the first two series. Toby Gerhart came in on the third series. Gerhart later "vultured" a touchdown after a Peterson 39-yard run.
* Usage is a concern with Jermichael Finley, but hands are as well. He just can't catch.
* Reggie Bush has been really impressive between the tackles over the last month, so it's a surprise that Daniel Thomas got the first goal-line chance of the day. Then the Dolphins went to Brandon Marshall twice, unsuccessfully.
* Roy Helu is getting treatment on his left leg on the trainers' table between series. It doesn't look serious, but it's something to monitor.
* A.J. Green has a right shoulder injury. He's questionable to return.
SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* A.J. Green (shoulder) is back out there to start the second half. It may have been a stinger situation.
* Ryan Fitzpatrick is brutal. He just overthrew a wide open Stevie Johnson by about 10 yards. Before we get sucked into another hot Fitzpatrick start next year, remember the meltdowns that have happened in each of the last two seasons.
* Jake Locker needs to get under center for the scuffling Titans. And when he does, he'll be a really nice fantasy option thanks to his running ability and cannon arm. Matt Hasselbeck is washed up.
* Roy Helu jogged to the locker room at the tail end of the third quarter, but he's just getting re-taped. Still, it's clear Helu is at less than 100 percent and it's showing on his runs.
* Cedric Benson has been struggling all day, and it cost him a 1-yard touchdown run. Bernard Scott the call on the punch-in at the end of the third quarter.
* Jake Ballard sprained his knee at the end of the second quarter. He's done for the day. With Travis Beckum (chest) also out, Bear Pascoe is the only tight end the Giants have left.
* Hakeem Nicks just dropped another touchdown. A tougher catch this time on a goal-line stop route, but it still went right through his hands. He also drew a pass interference call earlier on the drive at the 2-yard line. And later he had a touchdown catch called back by holding. Unlucky day for owners.
* I'll mention Drew Brees for the simple sake of consoling owners that played against him. It could be worse. One of my buddies rolled with Brees and Lance Moore today.
* I'm in the minority here, but I really like C.J. Spiller. He's what we look for in a high-upside fantasy back: Big-play ability, makes people miss, can catch the ball really well. Yeah, he's not great in short-area elusiveness. But there's enough here to make the Bills think twice about giving Fred Jackson a big contract.
* Stevie Johnson tweaked his groin very late in the game and is sitting out as the Bills try to mount a rally.
* Kevin Smith (ankle) is active and starting. There's upside here as a RB2.
* Denarius Moore (ankle) is active, as expected.
* Deion Branch (groin) is out.
* Eddie Royal (concussion) is active. He may end up rotating with Demaryius Thomas.
* Darrelle Revis is shadowing DeSean Jackson early. Jackson has almost no chance of beating that coverage. He's not good enough.
* Yes, Chad Ochocinco is alive and still on the Patriots' roster. The surprising part is that he's playing ahead of Tiquan Underwood and actually scoring. Weird.
* Early on, it looks like Demaryius Thomas is playing ahead of Eddie Royal. Makes sense -- Thomas is a physical beast while Royal is more of a specialist, slot-receiver type.
* Along with Reggie Bush, Shonn Greene is showing stuff we didn't think he had. He's still running to contact, but he's breaking more tackles. Perhaps it's not a fluke that he does better late in every season -- defenders get worn down.
* Willis McGahee is dealing with some kind of muscle strain. He's been in and out of the lineup. Unlucky, as the Broncos were gashing the Patriots on the ground.
* We thought that Calvin Johnson would get force-fed this week, and it's happening. The Raiders' secondary isn't capable of stopping him, even with double teams.
* DeSean Jackson was trying to hustle and make a tackle after a LeSean McCoy lost fumble. The problem is he's tiny and got hurt. The severity is unknown right now. UPDATE: It's an elbow for Jackson. He's questionable to return, bringing Jason Avant on. Riley Cooper is only Jeremy Maclin's backup. UPDATE2: Jackson is back, but he's still getting shadowed by Revis. Wouldn't expect much.
* Updating the Dwayne Bowe situation from earlier, he didn't start due to some kind of minor team protocol issue. No worries.
* LeSean McCoy's talent level is scary. His lateral movement in the hole is on another level and he's also an elite receiver and goal-line back. Lock top-3 pick next year, right there with Arian Foster and Ray Rice.