Adam Levitan

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Week 16 Live Blog

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Welcome to Week 16, where it's Championship Week in fantasy football.

We'll have a Rotoworld staffer watching every game today, keeping an eye on in-game injuries, depth chart changes and difference-making plays. 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
* Roy Helu (ankle, toe) is out. Evan Royster is expected to start and may share the load with Ryan Torain. Royster is a desperation play only.
* Chris Johnson (ankle) is sore but starting. His workload will likely depend on how he feels during the game.
* Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) is active, but is not expected to play. Charlie Batch gets the start.
* Marcedes Lewis (hamstring) is active as a weak TE2.
* Michael Bush (shoulder) is expected to receive a full workload.
* Mario Manningham (knee) is out, as expected.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Evan Royster indeed started for the Redskins, who came out with three straight passes. The Vikings' defensive weakness is certainly in their secondary.
* Champ Bailey is shadowing Stevie Johnson on the Bills' first drive.
* The Broncos are going with a running back platoon to start the game. Willis McGahee got two carries, then Lance Ball got two carries. Then McGahee came back in.
* So far, so good on Chris Johnson's ankle. He's playing every down and stutter-stepping well.
* Maurice Jones-Drew came off limping after a first-quarter run. He's playing through it, but MJD did come into this one with a gimpy ankle.
* We're finally seeing what Jared Cook is capable of late in the year. He's way to fast for linebackers up the seam and just broke off a 55-yard touchdown. Cook is going to be a "sleeper" for the second straight season next year.
* Darrelle Revis is all over Hakeem Nicks early on. Probably would have been wise not to call out Revis Island this week.
* LeGarrette Blount has been benched after fumbling on his first carry. He has not been back in the game since. Kregg Lumpkin has come on and is running well.
* Adrian Peterson demanded more touches this week and is getting them. We're in the second quarter and he has nine carries -- Toby Gerhart has zero.
* Chris Johnson's ankle has looked fine, so I'm not sure why Jamie Harper got that goal-line score. Tough break for owners.
* Rashard Mendenhall is predictably doing whatever he wants against the Rams. However, he took a break after a 52-yard run and this lost out on a touchdown. John Clay got the score.
* The Dolphins continue to use Reggie Bush as their every-down and goal-line back. He got stuffed from two yards out in the second quarter, but they aren't shy about pounding him into the line. A transformed role and player.
* Dwayne Bowe got hit in the numbers with a touchdown pass. He dropped it. Painful for owners. The Chiefs are targeting Bowe plenty despite tight coverage from Stanford Routt.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Adrian Peterson took a shot on his knee and looks to be hurt badly. Even the Redskins players look shaken up watching him on the ground. He's being helped off the field and can't put any weight on his left leg. Peterson is obviously done for the day.
* On the same series, Christian Ponder took a nasty shot from London Fletcher. He's headed to the locker room also. UPDATE: Ponder has a concussion and is done for the day.
* Tom Brady is really getting bothered by the Dolphins' pressure. The Patriots are playing with backups at left tackle, right tackle and left guard due to injury.
* Darrelle Revis is now seeing some time on Victor Cruz. Pretty amazing how far Cruz has come. Guy is for real.
* Random guys I think I'll want on my teams next year: Tim Tebow, Jared Cook, C.J. Spiller, Denarius Moore.
* The Bills are doing themselves a disservice by using Tashard Choice as their third-down back. He's got a few drops and can't make anyone miss. I know they don't want to overwork Spiller, but Choice is brutal.
* Perhaps the Browns will see that Evan Moore is their best pass-catcher. He's only playing because Ben Watson (concussion) is done for the year, but he's producing. Something to watch for next year as Moore could be a nice sleeper.
* Reggie Bush picked up a knee injury late in the game. Doesn't look serious, but he's missing some valuable chances for garbage time points. Daniel Thomas (knee) is also out of the game.
* Stevan Ridley played ahead of BenJarvus Green-Ellis for the entire second half. Keep that in mind for next year. BJGE is likely to get replaced.

4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Felix Jones is not a fantasy option. If the Cowboys don't need the win, he'll sit. Even if they need it, he's only 50-50 to play. UPDATE: Felix Jones is active as the Jets/Giants game remains close. He still can't be trusted.
* Lance Moore is playing on Monday night, but he needs to be out of fantasy lineups as well. He injured a hammy in practice and is looking unlikely to be a go against Atlanta.
* Vincent Jackson (groin) is active. There's no guarantee he'll be able to finish the game, but he did look like he was moving well in warmups. The matchup doesn't get any better with the Lions' secondary extremely banged up.
* Doug Baldwin (ankle) is active, but is a high-risk play at less than 100 percent.
* Interesting to note that Stevan Ridley is getting some red-zone work ahead of BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the third quarter.

OBSERVATIONS
* The big change in Brent Celek's usage has led to this monster second half. He's being asked to block a lot less and is therefore simply getting more opportunities. He'll be on the TE1 radar next season as he's proven to be a key part of the Eagles' offense.
* Kyle Williams and Michael Crabtree were the Niners' starting wideouts. Those are also their two most talented receivers.
* The Giants have beaten the Jets. That means this Cowboys vs. Eagles game means nothing. Expect Dallas to rest their starters -- Tony Romo has already left with a hand injury, bringing Stephen McGee on. Romo is likely done for the day with a "hand contusion."
* Vincent Jackson is playing, but hasn't had an impact yet. The Lions are playing him one-on-one for the most part.
* Chauncey Washington is on and getting carries for the Cowboys in the second quarter. That likely means Felix Jones is going to be rested for the rest of the day.
* Matthew Stafford is locked in again today. Absolutely shredding the Chargers' secondary. No one throws a tighter spiral or has a stronger arm -- not even Aaron Rodgers.
* Kevin Smith may have aggravated his ankle injury. Maurice Morris has been carrying the load for the last series or two as the third quarter gets going. UPDATE: Kevin Smith is back and looking good. He now has two touchdowns on the day.
* It looks like Vincent Jackson aggravated his hamstring injury while dropping a pass in the fourth quarter. He's was replaced by Vincent Brown for a few plays.
* LeSean McCoy has gone into the locker room for X-rays on his ankle. The Eagles can't make the playoffs, so his season may be done. UPDATE: I was wrong. McCoy is back in the game. He could use the rushing title as motivation in Week 17.



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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