Adam Levitan

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Week 4 Live Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Welcome to Week 4, where game-time decisions are ruling the day.

A Rotoworld staffer is watching every game today, keeping an eye on those game-time calls, in-game injuries, depth chart changes and potential breakout players. We'll also be watching to see why a certain player is under- or over-performing. 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: For exclusive projections, early rankings, IDP strategies, chats with Evan Silva, the Running Back Report and tons more, check out the Season Pass!


1PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Rob Gronkowski (hip) looks like a full go.
* Both Fred Jackson (knee) and C.J. Spiller (shoulder) are active. They'll reportedly share the workload evenly, but F-Jax will draw the start as the veteran and is the guy closer to 100 percent.
* Shane Vereen (foot) is active for the first time all year. Interesting deep-league stash.
* Dustin Keller (hamstring) and Stephen Hill (hamstring) are both out. They'll be replaced in the starting lineup by Chaz Schilens and Jeff Cumberland. Yikes.
* Steven Jackson (groin) is active, but is at less than 100 percent. Tough spot for him. Also note that Isiah Pead is a healthy scratch. He's fallen behind Terrence Ganaway on the depth chart.
* Jonathan Stewart (toe) is going to play thought pain. So will Jared Cook (shoulder).
* Mikel Leshoure (groin) is active, but it's hard to see the Lions riding him as hard as they did last week.
* Dwayne Bowe (groin) and Dexter McCluster (elbow) are ready to rock. Peyton Hillis (ankle) is out, leaving Shaun Draughn as Jamaal Charles' backup.
* Kenny Britt (ankle) is inactive, as expected. Backup Kendall Wright is a desperation play. Britt should be back for Week 5.

FIRST HALF OBSERVATIONS
* There's something weird going on in San Diego. Jackie Battle started and got six of the first seven snaps. Ronnie Brown got a third-down rep. Ryan Mathews is standing on the sideline with his helmet on. Stay tuned here...perhaps it's just a short-term discipline situation? Mathews saw exactly zero snaps on the Chargers' touchdown-scoring first drive.
* The Jets might have finally seen enough of inept Shonn Greene and made a move. Bilal Powell got the start today. UPDATE: Not so fast. Powell was in for the first play of the game, but Greene ended up on the field for all of the running plays. Sigh.
* As expected, Fred Jackson started. In a mild surprise, he was sole force on the first drive. He got five carries compared to zero for C.J. Spiller.
* Hopefully you stuck with Stevan Ridley, as I mentioned here in Tuesday's Dose. He's back in there as the feature and red-zone back.
* Jake Locker just took a monster hit when Glover Quin blitzed and was unblocked. Locker is down and writhing in pain. Looks like a shoulder or wrist. His status for the rest of the day is in doubt. UPDATE: Locker has a left shoulder injury. It's the same shoulder that he slightly separated in Week 1. He's done for the day and will leave owners (like me) with a zero in the box score.
* C.J. Spiller isn't just a decoy -- he got two carries in the first quarter compared to seven for Fred Jackson. But Spiller does look a little tentative at the point of attack, which could be understandable if he's wary of hits on that shoulder.
* Jerome Simpson started and has been really active. In just over a quarter of action, he's drawn two pass interference calls totaling 57 yards. Definitely a guy worth owning.
* Not at all surprised that Jamaal Charles and Mikel Leshoure are coming back to earth today. Unless you're Adrian Peterson, serious injuried followed by mammoth workloads don't work out well.
* Steven Jackson looks really good on that tender groin, but owners are going to be sick after a 3-yard touchdown run was called back for holding.
* Julio Jones is taking a major backseat to Roddy White so far. Jones did get one target in the end zone, but the pass was picked off. He had three total targets in the first half compared to 10 for Roddy. White is seeing more single coverage, so Matt Ryan is going that way.
* At the tail end of the first half, C.J. Spiller tried to slam in a goal-line carry. He fumbled. Don't expect the Bills to call that play in that spot again for awhile.

