Adam Levitan

Football Daily Dose

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Anquan's Bold Night

Friday, September 28, 2012

There’s something comfortable about familiarity. On Thursday night, everyone was feeling warm and fuzzy because the real referees were back in action. Greg Little was up to his old tricks, dropping half the passes that hit his hands. And old friend Anquan Boldin was ripping the secondary.

It’s easy to get caught up in short-term production combined with familiarity. Boldin is a big name and he went off for 131 yards on nine catches. Stupid move not to own/start/trade for him, right? Wrong.

A one-game outburst from Boldin against a Joe Haden-less Browns team is not a reason to adjust outlooks. In his previous 17 games, he’s averaged 3.9 catches for 59.1 yards with four touchdowns. Expecting Thursday night’s fluke to spark a renaissance for a 32-year-old (on Wednesday) Boldin is wishful thinking.

* Ray Rice got two great chances at the goal-line and couldn’t convert either one. Unlucky.
* Dennis Pitta was not hurt. He lost out on a ton of targets as Anquan Boldin ate up the underneath work and slipped on a would-be touchdown. Stay the course here.
* Torrey Smith was on his way to another monster game when he limped off in the fourth quarter. As long as the injury isn’t serious, he’s the real deal.
* The Ravens called 49 pass plays and 25 runs. Joe Flacco is a weekly borderline QB1 in this scheme.
* Rookie Bernard Pierce is a must-handcuff for Rice owners. He takes long strides, but hits the hole hard and fast.
* Greg Little had at least four very catchable balls go through his hands, including one in the end zone deep the fourth quarter.
* Trent Richardson is starting to see more and more work on third downs. He still came off the field during the two-minute drill in favor of Chris Ogbonnaya.

We’ve rarely seen a bigger backfield mess than what the Bills are sorting through right now.

Let’s start with what will happen if/when Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller and Tashard Choice are all healthy. In that scenario, expect Jackson to start but Spiller get a few more touches per game. Jackson would be the goal-line back. Choice wouldn’t play.

Now, for the injuries. Jackson put in his second straight limited practice on Thursday. Barring a setback, he’s expected to suit up against the Patriots Sunday. Meanwhile, Spiller returned to a limited practice but didn’t take any contact. He was originally hit with a 1-2 week timetable on that sprained AC joint. He’s got a shot to play Sunday, but it doesn’t appear likely. For now, expect Jackson to start and share the load with Choice.

Ahmad Bradshaw practiced again Thursday, confirming that his neck injury is water under the bridge.

What isn’t clear, however, is exactly how the Giants will handle their backfield now that Andre Brown has emerged. What we know is that Bradshaw will start. Additionally, both head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride have suggested a “hot hand” approach.

Realistically, a committee here makes the most sense. Bradshaw isn’t a special runner and appears nicked often. The Giants have a history of success with “thunder and lightning” approaches. Both backs are just weak flex plays until we gain some clarity.

Signs are looking good for Aaron Hernandez. He’s moving around without any brace or boot on his sprained ankle and is reportedly healing quicker than expected. Hernandez was originally tagged with a 4-6 week timetable. If he gets back at that four-week mark, he should be set for Week 6.

Reggie Bush (knee) got a limited practice in Thursday and looked good. He appears on track to suit up. … Peyton Hillis (ankle) is still in walking boot. The Chiefs are talking up another monster workload for Jamaal Charles. … Matt Forte (ankle) practiced, as did Michael Bush (shoulder). Forte could end up as a game-time call in a Monday night game. … Jared Cook (shoulder) is on track to suit up as a TE2 Sunday. … Steven Jackson (groin) isn’t practicing this week, but will probably play Sunday at less than 100 percent. … Jonathan Stewart (toe) is fully expected to play through some pain as well. … Same goes for Willis McGahee (ribs). … Dustin Keller (hamstring) will be back this week. Yawn.

Matthew Stafford’s hip injury is really a non-issue. He’s not that mobile to begin with. … Kenny Britt (ankle) hasn’t practiced all week. He’s extremely questionable at this point. … Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) isn’t going to play this week. Derek Hagan and Rod Streater will share the load in his stead. … Pierre Garcon (foot) is showing improvement, but is trending toward a game-time call at best. … Julian Edelman (hand) missed another practice. Move along. … Jeremy Maclin (hip) sat out last week with his eye on being close to 100 percent for Week 4. Everything is going according to plan. … Hakeem Nicks (foot) is ready to go as well. … Laurent Robinson (concussion) hasn’t been cleared for contact yet.

The Patriots released Kellen Winslow. His knees are just done. … Ben Tate’s fumble from last week isn’t being held against him. He’s got a great matchup against the Titans this week. … Ryan Williams is expecting 15-20 more snaps per game thanks to Beanie Wells’ injury.

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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