Adam Levitan

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Angry Amendola

Friday, October 05, 2012

In Thursday night’s win over the Cardinals, Danny Amendola’s injury was a crippling blow to the Rams’ offense. Ever think you’d read that sentence?

Amendola sustained a broken collarbone in the second quarter. Outside of a 51-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Chris Givens, Sam Bradford went into the tank without his favorite receiver. He finished 7-of-21 for 141 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Bradford’s reliance on Amendola this season has been striking. In 18 quarters of football, he’s thrown to the slot man 49 times. Now that Amendola will be out at least a month, there’s only one real fantasy option left standing in St. Louis: Steven Jackson.

* We couldn’t get a good look at Ryan Williams’ ability because he had exactly one hole all night. And when he hit that hole in the fourth quarter, he ended up injuring a shoulder and not returning. Williams finished with 14 carries for 33 yards and is now averaging 2.82 YPC on the season.
* Andre Roberts had chances for a big game. Kevin Kolb missed him wide open on a bomb and he piled up 10 targets. Three of those came on bubble screens as he continues to do a Hines Ward impression. There’s still value here.
* The Cardinals offensive line, and specifically their tackles, are absolutely brutal. Kevin Kolb took an insane nine sacks and got progressively more jittery in the pocket as the game went on. It’s a problem for the aforementioned Williams as well.
* Steven Jackson looked really healthy and strong. But we saw the future in lightning-quick Daryl Richardson. The Rams are going to let S-Jax test free agency after this season and the backfield will be in fine hands with Richardson and Isaiah Pead.
* Greg Zuerlein aka Legatron is an unreal kicker, but I don't see him as a great fantasy option. The Rams' offense will leave him on the sideline in far too many games this season.

The Hakeem Nicks situation is turning ugly for owners. He was ruled out of Week 5 on Thursday, three days before the game. It’s a sign Nicks is not close to a return.

Athletic trainers often talk about compensation injuries when discussing rehab. Nicks broke his right foot in the preseason and is now dealing with a left knee issue. Are the two issues directly related? No. Indirectly via compensation? Possibly.

With Ramses Barden (concussion) also likely out this week, the Giants are going to be thin at wideout. Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon and Martellus Bennett project as target monsters against a Browns secondary that will be playing without top corner Joe Haden.

Waiting for this Alfred Morris story to go away? Don’t hold your breath.

Morris, who is on pace for 1,504 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, continues to draw praise from Shanahan & Son. On Thursday, it was Mike Shanahan saying Morris has a “big-time future.”

It’s hard to find fault in Shanahan’s assertion. Although Morris doesn’t have long speed, flashy quicks or good hands, he’s an incredibly tough one-cut runner. In Shanny’s annually effective zone-blocking scheme (take notes, Raiders), that’s often enough. The dude squats 645 pounds and it shows.

Julio Jones spoke on Thursday and made two strong points.

A) The laceration on his hand is a non-issue. He says nothing is holding him back right now. “Oh, yeah. I’m fine,” Jones said. “I’m ready to go.” Expect the Falcons to target Jones on more short throws this week.

B) Last week’s stinker was at least in part due to the way the Panthers played defense. “They tried to double me and Tony (Gonzalez) throughout the whole game,” Jones said. “Roddy (White) and Harry (Douglas) had the one-on-one matchups and you saw Roddy made numerous big plays, basically winning us the game. Matt (Ryan) was finding those one-on-one matchups.”

Aaron Hernandez (ankle) is not expected to play this week, but is on track for a Week 6 return after practicing some on Thursday. … Matt Forte (ankle) is practicing this week. He came out of Monday’s return in decent shape. … Similarly, Reggie Bush (knee) is much closer to 100 percent this week. He’s ready to go. … Peyton Hillis (ankle) still isn’t practicing. … Ben Tate (toe) limped off during Week 4 and isn’t practicing this week. … Fred Jackson (knee) and C.J. Spiller (shoulder) are both practicing in full and say they feel better this week than last. … Jahvid Best hasn’t taken any concussion tests recently. He’s eligible to come off PUP for Week 8.

Kenny Britt (ankle) isn’t progressing as the Titans had hoped. He’s not on track to play Sunday. … Laurent Robinson (concussion) isn’t going to play this week. … Greg Jennings (groin) has been ruled out for Week 5. James Jones will start. … Lance Moore (hamstring) has now missed two straight practices. Owners need to start exploring other options. … Pierre Garcon (foot) will play at less than 100 percent this week. … Stephen Hill (hamstring) still isn’t practicing. This has the look of a serious pull.

Rashard Mendenhall (knee) expects to get significant playing time in his 2012 debut Sunday. Something like 10-15 touches as the lead of a committee sounds right. … Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens are expected to be the Jets’ starting wideouts Monday night. They’re not interested in free agent Plaxico Burress.  

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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