SECOND HALF OBSERVATIONS
* Vernon Davis is getting a ton of attention from the Jets defense. He's been double- and triple-teamed when possible. When he lines up outside, he's drawing top corner Antonio Cromartie.
* It has to be a matter of time before Tim Tebow takes over for Mark Sanchez. As of halftime today, the Jets had scored one touchdown on its last 27 possessions.
* Michael Turner is having a huge game, but let's not overreact there. This Panthers defense is once again perhaps the worst in the NFL. Remember how the Giants shredded them with strict backups in Week 3. It's a sell-high spot for Turner.
* Brandon LaFell has been an afterthought for the Panthers. He has no catches on three targets through three quarters. We've barely even heard his name.
* Santonio Holmes went down with a non-contact left knee injury. Looks bad. Will probably spare owners the anguish of watching him in their lineups going forward.
* Again, Julio Jones is not hurt. Matt Ryan is simply going to who is open and there are single-coverage matchups elsewhere. Frustrating for owners, obviously.
* Brandon Lloyd is being covered by Bills rookie CB Stephon Gilmore. Surprisingly, Gilmore is winning. Patriots are looking elsewhere.
* Calvin Johnson is being checked for a concussion here in the fourth quarter. Unfortunate. It's prime time for garbage stats. UPDATE: Johnson is back on the field after just a few plays off.
* Joique Bell is once again playing ahead of Kevin Smith. At this point, it looks like Smith is going to need a Leshoure or Bell injury just to any kind of role back.
* Ryan Mathews has played sparingly in the second half. He's getting taken out at the goal line even on drives he's gotten on the field. Chargers are sending a stern message: Don't fumble. Ever. Still, Mathews is by far the most talented back on this team. He's going to emerge as the workhorse eventually. I'd take advantage of owners' all-out panic and trade for him Monday.
* There's something to be said for Chris Johnson busting out with Matt Hasselbeck under center. The offense just seemed more stable, less frenetic. Texans backed out of the box a little bit.

4PM GAMES
INACTIVE NEWS
* Bernard Scott (ankle) is inactive. More security for BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
* Reggie Bush (knee) is active. His workload will depend on how that knee feels, but owners can't sit him.
* Knowshon Moreno is a healthy scratch again. Ronnie Hillman is ahead of him. Willis McGahee (ribs) is starting, as expected.
* Brandon Myers (concussion) is active and starting.
* Pierre Garcon (foot) is active. He might be on a pitch count and rotate, but he's explosive. Leonard Hankerson is starting opposite Garcon, leaving Josh Morgan as the No. 3 wideout.

OBSERVATIONS
* The Redskins backfield continues to be status quo. Alfred Morris is the starter and gets all the early-down reps. Evan Royster comes in on third downs. Newly acquired Ryan Grant was inactive.
* The Cardinals are using top corner Patrick Peterson on Brian Hartline, not Davone Bess.
* Dolphins CB Sean Smith is shadowing Larry Fitzgerald all over the field. Great matchup.
* Alfred Morris does not look like a pedestrian runner to me. He never gets tackled by the first guy, has tons of lower-body power. He's just not fast. But most importantly, he runs angry -- with a chip on his shoulder. Dig it.
* The Redskins called designed run for Robert Griffin in the red zone. It's play-calling like that that will yield a monster fantasy season. They have no fear of injury and neither does RG3.
* Greg Jennings may have aggravated his groin injury. He's on the sidelines with his helmet in hand now and is standing next to the team doctor.
* D.J. Ware is getting a ton of third-down reps ahead of Doug Martin. It's a major drag on Martin's PPR value.
* Ryan Williams is also strangely missing from large parts the gameplan. The Cardinals are running a ton of no-huddle, and it's possible he doesn't play in those situations. William Powell is acting as the red-zone back.
* UPDATE on Greg Jennings. He has indeed aggravated his groin injury and has been ruled out for the day. These soft tissue injuries are hard for older players to shake -- especially when they play wideout or running back.
* Out of the Cardinals' first 41 plays, they called 33 passes. Makes no sense. Ryan Williams is going to have much better days.
* Tough break for Cedric Benson owners. The Packers had the ball at the 2-yard line, but Aaron Rodgers was out after getting poked in the eye. Graham Harrell came in and bungled the handoff, resulting in a turnover.
* Adding to the Doug Martin thoughts from above: Ware is playing on third downs and LeGarrette Blount is seeing all the red-zone work. Martin is stuck in the middle without much production.



Adam Levitan is in his fifth 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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